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

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

How Well-Resourced Are You?(and how we can work on that this weekend)

How well-resourced are you? I love this question. This is a question I first heard while working through a course led by Mark Walsh.

Often our society celebrates the ‘work hard, play hard’, ‘go big or go home’, ‘all or nothing’ type attitude. But does that ethos help or hurt?

By Mark asking participants in his courses how well-resourced they are, it allows people to really stop and think. Some days on a scale of 1-10 you might be an 8, while other days you might be a 3.

Neither answer is right or wrong. It just is what it is. Any place you fall on the scale is part of our human experience.

Things that might contribute to us not feeling well-resourced could be—not getting enough sleep, working overtime, feeling ill, relationship stress, or financial worries.

Sometimes the things that keep us from feeling well-resourced can be big, such as trauma. Some of the things can be out of our control, such as a loved one facing a serious health issue.

When we look at how well-resourced we are and apply it to fitness expectations (or even life expectations), is it reasonable to always expect 100%?

If you are feeling a 2 on the well-resourced scale, is a power yoga class really the answer? Maybe for you yes it is, but maybe not. Maybe a gentle practice will actually be of more benefit. Maybe skipping a class and getting some sleep would be even better.

The good news is that by starting to think in terms of how well-resourced we are we bring self-awareness to our ever-changing situation. We can also start to collect information on the things that help us feel more well-resourced and try to incorporate them into our days.

For me, it is the simple things that help me feel well-resourced including

-getting outside in nature

-tuning off the TV earlier and getting more sleep

-eating more fruit

-staying hydrated

-putting on some music and dancing

-making time for meditation

When I take the time to make these things part of my day I feel better, no matter what else might be going on in my life.

I have found that thinking about how well-resourced I am also helps to foster self-compassion. If I am a 3, I can lower the expectations I have for myself, be kinder and gentler with myself, and spend some time on activities that nurture and nourish me.

This weekend I encourage you to think about how well-resourced you are. Then, make a list of the things that contribute to you feeling well-resourced. Finally, see if you can add one or two of these soul nurturing things into your days.

Make a great weekend

Namaste

Letting Go of Regrets (and starting to trust the timing of your life)

A week ago I saw tweet from a woman in her 30s who despite having a good education had found herself back in her hometown living with her parents and working a job that barely paid for life’s necessities. She expressed concern that she was not meeting the milestones in life like she had thought she would. She said she felt like a failure as an adult.

Like many others who saw her tweet I assured that she was not a failure and that there are no ‘right’ timeline for people. We all have our own journey and that may not look like the journey of our friends, family members and neighbours.

I shared with her how when I was in my 30s I was insecure about my lack of education and that I was fortunate to be able to finally pursue one. I shared how it wasn’t until my 40s that I started my own small business.

It could be so easy to get locked into inner dialogues about the what-ifs of doing things differently. However, that would serve no purpose.

Last weekend a memory came up on my Instagram (photo above). It was when I graduated from my yoga teacher training three years ago. I have been practicing yoga for decades and had often thought about, and even looked into becoming a yoga teacher. Yet, I didn’t.

This is another thing where I could chastise myself about for not doing it sooner. However, when I look at the photo I am reminded of the wonderful, kind instructors I had, the other inspiring students I met, and my frame of mind at the time of that training.

If I had done it years ago I wouldn’t have had the experience I did. Connections I made in that training have led me to other things that I may never have heard. I was meant to connect with the people I did. It was the right time for me.

If you have come across this and have sometimes felt like the woman who wrote the tweet, may I also assure you. There is no perfect timeline for a life. You are not a failure. You are good enough – just the way you are.