I have learned many things from my yoga teachers. I have learned about alignment, rhythm of the flow, and ancient yoga teachings. I have also learned about chocolate. I have learned that sometimes it’s just really nice to have the teacher bring you a little gift for after class. For this reason, I often bring chocolates and leave them by their mats while they are seated in meditation. It’s so lovely to open one’s eyes and find a personal surprise.
When we are centered, focused, and in tune with our true self, it’s lovely to see that reflected back to us. Having students show up for class, give it their all, and bless me with their presence is huge. It fills me with such emotion that I like to reflect that back to them. I am so happy that they come and find that a small piece of chocolate is a small amount of appreciation for their efforts.
I also love good music so I am enjoying using the new wireless bluetooth speaker I got for class. I may send them home with songs in their head too and hopefully a yearning to come back for more yoga.
Last month, I received a pair of gel insoles in the mail and it made me very happy. I’m not one to sit around the house and thus I also need a good pair of walking shoes. This is not to say that I don’t spend lots of quiet time alone, but very often I am out walking my dog, hoping around town to teach yoga, and doing errands as a new wife.
Every couple of months, I try and look at my schedule to see if I’m getting a good balance of all important items. Am I eating right? Am I getting enough exercise? Am I spending enough time with my loved ones? I feel this self-evaluation is important because it makes me aware of something I am missing and/or something that I am overdoing. Everything in moderation, they say.
Last December, I could see that I was working long hours on a consulting project, spending lots of time taking care of pre-Christmas tasks, and not getting enough time for my personal yoga practice. In January, I took out a one-month membership at one of my favorite studios and I went every day. I loved it. I discovered new teachers and I felt stretched, fit, and more like myself.
At the end of the month, I decided that this part of my life was satiated and I didn’t have to go everyday. I still loved to teach, as well as practice, but I was happy to prioritize my personal practice less and let something else fill it’s place. Since then, I’ve been walking my dog more, going on vacation with my husband, and blogging more.
For the past year, I could see that my hair was in need of a cut. The ends were split and damaged. At the same time, I knew that I wanted to have long hair for my wedding. In my mind, long hair looked more romantic and this was how I wanted to be pictured by my guests on my wedding day. Thus, I made-do with only a half-inch trim off the bottom when it truly needed three to four.
Then, after I got married, I still found myself hesitant to cut it despite my intention to do it immediately. After growing it for so long for the wedding, I felt like it symbolized the honeymoon phase of my marriage. In some way, cutting it meant that my marriage would then hit the “reality” track and the dreamy or romantic part would be over.
Last week, I looked in the mirror and I just couldn’t stand it any longer. It was starting to look unkempt and unprofessional in my mind. I went to the salon and told them to not show me how much they were going to cut to make it healthy again until it was done. I closed my eyes and hoped for the best.
It’s not only my wedding where I placed emotional value on the length of my hair. In 2007, I started to teach yoga and in my mind all good yoga teachers had short pixie cuts. I loved that hairstyle and although I still teach yoga today with long hair, I have fond memories of starting my career confidently with a look that I felt matched the stage of life that I was in.
When I walked out of the salon last week, I looked in the mirror and realized that maybe I am past my true honeymoon days, but now I look like the new wife that I am. I look hip, stylish, and well-looked after. I am now responsible for a family and this cut demonstrated that in my mind.
It’s funny how material things like hair often shift our mind-set. At this stage, I’m looking forward to taking good care of my shorter locks because I’m very happy to be where I am. I got some new pure moroccan argan oil from Swiss Botany and that’s exactly what I am going to use. I am a new wife and that’s exactly who I am.
The holidays are usually festive, fun, and joyful. At the same time, we don’t typically have much time for ourselves. Each day is filled with visiting friends, family, and out in the malls shopping. This is why my first yoga session or two in January is so great. It’s time for me to get back on the mat, not have to speak to anyone, and take a chance to focus on myself.
When I teach, I often say that the hour of yoga is unique time in that we are not the one to pick up the phone, we don’t have any emails to write, and we do not need to answer the door. No one is looking for us. If they are, we’re busy. We’re in yoga.
I find that getting this time is so valuable to me. It gives me an opportunity to see what my personal needs and wants are. There is no needing to run after someone’s whims and I can decide what is best for my true self.
Besides mentally coming into this “me” space, I use the physical by staring deeply at my yoga mat in downward facing dog. It’s a chance for me to block out any distractions like people in the room or even what the teacher is saying. This “blank” slate and heart opening pose allows me best to tune into what my heart is saying.
This January, I went an extra step and I did a cleanse twice in order to clear my head and body. Despite being reluctant and not sure if I could mentally make it through, it wasn’t as bad as I thought. First, I did a food cleanse with #LiveBeaming where I ate salads, drank smoothies, and brewed milk thistle tea.
Then, I went a step further and did this coconut cleanse that adds extra fiber to one’s diet to flush out the colon. Both techniques made me feel better, lose some bloat, and also made me more flexible.
As we roll into February, I am realizing that my favorite month is soon behind me and that my yoga practice is moving into a new stage. It’s not the “freshness” of being back on my mat again that is keeping me in class, but it’s the fact that I’m getting stronger and I’m feeling more grounded overall. That feeling of knowing where you are headed, despite not knowing the path, is priceless!
After we got married, my husband and I decided that a four-night honeymoon should suffice as enough time to get away. We would be traveling a month later to go visit our families across country and we thought this would also count towards a restful experience.
What I didn’t realize is how valuable it is for a couple to escape the world after pronouncing their vows. As I am going through the many traditions of getting married, I am seeing that there is a purpose to many of these traditions, not just the honeymoon.
First, my brother-in-law clued me in about a year ago when Rod and I were thinking of getting engaged. He said that there is something special about having friends and family around when you make this commitment and he highly recommended not eloping. Up until then, I didn’t see the purpose in spending the money for a bigger wedding and was perfectly happy to do it with just our immediate family.
When my six closest girlfriends and all my cousins said they wouldn’t miss the wedding for the world and traveled from London, New York, and San Francisco to Los Angeles for the event, I saw what my brother-in-law was talking about. This was a big deal and it was so important to me to have my inner circle around. These are memories to last a lifetime and I wanted my VIPs there.
Next, I saw that the six-month standard engagement period is well worth the wait. Initially, again, I thought we could organize everything within two to three months. We’re excited to start a family so I thought this might help the timeline. When we spoke to our pastor, he highly recommended taking the six months because he said it takes just about that amount of time to prepare everything. He was right.
I was busy for each of those days and I needed every last second. In addition, it gave us time to hash out any big, last remaining projects, such as what my last name would be and how we would spend our finances. I’m very happy to have gotten these conversations completed without pressure.
Lastly, and back to the vacation time, I am still craving three to six more nights of our honeymoon. I feel that this time as a couple is precious and time that we will never have again once we do start that family. With these thoughts, I booked three long weekends away this spring for us to “catch-up” on our honeymoon time. We’ll escape the real world for a few nights with our dog, to keep this tradition.
For many years, I dreaded the thought of a blender because I eschewed cleaning it. Even if I put it in the dishwasher, I was always afraid it wouldn’t get clean enough and/or need to be hand cleaned if I wanted to use it again.
I found this ironic because for many years I also dreamed of owning a blender. I moved 18 times in 17 years and the thought of lugging one more thing to a new apartment would always stop me from buying one. In addition, I moved abroad and back a few times and it didn’t make sense to ship it due to its weight and electrical current changes between countries.
Then, when I got married this year, I was so happy to finally know that I wouldn’t be moving again for a long, long time and could finally own a blender. Not only that, but my new husband already had one in his cabinet, so now I could blend away all day.
Of course, I still didn’t blend much at the beginning of our relationship because of the “washing issue,” but last week I tried a meal that included smoothies. It was so good that I finally had to get over my fear of the blender.
First, I took out the essential ingredients – protein powder, juice, almond butter, and chia seeds. The taste was good, but I was not so impressed and was already eyeing the glass and spoon where I knew I could mix these items together just as well.
Then, I decided to add frozen fruit where I would need the sharp edges of the blender to cut these up for drinking. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and all of a sudden this smoothie was awesome!
I realized that my not using the blender also perhaps paralleled my reluctance to stay in one place. Using the more complicated method would also require more effort and more decisions. Just like being single, using the glass and spoon was simple, non-committal, but also perhaps not as rewarding as diving into the bigger project.
That’s how I feel about my marriage now, today. It’s a bigger thing than just me. It requires a bit more effort and I can’t just pick up and move at a moment’s notice. Fortunately, the rewards are so much better. Having someone there supporting me each day is well worth getting over the fear.
Today, I went to the studio where I have been practicing for years. It’s known for the place to go for “ladies who lunch” and for so many hours I have stared at the huge rocks on the fingers next to me during “downward facing dog.”
I realize looking at others during yoga is not very yogic, but I am still human. I always wondered if I, too, one day would wear a wedding band to yoga at 11 a.m. on a Thursday when most other people are at work.
When I realized this as I set up for my first downward dog, I took a moment to be happy about where I am in life and happy with my decision to finally say “I do.” I felt very much right at home in this room of ladies.
Then, I realized, I felt right at home in this room for the past few years. Actually, nothing had really changed. I was the same person if I was married or not. Yes, I was now part of the “Mrs. Club,” but the person I am inside is just the same.
I went through my practice feeling achy and stiff, from not practicing after the activity of the wedding. Feeling achy and stiff had happened to me in other parts of my life.
It made me realize that we so often yearn for goals and think, “When I get there, life will be perfect.” In this instance, I had been saying, “When I get married, I’ll be different and better.” Actually, I’m good now and I was before, too. It also made me realize that maybe that’s the reason he married me :).
As posted in Juicing Healthy Magazine:
For most people under twelve, it’s not easy to sit quietly for more than a few minutes. It’s for this reason “Yoga for Kids” has been translated into a time for games, music, and stories that incorporate traditional poses. If the kids are quieter and more relaxed after a session, then why not! Here is a taste of what it looks like:
I love this one and practice it at home, in the car, or anywhere in between. It calms the mind, creates energy, and makes us smile all in one!
First, you take your arms up over your head, and lower them a little into the shape of a big balloon, exhaling. Then, you do it again, but this time we come down very quietly, practicing “Quiet Balloon Breath.” With this, we also learn to appreciate silence. For the last one, we bring our hands up and come down quickly for “Silly Balloon Breath.” Repeat this last one as many times as requested!
One of the best ways to get kids to incorporate yoga into their daily lives is to get music with animal noises and imitate the animal with the associated pose. Here is an excerpt from the ‘Yoga for Families’ DVD to see how it’s done http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1m7JIYopbQ&list=PL98C083975F441EF6
“Image going into a closet that is filled with presents. Each box is beautifully gift wrapped with bows and string. There is paper with stripes, polka dots, and many different colors of wrapping paper.
Imagine that you can take one box out of the closet and in this box is your favorite toy that you like to play with. You take this toy to a favorite place of yours – maybe your room, or the playground, or a secret hiding place. You can also decide if you’d like to bring a friend with you.
After being able to play with this toy for as long as you would possibly like, you put the toy back in its box, and bring it back into the closet. You know that anytime you get stressed or anxious you can close your eyes, imagine this closet, and be able to access your toy again.
As published in Juicing Healthy Magazine:
With the holidays bringing stress, there is no better time to make us more aware of what yoga has to offer. A full-length class is for sure a good way to let go of what is worrying us, but if you don’t have time for that, here are a few good poses that get right to it.
Who doesn’t love to lie on the floor with legs elevated? This pose takes it to an extreme by holding our legs vertically, with the support of the wall. This then pumps the most amount of blood to the heart. Not only does this relieve tired or cramped legs and feet, but also it gently stretches the back of the legs, front torso, and the back of the neck. In addition, it relieves mild backache and calms the mind.
As a kids’ yoga expert, I am often asked what is a great go-to pose that calms the little ones in times of anxiousness or stress. I immediately respond with any type of forward bend and especially a seated one. This type of pose calms the nervous system and helps us get focused on the here and now.
Obviously, this pose is great for adults. Not only does it help us find our inner peace, but it also helps with hypertension. Hypertension comes from blood causing stress on the heart. Here is a free video clip from Livestrong that not only explains the benefits, but also explains the pose:
It may sound like a broken record, but the words are true. When we take a few moments to quiet us amid the constant chatter, the world looks brighter, we feel like we have less on our shoulders, and the path forward is clearer. Here is a simple technique to get you started. It works for adults and children too!
Close your eyes, sit up straight in a chair, and relax the shoulders. Then, start to imagine your favorite place to go on vacation. Think of three or four things about it, such as the color of the sky, any particular landscape (mountains, sand, trees, etc), and what the weather is like. Don’t think of any slight annoyances such as travel inconveniences or how you paid for it. If that seeps in, just let it pass.
Then think of whom you would like to bring with you. Think of the feelings you get when you bring these people to mind. Imagine partaking in some of your favorite activities when you are there and embrace any feelings of joy or excitement that come up. For the remaining minutes, keep that visual in your mind to help keep your mind from jumping back to daily activities and concerns.