Tag Archives: yoga

Better with Yoga

Here is the deal, I am a lover of yoga.  And some times, I fall off the wagon.

My boyfriend recently told me that I am a better, much more pleasant person to be around when I get on my mat, breathe and feel the flow.  I took this in stride, as I have fully accepted that I am a human being that needs some form of an endorphin kick or sweet sweat once a day to be functioning at 100%.

It is who I am.

Now, in feeling this on Sunday in my yoga class, I began to ponder how the sweat, the breathe, the movement and the body connection truly allow for a shift.  Here is what I found:

1)  There are some days I realize that I do not take a full, deep inhale and exhale….at all.  I get on my mat and take that first full breath and realize what I have been missing all day.

2)  When it comes to committing to a 90 minute class, I am drawn to classes with a Savasanah that is over 4+ minutes.  I feel my body completely let go and I truly savor that length of time for stillness and for allowing myself to soak up that juicy flow that just happened one minute ago.

3)  In case you need a visual during Savasanah, I place myself in the middle of an overgrown meadow in the Mountains.  I see blues, greens and the sunshine hits my face during that resting time.  That is my happy place – you can come visit.

4)  In my humble opinion, sweating = detox.  So that extra cider beer you had to have last night, yoga is like a ‘reset button’ to the body and I actually feel at the start line when I am done with class.  #beautifulirony

5)  My hair looks better with sweat in it.  It just does.

6)  I have incredible teachers in my hood and the wisdom bombs that they drop in class rock me to the core.  Visual:  sweat dripping down my nose, holding crescent pose, hip flexor on fire, shoulders feeling a deep burn….  The teacher slowly reminds you, “In these challenging moments, where can you find breathe?  Similar to life.  How you choose to react to challenges is your choice.”  #truth

7) I love the music with the flow.  I feel like a dancer on the mat.  Everyone should feel like an all out epic dancer at least once a week.  Be it on a yoga mat, in your living room, on a spin bike or in the street.  Get your dance on.

8)  I learn patience on the mat.  I am forgiving with my body, I take time to breathe and I listen.  Now, when forgiveness, breath and the ability to listen follow me off the mat into my day, into my life;  I understand why I am better with yoga .

How do you shift on the mat?  #yogalove

3 Comments

Filed under Yoga

Accept. Commit. Create. Repeat.

I have an absolute confession to make.

I fell off the wagon.

If you will recall my adventure of the 30 day yoga challenge a couple month’s ago, I was committed.  I felt my body open, my heart open and my practice evolve.  I made time in each day for yoga.

At the end of 30 days, I celebrated and rejoiced.  I honestly was very proud of myself and was ready to hop into my next challenge.  I just could not find one.  So, I fell off the committment wagon.  I kind of flounced in and out of classes, a couple jogs with the dog here and there.  And I felt the eratic-ness that was my health life begin to ebb and flow into my life life.

I attended yoga this morning.  Crick, crack, crick; I was tight as a brand new rubber band.  Where had my flexibility gone?  Hips, are you made of cement?  Where was plow pose – are you okay back there, spine?

In understanding that I had taken time off, so did my body.

We all need a break.  I get it.   And I took a moment this morning to totally accept right where I was on my mat.  Tight.  Beautiful.  Present.

However, upon leaving class, I realized that when you commit fully to a practice, to an adventure, to a new commitment, you are in deep and you are focused.  You make epic sh*t happen and you don’t let anything get in the way.

Similar to life.

It is fine to take a  breather.  But for me, I get lazy.  I said it, I get lazy.  I stray too far away from what I want most and then it seems the trek back is so long and hard.

And then I remember, I always have choice.  The choice to re-commit and make time for what I want, what I really, really want in this life.  And, then do it.  Start now.

Today.

Every day.

So truly, where are you in your commitments?

Accept.  Commit.  Create your life.  Repeat.

neon pink post-it commitments

1 Comment

Filed under Possibility, Present, Yoga

Adventure: 30 Day Yoga Challenge

This week, I completed day 30 of a self committed 30 Day Yoga Challenge.

As I reflect, this is what I see:

1)  I think I cracked my sternum bone.  The sternum is the flattened bone located in the center of your chest right in front of your heart.  I woke up almost every day of my challenge, with that center bone feeling sore, stretched and stimulated – as if my heart was knocking on the back door.  A subtle yet obvious reminder to keep my heart open on the regular.

2)  I went in to the challenge with expectations.  I thought to myself, I will rock out Bird of Paradise and an amazing handstand by the end of this challenge.  Well, I cannot.  On about day 4, my left hip locked up and the Universe requested that I slow my sh*t down.   Beautiful life lessons were available and open, once the expectations of performance were dropped.   Write this down:  expectations wreck possibility.

3)  With the slower theme, I found myself trying new styles of yoga.  I ventured to yin classes, I practiced at home with my yoga mat, a candle and my dog via www.yogavibes.com and I joined a meditation class at a local studio.  I met new and amazing teachers, people and I explored my body in different styles.  An adventure of yoga, really.  I expanded in new ways.  Remind yourself to venture into the unknown some times.  I sent a card once that read “Life Starts at the End of Your Comfort Zone” – and let me tell you, there was some uncomfortable in that Meditation class.  Ram, ram, ram, ram….

4)  I now feel a deeper connection with my teachers.  To rock my accountability, I committed to certain classes and teachers through the weeks and my cracked open heart gives thanks to the beautiful sequencing, the unreal wisdom and the welcoming love of  Mia Togo, Mary Beth Larue, Kyra Anastasia and Hala Khouri.  It was a beautiful reminder that every student has a teacher, and every teacher has their students.

5)  I practiced yoga for me.  When I was on the mat, I was in my body.  I was alive.  Stop looking around, go inside and feel you.

6)  My Savasanahs throughout the 30 days were UNREAL.  I literally transported to a different space where time melts and for a moment, there is silence in my mind.  Most of my teachers allow for a longer savasanah and it truly allows for the release, the let go and the movement of the practice to settle in.  For 30 days I took 5 minutes a day to do nothing, lay flat and breathe, that is beautiful.

7)  I love the commitment.  30 days of yoga in a row is a big commitment.  Where will I find the time?  How will I fit it all in?  But when you truly decide to commit, you don’t miss a beat and you begin to feel the subtle beauty of commitment and achievement.  You begin to consider:  how, perhaps could this be possible in other areas of my life?  Explore your commitments and be true to yourself.

8)  Accountability works.  I completed the challenge with my best friend who lives in Indiana.  We had specific rules to follow and we would check in with one another often.  I could not miss a class when I knew she has already gone to her class that morning.  Find a friend and commit together.

9)  Yoga is a beautiful practice.  The body movement, the power of breath, the open heart space, the tranquil mind…. It has shifted me.  Find you version of yoga (be it running, cooking, reading, making delicious lattes…) and feel the shift.

10) And finally, I sit here and ponder the next 30 day challenge?  I feel invigorated, confident and excited with my heart wide open ready to commit to something inspiring – what will it be?

Press Play:  Fun TED talk about 30 day challenges:  HERE

What is something new you have wanted to try that you could commit to for 30 days?

Heart Wide Open.

What are you waiting for?

 

9 Comments

Filed under Adventures, Goals, Self Love, Yoga

Adventure: Lesson Learned in Yoga, Part II

Since taking yoga teacher training two years ago, I have found that I expect more from myself – almost as if the knowledge of those amazing 200 hours should really just go ahead and spawn into my muscles and boom bang, open hamstrings.

Well, it doesn’t work that way.  #reality

So, I found myself on the mat today in Crescent Pose, a strong and heart-opening movement that looks like a deep lunge.  As I adjust and re-adjust, I realize that my body does not want to go very deep today.  If maybe I tweak my hip to the right just a bit….no.  Or perhaps pull the left hip back and in a bit more….oh that’s not good.  Hey breath, where are you?   Am I breathing?

I come fully out of the pose, align my body, pause and move with my breath.   It is clear, I cannot and will not go any deeper on this day.  My front leg is barely in a lunge and my back leg is bent to allow my tailbone to tuck, my hip points aligned, my lower back open, my hip flexor opens across the entire front of my leg, and I continue to breathe.  Mindful not to judge or compare myself to the dude next to me in what seems like a Level 4 pose, I stay right here, right where I need to be.

What I realize in this moment is that when I try to look good on my mat, push deeper in a pose than my body actually can, prove myself to no one that is paying attention  – it doesn’t feel good.  At all.  And I believe yoga should feel good, really good.

However, I find that when I breathe into the movement, into the pose that is less advanced in comparison to my Gumby neighbor in his Level 4 (reminder:  comparison kills), I actually begin to open even more – my body thanks me with more access to big, beautiful breath, more (heart)space and the ability to surrender to where my beautiful body is in this moment, right here, right now.

Interesting.

What if I just live my life that way – present and patient, feeling really good?  Not pushing to prove myself, not trying to catch up with him or her, and not going deeper here or there.  Really and truly allowing myself to breathe in each moment, open my heart more and truly surrender to where my beautiful life is in this moment, right here, right now.

Interesting.

Lesson:  Stop looking good and start feeling good.  Get in your body.

Boom.

Similar but different:  Lesson Learned in Yoga (Part I), Mind Where You Matter, Drop Me in the Water

Leave a comment

Filed under Possibility, Present, Self Love, Yoga

…and door knobs.

11:01am:  I walk into my yoga class one minute late today.  I am short of breath from the jog from the parking garage, rushing up the flight of stairs to the yoga space and slightly annoyed that I might be disrupting the beautiful beginning.  Yet, I am met with a warm greeting from a lovely teacher.  One of those, “I am so glad you are here” type greetings, that just allows you to feel amazing and forgives your tardy entrance.   I unroll my mat smiling.

1:03pm:  After class, I float to a nearby store and phone my amazing Mother.  We chat and as if we are shopping together, I send her pictures via text of a purse in two different patterns for her opinion.  Which one do I need?  She says, go spend your money on adventure and hit the thrift stores for something awesome. Great advice.   I walk out with only 2 new door knobs, smiling.

1:32pm:  I walk to my Vespa and I pull out of the parking garage, only to hear my name being greeted again by a radical man on his bike zooming by – oh snap, my yoga teacher of all teachers, my teacher trainer.  I absolutely love chance meetings with people I love!  I scoot the scooter over to the edge of the curb and he pulls his bike over and we chat for 27 minutes, sharing ideas and lives.  We part and I pull away to head home, smiling.

2:17pm  I unlock the door to my apartment and find the dog jumping, tail wagging and smiling up at me and my phone is ringing.  My sweet boyfriend checking up on me, I pick up and ask where he is.  He peeks out from behind the bathroom door.  Sneaky.  More smiling.

Yoga love.  Family wisdom.  Chance meetings with friends on bikes.  Dog smiles.  Hidden lovers.  And, Door Knobs.

Thank you to those who made me smile about the little things in life today.  Is this what being present feels like?

I say, when life makes you smile, smile back.

Smiling...

Now, you go be a smile for someone today!  You just never know…they might be writing about you right now….

1 Comment

Filed under Gratitude, Happiness, Love

Adventure: Lesson Learned in Yoga

I love when actions, moments or practices can truly unfold or unravel your entire life.  Beautiful metaphors, if you will.   Flip back a few blog pages and recall the post titled, lessons learned in a drain?  Similar to that.

So as the lights dimmed this evening in the humid room, I lay absolutely drenched on my yoga mat after the hour and a half power flow + deep holds and I noticed a few great life lessons and reminders from my yoga practice.  Great messages around stress layers, breathing, gratitude. One that hit home today was the subtle reminder, be it from a lack of smooth breathe, a twitch in the knee, or perhaps a grind of the teeth throughout the flow…”Don’t force it.  Just don’t.”

Words of wisdom from my brain (or more so, my heart) to my sweating body.

I have been truly feeling my yoga practice lately.  I have recognized my love for Child’s Pose, my disregard for that extra vinyasa and letting it flow back to my dear ol’ friend, downdog, my ability to breathe into deeper movement, and my attention to detail and form that takes me to another level.  It is a more committed practice than I have ever known.  One that is choice based.   One that is opening, strong and peaceful.

I take a step off the mat tonight and realize the correlation to my life.  My slow ability to love myself, the self-awareness that exists, the nurturing forgiveness and patience I am continuing to work on, as well as the full deep breath that is more readily available in everyday life on and off the mat.   I am more aligned and in tune with my very own body than ever before and seem to have realized a true enjoyment of time.  I feel strong and peaceful.  It feels so delicious.

And in lite of the realization, I turn the life pages back a few chapters and recall my time on the mat just a few years ago; it was rigid, forceful, sporadic and non-committal.  There was a stench of  ego that would not allow me to child’s pose and make me remain a competitor in yoga…I know, it is an oxymoron.  All of them are, really.  And I see how my life at that point, was led that way – forceful, battling to the death with the ego, pushing and pushing (to excel, to be right, to win) and where was the breathe – was I choking?   Unaware, a bit lost and going through the motions.  I feel tired thinking about it.

Quite amazing how life shows up in so many places to show you the way, bring you back home, bring you to peace, and bring you to joy.

Take a deeper dive into your forward fold, your clogged drain or the many life moments.  Maybe you will see….

Leave a comment

Filed under Adventures, Love, Possibility, Present, Self Love, Yoga

Adventure: 30 days?

I recently embarked on a 30 day challenge of no sugar, no gluten, no dairy.   

Wait, what?  You mean no red wine?  No cheese?  Whoa, hold the phone – no dark chocolate?   Yes, you are correct and we are totally on the same page if those three food items literally just danced in your head.

So, a yogi friend of mine rolled out this 3 month journey broken into 30 day challenges on her blog, get inspired here

Day 1 was okay.  Day 2 was very odd and hungry.  We won’t even talk about day 3.  Day 4, 5 and 6 were actually working out okay minus a minor visual that sparked in my head of a date night with my man and a tub of movie popcorn.   Too tempting.  We didn’t go to the movie.

Just to share though, I have been pondering this challenge now that I am closing in on the finish line of day 7.  Here are my thoughts below:

 How crazy is it that I miss dark chocolate like an old friend you don’t talk to anymore because of irreconcilable differences?  The mixture of a dark chocolate with almonds?  Or those little dark chocolate nuggets at the Whole Foods counter, the proceeds go to save the Dolphins, people!

Or, how about the cork pop of a bottle of wine?  A sound I miss and an action I thoroughly enjoyed (past tense), as I sit here googling wine clubs to join.  There was a lady in front of me at the grocery today – she had 12 bottles of red wine as her entire purchase.  I told the Universe, “good one”.

 Oh, and the beauty of a cutting board and a sharp knife cutting through a huge hunk of manchego cheese or large wedge of truffle cheese from Whole Foods.  On a gluten free cracker, perhaps as a soup garnish? 

And, the self-serve popcorn butter drizzle station at AMC.  It’s almost as if I can smell it.

I will say on the flip side, as I am sure you were waiting from some inspiring notion about all this or asking, then Why?  Why? Why do this?  I’ll tell you why – I chose three words for my 2012 year and one of them was ‘commitment’.  Of course, I chose that one for this year – or course!  So, I am committed to this challenge and I am committed to commitment.

And, I feel proud of myself.  It is an achievement each day.  Yes, my chocolate mountain to climb might be your molehill over there – but to each their own. 

And, I keep trekkin…

1 Comment

Filed under Adventures, Goals, Happiness