Sandy Galiano is an author, speaker and motivator. Her vivacious drive for enriched growth as unique individuals collaborating as one makes Sandy your go-to-girl for getting to know yourself to live a happy and peaceful life. She is furthermore the author of a wonderful weekly column here at DoYouYoga calles All About Happiness. We had a chat about happiness, yoga and meditation with her.
1) The name of your column here on DoYouYoga is "All About Happiness". What does happiness mean to you?
Happiness is taking pleasure in your own life and enjoying every bit of it. I experience it as being in a state of tranquility, unaffected by disturbances. Let me dig deeper because I feel this is important. The unaffected parts are that of love, peace, and of course happiness. These are the core of who we are and we must preserve them, remember them, and use them on a daily basis. Being happy does not mean you will never cry or experience painful moments, rather it means you get through all of life via acceptance. No matter what happens we have a choice in how we respond so it is crucial to choose with love and peace in our hearts so as to take actions that are in alignment with who we are.
2) What role does yoga play in your approach to happiness?
Yoga is a daily practice dear to my heart. Most times I begin calm and ready for a session that will deepen my relaxation and strengthen my muscles. And yet there have been times when I felt my self lost in human emotions unaware of what to do next. I got into an argument and removed myself from the situation because I was not in a loving place to deal with someone who was verbally attacking me. I didn't want to do the same thing. So I shifted my energy to a yoga session where I began with a little extra adrenalin. I used the in and out slow breathing to calm me down while the movements used up that extra energy I had built. Yoga has become a tool for getting reconnected with my true self.
3) How do you think does yoga increases happiness?
As I just mentioned, yoga incorporates the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of who we are. It is a practice that unifies these 3 parts reminding us of our true essence. When we recognize ourselves as loving, peaceful beings then we automatically become happy. When we allow our bodies to physically move to strengthen and stretch then our bodies too release chemicals that make us happy. It's quite simple.
The beauty of yoga is any person can do it. It is a great way to remain active and keep our bodies young. Look at it like this, yoga is a free way to slow down aging. Everyone is looking for ways to look and feel young, so here it is: YOGA.
4) You're writing a monthly meditation blog on your personal website SandyGaliano.com. Tell us how and why you use meditation.
I use meditation in my blog because it is a reminder to remain true to who I am. Too often we can get caught up in "to do" tasks becoming "too busy" to do the things we enjoy doing. Meditation is another daily practice that I couldn't do without. I have come to really understand the importance of meditation and what happens if I do not make the time. Its as if I was too busy to eat or drink in a day...my body will begin to breakdown and my mind will be blurred. There are certain things I do every day and meditation is one of them. In my blog and vlog I reflect back on the month that has gone by and let a message come up for me to share with my subscribers. I never know what I'm going to share until the last day of the month has gone by and I think back. It is a beautiful part of me I get to share to those who are in search of someone to relate to.
5) How often do you meditate, how do you do it and where do you do it?
I choose to meditate on a daily basis. That's about it as far as routine. In my eyes every day is a new and different day so how and where I meditate doesn't always look the same way. Sometimes I wake up and lay in bed with my eyes closed while I think about who I am and what I do. Other times I meditate while I pray. Most often I meditate during my 1hr commute by staying focused on my thoughts and allowing them to be calm and purposeful. I have to admit it took me a very long time to be able to do this. At first, after a minute I found my thoughts controlled me because I was in a daze while I thought of the same problems over and over again. The more I practiced the better I got at controlling what I thought and how long I could stay focused. I am also fond of visiting meditation temples who welcome anyone. Particularly, I enjoyed and attended meditation classes at Brahma Kumaris. Here is where I learned how to meditate and how to think :)
6) What three pieces of advice would you give somebody (without knowing the person) to help them become more satisfied, content and happy in their life?
Use the past as a tool to move you forward. Look to it for life lessons you may not have seen before. If you complain about the past and treat it as ways to make up excuses for your poor behavior then it will slow you down more than you could imagine. It doesn't matter what has happened because you can always tweak a thing or two before continuing forward. If you don't believe me, try it. Or do what I did. Imagine yourself at age 80 and complaining about the same thing that happened when you were a teenager. Its silly isn't it?! To think you spent all that time complaining when you could have moved past it and lived a happy life.
In my meditation classes I learned a great lesson about how to begin meditation. Tell yourself "I am love. I am peace. I am a spiritual being. I am love. I am peace..." It is a great way to control your thoughts even if you are on a train full of loud people. (Trust me, I did it.)
Always seek and follow your pleasures. That means doing the things that you like to do bringing joy to you. It isn't anything that causes harm to yourself or others. It means take care of your basic needs and enjoying playing the game of life. The game doesn't last forever, so might as well make the most of it while you can!
7) We heard that you are working on a new book. Want to tell us some more about it?
I am working on what I believe to be a masterpiece that is going to revolutionize literature. It is heavily research based and will depict life lessons through what I have observed and lived through myself. The idea for this book came about when I applied for a research scholarship in Germany and spent countless hours putting together a project plan, finding a host University, and extending the research to the Budwig Cancer Center in Malaga, Spain. It wasn't until I was in the breath taking country of Ecuador that I was inspired to begin writing story lines that made me cry as I quickly tried to put it all down on paper (yes, I write with a pen and paper). It is in pure Sandy style: authentic, thought provoking, and relatable.
8) How can people seek your guidance from you?
I encourage people to first check out my website www.SandyGaliano.com and read through my blogs as well as watch a few videos to get a sense of who I am. I enjoy keeping communication open with subscribers to my Monthly Meditation where they can leave comments on my blog. I am currently developing an interactive program where I offer the very best of what I have to those who want more. Expect this up on my website January 2013. In the meantime, subscribers are always welcome to email me directly at [email protected]. I'm always willing to share the love.
9) What do you think the world needs today?
The world needs to remember. As one, we have forgotten who we are by continuing to allow harming innocent people, animals, and the beautiful nature that surrounds us. As individuals, there has been tremendous progress in self awareness and realization. I once felt alone in my thinking the world needed to be a better place, and perhaps the internet has aided in bringing people together that I now know of with the same thoughts and ideas.
And yet there are still those who claim to empower children, women, etc but instead turn their backs on the people closest to them. This is why I am conscious about every single one of my choices even if I think it doesn't matter. It does matter. If I don't respect my mother then how can I teach about love. If I don't say thank you to the janitor at the kids school then how can I speak of gratitude. If I can not find peace with my business partner then how can I look my kids in the eyes and teach them about love. We must remember our own love and peace within before sharing and teaching it to others. We can not teach if we do not practice it ourselves.
"The pursuit of happiness is the source of all unhappiness." Manifesto of athletics brand Lululemon
My passion and purpose is to be a mirror for others to see themselves for who they really are, that of love, peace, and harmony. Those who are like how I used to be will look outside themselves to find happiness, so I hope they see me because I will reflect back what they have. I will teach them what they have forgotten, everything they are looking for and everything they have ever wanted is already within each one of them. And if I am lucky the happiness will continue to spread throughout this beautiful world, our big beautiful Earth.