The whole world mourns tonight. RIP Pres. Mandela, you made the world a better place.
Om shanti. Om peace.
Originally published on November 16, 2012
The holidays are here, we can pretend they aren’t. But as I prep a recipe post using sage even I can’t fight it. So now that I’ve said it let’s buzz right past Thanksgiving through December and settle in on January 1. The dreaded New Year. Why?
New Year’s resolutions are a set up for failure. I’m going to type that again. New Year’s resolutions are a set up for failure. I hope you all are pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down.
We need to keep it real.
Think about it for a minute. We (usually drunkenly or with a hangover) make promises of sweeping change. We will stop the recession, lose 20 pounds and train for a marathon while we find a cure for cancer. We fling arms around each other and vow we will be different this time, that this time we will ________.
Then we pass out or fall asleep. Because of pride and ego we move forward for a few days with our promise (a week if we are really lucky) until something happens and we call it quits. The content of the promise doesn’t matter. Our lack of planning does.
I’ve mentioned before that I was a smoker. If I had a nickel for every time I secretly promised myself I was going to stop I’d be writing this post from my place in Tuscany or maybe from the French side of St. Martin because that’s how much freaking cash I would have. Truthfully, I’d be reciting this to someone who would be typing this post.
Think my point is made.
I mention this because a few weeks ago I was struck by a urge to smoke. Not a passing thought but an incessant screaming that sat next to me for a few days. I blame myself really, when you are addicted to something you need to stay focused and realize that when things feel safe is when a slip is most likely to happen.
I didn’t smoke. But it wasn’t wistfully looking back on a tipsy New Year’s memory that got me through.
My plan did. I reminded myself of how happy my smoke-free life was. I looked in the mirror and reminded myself that I stopped doing something I didn’t think I ever would. And I made it a point to do some extra yoga that week. And it worked. Here I am living to tell the tale. So this holiday season while you are lighting up or doing something else that you’d like to stop, no need to wait until January 1.
Start today. Start right now. Create a plan. Get help if you need it. You’re worth the work and the reward.
Let the holiday season begin.
I have an unhealthy obsession with trying to hop forward to handstand. It’s down the road, but I like to think one day I could get there.
In a workshop we partnered off trying to stack the hips over the shoulders. With a yoga buddy standing in front of you they served as a wall and could gently guide the hips back down with a gentle nudge. That’s assuming you could get the hips to lift that high.
The whole act of hopping forward scared the crap out of me though I was in no danger of getting my hips that high.
None. Nada. Zip. Zero.
But I’m a determined chick. I found Kino MacGregor’s video on floating forward. I was still too chicken to do it without the wall. However, that aside, I followed Kino’s direction. And I practiced and practiced.
Though I was sure I was getting closer, I wasn’t sure how far I had to go.
My friend Jessica teaches an early morning hot vinyasa class that gets the juices flowing. After class, we were talking about hopping forward. I was demonstrated my lack of progress.
But then, a new element was added. I got some encouragement. Bam. I was up. My feet were planted, but I was in handstand. Excited, I sprung up!!
Someone said, “You just needed a few cheerleaders!”
Ain’t that the truth.
We could all use a few cheerleaders along the way.
Yoga is community. Yoga is support. Yoga is cheerleaders telling you that you CAN do it.
I’m so grateful. Cheerleader yoga.
I’ve been playing with healthier updates of comfort food classics. There’s nothing like a warm meal when a nip is in the air. The smell of hearty stews and sage laced with sage lifts me on my toes like a cartoon character and spins me around, partner that with something like mashed potatoes and I’m in heaven. Since foods like that aren’t in my life anymore I re-imagined some meals I love with a twist!!
I must confess this is vegan and not vegetarian. I haven’t found a great substitute for egg whites- but if you know of any, please share them in the comments!!!
For the filling
For the topping
PMS is no fun. Anyone who says it’s fun is perhaps taking lots of drugs. PMDD is a very serious condition that requires a doctor’s care. But for the 40 million women who suffer monthly with the more mild aspects there may be help. Did you know that there are several foods that can help alleviate some of the symptoms of PMS? In addition to exercise, here are 9 foods that may take some of the steam of PMS discomfort.
For those that are creeping closer to peri-menopause listen up as well because these tips can help you too. Cramps, bloating, moodiness and fatigue be gone!
A dash of wine or other alcohol. A glass, or even half a glass, of wine every night is healthy for most people. We consider red wine preferable to white wine, since it is higher in antioxidants. That said, most research shows that white wine, beer, and even hard liquor also lower risk of heart disease and other health problems—when consumed in moderation. Once you increase your alcohol consumption to more than a drink or two per day, alcohol becomes unhealthy. Of course, some people don’t do well at all with alcohol, so this recommendation truly needs to be custom-tailored to each individual. We’ve met women whose PMS and PMDD improved quite a bit when they quit drinking.
Life is best lived in moderation. Servings sizes of these foods should be reasonable. Many studies suggest that no one fix is out there but a combination of healthy food choices and activities like yoga can make a real impact.
I used to beat myself up if my asana practice wasn’t what I planned.
I should have taken a few more classes last week …
I have to get to more hot classes (even though I’m exploring some other disciplines)
Fortunately, I’m understanding a bit more that negative self-talk isn’t helpful. Some leaders out there are insistent that breaking down by beating down is the way to go, but I’m not so sure.
Make no mistake- I’m not saying let’s hold hands and sing campfire songs- challenges help us grow. But calling yourself an idiot while it’s happening may not help you get the best possible outcome.
Persistent repetitive thoughts can be useful when you are trying to lose weight, quit smoking or change your diet. But what happens when the thoughts hold you back from the things you want to do? When self-doubt creeps in it seems that negative thought is like a song programmed repeat in our heads.
We all have the ability to put an end to that pattern. Here are 3 ways to halt those thoughts and get back on track to success.
1. Acknowledge the thought
Noticing that you are having a negative thought is a necessary first step. After recognizing that you have started to play that self-destructive song take a moment to figure out why you started to play it in the first place. Did you face a stressful situation? Were you faced with making a decision and unhappy with what you chose? Have you slipped in your workout routine or made a few unhealthy food choices? Beating yourself up isn’t the answer.
2. Confront the thought
When a particularly powerful or insistent negative thought strikes you, examine it. If it’s an objectively true thought, agree with yourself and then restate your commitment. Maybe you just heard yourself say, “I can’t workout for an hour by myself.” Squash that thought by getting in its face. Reply instantly “Don’t ever say that you can’t do anything”. This kind of confrontation gives you power and control over damaging thought patterns.
3. Change the thought
As you notice yourself saying something negative in your mind, you can stop your thought mid-stream my saying to yourself “Stop”. Saying this aloud will be more powerful, and having to say it aloud will make you more aware of how many times you are stopping negative thoughts, and where. Replace a limiting thought like ‘I only ran for 30 minutes’ to ’30 minutes is the most I’ve run yet!’. Good feelings create more good feelings and before you know it those patterns are broken.
Thoughts are things so choose to make the them good ones!