I’ve been teaching yoga for over eight years and I feel that I teach a very similar class today compared with the class I taught in 2007. I include basic stretches that I like and that I practice. I feel that practicing these movements on a regular basis creates clarity and thus I don’t add new movements very often to my sequence.
But, I do like adding little side “attractions” to my classes on a regular basis. Sometimes it’s handing out chocolate at the end of class and sometimes it’s providing foot rubs. My latest trend is massaging student shoulders with a small amount of lavender oil on my hands to provide some aromatherapy.
Who doesn’t love lavender oil? It’s like walking through the fields in Provence. It’s relaxing, peaceful, and calming.
Last week, I asked the students what they like best about my class. I’m not going to lie and say that chocolate wasn’t their first choice. I’m sure though that lavender was the next thing they were going to say and in the meantime, I love smelling it when I apply it.
When it comes to moisturizers, I am very skeptical. First, I feel that skin has the natural ability to moisturize itself and that within a few hours, we can typically create enough oil. At least my skin has been able to for the last 15 years.
Then again, I live in Los Angeles. The weather here is typically 70 degrees all year round. I don’t have to wrestle with the cold winters which of course will make skin dry on everyone.
This year, I felt my skin begin to feel dry after a shower and I attribute it to the fact that I now wear sunscreen 99% of the time. I have a dog and I am very often out with her around town so I’ll usually put on sunscreen in the morning and wear it all day. Now, my natural ecosystem is upset because the skin is not used to having to create oil because of the sunscreen.
When I think of wearing moisturizer, I cringe because so many of them have awful chemicals and/or feel heavy on my face.
This year, I was opened up to the idea of argan oil and I can’t believe how great it is. It’s light, natural, and feels good on my face. I don’t feel like I am playing with the ecosystem of my face while still making it feel better when it feels slightly dry.
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.
My husband teases me that I sleep for amazingly long periods of time. In reality, I think I sleep an average number of hours, but I never skimp. If I can’t get my eight hours, then I adjust my schedule so that I can get as close as I can.
Since we’ve been married, I have convinced him to turn off the television one to two hours earlier than he used to in his bachelor days. In my opinion, good rest is better than what we hear in the media. Or when we travel and the room isn’t completely dark as the sun rises, I always ensure I have a quality sleeping mask so I stay asleep. This one is one of my favorites because it doesn’t let even one ray of sun in: https://www.dreamessentials.com/product-48/sweet-dreams-sleep-mask-wcarry-pouch-and-earplugs.
One day, I meditated on why I like going to bed early and why I highly prioritize it. What came to me was that when I am asleep, good things happen. I receive the mental nourishment I need to go out during the day to complete my tasks with kindness and compassion. It makes me more genuine in my interactions and it allows me to think creatively.
To me, this made sense because in the few times that I didn’t get enough sleep, I was not so aware of others or able to pick up on subliminal messages. My mother and I use the saying “we are so out of it” or “walking zombies” when we don’t get enough rest and I feel that explains it perfectly. I can function and complete tasks by being on automatic pilot, but I certainly can’t come up with unique solutions and I often will create minor accidents in my path.
As my husband and I think about creating a family over the next year, I am not sure how I am going to adjust to being woken up multiple times during the night and living off “minimal sleep,” as my parent friends call it. I will just have to take it one day at time. All I know now is that late-night television creates a zombie out of me.
Ever since I was a child, I have steered away from aluminum in products. Antiperspirant is one of the products that heavily uses it and additionally uses it to block pores from perspiration, which makes me think it even more easily can get into the blood stream. Both of my grandmothers suffered from Alzheimers’ disease and although it has not been proven, there are many theories that aluminum can contribute to the failing of nerves that communicate brainwaves and thoughts. Thus, for most of my adult life I have been on the lookout for an antiperspirant that didn’t contain this ingredient.
As many of you know, there is a popular white crystal that is a natural solution and can be found in many health food stores. In my experience, this stick is a nuisance due to having to wet it under the sink each time you want to use it. This not only is often inconvenient, but I found it dripped water on my clothing in the path from the sink to my arm. Thus, I didn’t love it.
Then, last year, I heard about a recipe to make homemade version of deodorant and I have finally found a solution. This recipe uses natural products found in your kitchen cabinet and works like a charm. Since I started using it, I have made 2-3 batches, and it never fails.
I adapted this recipe from WellnessMama:
I hope you like it as much as I do!
When I was a child, I was very involved in raising money for Jump Rope for Heart by the American Heart Association. I remember having matching outfits with my childhood friend because we both raised enough money by jumping continuously for a few hours to receive sweatpants and a sweatshirt.
At the time, I think I was motivated by the cool outfit, but also by knowing that jumping rope was a task that would be fun to do with friends. This week, I was asked to try out the latest and greatest of jump ropes. As a fitness professional now, I am happy to test out new gear, but jump ropes is a piece of equipment that I probably haven’t touched since those days of fundraising.
When I saw the photo, I immediately knew this tool was not for children. It was metal and a quick stumble could mean perhaps a black and blue bruise on my forehead or calf. As soon as I started jumping, those fears disappeared and those days of childhood quickly came rushing back. It was so fun.
Jasmine and I had so much fun sharing activities which later expanded into selling Girl Scout cookies and then being cheerleaders in high school. When my wedding came last fall, she was the first one to tell me that she would be there. She would get a sitter for her three young children, fly 3000 miles, and ensure she was there to lead me down the aisle as a bridesmaid. I felt so fortunate.
When I created my DVDs in 2008, it was based on the premise that when people exercise together, they are clearer in mind, and then can create closer or more meaningful relationships. The organization “Jump Rope for Heart” probably didn’t have this in mind when they initiated their fundraisers, but for me, it worked. I’m so pleased to be still jumping today with my friends from those days, both in my heart and on those very important days.
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!
Over the past few years, I’ve been switching slowly to products that are organic, contain no harmful chemicals, and don’t contain any ingredients that I can’t pronounce. Even my dentist just said to stay away from toothpaste that says it causes whitening.
Recently, I was asked to review an eye cream and when I think about putting things near my dear retinas, I am sure not to include harmful ingredients. I LOVED that this product makes it very clear how natural it is:
“★ SAFE, ALL NATURAL INGREDIENTS- Yalmeh Glory Eye Bright Gel contains all natural ingredients, no toxic chemicals or cancer causing additives – no mineral oil, sulfates or alcohol ,propylene glycol or paraben. We do not test our products on animals NEVER-EVER. This is the BEST EYE GEL and is an effective natural solution for all types of skin. And, it lasts forever – a little goes a long way. And what matters most, however, is that the Yalmeh Glory Eye Gel works incredibly well. You will feel better both inside and out. THIS EYE GEL is 100% natural & 75% organic”.
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.