Nurturing

snowy day

What nurtures you?

At the Refilling Your Well retreat I assist, this is a question we ask every time. We go through a visualization meditation and exercise of writing down the things that nurture us – whether it’s a hot cup of tea, a day at the beach, a massage, a hug – and then examine why we don’t do those things more often.

Often we blame time, or money, but there’s almost always a deeper truth there. We, a lot of us, don’t know how to take care of ourselves. Or really understand the importance of it.

This year, I’m not making “resolutions” per se. But I am looking at what nurtures me. What makes me feel good, whole, happy. If you know me at all, you might already know a couple of things on that list: a hot cup of tea. A good story. A dog cuddle. But there are other things too, that I often forget about: A great workout that leaves me breathless and sore the next day, creative collaboration, a project with results I can hold in my hands, a laugh so hard it makes me cry, friendship.

I feel like if I can weave these things into my life – or even better – weave my life around these activities, I will be well on my way to a happy new year.

It’s a good question to ask, and the answers might change every so often. What nurtures you?

This & That: Balance

Feeling a little off kilter lately? It happens to the best of us. Try nadi shodana pranayama (alternate nostril breathing) to get you back in balance.

Focused pranayama used to be a part of my daily practice, and then it kind of, well, just slipped off the radar. But this morning I really felt a pull to do some nadi shodhana. They say it is balancing and purifying. For me, I felt calmer and more focused.

First image is from The Huffington Post and the second is from Noda Yoga. And if you think I didn’t spend at least a couple of minutes watching models fall on the runway, then you are mistaken.

Yoga in Tough Times

This week has been rough for those of us in the North East. Right now the sky is an incredible blue and the clouds are perfect white and shadow. The storm, and the aftermath, have really been stressing me out. I’ll say this, I am among the fortunate to have power and water. So, so many people are not so lucky.

I’ve tried to curtail my consumption of media at this point. It’s so overwhelming. I feel better when I reach out to the community around me – letting friends and family come charge electronics, get warm and do laundry; or just sitting in coffee shops chatting with neighbors – than I do when I’m on twitter or Facebook or even reading the news.

I keep telling myself this is an opportunity to slow down. To let go. To be aware and to practice. But it’s hard not to be wound up when there is so much swirling around us. I have been lacing up my sneakers and running, rather than getting on the mat. But I feel that shifting now too.

With this post, I’m simply stating where I am in my head. Completely grateful, worried about those who are still without power, and worse. And simply trying to hold the space to have all of these emotions at once.

Be safe.

Image from Michelle Gardella Photography. Doesn’t it look so peaceful?

Listening

I had my yoga bag packed and had every intention of going back to sweat myself nauseous at a Bikram class. I was hydrated. I even bought the little shorts. But you know what? I didn’t like it.

Oh, I had these Eat, Pray, Love visions of how this practice was going to transform me, body and mind. That in 30 days I’d sweat out everything that was ever wrong with me and I’d be THAT girl, the Bikram girl.

I don’t think I’m that girl, you guys. I was dreading class. And then I remembered that there’s free yoga in Bryant Park just a couple of blocks from my office. Regular temperatures? An hour long? Outside? Much more my style. The relief I felt was palpable.

So, to outdoor yoga I went. And it wasn’t perfect, and it didn’t transform my life. But I really liked it.

Image from the Bryant Park Blog.

This & That: Grounding

…if you work like this, in an office or a coffee shop on a computer, or if your life involves a lot of scheduling and problem solving, you probably spend a lot of time in your head. So make sure to get back into your body with that series of grounding postures…

It’s just the nature of our lives these days, well, at least of mine. Think, think, think, think. Sometimes my regular practice isn’t enough to bring me back into my body. To counter this all-heads activity, grounding postures like warrior one and this variation, humble warrior, can help bring me back to earth.

I found the first image on Consumerist, credited here. And the second is Sadie Nardini from her site.

This & That: Moon Salutations

…I sometimes feel like retreating from all the stimulus of the world around me. If you ever feel this way, try that balancing and grounding series Chandra Namaskar…

Look, here’s the truth: When it comes to getting my period… (SPOILER ALERT: I’m talking about my period. Did I do that wrong? Ok. I never know the right vocabulary to use. Some yogis talk about their ‘moon cycle,’ but these are also ladies who use the Diva Cup and that’s just not me.) Regardless of what you call it, I suffer. And a lot of us do. Which is why I love Chandra Namaskar. It’s gentle, forgiving and compassionate.

A Lunar Series isn’t just for women or even just to practice when you’re feeling the pull of the moon. Anyone can benefit from reconnecting and rebalancing. Moon salutations tend to be less stimulating and more grounding than Sun Salutations, which can be a good balance in our Yang Yang Yang world.

That said, for me, this series feels delicious when all I want to do is curl up in a ball and hide away from the sights and sounds of the city.

I use the guidance of a podcast when that feels right.

The first image is stock and the second is the cutest thing ever from this site, credited here.