Inspiration, More Life..., Yoga

Getting a Running Start

When we feel stuck, going nowhere–even starting to slip backward–we may actually be backing up to get a running start. ~ Dan Millman

Lately I’ve been feeling a little flat with my teaching. Ok, not lately, for like the past 6 months. It’s almost as if I’m tired of hearing my own voice saying a different version of the same thing. Somehow, somewhere, I lost the exuberance I had for teaching weekly asana classes. As a teacher, this is a hard reality to face, but I am facing it and coming clean, right here, right now.

I guess it all starts with the 30 Day Hot Yoga Challenge that Nancy and I did. I never wrote a follow up blog post to my Day 22 entry. The emotions that were coming up were raw, surprising and hard to understand. I wanted to ignore them and as per usual, I was too insecure to put it out there. I have done a lot of thinking and meditating on what came up and without getting into the juicy, emotional details, the long and the short of it is I realized there was something missing in my practice.

I started to reflect on where I am in my practice, where I have been and where I came from. For me, yoga started as a journey to something else. I knew I needed more meaning in my life and a change in my life path and my vehicle for change was yoga and Reiki. I began to live consciously. I practiced more, I meditated more, I was guided by my inner light. I was tapped into my ability to transform, my ability to heal and my ability to help others heal. I was on the right path. I was moving forward, I was progressing emotionally and spiritually. My practice, personal and teaching, was steeped in spirituality. Yoga on and off the mat was never separate. I lived my yoga and yoga wasn’t simply a $20 drop in class. It was my spirituality, it was my connection to the light. And then somehow, I got stuck in Jersey.

And I do mean metaphorically stuck, I love Jersey. I met my husband here and the friendships that have flourished here are invaluable. But spiritually, I feel stuck. For some reason my yoga practice in Jersey is very different than it was/is in Boston. It has turned into a purely physical practice. One that I’m not connected to, I don’t feel inspired by and its a struggle to get to a class. I’m missing the spiritual connection that I found to be so prevalent in my South Shore Yoga Community.

Instead of simply staying stuck, ignoring it and just going through the motions, or packing my bags and running, like I have done in the past, I’ve decided to be proactive. I am consciously creating change in my life to get unstuck, and this is my action plan:

    • Take time to reflect. I’ve cut way back on my teaching schedule. If I am not feeling my weekly asana classes, I shouldn’t be teaching them. It’s not right for me to teach when my cup is empty. It’s a disservice to my students and a disservice to myself.
    • Surround yourself with meaningful relationships and reconnect, create community. While I’ve stopped teaching weekly asana classes, Nancy and I continue to hold workshops at the LBG Showroom. Currently we’re running a yoga development series called Be Your Own Guru. Weekly asana classes are so different from yogic philosophy/learning classes. Running this workshop is exactly what I need. It has turned into a fiercely strong community of women. Women that are open to change, open to growth, open to empowerment and open to peace. It has turned into a weekly sadhana that I have been missing.
    • Be curious and learn, Dig back in. Taking a physical asana class is not enough for me. I’m digging back into reading, learning, applying yoga philosophy and spirituality. More importantly, I am seeking out teachers that I connect with. I’m also digging back into my Reiki practice. It seems silly to be a trained reiki master and do nothing with it. I am starting by joining a weekly reiki healing circle.
    • Connect with nature. I’m an Adirondack Mountain girl, mountains and nature are in my blood, and they’re hard to come by in Jersey. it’s not that there aren’t places to access where you can be in nature, there are, it’s just not at every corner. I’m doing my best to get out onto the trails at least 3 times a day. It’s already energizing me.
In the past, each time I have felt “stuck” I ended up packing my bags and physically seeking change and challenges in a different geographic area. I know now that I was simply running away from something. Now that I’m married, I can’t just pack my bags and run like I used to. I have a commitment not only to my husband, but to the local community that LBG is building here. If I’m not satisfied with the way things are in Jersey, it’s up to me to change them, right? This winter is my running start.
How do you create change in your life?



More Life...

Ut oh, it’s March 1st.

Hello, February? Where the heck did you go? For the past 3 years I have taken the month of February off from meat, animal products and dairy. My vegan Februarys have always been about getting out of my winter funk, dropping the winter weight and getting ready for a fresh spring. Now it’s March 1st and I just realized that I have been noshing on things like salmon, pizza and fish tacos for the past month! (Ok, 28 days if you want to get technical). Either way, I completely forgot about my vegan challenge! Oopsie.

To make up for it, I’m going to Raw Food Rehab. Penni Shelton wrote a fabulous book Raw Food Cleanse that takes you through 3, 7, 14 and 28 day juicing and raw food cleanses. It’s packed with awesome raw and juice recipes.  And to make up for completely blanking on my Vegan Challenge this year, I’m totally taking my ass to Raw Food Rehab and I’m starting on Wednesday.

I’ve dabbled with the vegan lifestyle and I’ve eaten raw foods, gone to Pure Food & Wine in the city. But never have I actually gone raw.  A raw foods diet is  one based on unprocessed and uncooked plant foods including fruit and vegetables, sprouts, seeds, nuts, grains, beans, nuts, dried fruit, and seaweed. It’s said that heating food above 116 degrees F destroys enzymes in food that can assist in the digestion and absorption of nutrients. Cooking is  thought to diminish the nutritional value and “life force”  or prana of food.

Side effects of going raw? Copious amounts of energy, weight loss and better skin. Three thing that every bride wants, right? There’s one little glitch though. Stephen and I have a cake tasting appointment on Sunday. While I love raw desserts, our wedding cake will not be raw. I’m going to have to cave, taste 42 different combinations of cakes and then get back on the raw wagon.  Luckily, I wont’ be doing this alone. It’s always better with support and my business partners have decided to join me. Jill from 3 Healthy Chicks and Nancy from Live. Breathe. Grow. are also going raw. It’s a 28 day raw foods cleanse and detox.  We’re going to be RAWSOME!  And the added bonus besides the healthy digestion, clear skin and energy – it will be a hell of a kickstart to all of my bridal health goals!

Have you tried anything new to kick start your bridal health goals?

More Life...

A Videographer: Now We Can Record Our Love…

(Source)

A videographer is not in our budget. Until recently we never thought of it as a priority.   The idea of someone lurking around the ceremony with a camera in our faces just turns me off.  We want or ceremony to be as intimate as possible and we’re already behind the game with an invitation list of 200.  Add to the mix someone we don’t know, dressed in black wandering around with a bulky camera on their shoulder? eh not so much.

Apparently a videographer is something I should want. Who knew? Far be it for me not to comply with the bride gene, so just for fun I started researching videographers in Vermont.  At first I didn’t have much luck. None of the vendors I looked up had video samples that resonated with me.  I decided it wasn’t worth the expense or annoyance. Then I stumbled upon this beauty by Alice Wedding Video Productions:

Sooooo I may understand now why couples want wedding videos. I get it. I love the documentary style of this video. There’s nothing uncomfortable or forced, it doesn’t include “page turning” still shots set to sappy music. It simply captures the laughter, love and beauty of the day. *swoon*

I never thought I would be a video bride. But the more I research, the more I am finding I just might be. Over and over I’ve heard brides say the one thing they regret is not hiring a videographer.  The question is, can we find a chunk of money in the budget for it? And even more importantly, how does Stephen feel about it? Once upon a time he was a film major in college, so he’s all sorts of opinionated about film.

Are you a video bride?

Food, More Life...

Bread and an Awesome Fiance.

I just want to take a moment to tell you all how freaking awesome my fiance is.  It’s not that easy to put up with someone like me. At any given time I have 8 billion projects working at once. From LBG T-shirt designs, to yoga classes, to book editing, to 3 Healthy Chicks, to freaking out about looking amazing my wedding dress and wedding planning.

He puts up with a lot of my crap…and just loves me for it. ❤

Wedding diet aside, last night he invited my MOH and her SO over for dinner and made an amazing cioppino stew for all of us to enjoy. Simply because he knew I needed some relaxation time (and wine).  Not only did the apartment smell amazing from the stew, but he baked fresh bread!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From scratch!! And it was delicious! We ate one with the stew, froze one and sent one home with Tatum and Andrew.  He sure is a keeper that one. I’m so glad he came into my life…..< / end schmoopiness>

How awesome is your fiance/SO/husband?

DIY, More Life...

Becoming a ‘Semi-DIY Bride’

I thought there were two types of brides in this world, the Do It Yourself Bride and the Buy It Yourself Bride.  I didn’t realize there were other options available until I started planning my own wedding and began to turn into Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee.

I love and hate Sandra Lee all at the same time. Her Semi-Homemade theory combines 70% ready made products with 30% fresh to make everyone believe you did it all from scratch.  How dare she fake fresh, home cooked food with packaged additives and preservatives?  The Health Coach and the traditionalist in me hates her for that. Then I see her cute little smile,  her carefully chosen menus, her perfectly coordinated colors, impeccable table scapes, and her pension for creating potent yet delicious cocktails and the wedding planner in me has to love her for it. Ultimately the wedding planner in me wins out over the health coach, just don’t tell the other Healthy Chicks.

I have these grandiose plans of DIY-ing everything. I am in awe of people like Mrs. Poodle and Mrs. Sewing wedding planning bloggers on The Wedding Bee. They blow my mind with their amazing hand made gowns, invitation designs, and hand crafted fabric bouquets (to mention only the tip of their ice berg of projects!).  I stay up late at night, scouring images of DIY projects and dreaming of how to incorporate them into our wedding.  Then I get anxty about the follow through.

I am  what I would like to call a hobby crafting collector. I like to start new, exciting and different crafting projects thinking it will become the hobby of choice only to move on to the next best thing. I move on for various reasons, most of which involves patience the other involves boredom. So far I’ve tried my had at paper crafting (even purchased a Criciut!), embossing, stamping, beading, jewelry making, paper making, card making, knitting, sewing, calligraphy, hoop making (started a business, turned a profit, then got bored with it and let it drift off into cyber neglect), chocolate making…. the list is truly endless.

This all adds up to me being the third type of bride out there, the Semi-DIY Bride. I almost have the skills, patience and follow through to be a true DIY bride, but not quite, I need to actually buy the hard stuff. Maybe as I move through my Semi-DIY projects I will gain more confidence and test the waters of the traditional DIY Bride. Only time will tell!

Are you a DIY Bride, a BIY Bride or a Semi-DIY Bride?

More Life...

Freshen Up Your Life: Getting Clear About Your Intentions

Sometimes during a change of season you can start to feel stagnant or discouraged. As summer winds down you may begin feel like you’re spinning your wheels but not moving forward. At these times in your life you need to remember to slow down and look from a different vantage point. The energy of the seasons are changing and so should your perspective. Gaining perspective from a different view enables you to get clear about your intentions and goals.

If you don’t know if you need a different perspective, ask yourself the following questions:

~ Do I know what my goals and intentions are?
~ Have I started working on these goals?
~ Am I satisfied with my progress?
~ Am I moving the right direction?
~ Have I achieved something that I am satisfied with?

If you answered no to any of the above questions, it’s time to put everything in perspective and more forward with competence, flair and confidence. Get fresh about your life!! When you feel frustrated and stagnant remind yourself of a few things:

~ You are unique, fresh and exciting!
~ Breathe and take things in stride, one step at a time!
~ Small changes are lasting changes!
~ Visualize and be clear about your intentions, see your end goal as your reality and work towards it with confidence!
~ Fuel your body with positive energy and fresh wholesome foods!
~ Take time to yourself.
~ Know that you can achieve anything!
~ What you believe, you receive!

The most important thing to remember is this: To be ready at any moment to give up what you are for what you might become. ~ W.E.B. Du Bois

Happy Solstice Everyone!!

More Life...

Vermont Mulled Cider

One of my favorite treats during the winter months is warm apple cider. I am so excited to head home for the holiday and curl up on the couch in front of our cast iron stove with a mug of hot mulled cider and a good book. If we were getting married in September, October or November, instead of a ball jar theme, we’d be having an apple theme! Apples for the center pieces, carmel apples for the favors and delicious cups of warm mulled cider!
This year I am going to put a new twist on my favorite standard with a very New England ingredient, Vermont maple syrup! This recipe is from “The Official Vermont Maple Cookbook,” published by theVermont Maple Foundation.

Ingredients
  • 2 quarts apple cider
  • 1 cup Pure Vermont Maple Syrup
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • A few whole cloves
  • Lemon slices, cut in half, for garnish
Preparation:
Combine cider, syrup, cinnamon and cloves and heat thoroughly, but do not boil. Remove cloves and serve hot, garnished with a half lemon slice.
If you want to give this a bit of a kick you can a little whiskey or rum for your adult enjoyment. I might just do that tomorrow night! 😉



More Life...

The Yoga of Great Sex: The Big OM(mmmmmmmmm)

Yup SEX. I’m not talking about getting sexy in your yoga class like Ogden, the Innappropriate Yoga Guy. I am talking about using your personal practice to connect with yourself and your partner for the the Big O(mmmmmmm).

It’s no secret that a regular yoga practice tones, lengthens muscles and increases stamina, I am not letting the cat out of the bag here. The experienced yoga practitioner tests their flexibility with pretzel like asanas, such as dwi pada srisasana (feet behind the head pose), ananda balasana (happy baby pose) and supta kurmasana (reclining tortoise pose). While the point of yoga isn’t to tie yourself into knots, it’s easy to associate yoga with the work of contortionists. My yoga teacher likes to call those such poses her “yoga party tricks.” Don’t worry, in this blog post we won’t take our yoga party tricks on the road, we save for the bedroom.

Yoga and sex are easily married. They are both physical and emotional, challenging and uplifting, they both use the body to calm the mind and uplift the spirit and they’re both great for the immune system (did you know that orgasms improve the immune system?). If you can think of one amazing and fulfilling yoga class that took, it probably included physical agility, sweat, an elevated heart rate, mental clarity and spiritual openness. The perfect yoga class is a sacred experience. Now think about the last time you had great sex. Every fulfilling sexual union relies on the same characteristics. It’s simply up to you and your partner to orchestrate it. When you start thinking about sexual contact and sexual energy as sacred, the act of sex begins to shift. Bringing increased awareness and sensitivity into each sexual experience will not only enhance your pleasure, but bring a closer connection to your partner.

“Yoga focuses people on how they feel, which is something they don’t do enough during sex,” says Dr. Marty Klein, a sex therapist and author of Beyond Orgasm: Dare to be Honest about the Sex You Really Want. “During sex, people tend to think more about what they imagine the other person is looking at or thinking about. Yoga brings the mind away from judgments, thoughts, speculations, assumptions, anxieties – things that interfere with physical response and emotional satisfaction.”

The style of yoga doesn’t matter. Whether you practice, gentle hatha, vinyasa flow, Kundalini, Jivamukti or Soul Sweat Asana, a consistent practice will bring greater awareness to your body and and who you choose to get physical with. The more in tune and receptive you are to your own body, the more in tune and receptive you will be to your partner. This receptiveness will help you recognize the shifts in energy your partner has and tune into what feels good and what feels great for each of you. Add communication to the mix and you’ll be on your way to becoming a sexpot in the bedroom and living a life that includes supersatisfying sex!

5 Reasons why Yoga makes for Great Sex!

Awareness: A consistent yoga practice brings awareness. Awareness to your own body and those around you. VAKGO is a theory my yoga teacher learned and taught me. It’s an acronym that stands for Visual, Auditory, Kinestetic, Gustatory and Olfactory. Fancy names for seeing, hearing, feeling (emotions and tactile), tasting and smelling. All real experiences contain these five elements. Yoga helps the practitioner step into VAKGO and living in the moment. This awareness and ability to be in the moment is essential for great sex.

Yogic Philosophy: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali teach the Yamas and Niyamas, the “dos and don’ts” of living a yogic life. While each of these can be applicable to the yoga of great sex, the first principal (Yama), Ahimsa may be most applicable. Ahimsa translates roughly to non-violence or compassion. It is non-violence and compassion first and foremost to yourself. Bringing ahimsa into the bedroom will allow you to let go of judgment and simply enjoy an uninhibited good time. Remember, he’s not watching the cellulite on your ass jiggle, thinking you need to lose a few pounds. He’s thinking, OMG I am getting a piece of ass!!!

Bandhas: Bandhas are energy locks in the body. We have 3: Mula Bandha (pelvic floor or root lock), Uddiyana Bandha (solar plexus or abdominal lock) and Jhalandara Bandha (throat or throat lock). Learning to engage your bandhas during your asana practice cleanses and energizes the interior body. Mula Bandha is for both women and men. Engaging mula bandha (which is much like doing a kegel for women or trying to stop the flow of urine while going to the bathroom for men) builds strength in the pelvic floor and improves blood flow and circulation. Blood flow and circulation in the genitals is essential for sexual arousal and orgasm.

Asana: This seems like a no brainer here. Yoga party tricks! Regular asana practice will build energy, stamina, strength and flexibility. Just as there are many asana’s out there, there are just as many sexual positions. Have you thumbed through the Karma Sutras? But while there are lots of positions out there, you can’t get into them with a tight, stiff body.

Pranayama: Pranayama is yogic breath work or breath control. Yoga teaches that breath is life. Proper breathing bring more oxygen and blood to the brain and helps to harness prana, our life force energy. The practice of Tantric (Tantra meaning two woven together, or two fullness as one) Yoga or tantric sex teaches that though the joining of two spiritual bodies the two poles can be ecstatically merged to reach enlightenment or bliss. This is accomplished through the connection of energy and breath. We don’t have to turn into tantric practitioners to use pranayama for great sex. Simply gazing into our partners eyes and breathing together will create a deeper emotional connection. Slowing the breath and using control will increase sexual arousal help to prolong orgasm.

So there you have it. Now go forth, practice yoga and have great sex!!