One yogini sharing her path of discovery

Posts tagged ‘practice’

February Food Foundations

Eating in

Eating in

Good news : February is almost past

Bad news: I am afraid of loosing all that I have gained from this last months resolution.

We chose “No Eating Out” for the second month of the year primarily because we wanted to be healthier and it only had 28 days in it so we wouldn’t to deprive ourselves of restaurant food for very long. It also seemed like such a daunting task since I probably average 1 meal out a day. Our lives are busy ones … along with everyone else … and grabbing a sandwich here and a burrito there just seemed easier then carrying around a bunch of food with me all day long. The benefits of this all, however, have expressed beyond those initial intentions as all of our resolutions do.

First, I noticed a drastic change of energy. I felt more awake and stronger after my first week of preparing all of my meals by my own hands and with fresh ingredients. Many “Well Duh!” ‘s may follow that last comment but it really took doing it myself for an extended period of time to realize the importance of making our own food.

Second, I am saving hundreds of dollars! For some, another “Duh!” moment. For me, I expected to save some money but I truly had no idea it would be this much. I am terrible with money. I never really know how much I have, how much I owe, or where and how it gets spent. I have always been completely hopeless and happily delusional and this has been a surprising wake-up call as well as new-found motivation into being better with where my money goes.

Third, our relationship has improved. Along with the “eating in” resolution we also decided to eat every meal at the kitchen table instead of the usual Netflix 1-2 hour dinner watch-a-thon. Now, I will be honest. On those nights when I got home late from work and wanted desperately to never sit in a chair again, we did end up cross-legged on the floor in front of the TV, zoned out and unconsciously shoveling food into our mouths. But the majority of the time we ate at the table and would stay there talking well beyond our plates had been emptied and cleared. My partner even started helping out with meals (Despite our “I cook, you clean” arrangement) which I really appreciated on those nights when I would usually vote for take out sushi.

Now as we munch our way into March this coming week I want to stay connected with the foundations that we have cultivated. New habits of making lunches, brining snacks, and creative cooking are always available and in a city where it is incredibly easy to forget these things I think its important that we keep ourselves reminded on all that we have gained from this months experience. And as always, even though I have always known this was the better way, it took actually doing it to make the difference. Practice makes for more practice. Horay!

Happy Eating In !

Namaste

xo Carly

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Rolling Without Sugar

I generally have a hard time writing these “half-way” points in my resolution month because the moment I sit down to translate my thoughts and feelings I realize how terrible I am doing at my resolution. Now, here I am, halfway through July’s sugar-free month and I also am having a hard time writing but for a different reason. There is just too much I want to say about the subject.

 

In a nut-shell… not eating sugar (basically cutting out anything that isn’t a naturally occuring sugar) is tough, but I have been doing half decent at it. Despite it being the most challenging resolution so far for the first week… its a lot easier now 16 days in.

Why ? Well, I have a lot of help. The internet is filled with all sorts of nice little tid-bits on how to cook without it, what products to avoid, and meal plans. It was time consuming for the first couple weeks, I won’t lie. Grocery shopping took me at least 50% longer  as I read every single label trying to find where they have snuck in the sugar, but now I know what I can and can’t eat so its a quick. My partner is doing it with me and its so awesome to have someone on the same journey to help support and encourage. I also feel amazing. … but this could have to do with a lot of things. I have also majorly cut down on my coffee intake – only having one when I actually have time to sit and enjoy it and not just drink it as a stimulant or out of habit. Also, meat of any kind doesn’t grace our table very often which seems to work for my body.

So what does that leave to eat? A variety of amazing veggies, fruit, and other delicious items that don’t need sugar to sweeten them up.

Its not all sunshine and roses, however. I still get cravings, eating out is pretty challenging, and once July is finished I am nervous that I will just fall back into old patterns. Depsite those fears, as with all of my resolutions, I believe just culitvating awareness plays an important role and helps me make better choices in all aspects of my life.

 

Loving the journey!

Namaste

x Carly

March Compliments

you look nice today

In the continuing saga of my year of resolutions we have reached the month of March. After January and February being more focus on my inner changes I wanted March to be the opportunity to offer something outward… since the goal of all this is to hopefully share more love with others. So March is the Month of Compliments

Since the beginning of my journey into healthcare, and later yoga, I have began to feel a stronger love towards myself as well as those around me. I am more open to new experiences and the chance to give to those I care about is exciting. But I still feel held back to offer that love to EVERYONE. I am connected and in agreement with the concept that we are all the same but I am still challenged in loving those that cheat, lie, or are so disconnected that they only see their own needs. I willingly feel superior to my co-workers that are unethical and past friends that have chosen material wealth over real experiences. The thing is however, just like me… we all want love. Sometimes we just go about it in different ways. So in order to learn to love without hesitation or judgement I need to start small…

march_flowers_1_by_love1008-d3bbil2

My goal is to give 5 genuine compliments a day to others and at least one a day to myself. And I don’t want to just be willy nilly about my compliments either. I am looking at it as the opportunity to look at others in a new way and no matter who it is … find something to admire and therefore feel closer to them and possibly closer to loving them equally. Sometimes I expect it will be easy but others may be challenging and will require the ability and (more importantly) the willingness to dig deep allow myself to connect without it seeming “fake”.

I feel good about this months resolutions because not only do I get to be kinder to myself, but I also see the chance to let go of some old habits that have never really served me. I truly feel it is time to start shedding away my remaining cold exterior and humble myself in the light of other brilliant souls.

Namaste

THOUGHTS?

February Resolution

The first month of my year of resolutions went good. January was no complaining and although I most definitely complained about this and that I feel the overall benefit of putting that intention forward. Not only did it help me to change some of my inner negative talk but it also influenced others. Even my partners cousins adapted “No complaining” for their own household for the year which I found very inspiring.

tuneinto the world

Now we enter into February. Where I intend to unplug from my cell phone and ipod and tune into the sounds of the world around me. This means no cellphone in social situations and no ipod while making my way from place to place. There were a few things that motivated this as the choice for February. (Also lets move forward without judgement and instead interest)

1. My boyfriend is constantly on his phone. When we are hanging out at home, when we are walking down the street, in a Car2Go, waiting for a movie to start, and out for dinner. Most of the instances didn’t really bother me but when he spent more time looking at his phone than at me during dinner I started to get impatient about it.

2. I am not really on my phone that much but I am constantly looking at my phone. I don’t know what exactly I am looking for but all day long I gaze at my phone seeing if my little red “message” light is flashing. If it is I will check to see what email or text I may have received. If its not, I will look again in 10 seconds. Also I don’t like to go ANYWHERE without my phone. It is generally within arms reach and I even take it with me on the 15 minute break from work to go and get some take-out.

3. I want to turn off my ipod and turn on my hearing. There are a couple reasons I want to include the ipod. If I am walking, it is always on playing whatever tickles my fancy at that particular moment. This is something I have always loved. Walking, or travelling with music. I have had many magical moments this way where I am often brought to tears by the beauty of the world around me and the power of a song. But I feel as though I am missing out on the sounds of birds, trees in the wind, and people passing by. Also, unfortunately one of my motivations is slightly rooted in fear. I work early most mornings and I up hours before the sun starts peeking its way on to the world. I had a thought that if anyone in those early morning walks wanted to follow me and/or attack me I may not hear it coming.

I am hoping that this will bring me closer to the world as well those around me. In our ever struggle to connect more with others through the internet we are indvertantly disconnecting from people in the ‘real world’. I don’t want it to be considered strange to chat with a stranger or smile at the people passing me by as I walk from place to place. I want to hear more stories of the world in hopes to cultivate more love and less seperation.

Namaste

xo

Carly

A Year of Resolutions

2013

Its that time again. New year resolution time. We have all done it at least once before. Wrote out a list on a sheet of paper or out in our head. Maybe its just one thing and maybe is 20 things that you want to accomplish in the next year. Eat better, drink less, be kinder to others.

The resolution is easy to make but tough to keep.

The toughest part for me is sticking with something for an entire year. Most of the time I will forget any resolution I have set by the time March rolls around or have moved on to a new goal or changed my outlook. Thats life right?! And I enjoy life. A lot. I would even think as I was eating the most delicious piece of chocolate cake and then .. BAM! Shit, didn’t I resolve that I wasn’t going to eat this kind of stuff this year? Oops. Oh, and there comes the guilt which in turn just leads to more chocolate cake. Oh, well.

Well, this year I don’t want to “oh, well” and I also don’t want to set arbitrary resolutions that don’t really end in me becoming a better person. In yoga I am always setting intentions and with those clear intentions I do create positive change in my life and feel the happiness of those achievements. Even simple things like breathing more deeply lead me to greater goals and better feelings towards myself and others. So my resolution for 2013 is a new intention every month. Why? Because as time moves forward we change, we adapt, and our goals change. I feel like this kind of resolution is going to allow me to grow and move closer to spreading the love I know I am capable of cultivating not only towards myself but also for all those around me. Eliminating the judgement and expectation that sometimes resolutions create.

2008_01_January_Calendar_cal_l_2008_01January : No complaining

My goal for this month is to stop the habit of complaining about things as a form of conversation as well replace my internal complaints with a positive mantra. I hope that my positive intention can spread to others.

I have made a list of possible resolutions for the next few months but will decide on one closer as the next approaches based on what is going on in my life and what I think I need to bring inward and what I may be ready to let go of.

I always encourage others to share their resolutions as well as thoughts on my own. Share, explore, and unite.

Namaste

xox carly

 

Finding Your Inner Focus Focus

 

 

FOCUS seems to be a necessary word in our world. We are taught we should have focus in school. Focus in the workplace. Focus on our talents. Focus on our goals and making sure others focus on our achievements. When we lose this focus we can sometimes tend to lose ourselves along with it. If you find throughout your day your focus or insight is becoming more and more clouded, take a moment to step back to see and feel what you need. What are you trying to focus on? Is it coming from a place of pure intention? Will it lead you to truth? If it is truth, STAY ON YOUR PATH

“Pursuing the task of everyday life, I walk along the ancient path. I am not disheartened in the mindless void.” – C. Zenji (9th Century, CE), China

In times of multiple tasks, goals, commitments, decisions and needs our focus can become clouded. Although all these things may among your journey, it to can get a little foggy now and then. So where do we go when we can’t decide what to wear in the morning? What is the solution when we can’t find the inspiration to write or complete an assignment? Where do we start when our mind is full of air, jumping from one thought to another?

 

Practice:

 

 There are many different ways to bring your inner sight back into focus through asana practice as well as meditation and pranayama. (Side note: If its your actual eyesight that seems to be the trouble then I suggest seeing a doctor) I will give an example of each and if there is one in particular that you found helpful I can suggest some other similar options.

 

1. Balance to focus: All balance postures in asana practice cultivate and enrich concentration. One you can try is Tree Pose (vrksasana) http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/496 You emulate the steady balance, strength and focus of a tree, firmly rooted in the earth while growing tall toward the sun. To increase your focus while in tree pose or during other moments throughout, set your gaze on something in front of you. This is your drishti. Let your eyes be soft and your mind liquid. Let your breath flow like water as you find softness to the point of focus. You can remain for just a few breaths or a few minutes. Remember to honor your body in any posture.

 

2. Candle to concentration: Tratak is the yogic practice of candle gazing. Begin in a comfortable seated position in a quiet place. Sit approximately 3 ft in front of a lit candle. Let your sit bones become heavy and the spine long. Feel the breath become more mindful as you let your drishti float to the flame. Let the gaze be still and with intention until the eyes begin to slightly water. Then close your eyes and visualize the flame in your mind’s eye for two minutes. This will develop your inner focus. When ready gently open the eyes looking to the candle. Let yourself become aware of difference and feel of having outer focus. Concentration leads the mind a little more softly into meditation and from there into a more balanced mind. This is also a more natural way to ease into the practice of meditation and quieting of the mind. *** After this practice, or after a long period of looking at a computer or book, soothe the eyes. Place your hands into prayer position and begin to quickly rub them together until you can feel the warmth, then place the palms over the eyes. Let your lids become heavy and give the eyes the opportunity to rest.

 

3. Sharpen with ujjayi: The Ujjayi offers mental focus, calming for the nervous system, increase in oxygen, warming for the body and many other benefits to those who practice it. Ujjiya, also known as ocean breath because it can emulate the sound of the tide coming in and going out from shore. To do, breathe in and out through the nose while contracting the back of the throat (glottis) so you can hear the breath flowing. If you feel as though you are forcing the tightening sensation at the back of the throat just relax slightly and enjoy the slowing of the flow as you were breathing through a very thin straw. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcPjvp4La8A&feature=related

 

“One who is undisturbed by the flow of desires finds peace, as the ocean – though filled by incessant rivers.” Bhagavad Gita (400-300 BCE), India

 

Finding your own rhythm, relaxation and calm in times of stress and lost focus can be challenging but let it be an exploration and enjoy the things you learn about yourself along the way. If you have any questions, concerns or want to explore further don’t hesitate to connect. We are all just making our way through the fog a little more each day but I am okay with not always being able to see in front of me because I still have the rest of me as a guide.

 

Namaste xo

For the Love of Movement

Days off for me can be a variable amount of productivity. Sometimes I spend the whole day outside wondering the streets and running errands. Other days I stay in and watch an unnecessary amount of TV shows and movies. Or I will write and practice yoga until my body is mushy and there is nothing left to reflect on. Sometimes it is balanced mix of all of these. Today was just that. The perfect amount of relaxation, productivity, and reflection that makes me feel like I am on my desired path and fill my heart with energy for the rest of the week.

Another thing that I like to do is move consciously. I know that sounds a little vague, and to some, perhaps even like hippy non-sense. Whether its walking, asana, hiking, or (most especially) spinning poi I like to remain connected with the sensations of the movements and allow those movements along with music to move me without thought or judgement.

As a person who had grown up participating in a very regimented competitive type of dance and later a strict study in anatomy and physiology moving outside the box and thinking creatively was something that almost foreign to me until I started practicing yoga. Even when I first started I took it extremely seriously and was more focused on if a posture looked right instead of focusing on how it felt. This most certainly isn’t the wrong way of asana practice but it was when my teacher truly taught me to flow and remain connected with the sensations of practice that I received an abundance of benefits. Most importantly, SELF awareness.

*”Self Awareness is having a clear perception of your personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions. Self Awareness allows you to understand other people, how they perceive you, your attitude and your responses to them in the moment.”

Having this awareness isn’t always an easy road. Sometimes there are harsh discoveries about yourself. But along with awareness must also come understanding and the ability to let it go to move forward.
Awe yes, movement. Movement of my body as well as the movement of my mind and attitude.

Practice:

Conscious movement – The next time you are walking home, working out, practicing yoga, or dancing to music tune into the sensations of your movements.

-Begin at the feet. Take notice of the feel of your toes, soles, and ankles with each step. Do the right and left feel different? Is one side putting more weight down than the other?

-Continue this exploration all the way up to the knees and hips

-Once you’ve reached the base of the spine focus in on each vertabrae as you move your body

-Do the same thing with the fingers, arms, shoulders, and finally the neck and face. Are any of these places holding tension or are they at ease.

You may discovery discomforts with this type of focused attention through the body. But there is a good chance you’ll notice where feels good and which ways your body moves that feels good. Having this awareness is also so benefical if something in our body starts to feel “off” because you”ll have a better idea of what normal is for you.

***Of course allow breath to be a valued part of this exercise.

In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you. 
Deepak Chopra 

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