Sure enough, every spring forward and fall back my internal clock does not adjust voluntarily. I don't use an alarm to wake up, my body just knows it's time to wake up as it did the day before and the day before that. It was something that kicked in after kids and being on high alert for so many nights! But toss in a time change and Hello! everything misfires! Every year it seems to take a week more to reorient myself. I go through the first week or so dazed, tired and not completely in the moment! It's like jet lag without the fun trip. Bedtime comes and I'm exhausted. I fall asleep almost immediately and wake up 3 hours later staring at my ceiling fan. While this years fall back change has triggered all the same time issues for me, I found a handy tool from yoga that helps!
Forward folds. They calm the nervous system and seem to do the trick for me lately. From lying on my back in bed, I sit up with my legs extended. I take a deep breath in and then blow it out while lowering my head down toward my knees. I bend my knees a lot to let my belly rest on my thighs. My hands are resting next to my legs.Then I gently release my head down allowing for a stretch from the base of my skull and all along my spine/back. It's here i feel all the tension that's built up along my spine start to "talk" to me and I'm very careful to notice it releasing but not let it be painful. I relax here for at least 5 longs breaths, then slowly (and i mean slowly) roll down to my back. Ahhh, that just really makes me sleepy and ready to drift back off to slumber. If I find my thoughts start to invade this peaceful trance I created, I take another forward bend. It's also good to do these before I go to bed, but when I am exhausted, I just want to hit the pillow! That's why I'm up at 3am doing forward folds. It's a process.
I think for all of us, there is that perfect number on the scale that will change our lives forever. Once that number is realized, we will transform from being fat, undesirable and uncomfortable with our bodies to a reincarnation of ourselves as something resembling Gisele Bundchen, or whatever image springs to your mind. I have let that number on my bathroom scale tell me if i am going to be happy today or feel miserable and fat. Why did i give so much power to something i bought for $25 at Bed Bath and Beyond me? In my youth i was a big fan of diets, there were so many to try and there still are. Most of the diets just made me hungry and ill tempered. But, i saw that miraculous number on the scale and for a day I was beautiful. Then I gained weight and was back to square one. What really changed my life and my relationship with food was to stop dieting. Dieting just makes you focus on food and what you can't eat. We all know how that works out! Instead, I think of what i want to include in my diet, not leave out. As a country, we are blessed with abundance! But we have a negativity bias that is hard wired into our beings. I bring this up, because with all this abundance, our instinct is to think, "this won't last, i've got to eat and store as much as i can!". Our survival instincts and fear of not having enough are a big part of wanting to take in more food than we need. So, I think diets just trigger food insecurities that are built into our brains for survival. Just changing your view of what you eat and why will change how you eat. If you are concerned about weight loss, most likely you are living with abundance and choices. There are so many beautiful foods that are provided by nature for our benefit. I like to take in as many colors as i can daily, each one offering different nutrients. This time of year, think of all the beautiful squashes, apples, dark leafy greens and potatoes of all shades! Of course, all seasons of produce are available now all year round. Lots of folks feel that you should just eat seasonally, but it's 5 o'clock somewhere! It's still nutritious. I love tomatoes and eat them all year!
Bottom line: first acknowledge that you are beautiful, now, the way you are. Any weight you want to relieve your body of is because you want to take care of yourself and this amazing gift of embodiment you were given. Nourish yourself like you would the most precious child in your care, because you are that precious child.
Try to include as many colorful fruits and vegetables as you can. There are a lot of processed foods out there that are convenient, but they have a lot of ingredients that are unnecessary. See if there are dishes you can make for you and your family that are quick and tasty, but without the additives pre packaged food has. There are so many recipes available online! And, don't be afraid of natural fats (in avocados, butter, olive oil, etc..), they offer essential vitamins and/or help your body ingest vitamins. Let yourself enjoy your comfort foods, but enjoy them knowing there will always be more and you don't have to eat it all right now!
The magic of weight loss is loving yourself not hating your body.
Also, keep your body active. It is built to move! I'm a big believer in yoga, it fits every body!
I did it. I meant to delete the comment I made, but instead of the arrow with an "X", I hit return. Even though I had not said anything bad, the receiver of the post preferred to have it taken down for personal reasons. I felt terrible that I had disrespected that request with a slip of the finger. Why I ever felt the need to type anything escapes me. But, the fact that it happened made me rethink the speed and reactive nature of my comments on Facebook. Oddly enough, after that I received a comment on some of my posts, that was about something else entirely and my first reaction was "what the heck?"(I don't like to swear) I decided to just let the comment sit with me for a while. I'm so glad I did. I saw how late at night it was posted & realized how these posts had stirred up sad memories. I saw they were sad. So I reached out with love, instead of rebuttals.
These were powerful lessons for me. Our words matter. Words can heal or hurt, unite or divide. It's hard to keep that in perspective on the Facebook speedway. I just need to travel in the slow lane so I don't miss the signs.
200 hour RYT teacher training. I'm over the halfway mark. There is a lot of reading and self study involved in this journey. I read the Yoga Sutras first then "How Yoga Works" by Gesne Michael Roach. I started my readings three months before the training began. I started my inward angst during those same three months. Between Patanjali, the yoga sutras and "how yoga works" i was filled with so much sorrow and remorse for my past and how i had live my life, i fell into a deep sadness. I re- imagined how i could have lived my life and made better choices based on the knowledge and tools i was learning. That was so painful when i looked back on decisions i had made and so many poor outcomes that happened. Then I read Louise Hay, "You Can Heal Your Life".
Louise Hay has been around for a long time writing multiple self-help books. I don't do self help books, i thought. But, one of the things she asks in this book is that you look into a mirror and say to yourself- yes you! "I love You and i am worthy of love". Hey, no problem! I can do this! But, I couldn't. I looked into that mirror and struggled with why i could not say that to myself without crying. How on earth could i love so many people in my life and not myself? I realized I needed to keep coming back to the mirror and telling myself "I love You" .
Now I can look at myself, my imperfect beautiful self and love her. Wow, thanks Louise! Thanks for asking me to take that step.
We all truly like the feeling of being in control. Whoever holds the remote control, chooses the show on tv! Always seems to be worth the fight with your siblings or significant other to get what you want to watch (the other shows are so boring!)! For most of us, this is how we like to run our life. We fight to have complete control over all events and people we interact with, so that they happen or behave in a way that makes us happy or feel safe. We wrestle with these things, trying to make them be and act how we think they should. of course, an obvious problem exists with this strategy - we all have different needs and objectives. so, who gets to decide on how people and situations in life present themselves? Who gets to hold the remote and choose the channel? You do, but it only works on you. But you have complete control. Any changes you want to make, are all within your power and ability to do so! We cannot control anything outside ourselves really. We can try and occasionally have some success, but its not any permanent change. However, focusing that control on yourself is life changing! As you move to change the things within yourself that you don't like seeing in others, doesn't just heal you.
your example becomes a path for others struggling with the same feelings or bad habits. You know that expression "when life hands you lemons make lemonade"? It's taking the negative experiences and people in your life and rethinking how you perceive and respond (not react)to them. Maybe there are situations where you are better served just distancing yourself, not having to be drawn into something unhealthy for you. Hit the remote control to boundaries! Maybe what the other person is saying to you that feels hurtful and unfair is really about them and their own actions? or, maybe your reaction to another persons point of view is about a negative experience you are holding on to.
Take your control and let yourself observe the situation and try to see it for what it is. Sometimes feelings and reactions to situations are just hangovers and attachments from the past that are not healed in all of us. Compassion and understanding for ourselves and others goes a long way toward seeing what is the underlying reason and force behind our own feelings as well as anothers'. Give yourself every ounce of compassion in your heart and let love sweep through your body and clean out the past. You have the remote in your hands, use it. you have more potential in this world than you could ever imagine.
"our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. it is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us." (Nelson Mandela)
I am so grateful for my yoga teachers. they are my inspiration, my mentors, my guides and my friends. what i love is that everything that is shared in a class is encouraged to be taken and used as a lesson to offer others. So, i am taking an analogy from my wonderful teacher Bill and sharing it with you all (and offering my own embellishments).
Our body is our home. This is where our soul resides. When we think about a home, there are many things that come to mind. We like our home to be comfortable and inviting to our loved ones. We also want to feel comfortable and secure in our home. It is a personal space that reflects our taste, budget and priorities. What we decide to put in our home is important. It's what gives us that sense of peace and ease of being. it's where your stuff is and loving the sensation of all those wonderful things that surround you. It's important that our home sits on a solid foundation, so that when storms threaten us we feel secure.
So, what makes your body feel like home? what are the things you want to fill it with to make it inviting to your loved ones? Or, even to open your home/heart to others? Home is where the heart is. Your heart furnishes your home. But, we have all suffered damages to our home. Heartbreak, insecurity, neglect, lack of resources, trauma; we are all vulnerable. We have all suffered in one way or another from these kinds of damages. What's personal is universal. What you should know is there is a way to repair your home from damage and insure it.
Yoga is the practice of rebuilding and repairing. It is a place to go deep inside your home and fix what's been broken. It is taking the time out for yourself to focus on the things you want to be better in your life and toss out all the stuff you left in the attic that you don't ever and won't ever use. Don't forget the basement! It's an offer to begin again, to renew your connection with yourself. The practice is to focus on you and what you need in this life to end suffering and find happiness. But like any project, it takes time. It is always the little advances that lead to big changes. Each time you make the effort to step into the yoga studio and sit on your mat, you have made a commitment to repairing the damage. As you start repairing yourself, know that you are offering a safer and secure place for others in your life to come to and creating a solid foundation that will support you any emotional storm. So, if you feel like that time away practicing yoga feels selfish, please think about your healthier self supporting others in a way you never could before. Yes, it's about you, but it's about a you that is healthier, happier and offering your heart and showing how beautiful the home looks as the renovation is under way!
By: Queue Murphy
A few weeks ago, Yogatiger came over and taught my kids Yoga. I knew my son had worked with Yoga in the past at his sports practices. However, I thought he would balk at this and think himself waaay too cool! However, he insisted on working the mats with us. My daughter, is a tumbling gymnast and can do all kinds of contortions with her body – she was also all for it.
Yogatiger informed my son that what he was doing was called ‘Broga’ – the version of Yoga for Bro’s – he loved it!
We started out by lying on the mats and resting. We meditated, bridged, breathed and we then moved into a vignette of down dogs, trees, sun salutations…and many other positions I could not remember. The kids moved into positions quickly and easily, while I struggled with my sore knees. (More on that later as I continue to keep on moving through the pain – ARGH!).
Practitioners say that done correctly, Yoga teaches confidence, flexibility, self-esteem and self respect. It is a great practice for kids who are not in sports also as they can never feel they have done anything wrong. A great article on the benefits of Yoga for kids can be found here: http://www.parents.com/fun/sports/exercise/the-benefits-of-yoga-for-kids/. I know my kids had fun and the following week, my son led a class with his friends and sister – they had a ball. I think I will join my kids as we learn about ourselves through Yoga! Thanks Yogatiger!
When I first heard in a yoga class that we are not our thoughts, I could not fathom how that could be true? My thoughts directed my actions, for better or worse. I listened intently to them, letting the words bounce around my head: bad, good, angry, hurtful to myself & others, but also loving and full of compassion at times. The good and loving thoughts led me to a state of calm and acceptance, while the negative thoughts stirred anxiety and depression. I had always felt there was a reason to every thought I had. But, stepping back and taking full measure of what came flying through my head made me realize how much nonsense I was processing!
Your brain tosses out all kinds of random thoughts at any given moment. The trick is to notice them but not react or act on them. Give them space for contemplation. Does that thought make any sense? For example: "What if my boss decides she hates me and I can lose my job, because maybe I'm not good at what I do anyway." Well, really? Why not allow for you to be great at what you do? Step back and look at the thought. More than likely you are a good person, putting your heart and soul in to what you do and are the best person they ever had for the job. Why let that thought make you feel that's not true!
Thoughts are just words traveling through your mind. To separate what's meaningful to you and what is arbitrary, you really need to look at them and sort out the noise. When I said my thoughts directed my actions for better or worse, I learned I could focus on the thoughts that drove me to better actions and let go of the ones that led me to worse actions. Let your thoughts just be what they are, thoughts. Live from your heart.
It's intimidation that keeps many curious about all the good things they hear yoga can do for them from entering a studio and beginning their journey toward a happier relationship with their bodies and life experiences. The thought that there are nothing but beautiful lithe and flexible bodies that flow through poses like grande ballerinas on the other side of the door, will stop anyone from even thinking about having the nerve to plunk a mat down next to all that perfection! You, in thinking this way, would have to be crazy to practice yoga in the midsts of such wondrous yogis. Because you ,of course, are a hot mess. Spandex was invented as a joke, that only you seem to get. Why your hands would ever want to touch your toes, let alone balance your body on, seems a far off fairy tale, or really even unnecessary. You feel confident that the only way you are flexible is letting your friends choose where you guys will meet for dinner tonight. Why on earth would you throw yourself into a situation you know will just reinforce the fact that you will never be good enough?
That's how intimidation works. All your fears of failure throw themselves in front of any action you might take that is new and untested. There is a survival aspect to this instinct (see "Buddha's Brain" by Rick Hanson to delve deeper). But, it's good to question if that really applies to trying a yoga class? Perhaps you are willing to look at other people and believe they have all those qualities that you wish you had but are forbidden to you. Can you consider that really is not true? Sure there are a lot of beautiful practitioners, like there are a lot of beautiful models in magazines. While you may admire them, do you think they represent the majority? Like all fears, they will be unmasked for what they are: just thoughts. What's personal is universal. Everyone on that mat in the studio walked in against their fears. They just learned to breathe and move and focus on their own journey. You may walk in feeling so intimidated you need to figure out how to stop shaking. Then, the teacher begins the class and asks you to start breathing in a way you never did before and everything in your life starts to change.
Yogatiger is a passionate advocate of yoga. She has seen yoga make a profound difference in her life and so many others. After 12 years of personal practice, she is currently taking her 200 hour teacher training in hopes of bringing her love and appreciation of all 8 limbs of the path to anyone who wants to experience what yoga has to offer.