Remembering Kindness and Finding Solid Ground When Things Are Upside Down

man upside down on the hood of a van

One way to make things look upside down

Hmm…you say you want change? You wanna to step outside your comfort zone? See the world as you know it turned on it’s head?

Yea, I know, that was me that said all that. Well, I got it alright and I’m just now beginning to feel right side up again, solid ground beneath my feet.

I don’t want to sound negative because there have been good, exciting changes but as everyone knows, change can be hard and feel scary and uncomfortable, especially in the beginning.

In a nut shell, over the last 5 or 6 weeks, I got a my first full time job in over four years, had to let go of the shop girl gig and joined a local writers group.

All of that awesome, every little bit of it needed and overall scary as hell.
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4 Lessons Learned From the 30 Day Yoga Challenge

woman meditating near water

Woohoo – I did it and that rocked!

Waking up on Sunday morning and realizing it was day 30, the final day of the yoga challenge was a mix of surprise, joy and a little pride as well.

I really wasn’t sure about doing this and even more unsure that I would be able to stick with it. Now I can honestly say, it was one of the best things I’ve done and am SO glad I decided to commit and give it a try.

I have had a home practice for over a year now but I had never practiced daily before. As the weeks went on, I started to see real changes in myself, my thoughts, how I dealt with daily life and how much more peaceful and relaxed I felt overall.

Here are a few of things I learned along the way.
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The Challenge

An Om symbol in the sand at a beach

Tomorrow…it begins.

“It” being the 30 day yoga challenge I signed up for at DoYouYoga.com. I wasn’t sure I was going to do it but had been playing with the idea for several days. That, along with the lack of getting off my butt on my own lead me to enter my email address on the sign up page and make the commitment.

I’m pretty nervous. I’m scared I won’t stay with it. I don’t know about you but my brain is really good at rationalizing excuses, even when it’s something I need to do and know I’ll be happier for.

A 30 day challenge is something I’ve never done and like most new things, the thought of it is causing some discomfort and worry. That’s not terrible though. One of the many things I hope to learn through this process is walking through those kinds of feelings, especially when it comes to new things or facing the unknown.

Because honestly, doing the actual yoga every day isn’t what I’m worried about. It’s all the mental garbage I’ll be confronting and shifting and learning to work with.
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Habits Part II – The Yoga Edition

21 day yoga challenge sign

Sometimes when you’re really thinking about something, have a strong intention or are struggling with a decision, signs appear.

That’s kind of what I thought of when I picked up a new yoga magazine and was drawn to the above image and message.

A few days later, I was at Do You Yoga and saw this:

30-Day Yoga Challenge with Erin Motz
Free online video yoga classes for 30 days. Sent directly to your email inbox.

Ok universe, I get it.

I have been putting a lot of energy in this direction because I know I really need to get back on track with yoga and will love it but now that I’m faced with the opportunity – yikes!

Because now, my pesky fears and insecurities start up with all the excuses, I mean “reasons” why I can’t do a challenge like this:
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Lopsided

This afternoon, I was reading an article on healing relationships and was completely awestruck as it told about part of a couples vows from their wedding:

that all circumstances might serve the awakening of wisdom and compassion.

All circumstances – the good, the bad and the ugly. The days when you can hardly drag yourself out of bed, the times when you just want to cry or punch someone in the face and the days when you can’t remember if you’ve ever laughed so hard or felt so happy.

Serving the awakening of wisdom and compassion.

What a thing to strive for. Hard enough just concentrating on yourself, now put this in the context of a marriage or serious relationship. Yowza!

It resonated with me, that’s for sure. And another reminder of what a padawan I continue to be because I’m not even close to this much of the time but I love when I find these kinds of reminders. A beautiful intention, something so worth while to work toward.

Especially while I’m feeling off off track and lopsided and not quite myself.
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Opening Your Heart

stones stacked up along side a stone in the shape of a heart

This month, my post for DoYouYoga is about one of my favorite terminologies used in yoga for lifting your front body and depending on the pose, rotating forward: open your heart.

I wrote about how moving through poses like cobra, up dog and triangle pose with the intention to open and lift your heart not only assists with understanding the physical alignment of the poses but takes us to a deeper place of intention.

Just as being hunched over or feeling closed off is going to make it much more difficult to get fully in to many yoga asanas, feeling this way often has the same effect on us in our daily life. Things seem harder, heaver and far more serious than they sometimes are or need to be.

What I didn’t write about was how difficult this can be, especially off the mat.
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The Beautiful Truth

The other night, I caught a headline about a model who gave an interesting Ted Talk on beauty and the modeling industry. Of course I was curious and had to watch it. If you have not yet, here you go!

While it’s not my favorite Ted Talk, I really appreciated a lot of what Cameron Russell had to say and especially, the pictures she shared of the way she looks in real life next to her modeling pictures.

So much of what we see is illusion, so much of what we are told is untrue, stated as fact to sell a product or trigger a reaction.

You need this new product so people will think you’re pretty and popular because if you’re pretty and popular you will be happy and never have any problems and will always feel loved and adored.

Sadly, a lot of these lies and illusions have been seemly integrated in to our society and subconscious as a reality and truth.

And in my opinion, they do nothing but cause pain and break us down. They can even deny us the peace, happiness and contentment that is our natural state and right.
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(Free) Tara Stiles Workout – Yoga Weight Loss and Balance

The more I’ve been reading and learning about Tara Stiles, the more I like her.

I’d mentioned before, to me the ideal teacher is laid back, accessible, positive and kind. Tara embodies all those qualities and more.

I’ve been looking for videos from her on Youtube for a while now and while there are plenty of shorter clips out there, I was super excited to finally find a full length yoga practice, lead by Tara Stiles, online – for FREE (woohoo)!


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3 Great Documentaries for Inspiration and Change (and a Movie for the Heart)

bucket of movie popcorn

Almost two years ago now, we decided to cut back by getting rid of cable and trying out Netflix instead. It took some adjusting, believe me (I still miss cable!) but also lead me to discover some great movies and documentaries I may not have known about or taken the time to watch.

As much as I believe in eating healthy, it’s just as important that the food tastes good if I’m going to eat it! That’s also how I feel about these films. While they are good for you, totally inspiring and full of empowering and awesome information, they’re also feel good, fun and easy to watch.

Since I’m a total book and movie geek, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite educational yet totally feel good picks.

Beginning with…..

Happy

This movies takes the ever present human quest for happiness and examines how we actually define being happy, what it means to us and then looks at different areas and cultures around the world at some of the happiest places and people along with the unhappy and to me, tragic.

My thoughts and feelings have always been, human beings are pack animals, we are not meant be be solitary creatures. Along with the physical necessities for life – food, clothing and shelter, we also need loving, healthy human contact and relationships to thrive and be happy and this idea is deeply explored in the film as well.


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The Reboot Results

woman in the yoga pose, wild thing

Image source – aliveinthefire.com

This is a part II to Friday’s post – Time For A (Health) Reboot. It’s a little long but I wanted to post about how things went for anyone interested, the good, the bad and the crabby.

When I think about how I felt at the end of last week and how I feel today, things are so much better. Lighter, happier, calmer and my stomach is finally at ease. There were some bumpy patches over the weekend and I didn’t achieve everything I’d set out to do to the letter but I’m really glad I decided to stop, set some goals and get back on track.

Here was the weekend plan I created on Friday:

  • Early morning yoga
  • 5 – 10 min of meditation
  • Smoothie or healthy juice for breakfast
  • plenty of fruits and veggies for meals
  • water with lemon throughout the day

And in the evening:

  • write/journal
  • hot tea
  • meditation

Rise, rinse, repeat.

Here’s what went down:

Saturday
I got up early and did my yoga DVD with Kristin McGee. Feeling energized, I made a trip to the grocery to get smoothie ingredients and pick up our Saturday Starbucks (our occasional weekend tradition). Since I was trying to be good, I made a smoothie as soon as I got home and afterwards, drank only 1/2 my tall vanilla latte. And ate all my croissant. Not on the plan but it could have been worse.
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