The story of Goddess Lakshmi

Lakshmi was born from the stirring of the primordial milky ocean by the gods and demons.

The name Lakshmi is derived from the Sanskrit word Laksya, which means aim or destination.

Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth and prosperity of all forms, material and spiritual.

Who is Goddess Lakshmi?

Do you know the origin story of Goddess Lakshmi? 

Lakshmi was born from the stirring of the primordial milky ocean by the gods and demons.

The name Lakshmi is derived from the Sanskrit word Laksya, which means aim or destination.

Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth and prosperity of all forms, material and spiritual.

Like most Hindu mythology, Lakshmi’s origin story has many different versions and is always embellished with many surreal, magical or even unbelievable elements. Lakshmi’s story begins with a meeting between Sage Durvasa and Lord Indra. 

Sage Durvasa, with a lot of respect, offers Indra a garland of flowers. Lord Indra takes the flowers and rather than humbly placing them around his own neck, he puts the garland on the forehead of his elephant Airvata. The elephant takes the garland and throws it down on the earth- after all, he is an elephant. He didn’t know better! 

Durvasa gets angry at this disrespectful treatment of his gift and he says to Indra, “you have an inflated ego and in your arrogance, you have disrespected me!” Durvasa curses Lord Indra, stating that his kingdom will be ruined just as he ruined the garland by throwing it onto the ground in his excessive pride.

Durvasa walks away and Indra returns to his home. The changes in Indra’s city start to take place following Durvasa’s curse. The gods & people lose their vigour and energy, all the vegetable products and plants start dying, men stop doing charity, minds become corrupted, and everyone’s desires become uncontrollable.

With the Gods getting weak in Indra’s home town, the demons invade the realm of the Gods and defeat them. Everything became chaotic.

This is the reason that both Gods (light) and Demons (darkness) reside in us and are representative of the good and evil within us.

After being defeated, the Gods went to Lord Vishnu (the preserver of the universe) who suggested they churn the ocean to restore the power back to the Gods. The work of churning this primordial ocean will bring back the elixir of immortal life to the gods.

The churning is symbolized by a literal tug of war between the Gods and Demons in the story.  Being a vast body, it would take all of the gods and all of the demons to churn the ocean. So the gods took a snake and wrapped it around Mount Madura. They then sunk the whole mountain into the milky sea. With the gods at the tail end and the demons at head, they both pulled, uncoiling the snake, causing the mountain to spin and the primeval sea to swirl. 

From this churning many things rise up out of the ocean, including Lakshmi AND the elixir of immortal life.  Goddess Lakshmi rises out of the waves, fully grown, gorgeous and on a lotus flower. Eventually through some tricky slight-of-hand the elixir of immortal life also is returned to the gods and order in the universe is restored. 

One of the lessons in this story is that when we get arrogant or angry, it leads to an inability to perform good work. We will lack mental peace, willpower and have a meaningless life. It also shows us that we sometimes have to work with our adversaries, finding compromise and collaboration in order to restore order for a greater good.

Recently, we had a fun pool party where our yogis channeled their inner lakshmi and celebrated feelings of abundance and prosperity in the midst of yoga teacher training. 

Mantras for properity

Using mantra

You can use Lakshmi mantras or even English affirmations to help cultivate abundance and prosperity in your life. Reminding yourself that the universe has everything you need to succeed and thrive helps cultivate feelings of abundance. Chanting to Lakshmi, saying her name in song and even using English affirmation can help you be affirmed that you deserve wealth and prosperity in all forms. 

In our lives we deserve to feel wealthy with friends, love, prosperous in our professional and personal lives and that there is financial abundance available to us at al times.

Below are some of our favourite mantras to help you cultivate abundance and prosperity, drawing on the image of Lakshmi and the lessons of her story. 






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The Escape

That place where you feel your shoulders release from your ears and your soul smile. Some people find their escape on a 5 mile run or perhaps a 500 page book, but my escape is a journey. It’s my journey through my practice of yoga – the easy and the challenging.

Many people are afraid to be judged when it comes to yoga, so they choose to not practice. They are nervous that they won’t do something right. Well, let me tell you something, I’ve been there before and its about time you get over yourself and let down your walls. That may seem harsh, yes, but at the end of the day the only one you are afraid of is yourself. As soon as you let those walls down and stop caring what other people think, you will find this feeling of peace. It’s up to you to simply show up; on your mat, a friends mat, a studios mat, any mat. Be present and you will escape into your journey.

I must say I am not one of those people who can just stop thinking about the million of things they have on their plate, but yoga has truly helped me with this. I’m not perfect and still catch my mind wandering in Savasana (the time where you are supposed to be most relaxed) from time to time, but practicing yoga has formed a journey in my life. My alignment is far from perfect and I can’t do all the crazy poses that you see on Instagram, but I can do one thing that I find the most important. I can flow. Whether that is to my breath, the music I feel vibrating my soul, or my neighbors flow, I have found the beauty in letting go, being present for myself.

You will not only grow significant mental strength, but you will gain incredible physical strength. The fitness aspect of yoga is underestimated, and it will not be easy your first time on the mat, but you can definitely do it. Just like we learn to walk when we are born, us yogi’s like to learn how to find the balance and strength to stand on our hands. We LOVE to go upside down – 1 second or 1 minute – gotta do it. Us yogi’s seem to live for the unordinary.

So, I invite you to stop worrying about doing something wrong and just let go. Allow your body and soul to flow as one. As cliche as it sounds, when you experience the moment, you’ll know it. STOP being afraid of going to a studio for the first time, or even a new studio, because at the end of the day you are only fearing yourself. I’ve been right where you are, I recently went to a new studio here in Nashville, and I must admit that I had the jitters before I walked in (you can read about my experience here). Then, as soon as I walked in…yes, to a room full of strangers, my jitters disappeared into the positive vibes and warm welcome. No matter how many years you have been practicing yoga, if you simply show up, you will be amazed by what your journey can become.

I hope you are inspired to try out the practice of yoga, here are some words of wisdom for the next (or first) time you get on your mat as a wildflower:

Listen to your body & give it what it’s asking. Speak kindly to yourself, and you will be amazed of how much strength you already have. Be playful in your practice & allow your body to thank YOU for showing up – plus this is the time you realize you have the strength to a hold a pose you gave up on 3 months ago.


Kazmira Eldaly has called Nashville her home since January 2015.  Currently she is living in the city working in a hi-rise downtown and sharing her life experiences on her blog, The Wildflower Words  She began her yoga practice in her hometown, Detroit, MI. Shortly after her first yoga class, at the age of 17 she began the search to find her yoga home. It wasn’t too long after she found her passion for yoga that she found her home at Citizen Yoga Royal Oak. The rest is history. Now at the age of 21 she still practices yoga daily in Nashville, Tennessee and continues to be challenged and blown away by the stillness and beauty of the practice. She aspires to teach across the globe one day and share the moment of getting on her mat, alone or with friends, escaping reality to fill herself with love and positive energy. One thing she feeds off most is human connection, and she loves to hear every single persons story, and answer any and every question she can. She definitely strives to make people happy by recognizing the best version of themselves, so never doubt reaching out to Kazmira. 

Lost in Translation: Teaching Yoga in Another Language

C’est quoi “yoga” en français?

Each time you step into a new studio or room, roll out your mat and place your props at the front as an guide for students to take and use during class, there’s this little feeling, this unspoken energy that you’re not quite sure what to make of just yet. The practice of yoga, as we’ve come to know it in its modern form, is full of nuances and subtleties based on a plethora of factors; teachers, locations, clientele demographics, space, so on and so forth. And many of us as teachers are more than used to hopping between teaching spaces, working to continuously adapt our methods to the individuals in the room in each new location.

The stories I’ve heard from teachers who’ve come and gone from different studios, gyms, and private spaces, range from hilarious to horrendous. Each time that we as teachers step into our role in an unfamiliar space, we are faced with new challenges that spin their way into opportunities, enabling us to grow our own practice as both teachers, and students. New obstacles force us to redefine our “standard” method, and get creative in how we reach out and communicate with those in the room.

yoga class, yoga teaching, yoga teacher, studio

The Space

This past month I was fortunate enough to teach with Arles Yoga, as a part of their “Professeurs en Residence” (PiR) program; a unique approach to running a studio that counters the current trend we see in major North American “yoga hubs,” where studios tend to selectively hire teachers churned out by their own teacher training courses. Each month, a new prof de yoga comes into Arles Yoga’s space, and teaches 10-12 classes per week, in a variety of styles ranging from a Slow Flow, to a vigorous Yoga Dynamique, and accompanied by Pilates or other speciality classes. Oh yeah, and for those of you unfamiliar with the geography of France, Arles is situated in Provence – translating to blue skies for 30 straight days, temperatures that enable you to never wear more than a light tank and shorts, and scenic views of the Rhones and Roman architecture. Rough life, I know. However, if you haven’t already deduced, there is one key factor I’ve omitted – classes were taught in French.

The Obstacles

When I committed to taking the PiR post for the month of July, I was well aware of the fact that the months leading up to my arrival in Arles would be filled with numerous podcasts, instructional videos on yoga and Pilates in French, and some practice lessons with willing friends. And although I prepared to the best of my ability, pre-planned sequences to no end, and essentially committed to memory every one of the Transfert podcast episodes, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of jumping into teaching 11 classes a week in a language that you are far less familiar with than every single one of the people in the room in front of you, that makes you question whether or not the decision you made was well-thought out.

The Progression

Let’s work through this little journey in a more digestible format, for those of you with limited time, or those of you that may actually be thinking of embarking on a similar path in the not-so-distant future.

Week 1 – The Over-Prep

I’ll preface this section by saying that in the week leading up to my first class in Arles, I pre-planned three full classes, which I RARELY (if ever) do. Although I tend to sequence my classes with a common theme or apex pose, anatomical focus or intention, I rarely pre-plan to the extent of essentially scripting out my sequences. I’m a big fan of instantaneous adaptation, and letting the room guide the class.

During my first week, I woke up early each morning to practice through each sequence, formulate what I wanted to verbalize as instructions, and create options for modifications that I anticipated being necessary based on common physical limitations. I tend to give a significant amount of verbal instructions during classes, and this quickly presented itself as a bit of a challenge, as I struggled to quickly translate what I would normally say in English, into French that made sense and wasn’t a series of strung together nonsense that made my non-Francophone background glaringly apparent.

In addition to the French factor, I was also adjusting to the process of teaching in a new space, to a group of people that I had no previous experience or interactions with. Layer in the significant differences that exist between North American and French yoga culture and expectations, and I had myself a fairly large set of extenuating circumstances cultivating my current environment.

The result? I felt out of place, I questioned my teaching capabilities and methods, and I was anxious before and after each class, worried that I wasn’t providing what was expected, or that I simply wasn’t good enough. This discomfort, though, pushed me to prepare for each class, study and learn during my off-hours, in an effort to ensure that I was the best teacher I could be.

Week 2 – The (Almost) Settling

As you’ve probably guessed, it does get better. If it didn’t it’s unlikely I would be writing this blog post, or at least, it would be released at a much later date when I could look back on the experience as a whole without wincing.

The prep started to become less and less – it was during week 2 that I stopped pre-planning every class, and reverted to my trusty old improv style. Although my level of comfort with the language did play a notable role in this progression towards settling in, the true determining factor was the familiarity with the Arles yoga community. For me, one of the most satisfying aspects of having yoga so engrained in my life is the connections built within the yoga community. I love seeing familiar faces come back to class, progress, and get excited as they see changes happening in their practice. Week 2 allowed me to start integrating myself into the fantastic, accepting community that owners Julia Mitton and Paul Biehn have built at Arles Yoga, and realize that there was no expectation

Week 3 – The Seeking of Growth

During week 3, although I said goodbye to a few yogis who were finishing up their vacations in Arles, I became well-acquainted with the repeat offenders who were showing up to practice multiple times a week, ready for new challenges and curious both during and after class, voicing their inquisitions and seeking answers. This inert desire to know more, to explore and redefine what limitations exist, is a part of human nature that’s really awesome to unearth, yet often lies dormant until stirred or poked.

Suffice to say, during this halfway mark, I started to feel really at home at Arles Yoga. I introduced some more daring variations and apex postures in classes, and let myself adapt and adjust in the same way that I would have during classes back in Toronto.

There was something else that happened during week 3 that has only really become evident as I look back on the experience as a whole – the more I let myself experiment with the language, the less concerned I was with making small mistakes. The initial fear of coming off as very Anglophone, or making verb tense errors when jumping between French and English, started to dissipate. I let myself make little verbal missteps, all the while knowing that the group of yogis in class could care less, and were accepting of the language slips, because in the grand scheme of things, they really didn’t matter. This was a lesson in self-acceptance that runs much deeper than a simple language barrier, and one that I will continue to integrate and acknowledge as I evolve my teaching practice, in addition to internal personal growth.

Week 4 – The Phase of Comfortability

As I wrapped up my residency in Arles, I started to feel (wait for it), a little ache of sadness. I’m generally a fan of the Irish goodbye – rarely will I dwell on the process involved in leaving or moving on. With each class that took place during week 4, the return of familiar practitioners, and the impending event of my final Friday class approaching, I was able to reflect on the experience with an increasingly holistic perspective.

The past month pushed me, made me uncomfortable, forced me to change and experiment with my teaching style, and ultimately allowed me to grow in ways I hadn’t anticipated. I’ve broken down the process in four stages here, but each day was truly its own challenge and voyage. Closing out the week with a final class filled with energy, enthusiasm, hugs, and some “coucous” was incredibly satisfying, and made the pre-work, podcasts and all, so very worth it.

The Lessons Learned

  • Get acquainted with imperfection

Looking back on some of my (many) verbal missteps that took place during classes, I wince a little with initial embarrassment, but then laugh and appreciate the growth that took place between weeks 1 and 4. We are always going to have classes that don’t feel quite right, that we replay and question, “why did I say that,” or “why did I feel the need to add that movement or posture in when it didn’t make sense.” These are the learning experiences we undergo as we grow and become more comfortable as teachers, and also as students. Mistakes lay the foundation for our continued development; observe them with grace, and reflect on them diligently to avoid repetition.

  • It’s okay to reverse roles

When teaching in French, as an Anglophone, to a room of native French speakers (with the most melodious French accents, I must note), you’ve got to expect to be corrected. And instead of take offense, or feel insecure, I chuckled and took mental notes (and then transferred these to paper), as a part of the continuous learning process. Never again will I think that is an adequate resource for anatomical translations – because no, tendon de jaret does not translate to hamstring (oouf).

  • Observe the opportunity in everything

As a proponent of the “free-to-be” sequencing style, I learned a lot by forcing myself to pre-plan and be more structured in how I structured classes during the initial classes at Arles Yoga. Although I may not retain this teaching style as I move forward, it was an excellent opportunity for me to redefine and learn to teach in a new way. Additionally, as someone who tends to pepper class with verbal micro-adjustments and modifications, having limited abilities to express myself forced me to be more comfortable with silence, and to learn how to say more with less. There’s a shiny side to every coin, right?

  • You are enough

Taken straight from an uninspired Instragram post. But for real, this was probably the most relevant lesson I learned. Every teacher is so inherently different, in method, style, diction, tone of voice, sequencing, influences, and the list goes on. We are inclined to compare ourselves and constantly pick out the areas where we either outshine or fall behind those considered to be our peers. Be content knowing that regardless of a practitioner’s past experiences with other teachers, your style and individual flare provides them with something new and unique, and shouldn’t be graded based on the characteristics of other teachers.

So if you’ve managed to dig your way through this, or perhaps just skimmed, you may now be contemplating this proverbial jumping off point. It may not be directly related to yoga or even a career move, but could encapsulate making even a minor change in your day to day that forces you a little outside of the status quo. Although the process may seem arduous, the ultimate end result will be worth the initial discomfort – I promise.


Cassandra Cooper

Cassandra Cooper

Growing up with a background in competitive figure skating, Cass’ journey with yoga began at a young age. What started as a way of maintaining flexibility and mobility has since shifted to focus on building strength, by combining elements of functional movement into her practice and sequencing, helping to explore the different ways in which each individual’s body moves and changes shape. Since completing Octopus Garden’s 200 hour teacher training, and Rishikesh Yog Peeth’s 300 hour advanced teacher training program, Cass has pursued Barre and Pilates certifications through Stott Pilates, along with Essentrics movement training. The most important thing she’s discovered along the way is that you’re always a student – be curious, always question, carefully analyze, and continuously seek new avenues towards unexpected answers. ‘Yoga is the journey from cosmetic to cosmic beauty.’



I Am Not Flexible: Confessions of a Yoga Teacher

I am not flexible and I teach yoga. I used to feel like a complete sham, being a yoga teacher and not able to express full hanumanasana (the splits) …

Over time and with a lot of forgiveness, I have allowed this to become a strength rather than a hindrance. Due to an inability to demonstrate some poses in their fullest, I had been forced to improve my understanding of anatomy, my communication skills,
i am not flexible
and my explanations of postures. Comprehensible and down-to-earth analogies were needed in order to safely guide students in an out of complicated asana.
I had to let go of a tremendous amount of ego watching my students advance and surpass me in their bendtacular physical abilities. Rather than envy or jealousy, I was filled with enormous amounts of gratitude. It’s a truly humbling experience to watch your students surpass you. I felt privileged to be their teacher.
When my stiff body does manage a touch of suppleness, it becomes a fantastic victory. Years ago, while teaching gomukasana (cow face yoga pose), I was demonstrating how to position the arms when suddenly my fingertips grazed each other for the first time ever.
I almost stopped the class to shout, “Hey everybody! My fingernails just momentarily brushed each other!! Wooo hoo!! Did anyone see that!?!? I am usually not a flexible yoga teacher”
Which would have been both inappropriate and ridiculous in a room full of clasped hands behind backs.
But there’s something more here: When tickling fingertips together draws such awareness and excitement, suddenly little things in life offer us so much encouragement.
This small victory made me feel like I could accomplish anything! The intense sensation of joy and triumph in that moment gave me so much empowerment.
Once I had let go of the goal-oriented nature of my practice and the negativity I had let myself experience for being Inflexible, my personal asana practice flourished.
i am not flexible
Today my yoga practice is about joy. It is about love. It is so much less about the asana. When I step on my mat, I close my eyes and I move my soul with breath and posture. I let my heart pour out on the rubber floor. Whatever I am feeling I just let it be.

I have become so much more compassionate and forgiving of myself on the mat that it has permeated other areas of my life too-less judgment, more being okay with others as they are. By allowing expression and removing rigidity from my personal yoga practice, my body has opened up as well.
Today, not only can I do the splits, but lotus, arm balances, fallen angel, full dancer, have all become part of my regular practice. Oh, and gomukasana too! I can totally grab my hands and even reverse prayer these days! I never in my life thought I would be able to express these asana!
For anyone who is not a flexible yoga teacher or student, step on your mat. Close your eyes. Take some deep breaths. Ask yourself, “what is possible?” You might be surprised with the results, I know I was!


Lauren Rudick

Lauren Rudick
Lead teacher and founder of Yoga Academy International, Lauren is a globally celebrated yoga instructor. She has been teaching yoga for nearly a decade and comes from a variety of lineages and traditions. Lauren’s appetite for yoga and travel are insatiable. She continues to study with world-class instructors whenever possible, all the while leading her own yoga retreats and workshops. Lauren has solid roots in Hatha yoga with continued studies in Vinyasa flow, Anusara, Ashtanga, Restorative and Yin Yoga. She is inspired by teachers who tell stories. She has studied under Seane Corn, Chris Chavez, MC Yogi, Susan Cohen, Nancy Goodfellow and many others. Lauren is passionate about sharing yoga from an authentic and soulful point of view. She believes that yoga practice can help uncover the veils that hide us from achieving our full potential.