Morning Yoga: Greeting the Day

I’ll be honest. Thirties aren’t quite like twenties. I used to jump out of bed with “morning person” energy. Eat a banana with peanut butter. Run 3-4 miles. Eat a couple bowls of cereal or make a big breakfast. And smile all the while. At least that is how I remember the majority of mornings from the last decade.

Now? I am thirty. Only since August. But I wake with more freedom than ever. Good intentions to find relaxation, peace & gratitude as I greet the day by following my well-thought out morning routine: drink water with lemon oil, meditate twenty minutes, 20-60 minutes of yoga or other exercises to wake up the body, daily affirmations, and a light & protein dense breakfast. Ideally, followed up with 10-20 pages from my current self-development book (check it out, it’s a good one!).

This does happen sometimes. Even for a week or two at a time. But today? Like many days… I wake up feeling thirty. Anyone over forty just laughs in that “you have no idea” way when I say this. But thirty is more work than twenty. The body is stiffer. The urge to wrap in a warm blanket, make a cup of tea & scroll through social media posts is a very tempting morning routine. This is all fine & well until it rolls straight into work and forgetting about any sort of morning self-care.

So this is my current struggle. Making time to take care of the self: physically, emotionally & spiritually. Maybe you can relate. So often other people, priorities & demands pull us away from self-care. So today? I challenge you to spend 15 minutes doing something kind, pleasurable, & loving for yourself. I’m going to start today with yoga…

Yoga connects the mind, body & spirit. It allows us to awaken fully, feel alive & grateful for this day. Whether one pose, a couple minute home practice or 75 minutes at the studio, I have never regretted doing yoga. This gentle, challenging & holistic practice can benefit people of so many different lifestyles & health needs. I often turn to this “Good Morning Yoga Sequence” when I am struggling to get moving.

Oh, & be sure you love your mat, feel home there. This is how I keep mine happy, clean & smelling fresh…

Yoga Mat Spray Recipe

Yoga Mat Spray

Ingredients

Yoga Mat Spray Recipe

 

Directions

  1. Add 2.5 ounces water to glass jar (I eyeball about 1/3 of the jar full).
  2. Add 5 drops lavender & 3 drop melaleuca (to switch it up, try subbing other favorite essential oils with similar cleansing properties).
  3. Fill to top with distilled water. Add spray top.
  4. Shake. Spray. Wipe clean (test a small part of your mat first).

 

Peace with Yoga

Yoga & turning inward

Happy Saturday my friends. What will you do with this beautiful day? I just hiked with my mom… I am so lucky to have her near me, both of us be fit and capable of hiking, and live in a place that is seventy plus degrees in winter. I am filled with gratitude as I reflect on the beautiful morning we had connecting & being in nature.

Yoga with Mamma

That said, I want to apologize for my absence. I committed to a post per week when I started this blog last year. I have been closer to a post per month since the holidays. It’s that balance thing again. On the one hand I love getting sucked into the latest project or relationship and soaking up all the beauty of the present as I immerse into FLOW. On the other hand, I do not want things I love or value to fall to the wayside. Can you think of a time you experienced FLOW?

In positive psychology, FLOW, also known as ZONE, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does. Named by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, the concept has been widely referenced across a variety of fields, though has existed for thousands of years in other guises, notably in some eastern religions.

-Wikipedia.org

For now, I am accepting my sporadic posting & relishing in abundance of other joys in my life. I still intend to set more goals around & improve my blogging skills in the future! Baby steps. I recently had coffee (no, tea actually – delicious tea with steamed, fresh almond milk & honey) with a dear friend who generously shared some amazing insights into the blogging world. Have you heard of SEO? New concept for me, but totally logical. Anyways, I am rambling off topic, just to say, I have much to learn about the online & blogging world.

Warrior Woman Yoga

In my absence from posting, I have been looking at my life and identifying areas I want to give more attention. I am learning that to grow, achieve my goals & realize my full potential I must emphasize personal development. Refuse to be stagnant or unchanged. Always challenge myself to become a better person. So I have been looking inward. Working on improving the consistency of meditation, my anxiety is alleviated and sense of peace elevate. I have a better understanding of myself, feelings & desires when I take the time to be quiet and listen. Check out my post on meditation for more on what I do in my practice.

Lotus Meditation: Yoga on John

But lately, it has been yoga. I love yoga – the safe place of self-love that is my mat, the joining with others for greater peace within & worldwide, the strength that shows up when you least expect it, the calming of the inner chatter that mindful breathing encourages… I could go on and on. I have been trying out a new hot yoga studio this month & enjoying the new faces, challenge & re-commitment to this practice. I left my previous studio in the summer to get outside more to hike, develop my personal practice further & save on the costs of going to a studio.

Yoga in Solitude

All this yoga has been encouraging and reminding me to look inward. My recent introspection has given me greater confidence in who I am & the goals I am setting for this year and beyond. When regularly looking inward and simply being with myself, I find grounding, purpose & confidence.

Yoga with an Open Heart

Another cool thing about yoga – it is for everyone. There is no room for judgment of the self or others. Yoga holds a different experience for everyone yet brings us together. Most studios have free intro classes, so if you have never tried a class I encourage & challenge you to do it! Get outside your comfort zone – this is where change will happen! Even if you don’t go to a class, just starting the day with a couple loving stretches or winding down the evening with a mini bedside practice can make a big difference in your peace, your day & your life.

Celebrating with Yoga

Lastly, here is one of my favorite people finding some balance & strength in yoga…

Early Morning Yoga

Fall Detox: 21 Day Whole Food Challenge

Summer seems to be blazing on as usual in California despite the onset of Autumn throughout the world. The tireless heat & bright sunshine seems to almost convince us that winter isn’t coming this year. But it will, of course. Daylight savings time actually ends on November 2nd this year. That means we have 7 weeks left to get outside & enjoy the lighted evenings. Hikes. Bike rides. Beach sunsets. Once time changes most of us will trade these outdoor activities in for cozy nights at home, cuddled under grandma’s afghan, sipping hot licorice-mint tea & reading Outlander sequels (no, just me?). The point is seize the day – literally. Get outside & cherish this beautiful time of year.

As the season changes, I like to embrace the transition with a bit of a cleanse. A fresh start. This comes at the perfect time as I have just returned from a vacation filled with over-indulgences (like eating every piece of Scottish caramel shortbread I laid eyes on) & I could use an immune booster as I am recovering from a nasty cold. With a couple supportive team mates (my brave husband & competitive office mate), tomorrow – Monday 9/15 – launches our 21 day primal challenge.

primal laws

I love Mark’s Daily Apple & his 21 day challenge – this will be the third or fourth time I have completed it. However, the goal is to get back to the basics:

  1. Eat whole foods (with lots of raw veggies!)
  2. Get active throughout the daily routine. 
  3. Practice mindfulness.
  4. Sleep well.
  5. Play in the sunshine as much as possible!

1. Eat Whole Foods – Menu for the next three weeks:

Breakfast: Chia bowls (variations of this one from Oh She Glows) OR coconut oil fried eggs (eaten over sauteed vegetables with salsa & avocado)

Lunch: Salads, salads, salads! I love red cabbage & carrot salads lately. Lot of tiny chopped veggies with olive oil & balsamic. Roast chicken on top. More avocado.

Dinner: Lamb, fish, beef, chicken. Either baked, barbecued, pan fried, slow-cooked, shredded, or as burgers eaten on portobellas. On top of (or next to) lots of veggies.

Snacks: Mixed nuts. Fruit (berries are best as low-glycemic).Teas. Kombucha. Beef jerky. *After the first few days of missing the carbs, this high fat (the good kind!) & protein diet keeps me full easily & I rarely get hungry between meals.

AVOID: grains, legumes, sugar, processed foods, packaged items, dairy & alcohol

2. Get active throughout the daily routine. 

Take the stairs. Park farther away from the office. Commute by bicycle 1-3 times per week. Utilize a stand-up work station for a least 5 hours & take 3 walking breaks during the workday. Walk to the grocery store – or anywhere within a mile of home. Try this 90 days of action workout plan & see how many friends, family & co-workers you can get to join in!

3. Practice mindfulness.

Begin & end the day with yoga – even just a couple poses. Practice headstand daily (today is day #144 of my #headstand365 challenge). Meditate twice a day. Slow down. Stop & think (ie: be less reactive, pull over to look at cell phone, etc…).

4Sleep well.

Aim for 8 hours of sleep per night. Drop lavender essential oil on pillow case to calm the body & mind. Use blackout curtains. Natural alarm clock (slowly brightens like the sunrise). Keep cell phones outside of bedroom at night.

5. Play in the sunshine as much as possible!

Get outdoors first thing in the morning (water plants, take a walk) & after work (hike with friends, walk on the beach). Plan group activities, games, picnics & beach days on the weekend. Spend as much time in good company & in the great outdoors as possible! Oh, & go barefoot. Ahhhh – toes in the damp grass – what a feeling!

picnic