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January 11, 2020

Sylvie Gouin Talks About Happiness

Sylvie Gouin Happiness Habits interview with the School of Happiness

Conversation with Sylvie Gouin. Sylvie is a yoga teacher, yoga therapist, self-published author and the Director of Teacher Training for the Beyond School of Yoga in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. More info about Sylvie Gouin.

Happiness Habits is now Live! - Welcome to the conversation. Listen and learn from wisdom keepers who walk the talk of wellness and happiness.

I love hearing people’s stories. What inspires them, what challenges them and what strategies they have adopted to make happiness and wellness a priority in their life.

I am excited to present a new project brought to you by the School of Happiness: Happiness Habits from the Heart. A platform to listen and learn from wisdom keepers who walk the talk.

This initiative holds a series of conversations profiling humans who: live from the heart, choose happiness as a way to be and have inspired me and influenced my life positively. I hope you will find their take home tips and wisdom nuggets interesting too.

I often receive my inspirations and ideas when I am walking in the woods, after meditation or hopping on my trampoline! Exercise stimulates my brain, meditation clears my mind and the expansiveness of nature helps me tap into my creative imagination.

I’d love to know how you get your creative ideas – reply below and let me know 🙂

The flash of creating “Happiness Habits from the Heart” came to me while hiking near Hood River in Oregon last summer. This idea took hold of me and wouldn’t let go, it was meant to be manifested, so here it is!

Each month I will invite you to enjoy a new conversation.  Get comfy, make a cup of tea and listen to their personal stories and discover the wide perspectives about happiness and wellness.

Sylvie Gouin of Inspired Living Yoga talks on Happiness Habits

Sylvie Gouin of Inspired Living Yoga.

I am delighted to introduce you to my first guest Sylvie Gouin, from Inspired Living with Sylvie. She will share her own journey of not always being happy and her current secrets to feeling great.

Once you’ve had a chance to watch, we’d love to hear from you.
What’s the biggest insight you’re taking away from Happiness Habits?
I look forward to reading your comments.

Sylvie Gouin's Nuggets of Wisdom

  • 2:20 - Sylvie’s Happiness definition
  • 4:30 - Two elements that govern how Sylvie experiences life
  • 7:30 - This led Sylvie to yoga. Why others may want to begin too
  • 9:58 - How yoga meets you where you are now
  • 10:51 - One of the greatest super powers
  • 13:08 - Difference between Happiness and Pleasure
  • 16:20 - What most humans really want
  • 18:00 - Why we should pay attention to our habits
  • 19:25 - How Sylvie cultivates wellness and happiness in her lifestyle
  • 23:00 - From overwhelm to inspiration
  • 23:45 - Sylvie begins her day with these essentials
  • 26:15 - #1 cause of unhappiness
  • 29:20 - The power of the word. Why what we say matters.
  • 31:25 - Words of wisdom from Laura’s granny
  • 32:40 - Include more of what makes you smile
  • 33:45 - The journey is the goal
  • 34:10 - To work hard or to work with intention?
  • 36:00 - Use this technique to get what you really want
  • 40:25 - How to break through resistance
  • 44:25 - Final words of wisdom: do one thing...

Transcription of Sylvie Gouin's Conversation with Laura

Laura: (00:04)
Hello and welcome and thank you for joining us. I'm Laura wor from the school of happiness here with Sylvie Gouin from inspired living with Sylvie. And this conversation is one for our happiness habits from the heart. These conversations have been inspired for you, the listener to offer a different perspectives on happiness and wellness. And I think you'll agree that we're, it's always interesting to hear other people's stories and it's inspiring to hear other people's journeys and stories and how they navigate the path towards health, happiness, and wellness. And Sylvia is certainly somebody who has inspired me over the years and I'm delighted to have this conversation here with her today. Our mission behind school of happiness and the existence of school of happiness is to guide people to be conscious creators of their wellbeing in body, mind, heart, and spirit. So what that means is that happiness is an inside job.

Laura: (01:11)
And if that's true, then it is helpful to have the tools and the techniques and the teachings to help us navigate our way along this journey and this path towards taking responsibility for our own wellbeing and our own happiness in such an uncertain world. And it is possible. So Sylvie is, um, a friend of mine and she's a wonderful, inspiring yoga teacher, yoga therapist, self published author, and the director of teacher training for the beyond school of yoga in Ottawa, Ontario. I had the pleasure to be a student in many of her classes and also be a student of Sylvie as a coach. And I've learned a tremendous amount, not just from the teachings, but really as you'll see going through this conversation with Sylvie, feeling her beingness and just being in her presence, I find is calming. It's expensive and it's definitely inspiring. So really happy to have Sylvie with us here today in these happiness from the heart and to gain more habits for happiness and in this conversation. So Sylvia, I'm going to turn it over to you here because you embody happiness so well and we're going to explore three different questions here today in our conversation. I'll kind of let you go and if there's time for me to interject on certain things I may, but I want people to really kind of feel your vibe and your perspective. So we really want to shine a light on your perspective of happiness and wellness. So let's begin by first exploring.

Sylvie: (03:00)
How would you define happiness from your own perspective? Um, that's such a, it's such an interesting question and I find that, um, I find it interesting also that I'm here talking about happiness. You know, when you're saying that I'm an inspiration for happiness and when you invited me to be on the show to talk about happiness and I think, yes, it's true, I am happy, but it's the fact that I'm an inspiration for happiness because it's not some way. If I think of Sylvie before yoga, it is certainly not the way that I would have defined myself or the way that I would have defined my life. It wasn't even an aspiration for me to be happy. When I began my yoga practice, I didn't begin yoga out of the belief that it would lead me to happiness. I began out of the belief that it would lead me to enlightenment.

Sylvie: (03:58)
And I still believe that I still have a lot of faith in the yoga practice to awaken our potential and to expand our consciousness. But along the way, I did start to experience happiness. So it wasn't like I said out to be happy. It wasn't like I started off happy. It wasn't even like I started off with an understanding of happiness. But eventfully through the practice of yoga, it just starts to trickle inside. And as anyone who's practiced yoga would, whatever gets you into the yoga practice, at some point, it's no longer why you practice and you end up receiving way more than what you thought you even wanted. Gradual unfolding. So to me, happiness is, um, is very much a way of living. You know, it's something that we, it has a lot to do. I mean a lot to do with lifestyle. It's a perspective.

Sylvie: (05:07)
It's a way that I choose to experience the world that way that I choose to experience my life. And it's very much rooted in gratitude and contentment. I feel very grateful then I have more gratitude than I have once. And that builds a lot of natural contentment. There's, um, a saying in yoga where contentment is not a goal. It's not a, um, it's not a, uh, it's not a, uh, a life Pat. Like it's not something that, um, uh, that you must have. Do you know what I mean? Like it's not something that is your birthright. It's actually a responsibility we have to choose. We have to take responsibility to choose to be content right here right now, exactly the way things are, even if I'm not content. And although I have a fair amount of ease in my life right now, it wasn't always like that. And, and I know it's not always going to be like that. It's the natural way of, so I have a lot of understanding and the personal experience and how our life shifts. I'm not talking about from, yeah. Hmm.

Laura: (06:25)
So would you say then that the yoga practice has assisted you to, I guess, explore and to discover the contentment and the happiness and the sense of equanimity and the wellbeing that you're describing? So well,

Sylvie: (06:42)
100%. Yeah.

Laura: (06:43)
It wasn't an intention going into the practice. You talked about enlightenment, there was a curiosity about enlightenment, you know, and that for you seem to be the gateway into move along the yoga path. And I kind of want to explore that a little bit with you because for people perhaps that have never experienced yoga, there's still a lot of misunderstandings to what yoga is. You know, people think you have to be flexible or they think that it's something as Oh Terrick or something that is inaccessible. Um, in your experience as a teacher trainer as well, what do you find is the curiosity, yours was enlightenment, but why do you think people are finding their way into the yoga and for those who don't do it, how perhaps could we present it in such a way to make it accessible so that others, just like we have, having practice for many, many years now have awakened to this new state of being of just regardless of, yes, there's turbulence in life and there's challenges and there's ups and downs and waves, as you mentioned, that's part of life. But learning how to navigate those challenges with greater ease and grace, um, and being the witness to these things in life as opposed to being reactive is one way to cultivate our energy as well. I mean, I'm kind of brainstorming on my own here, but you know, what would be your perspective either why people come into yoga and how we may be able to present it in a way that they can say, yeah, this is a one way, one gateway inwards towards happiness and wellbeing.

Sylvie: (08:14)
Well, I think that, first of all, when I first started, and I say I was very much attracted to the enlightenment piece, but I didn't know what that meant. I didn't, it certainly didn't mean what it means right now. And it was more out of the fact that I was suffering and this world that we're in makes sense to me and I didn't want to suffer anymore and I thought that yoga would be something that would help me rise out of that. And I was right. The yoga practice has been a tremendous support in my life, but people begin yoga for a variety of different reasons. So some people come to yoga because they're runners, for example, and they to stretch out their muscles so that they can keep running without injury. And that's perfectly fine if that's what you want from yoga. Yoga will be of service and yoga can be that for you.

Sylvie: (09:07)
Yoga doesn't have to be your everything in order to be something of great value. Some people come to yoga. If we look at yoga therapy for example, because they have, they're broken in some way, you know, whether it's physically they have an injury or mentally or emotionally, they want to experience some more inner freedom and they want yoga to be of service to them. And if that's the case, then you can't just drop into a class once a week and expect yoga to help you. If that's what you want, you're going to have to invest a little more. So there's always this sense of what do I want from yoga? And once I know what I want, then I know what I'm willing to invest in terms of time and energy and cultivation and whatever it is. Once I know that, then I take the path that will lead me there.

Sylvie: (09:54)
But it changes over the years. There's, I've met so many people who started yoga for let's say the running reason and you know, five years later, maybe two years later, maybe 10 years later, they're in teacher training and now they no longer want to do yoga. They want to live yoga, right? It's no longer something that they do. Once a week, it's the way that they perceive themselves, the way that they perceive the world. Everything. Yoga becomes a part of, of the, the way that we live. Yeah. And that's, that's a wonderful way of living. So it's not like, uh, but I mean it doesn't have to be that to be of great value. I don't want to, to feel people, people don't need to feel intimidated by if yoga meets where you are, you practice what you want, you, you practice what you're willing to invest in time, energy. And in my experience and in what I've seen in many of my students is whatever you invest in, it always gives you, we more in return. It's like, I joke and I say it's a very, very good stock.

Laura: (11:04)
Good return on investment. Yeah.

Sylvie: (11:05)
Oh yeah. It has a fabulous return on investment, but it depends. You have to know what you're willing to, uh, to invest.

Laura: (11:13)
Yes. And I love that you say often in classes as an intention to a class is where do I place the gift of my attention today? And, uh, I find that that's always stuck with me in my mind of, whoops, if I'm energy flows where focus goes. So if I'm placing my focus and intention on something, well then that's what's going to show up. So I, that's one of the greatest teachings I believe of yoga is that

Sylvie: (11:37)
the recognition that our attention is one of our greatest superpowers. The moment we give our attention to something, we give it energy. And if you look out there, everybody is seeking our attention. And whenever someone or something has lot of attention, we automatically believe that that someone or that something has tremendous value engine. But then the blind spot is that we will easily, if we don't pay attention, give our attention to things that actually take our energy away. And that's where we need to take responsibility and recognize my attention is a fabulous gift. It is a great superpower. What or whom shall I give the gift of my attention to? And the more we recognize that, the more we take responsibility for that, the more we start to empower ourselves. It's simple things like let's say we have a problem or an obstacle we can become, um, we can become experts in that problem.

Sylvie: (12:43)
In that obstacle. We can give all of our attention to the problem and as to why it's a problem and why we can't do it. Or we can start to offer the gift of our attention to the possible solution. And that's the choice that we make. What are, okay, this is the challenge, this is the obstacle. What are the possible solutions and how can I start to draw my attention to those things? Exploring possibility as opposed to the issue at hand and getting stuck in it. Like they say, you know, we can't solve a problem with the same mind that created it. Yes. Yeah. So we started to, and that's one of the great gifts of meditation of Asana is that we learn to turn our senses in words. We learn to quiet things, we learn to draw that piece of concentration. We start to feel chrono and we can direct Pronto the energy that's found in the breath and we can direct it towards the things that we value.

Sylvie: (13:40)
And, um, that's another great gift of the yoga practice that gradually ripples out into this feeling of, of happiness. And I think it's important to have a, um, some reflection in terms of what happiness means to each individual. Cause sometimes we, we can easily confuse happiness with pleasure and they're two different things. Pleasure is based on external circumstances when this happens, when that happens. But if we think of any activity that brings us pleasure, imagine yourself doing a 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It no longer gives you pleasure. So there's nothing we would want to do that long. Right? So it's that state of mind, the, the happiness and that being happy. There's a knee and we have to go around like giddy and waterfalls and dolphins, unless that's your freedom. But not everybody's happiness is expressed the same way. And we'd have, we'd highly benefit from, uh, from allowing ourselves to find our truth, our freedom, and often the suffering. And my learnings also

Laura: (14:52)
from a lot of great yoga teachers is that a lot of suffering happens because we're seeking something outside of ourselves. So I'll be happy when I have the house or the job or the whatever, that thing that you think might bring us happiness. And we're bombarded by marketing messages every single day trying to sell us the idea of happiness when they may be momentary, um, times of pleasure that is uplifting, but yet it's not sustainable. So, you know, this is interesting because initially yoga, meditation, many people in my experience don't stay for the long haul because number one step is making the commitment and then getting still. And because we're so bombarded and they're such a fibrillation now, almost agitation and the busy-ness of our media world is that we're often in future thoughts or past thoughts that we're rarely just here in this moment.

Laura: (15:50)
And I find that that's what the meditation yoga offers us, is to get still long enough to feel what our inner currents are. Are they agitated? Are we feeling Realty? Are we feeling emotional or, you know, the longer we can sit still, the more that that starts to calm down. So we do have to be patient too with this kind of a practice, right? It's a, if we say happiness is an inside job, that's really what it means is that we've got to have the courage also to be able to close our eyes and go within and to look and feel what's there. And that's sometimes, I know for some people they said, well, I'm not ready to go there. I'm scared. And that's where I think the yoga practice is just so beautiful that it meets everybody where they're at, whether it's from the physical realm where it just a bit of stretching will feel wonderful or you know, releasing mental agitation or connecting with greater consciousness and expensiveness with all that is

Sylvie: (16:45)
[inaudible]. Yeah, it's like it takes them, it takes patience and it takes introspection and there's, um,

Sylvie: (16:55)
there's also an acknowledgement that it's, it's a whole process. So most people begin yoga because they don't know this language, but what they want to do is they want to promise by, they want to energize their sets with nature, which is the harmonizing nature. So when we're in Southwest, we could say, if you look at the ocean, for example, somewhere out there, the ocean is completely wild. Somewhere else. It's all murky and dark and stuck and somewhere else. It's perfectly calm and clear and there's a tendency to believe that I'm in the state of yoga or I'm doing things right when everything is perfect and clear. But no, the state of yoga is down deep at the bottom of the ocean untouched by what's happening on the surface and recognizing that the surface will always change and that it needs to change. So regardless of where we're at on our path, we are going to have waves.

Sylvie: (17:56)
Emotions are going to come and go. So it's not like we have to become numb or that we're always in this perfect state, right? At least this is not how I'm experiencing. It really is a process. Or one of the examples that I give to is the example of the dimmer. So it's like you imagine the room is very dark and then the dimmer starts to go out and you see a bit more with more clarity and then it goes up and then it goes up. If it was to go from darkness to a hundred watt light bulb, you wouldn't be able to. So it goes up 40 Watts, 60 walk, but then it goes back down 40 30. Then it goes up. It's a dimmer where we have, we move in and out of, I love that analogy, these different consciousness, but it requires, um, lifestyle habits are very important in yoga and Ayurveda. This idea of paying attention to our habits and choosing habits that are harmonizing, but it doesn't happen overnight. It's, it's a gradual process. You, in my experience anyways, you eliminate one thing, you add another thing and it takes this supplement to do that. And then eventually that becomes normal. It no longer takes discipline. So you're ready to eliminate something else and add something else and you start to have this natural lifestyle that feels good. I, I'm, you go to bed tired, you wake up energized and that's a great feeling. That's a really good feeling.

Laura: (19:35)
So maybe you can summarize Sylvia, then what do you do specifically? Do you have any, um, cause the next two questions I kind of want to understand so that we can put this out there to our listeners of how you cultivate happiness and wellness in your own life. You've talked about so many wonderful things. Obviously yoga being a multidimensional system, depending on what we need in the moment. It might be physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, psychological. I mean it's offers many different gateways in because yoga is a multistep process. Um, but how would you summarize how you cultivate wellness and happiness in your own legs? I know you've got a strong aggravated background, a yoga background and wellness and energy and so on. What are your go tos and then maybe you could talk a little bit about your rituals, but, um, ultimately,

Sylvie: (20:23)
yeah, it's very much the way that I, that I live my life and I didn't always live my life this way. This is definitely not my starting point. And, uh, and sometimes it definitely, it feels like two different lives almost. And, um, in terms of how I live my life now, and it just was step-by-step. I always, I remember when my daughter very young and I really, I was, I was going through a lot of challenging times and I really wanted to rise out of the darkness that I was in and I would use yoga practice and I'd get up, you know, three 34 o'clock in the morning and I do these two hours, two and a half hours, practice these big practices. And it took so much discipline to do those things at that time in my life. And it was very serious and the way that I did it.

Sylvie: (21:15)
And then gradually I was able, my practices start to permeate my everyday life. So rather than it being not something I was doing at a particular period in my life, they, the, the essence of the yoga practice was it in my everyday life. It was the way that I would prepare my meals. It was the way that I would go pick up my daughter. It was the way that I would receive certain messages or the types of books that I would read or the things I would stop doing. All of a sudden these habits that I would work I was doing before, I didn't want to do them anymore. There's a video where someone asks, but I'm a Hansa Yogananda, a great Yogi. They say, do I have to quit smoking and quit drinking to practice yoga? And he says, no, but if you keep practicing yoga, I can't promise you're going to want to keep drinking and keep smoking. Certainly what has happened for me, it's not like, it's not like you don't do them because you can't and it's bad for you. You just don't want to, you'll have the line anymore. You have no interest. It doesn't, it doesn't attract you. So it's a, it's,

Laura: (22:23)
it doesn't even come to it. It's not even disciplined. People have said that, well, you're so disciplined. It's like, no, I just like to feel good and I know what formula I need to be able to feel good and that's more important.

Sylvie: (22:34)
But first, I know that for me it started off with discipline because that was not my starting. Yeah.

Laura: (22:39)
Yes, yes. I agree. You have to learn something new and that you need intention and commitment.

Sylvie: (22:44)
Yup. Okay. Tremendous amount of discipline, uh, at first and, but then gradually it's just um, it's just the way that that you live. And um, so it's a lot of it has to do with it. You show up, you show up to your math, you show up to your position, you stay committed to your practice. Um, I journal, I do all of those things. I eat pretty well. I get a lot of fresh air regardless of where I am in the world. I always get lots of fresh air. Spending time with nature is very important. Getting movement, getting your heart rate up, sweating, taking time to be of service to feel that you're contributing to what you feel matters in the world. Because we can easily become overwhelmed by hunger and housing and everything that's going on in the environment. All of those things that are going on in the world and that can be a source of, of depletion. So it's what, what in, what can I do to be of service to what, to what is meaningful to me. And I do those things I, and so that way I feel more, more often I feel inspired than overwhelmed. And I also, I'm not in denial of the darkness, not at all. But I also really feed my mind with all the wonderful things that people are doing around the world. They're really a lot of great things that are happening.

Laura: (24:13)
So that's where you place the gift of your attention, right? So you're focusing on that, the things that are uplifting to feed your mind with good material and to move your body. So do you, is your day the same every day? So if we were to talk about Sylvie's wellness and happiness rituals, um, does it look the same every day? Do you start your day in a powerful way or you know, does that vary from day to day based on how you wake up or how you feel or whether your energy, whether you're proud of [inaudible] or not ratified as you mentioned,

Sylvie: (24:44)
it varies based on where I am in the sense of when I'm in Canada and I'm working a lot, then uh, I have to get up at a certain time to get things happening. Whereas when I'm down here, I have more freedom or, um, every day includes, uh, every day includes practice everyday includes meditation, pranayama and journaling. That everyday includes fresh air, exercise. It's very rare. I mean, sometimes in the, uh, in Ottawa, like in the, you know, November when it's raining, I might not go outside, but what I do in Canada, if I can get outside and those, those, um, those half months, you know, those in between months where it's kinda dark and wet. I have a mini rebounder. That's my favorite. Oh, they're amazing. You talk about like when you feel heavy and lethargic and you don't want to move,

Laura: (25:42)
they are, I didn't say that. That's my, I love it

Sylvie: (25:46)
the best. Yeah. So, so things like that, I make sure that I, um, that I do things, but it doesn't mean that I, I don't crash. And another thing that I feel is very important is community is being able to, when you're feeling low to let the people that that are in your life know and uh, and ask for part system. Well, I think it's so important to ask for help and to be real and to um, to feel that you're part of something. I'm, I'm very blessed with Brian and with Isabelle and my daughter. They are, they're fiery people and it's fabulous for me. And then of course friendships and, and of course the my yoga community and, and just the role that I've personally taken on that as a, as a yoga teacher and as a teacher of teachers is, is a personal commitment because by taking on that, I commit to being dedicated to the practice. So that's another form of, of community

Laura: (26:51)
[inaudible]. Yeah. And I think, you know, you've reminding me that a lot of reports now are saying that the number one cause of unhappiness is loneliness. And a, I think it's for, you know, anytime that I've been isolated for too long I start feeling a bit heavy or lethargic or a little bit down, then I realize, Ooh, you know what, I need to connect either with my family or my friends or my community. And uh, that's one thing you and I were talking about this earlier before this conversation of how important it is to have that community and that support system or that, that sunga cause that's what lifts you up sometimes too or carries you in those moments where you're feeling a little heavier or we go through periods in life or we're questioning things where we feel maybe not so much in alignment with our purpose and living a life of meaning. I think those are all really important things that you've stated as well. You know, being with the right type of people that can, that you trust and that you honor and that they're so certain respect and the color yoga community is a beautiful opportunity to offer.

Sylvie: (27:56)
You want to say if somebody is watching this right now and you're feeling lonely, I can, I want to say I can totally relate. I remember again, if I use that example when my daughter was born and I know the only time that Toma was rang with would be when my mom would call a lot of time where I felt really alone. And one of the things that it's so in them and yoga, we'll use the word that alone, this so alone, this is different than loneliness. Lonely as a sequel alone. This is freedom alone. This is freedom is very, very valuable. And then the other thing too is to get out there like get out there, go take a yoga class. And if you don't like the yoga class there, go to another studio, you will find a teacher, you will find a community that's right for you.

Sylvie: (28:44)
Go to the [inaudible], you know it takes them. If, if you're, there's lots going on there. Go to another place. I'm using the Y cause that's where I went when Isabelle was very young and it was such a great place for me. They have to be community center. Yeah, it was fabulous. There's just, you have to pull yourself out there and just go out and meditation centers. Uh, there's just so many places where you can find likeminded people. If you have young children and you feel that you can't go out there, mother groups, you know that you can join parent groups that you can join. Cause I say mother, but it could be father, parent groups. Um, but it's important to take ourselves out there and go and um, uh, yeah. If you're there I can relate and I'm sending you a huge wave of product to get the fire to get out there.

Laura: (29:40)
It's a lot more

Sylvie: (29:42)
these days too and everything is more accepted that the help is there. We just need to learn to reach out and ask. And that's sometimes the most challenging step is taking the first one of deciding that, Oh, maybe I need some support or some help and that is staying by yourself and we stayed here longer. Well, you know of people who, who rather than, um, conversation. The power of our word is tremendous. This is another teaching in yoga is the consciousness of sound and the vibration of sound and how we use our words. And so to have this consciousness of when I'm with people, what am I talking about? Am I talking about uplifting things? Am I talking about possibilities? Am I talking about what inspires me or am I talking about gossip or just things that drag me down. Those are things that are really energy fucking if all we're doing is gossiping. And those are, they're not, they're not in line with putting ourselves in a situation that's inspiring.

Laura: (30:50)
Yeah. And I think that's a self awareness tool as well to check in with what our energy boosters and what our energy drainers and you know, we all have, we've encountered people in our lives where we feel, Oh man, it's a downer to be around that person where all they do is complain and then turn it around and ask, you know, cause I bet each one of us at some point in our life has been that person. So it's who do I want to be and how do I want to show up, um, to, to be there for others and you know, catch myself still. And I've been doing these practices for a long time of gone, Ooh, this isn't alignment with my personal values and mission to be able to inspire and to guide and to uplift. Well, if I'm, you know, you and I are in kind of in that boat cause we work in this industry to be able to inspire, guide and uplift others.

Laura: (31:34)
Well we need to have that support system as well too to be that. So it's reading inspiring books and to be with those kinds of people. And to be with a, uh, an inspiring, perhaps like minded community that you can learn and grow. And as human beings, we're always learning and growing and striving to, to improve ourselves. But it doesn't have to be pressure. I think that we need more sukkah in our life. We call it more joy is we need the steadiness, but you know, we can also do it with lightness and joy and meaning so that we can have fun because that's uplifting in our energy too. And my granny taught me that. She used to say to me when I was younger, when I was in that space, like you mentioned too, very disciplined and very committed and wanting to learn it all and understand it all right away. But you know, it puts a lot of pressure and she said to me, you need to have more fun deer.

Laura: (32:28)
So that sticks in my mind. Now with everything that I do, you know, my projects that I take on are the people that I associate with and you know, however I manage my days. Yes, of course we all have responsibilities in life, but I, I try to bring lightness to it. Then enjoyment. It just makes everything, it shifts the perspective, you know? And everything is about this whole idea of this conversation we're having together. And the happiness habits from the heart is to change the lens with which we look. You know? And when we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change. So sometimes it's just making that little shift that can make all the difference towards being happier and being well and being the best version of ourselves.

Sylvie: (33:11)
[inaudible] like you say, I think it's very important to take time for self-introspection get to know. I think I've mentioned that before in this conversation. My freedom is not your freedom. So I'm sharing my path, but it's not about, it's about getting to know who we are and what makes us feel alive and what makes us smile. And, and there's a, an important question in yoga, which is who am I, which is a very advanced practice, which goes beyond all the labels we identify with. And so this is not what I'm talking about right now. I'm talking about the labels we do identify with in terms of how we go about our everyday life and and to ensure that we include more of the things that make us smile. But that requires reflection because if not, we just find ourselves seeking socially conditioned things and then we might end up having these socially conditioned things.

Sylvie: (34:09)
We feel full but we certainly don't feel satisfied. So. So what then it's because we didn't take time to reflect in terms of what is it exactly that I'm moving towards. And I find too that as cliche as it may sound, sound, this brings so much freedom for my life. The journey is the goal. It's not where I'm going that matters. It's how I get there because we spend way more time getting there than we do there. How do I get there? And what you're talking about to the stability in the ease. This Thea Dom and the Sukham requires that that practice of discipline of showing up and like you say, smiling, softening our edge things like rather than working hard, training hard and studying or we're intention study with intention, just changing that word brings the ease to what we're doing. I would much rather train with intention than train hard. I would much rather work with intention than work hard.

Laura: (35:18)
It's just saying those words, as you said, the words have power and energy. It feels different when you say that, you know, we'll still arrive wherever that arriving is. Then when we arrived, every finish line is just the beginning of a whole new race.

Sylvie: (35:33)
Learning matters so much. That's why it's right here. It's right here. It's all happening. It's this consciousness of presence, of being and in presence and in openness to the really the, the beauty of life. There's, um, there really is a lot of, um, a lot to, to observe and to take him when we open our eyes and when we start to appreciate things that have become, um, that have become mundane or that we take for granted cause we've had them for so long. Just what we're doing here, like come on

Laura: (36:14)
sharing, spreading the good news through this magic that times.

Sylvie: (36:24)
Yeah. It's just, it's really quite something.

Laura: (36:28)
Yeah. Uh, how life evolves. They'd like me to share. I just said something that I'm kind of stuck with me also of came back to focus. I forget the words that you just said, but it's about focusing on what we do want. You know, we, we know, I think we're more focused on what everybody knows, what they don't want. But you talked about introspection and one way for introspection that I learned from you and I'd like the readers of the reader, excuse me. For the viewers here today, to know that there's, you have a couple of books, you're a self published author and I have your first one that is your inspired journaling. And I think that's a really good way for introspection because you asked some really thought provoking questions in that book to help with the journaling process. And you mentioned that that's one of your gotos and one of your rituals.

Laura: (37:17)
So when we start journaling, we start doing deep dives into our perhaps dissatisfactions or the deep emotions that have carried us through a lifetime until you get to the point where I just don't want to feel this way or be this way anymore, but then we know what we don't want. How do we bridge that gap then towards, well, how do I know what I do want? And I found that, you know, the journaling process is one tool or one technique that can help navigate that journey with greater ease and clarity. Do you want to comment on that a little bit before we start wrapping up?

Sylvie: (37:49)
Yeah. Journaling is, um, it's very powerful because when we journal, we see our words when we're just thinking about something. And sometimes when I think about something, I believe it because I've been thinking it for so long and I never really say it out loud or whatever it is. And then so it makes sense in my head. But as soon as I say it out loud or write it down, I'm like, no, I don't believe this sense. If someone was to say this to me, I would tell them. So we, we get to see these thoughts for what they are. And we also get to, the beauty of journaling is that we see our progress. So we write things down and then, uh, we let it go and then we pick up the again and we get to see, Oh, Oh, there's a lot of clarity that happens. So in the end, my book on journaling, I provide a lot of questions, like guiding questions for people to ask themselves. And like you say, they're, they're thought provoking. They're meant to make you think and say like you say, what is it that I want?

Laura: (38:59)
Yeah. And to let go of the baggage and the stuff that you know you just don't need to carry with you anymore. That sometimes is a big weight. We want to feel lightness, we want to feel more joyful, we want to feel well. Well it's not just this, you mentioned it before, just putting on a smile and pretending and wearing a mask that we're happy. It's, it's really a shift in consciousness that has to happen to get to that point. And you know, there's different gateways into shift of consciousness in one way, just talking about it won't do the job, but the deep dives when we go into, you know, yoga allows us to go into a deeply relaxed state where then we can start to do this reprogramming of our whole subconscious mind. And I find that the journaling is a, especially after a meditation or yoga practice where we have access to deeper insights that live within us and we can explore those perhaps deeper questions that we don't take the time to.

Laura: (39:53)
And that's really a freedom provoking. Once we do those, those deep dives, once you've done it, you've done it. And then we see our evolution and our improvement and it's inspiring and we feel lighter. And that's what carries us into our life. So we just begin to be different human beings out there in the world when we do those practices, not because it's an intention to be that way, but through the inaction that it happens. We can wish it, we can read all the great books, but we've got to do the practice. You know, my teacher would say, do your yoga, and you said it's not about doing, but I think what he meant with that is do your yoga. So what you've offered us here in this conversation is that these are all different tools and techniques and rituals that have worked for you.

Laura: (40:36)
And I think just like we've all gone to the store to buy a new pair of jeans. I know for me, I've got a pet try on sometimes eight pair before I find the one pair. So there's different meditation techniques, there's different yoga styles, there's different ways of accessing our subconscious mind, you know, and you've just provided so many different ways. We have to try on a lot of different methods before we find the way that just feels right where it's not a struggle or a strain. It's actually, wow, I look forward to doing this because it just feels good and I know that it's helpful.

Sylvie: (41:08)
But at first it might feel like a struggle because it's going to be opposite depending on multiple starting point is it might feel uncomfortable. Like I just started doing strength training and I can tell you I did not want to do strength training. I, I don't have um, a sedentary lifestyle style. I'm very active, but strength training, no thanks. And so I had tremendous to it. I actually crave it now. My body craves it. It feels so good. And so there is a point when we're doing the work where we don't really want to do the work. We have to break through the create depending on what our starting point is. So that's, that's part of it. But it does require, like we've talked about, those require discipline. It requires a willingness to show up. And even when we're not in the mood, and I'll tell my students, there is no such thing as a bad practice.

Sylvie: (42:06)
Every day you show up to your practice, you're building that habit, you're building that energy. And then that's where the gifts ripple out from is from the showing up of, of, to our practice. It starts little by little, it starts to um, to permeate our, our being and uh, and then we smile more. We, we feel, we feel more grounded with who we are. More stable, more rooted, fame and guilt starts to melt away. Little by little we feel more passionate, more like our inner fires awake. When you say, what do I want? It's we feel more in line with those things where we're moving towards the things that make us feel alive. And when somebody is doing really well, we don't feel jealous or anything because there's this consciousness of they that's their freedom. They found their peace and we don't feel we have to copy them.

Sylvie: (43:06)
We have to do that because we know we have our own piece that is going to manifest in a different way. So it's, it's just a, um, a really harmonious, uh, gradual unfoldment that happens because it's our, it's our true nature. We just go back to, uh, to our true nature. And like I said, I'll say it again in my experience at least. It doesn't mean that we don't feel down someday or that we don't have all that energy or whatever it is. It's the way of change, but the, the bottom of the ocean that's always there and that's, that's the sweet spot.

Laura: (43:47)
Yes. So I guess then if we were to summarize, Sylvia, it's encouraging, um, you know, ourselves and others just to take that first step, especially if it is something that is new or that is unknown. We're often in this contemplation or pre-contemplation phase. I'm thinking about it. I know that I should, that's puts a little bit of pressure, but I guess, um, if I were to ask you what could be the one thing, and I want to leave our listeners with this as well, reflecting through this beautiful conversation that we've just shared here together, let's just choose one thing. What's one thing that I could do differently today that could lead me on a path to developing a better habit to being well or to be happy and to being healthier? Is there a one thing for you, like if you were saying what can that, cause you do a lot of things, you know, in terms of your journaling and your strength training and your yoga and your pranayama. You've embodied this beautiful health.

Sylvie: (44:41)
So did this. I seem like I like I do them, I just live.

Laura: (44:45)
It is your lifestyle now and I totally agree with that because we've gotten to that point because it's been part of our lifestyle for so long. You know, sometimes when people are just getting started. So if we were to put that out there, if you were to say to your class, if you were just beginning or you're beginning again, what could be that one thing that could just set you along the path? What are your final words of wisdom? Of a one thing?

Sylvie: (45:09)
Okay, so I'm going to very hard to give one thing. So I'm going to do is I'm going to give three things for one reason, so I'll explain. So depending on the person's starting point, if you're feeling kind of fragmented and all over the place and you kind of can't sit still and that type of thing and like that's where you're at. Not one thing I'm telling you is Shavasana, five to 10 minutes a day, Shavasana. If you're feeling lethargic and heavy and all that, get some fresh air and if you're feeling like to fire it up, you know, like that type of thing. Gratitude. Yeah. Wow. That's why it's, it always depends on what our starting point is, where we're at and what that one thing will be. But if I'm going to say just one thing, get to know yourself. Get to know yourself, pause, get connected with what your starting point is and set yourself up for success. If you need to ask for help, ask for help, whatever that looks like.

Laura: (46:19)
Beautiful. Wow. I'm gonna stay friend. Thank you so much for sharing all of this wisdom of your lifetime and uh, it's inspiring being in your presence and it gives me always lots of ideas and feeling uplifted to continue walking the path. And maybe you could just conclude by letting people know if they want to know more about where you're teaching your classes or your teacher trainings, how can they get in touch with you? And if you want to just talk a little bit about your services.

Sylvie: (46:50)
Uh, yes. So I offer yoga teacher training. I offer both the 200 hour and the advanced 300 hour at beyond yoga, so it's beyond yoga, and that you would have to live in the, uh, in the area to be able to join us. And then my website is inspired living with and I offer a virtual programs, like I have a very programs that will come up on journaling or meditation or some Asana that people can do from anywhere. And it's done through zoom, like what we're doing right now. And I also offer one on one mentoring for yoga teachers, whether they want to dive into the study of yoga or whether they want some guidance in terms of, I want to put myself out there because I've been doing this for 20 years and this is what I do. I don't have, I've never had like a full time job or anything like that. This is so I really, I've learned so much over the year. Is it an when people say, Oh, you, you can't, it's impossible to have a good life or whatever it is doing self-employed yoga teacher, that's not true. Like it's really possible and you don't have to burn yourself out. So I'll do things like that with some yoga teachers and I also, uh, work privately with students who want to dive into their study and also with yoga therapy. So yeah, in a nutshell.

Laura: (48:15)
Wonderful. Yeah, it's been great having you as a friend, as a coach, as a mentor as well. And I just want to express my gratitude for taking the time today from, you're in sunny Florida, I think right now. And enjoy the rest of your time there. And to our our listeners, thank you so much for tuning in to this conversation of the happiness habits from the heart. And Sylvia is definitely a heart centered person and who has embodied a lot of happiness habits over the year. I hope that you found some inspiration, some teachings, or some nuggets that you'll be able to apply into your life as well. So I'm Laura. We're from the school of happiness, signing off and a Nama stay. Thank you. We'll see you next time. Bye for now.

About the Author

Laura Warf is the founder of the School of Happiness holistic wellness center whose methods are based on tools from ancient teachings to today’s current research to inspire others to take charge of their complete well-being by following her 8 essential elements to health and happiness. She is a healthy living advocate, passionate wellness educator and mind-body specialist offering services in corporate wellness, yoga, meditation, energetic balancing, and fitness conditioning. Laura is also co-founder of the Mend My Back at
For more about Laura visit:

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