When I began practicing yoga for a purely physical practice, I never imagined it would change my life, my view on the world and on myself, so drastically. I jumped into it as a means of stretching to complement my running. I quickly was awakened to the emotional and mental elements of the practice.
The practice of yoga can bring us inside our body and mind to help us understand our worth outside our physical body. It can help provide us with the realization, which can be scary at first, we do not control a lot of what our body does – yawning, sneezing, smiling, the chemistry of the GI tract, the genetics we inherit, etc. But with that realization, yoga helps us figure out how to be okay with it – to let go of control and accept the fluctuations of the physical body and mental being. To be okay with the 5 pounds of water weight somehow gained within the last few days and to trust your body knows what it’s doing. To be okay you’re feeling lonely or sad today or this week.
Yoga also helped me investigate my “criteria for future happiness”. The concept of “I’ll be happy when…” Whatever that statement might be. “I’ll be happy when I fit into a size 2 pant”, “I’ll be happy when my butt isn’t so big”, or “I’ll be happy when my hair grows out”…these were all real “criteria” that have gone through my head within the last few years. I so quickly recognize when I hear these things said around me now, and it makes me want to embrace the person in an intense hug and pour in my feelings of self-acceptance just the way we are. We are perfect just the way we are, in this very moment. Whatever your “criteria for future happiness” may be, ask yourself Why? Are you sure? How do you really know you’ll be happy if that criteria is fulfilled? What will it take to get there?
Rewrite your criteria for what will make you happy now – today, in this very moment. Why wait to be happy when we can be happy now? 🙂 Recognize and acknowledge everyone has their own problems. Even that girl who wears a size 2, with a small butt, and luscious long hair…The grass isn’t always greener on someone else’s lawn. Maybe it’s your perception, maybe it’s fake…Maybe it’s turf 😉
Feed your spirit today. Accept and love what is. You are right where you need to be.
Cheers to a New Year, full of new possibilities for self-love!
None of us ever have “enough time.” Our culture is so go-go-go, typically leading us to have minds and bodies that move at the same pace, always trying to catch up. Even during this “joyful” holiday season, often we’re moving even faster and even more stressed. I find myself preaching self-care because I know how important it is from experience, but it can seem difficult to fit in time to practice it during our busy lives.
I am still getting over the flu, having been more sick this week than I’ve been in 6+ years. Like a slap in the face, being sick has reminded me I’m not heeding my own advice. I know self-care is so important, but I had been forgetting to make time for it. I was “too busy” seeing out-of-town visitors, planning my yoga classes, shopping for gifts, working!…blah, blah, blah. When we don’t give to ourselves first, we can’t fully give to others. When we don’t practice self-care, we can’t fully practice unconditional care to others.
Make self-care a priority. Plan and carve out time for yourself, even if it’s spending an extra 5 minutes enjoying your hot morning shower.
There are so many ways to practice self-care, each of us are different. What brings you joy? What makes your heart sing? What is it, that when you’re doing it, you think to yourself, “I don’t want this to end?”
Here are a few of my favorite self-care practices:
- 10 minutes of mindfulness/guided meditation – whether this is laying in Savasana in silence, sitting in the sauna at the gym, or listening to a guided meditation before bed. Clearing our mind has so many proven benefits! Meditation is not about controlling your thoughts, but rather observing them as they come and go without judgement.
- Read or Listen to a Podcast – Activate your mind. Be curious. There’s so much to know and see and learn in the world! This is a great way to explore and distract yourself from your daily stresses for short time, a break that may allow you to address them with a new perspective.
- RUN! – or any type of exercise. Get moving! This is huge for me. I usually exercise for a little over an hour a day, but anything you can fit into your schedule is great! Our bodies were meant to move. This is especially important to do if you’re at a job you’re sitting most of the day. 15 minutes is better than 0 minutes!
- Get a Massage – Touch is important, not in a gross or creepy way, but there is a lot of power in touch and culturally we shy away from it. Getting a gentle massage or deep tissue on a regular basis is one of my favorite practices. They can be expensive, but it’s an investment on yourself, and in turn, everyone around you.
- Get Acupuncture – Acupuncture allows me to get to a state of relaxation I could only imagine drugs could get me to. I don’t know any other way to describe it. As soon as needles go into certain points in my body, I can feel energy flooding around that area.
- Take a bath – YES. This one can take a bit longer, because you have to spend time filling up the bath, but I started doing this a few years ago and haven’t turned back. A few drops of essential oil (lavender!) and/or Epsom salt, and maybe a candle or 2, and you’ll feel like you’re in a spa! 🙂 If I have enough time, I’ll also wrap myself in a fluffy robe with cozy socks and read for a while after.
- Dry Brush – Dry brushing is an Ayurveda practice (which you can think of as the sister science to yoga) and a powerful detoxification. It awakens your lymphatic system and releases cellular waste, plus it feels really good and exfoliates your skin. Give yourself a massage after and lather yourself up in coconut oil or almond oil.
- Yoga – this really could fit in all categories, but it’s become more of a spiritual practice for me. Yoga brings us into our bodies, and potentially out of our heads. It invites body awareness and exploration. Legs up the wall pose is especially good for this time of year and boosting the immune system and circulation. Note that, although it could be, yoga doesn’t have to be some crazy power vinyasa class, restorative is equally (if not more) beneficial for the spirit!
- Give back – Volunteer. I find this such a great way to humble myself. Find a population you’re passionate about providing service to.
- Practice gratitude – Practicing gratitude reminds us of all the beautiful things we already have, even if we are feelings stressed about other things. It allows my heart to be warm and grow several sizes (just like the Grinch 🙂 ).
- Journal – Writing our thoughts down can sometimes get them out of our head. I feel like my mind is a constant stream of subtitles, so journaling has always been a release for me to get things down on paper and out of my mind, or sometimes to just make sense of what the heck is going on up there.
- Get Outside – Feel the fresh air in your lungs and hair, and the sun on your face. Going outside and connecting with nature is such a peaceful practice for me. It helps connect me with the rest of the universe.
Take care of yourself this holiday season, and beyond. Be gentle. Do what you love to do. It’s okay to be a little selfish sometimes 🙂
Happy Holidays! I hope they are as beautiful as you!
I’m going to be completely up front. I don’t have all the answers.
For most of my life, I chased this seemingly arbitrary idea of “happiness“. My angsty teenage self believed it was an impossible state of being…I would forever be in this despondent rut. I had this sudden realization several years ago that I was truly happy. I remember the exact moment like it was yesterday. I was lying a park bench by myself I had stopped at in the middle of a long run, staring up at the cloudless blue sky, replaying a conversation I had with a friend the previous evening about how to be happy and it clicked…I was already there! I AM happy!
So how did I end up in this state of happiness? Again, I don’t have all the answers, but I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the transformation. The transformation didn’t happen overnight. What I found I kept coming back to was gratitude. Thankfulness. Appreciation. Whatever you want to call it!
Yoga had unveiled to me the practice of finding the good in the bad, being positive, and knowing I always have my practice to come back to – a that would provide a safe home for my mind and soul. When I am grateful consistently, I am my happiest. When my body doesn’t feel like taking another step during a run, a habit that is SO important to me, I thank whatever greater being exists for having legs that allow me to run for miles and miles, and lungs that keep me breathing deep throughout. When I am awoken by my morning alarm and don’t feel like getting out of bed, I remember, at least I woke up, at least I am alive and well. When I’m annoyed because someone cuts me off driving, at least there wasn’t an accident. When my water isn’t the right temperature, at least I have clean water to drink and bathe in. When my recipe doesn’t turn out right, at least I have nourishing food to eat. A lot of people don’t have these things others are lucky to have. On days I forget to remind myself throughout the day, I finish my night in bed listing 3-5 things I am grateful for before falling asleep.
The regular recognition of gratitude keeps me calm and level. No need to get worked up over petty things when there is already so much suffering in the world. The world does not need more negativity. Be compassionate, to yourself and others. We are so much bigger than ourselves. Practice gratitude for all the wonderful things you have in your life – the things we usually take for granted.
On this holiday of Thanks, remember that. Remember to be thankful, not only today, but every day, multiple times, for all those wonderful things and people around you. Take your gratitude practice beyond the holiday, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll find the steady state of euphoria. You deserve to feel light and giggly every day!
Happy THANKSgiving to you all!
This summer I started hosting more gatherings at my home, from housing out-of-town visitors to hosting bridal showers. I needed my house to be pristine and the most presentable it could be. I’m a clean freak (borderline OCD), but I also don’t really enjoy cleaning on regular basis. I love the cleanliness once it’s finished, but don’t find joy doing it myself because I get frustrated when, seemingly, only a few days go by and I’m lying on the ground with my legs up the wall, naturally :), and the close up floor is covered in dust and other little particles!
As with mostly everything else in my life, I stick with all natural cleaning products. It’s difficult to find a cleaning company that shares the same values I do in that aspect – enter Two Men & A Vacuum. Two Men & A Vacuum provide home and office green cleaning services and they did a BEAUTIFUL job on my home – cleaning areas I don’t even think about, like dusting my fan blades, wiping the floor boards, and cleaning the window in my shower. Plus they’re a local business!
They were great to work with – confirming my appointment via email in the days before my scheduled cleaning and following up with a call to ensure I was more than satisfied with the cleaning. They offer complimentary price quotes for any cleanings. The cleaner was very prompt. I am not one to be late, but I arrived at my house one minute after my scheduled appointment and nearly missed the cleaner because he had arrived a few minutes early! He was careful with my belongings and asked me before getting near the quotes I have written all over my mirrors with dry erase marker. If you’re looking for a green cleaning company for your home or office space, I highly suggest Two Men & A Vacuum.
Green Cleaning Tips
Brought to you by PLWF + Two Men & A Vacuum
- The 411 on Cleaning Products: There are dangerous chemicals hiding in your everyday cleaning products that can exacerbate allergies, cause skin and lung irritation, migraines and even neurological damage! Green and eco-friendly products are now easier to find or make yourself. Many people who use bleach and phosphates to clean do not realize the health risks that those chemicals come with. When not using green products it can cause harm to children, pets, elderly, and others at risk with the allergens in certain products.
- DIY Super Easy All Purpose Cleaner (from Madry Ellis, Director of Operations at Two Men & A Vacuum): This is a gentle solution you can easily make at home. This is great for kitchen surfaces. Stainless steel. Bathroom surfaces. Tile and laminate floors. Do not use on wood surfaces. Great on walls too! The vinegar leaves a nice shine and also adds a disinfectant.
- Take an empty spray bottle. Fill it with about 75% water. Add about 25% white vinegar (4 to 5 percent acidity). Add 3 to 4 drops of dishwashing liquid (preferably a natural brand, but any will do)!
- I use this All Purpose Cleaner for EVERYTHING in my home. It’s magical and so inexpensive!
- Keep up! Follow a quick cleaning checklist: People should do a general Maintenance clean on their homes once a week. Vacuuming, especially with pet hair situations. Keep stove top/inside oven and counter areas wiped on a daily basis if you want to keep away the ants that you don’t want to have, but will end up getting. It may take an hour or two total of your week to do these simple easy tasks! Here’s our general advice on what to clean when:
Happy Cleaning! May your floors and counters sparkle brightly. 🙂
This is a sponsored review written on behalf of Two Men & a Vacuum. The material and opinions are solely mine. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Peace, Love, Wholefood possible!