Day 21: Meditation

Today I decided to break from the normal at home practice that I would do since I don’t have a sitter for Wednesdays and take time to meditate. I am planning on doing this before bed as I find it helps me to clear my thoughts and drift asleep effortlessly. I thought I’d share some tips on meditation that I have gathered along the way:

  1. You do NOT have to be sitting cross legged on a white pillow surrounded by candles. You can meditate anywhere you are comfortable. But do try and limit your distractions of possible. (At least when you’re new at meditation!)
  2. You can breathe normally, scratch an itch you have or leave your eyes open if you want. Closing them does help with the whole direction thing though!
  3. Know that you will have tons of thoughts and distractions along the way and that is OK!  Each time you feel yourself ‘drifting’ then just being your thoughts back to stillness or nothing-ness. I always try to focus on a single phrase which changes for me. Sometimes I lost the things I’m thankful for, or I use ‘so-hum’ (kind of like ‘so what’) to reset my clear mind. 
  4. It does not have to take hours!  Start with 5-7 minutes and gradually build up of you desire to. I like 10 minutes but know there are days where I can only spare 5. I do what I can when I can!
  5. Meditation can be invigorating so I encourage you to try it earlier in the day or at a lunch break of possible and not before bed. I have found my sweet spot before bed, but it’s a specific type of meditation for me that is guided. If I were to do my own I would more than likely be energized and not be able to sleep. Some guided ones I like are from headspace and breathe easy (both apps).

Enjoy exploring!

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Day 20: Half Way There!

Today’s yoga flow felt good and taking a little post practice video shows me where I need to work on and where I have improved. This practice is not about being perfect but meeting yourself where you are, recognizing that and moving forward. So here’s to another 20 days!

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Day 19: Patience is Key

This practice is a funny thing; some days you are on fire and feel like you are totally nailing every pose and other days you are just a lead blob moving through thick tar. Whatever day you are having in your practice, and I feel the same is true off the mat, you need to push through and have faith in the process.

Some days in life will be beautiful and you won’t have any complaints. Other days you will feel like all the cards are stacked against you. Just know that you cannot always be at your peak. But it is in those pits that you need to realize there is something waiting just past this setback. The arrow cannot be launched without first being pulled back.  You go through those lows in order to truly appreciate the highs. Do you think the inheritance child appreciates his million as much as the self made orphan appreciates his?  Probably not.

Don’t worry about always having those amazing days, because it just isn’t realistic. When you are having a less than perfect practice or day at the office just try to step back and realize there is a lesson to be learned in there. Maybe it is that you need to slow down and listen more or that you should take more time to invest in yourself. Whatever it is, trust the lessons along the way.

 

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Day 15:Checking in

What have I noticed so far through this challenge?

  • Soreness for sure! However it is nothing that I haven’t felt 10 times worse from grueling workouts and double sessions of sports practice
  • A sense that I am finally grasping the yoga concept of feeling the pose
  • A sense that during my practice I can scan my body and know what I need to do a little better- I don’t have to wait to be cued or feel rushed through a pose. If I want to express it a little longer or take an asana that calls to me, then I do it.
  • I am able to express my emotions better- this is especially important with the emotional stress of having my husband gone. Little things that would annoy me before still annoy me.  However- I am able to talk to him about it before it becomes an argument. I am thinking through things instead of impulsively reacting to a situation. Not 100% of the time but much much much more than before.
  • I have more patience. Mainly with myself!
  • I am seeing the good in others more and more (or maybe I’m just surrounding myself with better people?)

I am interested to see how the next 25 days will reshape my physical and emotional well being. Until then- I’ll keep at it one day at a time.

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Day 14: Just Because I Can’t do it Today Doesn’t Mean I Won’t Someday

I hope you have all had the chance to see the YouTube video about the paratrooper who was told he would never walk without canes again and used yoga to strengthen himself and, well I won’t spoil the ending. In his video he used the quote that is this entry’s title and it is so very true of this practice.

You have to put in the work and little by little over time you will see results. It is slow, sometimes agonizing (not painful if you’re doing it right) thing but that moment when you nail a pose for the first time is like watching your own child take their first steps. So incredible.

So if you’re new to yoga or maybe afraid to even start just remember it only takes time but you have to begin to see the growth.

Check out the amazingly inspiring YouTube video.

 

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Days 9 & 10: Moving Through the Tough Times

Driving to the studio yesterday I thought of all the (as the instructor put it during class) DISCLAIMERS I could utter on my way in; “I’m so sore.  I barely slept last night.  I didn’t eat enough.  I’ve done so much yoga lately.”  All the excuses could have kept me from even getting in the car in the first place but I did.  One foot in front of the other.  One move at a time, one second more, one pulse, one heartbeat more.  That’s the mindset I realized I had during the practice and even though all my ‘disclaimers’ were true, I made it through by listening to my body and following my breath.

Today was not much different as all my disclaimers came to surface, (although I did make sure I had a killer omelet before my planned practice time).All fueled up and ready to go,  I did not have the chance to practice in the morning.  My son wouldn’t sleep and I knew it was going to be “one of those days” for him.  One of the days when he would demand my full attention and I would have little time for my own pursuits.  And that is OK.

Part of this practice, I would even venture to say a MAJOR part of this practice is PATIENCE.  Patience with those around you and patience to know that you will continue to grow a little at a time mentally, emotionally and physically.  So, without complaining (a HUGE accomplishment for me- who is traditionally the impatient, type A whiner when things don’t go as planned) I drove my son around to help him nap and spent the day devoted to his needs.  Once he went to bed I wanted to zone out and eat junk food with a side of wine.  Instead, I remembered my goals and the fact that I truly want to complete this challenge to see these slow and steady results come to fruition.  And so I did.  It was not a big profound practice, just a nice and easy 25 minute flow.  It felt good to control my day and not fall back on a commitment I made to myself.

While these may not be the toughest times I have ever been through, I see these as small tests along this path to the end goal.
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Day 3: WTF is That Pose?!

Umm yea…today’s home practice via this  youtube video was seemingly innocent enough as  I scanned through it last night to choose one to use for myself today.  It was labeled intermediate 2/3.  I kept up with most of it but there were points where I really had no clue how the instructor got into the pose. She seemingly twisted herself inside out and did so with grace and ease.  I’m sure if I was just a spectator I would have been awed by the beauty.  But as a participant I was dumbfounded by the positions and how to get from point A to B.

At one point she got into one legged crow and I attempted to do the same but am pretty sure I just bruised my tricep along with my ego pretty badly.  There is something to be said about having a live class filled with lots of models and an instructor to help align you.  Without other students modeling what was to be done, seeing different variations or the energy a live crowd brings, I felt a bit lost today.  I also had a hard time hearing what was being called since it was naptime and I didn’t want to blast the volume and wake the baby.

Even though this was challenging in some ways, I learned some new variations of poses and enjoyed seeing where this practice could eventually lead me.  That is what pulls me to this practice; the ability lies within us all and it meets you wherever you are.  You don’t have to be perfect in every pose- in fact I LOVE that there really is no perfect. There is constantly room for growth and expansion and flowing from one pose to another.  This is the essence of yoga and today I was humbled by new asanas (poses) and seeing how far one can reach over time.

Tomorrow should be exciting as I head to the grand opening of The Yoga Shop in West Hartford! 🙂

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