What Are You Doing For You?

Today I conducted a workshop for other yoga teachers. The workshop was on yoga and foot health. To finish the workshop I took participants through giving themselves a relaxing foot massage.

In the lead up to this workshop I had been practicing this foot massage. It is one I used to do on myself often. However, it has been a long time since I gave myself this gift of time.

Of course, in the workshop I encourage and challenge participants to revisit this foot massage again (and again) taking time for a little self care. Yet, obviously I am not always great at following my own advice. This is an area I can work on.

How are you at taking time for a little self-care?

Do you make self-care part of your daily/weekly/monthly routine?

Do you have any plans for self-care prior to or during the holiday rush that will soon be upon us?

Can you make a commitment to schedule some time for giving yourself a little self-care before ending this year?

Self-care doesn’t have to be a luxury. Sometimes it is the simplest things that are the most nourishing.

I invite you to take some time to reflect on what self-care might look like for you.

If you need a little nudge to get you started, I invite you to join me Friday, November 26 at 6pm (CST) on Zoom and I will guide you through a relaxing foot massage.

You Are Good Enough

How do you feel about your body?

In my university studies I came across some staggering statistics. Looking through several reports I learned the majority of women are unhappy with their bodies. Though percentages varied in different reports, the lowest one I found was 80% of women are unhappy with their bodies. Some studies reported the amount of dissatisfaction up as high as the mid 90s.

Though this occurs more frequently in women, men are not immune. The studies I have seen for men range from between 25-40% of men are unhappy with their bodies.

So, if you are unhappy with your body know that you are not alone.

I have also struggled with body image issues. Some days I still do.

As a new 7 week session of classes begins at my studioI know that some people will struggle to come to class because of how they feel about their body. Some might worry about what to wear. Some might feel they are too out of shape to come. Some might stress about keeping up or doing things ‘right’ (or how they look in certain poses) Some might think if they can lose a bit of weight first, then they’ll show up.

How do I know this? Because I have been there. I have wanted to try a new class or go to a new gym and had all of these this thoughts.

That is part of the reason why when I first decided to teach classes one priority was to offer classes for everyone—all ages, all abilities, all shapes, all sizes—You are welcome.

So, I invite you to come out to in-person classes, or try the virtual options. I want you to know that you are good enough just as you are. You are worthy of your own movement practice. I believe, movement practices should be joyful and fun.

Because I know that despite whatever words I say it can still be hard to show up, this year I will also start offering private sessions for those who might prefer to work one-on-one. These will be offered both virtually and in-person.

The past 6 months I have been working with Mark Walsh as a mentor. He has often said that sometimes it is too much for folks to love their body right now.

He says—If you can’t love your body, can you like your body? If you can’t like your body, can you be polite or civil to your body?

Maybe that is where to start today—just being polite to your body.

Maybe this week you will also join me for a class or two and a bit of joyful movement.

Maybe today you don’t quite believe in yourself, but know that I do.

Namaste

Morning Routines

This summer I aimed to cultivate a nurturing and nourishing morning routine to start my days. Before beginning I had a few ideas in mind, but also did some online searches and looked to people who inspire me.

Before I share what has become my morning routine I want add a couple words of encouragement.

When you see my routine you might think its a lot to add into a morning. I want to stress that I do not do all these things every day. Some mornings I do, some mornings I don’t. However, I have found that even adding two or three of these things greatly improves my mood, focus and wellbeing throughout the day.

I would also stress that the time allotted to each thing can vary greatly day by day. For example, some mornings might be a 15 minute meditation, while other mornings it might be a 1 minute meditation.

For me, the point of the morning routine is not to add more to my to-do list and beat myself up if I don’t check all the boxes. The point is to give myself a great start to my day with a little self-care before all the demands of life.

Finally, I will add that the order I do these things is a just rough framework. Some days I mix things up. Again, the important thing is to be kind and loving to myself, listening to what my needs each day

My Morning Routine

-Wake-up, my alarm is set to binaural beats

-Do a little body scan and breathwork

-Go to the kitchen for a tea, while waiting for tea step outside and greet the day (I often give my feathered friends a little food)

-Turn on essential oil diffuser with invigorating oils (for morning I particularly like citrus, mints, and rosemary)

-Go back to my bed for a meditation

-Mala beads with affirmation

-Cold Shower (see Wim Hoff’s website for more on this)

-Another tea, and some journalling

-Yoga or other movement

-Practice my French or Welsh

-Read poetry

-Move into my day

Now I know on paper this looks like a lot. Honestly, this morning routine can take 15 minutes or an hour. It really depends on what my day looks like, how many things I choose to do, and how long I choose to do each thing.

You might also notice that breakfast is not on this list. I am a big believer in the importance of breakfast. However, I am also a big believer in eating when you are actually hungry. As I tend to rise quite early I am just not hungry yet. The evening before I prep juice in my juicer, store it in a mason jar so it is ready for me in the morning, no work required. Usually when I start to move into my day I will grab this juice. Then, after working for a couple hours I will take a break for breakfast.

The point of this post is just one of reflection. I invite you to think about your morning routine. Is it nurturing? Is it nourishing? Does it give you a positive start to your day? Are there things you might like to do to tweak your mornings?

I encourage you to play with these ideas this month. I also invite you to like my Facebook page where over the next few weeks I will be posting some videos and going into a little more detail about the things that make up my morning routine https://www.facebook.com/LivingSkyYoga

Some Benefits of Meditation

Meditation has been a strange journey for me. I always had a sense it was good for me, but also resisted doing it for so long.

That doesn’t really seem to make sense. Perhaps, for me the resistance was fear based. I worried too much if I was doing it right. Whenever I gave it a small try, I always felt I was doing it wrong.

Slowly, over time I allowed myself to let go. I allowed myself to try meditation with less judgement. I won’t pretend that it was easy. Meditation is a practice. Like with anything, the more you practice the more little successes you will have.

I continue my meditation practice. Some days are easy, some days are more challenging. Yet, I keep showing up. One reason that I continue is I have found a meditation practice to benefit my life. Below are some benefits I have experienced.

-Learning to experience and enjoy the moment (and isn’t that what life is? just a whole bunch of moments)

-Increased self-awareness

-Increased confidence

-More focus and discipline

-Greater feelings of calm

-Accessing imagination and creativity

-Being able to look at challenging situations with patience and compassion

-Deeper breathing into the body

-Better sleep

I often encourage people new to meditation start with just 1 minute. That is how I started. I would also encourage you to try to set aside a block of time, perhaps 2 weeks or 1 month. In this time, play with this a practice, see where it might take you, and what benefits you might enjoy.

Meditation—Just Do It

Do you know what I believe to be the best meditation practice? The one that works for you.

That’s it.

As I go deeper into my personal meditation practices I have been reflecting on my own meditation journey. I know with certainty that I had to start small and start easy. That’s what worked for me.

Perhaps, another method will work for you. That’s awesome. Embrace whatever works.

If however, you are like me and think small and easy is the answer I invite you to try meditating for just one minute a day. Give this a try for a day, or a week, or a month. Then reassess and see. Are you content staying at one minute? Or would you like to try a little longer?

I started my meditation journey with just one minute a day. It wasn’t long before I tried 2 minutes, then 5….

Over the years I have experimented with various types of meditation from guided to breath work, body scans, mantras, and recently have even been exploring death meditations.

In the beginning guided meditation is what worked for me.

I am a huge fan of the free app Insight Timer. You can easily use filters to find meditations based on length of time. You can also narrow searches to specific themes.

One of my favourite teachers is Robin Rice. She currently has 14 one-minute meditations to get you started.

https://insighttimer.com/robinrice/guided-meditations/1-minute-meditation-indulge-in-self-care

Another early option I tried was short mantra meditations. It can be a challenge for me to get out of my head. Focusing on the words of a mantra has been a great tool for me.

This is one of my favourites and just six minutes long

https://insighttimer.com/gordonburnham/guided-meditations/om-mani-padme-hum-buddhist-mantra-slash-kirtan

If you prefer silence, simply setting a timer and focusing on your inhales and exhales is a fabulous option.

Next week I will share some of the benefits of meditation, but this week if you are willing, I invite you to just be curious and explore some meditation. Embark on a little experiment and see what feels right for you.

Namaste