New Year Yoga – Don’t Change

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The end of last year was well, quite glorious. I had two weeks to do nothing but massage clients, teach yoga and take classes. Going to school full-time was the smartest thing I’ve done but still a commitment and shit ton of work. And while I am grateful for all of the good stuff happening, I was feeling a little overwhelmed and tired.

I wanted to spend my time off doing all the yoga. My friend Kathleen and I strolled to Jivamukti to take a class with Julie Kirkpatrick on Christmas Day. Class was like wrestling a cuddly grizzly bear. When you move pose after pose after pose after pose you have choices- try to hang on for dear life or surrender to the moment. In savasana I felt myself let go.

Listen, I know that as yoga teachers we talk about letting go (and sometimes we even mean it), but in that moment if the lights went out, and I mean forever- I would have been okay. That may seem like a heavy statement but it’s true. Savasana prepares us for the biggest unhooking of all.

In a Sunday class with Cassandra Rigney at Jivamukti she talked about watching Time of Death, a miniseries that follows terminally ill patients during their last weeks. Seems grim, I know. But Cassandra said it was a powerful testament to how in the end we forget all the bad shit that people have done and only see the good. Why not live like that now? Why not indeed I wondered as I walked home. Fresh off a Serial and Marking of Murderer binge Cassandra’s mention of ToD seemed like a good move. I was wrong.

I wasn’t just a good move. It was yoga. I was riveted watching these stories of life and death. Some of the families graciously let us watch their loved ones transition on camera. Some didn’t and that’s a beautiful and noble choice as well. It got me thinking.

This is yoga. This is life.

Yoga doesn’t only prepare me for living life in the now, it’s also practice for the ultimate letting go. What stuck me most was my reaction. You can’t help but reflect when you watch people die. But instead of thinking about what I would change I found myself thinking about what I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t change a lot.

I wouldn’t change the way I love the time I spend with my family.  Or seeing my brother’s face at Thanksgiving. Or cracking up with my parents and sister at Christmas dinner. I wouldn’t change the way I laugh at Dakota’s spring in her step when she smells the air during her morning walk. I wouldn’t change what I’m doing with my life. I want to do more of what I’m already doing now.

Forget about what you would change. What are you doing right? What’s working?

Do that.

So when I think about 2016 I’m not challenging myself to rock the shit out of the new year. I’m going to fucking be more present than ever in the now.

That’s working. Namaste y’all.

 

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Monday Yoga- Make Mistakes

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A few weeks ago a teacher encouraged us to find the very edge of our balance in tree pose. ‘Ir’s okay if you fall.’ Jokingly, she said we wouldn’t be kicked out of class. It’s not about the perfection. It’s takes practice for me to make mistakes instead of ‘getting it right’. Asana, like like isn’t the end it’s the by product of all of the choices I’ve made up until that point. So why not get a little risky? Why not find the edge? If if works out, I get to celebrate and if not, I can just try and try again.

Happy Monday!

Namaste y’all.

Three Ways to be Mindful at Work

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There’s a lot of talk these days about being more mindful. What is mindfulness? While there are myriad ways experts define what being mindful means one thing is clear, to be mindful is to intentionally bring awareness about thoughts, actions and emotions in the the present moment without judgment.

It means letting things be as they are without changing them.

Anderson Cooper discussed his experience with mindfulness and John Kabat-Zinn on 60 Minutes. We’re hearing more and more about how meditation can not only change your life, but a Harvard study suggests that it may actually change your brain. The wonderful thing about being mindful is that you can start small. And it doesn’t require adding anything to your life, but simply opening yourself up to what is happening in the moment.

You can be more mindful at home, with your family and even at work. Here are three ways that you can bring mindfulness to your work day.

  1. Be present. Easier said than done. Mindfulness teaches us that by being in this moment we can truly accept things as they are. When this happens we can think about making real lasting change. Of course there are times when attention is divided, but it may be worth asking yourself if it always has to be. Soemtimes distracting ourselves and being ‘so busy’ is a way to avoid bigger issues that really need our attention.
  2. Breathe. I know. We are always breathing. But when we pay attention on purpose to how we are breathing the effects can be transformative. Find a place to be still and inhale for a count of four and then slowly exhale for a count of four. Do this three or four times and you may find that you are more calm and relaxed.
  3. Take a moment for yourself. Sounds like another luxury but taking a minute to stop doing and start being can improve your outlook. It can be done anywhere. Before flying out of the car to run into the office, set a timer for one-minute, close your eyes and listen to yourself breathe. You don’t have to do anything to how you are breathing. Just listen. You may be surprised what you hear.

Make 2015 your year of living mindfully. Namaste y’all.

If you would like to learn more and listen to a beginner meditation, click here

The Whole 30

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I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned my friend Patrice. Fate has a way of bringing people together and from the moment I met her I knew we’d be friends. She listens to my rants, tells me when I’m being silly (as in stubborn) and makes me feel better if I’m feeling low. So when she asked if I’d do the Whole 30 with her I said yes instantly. A program that helps you feel great and focuses on real food? That’s what I preach, bring it on!!!

And then I saw what I couldn’t have red wine (or any alcohol, boo) for a month and was less enthused, but sticking together and all that I’m still on board. I like the idea of doing something for 30 days. In a week I’m launching a 30 Meditation Journey- it’s for folks that want to try meditation, but have felt a little nervous about doing so. Partnering meditation with whole eating sounds like a fine way finish up healing from abdominal surgery.

 

So back to the Whole 30. Here’s some scoop from the site.

The Whole30 Program Rules

Yes: Eat real food.

Eat meat, seafood, eggs, tons of vegetables, some fruit, and plenty of good fats from fruits, oils, nuts and seeds. Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re totally natural and unprocessed. Don’t worry… these guidelines are outlined in extensive detail in our free shopping list.

 

– See more at: http://whole30.com/whole30-program-rules/#sthash.Q0ru9FdQ.dpuf

No: Avoid for 30 days.

More importantly, here’s what NOT to eat during the duration of your Whole30 program. Omitting all of these foods and beverages will help you regain your healthy metabolism, reduce systemic inflammation, and help you discover how these foods are truly impacting your health, fitness and quality of life.

  • Do not consume added sugar of any kind, real or artificial. No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, Splenda, Equal, Nutrasweet, xylitol, stevia, etc. Read your labels, because companies sneak sugar into products in ways you might not recognize.
  • Do not consume alcohol in any form, not even for cooking. (And it should go without saying, but no tobacco products of any sort, either.)
  • Do not eat grains. This includes (but is not limited to) wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, amaranth, buckwheat, sprouted grains and all of those gluten-free pseudo-grains like quinoa. This also includes all the ways we add wheat, corn and rice into our foods in the form of bran, germ, starch and so on. Again, read your labels.
  • Do not eat legumes. This includes beans of all kinds (black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, etc.), peas, chickpeas, lentils, and peanuts. No peanut butter, either. This also includes all forms of soy – soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and all the ways we sneak soy into foods (like lecithin).
  • Do not eat dairy. This includes cow, goat or sheep’s milk products such as cream, cheese (hard or soft), kefir, yogurt (even Greek), and sour cream… with the exception of clarified butter or ghee. (See below for details.)
  • Do not eat white potatoes. This is somewhat arbitrary, but if we are trying to change your habits (chips and fries) and improve the hormonal impact of your food choices, it’s best to leave white, red, purple, Yukon gold, and fingerling potatoes off your plate.
  • Do not consume carrageenan, MSG or sulfites. If these ingredients appear in any form on the label of your processed food or beverage, it’s out for the Whole30.
  • No Paleo-ifying baked goods, desserts, or junk foods. Trying to shove your old, unhealthy diet into a shiny new Whole30 mold will ruin your program faster than you can say “Paleo Pop-Tarts.” This means no desserts or junk food made with “approved” ingredients—no banana-egg pancakes, almond-flour muffins, flourless brownies, or coconut milk ice cream. Don’t try to replicate junk food during your 30 days! That misses the point of the Whole30 entirely.

One last and final rule: You are not allowed to step on the scale or take any body measurements for the duration of the program. This is about so much more than just weight loss, and to focus on your body composition means you’ll miss out on the most dramatic and lifelong benefits this plan has to offer. So, no weighing yourself, analyzing body fat or taking comparative measurements during your Whole30. (We do encourage you to weigh yourself before and after, however, so you can see one of the more tangible results of your efforts when your program is over.)

– See more at: http://whole30.com/whole30-program-rules/#sthash.Q0ru9FdQ.dpuf

 

I’m skeptical about some of this. I’ve read through the site and some of the language is a little too tough love for me. I’m already the chick who used to live her life without moderation- so I’m not really sure if the Whole 30® program is a good fit for someone like me. Life in extremes can play to my addictive nature and if I’m not careful I could be looking down the abyss. So, I’m keeping a watchful eye on me. This isn’t to say that this isn’t a great thing for lots of folks who need a serious kick in the ass to stop some healthy habits and/or thinking.

My eating habits are pretty good- but keep a mindful eye on what I’m eating may be a kind of food meditation. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.

 

I’ll keep you guys updated weekly.

 

Let the games begin.

 

Namaste y’all.

 

Have any of you done The Whole 30? I’d love to hear your thoughts.