New Definitions for Prosperity

El Salvador Thriving: Peace, Prosperity, Sustainability from BigROBOTmedia on Vimeo.

Exploring new definitions for prosperity, abundance and happiness in a community reinventing itself decades after civil war.

 

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Abundance

At one time or another, we all experience feelings of lack in our daily lives, a deep sense of need, a desire to have MORE. More money, more success, more energy, a better home, better transportation, a better love life…

The problem is that we often confuse what we want with what we really need.

Ten years ago, I visited my friend Julia in El Salvador during her 2-year service as a US Peace Corps volunteer in the rural community of El Rodeo. I was deeply inspired by the stories of the Salvadorans who had worked hard to rebuild their homes, their community, and their school ever since the devastation of the civil war in the 1980s.

Six months later, Julia and I implemented a service project where we collected money and books from friends and family in the US in order to create a new children’s library, provide a weekly milk supplement in the school lunches and help with structural repairs to the building. 

My experiences in El Salvador completely shifted my mindset and put me in touch with profound gratitude for everything I have in my life. I learned to see abundance in new ways and the seeds were planted for an expanded world view and a desire to find ways to be of service in my global community.

The Film

Now, Julia and I are planning our 10-year reunion with the families of El Rodeo. We’ve teamed up with Edwin R. Ruiz of Chicago-based BigROBOTmedia, to film a documentary that will give community members a platform for sharing their stories. 

We will explore the principle of universal abundance and how it relates to more humane, sustainable, community-based prosperity. We’ll ask the questions:

  • How can we engage in redefining abundance across diverse cultures?
  • Where is the intersection between our personal growth and the Salvadorans’ way of life that facilitates mutual transformation?
  • How can we best access and engage the resources available for more sustainable living?
  • What are the key choices and actions that we can take that result in abundance at home and abroad?
  • What are the universal ingredients for human happiness regardless of income, education, ethnicity and nationality?
Exploring agriculture with Chayo
Exploring agriculture with Chayo

 

Engaging in Service

We will make a positive impact on the community by offering:

  • compassion and mindful leadership
  • health and wellness resources via yoga, meditation and nutrition supplements for school lunches
  • cultural exchange, learning what is important and inspiring in the lives of Salvadorans, and providing a platform for sharing their personal stories
  • gratitude and personal empowerment via school projects to engage the children’s creativity and critical thinking skills
  • friendship and lasting memories
Shucking corn with Felipa
Shucking corn with Felipa
Teacher Amparo reading to the kids
Teacher Amparo reading to the kids

Get Involved

Whether you’re an international adventurer, an armchair traveler, a mindful philanthropist or all of the above, there are THREE ways to join the community:

  1. Travel with us
  2. Contribute to our Kickstarter
  3. Share with your community

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Gratitude

It is our wish that you will join us in being inspired by the tenacity, humility, and will of the people of El Rodeo. We hope you will recognize the abundance in YOUR life, discover new ways to cultivate even more, and share it in your home, your community and your world.

 

Thank you!
Andrea Klunder, Julia Capizzi & Edwin R. Ruiz

 

Please support El Salvador Thriving on Kickstarter before October 11, 2014!

 

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Kickstarter Live! Please support El Salvador Thriving

El Salvador Thriving: Peace, Prosperity, Sustainabilitysalvador07 1

Exploring new definitions for prosperity, abundance and happiness in a community reinventing itself decades after civil war.

I am SO PROUD to officially launch this documentary film, travel, and service project and invite YOU to become a part of it.

I am also nervous, excited, and slightly nauseous at the prospect of raising $7500 in just 30 days.

Our team (Julia, Edwin and I) has put in a lot of creative brainpower, sweat equity and hours of dedication to define, refine, and give birth to this campaign. We believe it has the real potential to inspire conscious action, change lives, and start a ripple effect of happiness and abundance throughout the communities of everyone we connect.

Universe, this is my declaration to you that we are ready for this challenge and ready to receive abundance, support and a resounding YES as we move forward!

The Community of El Rodeo

Ten years ago, I visited my friend Julia in El Salvador during her 2-year service as a US Peace Corps volunteer in the rural community of El Rodeo. I was deeply inspired by the stories of the Salvadorans who had worked hard to rebuild their homes, their community, and their school ever since the devastation of the civil war in the 1980s.

Abundance

The truth is, at one time or another, we all experience feelings of lack in our daily lives, a deep sense of need, a desire to have MORE. More money, more success, more energy, a better home, better transportation, a better love life…

The problem is that we often confuse what we want with what we really need.

The Film

Now, Julia and I are planning our 10-year reunion with the families of El Rodeo. We’ve teamed up with Edwin R. Ruiz of Chicago-based BigROBOTmedia, to film a documentary that will give community members a platform for sharing their stories. 

We will explore the principle of universal abundance and how it relates to more humane, sustainable, community-based prosperity. We’ll ask the questions:

  • How can we engage in redefining abundance across diverse cultures?
  • Where is the intersection between our personal growth and the Salvadorans’ way of life that facilitates mutual transformation?
  • How can we best access and engage the resources available for more sustainable living?
  • What are the key choices and actions that we can take that result in abundance at home and abroad?
  • What are the universal ingredients for human happiness regardless of income, education, ethnicity and nationality?

Engaging in Service

We will make a positive impact on the community by offering:

  • compassion and mindful leadership
  • health and wellness resources via yoga, meditation and nutrition supplements for school lunches
  • cultural exchange, learning what is important and inspiring in the lives of Salvadorans, and providing a platform for sharing their personal stories
  • gratitude and personal empowerment via school projects to engage the children’s creativity and critical thinking skills
  • friendship and lasting memories

Get Involved

Whether you’re an international adventurer, an armchair traveler, a mindful philanthropist or all of the above, there are THREE ways to join the community.

Learn more and support our campaign!

kickstarter-logo-light

 

Have an adventure! I dare you to meditate with me…

So often we think of meditation as sitting still (and somewhat uncomfortably) with our legs crossed, our eyes closed and our hands in some kind of “mudra,” wondering if the brain will ever be quiet. Quiet the mind, still the thoughts, STOP THINKING!

This is NOT what I mean when I say “meditation.”

Andrea meditating costa rica beach

I used to say I had no time for sleep because I was too busy thinking. So many things to learn, figure out, solve, create, and do!

This is NOT what it means to be “productive.”

Mindfulness is a hot trend (just ask the editors at TIME Magazine). Contemporary marketing images invoke feelings of spiritual or emotional elitism, and idyllic model to achieve where we float mindfully through life with grace, compassion, and ease.

This is NOT the way I experience “mindfulness.”

Mindfulness means being awake. Being aware of what is happening inside you, around you, and in all the places you can’t see yet. It means being present with “now” whether that’s a blissful now or a down and dirty ugly now.

Mindfulness is the space of time, the split instant between the thing that occurs and your habitual reaction to it. It’s the opportunity to make an informed choice. It is using your mind to the fullest capacity. And it takes training. (Umm… who forgot to give us the manual that comes with this thing?)

Meditation IS the training. It’s the practice for cultivating that little space of time for choice, the opportunity to slow the fluctuations of the mind so that you can see them, observe them in their natural habitat, make friends with them and then develop a better working relationship with them.

With this skill, we can become more productive, more energized, more efficient, happier, lighter, more effective beings.

It’s not easy. Meditation is truly an adventure for the most courageous among us. And the reward is immense…

We get to become who we were always meant to be.

***

Want to practice with me?Andrea Grafitti Buddha Meditate

Visit the follow links to learn more.

 

 

You’re Invited! Travel, Sound Healing, Yoga

I couldn’t more delighted to share these passion projects with you! ~Andrea

InfuseLife El Salvador Poster 2014

 

Sound Healing: Voice & Mantra
Dabble Class in Chicago

Your voice is a powerful tool for cultivating radiant health, abundant power, and focused energy.

The fabric of the world itself is comprised of sonic vibration – from nature to the cells in your body to the words you say to the thoughts in your mind. Creating specific intentional sound, can help you uncover your authentic voice and connect with your ability to create, change and direct the flow of your own life.

In this class, we will explore the therapeutic benefits of vocal techniques from classical Indian music, Sanskrit mantra (repeated words or phrases with specific vibrational properties), chakra energy, yogic pranayama (breathing exercises) and guided meditation.

Practical applications for the techniques in this class include:

  • Improved singing, speaking, and listening skills
  • Relief from physical, mental and emotional stress
  • Confidence in public speaking & presenting
  • Awareness of your energy levels
  • Mental focus
  • Self-esteem & personal power
  • Release of creative blocks
  • Healthy breathing habits
  • Vibrational healing
  • Fun, play, creative expression!

No previous music, singing, or meditation experience needed – just an open mind and willingness to explore the potential of your own voice. We will sing as a group, which adds the benefits of community, connection, and support to the experience.

CLASS DETAILS

Sunday, May 25 2014
11:00:00 AM

OR

Sunday, June 8 2014
10:30:00 AM
Price: $25.00

Click here to RSVP! 

 

Yoga Beyond the Mat: Karma, Bhakti, Jnana
Dabble Class in Chicago

There’s more to yoga than just the physical postures, exercise and breathing techniques!

This class is for yogis, meditators, mindfulness advocates and anyone curious to learn how to make a difference in your own life, community and the world around you through your thoughts, words, and actions.

Together we’ll explore the paths of karma (service & action), bhakti (devotion & compassion) and jnana (wisdom & self-study) for a truly integrated approach to what it means to be a leader in body, heart and mind.

We will engage in discussion, meditation practice, and a creative mind mapping exercise to get the wheels turning and the energy flowing to find real life applications for these historical traditions, philosophies and practices. This can mean anything from shifting your perspective in your daily life to engaging in a service project to starting a socially conscious business venture!

You will walk away with new insights, options for self-practice at home, and resources for further exploration.

If the weather is nice, we may have class out on the patio.

CLASS DETAILS

Tuesday, Jun 10 2014
06:30:00 PM
Price: $25.00

Click here to RSVP!

 

Bhakti = Participation

imageSpending my last day in New Orleans, having just emerged from the 2014 BHAKTImmersion with Sean Johnson & the Wild Lotus Band.

In the past week, we sang, danced, played, learned, colored, told stories, wrote poetry, partied, connected with each other, and shared from depths of our hearts. Essentially, we’ve been polishing the mirrors of our souls.

As with any intense experience or retreat, the inquiry always bubbles up: What happens when I go home?

I want to bottle this inspiration up and bring it home to Chicago with me! Or stay in New Orleans forever and steep in this joy! Or just laugh and laugh and laugh until I cry!

But this is just the beginning, the catalyst for beautiful new things to emerge.

I came here to practice bhakti yoga, play music, sing my heart out, learn rhythm. Here’s what I found…

“Bhakti is devotion. Devotion is participation.” ~Sean Johnson

“Rhythm is just showing up.”  ~Gwendolyn Colman

Here are some opportunities emerging that will allow us to participate and find our rhythm TOGETHER!

Service + Yoga: El Salvador Project
December 2014
Karma Yoga – selfless service project in the community of El Rodeo, a special place I visited 10 years ago, followed by yoga, meditation & chanting retreat on the ocean. Details coming soon…

Music, Meditation, Chakra Experiment
April/May 2014
Get into the laboratory with me as we play with singing and making sound to clear & strengthen the energy of our chakras, expand our vocal range, tune our listening, build confidence and find deep resonance. This will be offered on a donation basis in small groups or individually. Please email me if you’re interested in learning more: andrea@infuselife.net.

photo-33Bhakti Brunch
April/May 2014
Devotion takes many forms: music, poetry, rhythm, dance, prayer, meditation, readings, art, service, FOOD!… Let’s join together over a delicious vegetarian/vegan friendly meal and share the many expressions of our devotion together. Dates & details coming soon…

Mindfulness Everywhere!
Friday 3/28 & beyond
Opportunities to join together in a mindful community to inspire, strengthen and guide our practice both online and in person. Learn more here! 

KIRTAN! Devotional Chanting Get details for all kirtan events here!

Shiva Shakti Kirtan Sangha
Thursday 3/27 and beyond
An intimate gathering at my home… learn to chant, play, and become part of the band!

The Bhakti Caravan
4/4 @ Be Optimal, Glenview & 4/12 @ Infinity Foundation, Highland Park
A joyful celebration of musical devotion.

How will you show up in this life?

xoxo
Andrea
P.S. See more pics & videos of my NOLA travel experience at http://andreaklunder.tumblr.com

In the Laboratory: What to expect from a session with me

Body work to open the upper back & chest

Body work to open the upper back & chest

I don’t want to give you a nice little massage.
I don’t want to teach a lovely yoga session.
I don’t want to guide you through a standard meditation.

Though I CAN do those things.
I would rather inspire and empower you.

People often ask me, “What kind of bodywork do you do? What kind of yoga do you teach? What style of meditation do you practice?” The true answer is “whatever works best.”

In session with one of my teachers, the amazing Louise Cloutier, she asked me “What type of healer are you?” I’ve been pondering this for months, recognizing that being able to answer this question is a key for unlocking my strengths and being able to connect with the RIGHT clients in my business.

This week, I worked with two new clients: one with progressive MS, wheelchair bound and limited in movement but without pain; and one with acute lower back pain that was interrupting her work and daily life who had already seen several other therapists with only temporary relief. In both cases, I wasn’t sure exactly what would happen in the session, what I would do, or whether I could be of ANY help. I simply repeated the following mantra in my head on the way to both appointments, “Let me be of service.” Then I put all other thoughts out of my mind.

In the case of the client with MS, I worked with his wife and him to find stretches and bodywork techniques that she could do to help him increase flexibility and range of motion in his joints. I demonstrated, she practiced, I helped her with body mechanics so it wouldn’t be a strain for her. He provided feedback. We experimented. Some ideas were a hit, some not so much. But in the end, they enjoyed their session and came out with some useful tools, relief, and new ideas. I came out with a whole lot of gratitude for the health of my body and the training I’ve received to be able to be helpful to such courageous people.

In the case of the client with back pain, I made a list of possible muscles that could be causing the symptoms she described and followed my gut to check for taut muscle fibers and pain referral in specific ones. We spent over an hour treating only THREE specific muscles, coaxing them open gently with a variety of tools and techniques, retraining the fibers to contract and then relax when no longer needed to engage. Then we discussed what could be causing those muscles distress in terms of posture, daily activities, weakness in other muscles, body mechanics, etc. We came up with a plausible theory of what is causing the pain and some experiments for her to try at home. She walked away with a good deal of relief from the immediate pain, improved mobility, and most importantly gratitude for a reasonable explanation of what was happening in her body. I walked away with new understanding about those particular muscles and ways to help clients with back pain. AND I am curious to see the results at our session next week.

In my meditation practice, I am often reminded of two favorite phrases from my teacher, Elesa Commerse: “We are in the laboratory with the mind” and “Only know that I don’t know.”

What it means is this:

When you book a session with me, regardless of whether it’s yoga, meditation or body & energy work, we are stepping into the laboratory together to get to the root of the problem, find new ideas, and uncover tools YOU can use to make your life easier, better, more effective, more enjoyable, more inspired, more empowered.

healing circle postReady to experiment?

Join me at Sat Nam’s Yoga Chicago’s Community Healing Circle on the first Friday of the month for a mini-session.

Visit me in the Healing Sanctuary at Club Divine Chicago in April.

Book a complimentary consultation or full session with me now!

Business, Healing & Art

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Those of you who know me well, know I work really hard. In fact, I work so hard that it actually drives me crazy when people say “You’re such a hard worker!” Ha!

And you also know that I LOVE my business! I love being an entrepreneur. I love the challenge of waking up every morning wondering how I can grow, how I can be of service in the world, how I can connect more, and how I can inspire others to do what they LOVE.

My business (now businesses) have been through a lot of downs and ups. There have been times when I could not pay the rent (let alone the heat bill!) and there have been times of abundance that amazed me. There have been periods of doubt and moments of flow. I’ve experienced extreme isolation and extreme collaboration.

This is what I call “real life business school.” And I have learned a LOT.

The main thing I have learned is how to connect with your inner (and outer) resources, find your authentic voice and stay on the path with confidence, clarity and joy! Because if what you’re doing isn’t bringing you joy, you should be doing something else.

If you haven’t read The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin, DO! Seth says…

Art is the unique work of a human being, work that touches another… Seizing new ground, making connections between people or ideas, working without a map — these are works of art, and if you do them, you are an artist, regardless of whether you wear a smock, use a computer, or work with others all day long.

Speaking up when there’s no obvious right answer, making yourself vulnerable when it’s possible to put up shields, and caring about both the process and the outcome — these are works of art that our society embraces and the economy demands.

Art is frightening.
Art isn’t pretty.
Art isn’t painting.
Art isn’t something you hang on a wall.
Art is what we do when we’re truly alive.
If you’ve already decided that you’re not an artist, it’s worth considering why you made that decision and what it might take to unmake it.
If you’ve announced that you have no taken (in anything!), then you’re hiding.
Art might scare you.
Art might bust you.
But art is who we are and what we do and what we need.
An artist is someone who uses bravery, insight, creativity, and boldness to challenge the status quo. And an artist takes it (all of it, the work, the process, the feedback from those we seek to connect with) personally.

Art isn’t a result; it’s a journey. The challenge of our time is to find a journey worthy of your heart and your soul.

This is what gets me out of bed every day. It’s why I do what I do. It’s what I want to help YOU to do.

Healing happens when you connect with your art. Want to make a connection? Here’s how…

Online booking for private sessions now available.
Use the Book Now! tab on the right of the screen.

Friday 2/21 from 12:30-1:00pm CST – Mindfulness Everywhere! Online Meditation Free!

Tuesday 2/25 – Dabble in Teaching Meditation @ the Harmonious Loft

Thursday 2/27 – Shiva Shakti Kirtan Sangha – chanting mantras & playing music @ the Harmonious Loft

Friday 2/28 – Yoga, Reiki, Coaching & Meditation for Hibernation – Mindful-U workshop with Katy Flatau at Yoga Now

Saturday 3/1 – Dabble in Teaching Yoga @ the Harmonious Loft

Saturday 3/1 – Chicago Women’s Creativity Salon @ the Harmonious Loft

Tuesday 3/4 – Business Basics for Mindful Entrepreneurs @ the Harmonious Loft

Friday 3/7 – Bhakti Body Bliss – healing sessions by donation @ Sat Nam Yoga’s Community Healing Circle

Saturday 3/8 – Chakra Shift: Good Career Karma – Mindful-U workshop co-facilitated with Katy Flatau @ Yoga Now

Tuesday 3/11 – Urban Adventures in Meditation: Art & Contemplation @ the Museum of Contemporary Art

February: Love, Self-Esteem and Snow

Ready for date night. 3 degrees. Feels like -20.

Ready for date night. 3 degrees. Feels like -20.

Do you live in Chicago? Anywhere in the Midwest? NE Coast? Then you know this winter has been killer. Even Florida has had some record breaking low temperatures (in the 40s/50s…) And so I have been hibernating, which has been totally fine.

But at a certain point, hibernation begins to feel like hermits-ville. That plus a lack of Vitamin D leads to annoying little voices in my head saying things like “But you’re still not dating anyone” and “When was the last time you connected with so-and-so? Is she even still your friend?”

So to cure her cabin fever, this bear is venturing out of her cave. I’m making plans, getting creative with my winter wardrobe and spending a half hour donning multiple layers to stay warm while somehow managing to look cute enough for a first date.

It’s a lot to handle.

In those moments when I’m standing on the corner, waiting for a bus, with tears freezing in the corners of my eyes from the icy -20 wind whipping across my already dry skin, and my fingers struggling to find sensation in my mittens, and wondering if the man I’m on my way to meet will both inspire me AND want to go out with me again, I have to reach way down deep into my storehouse of self-love to remember that no matter what happens (and how many fingers I lose to frostbite), I am awesome. My life is beautiful. I give and receive so much love in the words I choose to speak and hear; the moments I spend in meditation, community, and service; and the gifts I share with the world and myself.

This month, one of the forms my gifts take is in workshops, classes, and online meditations that help you navigate Love, Self-Esteem and… Snow. Won’t you join me?

Friday 2/7 – Bhakti Body Bliss – healing sessions by donation @ Sat Nam Yoga’s Community Healing Circle

Saturday 2/14 – Chakra Shift: Love, Love, Love – Mindful-U workshop co-facilitated with Katy Flatau @ Yoga Now

Tuesday 2/11 – Urban Adventures in Meditation: Sound & Mantra @ the Harmonious Loft

Thursday & Saturday 2/13 & 15 – Partner Yoga & Bodywork @ the Harmonious Loft

Saturday 2/15 – Women’s Creativity Comfort Zone: Rule Your World with Katy Flatau at the Harmonious Loft

Tuesday 2/18 – Dabble in Teaching Yoga @ the Harmonious Loft

Friday 2/21 – Bhakti Body Bliss – Healing sessions for $1/minute @ Club Divine, Bodhi Center

Tuesday 2/25 – Dabble in Teaching Meditation @ the Harmonious Loft

Thursday 2/27 – Shiva Shakti Kirtan Sangha – chanting mantras & playing music @ the Harmonious Loft

Friday 2/28 – Yoga, Reiki, Coaching & Meditation for Hibernation – Mindful-U workshop with Katy Flatau at Yoga Now

Every Friday from 12:30-1:00pm CST – Mindfulness Everywhere! Online coaching & meditation with Katy Flatau & me!

Yoga Teacher Training!

Yoga changed my life.Andrea Childs pose assist

It sounds like a cliche, but it is the truth.

Some of the most important things, activities, people and passions in my life came to me on the path. And no, not everything I do is about yoga anymore. But it was the catalyst for launching my first business, Infuse Yoga Spa, and my current business, Mindful-U; the introduction to my meditation teacher, who has been a magnificant source of wisdom and support; the magnet for dynamic healing collaborators; the inspiration to study body and energy work; and the gateway to my place in the kirtan and conscious community of Chicago.

Throughout this exploration of the nooks and crannies of what yoga has to offer me, I have done some DEEP personal development over the last decade. More importantly, I have been able to help and inspire a LOT of people!

Yoga is a gift.

Or as I like to call it, a gateway drug to a totally conscious, blissed-out, life of possibility and grace.

And I am so blessed to be able to share this gift (or be your dealer.)

This teacher training is my humblest offering to the universe in gratitude for providing this deep current of healing, insight, and passion in my life.

Nuts & Bolts:

2014 Dates TBD
Yoga Alliance approved
200-hour certification

Class limited to 6 yogis to guarantee personal mentoring!

Location: Private loft in Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago (near Webster & Damen)

Emphasis: yoga as a healing art, teaching as a spiritual practice. Therapeutic hatha yoga, working privately with clients, bhakti yoga (devotion & mantra), and conscious entrepreneurship.

Currently our schedule is Thursdays 10-6 & Sundays 5-9, but this isn’t set in stone. This training is about empowering YOU, so if you feel called to this opportunity, contact me anyway!

But don’t wait! Reach out to me with questions, read more about the program here, or schedule a private session with me to sample my teaching style.

Namaste (deep bow),
Andrea Klunder
andrea@infuselife.net

Infuse Yoga Spa is now InfuseLife!

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Good-bye Infuse Yoga Spa in Lincoln Park… 

BIG CHANGES! The Lincoln Park studio on Wrightwood officially closed at the end of September 2013. I am now offering yoga, meditation, bodywork, and chanting at my new yoga loft in Bucktown! 

Infuse Yoga Spa has been both blessing and challenge in ways I cannot even begin to describe and I am deeply grateful for all of it. While I am sad to let go of such a beautiful space, I am excited by the transition that my business and life are making and look forward to connecting with you in the newest incarnation of Infuse, including…

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this journey over the past 5 years!

Deep bow,
Andrea