Often, during the month of February, we find ourselves surrounded by messages of romantic love. We see candies and cards meant to express how we love our romantic partners. Sometimes we can find the candies and cards to express non-romantic love for others…family and friends. But what about ourselves?
Where are the candies and cards that we are allowed to give ourselves to say thank you, I love you.
Often we forget that the most important person in our lives is us. Me…I…these are important too. It’s not selfish to say “I love myself”. It’s not selfish to want to spend time by yourself doing what you want to do instead of making room to do whatever your partner, friends, or family wants. It’s not selfish to take care of YOU!
Many people work in fields of service. From nursing, teaching, to therapy and social work…these are all fields where we give a little bit of ourselves to the people, communities we serve. How can we do this if we are not taking care of ourselves first? We are like buckets, if you will. We are happy when we are full energetically. So if we keep taking a cup here, a cup there…all these cups for others…we end up emptying out our own energy store. We need to replenish. That’s where self-care comes in.
Here are a few good self-care items that might help you replenish that energy you might be losing:
- Take a bubble bath.
- Do some yoga.
- Go for a walk outside.
- Read a book.
- Take a nap.
- Watch your favorite movie alone.
- Make yourself your favorite meal.
- Ask for help or space.
These are just a few tips. Generally self-care is doing something you like that’s good for you. So it’s not eating an entire cake or bag of candy. It’s not ignoring things that are piling up on your to-do list. It’s doing something that you love that helps you replenish your own energy store so that you can go out and tackle that class of rowdy teens or that huge to-do list.
A new year is always a good time to restart. It’s often a time of renewal, recommitment, and rededication. Many of us make resolutions to start working out more, eating healthier, maybe even drinking less alcohol. All these are great! It’s always great to dedicate yourself to YOU!
My resolution is simple. New year, same me. I am dedicating 2019 to ME!
One way I’m doing this is renewing my dedication to yoga. I am continuing my intention to practice yoga on a daily basis. That can be quite a daunting task. Most of the time when I wake up, I don’t want to get on the mat. I want to stay in bed and be lazy…especially on the weekends. I often need motivation to participate in a daily practice. That’s where YouTube and my favorite YouTube Yogi comes in.
Every January Adriene from Yoga with Adriene puts out a month long practice to rejuvenate a daily yoga practice. This year, it’s called Dedicate. What a perfect name for 2019??
Some of the videos are long, some aren’t. So far I’ve been able to find time to do all of them. I have to say, this has been a great way for me to keep myself accountable. After 20+ days, it will once again become a habit.
I wish you all the best of luck keeping your resolutions this year. I know I will do my best to keep mine. Here’s to another year, another 365 pages to fill in the book of life!
When we travel, whether its domestic or international, often we feel fatigued and our bodies just want to rest. While rest is important, it is also important to move the body a little so that you can stretch out stiff areas and flex out tight muscles.
On long flights, its important to get up an move around. Sometimes we don’t have the luxury of doing a full yoga routine, especially on a 10 hour flight overseas. Here are a few things you can do in small areas, on the plane or off, to help you reduce stiffness and hopefully help alleviate fatigue.
- Walking meditation (up and down aisles of the airplane)
- Forward Fold/Standing wide legged forward fold
- Standing cat/cow
- Standing side stretches
- Malasana squat
- Crescent lunges
- Standing upper body twists
When you land at your destination, here are some yoga moves you can do to help reduce fatigue so that you can get right to the fun!
- Sun salutation A
- Standing side stretches
- Warrior series
- Chair pose
- Boat pose
- Supine twist
Hopefully these help you as much as they have helped me in my travels! Enjoy the holiday season and happy new year!
This past July, I had the opportunity to attend Adriene Mishler’s first yoga retreat at the 1440 Multiversity in Scotts Valley, CA. The site was absolutely beautiful, nestled right in the redwood forests. The location alone would win me over, but add Adriene in the mix? I’m completely sold.
The retreat was over the course of a weekend. It was full of yoga, reflection, and relaxation. I definitely chose the right yoga retreat as my first. I waited until I found the right retreat for me. I have been wanting to go on a retreat for a while now, however I didn’t seem to find one within my budget that was also a theme that worked for me.
It’s important, when choosing a yoga retreat, that you find one that is right for you. Like Adriene’s manta, find what feels good, its important to find a retreat that makes sense for you. I wouldn’t recommend basing your decision solely on location, but look at the theme of the weekend and the activities offered. Also, make sure the yoga retreat is at your level of practice. You don’t want to get to the retreat and find that the level of yoga practice is above your capabilities. Often, yoga retreats are an expensive investment. You really want to be sure that you are going to get something out of the retreat if you’re going to spend so much money.
There are many places to find yoga retreats. You can find a specific location and search for retreats that way OR you can look for specific yoga leaders and see if they are offering retreats.
Ultimately, the yoga retreat is for you. It’s a great way to get out of your comfort zone and learn more about yourself. You are going to get out of the retreat what you put into it. Know that retreats can really be life changing experiences.
May is the National month of meditation. If you have never meditated, starting a meditation practice may seem the furthest from your mind. For those of us who have been practicing meditation, we like to prescribe is as a panacea. To those who have never tried it, however, it may seem the hardest concept.
Styles and lineages of meditation can be overwhelming. Do we sit still and focus on the breath? Do we find a mantra to focus on? Should we start with guided meditations?
Yes, to all of the above.
There is no cookie cutter answer. There is no solution that works for everyone. Like yoga, each person has to find the meditation that works for them. Trying different meditation styles, from guided to silent, each person can find what works for them and really allow the meditation to unfold naturally.
Meditation is our natural state, our calmest state. Society has not allowed us to embrace this, so we have to retrain our minds and bodies to allow ourselves to return to that state. By taking just a few minutes a day to try to retrain ourselves, we can really move towards a more peaceful and accepting life.
For apps to help start your meditation path, see my previous post on meditation.
Medicine is full of options for treatments. Medications, physical therapy, talk therapy, and many others…these are all used to assist in resolving ailments of all varieties. Some of these therapies come with many side effects, leading to more therapeutic interventions.
Yoga seems an unlikely option to many. Yoga as therapy is often thought of as a supplement to physical therapy, but it is so much more. Yoga therapy does more that provide physical benefits. It combines the mental health benefits with the physical, allowing individuals to heal in a more complete manner.
Yoga can help with the following ailments:
-Physical Injury Rehabilitation
Yoga Therapy is now a certified program, resulting in a certification allowing practitioners to provide therapeutic yoga in various settings. From hospitals to rehabilitation centers, many medical companies are now looking to yoga therapy for long term healing and benefits. Yoga therapy has the power to reduce readmission in hospitals as well as reduce relapse in addiction treatment. Yoga therapy can be catered to any ailment, physical or otherwise. Ultimately, yoga therapy is a great addition to any treatment plan.
About a year ago, I wrote a post about how yoga can benefit kids (Yoga for Kids). I have since taken formal trainings in kids yoga and have gained a greater appreciation for the impact that yoga and meditation can have on kids.
Through my Next Generation Yoga teacher training, I have learned that yoga can have so many more benefits for children, including:
- Assist in body development and flexibility
- Improve concentration, body awareness, and balance
- Improve self-image
- Increase levels of self-esteem and confidence
- Learn tools for coping with stress and frustration
- Learn different modes of expression and creativity
This training really taught me to teach from my heart. When teaching yoga, or anything really, be true to your own heart and what you are passionate about. Kids will see that passion.
Also know that kids won’t enjoy everything. Yoga may not be for them, like many other things.
Another new year, another new year’s resolution…right?
Maybe not so much! We don’t have to wait until the new year to restart our dedication to our yoga practice. Each day is a new day and a new opportunity to restart your daily yoga practice.
This year, I began the new year with a 30 day yoga journey created by Yoga with Adriene! Each year a new year’s restart is offered up, allowing us all to start the new year on a new track. It’s important to note, however, that we are not restricted to January to start a new year. Adriene offers monthly calendars on her website, allowing each month to become a restart.
So get out there – find the calendar for you and restart your life! You’ll only have yourself to thank.
Natarajasana, translated to dancer or lord of the dance pose, is a beautiful and challenging pose. Usually incorporated towards the end of a yoga flow, this pose is a great way to stretch out the body, focus the mind, and really challenge your sense of balance. It is a fun pose to play with, attempting to bring the back leg higher or reach the front arm further. Dancer pose is also a great pose for kids. It gives them a fun, challenging pose to try out.
Steps to get into pose:
- Start in tadasana (mountain pose)
- Shift weight to right leg/foot
- Bend left after at the elbow bringing it out to the left side
- Slowly bend left leg at the knee, bringing left foot into the left hand
- Lift right arm straight up towards the sky
- Holding the inside of the left foot, slowly kick the leg out behind out
- While kicking the left leg out, slowly hinge at the hips reaching right arm ahead of you
- Repeat steps for opposite leg
- Stretches the shoulders and chest
- Stretches the thighs, groins, and abdomen
- Strengthens the legs and ankles
- Improves balance
As the holidays approach, many of us will be taking trips to see family and friends. Whether long or short, flying can be rough on the body. Sitting for long spans of time can put strain on certain joints and muscles.
Here are some poses that can be done fairly easily during that long flight to see grandma (or whoever it may be).
- Seated cat/cow with eagle arms
- Sit with your feet grounded and your back slightly away from the back of the chair
- Cross your left arm under your right, clasping hands
- Inhale, reach the elbows up, opening the chest
- Exhale, bring the elbows down, folding forward
- Repeat with right arm under left
- Forward fold
- Bring your hands to your knees
- Inhale lift your chest up
- Exhale slowing fold your chest towards your lap
- Seated spinal twists
- Sit with your feet flat on your ground
- Take one hand to arm rest
- Slow pivot upper body towards that side, twisting at the hips
- Repeat on opposite side
- Leg lifts
- Slowly raise one leg at a time, holding in raised position for a 2 breath count
- Inhale lift leg
- Exhale release leg
- Ankle rolls
- Slowly lift the foot off the ground and roll in one direct, repeat in opposite
- Repeat for opposite foot
- Neck rolls
- Sit with your back straight
- Slowly roll neck in one direction
- Repeat in opposite direction
- Mountain pose
- Find a space to stand
- Engage abs, legs, and arms
- Feel the strength in your stance, closing the eyes
- Inhale, exhale for 2-3 breath count
- Using the aisles, do small lunges up and down the aisle
- Seated meditation
- Sit with your feet flat on the ground
- Close your eyes
- Notice your breath
- Inhale/Exhale deeply