Mindful Monday: It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye

Good Mindful Monday morning, friends!

“Life is a balance of holding on and letting go.”

This has been my mantra this summer, as I prepare to say farewell to my soon-to-be college-bound son. He is a “rising” freshman as I’ve been told they are now referred to.

I’ve been holding on to the preciousness and sanctity of each blessed breath and moment.

And letting go of all of the thoughts of how I could have been a better mom.

I’ve been learning to hang on dearly to memories of all of the laughter and fun and lightness.

To release all of the disappointments and hurts that inevitably happen within a family and a personal relationship.

And to grasp the nuggets of wisdom that result in learning the tough lessons of life.

To hang on to the significance of each “last” before he leaves. Last weekend. Last family dinner. Last Sunday lunch. Last night before he embarks on his new adventure.

And to leave behind the expectations and “shouldas” and “couldas.”

To embrace with gratitude this gift of motherhood.

And to acknowledge that this entire journey has always been about preparing to let go.

To continue to trust in the brilliance of life’s plans.

To relinquish the thought that I ever really had much control over any of it.

To accept in my heart that we all did our best.

And to surrender to the belief that this is exactly how it should unfold.

This morning, I found a brand new park to sit in and write today’s post. It seemed fitting to write my last Mindful Monday before my heart and soul is ripped out and transplanted to another city and state. (Not dramatic at all!)

As I sit on a bench with all the sounds of nature enveloping me, one of these birds flew directly towards me then looped around and flew away! So symbolic. I was completely engrossed in watching the flight. As an afterthought I snapped this picture of that bird with one of his bird friends.

While I am well aware that I’m not the only mother in the history of the world to experience this deep, bittersweet sense of loss; I am definitely feeling connected to every human soul who has, for whatever reason, ever had to say a tough, gut wrenching, totally scary and absolutely necessary farewell.

So when the time comes, I pray for the strength to be able to turn around and paddle away, knowing I’ve done all I can and trusting he will be surrounded with love, support and guidance always.

Wellness Wednesday: Celebrating Your Happiness

Happy Wellness Wednesday, everyone!

This past week I had the great surprise to see our instructor, Pamela. Pamela has always been one to remind me the importance of getting excited about our littlest victories in life. She brings such a warm presence into a room, inspiring others to do the same.

Taking pride in our victories can seem like a tough pill to swallow. We may not feel as interesting, successful or important enough to people we may compare ourselves to. We can easily get swept up along in this mindset. Without acknowledging this we may lash our feelings out on others immediately or store our emotional hurt inside of our physical bodies as a way to suppress what we are actually feeling. It seems much easier to avoid our emotions than to actual deal with them so for a brief moment we may turn to other pleasures in hope to find ease, better known as numbing. Denying what we feel may burglarize us of the valuable information about our self that we may need in order to heal and create balance within our life.

Continuing to numb ourselves to the yin and yang of life can have us settle for a monotone world of grey. Our experiences become more dull and we become less content with our life’s path. This goes the same with positive emotions. Suppressing our happiness can be just as unhealthy as suppressing our sadness.  Taking a moment to express our innermost joy can give us the space to live vividly, reminding us the excitement life contains. As soon we can identify what brings us joy we expand our warmth to others as well.

Mindful Monday: Yoga – the Eight Limbed Path

Good morning and happy Monday, mindful ones.

Whether you’re new to your mat or a seasoned practitioner, you’ve undoubtedly pondered this question: What is Yoga?

Is it being really calm and not eating meat? Or is it buying expensive yoga pants and learning to twist your body into pretzel like shapes? Maybe it’s juice cleansing and chakra aligning. Or going to a yoga retreat in Costa Rica and subscribing to Yoga Journal. Wearing mala beads and patchouli essential oil. I know –  It’s drinking kombucha and balancing on your head! Does going to Burning Man officially make me a yogi?

Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word “yuj” which translates to “yoke” or “union.” The practice of yoga is both an art and science dedicated to creating this union between body, mind and spirit. It’s a tool for us to learn how to use our breath and bodies to foster a deep awareness of ourselves as beautiful, individualized beings intimately connected to the unified whole of creation. In short, it is about making balance and creating equanimity so we may live in peace, good health and harmony with the greater whole.

This art of right living was perfected and practiced in India thousands of years ago and the foundations of yoga philosophy were recorded in The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, in approximately 200 AD. This sacred text describes the inner workings of the mind and provides an eight-step blueprint for controlling its restlessness so we enjoy  lasting peace off of our mats.

The core of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras is an eight-limbed path that forms the structural framework for yoga practice. Upon practicing all eight limbs of the path it becomes self-evident that no one element is elevated over another in a hierarchical order. Each is part of a holistic focus which eventually brings completeness to the individual as they find their connectivity to the divine. Because we are all uniquely individual a person can emphasize one branch and then move on to another as they round out their understanding.

In brief the eight limbs, or steps to yoga, are as follows:

1 Yama :  Universal morality

2 Niyama :  Personal observances

3 Asanas :  Body postures

4 Pranayama :  Breathing exercises, and control of prana

5 Pratyahara :  Control of the senses

6 Dharana :  Concentration and cultivating inner perceptual awareness

7 Dhyana :  Devotion, Meditation on the Divine

8 Samadhi :  Union with the Divine

So you can see that the asanas or poses we practice equate to only 12.5 percent of a complete yoga practice! It’s an integral part of our holistic practice, but it cannot stand alone.

We’ll explore each of the limbs in a bit more detail for the next eight weeks! So make sure to check back in with Mindful Monday each week!

Namaste, my fellow yogis!

“Practice and all is coming.”  – K. Pattabhi Jois

Wellness Wednesday: Coming Out From Hiding

I think it’s easy to isolate ourselves time to time. We may use the defense during our isolation phase that we are shy or lonesome when in reality we could be hiding due to underlying tensions we may be experiencing.

Most of the time we work through this isolation phase as we could simply be angry, upset, anxious about the life outside of our physical bodies. However if we do not pass these feelings, we may resort to bitterness. Bitterness creates space for us to become victims that we no longer have to continue the path of healing. When we acknowledge that it is okay to feel this way time to time, we can reconnect consciously with our hurt in constructive way and begin the process to work through it.

When we hide, we feel as if we are invisible as if no one can see the hurt we are experiencing when in reality we are only hiding from ourself. Each of us has a unique light we can share. When we dim our own natural light we also dim the glowing radiance of the universe. Stepping out from hiding is a way for us to serve ourself and those around us. Our light can energize ourselves and others in a synergistic harmony. Our ability to allow others to experience our light encourages other to do the same. This ripple effect benefits everyone to experience the deep potential warmth this universe holds.

Mindful Monday: The Secret to Happiness

Good morning and Happy Monday, mindful one!

Would you like to know the secret to happiness?

*keep scrolling

Be happy!

Super simple, right?

You seem disappointed.

Well, it’s certainly not EASY! Who likes easy, anyway? We’re here for maximum growth and transformation! And that kind of magical stuff is never, ever as boring and mundane as … easy.

The truth is our natural state of being is one of happiness. Pure, sublime, delicious and simple happiness.

Here are the top ten ways that we give away our happiness every day. Relinquishing our own power and control of our life experiences. (Seems so insane when you think of it like that, right?)

1. Choosing to be unhappy rather than happy.

2. Fear of anything, especially of being a radiant, shiny rockstar or of falling in love over and over and over again.

3. Waiting for everything to be “just right” and in “perfect order” before jumping off that bridge.

4. Getting caught up in silly, irrelevant trivialities

5. Worrying what others will think and seeking validation from others

6. Attaching happiness to anything external, like: the weather (friendly reminder that you live in the Midwest amidst FOUR seasons); how other people drive, look, breathe, think, and live their lives; life unfolding in its own perfection and timetable

7. Focusing on what you don’t have rather than being eternally grateful for all you DO HAVE right now

8. Thinking of all the different ways things might go wrong rather than trusting and believing that everything is RIGHT, especially the detours and the so-called setbacks

9. Wasting even a single precious second on self-doubt. Please see #2

10. Cultivating negativity in thoughts, words and actions.

Ok, my little dove, go forth and soar like the radiant, creative, gorgeous being we all know you are.

Have a great week, friends!

Wellness Wednesday: Your Daily Scan

Sometimes we may be so caught up in sensation, feeling and emotion we forget our physical body goes through great stress. As a reminder we must give our body the loving care it needs as it is a tool in which we experience life but so often we treat it with indifference and dislike.

A brief moment to take a body scan may be the thing we need to softly come back to earth. This brief moment can bring us to be sensitive to the sensations that arise in the body. We may notice aches, a shift in temperature, the subtle flow of breath in and out the nose. This scan can help us draw awareness to the areas where we feel “stuck”. Generally correlating to where energy is stuck. This can teach us something as it is believed the body never lies.

Any sensation that’s arises can be looked at as a piece of wisdom from the body. Any injury or discomfort can teach us to slow down and reflect what it is we need in order to create balance as a whole. The more we scan ourselves the more hypersensitive we are to imbalances that may be occuring in other aspects in our life other than physical.

Namaste!

Angie

Mindful Monday: the Journey

Getting upside down at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville

Good morning and happy Monday, mindful ones!!!

It was Family Day at Vanderbilt this past weekend – the first time I’ve seen my baby boy since we said our farewells outside of Murray Hall on Sunday, August 18th.

We had a blast this weekend! Nashville is a thriving and beautiful city with so much to offer. It is overflowing with entertainment, amazing food and lovely people.

And to see my son in his beautiful new life and to hear him say that he made the right choice for himself is an indescribable medley of emotions: pure joy, happiness, pride, gratitude and comfort. He compared Vandy to the other top 15 schools he was accepted to, and said that Vandy students are ranked as among the happiest in the nation!

And I have to remind myself that the road to get here was certainly not a smoothly paved, perfectly straight path. It was far from that!

But the journey was worth it. A billion times over.

And those times where we struggled (he’s more stubborn than me!!) are now funny stories. And the big, significant milestone moments are precious memories that warm the heart.

And the every day grind times are the memories most cherished. The mundane, every day stuff that at the time felt routine and tedious and sometimes boring and annoying are what I miss the most during the course of my day.

But I certainly don’t dwell on that! I shift my focus and awareness to Julian, and we are so excited to see the amazing things unfolding in this young man’s future.

After only a month, he seems taller and he’s definitely filling out his frame with wider shoulders and more meat on his bones! 🤣😍

And watching his journey is a constant reminder to me to stay grounded in the present. To anchor my awareness to right now. And that it’s OK to feel whatever it is I’m feeling in each moment, as long as it’s honest and authentic.

Family day was experienced with my parents and my ex-husband. Just like the 18 year journey to get Julian settled into “the Harvard of the South” was rocky and less than smooth; this weekend also had its ups and downs. Lol.

The majority of ups! But a few instances where we were annoyed with one another. Lol. That’s called family living or just life itself!

The trick is to anchor down (<<< see what I did there?) into the present and love and accept every single moment. Even when you want to strangle someone. Or wrap them in your arms and never let go. It’s all good stuff. All of it!

Have a great week, my lovely friends! Embrace all of it!

Make it the best week ever!

September 2019 POTM: Anahatasana or Melting Heart Pose

Happy September, yogis!

Our POTM is Anahatasana, or Melting Heart pose (sometimes referred to as Extended Puppy pose). This beautiful backbend deeply opens the shoulders, pectoral muscles of the chest, thoracic spine, neck and lower back. Heart and lung meridians receive a fresh burst of prana. Try this yoga pose first thing in the morning to set the tone for the day ahead!

Here’s how:

From table top (hands and knees) position, slide your arms forward and begin to melt your heart towards the earth.

Listen carefully to your heart and body and move only to the degree that feels appropriate.

You can always layer a block under your sternum to help your heart meet the earth.

You can bring your forehead to your mat (or a block if necessary) and gently rock your forehead side to side, massaging your ajna or third eye chakra.

Ultimately your chest may lay on the ground, with the chin tilting up. This will compress and massage the back on the neck and must only be done if comfortable.

If your chest, throat and chin easily rest on your mat, you can tuck your toes, lift your knees off the mat and straighten your legs. Please note that this is an advanced variation, and should only be done if your chest can remain pinned to the earth.

Hold for 3-5 minutes, breathing deeply into the shoulders, neck, spine, chest and lower back. Always remember where your attention goes, energy flows and it is important in these more vulnerable yin, backbending poses to remain focused inwards and on your pranayama.

Observe the emotions rising in this yoga pose. Melting heart is particularly effective in releasing heavy, stagnant or sad feelings. It may trigger an emotional reaction and release, including the need to cry! By the end of the pose, you will feel joy and lightness.

Follow with Balasana, Child’s Pose.

Wellness Wednesday: You Never Know Until You Try

Just this past week I came across this photo I took for a couple of lovely daughters encouraging their mothers to try yoga for the first time with a private class I had taught them. The conversation sparked to how intimidating yoga can be for someone new to it. It can feel like immersing yourself into a whole unknown world of breathing, energy and making weird pretzel shapes with your body. At first it may seem like the last thing to come to mind when thinking of something relaxing but “you never know until you try”.

We have always heard this saying. It is often said we regret the things we never did during our lifetime. Our willingness to discover through doing can help us to explore our interests and produce a change in pace of our life. While each experience may not be in our best interest, we have given ourselves the opportunity to deepen our self knowledge.

Our ability to take a brief moment to ourself in silent reflection on the years we have lived can ensure we take advantage of each moment. We may realize we had a reoccurring closed mindset that stemmed from fear of judgement or failure. This realization can be just what we need to encourage us to try something new as we never know until we try it.

Namaste!

Angie

Mindful Monday: Winds of Change

Good morning and happy Monday, dearest ones!

The winds of change have arrived! This powerful vata, fall energy is the time of big, sweeping transitions!

Let’s take our lead from nature. See how the trees are on their final rally! Preparing their most vibrant and eye-catching colors. Living their best life, leaving nothing undone. Full on blaze of glory.

And they will then be ready to let go. To release every last attachment to the summer; to their beautiful leaves. Their only possessions.

And they will go dormant. Slowing down during the colder, darker months. Gathering energy as they rest, nourish, replenish, strengthen and prepare for the next phase of life. Trusting in the brilliance and knowledge of Nature.

Nature is all powerful and all knowing. How foolish we humans are as we continue to rally against the inevitable. Our human egos believe that we know better and that we can do better.

As we prepare to transition, here are some great questions you may ask of yourself:

What are some of my accomplishments thus far in 2019?

What are three challenges I have overcome? What are the lessons I learned from these challenges?

What are three things I’m so grateful for?

What are some things I’m willing to let go of with gratitude and appreciation?

What has held me back from experiencing true growth?

Let this be the starting point! Next week we will work on focusing on various aspects of our lives and growth.

Make it a great week, dearest ones!

Wellness Wednesday: Your Inner Circle

Happy Wellness Wednesday, guys!

This past month I have gravitated to the idea of spring cleaning of those I surround myself with. There come a point we feel the need to reevaluate the relationships we have in our life to ensure the relationships we hold are still warm and thriving. Little did I realize that I spent too much energy engaging in relationships that left me feeling apathetic, stagnant and exhausted. Recently I have longed for the relationships that left me nourished, back to my roots.

Life itself can be draining enough already without the ones that consume our energy levels constantly so its vital we plant ourselves in an inner circle that nourishes us to grow. This evaluation has little to do with being a selfish and everything to do with your well being. Our relationships should be mutual and synergistic. However, this could be difficult to learn as we may fall into the comfort of the length we have had this relationship. It may become blind to us that we no longer receive mutual support or we have kept ourselves trapped from negative energy, something we must give ourselves permission to free. While we may not want to completely eliminate a relationship, we have the ability to shift the boundaries of a relationship.

Doing so can give us the space we need within in order to grow and cultivate more ease in our life and inspire the ones we love to do the same.