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

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Love & Castles: Going back in time on a Scotland Roadtrip

“But just then, for that fraction of time, it seems as though all things are possible. You can look across the limitations of your own life, and see that they are really nothing. In that moment when time stops, it is as though you know you could undertake any venture, complete it and come back to yourself, to find the world unchanged, and everything just as you left it a moment before. And it’s as though…” He hesitated for a moment, carefully choosing words. “As though, knowing that everything is possible, suddenly nothing is necessary.”
― Jamie Fraser in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander

Have you ever felt this feeling? Peace in your heart, mind & body. All of a sudden, there is no trace of fears or worry. No desired outcomes are too remote, or too urgent. All that matters is the love & presence in the current moment. I have found this during quiet meditation, during connection with loved ones & nature, and upon waking from a rejuvenating sleep.

Scottish Highlands – August 2014

The quote above is my favorite, from the book Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, as it serves as a beautiful reminder to believe in the limitlessness of the universe (& of love) while cherishing the present moment of now.

Beyond loving this quote, I couldn’t put the book down & gobbled the 850 pages up despite being a fairly slow reader. Motivated to get reading by my Thirty before 30 challenge, the timing of reading this couldn’t have been better! I bought the book over a year ago on a friend’s recommendation (although it turns out she had never heard of it & actually recommended the book Outliers), and I thought what better time to finally read it then while traveling in Scotland – as this is where the adventure unfolds!

Not only am I a sucker for a great love story (which this is), but the vivid tales of life in Scotland over 250 years ago came alive in the cobblestone streets, ancient Castle ruins, Lochs & mountains as we ventured through the Scottish countryside. I am not sure if it was finally visiting Scotland in the blue skied summertime (okay, not always blue, but bluer than the grey winter skies we usually travel under), the electrifying green blankets of the hills & pastures, or perhaps just connecting with the well written stories of the people who walked this same ground so many years ago. Enveloped by the magic of Scotland’s Highlands, I could feel the joys & hardship of early and modern generations simultaneously – kind of like the main character in the book Claire. The spirit of Scotland-both ancient & strong- is heavy in the air. The people’s courage & kind hearts shine through their thick accents.

This “Sassenach” taking a moment for peace & play with yoga on the castle grounds above Loch Ness, Scotland.

This isn’t meant to be a book review (although I highly recommend you take this adventure back in time!), just a reflection on the vast beauty & mystery that exists in our world & in humanity – independent of time. I breathed in the crisp mountain air & then relished in the warmth of humidity as Scotland’s weather continuously morphed around us. I journeyed through history reading Outlander while exploring the lands previously divided & defended by the clans. Then I went to the cities, reconnected with family & modern Scottish folk.

The question & struggle for independence still laces life in Scotland. Large signs posted in town stating “Yes” versus “No, thanks”, heated debates on tv & in private. The Scottish people will answer the question about independence by vote on September 18th. I look forward to seeing the outcome & how Scotland will shape history for future generations.

Meditation: finding peace within

It’s Tuesday. Monday was tough. Life is tough, sometimes. It is also beautiful & wonderful. There are highs & lows. So much joy. And sorrow. Everything whirls by at such a fast pace unless we intentionally slow things down. Practice mindfulness. Live in the present moment.

I am happy I made it to Yoga yesterday. I think it had been almost three weeks since I made it to class. When I’m not going I start thinking about the wasted membership money & consider quitting. I could practice at home, right? But then I go to a class & remember. Reconnecting with the yoga community and syncing my mind & body re-inspires & motives me.

meditation

Another way I slow down and find peace within is through meditation. Before I knew much about meditation, I thought it was more of an alternative lifestyle (just for hippies, right?) and that it would be difficult to learn. My mind is usually racing with endless thoughts and “clearing” it seemed impossible. But, as stress & anxiety continued to build in my adult life, I knew I had to do something to manage it. Eating well & exercising wasn’t enough to combat the negative effects of too much stress. So with guidance (my hippie mamma who grew up meditating in the 70’s) & instruction (a knowledgeable & inspirational teacher) I began meditating two years ago.

The technique I learned was simple. Meditate using a mantra for twenty minutes, twice a day. First to start the day off right (soon after waking up) & again to transition into the evening (right after work). With education & support from my teacher I felt connected & at ease with the method. To learn more about the Transcendental Meditation technique I learned watch this short clip from Good Morning America. You can also check out the official TM website for lots of information, research & videos!

I have enjoyed many benefits from regular meditation including elevated mood, increased patience with others, more frequent feelings of joy, greater ability to regulate emotions and relief from anxiety symptoms. I am excited about the continued potential for regular meditation to strengthen my relationships, increase creativity & clarity, and be a vehicle for growth & positive change.

What I love most about meditating is that it builds inner peace & the ability to contribute to a more peaceful world – the ripple effect. Thich Nhat Hanh talks about this & gives strategies for practicing mindfulness in daily life in the book Peace Is Every Step:

Practicing mindfulness in each moment of our daily lives, we can cultivate our own peace. With clarity, determination, and patience-the fruits of meditation-we can sustain a life of action and be real instruments of peace. I have seen this peace in people of various religious and cultural backgrounds who spend their time… watering the trees of love and understanding throughout the world.

There are lots of methods out there so do some research to find out what is best for you! For me, this works. As long as I practice regularly. So, this is my committment to one week of regular meditation. Scheduling in self-care & making healthy choices a priority in our daily routine is essential. A week is short enough to be realistic & long enough to re-commit myself to a practice that brings great joy & calm to my life.

oaks in the sky

Let me know what meditation techniques you love & the benefits you have found through adding a meditation practice into your life!

 

The Beginning: first ever blog post!

One love. Bob Marley put it so simply. But somehow everyday life & relationships complicate even simple things. The further I travel down my own path and the more soul searching I do, the more I understand that we are all connected. That’s what this blog is about – or at least how it is starting out. That’s something else I’m learning, that despite our best intentions and well thought out plans, life has a way of throwing the unexpected at us. So I choose to identify & work towards goals while striving to stay open to whatever the present moment may bring.

Off on a tangent already – back to the purpose of One little Peace. To share who I am in this moment & how that changes day by day. Share passion, awesome community resources & wellness inspirations. This will also serve as a handy reference tool as the details of things often allude me (forecast a post on ways to improve memory). I have always been fascinated by human behavior and love everything health & wellness. Seeking purpose & wellness in my own life, I keep coming back to something greater than myself – US! I want to be the best me so that my life has a positive impact on those around me. In a world where so many of us are separated from our loved ones & neighbors by fences, great distances & miscommunications, I hope this blog inspires & contributes to a greater sense of community. Every small action we take to be well & act with love puts out a positive ripple effect into the universe & promotes positive change in ourselves, our community & our world.

You have probably already figured out that I am much wordier than Bob, so bear with me while I back up a smidge. I’m Kelly, turning 29 this year & a seeker of balance. Yoga is one way I do this – I’m currently practicing headstand (more on that fun challenge later). But, I mean balance in life – the bigger picture. Between our jobs, families (see some of mine below), emotional, physical & mental well being and so much more it seems impossible not to feel depleted or out of whack sometimes! My journey is seeking balance & peace in my life.  With One little Peace I hope to share part of myself, provide wellness information/resources & look at the wide array of choices we can make to be a catalyst for positive change in the world just by being happy, peaceful human beings.

Family2014a

Being silly & playing outside at my brother Stephen’s birthday BBQ last weekend.

If you find yourself laughing along with me, adding momentum to the discussion or trying out a wellness strategy for yourself – I will feel blessed to be a small piece of your journey & grateful that you are a piece of mine.

Don’t let people pull you into their storm, pull them into your peace

Kimberly Jones

(Anyone know more about Kimberly Jones? Maybe I’ll do some research…)