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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.

Mindful Monday: Graceful Acceptance

Happy Monday, yogis!

It’s happening again, isn’t it? That final rallying that summer’s not really over.

Scoffing at pumpkin spice’s far too premature appearance. I mean seriously, my birthday is in September (oh, the 14th if you were wondering), and my birthday is literally always warm, bright and sunny. And I’m positive I saw pumpkin even before Labor Day!

Wearing shorts and tank tops, because, it’s like the first week of September! (Thank goodness I had my son’s track hoodie in my trunk for these early mornings.)

Still ordering iced chai rather than hot chai because I don’t need to warm my fingers – cold is like a mini Cryo treatment to my hands.

Then the realization that resisting the natural cycles of nature is just the same as complaining about the weather, which is my greatest pet peeve. Complaining about something that you have zero control or input over is an exercise in futility, frustration and insanity.

So today I ordered a hot coffee for myself and my friend Gina (not pumpkin) and felt gratitude for the chill breeze early this morning.

I admired how the trees are preparing for their big color show and inevitable release to bareness by slowly shedding extra leaves.

And I acknowledged the energetic effects of this transitional time on my body. It’s starting to slow down. It wants more rest and grounding.

The fall is characterized by vata dosha: airy, windy, cold, light, moving and dry.

As long as these qualities are in balance, a person whose dosha is predominantly vata (like me) will be healthy, creative, and exuberant. But when too much vata accumulates in the body and mind, the imbalance may manifest as physical or emotional disorders, including insomnia, dry skin, arthritis, constipation, high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression.

Many of us naturally and subconsciously move toward grounding ourselves during this windy, moving energy time. We move toward heavier, cooked foods that are filling and warming. We may see an increase in our appetites; be intuitive and take cues from your body on what it needs.

Tending toward softer, heavier fabrics in earth tones will ground and calm vata.

  • Even our yoga practice will reflect this transitional time: more stabilizing and grounding poses and flows.
  • As always, taking our cues from intuition and nature are the simplest ways we can gracefully weather life’s shifts and transitions. From the weather to kids back in school to shifts at work, in life and relationships, we learn to stabilize within and be more allowing to whatever flows our way.

    Have a lovely week, friends!

    Wellness Wednesday: Our Inner Child

    As adults we are taught it is necessary to always act mature. We hide our lighthearted, playful sides and our work becomes dull. A spontaneous change in every day tasks may be the thing we need to free us from the all-seriousness life we live. If we continue to have a strict routine we are expected to live, we only become more numb as time goes on. We may forget the vibrancy that we can access at any time simply by becoming creative in our ordinary routine.

    As we explore what spontaneous means to us, we transform what we once thought was mundane into experiencing life as if it was the first time just like a child. Letting the innocent part of us come out and play might be a way for us to feel the energy of our younger years as we also experience the notion of life in a pure way.

    Consciously reminding ourselves of innocence we once had in our early years allows us to experience life fully with open arms. But as we grow older we acknowledge the problems of the world, we see the past as something negative. While we perceive these problems as negative, this negativity can impact the positivity in life. However a trip down memory lane ironically may be the thing we need to see that there is a wonder to everyday things. Connecting our inner child briefly here and there brings an uplift of interest to what we thought would never be lively again.

    Namaste!

    Angie

    Mindful Monday: Happy Labor Day

    Good morning and happy Monday, dearest mindful ones.

    We have an abbreviated class schedule today in observance of Labor Day. We still have noons and 1:30 pms at our Downers Grove and Western Springs locations; there’s definitely still opportunity to get to your mat!

    Remember, Labor Day, is your day.

    No one deserves a break more than you do. And aside from BBQs and a fond farewell to summer, Labor Day is when we celebrate the economic and social contributions of workers, hard workers like you and me!

    A few ways I love to observe Labor Day:

    1. Take the day OFF. When I first started teaching, I worked every holiday! Now I allow myself the simple pleasure of turning it off to rest and recharge my mind, body and spirit.

    2. No schedule and no pressure. If I feel like practicing yoga, I will. But if I’m not feeling it, I give myself permission to chill out. I can Netflix all day by myself if that’s what’s calling to my spirit – or if I’m feeling more social, I’ll hang out at a friend’s BBQ. No forcing or making myself rally to do something I don’t really want to do.

    3. Sleep in. It is so amazing to go to bed Sunday night without setting an alarm. Staying up late having fun and then sleeping in and waking up naturally. And maybe even lingering in bed writing this blog.

    4. Move. Even if it’s going to be a lazy day, I’ll definitely spend some time in nature: A long walk or even a light jog (ok probably more likely a long walk) to boost seratonin levels and endorphins. Movement is the quickest, simplest life hack to instantly boost feelings of well-being.

    5. Quiet space. Per my normal routine, I always take some time to quietly meditate and cleanse and purify my thoughts. I’ll definitely take some extra time to reflect on all of my hard work, success and accomplishments over this past year!

    Happy Labor Day, dearest friends. Thank you for all that you do each and every day!

    Wellness Wednesday: Is Fear So Bad?

    Fear is this physiological response that we all have experienced when there may be potential danger. There are times, however, that fear dominates us so often that it keeps us from fully enjoying life. Fear is often viewed as a feeling that robs us from the life we desire by tearing us down to eventually turn us powerless.

    But fear is an innate instinct. Fear can be healthy. Fear is something we work with rather than against. Fear invites us to grow. It encourages us to experience new situations, introduces us to new people and liberates us from the lack of momentum our life may have time to time. We may act out in fear and look back wishing we had made different action for a different outcome on a situation. When we learn that we can work with fear, we also learn that we have the powerful ability to observe our fear and make wiser decisions as we detach from such a strong emotional reaction. When our mind and soul are in alignment we create space within ourselves to take on a new experience of reality.

    Overcoming a fear can seem like a big leap. Whatever it may be, it is essential to start small. When we confront a fear we have the ability to acknowledge and analyze our thought process, view the fear from multiple types of perspectives and then decide how we may act on our fear. The small dosage of adrenaline our body fires followed by a moment of calm can ensure that we are safe. As we continue to repeat this sequence we only gain confidence now that we learned we are never given more than we can handle. We learn that temporary discomfort is a small price to pay for the development of ourself and that fear really isn’t so bad.

    Namaste!

    Angie

    Mindful Monday:

    Good morning, beautiful mindful ones!

    “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”

    Here’s a short story about life.

    There was once a man who had been wounded by a poisoned arrow. And when his family wanted to find a doctor to help him, the man said no.

    The mortally wounded man said that before any doctor tried to help him, he wanted to know who had attacked him. What was his caste and where was he from?

    He also wanted to know this other man’s height, strength, skin tone, the kind of bow he used, and whether its string was made of hemp, silk, or bamboo.

    So, as he wondered if the arrow’s feathers came from a vulture, peacock, or falcon, and whether the bow was common, curved, or made of oleander, he ended up dying before getting an answer to any of his questions. 

    How often do we this? Focusing so much on every myriad, irrevelant detail of the past, that we literally sacrifice our future?

    Focusing on the past robs us of our ability to fully experience the present, to enjoy every moment of the journey and to appreciate the beauty of life. Through yoga, we continually practice staying present in the moment. To focus, breathe, observe as we empty the mind of everything but right now.

    That’s exactly why we practice balancing poses! We are forced to feel the entire body and stay super focused – it’s hard enough balancing on two feet, let alone one!

    And most remember, dear yogis, that you are exactly where you are supposed to be in your journey!

    Make it the best week ever!

    Namaste

    Wellness Wednesday: Telling People You Love Them

    Little does anyone know that I keep a folder of letters I have received from those in my life over a course of my entire lifetime next to my bed. These are letters I hold close as a friendly reminder that there are people who have warned my heart by putting the effort to express their love and appreciation. They are something I still turn to years later for an uplift from the mundane.

    I think most people do not truly express their innermost feelings for others whoever that may be- friends, family, lover, teammate, student or teacher. I really do think everyone needs to hear that they are loved and appreciated more often.

    Learning to express our love to others from our innermost self is vital for showing our most honest form of feeling. There may be times when we wish to tell someone that we love them or compliment them and feel vulnerable, something we all fear at some point. We fear the other’s reaction so we store what is on our mind and hearts inside. We may even miss out on growing opportunities as many words can fall unsaid. These few kind words can be remembered forever by someone we find special. When we crack this barrier we cannot help but feel raw and fresh all at the same time. In this moment we never regret for loving too much. Exposing our raw emotions lets us get our thoughts across with pure sincerity.

    When we share love to those around we create an instant shift in attitude to ourselves and those around us. It becomes this wonderfully synergistic cycle that will remain within even in the most despondent times.

    Compliment or express your love and appreciation for someone today!

    Namaste,

    Angie

    Wellness Wednesday: The Entity Of The Small Moments

    Our days are composited with many small moments that are interconnected to form this big picture that is our life.

    These small moments can easily be lost among the clutter as we become overwhelmed by responsibilities, obligations, goals and tasks we encounter. In attempt to cope with the chaos of life we reminisce on days past or daydream on days ahead, straying us away from the present moment. We find it difficult to be present because there always seems to be more pressing needs that must be done. When the opportunity arises to spend time to ourselves we feel guilty that we may be neglecting our family, friends and even our work. While life can be insistent, these small moments can carry the potential to cultivate greater bliss we desire for days on end.

    Drawing conscious awareness to the present moment is a practice. Resisting our urge to rush enables us to witness our ability to soften, expand and learn. We become more mindful of the space and environment we are in when we focus on our breath and movement. If we handle each small moment with care whether we percieve it as positive or negative we can learn to adore the entity of life itself. Our patience to embrace each small moment will teach us the expedition from one point to another will seem to take no time at all as we move through bliss that is the present moment.

    Namaste!

    Angie

    August 2019 Pose of the Month: Downward Facing Dog

    Our August 2019 pose of the month is Adho Mukha Svanasana. The dog days of summer are the best days to down dog!

    This pose is one of the foundational poses of our yoga practice and easily recognizable even by those who have yet to practice yoga. Let’s do this!

    1 Come to your hands and knees. Align your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. The fold of your wrists should be parallel with the top edge of your mat.

    2 Stretch your elbows and relax your upper back.

    3 Point your index finger directly toward the top edge of your mat and splay your fingers wide apart. Spread Press firmly through your palms and knuckles, particularly index finger and thumb. Distribute your weight evenly across your hands without dumping into your wrists.

    4 Exhale as you tuck your toes and lift your knees off the floor. Reach your pelvis up toward the ceiling, then draw your sit bones toward the wall behind you. Gently begin to straighten your legs, but do not lock your knees. Bring your body into the shape of an upside down V. Imagine your hips and being pulled backwards and lifted upwards from the top of your thighs. Do not walk your feet closer to your hands — keep the extension of your whole body.

    5 Press the floor away from you as you lift through your pelvis. As you lengthen your spine, lift your sit bones up toward the ceiling. Now press down equally through your heels and the palms of your hands.

    6 Firm the outer muscles of your arms and press your index fingers into the floor. Lift from the inner muscles of your arms to the top of both shoulders. Draw your shoulder blades into your upper back ribs and toward your tailbone. Broaden across your collarbones.

    7 Rotate your arms externally so your elbow creases face your thumbs.

    8 Draw your chest toward your thighs as you continue to press the mat away from you, lengthening and decompressing your spine.

    9 Engage your quadriceps by lifting your knee caps. Rotate your thighs inward as you continue to lift your sit bones high. Sink your heels toward the floor.

    10 Align your ears with your upper arms. Relax your head, but do not let it dangle. Gaze between your legs or toward your navel.

    11 Hold for 5 breaths.

    12 To release, exhale as you gently bend your knees and come back to your hands and knees.