Meditation Basics

Happy Hump Day friends! I can’t believe it’s already Wednesday – having Monday off is making this week fly by. It has only been a few days but I am happy to report I’ve been sticking to my resolutions…I napped more than I wanted to yesterday but that’s okay. I’m working on giving myself a break; in fact, that is the focus of my meditation.

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For me, meditation is best kept simple: commit to a time of day & a length of time that work, find a comfortable seat, and breathe. To settle in I focus on my breathing, and once I’m comfortable I typically allow my mind to wander. This year I’m trying something new. I thought about something I really need to work on & kept coming back to the fact I’ve always been my worst critic.

I’m taking this first quarter to focus my meditation on being kind to myself, having a little more compassion, & giving myself a break. It takes just 20-30 minutes a day for 16-18 weeks to begin to notice change.

If you’re new to meditation even 5 minutes daily can make a real difference. Simply find a time during your day (in the morning, right before returning to work during your lunch hour, after your shower, before bed…) and sit quietly with your thoughts for 5 minutes. Try to just be an observer, allowing whatever thoughts that pop into your head to exist without judgement, and repeat that everyday for a month. After a month try 7 minutes, then 10, then 15…you get the idea!!

’til next time, keep smiling! ūüôā

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Meditate and Motivate

Happy Monday Friends!

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! Phil and I really enjoyed our weekend but I think the best part was our bike ride through Golden Gate Park to the beach on Saturday. We ended up riding around 20 miles and just when I felt like I wanted to quit, the road opened up this is…photo 1-2…I mean seriously?!?!?!!?!?!? I feel like that has been my reaction A LOT to the sights surrounding my new city…every time I turn around I feel like I see another picture worthy view and I’m overcome with emotion. Each time, I’m reminded of how far I am from home, & I’m also reminded of how far I am from my own personal success. When you move your whole existence thousands of miles from where anyone knows your name you have to rebuild, re-establish, and revive;¬†which is exactly what I am SLOWLY doing.¬†photo 2-2

It’s in moments when I feel unsure that I turn to a simple but powerful mantra, Soham, or I am. It’s important to take quiet time to¬†breathe deeply and say ‘SO-HAM'(Hum) – Remind myself: I AM enough, I AM strong, I AM beautiful, I AM perfect, I AM powerful, and I can do ANYTHING.

’til next time, keep smiling! ūüôā

Summer Solstice & Weekend Fun!

Hello WordPress Family! I hope everyone is officially enjoying their summer!! Saturday marked the Summer Solstice & like a good little yogi I honored the occasion with 108 sun salutations. There was much internal debate about joining a group or class but I personally enjoy doing my 108 practice privately Рknowing there are a number of like minded souls globally participating in the same tradition makes me feel much more connected to the yoga community anyway!summer108

I did three sets of 36, dedicated to the past, present and future. My past meditation was focused on letting go with gratitude – acknowledging everything up to this point as a blessing that has helped shape the person I am. My present meditation was focused on celebrating each moment without judgement – not labeling an experience positive or negative but receiving it as it comes with openness & excitement. My future meditation was focused on honoring my inner light¬†–¬†remaining true to my inner self and continuing to follow my heart along my path to happiness.

bikeridePhil & I enjoyed a long ride on Sunday – about 40 miles – but we broke it up with some swim lessons & lunch @ Zakes in Fort Washington. We enjoyed a peaceful night in Sunday that was only slightly saddened by the tie that should have been a win for the US against Portugal in the World Cup. I was admittedly more frustrated that I should have been but we’re still in the tournament and have a shot against Germany….

Let’s go USA!!

 

Yoga Journal Lessons

Good Morning Friends! My Flyers may not have been able to pull out a victory last night but the sun is supposed to shine today so we’ll call it a win overall!¬†beYOUtiful

As mentioned yesterday, I learned a lot at the yoga conference. More than acquiring physical ways to develop my practice, I took away some deeper messages that I can apply both in my practice and my everyday life.

While I already knew this, the weekend was a major reminder to be authentic to¬†your true self – whomever that might be! happyThere were a myriad of framed messages with Buddhas all over the conference¬†that seems to convey just that…who you are is beautiful, unique and to be celebrated! While we all must wear many hats in this life, its paramount¬†to remember true happiness lies in being honest with yourself and to who you are, even if that someone isn’t who others want you to be – you’ve got to make yourself happy first! I don’t know about anyone else but this is something I struggle with sometimes – in an effort to please others I end up being inauthentic to my true self and become unhappy or resentful…not so good!

Another overarching message I took away from the conference was to slow down & shut up, which again, I already knew but obviously needed to be reminded.loveedit There is a universal rhythm…a natural flow to this crazy existence we call life and if ¬†we don’t take quiet moments to catch our breath, we’ll constantly be fighting life’s current. I am committing myself to daily meditation, in addition to the other self-care activities on my list, in an effort to better tap into nature’s rhythm. I know it sounds odd to some but I really believe a calm and peaceful mind can help cultivate creativity & an open¬†heart! When you slow down and tap in, your naturally more open to love life fully because you’re not tensing up from the chaos and stress of battling the day to day!

I could go on for days about all the inspiring messages I took away from the weekend but I think these were the two big ones! In terms of action steps (besides adding morning meditations to my routine), I have officially applied for a yoga teacher training program that starts in the fall, fingers crossed I get accepted & as soon as my gym membership is officially up (5/20) I am signing up for YogaGlo to keep learning from yogis and not just practicing on my own!

Namaste!

 

Daily Eats

  • Breakfast: Strawberry Banana Protein Shake
  • Snack: Greek Yogurt w/Blueberries
  • Lunch: Mixed Greens w/Tuna & Lemon
  • Snack: Raw Almonds
  • Dinner: Cioppino w/whole wheat sourdough bread
  • Dessert: Cacao Fudge Bars w/Unsweetened Coconut

Rainy Day Relationship Revelations

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This afternoon’s lunch hour was spent with one of my close friends and mentors Kristin, owner of Nourishing Storm. She is a fellow nutrition student at IIN and has been the most amazing influence along my journey!

Our intention was to have a lovely lunch in the park, to catch up, and for me to practice doing health history consultations for school. Of course, as soon as I stepped out of my car, the skies opened and it began to down pour! Being the nature loving ladies we are, we both commented on how awesome the rain felt and didn’t let it alter our plans – the blanket just got set out on the gazebo floor instead of the grass!

After the consultation, which went really well, we got to talking about how things are going in each of our lives. As we reached the topic of my relationship, and healthy relationships in general, she said something very powerful that I guess I’ve always known but often forget. Ironically enough, it had been the topic of her morning meditation.

Kristin said that we have everything we need within ourselves and its once we’re able to recognize and celebrate that completeness that we find the partner we’re meant to share this journey with. While that may sound a bit lofty, its totally true.

I believe in my heart if I had met my boyfriend even a few months earlier than I did, we wouldn’t be together. It wasn’t until I was happily on my path and finding fulfillment in everyday that I could be open to attracting ‘the right’ guy!

Always remember you’re perfect and complete just the way you are! Finding a partner in life is a blessing, not a requirement! Love you first!

Summer Lovin’

Happy Friday!! I know, well at least in my book, summer starts memorial day weekend, but today is the Summer Solstice and the true first day of summer!

Some people mark today with BBQ and beach visits; however, in the yogic world, today is marked by something a little different. In honor of the summer solstice yogis and yoga enthusiasts from all over will do a series of 108 sun salutations. Why 108 you might ask?…well, there are many meanings for the number, some of which I will share below!

-108 is the number of Upanishads. Upanishads are a collection of philosophic texts used to form the theoretical basis of Hinduism. 

-108 is the number of names for Buddha as well as for Shiva in Hindu philosophy

-108 is the number of beads on a mala. A mala is cyclical strand of prayer beads, similar to the idea of a rosary.

-108 is twelve times nine which is the number of vinyasas in a traditional sun salutation.

There are many others you’re welcome to explore for yourself but the idea of the 108 sun salutations is to honor yourself and welcome the change of seasons with a refreshed, renewed self.

A sun salutation consists of 1. inhaling and reaching the arms overhead, 2. exhaling into a forward bend 3. inhaling and lifting half way keeping fingers touching the earth or your shins 4. exhaling to jump or step back into a low push up 5. inhaling into upward facing dog 6. exhaling into downward dog 7. inhaling to jump or step your feet to your hands 8. exhaling into a forward bend 9. inhaling, reaching hands overhead and exhaling them back to heart center.

Arguably 9 is two in one and you don’t have to exhale and bring your hands back to heart center. I feel, and I am not alone in this, it’s more complete and seals the flow to bring your hands back to heart center- plus gives you a starting point for the next 107.

Trust me when I say this is challenging and you’re certainly going to feel the warmth and ache creep through your body. However, the cleansing, detoxifying benefits and the feeling of renewal you experience upon completion is truly elating!¬†

Dedicate your 108 to someone or something you love and mark the start of your summer right!

 

Namaste!

 

 

 

Flow with it

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Happy Hump Day!

There is a saying that goes something like “When we make plans, God laughs.” For the life of me I couldn’t tell you where it comes from, but I love and hate it all at the same time!

As a planner and mild perfectionist, one of my biggest challenges is ‘going with the flow’ and adapting when things don’t go according to plan.

Learning to roll with life’s punches and go with the flow was a near impossible feat for me in the past. Sure, I can be easy going…as long as everything goes according to my plan, haha!

Through my yoga practice, I have learned how to breathe through points of discomfort, and just be with them. When things don’t go according to plan, my practice reminds me that you’ll be given everything you need in life and nothing you don’t. So if the plans changes, perhaps God (or the Universe or whatever higher power you subscribe to) has another, potentially greater, plan in mind.

Today, remind yourself you can have everything you want in this world. Things may not follow the path you’ve set in your mind but if you allow yourself to flow with it, life will take you where you need to go!

Moment of Zen

Who has a spare ten minutes everyday? With all of life’s commitments and activities, the prospect of taking between five and fifteen minutes to meditate seems daunting and dare I say unproductive….”you mean you want me to sit there and do nothing but breathe?!!? I have things to do!”

While I agree it doesn’t seem very productive, the damage you’re UNDOING through meditation is arguably the most proactive thing you can do for your health. Stress can literally kill you if you’re not careful but in the short term it can combat all the positive things you might be trying to do through diet and exercise.

Stress causes cortisol levels to spike and your immune system to depress leading to all sorts of fun things like a slower metabolism, inflammation, weight gain, lack of energy, etc..

Taking a moment to meditate daily has been proven to counter and improve the negative effects of stress. Meditation practitioners have higher energy levels, faster metabolic rates and stronger immune systems than their non-practicing counterparts.

Still not convinced? Give yourself a moment of zen once a day for a week and see if you’re better able to manage stress!

Would it kill you to try?

For better or worse we humans are creatures of habit. There are certainly people for whom this doesn’t apply, but by and large we are comforted by the routines and habitual behaviors of the day to day – security in similarity I guess.

I will try most anything once; however, I’m totally guilty of refusing to branch out when it comes to my routine. Would it kill me to add another yoga class to my schedule, try waking up a little earlier to meditate for a few minutes each morning or blow off a work out for an impromptu day trip to the beach?!? Seems unlikely but I am still pretty hesitant.

Its as if I’m scared the world is going to come spinning down around me if I take my life in a different direction or try something new – crazy right?!

If this resonates with you then try something new this spring. Do something you’ve been afraid to try and see what happens. It could be something small like trying a new recipe or something a little bigger like learning another language – just try!

Whether your ‘something new’ ends up becoming a part of your life or something you never do again, you’ve got to ask yourself…

Would it kill you to try?