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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Wellness Wednesday

Happy Hump Day!

We’re mid-way through another wonderful week and I for one am beaming today! There is a lot to be grateful for everyday but today especially because my sister and parents are coming to visit!! That, and things are falling into place more and more with my career and our live’s here in San Francisco.yoga-photography workshop-10 In the coming weeks there are lots of exciting things happening! Everything to come¬†has¬†to do with growing in my career, so I couldn’t be more excited that I have time with some of my family beforehand; which brings me to today’s Wellness Wednesday topic, balance.¬†Work-Life-Balance1When I mean balance, I don’t mean the kind I do on my head or in the picture above ūüėČ I mean happily and effectively managing all the different aspects of life. I used to get this tunnel vision when it came to the different aspects of my life: I would focus on whatever I wasn’t happy about and figure out a way to fix it or¬†make it bend my way. Sometimes I would succeed but most of the time I wouldn’t and I would end up morwheele unhappy than when things started. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I was really able to make a sift‚Ķthings just were not working. Now, my focus is on finding time for the little things, working smarter, and allowing myself downtime.¬†I know as life continues and children are added to the picture, things will get even more exciting and the challenge of balancing things out might become more tricky¬†but in the end, its ALL doable. Whatever your priorities in life, you’ve got time for all of them and the stuff you want to do too, it just takes a bit of balance. If you’re not sure where to start, begin by taking 5-10 minutes to be silent, alone, and just see what pops up.

 

’til next time, keep smiling! ūüôā

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

Cookie Wisdom

cookie

We can go ahead and say himself or herself for this one as I am certainly not a man, haha, but I really liked the message.

The ladies in my office have a propensity for ordering take out and leaving the remnants in the kitchen. One of their favorites is chinese yet no one seems to like their fortune cookies. I can’t say I am a huge fan of the ACTUAL cookie, but I do enjoy the little messages inside (so I often crack it and toss it…I know, I know, there are starving children all over this planet and I shouldn’t waste food).

Admittedly a lot of the messages are a little silly but every now and again I come across a truly insightful one that helps bring meaning to my life at present.

I would say the cultivation and discovery of ‘who I am’ is a work in progress,and its scarey! I am totally not as cool as I thought I was, haha!!

Honestly though, allowing yourself to be your true self can be very intimidating. We all want to be the perfect child, sibling, significant other, friend, employee, etc.. and sometimes being ourselves and being great in those roles can seem diametrically opposed.

Here’s the thing: Who you are is perfect! You were made just the way you are for a very specific reason. Daring to be true to your inner self, no matter who that is, will always allow you to be your best self no matter which role you’re in!

 

She’s got the look

She's got the look

I came across this on facebook not too long ago and became mildly obsessed…I would love to hear your thoughts!

If you don’t recognize them, the trio on the bottom are Victoria Secret Models – iconic symbols of sex and beauty, right? …yea, not so much!

I don’t look like either set of women but find the top tier much more attractive than the emaciated looking women below.

As a culture we obsess over this unhealthily thin idea of beauty that is next to impossible for most women to achieve instead of obsessing over self love and healthy habits!

Shifting focus towards embracing your body type, eating healthfully and being active will always lead to your most beautiful self!

Don’t subscribe to the hype…LOVE every inch of the beautiful body with which you’ve been blessed!

Perspective is Everything

Pretty Intense pose, right?!?! I love the ease of his expression…”no big deal, I’m just going to balance here and contemplate life!”

Its very easy to see something like this and think, “that’s impossible!” Admittedly, such a pose is way out of my reach, for the moment, but that doesn’t mean I can’t get there eventually! Keeping a positive perspective can help make a seemingly impossible feat achievable.

Allowing your focus to center around the idea of success in whatever you’re trying to achieve will inevitably bring you that much closer to your goal. Oppositely, if your focus is centered around the insurmountable difficulty of the task at hand, it will be impossible.

Change your perspective and the possibilities are endless!

Shimmy and Shake!

Shimmy and Shake!

In case, like me, you’re so busy you can’t keep track of the days…IT’S FRIDAY FOLKS!!!

Where ever you are, whoever you’re with, let loose, have fun and ENJOY!!! Sometimes nothing is better than a good shimmy and shake – get silly and lighten the mood a little!

Let the work week worries and stresses go so you can take in the rewards of your hard work!

For some of us it still isn’t over but we can always take a little time out to dance!

It’s Friday…Let’s Dance!

Feel the love

Compliments are typically the sort of thing doled out to others – tell a friend you like her shoes, acknowledge a coworkers diligence, admire a fellow practitioners dedication to their practice, etc… but what about you?!?

So often we forget about showing ourselves a little love for the things we do. I’m probably not alone in saying I am my own biggest critic. The bar set for myself is rather high and I am constantly pushing it further and further up. Showing myself a bit of gratitude for achieving goals or exceeding expectations is quite rare.

While its great to hold yourself to high standards, sometimes it can lead to focusing on short comings instead of successes. Remembering to compliment yourself may sound silly but I assure you, this practice in self love is well worth it!

At the end of the day, I try to compliment myself on three things I did well (different from the three positives – see 3/18/13 post)! Instead of getting down on myself for not folding my laundry or making a particular phone call, I focus on the things I did accomplish, like remembering to renew a membership or being on time for everything that day. Simply allowing yourself to acknowledge the little successes can positively change your perspective and likely lead to more of them!

Compliment yourself and feel the love!

Change the trend!

“Nothing tastes as good as thin feels.” Has anyone else heard this expression? Have you ever thought it, or said it to someone, when the urge to overindulge arose?

I will admit I used to repeat that like it was my mantra when I wanted to eat greasy fries, a salty soft pretzel or any other delectable indulgence I had convinced myself I wasn’t ‘allowed’ to eat.

I was a young, insecure girl who felt like my worth was measured by my weight – mostly because all the girls around me did as well! Instead of focusing on putting healthy foods into my system and fueling my body to be its best, I was consumed by the act of deprivation.

I changed my own perspective and I hope to help start a new trend: “Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels.” I still don’t eat greasy fries (maybe a few every now and then) but the reasoning is different.

Eating healthfully makes me feel better, function more efficiently and more pleasant to be around. Whats more, I find fresh foods far more satisfying!

Change the trend…

Back on the horse!

Fallen into a fitness slump? Skipped a yoga practice…or three? Eaten one too many frozen dinners this week?

Sometimes life can get in the way of our best intentions to be healthy, happy versions of ourselves. The ease of loafing after a long day is much more inviting than slipping into sneakers and hitting the gym or standing over the stove to make a meal.

Don’t get me wrong, its not a bad thing to give yourself a break once and awhile but when that break turns into a week or two, you’ve officially hit a slump!

Forget it! Give up! If you’ve already off track whats the point of jumping back on, right? WRONG!!!

No matter if its a day, a week or a month of neglecting your good habits, its NEVER too late to get back into your routine!

Don’t stop trying to be the best possible version of yourself! Even if you’ve stumbled a bit…get back on the horse!