Nurturing

One of the things we talked about at the retreat was prioritizing self-care. Putting the oxygen mask on yourself first, so to speak. It’s so easy to skip this step. Or to do things to wind down that don’t really nurture us. Uhm, Pinterest anyone?

This is how I do this – and it’s not always well. But I made a commitment to myself to start my day by moving. It can be yoga or hula hooping, running around with the dog or dancing – it doesn’t matter. Do I skip some mornings? Yep. And it only serves to remind me that if I start my day by choosing to move around – not just shuffle to the shower, shuffle to the closet, shuffle to work – I’m more likely to KEEP moving, and have a better day.

Here are some easy, FREE ways to keep moving:

Take a Break: Download a quick 5 minute led practice.Kripalu Yoga Break offers postures, breath work and guided meditation in short bursts for when you need a little break, but don’t have the time or inclination for something hefty.

Walk it Off: Seriously. There’s no link here. It just means go for a walk. That’s it. Get up. Walk around. Outside is better than inside. Sometimes I even take my shoes off. Shhh. Don’t tell.

Download: I’ve plugged these guys before, but Yogadownload offers such an amazing service, I have to mention them again. Download a free 20 minute podcast every week, or pay for longer classes. They have audio, and video too if you like to watch your teachers.

Dance Party: A song is usually less than five minutes long. I bet you have five minutes to shake your groove thing.

We Have the Technology: I’m usually on my phone and computer ALL day long. Are you? Use it to your advantage. Change your email password to one of the yamas and niyamas. Change your phone ring to say “Breathe.” Block off a 15 minute meeting every afternoon to get up from your desk and go outside. I don’t always do this either, but I’m glad when I do.

Meeting Maker: This applies to EVERYTHING listed above, or whatever other nurturing activities you come up with: schedule it. There are some days when if it’s not on my calendar, it’s not happening. This is the exact same point I made above – it’s about priorities. It’s about putting the oxygen mask on yourself first, before you can help others. Refilling the well, as we say.

How do you fill the well?

Integrity Daily

I’ve been thinking about intention and integrity a lot lately. When I read anything from Gwen Bell, I feel a mix of admiration and envy. In this case, I am admiring her daily routine and taking inspiration from it. Intention and integrity from dawn to dusk. It sounds like hard work, and delicious.

This is an image of Gwen Bell from her site, linked above.

On Benders and Balance

While the benders I’ve experienced in recent years are mild compared to the “Winning!” variety – mostly binging on rice cakes and watching too much TV on the internet – I do think it’s natural for the pendulum to swing in extremes. And sometimes we forget how poorly that extra drink (or serving of cheese or gluten or Real Housewives or heroin) serves us until we wake up the next day with head stuffed with spikey cotton.

Well + Good NYC asks the question: If we don’t know what it feels like to be down, can we truly appreciate the accomplishment of up?

Four experts weigh in, and the prevailing wisdom seems to be: Benders are Bad! Love Yourself and Pay Attention!

What do you think? Are benders a part of balance?

Read the whole article.

Condo Yoga, Relaunch

I am incredibly pleased, proud, excited and nervous to announce the official relaunch of Condo Yoga, my wee company aiming to bring yoga to the people – wherever they are.

This venture is a work of love, and I’m so hopeful for its future and the possibilities it brings. If you’re so inclined, please take a visit. The new site is up and running here, and I’ll be adding news, updates and offers on the Facebook page as well.

Eep!

The Daily Show

A daily on-mat practice is not always the easiest thing to do. Every morning I wake up to my phone alarm, church bells clanging in the distance. Cling, clang, cling, clang. And each morning I snooze, snooze, snooze until I have to start crossing things off my morning must list (snooze: I’ll grab breakfast at work. snooze: I’ll do a short yoga practice. snooze: I showered yesterday!)

But lately I’ve been waking up excited about my morning yoga. I’ve moved away from easing into the morning with gentle stretching. And now I’m up and ready to kick some ass. Sometimes all it takes is a switch in the routine. And my routine-switching ass-kicking is coming by way of Dave Farmar power yoga podcasts.

He’s pushy, he’s funny, he’s calm and real. And somehow he makes me think that after 15 years on the mat, I’ll finally be able to float to the top of my mat without landing like a frog in a squat. Now, that may or may not be possible but, for whatever reason, his tone and guidance is resonating with me right now. I’ve extended my 20 minutes to 30. Let’s see if I can’t work my way back up to an hour and half practice. Daily? Well, we’ll see how it goes.

Weekend Activities

Saturday I did a home practice with a Dave Farmar podcast. He’s good. I ate a really magnificent eggs florentine, and then went to the MoMA and watched a woman dance in sand for 15 minutes while listening to the people around me complain about it.


Sunday I did the same Dave Farmar practice except this time I was super cranky about it. I went to the Museum of Natural History with friends and Journeyed to the Stars with Whoopi Goldberg, and then enjoyed taxidermy while constantly finding the gift shop and nothing else. I came home and watched Enlighten Up!, which I liked but didn’t love. And I wrote an email to my dad. Love that guy. Oh, and I also made wasabi chick peas using this recipe, which I remembered to halve. They’re really addictive; I think it’s the salt.

julia lee and more

I’ve been off track in my practice lately. Thrown off track by life, decisions, moving across the country – again – this time on my own. Back to NY and back to a less stable but, ultimately, more promising place.

This weekend, I’m heading up to Kripalu to help a dear teacher of mine with a workshop she’s leading. It’s an almost unbelievable opportunity as I know I need this time to immerse myself in yoga and, what’s more, shift my focus to others instead of myself.

In the meantime, I’ve been poking around the interweb for yogic inspiration. I know it usually comes on the mat, or on a walk, or at least out in nature. But sometimes the couch is where it’s at. Thank goodness for yoga blogs.

I found julie lee yoga through Daily Cup of Yoga.

(Don’t be put off by posts like “5 steps to beautiful skin.” Daily Cup offers some amount of insight everyday – some days it’s the perfect inspiration and other days it’s not for me. But to have an everyday resource for inspiration is wonderful.)

Julia Lee, on the other hand, is a new read for me. But I’m pretty sure it’s going to become a daily read as well. Inspirational quotes and stories of her own journey. Part of me wonders why I even bother with this on-again-off-again blogging when people like Julie are out there putting her fingers to the keys everyday, and her body on the mat.

Despite my inner gremlins, I wanted to share some of her inspiration here. This post in particular struck because it asks what living yoga really is.

In a perfect world (or in a world where money grows from trees), yoga would be freely accessible to all. There would be no such thing as $100 spandex pants or exorbitant yearly pass prices. Unfortunately, the world is not a perfect place – nor does money grow from trees…

I realized that my definition of yoga had been tainted and warped by the influence of the modern world. Yoga isn’t only about sporting the top-of-the-line clothing and accessories, and studying with “yoga celebrities”. That’s probably the worst interpretation of yoga there is. Yoga is a lifestyle, a conscious decision to make the world around you a better place. Just because I practice to online videos on a mat in my room doesn’t make it any less worthwhile. I am living my yoga when I do kind things, when I act with mindfulness and intention. Each day I embrace the true principles of the yamas and niyamas, I am engaging myself in the practice of yoga. So what did I learn today? I learned yoga doesn’t equate to dollar signs, and that I can be a true yogini after all.