Monthly Archives: July 2013

Just do it!

Yoga instructors are just as guilty as anyone else when it comes to letting life get in the way of a consistent and dedicated yoga practice.  Here is how one instructor dug out of her non-yoga rut.

The scenario: “I’ve let my yoga practice slide. With a new job and a sale of my home, the purchase of a new home, and my family obligations, I have a lot going on.  But, I know better.  I know better than to let my practice slide at a time when I really, really need yoga.  How do I find the time?  This month, I was only able to get in two hours of yoga; I am feeling run down and uninspired.  I rely on caffeine to save me, but it doesn’t work.  I find there is no joy in just getting things done–because there is always so much to do!  I’m normally a very happy person.  What is wrong with me?”

Substitute the word yoga in the above for anything you like to do: run, pray, hike, walk the dog, play with your kids, bike around on your cruiser.  Everyone can relate to the scenario above whether you are dedicated to yoga or something else.

There is something so satisfying in doing what you love to do; and when it is cut out of your life, things don’t feel as good.  Life is not as sweet.  It starts small and creeps up on us.  We skip one class because we have to get something done.  We say we will play later, when the lawn is mowed.  Before we know it, we’ve missed several classes or opportunities to be with our loved ones.

Here is something to consider: When life is changing really fast, that is the best time to set up some new habits.  It takes about a month to change your mind into doing something differently and have it become a habit.  So when life gets rough, how can you set up new and healthy patterns to nurture yourself?

Identify barriers: First, identify how you feel, and give a label to what is missing.  As far as the scenario above, I was missing my body feeling open and flexible and, I was missing my connection with the divine.  Yoga is not only about physical asana.  Yoga is about creating and keeping a spiritual connection. In identifying what else was in the way of my yoga practice, I discovered I had to find the time for my practice.

The solution:  “Just Do It!  When I started my new job, I started carving out space for my yoga practice and a short meditation several times a week.  Three times a week was my goal.  The only time available was in the early morning before the day began.  I started getting up 20 minutes early to do a very short yoga practice and a short meditation.  After several weeks, I was indeed feeling better.  Life was not just about what needed to be done, and getting from point A to point B.  It became enjoyable again.  As I feel better, I have more energy to do other things I had been neglecting.  It’s cyclical; one action begets the other and I’m getting up a bit earlier each week to do a little more and a little more.”

Instead of feeling depressed or run-down, Just Do It!  Find a way to feel better by identifying why you feel the way you do and remain committed to finding a solution.

Remember to start with small attainable goals and build upon those new and healthy habits.


Hot Yoga: The Hot Trend

Yoga Apparel

Yoga as a sport has exponentially risen worldwide in appeal and the number of people participating in it over the last two decades. As the fitness regimen has made an impact across the globe, there has been more information about the various types of yoga available to pursue and the distinct advantages to each. One of the fastest growing segments of the yoga community is the phenomenon that is hot yoga. There are several variations on the hot yoga style and the main ones are Bikram yoga, Moksha yoga, Barkan yoga, and hot power yoga. At Cozy Orange, they not only provide great fashion related to hot yoga that is comfy and functional.

Hot Yoga

Hot yoga involves a series of positions and breathing techniques performed in a room that is usually heated to about 105 degrees Fahrenheit. By far the most well known (and most popular) is Bikram yoga, which is considered the hottest hot yoga available in terms of the temperature of the room. It is also is the one type of hot yoga that involves the most discipline and consistency in training to maximize effectiveness.

Essentials in Yogawear

To remain cool in these hot yoga classes, breathable workout apparel is essential. 4 way stretch, enhanced breathability and moisture wicking capabilities are baked into to every piece of Cozy Orange yoga clothing. From tanks to crops, Cozy Orange has a fabulous collection of yoga apparel to keep you cool and look cool too! My favorite for a hot yoga class is the Leo Tank, a flowy , lightweight tank with a built in sports bra that keeps sweat at bay! The cute design gives me the confidence I need to feel like I can strike a pose, and strike it in style!

Nature, Nurture and New Heights

I have spent the past three weeks in Squamish B.C. as well as Yosemite climbing almost every day.  I have some large climbing goals for my year of traveling.  I would like to sport lead 5.11s outside, boulder V8, and trad lead 5.9 or higher, ( see my dictionary for non-climbers below to learn more!).  Every day I come closer to these goals even on the days I feel as though I am failing or stagnate I know in the end they are just a step in the process of success.  I led my first 10.c outside in Squamish.  I backed off this climb on lead twice before I had the confidence to push through and lead it. I was so proud of myself for accomplishing a goal, which I had been shut down on twice before.  I always say third time is the charm.

During my climb, I have been wearing Cozy Orange’s cross-functional yoga wear. The enhanced elasticity and durability of the apparel has been perfect for my climb. Just because I chose to live more simply does not mean I don’t enjoy style!  On my most recent climb, I wore the Star Gazer Tank and the Gemini Pants. The top is cute and comfy with a unique back cut out and the pants I love because I can roll them up and down as needed! I also love how comfortable the waist is, as it doesn’t cut in real tight!

Although I am focused on climbing harder I am very aware of personal changes and the generosity of others.  Before I left I had a very difficult year.  I had kind of shut down.  I don’t think people around me would totally agree, but I only was happy as a front since who wants to be around someone who is miserable.  I have been living out of my car and tent for two months now climbing and camping as much as possible.  Life is much more simplistic and I really have the time to notice people and their actions.  It has been making a huge impact on me and I am very grateful.  I look forward to the day when I can return the generosity.  I have had people open their homes, take trips, introduce me to friends, feed me, and just simply be kind and welcoming.  Think if there is someone in your life who could use a little pick me up. Something small like a cup of coffee or just some time spent going on a hike could make a big difference in a person’s life when they are having a difficult time.  If you are having a difficult time consider calling a friend you really enjoy and don’t talk about your troubles just observe and take in this persons traits and see if you can make changes in your own life not to be like them, but pull qualities you admire.  That is a personal goal I now have for my year of climbing.  I am going to keep track of different traits I admire and consider small changes I can make in my own life, personality, and reactions.

Climbing vocabulary for non-climbersSport Leading means you are putting up the rope and clipping it to pre-existing bolts as you climb. There is a risk of falling.  Top rope means the rope is already above you so there is no risk in falling.  Trad or Traditional climbing means you are placing gear into a crack as your protection.  There are no bolts and the gear has the potential to pull out if you fall. Bouldering means you are climbing shorter heights, but usually more strenuous moves and you do not have a rope attached. Ratings for sport and trad are on a scale 5.4 to 5.15c bouldering uses a V scale like V0 I’m not sure what the hardest is these days V14 at least but maybe V15.


Practice Asteya for a Complete YOU

We’ve discussed Asanas and a few of the Niyamas in past posts.  Asteya (pronounced ah-STAY’-uh) is one of the five Yamas which comprise the first limb of the 8 limbs of yoga according to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.  Asteya is commonly referred to as “non-stealing.” However, it can also be thought of as not taking from something and not trying to make it less whole.  I thought about this more as a fellow teacher shed some light on this during a class last week.  This could not have come at a better time for me.  

IN OUR OCCUPATIONS/CAREERS. We often tie ourselves very closely to our careers and occupations.  As we become more involved, it is easy to start to define ourselves by our careers or occupations.  ”I work as a [insert your occupation here]” soon becomes “I AM a [insert your occupation here.”  While we can love what we do for a living, it is still important to find that space so that it doesn’t define us.  While our hobbies may coincide with our careers or occupations, it does not mean we are then defined by the occupation.  I say this because what then happens when you lose your job (whether your fault or not), get passed over for that promotion, or get a less-than-stellar review in a job/industry/career that you actually enjoy?  In those instances, it is easy to be our harshest critic and tear away at ourselves making ourselves less whole.  Practice Asteya.  You are whole even if you change careers, lose your favorite job, or get a less-than-stellar job review.

IN OUR RELATIONSHIPS.  As relationships, whether romantic or friendships, start to grow we get accustomed to having another individual(s) in our lives.  We find ourselves in the company of that individual(s) more often and through more activities.  It is then easy to define ourselves by the company we keep.  It’s the idea of “you complete me” vs. “we complement each other.”  We risk becoming dependent on that person or group,  so if separation occurs (whether death, professional, or personal), we feel a void.  Now allowing yourself to still feel whole doesn’t mean you don’t grieve or miss someone.  You just don’t allow it to decrease your self-worth or make you feel like less of a person. Enjoy the company of the individuals that enter your life for as long or as little as they are there.  When you part ways, it’s okay to still want them to be with you, but as life changes our situations, we adapt as well.  Practice Asteya. You are whole even if relationships come and go.  

IN OUR MATERIAL POSSESSIONS.  It is easy to tie ourselves to how much money we make or how much we can spend to get the materials or lifestyle we want.  It is easy to place emphasis on how much money we have to determine our self-worth.  There are some that feel more empowered with more money, whether used to pay down more debt or buy more luxuries.  The converse is true as well, with less money, one can feel less empowered which can then take its’ toll on a person’s self-worth and confidence.   Practice Asteya.  You are whole no matter how much money you bring home or what materials you posses.  If money did not exist (along with the competition or standards money brings), would you still enjoy the hobbies and lifestyle you partake in now?  

If you are feeling a void, below are a few ways I return myself to whole:
  • Asana practice (get onto your mat whether at the studio or during a home practice)
  • Meditation – allow yourself to be at peace with your thoughts
  • Journal — Not only do I love stationary, putting thoughts to paper helps me to organize my thoughts or vent. 
Practice Asteya.  You ARE whole.  Feel COMPLETE.  Live FULLY.  
 
Everything else that comes along complements you.  By being a whole and full individual, less insecurities can stand in the way of really embracing life.  

 


How to Keep a Sense of Perspective in a Judgemental World

I don’t recall where or by whom I heard this but it’s one of those quotes that changes things…  

“Sometimes the world paints the illusion that the grass is greener on the other side, but the reality is that the grass is greener where you choose to water it.”

I find this quote most meaningful when I am struggling to understand another perspective. By struggle I really mean, “Why can’t you understand me?” Some of the stories that play in my head are:

            “How could so-and-so not see…”

            “She is so needy, and completely unaware that I need to be heard too.”

            “I can’t believe he would make such a choice when…”

Can you relate? Here’s the thing, these stories are judgments. And by judging I am no where near understanding another perspective, rather I am hyper focused on my experience and cannot see clearly. A judgment is an expectation that if something was different the grass would be greener. The solution is quite simple as I re-read that quote. When I focus on things that I believe should change, I am seeing the grass greener on the other side. However, when I shift my judgments to love and acceptance, and water the grass that is laid out in front of me, my search for understanding reveals itself effortlessly. The stories that play in my head shift to: 

            “So-and-so has her own perspective. We are two different Beings with two different realities. I accept so-and-so for being her.”

            “She is going through a divorce. I honor that she needs me to listen quite a lot right now. I am patient. I am enough.”

            “His journey is unfolding just as it should. I support his experience.”

In addition, keep in mind the following:

~Check in with your expectations of others and consider letting them go. Allow experiences with others to be moments of self reflection. Choose to water the grass in front of you. Walk away with at least one positive from the situation.

~Explore the root of frustrations. All too often the things that get under my skin are a direct reflection of something I need to address in myself…not someone else.

~Consider your personal maintenance. Often when I’m feeling that I need to be heard or taken care of in some way, it is because I have neglected to do so for myself. Re-evaluate your personal maintenance (or self care); your sleep, exercise, creative expression, meditation, foods, and environment. 


How to Shine Bright this Summer

Summer loving I’m a have me a blast!  This new summer solstice cycle and energy is all about being playful, having fun, and enjoying your life! The sun is shining high and bright, how can you shine your light bigger and fuller? From here on out the daylight gets shorter as we delve into the second half of the year, second quarter of the Astrological year (eventually to darkness/Winter). So fill up now! Reflect on what happened the last season, last three months, and even last May/June, in the year cycle. It’s amazing what comes up when you take some time to reflect and restore you for this new cycle. It’s all connected and here we are in a new season to emerge fuller, grow bigger, and continue to cultivate intentions that serve you. Focus on what you want to bring to your life now!

Spring was all about planting seeds, and watching which start to bud. You harness your energy with seeds and let your garden grow, and in the process, weed out the plants that may no longer fit. Reroot yourself now by letting go of the changes from the past, the people who may have dwindled away, and the things that have changed for you. Summer is the season of radical change! Motion forward with your seeds, your awareness of what works, and new attitude of how to harness your energy in ways to cultivate a beautiful garden for YOURself. Find and feel your new stability and begin to manifest more beauty.

Just like the sun of summer, nature will support you and the universe will open when you can stand in your light and connect with this powerful sun energy to bloom. It’s the summer of love! Begin by loving yourself first. Grow full and water those things that support you and celebrate your new roots and enjoy as you plant more seeds of happiness and love. Let the passion in your heart merge with the thought in your mind to create harmony and bliss. Fine tune your reality and become inspired to follow your dreams, do your passions, and seek out those things, people, and activities that let you swell with love and fullness and new awareness. Let go of what no longer serves you, and trust your new roots. The power remains always in listening and trusting that you are the gardener, and by connecting in this new cycle with your newness, soil your own flow so you can grow up in new directions and ways. It’s self expression, it’s within you, it’s the body, it’s the mind, and it’s how you unite all this together to beautifully create your garden of vibrancy and vitality. Color your soul by expressing what you want and feeling it within, speak in a positive light, fine tune your vision, loosen expectations and feed yourself with your own essence. Trust what works for you and what no longer does.

Support yourself by being ~ Big, full, passionate, vibrant, beautiful, and unique.