Wellness Wednesday: Gratitude in Stillness

Happy Wellness Wednesday, yogis!

This past weekend felt longer as I had less responsibilities and more wholesome days spent with friends. I had the opportunity to fill my leisure time spent with activities no where near related to my responsibilities in which left me feeling whole despite the pause of forward momentum this year has had.

The sudden decrease in activity we experience after achieving an event, goal or breakthrough can leave us with a period of stagnancy as we attempt to find what step it is we must tackle next. This period can leave us questioning our purpose and values while we may even experience frustration or even depression all at the same time. As humans we strive to be the next better and best. We tend to seek for validation through others, thinking that someone must view us a certain way to feel content. However if we seek what brings us ease and peace moments of stillness can teach us the importance of simply existing without plan and move at our own natural rhythm.

Periods of stagnancy can feel unproductive as we do not experience instant change. However intention can transform our perspective. Setting our intention to simply be can introduce personal growth in many configurations. This period be a time spent in reflection as we understand why things are the way they are or an adjustment where we begin to set new values based off past experiences. Although we are not in a constant momentum, we can appreciate the stagnant energy to recollect and be prepared for the next wave of life.

Namaste,

Angie

Mindful Monday: Just Breathe

Good morning, friends!

Just a friendly reminder for you to

Just Breathe ……..

……. If you are running a tad bit late

……. If summer construction traffic has you down to one lane of traffic

……. If the car next to you won’t let you merge

……. If your co-worker is telling you that same story again

……. If your teenager is giving you attitude

……. If the people at the table next to you are super loud

……. If you receive some bad news today

……. If you have a few moments to stand barefoot in the grass

…….. If you are enjoying the sunshine outdoors

……. If you are laying out at the pool

……. If you are sitting through an endless meeting

Just. Breathe.

Inhale

Exhale

Inhale

Exhale

Inhale

Exhale

……. And smile to yourself that you are ALIVE in this moment.

Make it a fantastic week, my lovelies! Enjoy our fleeting summer!

Wellness Wednesday: Yoga Is For Everybody and Every Body

There is often the misconception that yoga is a women-only practice that requires flexibility and a green juice in hand. Although we see all the celebrities and Instagram influencers in their picture perfect down dog, we also see that yoga is being encouraged by top athletes, public schools, hospitals and even the U.S. military within the recent years as yoga is booming. The stigma that yoga holds is now breaking as we realize yoga isn’t for wussies. Together we are learning to love mindfulness and the benefits this ancient practice has to offer.

Yet, we are still intimidated to try it. The intimidation can come from many factors as it can be a challenge physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and energetically. We depreciate ourselves by making comments such as:

  • “I’m not flexible enough”
  • “I’m injuried”
  • “I’ll look stupid”
  • “Men don’t do yoga”
  • “I can’t sit still”
  • “Psh, I can’t touch my toes”

The list goes on…but this mentality can stray us away from the healing power yoga can offer to new students like Frank.

Meet Frank. As a full-time paramedic and passionate power lifter, he has learned one or two things about stress and the body.

“I started yoga to begin learning more about my body, to increase my flexibility, and to be more in touch with myself. While I like heated vinyasa, I enjoy coming to restorative. With my long hours of work as a paramedic and spending my off days powerlifting and beating up on my body, I get a lot out of holding deep stretches, and I enjoy how it gives me an opportunity to reflect on my past days of work and push through any difficulties that I may have had. The deep stretching in restorative gives me a moment to really feel my body, where I’m sore and where I can improve. I have already noticed a big difference in my connection I have with my body while in the gym. It just goes to show. Men do yoga, too.”

Everybody and every body can benefit from yoga. Yoga is meant to meet yourself exactly where you are in the present moment. That is why there are multiple styles, modifications and variations so you do what suits you best in the moment reguardless of your gender, injury history or flexibility and strength. Our hesitation to avoid yoga because of its stillness gives us the opportunity to really sit with our thoughts and dive into the roots of ourselves. That is why it is called a practice. We are constantly learning each time we step in further to evolving ourselves.

Namaste,

Angie

Mindful Monday: Saluting the Sun

Good morning and Happy Monday, mindful ones!

Have you ever really stopped to contemplate Surya Namaskar? It’s such a common part of our practice, that it’s easy to be on autopilot as you flow through.

No worries! I have found myself doing this at times as well.

Yes, sun salutes are the perfect “warm-up” for the physical body. We lengthen and engage all major muscle groups and joints; cardiovascular system increases; lungs, blood circulation and digestive system all benefit. In fact if you don’t have time for a full hour of practice, do 10 to 12 sun salutes for a perfect physical workout!

But we know that Yoga transcends so much more than just the physical.

In our sun salutations, we are yoking mind and body together, creating a pathway to dhyana or meditation, a state of deep contemplation and reception.

In our fast-paced world, we are often ahead of the current moment. The mind has been trained to fast forward in anticipation. Our sun salutes offer the opportunity to pause, return to our center, rekindling our relationship to breath and pure awareness. With this new awareness of breath and movement, we connect to our deeper rhythm and experience a moving meditation. It’s not in fact the physical poses but the deeper awareness of our inner energetic flow that awakens the state of yoga.

The Sun is central to this devotion, as it is the giver of all life on this planet. Without the sun, life on earth would dwindle and slowly die. The Sun warms our seas, stirs our atmosphere, generates our weather patterns, and gives energy to the growing green plants that provide the food and oxygen for life on Earth.

Miraculously, we are the perfect distance from the sun. Any closer, and we would be scorched. Any further away, and we would be in the Ice Ages.

The next time you flow through Surya Namaskar, focus on the miracle of your existence! Use your awareness to honor and notice where your body happens to be at this moment. Take each breath with gratitude.

Namaste, dearest mindful ones!

July 2019 Pose of the Month: Paripurna Navasana – Boat Pose

Happy July, hotties! Our pose of the month is …. Paripurna Navasana or Boat Pose. Because where else do you want to be in July? Obvi on a boat or next best thing … on your yoga mat. (Or no mat, but in a yoga pose 🤣)

Let’s go for it!

1 Begin in a seated position with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. 

2 Lift your feet off the floor. Keep your knees bent at first. Bring your shins parallel to the floor. This is half boat pose. Ardha Navasana

3 Your torso will naturally fall back, but do not let the spine round. 

4 Straighten your legs to a 45-degree angle if you can do so without losing the integrity of your upper body. You want to keep your torso as upright as possible so that it makes a V shape with the legs.

5 Roll your shoulders back and straighten your arms roughly parallel to the floor with your palms

boom shaka laka! You’re in (not on) a boat! now, if you could do this while you’re on a boat, you are definitely living your best life! 🤣❤️🙏🏾

Wellness Wednesday: Your Soul Purpose

There comes a point in our life when we must decide what our next step is. While for some of us this path may be smooth and clearly marked whereas some of us notice this path contains lots of rubble that leads us to the middle of an unknown area. Deciding which next step to take can give us a clear direction of which way we are headed but it may create a realization of what our view on life’s purpose is.

When we are in the moment of deciding our next step it is important we remind ourselves to stop where we are and reflect. We must move towards what satisfies our soul most. However, our inner dialogue may interfere with our decision making as we may fall into the expectations of life events to be completed at specific times. Our ability to detach from judgement and expectations frees us to become more content. Personal growth occurs when we allow ourselves out of borders we have placed ourselves in all our life.

It is when we release our fear and listen to ourselves that we discover what our next step is with ease. Beneath the fear of uncertainty and hesitation we experience the inner knowing that has been waiting to be acknowledged. But we must trust in ourselves to take the first step because soon we realize how empowering it can be. The momentum of continuing to step forward gives us the confidence we need to find alignment within this universe.

Mindful Monday: Comparison is the Thief of Joy

Good morning and happy Monday! Hope you had a fantastic weekend!

I had an incredible weekend celebrating my brilliant son’s high school graduation surrounded by his family and friends.

I had such a great time, I barely took any pictures!

And I cannot tell you how liberating that was. To just be present. Connecting with family and friends and making sure he had a great time and that he greeted and thanked all of his guests.

We live in a world now where social media can take over our daily lives, if we allow it. We spend so much time trying to create the “perfect” image to post on social media. And we measure our own value based on the number of “likes” or “❤️s” we get.

And it’s exhausting! This constant comparison to others.

It’s nothing new. Human nature hasn’t changed much; it’s just technology that has.

Long before social media, we were compared to other babies and toddlers in terms of percentile of height and weight.

In school, we are compared to all of the other kids and measured by GPAs and medals and ribbons in sports.

We start working and have families, and there’s still that constant feeling of “keeping up” with our peers.

This carries on into the next generation, when we compare our children to their peers!

Comparison is generally a fast track to unhappiness. It’s a sure path to misery. All it does is keeps you focusing on what you don’t like about yourself and your life. And throw in to that recipe a big dose of FOMO, and oh boy, serious self-esteem issues can arise that can be directly attributed to any forms of criticism imprinted from our childhoods.

Of course, the goal is for all of us to celebrate our own unique individuality and be genuinely happy for others’ successes without feeling less than.

If you are caught in that vicious cycle, as I was for many decades, read on for some tips to find a bit more balance.

1. Take a social media detox. I know, I know! There was a time in my life that a suggestion like that would cause me to panic! You would not have been able tto wrestle my smart phone out of my gripping, clinging hands!

Going on a 10 day silent meditation retreat where they took my phone and car keys and we didn’t speak, write or listen to any music for 10 days seemed like an impossibility! But the practice of withdrawing from all of the external stimulation, distractions and noise was the most incredible experience.

Oh of course you don’t have to do anything that extreme! But there are plenty of apps out there that help you understand how much time and energy you squander on various social media platforms.

There’s no substitute for a real, live human connection.

2. Use comparison in a healthy way! Use it to be inspired by others’ successes. And remember that one teeny little square image is a frozen fragment in time; there is probably an incredible backstory filled with challenges, heartbreak and struggles that culminate in a single triumphant moment.

What inspires you?

3. Use comparison as a modality to self-healing! What, exactly, about that image or real-life scenario sparks jealousy and feelings of unworthiness? We start to see that when resentment or envy bubbles up, it’s not in fact because of another’s success. It’s because we see someone else living authentically and to their potential, and perhaps we know there are areas in our own lives that could use more attention and development.

4. Take a yoga class! Meditate! Talk a walk! Go for a run. Or a swim. Or a bike ride. Play some music. Dance! Or just take a yoga class! Lol. Moving your body gets you out of that gorgeous head of yours (where all of our misery originates) and releases the feel good natural drug: endorphins!

5. And finally, my universal panacea: practice gratitude! Fill your mind with all of the things you are grateful for in your life! One of my private students began a gratitude practice with me and was astounded at how all of the abundance that began rapidly pouring into her life!

And of course, if nobody else tells you today, remember that you are amazing! You are exactly where you are meant to be along this journey!

Anicca! Anicca! Anicca! Be happy! Be happy! Be happy!

Wellness Wednesday: Flourishing with Acceptance

This past week it was brought to my attention of two people who have passed. Two more people who unfortunately left this Earth too soon along with three other deaths still on my mind from just a few months ago.

While it seems like death has been a reocurring pattern in my life it typically is an an immediate pause in routine because of the shock factor that is attached to it. When we experience something that is not consistent, it feels as if we are losing something. But it is true, we have lost someone. However understanding this concept that we are in a constant cycle of gaining and losing in life helps us to understand and accept the flow of life.

These recent events has opened eyes on how death has an impact on us. When we lose someone we love it is often first we experience a sense of shock or denial which then transitions into anger. This anger may be towards the loved one we lost for leaving or anger displayed outward to the universe. The cycle of grief from denial, anger, bargaining, depression and sadness isn’t a straight line. In fact, it can look like a toddler’s scribble that circles forward and then back with occasional moments of alleviation sprinkled between. This chaotic sequence reminds us how important it is we give ourselves the permission to feel in order to create space for the healing process that is about to begin.

Often we suppress this by throwing ourselves into many obligations and responsibilities to keep us distracted from the dwelling sadness we experience. This causes us to fall off route making the path of healing more difficult. Falling off this route can only allow these feelings to manifest in greater intensity so we must accept where we are in the moment.

Doing so consciously can soothe our tender selves as we become more open to this natural self healing process. As this grief subsides we can hold the memories of what we had and loved to live more vividly within us, transforming ourselves to flourish with acceptance and ease.

Mindful Monday: Little moments are the building blocks

Good morning, mindful ones! I’m beginning to feel like we live in Seattle, not the Chicago suburbs!

But I’m not complaining! I love the rain. But it does become a bit of a hindrance during graduation party season!

As you may already know, my son graduated from high school in May and we are well into graduation party season.

As we celebrate this next chapter in our kids’ lives, it’s such a reminder that we’re actually celebrating all of the little, every day mundane moments that brought us to this big one.

Every Saturday morning spent on the (insert sport here) field;

every Cub Scout meeting;

every sleepover;

every pizza party;

every piano recital and martial arts belt test;

every brown bag lunch packed;

every random Wednesday morning;

every spring break and summer vacay;

every Christmas and Easter;

every birthday;

every driving lesson and late-night studying sessions;

Every ACT and SAT prep sessions;

Every single college application and endless essays;

Every college visit;

And every single day since they started kindergarten.

Such a reminder to cherish every moment of each day that we have been gifted.

Life is all of the boring, routine moments that lead us to the big life moments. It’s the daily grind.

It’s remembering that each breath offers an opportunity to grow closer to God or push further away.

So when you wake up on a Monday morning in June and it’s raining, remember that today is still a gift. And it’s up to you to receive it with a full and open heart or bitch and moan about the absence of sunshine.

It’s entirely up to you! But today is a very important day on your journey. One day you will look back with fondness and perhaps a little longing for the good old days. And I don’t want you to have any regrets.

I hope you embrace it all! The rain. The traffic. The slow poke in front of you. The losses. The transitions. The farewells and good byes. The leaky diapers. The late nights with a sick kid. The overbearing room mom.

It’s all so very precious when you look back.

I hope you fill this rainy Monday with memories!

Have a great week, lovelies!

Wellness Wednesday: The Spectrum of Perception

There is no magic spell for everlasting happiness and contentment. We may despise those that come off radiant all the time but it is most likely they have not moved through life with an overflow of prosperity. They do, however, have made it their ability to take the circumstances they were given and made something great out of it.

This is done internally with the use of the spectrum of our perception. We are in control of the delight or despair when viewing a situation. What seemed to be an unexpected situation of chaos can be also be a situation that adds seasoning to our existence. Our ability to shift our attitudes can elicit what it is we need in order to heal but sometimes the conscious choice to be happy and content isn’t enough. Happiness isn’t a switch, right?

That’s when we must learn to detach ourselves from life’s difficulties and look at the world like it was the first time again. We then find little delights in the smallest of areas to bring much light into our reality. This can give us the time and space we need to detect any energetic imbalances presently occurring within ourselves. Fourtanetly, it can be as simple as changing our perception to create happiness and contentment that will remain.

Namaste,

Angie