Reset 2.0

September will always feel like a beginning to me, even though I am no longer a full time student, and even when my stepkids have moved on from their secondary and post-secondary journeys.

Over August I took a hiatus, some lazy days, less structure, no pressure. My personal planner was void of social engagements, my alarm clock was not set for 5 am, and I just lived.

Although I strived to follow my O diet (see forthcoming post on the exploration of my food sensitivities), I did not do anything health/fitness-related. However, the yogi in my was in bliss, following my instinct with what I wanted to do with my days and nights, enjoying the company of my husband, family, and fur babies.

extended hand to big toe

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana | Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose (modified kflo-steez)

But now that September has hit, mornings are cooler, the sun rises a bit later, and I’m ready to get back to my “normal”: yoga (home and studio practices), green smoothies, gym classes, etc., etc.

New projects, new classes, new practice spaces…, let’s go, YO!

 

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Wake Up!

kitten savasana

I am a serial snoozer. I am rarely able to get up and out of bed as soon as my alarm clock goes off.

Sometimes, I fall asleep again for another 10 or 20 minutes. However, when those 20 minutes cut in to what I do before getting ready (e.g., feed the cat, pet the cat, look at cat pics on Instagram… and, oh ya,  yoga!), I then have to rush around just so I can catch my bus. I hate running out the door in a rush. That’s just not how I want to start my morning.

To try and avoid that, I set my alarm 15 or 20 minutes before I actually want to get up. But then I’m cheating myself out of those precious last moments sleep, which are especially important when I’m getting up at 5:30.

Argh, there must be a better way! *shaking fists up to the sky*

Cue to this past Sunday’s class… While being gently coaxed out of savasana, I had a waking-up-epiphany – why not get up the same way I rise out of savasana??!

  • Deepen and bring your awareness to your breath.
  • Start to wiggle your fingers and toes to gently introduce movement back to your body.
  • Reach your hands overhead to stretch out from head to toe.
  • With your eyes still closed, turn on to your right side for a few breaths.
  • Using the strength of your hands, bring yourself to an easy sitting position, legs crossed.
  • Finally, thank yourself for a good night’s rest!

Namaste.

Update: Ok, this totally worked last week, but for the past 2 days, I’ve been lying in bed for almost an hour before getting up. Oh well –  they call it a practice for a reason…

Go with the Flow

When I practice yoga, especially at home, there are a few different things that bring me to my mat:

  • I want to try out the pose of the day for that Instagram challenge.
  • I didn’t work out today at the gym or do any Pilates, so I should do some yoga.
  • My quads and hamstrings are tight from Boot Camp yesterday.
  • I need to work on my headstand.
  • My neck and shoulders are sore from sitting at my computer all day.
  • I’m stressed out and need to decompress.

However, there are days when just wanting to step on to my mat is enough. I don’t set an intention in my mind, there isn’t a specific body part I want to stretch – I just start to move and let the physical asanas take my body and mind on it’s journey…

  • Stepping on to the mat, pressing up in to my first downward dog, and easing in to a few vinyasas, I realize that the flow of a few sun salutations is enough to loosen things up, open me up for my day and ease my mind in to full consciousness.
  • Transitioning from one-legged dog in to wild thing, I can promote expansiveness by opening up in to wheel.
  • Starting an early morning practice to gently wake with some light twisting and opening postures, then having it evolve in to a lesson on how to take the knowledge and strength I’ve built up over the years and channel it towards new and exciting (aka SCARY!) postures that will expand my practice and further my development on the mat…

By day, I am a project manager, so I am disciplined to plan ahead and organize all of the spinning plates. However, the disciplines of Risk Management and Change Management are to handle things that are outside of what we’ve planned for. Both my profession and my yoga practice have taught me that there is only so much you can anticipate – sometimes you just need to go with the flow and let yourself be taken away to blissful parts unknown.

Yoga Still Rocks!

I am on Day 7 of Yoga Journal’s Yoga Rocks! 14-day challenge with Eric Paskell and it’s going quite well! Last night, I was able to do the 45-minute practice in the evening, which I was so grateful for. I’ve commented before on how challenging it is to do a       ful(filled) yoga practice amidst a bustling household, but I was able to make the time and space for it. The boys were even so nice as to wait until I was done in the family room before coming upstairs to play X-Box. (I trained them well.)

It’s taking me longer than 14 consecutive days to complete this challenge, which I knew going in, as I didn’t want to put too much stress on my body by doing these dynamic classes on the same days that I go to boot camp.

I think going forward, I’ll switch between active yoga and Pilates on non-gym days, while maintaining a gentle daily practice to keep my mind and body in check.

This sounds like the beginning of another spring opening! And so this humble blog of mine comes full circle…

Have a lovely spring day, y’all (ignoring the fact that it’s -20whateveroutside.)

Staying in Check

or… “Check Yo’self Before you Wreck Yo’Self” (and yes, I am quoting Ice Cube on a yoga post.)

I have not been practicing my yoga asanas much lately, other than a short flow first thing in the morning or after a Blogilates session, but I have been connecting with my practice off the mat.

Today’s lesson: mindfulness.

For the past month, I’ve been having a laissez-faire attitude about housework. I began to feel less motivated to do my regular up-keep, telling myself it wasn’t fair that I did everything, while the rest of the family did nothing. I wanted them to adopt my habits of clearing up clutter, keeping the kitchen counter clean and sink free of dirty dishes, and wiping the dining table clean. I thought to myself, “If they know how important it is for me to have a clean and tidy house, why can’t they get off their butts and clean up, for me?” When I couldn’t take it anymore and did some cleaning up, I did it with bitterness and anger. “Doesn’t anyone else notice what I’m doing? Why don’t they appreciate how much I take care of this house?!” All the while, I did not verbalize any of these annoyances with my family.

However, I started to get sick of walking around with a frown on my face and furrowed brow. I hated entering a room in a bad mood, when those around me did nothing personally to put me there.

I began to do what I wanted to do to clean-up, and tried to approach each moment experiencing the joy I’d feel when I was done that task, like fakin’ it till I was makin’ it!

It totally started to work. I remembered that I actually like cleaning up. Not the gross parts during the cleaning, but more the process of getting things organized, and the result of a clean room. I remembered that I was really cleaning for myself, and the family benefited from those actions as a bonus. I know no one else cares about the crumbs on the kitchen floor or how messy the throw pillows and blankets get in the living room as much as I do.

Now what does housecleaning have to do with yoga? By keeping my expectations of myself and the family in check, recognizing where negative thoughts are coming from, and taking the appropriate action (or not take!) to react in a positive and open way, I am connecting with my practice on mindfulness. (It’s also a bit o’ seva, as my actions become a service to my family, of me taking care of them and our home.)

Update:

After my lesson above on mindfulness, I actual found myself humming and enjoying myself while I cleaned all 3 bathrooms yesterday. BOOM.