Lies that keep you from moving forward.

Lies that keep you from moving forwardOccasionally, someone has to be the bad guy.  You know that one friend who really wants you to succeed so they tell you something you really don’t want to hear.  Well, that’s me today.

Life is going to be a million different things for you.  It’s going to be beautiful and brilliant one moment and the next is going to suck big time.  You’re going to be up one moment only to be smacked down again a minute later.  You’re going to be minding your own business going to your “routine” doctor’s appointment and then you get told that a few more tests are needed.  So you panic…and go from point A to Z in your head in a matter of minutes.  But the bottom line is, it’s your reaction that counts. It’s what you do in those terrible moments that define you.  

I remember getting the news that I had a few incurable diseases.  If not treated, they could have killed me, yes.  But I was 23 years old so you know, I probably had the same amount of time as others ahead of me.  That was before I was even married, before I even really thought about being a mom, before I said yes to my first real job and before I had ever even bought a house, experienced the joy of paying bills and taxes and whatever being an adult encompassed.

Some of you have heard this part before, but for those who want to learn more here are a few posts from the early days, and the rest of you can keep reading after this:

So, I do get it folks.  I do.  In full disclosure…I don’t mind pissing people off with the truth. Sometimes it hurts, sometimes it’s liberating, sometimes it’s messy and ugly and then you wake up the next day and you feel amazing! Why? Because maybe you weren’t fully being honest with yourself about who you are and maybe you were hiding living in your truth. So that “courage” it took you to finally speak your truth feels better. Like you are finally living in your own skin. Well, it’s time for you to stop telling yourself these things.

Lies that keep you from moving forward:

  1. I will never _____.   The truth is, if you start something off with that, you won’t.  Period.  I will never find a person who loves me (says your mind, or your status).  I will never get that promotion.  Oh that can never be me.  It won’t.  Not with that attitude.  So what does one do with this?  You take baby steps with your mind.  Okay, right now the situation seems out of my control.  So what can I control?  My reaction.  My thoughts.  My ability to change me.  I will one day feel amazing again.  I just know it.  <<< So that was my head after 5 years of pain.  Straight and constant pain daily had almost gotten me to I will never…and I realized that I had to do something drastic.  I had to start saying “One day I will….” and I got there.
  2. They are just lucky.  You have convinced yourself that someone else is more entitled to a share of luck than you are.  You are therefore not as lucky and will never have whatever it is.  What you don’t know is that “they” have worked their ass off for whatever it is.  They have felt defeat so many times it wasn’t funny.  They were trying their best one day and were on the 50th time of trying to get ahead when it finally happened for them.  So what can you do?  Start small again.  This is exactly what I teach my Club.  Look, I never knew the word “manifestation”.  I didn’t watch the “Secret” and I don’t care what that secret was because I know I have it figured out.  I believed that “it” whatever it was, was going to happen for me.  So in the beginning, it was just to live without pain.  That was enough for me because it would mean I had my life back again.  I was going to create my own luck and that is exactly what I teach.
  3. The past or future is better than right now.  Achoo bullshit.  Sorry.  I call it like I see it.  I miss the past too sometimes.  And yes, there’s grief for people I lost, but I know for a fact they wouldn’t want me to live that way.  I did take an entire year to grieve once and I don’t regret it.  But then it was time to pick myself up and keep moving forward.  Of course, shortly after that I was diagnosed with my first disease, but I did keep moving forward.  So what can you do?  Create Mindful Moments.  If it is very hard to live in this moment right now, try to notice when and where your thoughts wander.  Gently pull them back to the present moment.  I am not saying yoga cures everything, but it does actually change you.  I brought myself to my mat and practiced what I needed to do.  Time and time again until it became less practice and more second nature.  If my mind strayed to the pain, I would then focus on the way my hand was pressing into the mat.  The way the next day, it was easier to hold a position for a few seconds longer than the day before.  Until one day, I did something I worked on for an entire year and I will never forget the way my buddy smiled at me as I said hey, look at me!!  I did it.  There was this internal glow that I created all for myself and I had that power within me…so do you my friend.

I’m not saying that I have all the answers because I don’t.  I just know that you are capable of so much more than you give yourself credit for.  Over the course of my 200 hour Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training, I doubted myself more times than I can count.  I would come home and soak in the tub and be in immense pain.  I would look up at the heavens and ask why me.  But the answer was always the same “why not me?” and so I learned to stop telling myself lies.  I really could do this.

If you’d like more information on my journal therapy/yoga mindset/learning to live your truth Club, here it is >>> Head|Heart|Health Club <<< Click there.

3 Tips For Opening Your Heart Chakra.

Chakras.  What the heck does that word mean anyway and is it fake?  Well, a chakra is actually an energy center and more and more we are learning that there is proof to this whole “theory”.  So opening up your heart chakra is actually a good thing and honestly can’t hurt you.

An unhealthy or blocked heart chakra sometimes lends itself to behaviors such as being defensive, critical, controlling, suspicious, withdrawn, possessive and afraid to let go and release what is not good for you.  Sometimes elf-esteem issues or relationship problems lead to a weaker heart chakra connection.  What can we do to open it or strengthen it then?

3 Tips for Opening Your Heart Chakra:

  1. Visualize your heart opening up with a strong, clear green light filling your center.  Repeat “I am love.” and allow yourself to be at peace with this feeling.  Practice giving and accepting love unconditionally today.
  2. Stop clinging to the past hurt and allow yourself to forgive and step into the present moment.  Whatever happened, accept it and move on.  Say to yourself “I release this blockage of hurt.” and visualize it releasing from your body.  Breathe deeply and repeat your mantra of “I am love.”
  3. Practice a yoga pose to open your heart. Try camel pose. A blocked heart chakra often means a blocked throat chakra, too, and camel pose balances them both. Focus on elongating your lower back while focusing on the stretch and opening your upper back. If you click on the above link, you can watch Esther demonstrate and she doubles the mat for bad knees or use a towel.

Additionally for the heart chakra, wear green and visualize love and compassion surrounding you.  The green ties us to all living things around us so you can also sit outside and meditate on a nice day and take in the air to clear your body.  Remember, the heart chakra is only opened by your choice.  Choose to show yourself some love and forgiveness today.

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Empath tips to use today!

My wildly popular article has gotten lots of comments on being an empath.  Most of them were wonderful as we are all in the same boat, and let’s face it, the article was written about what I feel.  I wrote a follow-up that you can read here on protecting yourself from negative energy because it was needed by some of my followers.  Then, to further help you, I wrote about how to ground yourself.  But the questions keep pouring into my fan page on Facebook.  So I am going to write a little bit more for you today and see what we can do together to move forward and tread lightly at the same time.

So much energy….needs an outlet.  I want you to pause and think about what you are doing to really relieve your stress.  My husband used to say it just radiated off me.  Being a teacher was hard.  I would pick up on everything.  If I didn’t go directly to the gym after work, I would bring all that “stuff” into the house.  You know what I mean.  The stories here in the archives on this blog about what I dealt with, well it was not easy.  So maybe the gym isn’t your thing, but what to do with all that stuff that isn’t yours?

Yoga...helped me harness my own power.  I’m not saying you have to do that, but you have to shed the other feelings that are not yours.  So go on a walk in nature, stop by a park, get out of the car, take your shoes off and walk barefoot in the grass.  Say to yourself that you are releasing what does not serve you back into the earth.  Then move on from there.  It does no good to bring it home.

Lies. Energy vampires.  Okay, this one gets a bit tricky.  If you catch someone in a lie, and trust me you will, have or do daily, that itch, you know the one, that itch doesn’t always have to be scratched.  So how do we make peace with knowing we caught someone in a lie, and then moving on.  As difficult as it is, that’s their karma, or behavior that they will later have to answer to.  Will we be around to see the destruction?  Possibly.  But do we need to be there?  No.  We already know that it probably isn’t going to end well.  So have a secret word or phrase that you utter like “Interesting.” Or “Is that so?” or even Namaste.  And just let it be.  Say the same thing every time so that it becomes like washing your hands of it.  Then really and truly, go wash your hands as soon as you can.  It’s done.  You don’t own that problem.

Rest when you canIf you know you have a large gathering coming up, take some time to meditate or rest.  Get off social media.  Schedule down time.  Seriously and truly rest your brain waves.

Go visit some animals and laugh. Spend some time with a friend who has animals and lets you just chill.  Laugh with the friend and soak up the love of the animals.  It will recharge you.  If animals are not your thing, take a journal outside and write under the clouds.

Water…get to it.  If you are still needing one more way to cleanse your soul, find a stream, pond, ocean or somewhere you can walk in the water, listen to it and just enjoy the way it feels and sounds.  Add a water feature to your office to relax you or put on some music with water in the background.  It will help you focus and reclaim your energy.

I hope you enjoyed all the links in this article as there are additional resources for you. NEW resource available to you called the Empath’s Guide to Journaling.<<<

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Note: NEW support group to help you in the Head|Heart|Health tab on the blog up top!

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3 Tips on Learning to Release What Weighs You Down

let_goYesterday my friend from Inner Sanctuary: BE Inspired and I led the most amazing workshop called New Year|New Moon Let Go and Look Forward.  I planned the yoga session on releasing and unwinding while Lindsey planned the most amazing meditation and journaling session.  With just a few short phrases designed to make us think about what our worst moment of last year was and why we felt that way, I was able to see what I feared most about the situation.  I don’t mind telling you that the worst moment was actually learning that a friend’s cancer came back.  She asked us to think about the feelings surrounding that and write down a few words to describe it.  Previous to this, Lindsey asked us to write down our best moment and words to describe it.  My best moment was completing yoga teacher training.

So Lindsey asked us if we saw parallels…were the words on the opposite end of each other?  I immediately saw the connection for me.  As most of you know, I have battled invisible disease for a long time.  I know what it feels like to get bad news from a doctor and to think that there is no hope, even if it’s just that split second where they tell you the news.  So for that split second when D told me her news, I felt what she felt.  Okay, maybe longer than that because that is what I do…but after that, I was like no.  The opposite feeling is my best moment.  I felt strong and healthy.  I knew that was what I wanted for my friend and I knew that the feelings surrounding that were what my group of friends worked so hard on trying to create for D.

It was very powerful for me to see what exactly I want to create for my circle of friends as well as myself.  It was powerful for me to see why I had to let go of friendships that didn’t want the same for me last year as well as why I had to let go of any residual feelings surrounding feeling weak or hopeless.  I was now in the zone to create the opposite.  The circle of women yesterday were trying so hard to get past whatever was blocking them that I knew that’s why I had to let go of the past.  Whatever is meant to be in your life will find a way.  I believe that.

3 Tips on Learning to Release What Weighs You Down:

  1. Envision the BEST version of you and what that looks like and feels like.  Lindsey had us look into a mirror and see the worst version of ourselves and the best.  We forgave that worst version of ourselves and thanked her for getting us to the point where we are today.  It was empowering to forgive her.  We then embraced the best version possible of ourselves.  We allowed her to step fully into the light and move forward with us.
  2. Explore the feelings behind what is weighing you down.  Not the actual thing, but what is it about those feelings that is holding you back?  Why are you holding onto those things?  Do you think you can imagine a better outcome?  It is too late for that now, so release the feelings, but instead work towards the opposite of how that made you feel.  If you need to, thank that situation for whatever good it taught you and use it to move forward from that place of pain or unwanted emotion.
  3. Make a new plan for the best version of you.  This is the part where you really have to be diligent in what you allow into your space.  This is YOUR space and sometimes things are easier said than done.  I know this.  You might not be able to control the outside situation, but you can control your thoughts and how you react to things.  If you are about to react in a way that would not propel you forward, as I have said in the past, try hard to make a different plan.  An example would be one I use for my yoga students…come to the mat and the rest will take care of itself.  Don’t worry about what you CAN’T do.  Instead focus on what you CAN do!

I received a wonderful compliment yesterday after my yoga flow.  I wasn’t sure what the new student was going to say, but she said is that how you always teach yoga?  Me: Yes?  She then proceeded to tell me she loved how I integrated the entire mind/body connection into the class.  I truly believe that yoga is a very powerful healing tool and it teaches us to move in a flowing meditation right on our mats.  We learn NOT to be concerned about what the person is doing right near us.  Not to be concerned about body image, or our abilities.  I fully believe in focusing on what you can do and to take that knowledge and move forward into the best version of you for this coming year.  I know that you can do this!

For more on the mind/body connection, read about my 4 Weeks to Wellness course here.  NEW!  See the Head|Heart|Health tab for more help.

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7 Brilliant Ways to Get Rid of Stress

I bet that you didn’t want to start your week off the way it happened.  But there it is.  Nothing you can do about it.  You forgot a major timeline…or you got sick and missed an important meeting.  Whatever it is, it has you feeling stressed and it’s only the start of your work week.  Because you are stressed out, you start to feel anxious as well.  Which then leads into all sorts of scenarios in your head.  You know your boss is looking at you funny.  What?  Why is everyone in the workroom laughing except they got quiet when you walked in?  Ack.  Your boss thinks you are an idiot.  Chances are, none of these things are true.  But what if they are?  Really?

7 Brilliant Ways to Get Rid of Stress

 

  1. Stop taking things so personally.  Maybe, just maybe, the people in the workroom were laughing at the fact that they were about to surprise you with a party.  Okay, it could happen.  But even if they were laughing at you, who cares?  Yes, you do.  I know that.  Now think about this, this is not a reflection of your actions.  It is a reflection of theirs.  Be polite.  Be professional.  Move on.
  2. Stay in the present moment.  Don’t create a story or a situation that was never there to begin with because that’s how you become your biggest enemy.  I know that you might feel stress creeping up so what if you shifted your attention out of worst case scenario mode and went back to the task at hand?  Always allow your thoughts to pass by, inspect them, and carry on with the present moment.  Here is my friend’s article on releasing anger with her affirmations.
  3. Work out and move your body!  I was doing research for the new yoga flow that I am creating for a workshop, and it said that one of the top ways to remove and release stress was through yoga.  Of course that doesn’t surprise me, so see my previous articles on 3 simple exercises to keep you fit or 10 yoga tips for beginners.
  4. Spend time with your loved ones.  Sometimes, when it’s quitting time, it’s best to quit and go on home.  Your work will be there.  You only have one life and this isn’t a test.  Play some loud music on the way home that you love, unwind, and by the time you get home, try very hard to stay in the present moment there too.
  5. Unplug and unwind.  This one is really hard.  I know it.  it has proven to be difficult for me as well.  I am very thankful for our family vacations away from people…and things…in the mountains.  With literally no service.  No tech.  No T.V.  I know right?  Sounds amazing.
  6. Find your quiet place.  Which brings me to this one, and I know you are thinking you can’t find time to do this, but find time to meditate, journal, take a bath, or do something that you can really focus on in peace and quiet.  Yes, even you new moms can do this!  You really need to make this part of your routine.
  7. Prepare for your next day.  We always all get ready by picking out our clothes, and not having to rush.  Take a minute to do a list of things before you leave the office, home office, school, etc, and when you get in, it will be there to focus you.  That way, you leave it there where it belongs.  Don’t take it home with you.  You can find balance in your work and life.  This leads you on a better path to wellness!

Still feel like you need help?  Sign up for my 4 Weeks to Wellness course OR get help in a closed support group.

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The Formula for Happiness.

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We need to reverse the formula for happiness and success.  Do you follow the formula of if I work harder, I will be more successful and then I will be happier?  Watch this and see what you think.  The Happiness Advantage: Linking Positive Brains to Performance.  Your brain at positive is 31% more productive that at negative, neutral or stressed levels.  Hmm.

Did you realize that being happy has a direct correlation with your performance?  Finding a way to be positive in the present moment is imperative to you performing better.  But…how can we do that when we are under stressed out conditions?  Guess what.  I have some ideas.

Dopamine makes you happier and turns on all the learning centers in your brain.  What are you doing when you are not happy I wonder?  Are you making important decisions in an angry state? 

I’m going to be honest.  I used lots of research to come up with my programs that I just launched here under the work with me tab…but I want to be able to give you some ideas that you can begin to use now.

Creating Lasting Positive Change:

I referenced Shawn’s video, so watch it!
  • 3 Gratitudes, new things you are grateful for each day!  (remember my previous blog post??  I had not even found his research yet, but look at how forward thinking we are.  It goes together!)
  • Journaling (WAIT!  I didn’t even go to Harvard and I have been writing about this, and counseling my clients for a while.  Research skills work!)
  • Exercise, which yes, includes me continuing to bug you about my yoga research:)  Namaste happy.
  • Meditation…heyyyy.  Here is where I told you about my collaboration with a friend who does guided mediation.  Or you can sign up for free ones online…like Deepak speaking into your ear.
  • Last, but not least, what I wrote about last week.  Random Acts of Kindness.  My friend Shelli did some shout-outs on Facebook one day and let me tell you, it was nice.  It can be that small to you, but to the person you are praising it means you are thinking about them and that kind of recognition whether public or private is a happiness booster for both of you!

The interesting thing about all of this, is that if you use the search feature, you can see some of the things I have written about the above ways to create your lasting positive change.  I have also come up with workbooks and other things to help my clients over the years, but the bottom line is, if you do the work on the inside, you will start to see results on the outside.  ~Aimee

Want even more help?  Check this out.

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Suffering is optional.

There comes a time in every yoga teacher’s journey when the teachings of Patanjali and the Buddha are read and discussed at length with other like minds.  As I read the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, several things crossed my mind.  One, this guy is confusing.  Two, I am reading the same thing over and over again.  Three, I see the word suffering more often than I should.  Hmm.  I wondered if it was trying to tell me something.

To understand that suffering is optional, first you have to look at what suffering really is.  Suffering is “the state of undergoing pain, distress or hardship.” and it varies from person to person.  There is no hierarchy of suffering people.  No one person’s suffering or difficulty is any less legitimate than another persons or any less deserving of empathy.

None of us can change our past difficulties, loss, heartbreak or sickness, but with effort, you can change your reactions and your responses when life takes a detour.  Your brain goes to why me?  Blame.  Regret.  Anger.  The finger pointing…has that helped your suffering?  No.  These responses add to it.  Suffering is actually universal.  It is not unique to you.

Here is an example…my friend has a hard life.  She didn’t ask for it…but neither did any of our friends who are living with the cards that were dealt to them.  She is smiling, moving forward and preparing to meet yet another cancer battle all while moving, raising 3 little girls and being a mom.  I am sure the initial “why me” kicked in, but she didn’t stay there in that place as it is not going to help her.  She moved into “kicking cancer’s ass again” momentum.

Suffering is universal, but each experience is unique to that person and it is not a contest.  Why would you need to compare yourself and bring out unnecessary suffering by thinking that you have it harder than everyone else on this planet?  What if you use your suffering as an opportunity for growth?  I know that sounds cliché, but if you know anything at all about me, you know that I would not write about something unless I have been through it or believed it could be done.

While pain might be inevitable, the suffering that comes from the pain is not. Suffering is not a state of life, it is a state of mind. Suffering is your response to an event. Whether you suffer or not depends entirely on your reaction to that situation. ~Paramahamsa Nithyananda (Swamiji)

 

Things I have learned about suffering:

  1. Move through your pain.  The first step might be grief.  You are likely not going to be in the same place as you were before.  If you ignore your grief, (1) Denial 2) Anger 3) Bargaining 4) Depression 5) Acceptance) you will likely find yourself caught in one of the stages of grief and not able to move forward.  I was stuck at depression…and there is no shame in that, but you must get to number 5 to be able to release it.
  2. Healing through closure.  If this is by talking to others who you feel have caused you pain, here is where you do it.  If it is beyond that, then you must learn forgiveness of the situation…notice I didn’t say you had to forgive them although that would be nice too.  If you were born into a situation that was never of your making, it is time to relinquish the past.  The past is not real, as it is now only a vivid recollection of how things were.  And even then we might have added in extra details.  You have to let it go and surrender to the present moment in order to move forward.
  3. Progress comes in the end when you decide you are ready to move forward from this place. You must make a conscious decision to move forward and only you can do that.  If you stay in the place of pain and bitterness then they won.  Your pain won, your hate won, etc.  You must constantly make that conscious decision to yoke yourself to the present moment.  I do it through yoga and meditation.  I already lost enough time to this thing called suffering.  It doesn’t deserve to have more.

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5 Ways to Relax…

Ring.  Ring.  Buzz.  Beep.  Bloop.  What’s all that?  Oh it’s your devices going off.  Deadlines are coming up.  You are stressed out.  Stress leads to sickness.  So take a minute to re-charge without feeling guilty because in the long run, you will be much better off.

How do I relax?

1. Go to your happy place.   Where’s my happy place?  If you don’t know, chances are you need to relax.  For me, it’s the beach.  Since I live near there, I can go stick my feet in the sand and relax.  But it could easily be a hammock, a favorite restaurant, a movie, a good book, or just closing my eyes for a few minutes thinking about my children, husband and dachshunds.  Or perhaps a massage in Jamaica.  Whatever:)
2. Listen to music.  I have eclectic taste in music.  Okay, fine, I listen to old music mostly.  However, I have songs that bring about happy feelings, so they relax me.  I can just put on some Rusted Root and send me on my way to my happy place.  I can listen to Celtic inspired music and dream about the day I actually get to go to Ireland.  And Bob Marley and his birds, well, I need them to remind me about the joys of little things.
3. Breathe deeply and be present.  Unfortunately, this one is my nemesis.  I work on staying present, but it’s like this giant battle in my head.  “Oh look.  It’s the past.  Let’s go there.”  Or “Hey, let’s go down this path to worry.  You like it a lot.”  Noooo.  Not there.  Path to now.  Let’s stay on that path.  “Wait, a bunny.  It’s leading me to what if?”  WHAT IF??  No.  Absolutely don’t follow the bunny.  Bad bunny.  Trying to take me down the rabbit hole.
4. Unplug from devices.  Bzzz.  Beep.  Bling.  Message.  Text.  Call.  Notifications x 100.  Groups.  FB status.  E-mail.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.  Stop the insanity!  That’s why for family vacations, people might be extremely surprised to find out the social media gal, that’s me, goes away to state parks that don’t have internet or any connection to the outside world.  Muhaha.  And if you are that person who has tried to remove Facebook from your phone for the third time…but re-installs it.  Or deletes their profile…and gets back on.  Well, at least you tried.
5. Get moving!  Honestly, this is the best.  I do “the yoga” to relax.  It helps me get into my flow, which I have mentioned before, is my moving meditation.  It is the way I truly and fully live in the now.  I listen to the teacher and focus only on me.  I don’t care what you are doing in the class, I really am focused on me.  Sometimes, I might make a joke under my breath that others close by might hear as I talk myself through a pose…but I am truly only thinking about the present moment.  I am trying not to talk to myself as much about my short comings…but working alone, I spend lots of time in my head.   That’s why this one is the best for me!!

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My first link-up!

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Hey friends!! I am stepping out of my comfort zone and trying something new in place of my Motivational Monday.  I have done that for a long time and would like a fresh start.  I am linking up with two bloggers and I really love what they are doing.  They are setting 3 main goals for the week and I think it helps you get a look into the lives of the bloggers who are doing this.  Oftentimes I write about how I overcome things, but rarely do I speak to the present moment goals I am accomplishing and I think that’s a very important thing to do.

 

Thank you to the above bloggers for inviting me!  This week’s goals:
  1. Continue to grow my wellness business Vitalize You.  I have a closed FB group for this page that helps women focus on eating habits, losing weight, and learning new tips without losing sight of the fact that they are beautiful in every size, shape and form.  I started this because of the reasons listed on the top tab that says Vitalize You:)
  2. Practice my yoga class for this Friday.  I am teaching and graduating from my Yoga Teacher Training this weekend and time has gotten away from me due to end of the school year things with my girls.  They are first, but I take commitments very seriously.  Probably too seriously…but there it is.  I have a strong work ethic and I am goal oriented.
  3. Relax would be a great goal for me…I work really late into the evening on a variety of projects.  As many of you know, I run my page The Burned Hand without help…and now ridiculous Facebook is telling me to answer messages faster…ummm they are spam on that page mostly.  However, that being said, I always, always answer every comment!!!  Do you know how hard that is to monitor that by myself???  One day I had a ginormous amount of comments and I read each one personally.  So if you are from over there, thank you for commenting!!  Please share these blog posts too.  I would love for you to follow the blog here with your e-mail:)  Facebook is hiding posts and the reach is becoming quite ridiculous.  You can check out all my button on this page to follow me in various places.

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Top 10 yoga tips for beginners.

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Starting a yoga practice?  Read on.

If you are reading this because you are about to start a new yoga practice, welcome.  Before you run out and buy a new mat, have a look at a few of my suggestions.  I have been “practicing” yoga for years, but until this year, I was not serious about my practice…if that makes sense.  I am completing my 200 hour Vinyasa yoga teacher training in June, and I wanted to pass on some tips that can really motivate and help you stick to your practice.

  1. Buy a good mat.  If you are looking for a yoga mat, there are literally thousands out there.  Before you buy one, see if you can use the ones at the studio to get comfortable with them, then ask what thickness or brand they use.  I prefer a thicker mat, like this one << unless you like hot yoga, and I have this one.
  2. Find a good studio.  If you are uncomfortable when you go there the first time, give it another chance.  If you are not comfortable again, try another studio.  You want the vibe of the studio to be completely welcoming.  They should show you around, tell you where things are located, and basically be helpful from the moment you walk in.  My studio is awesome about that.  It really is the little things that mean a great deal to me.
  3. Respect your body’s knowledge.  If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.  Don’t be afraid to tell the teacher before class if a particular area is causing you some discomfort.  That way the teacher will know ahead of time and can give you a few modifications.
  4. Don’t compare yourself to others.  This might seem like a no brainer, but sadly, it’s not.  You constantly have to re-align yourself to focus on you and you alone.  What Mr. Yoga Guru at the front of the class can do has no bearing on your life whatsoever.  Great, he can fold in half like a pretzel and then stand up with his hands.  Enjoy the moments that you have with your progress.  Where you are is very important.  It’s the start of a great practice. 
  5. Buy comfortable, not see through, clothes.  Please don’t feel you have to clothe yourself in head to toe designer yoga wear.  But at the same time, do a quick mirror check to make sure it’s not thin as tracing paper when you bend over.  As lovely as your under garments might be, heck as lovely as mine might be, I prefer my underoos to stay hidden.  I don’t spend a lot, but I make sure my tank tops stay in place and my leggings are not sheer. Note: I use the Yoga Club.  Seriously.  You can’t go wrong with how cool the clothes are, and a box comes to you for 60% off retail!!
  6. Don’t take yourself too seriously.  My friends would say this is pretty easy for me, but if you step out of a pose, or erm fall off the surf board during SurfSet, as long as you aren’t hurt, just smile and get back up.  We are lifelong learners and it’s important to find an inner sense of humor with this process.
  7. Breathe.  Sometimes, I feel like I am breathing the loudest in the room.  I take the phrase “ocean breath” seriously when my teachers taught me how to breathe.  It has steadied my entire practice.  Ujjayi breath is a 3 part breath and I find it very calming.  Whatever kind of breathing you use, just remember to listen for your breath as you steady yourself.
  8. Make your practice a habit.  If you make a regular practice of yoga at least three times a week, it will be more beneficial to you in the long run.  You will become more flexible as the weeks progress and you will be able to flow into the poses without thinking about it.  You can even do 15 minutes of Sun Salutations at home in the mornings. 
  9. Communicate with your teacher.  Stay after class for a second if you think you didn’t catch just how to do a pose or if something didn’t feel right.  You can ask them to watch you do downward facing dog for a minute and ask them to go over the most important tips for really getting into that pose.  It seems so simple, but if you don’t press into the knuckle mounds of your hand evenly you might walk away with sore wrists.  Take the time to ask.  It’s really okay.  You can also read my pin about how to avoid wrist pain.
  10. Don’t rush.  Take time to really slow down for yoga.  Be present.  Stay for Savasana…the resting time.  Focus on your breathing.  Check in with your body.  And of course, it’s fine to congratulate yourself for doing the best that you can.  You did it!  Repeat Namaste when your teacher says it at the end as a form of respectful closing to thank your teacher for sharing their energy with you. 

Yoga Sutras

 

 

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