Falling Off the Yoga Wagon

 




We’ve all had it happen; whether we have just been introduced to the practice of yoga and immediately fell in love with it, or we have been practicing it for years, we have become proficient and it has changed our lives considerably for the better. However, something happens when we miss a day or two; and then instead of us just getting right back at it the next week, we miss another day, or two. 

 

Then, without really knowing why, we just stop doing it. Do we no longer love yoga? Are we done with it the way we are done with an old favorite shirt that has seen us through some of our worst and best times? It happens to the best of us. We all have slip-ups or our motivation seems to decrease, but I’m here to tell you that you can get back up again and reaffirm your faith in yoga with these simple tips. 

 

Remind Yourself Why You Love Yoga

 

Yoga is as much a relationship with yourself as any other relationship you have with your family, partner, and friends. Sometimes it feels tired and old; and even if you still love it, you just don’t want to be around it at the moment. At the same time, you still talk about it as if you are still doing it daily. Your yogi friends have no idea what you are going through, and you’re not sure if you should even tell them. 

 

Take a deep breath then take a step back and make a list of why you love yoga. The reasons are your own, but they may be similar along the lines of, “I love the way yoga gives me strength,” “I love the way it makes me feel,” or “I love how it calms me down.” We have all heard how yoga has transformed many people’s lives but don’t forget your own journey and how it has changed you. 

 

Make it a Priority

 

In the same way that we sometimes have to schedule dates with our significant others, you need to do the same with your yoga practice. Whether you book it on your phone or make a mental promise to yourself that you will attend your class, put it as a priority; make yourself a priority. 

 

Now that you have it scheduled on your phone, the next step is to make sure you don’t falter on your own appointment. Whether you practice at home or go to a class, get your gear out and place it where you won’t forget; at the front door, on the bathroom counter, make it so that you can’t avoid seeing it and have no choice but to pick it up to continue on with your day. 

 

Start Back with Little Steps

 

If you are used to an advanced class you may feel as though you can simply return back without a hitch, but this may not be the case. Although our bodies will be conditioned to the practice for quite some time with regular practice, doing otherwise may have a different effect on your body. But, if you have been inactive for a month or longer, it doesn’t hurt to ease back into the practice. You can settle for a shorter class, even just ten minutes of Sun Salutations to get your back into the motion. 

 

Try Something Different

 

There are a lot of yoga variations out there. Not just different styles, but different ways to approach these styles that you may never have even imagined. Ways to combine your new lifestyle with yoga can help bring you back to what you love so dearly. Maybe you’ve had a baby and would like to try baby and mommy yoga, or maybe you want to try some partner yoga to help motivate you to show up. Whatever the case, check your options. Give yourself new goals to try and inspire yourself once again. You may even be able to pick up a cute pair of yoga leggings in this moment as well.

 

Remember, yoga is a journey on an infinite path; and this path can either be smooth or bumpy. Whatever the case, it’s perfectly acceptable to detour off of your path on occasion. Just remember the reason you fell in love with yoga in the first place. Even if you just pull the mat out and sit on it with some gentle stretches, you will find yourself and yoga again.

 

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Good Morning, Sunshine

 

 

I have always preferred mornings over nighttime. Though both have their charm, I feel most productive right upon waking up. Productivity is what fulfills me.

Ever since I remember, I liked to wake up before the sun and greet it. There are a million ways to do so. It does not necessarily mean you have to beat the alarm clock. Going to bed early enough at night gives me enough time to wake up rested and by myself. But those are habits that need some time establishing.

I feel that the morning routine is powered by how I go to bed the night prior. Taking a shower right before bed is my treat. I then only like to have a cup of warm tea, like chamomile, lavender, or rooibos, depending on how I’m feeling and what goes in combination with the food that I had earlier. What also helps me inspire better sleep is changing my sheets often. By often, I mean at least once a week. I use natural detergents infused with homemade essential oils.

Fast forward to morning, one thing that I like to have on my nightstand is a glass of water which quenches my thirst right upon waking up. It also enables me to safely make my way to the kitchen and prepare my morning tea. While it is brewing, I do I a short meditation routine (that changes depending on my mood).

What also changes in regards to the season, my mood (strongly affected by the phases of the moon as my mom like to note), the meal plan I have set for us for that day, and possibly other factors is my morning tea routine. Most of the time, I like to combine it with a little coconut water, which is a great source of electrolytes. If I’m planning a draining workout later in the day, I’ll definitely need all of them or sometimes even a protein-powered smoothie for when I have important tasks to tackle.

I’m just the kind of person who likes to have the day planned ahead in order to be really successful at it. That doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy playing it by ear sometimes, too. But the saying, “Fail to prepare, or prepare to fail.”, is quite accurate in my case.

Therefore, an essential piece of help is a planner where I handwrite the tasks for each given day. Crossing them out one by one is an empowering thing. But if you’re new at this, be mindful of how you function best. Sometimes, our brain is overwhelmed by the sight of 10 different things we need to accomplish. So maybe, break them down into different sections or spread them out over a couple of days.

I further like to show appreciation by doing a short yoga or stretching routine that gets the kinks out of my body, especially the back and the neck. Practice obviously varies depending on how I’m feeling, but I make sure to keep my joints limber, turn my heart center up, and actively start my day. I feel like the energy truly transfers well into the rest of the tasks I have planned for that particular day.

It could be a couple of sun salutations, jumping jacks, burpees. or even a sunrise walk to get a cup of tea from the coffee shop–something that kick-starts the flow of my day and sets the positive tone to it right from the start. I feel like no matter if you’re a “morning person” or not, these tips could come in handy. Let me know how your morning goes and what your triggers are to a successful day. I’m curious to hear back from you.

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Do Your Body Proportions Affect Your Yoga Practice?

You might wonder if your body proportions are sabotaging your efforts to do certain yoga poses or if all yoga poses are equally accessible. Have you been working on a yoga jump back for years and it just isn’t happening? Well master yoga teacher and scholar, Paul Grilley explains in his DVD Anatomy for Yoga that ones body proportions can limit or support your ability to perform different yoga poses. 

Everyone has different proportions of limbs and body parts. You might have a long torso, short torso, short arms, long arms, short neck et. Paul Grilley explains that bone compression is one way that proportions will affect you. Bone compression is determined in an individual by the shape of the bones. Two adjacent bones can only move so much until they are blocked and begin to feel compressed against each other. Another way body proportion affects your practice is by bone length. 

For example:

Arm bone length and seated posture to chaturanga pose.

Here, your arm bone length will determine if you are able to do this movement. If you sit on your knees and flex your hands but your hands are far away from the floor, you will use all your flexion and strength curling the spine so that the hands can press on the floor that you will not be able to press back. 

Modification: Use yoga blocks on the long thin side to give you that extra length to press through the hands and lift the hips off the floor.

Neck length/ upper arm bone length and headstand pose

If your head can only look back slightly or when you raise your arm and bend at the elbow and your elbow does reach past the head, you will have a harder time avoiding a neck pinch or injury. However, there are other factors that will affect you as if you have a strong neck and shoulder area, then you might be able to withstand the pressure of weight on the head.

Femur (thigh) bone placement in socket and forward bend pose 

Depending on where your thigh bone fits into the hip sockets, you will be able to tilt the pelvis back more and achieve a deeper hip forward bend.

Femur bone and Splits pose 

The femur bone will also determine how much you can internally rotate the back leg in splits pose. The compression around that hip area will also allow some people to move the back leg further back and up. Some people will easily be able to bend the back leg and others will feel more compression in the joint when trying to bend the leg.

Lumber pine versus shoulder and heel pose

If when you raise your arms up and back you feel compression in your shoulder then your wheel pose should look more horizontal than someone can bend arms way back behind with no compression.

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Sahasrara: The Crown Chakra

Sahasrara is the final and highest chakra located on the top of the head. This chakra is said to access higher states of consciousness, opening us up to a network of limitless possibilities. The crown chakra is represented either by the color white or by a deep purple, which sits like a crown on the top of the head radiating upwards. 

The seventh chakra is associated with the brain and the nervous system. It can be seen as continuing this energetic connection that runs throughout our body out of the top of our head. A clear and open Sahasrara leads to the realization that it is your pure awareness. An easier way to think about it is that there are three circles of awareness

  1. The first circle is our basic recognition of our senses and what we can physically sense in front of us. 
  2. The second circle is the awareness of the first circle. 
  3. The third circle is Sahasrara; being aware that we are aware. From here we can experience pure consciousness. 

When you reach the seventh chakra, you have come out of the physical body, ego, and intellect. You will be free from the restraints of desire and can be peaceful even in the most challenging of environments. 

Although this may seem unattainable for those of us who aren’t monks or spiritual teachers, we can still find moments of pure awareness within our day to day lives, all we need to do is practice. In the same way, we would spend a little time each day learning a new language or an instrument, taking a few minutes each day to go to this third circle of awareness to keep your crown chakra open and healthy. 

An overactive seventh chakra can lead to a person having obsessive thoughts. Anxiety or depression can arise from an individual living too much in the future or the past. There is also a risk of obsessive spirituality in which other-worldly duties may be neglected. An underactive crown chakra shows itself in a lack of identity, joy or meaning in a person’s life. 


Symptoms Of An Imbalance In The Crown Chakra

  • Depression 
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Migraines
  • Materialism 
  • Boredom 
  • Sleep disorders
  • Greed 

How To Balance The Crown Chakra

  • Meditation – For a meditation that is focused on the crown chakra, imagine a tunnel of white light pouring in you through the top of your head and filling up your whole body. It represents your connection to the world around you. 
  • Crystals – Use purple or clear stones to open the crown chakra. Selenite, clear quartz, amethyst and diamond are all examples of crystals that relate well to Sahasrara. 
  • Aromatherapy – Floral essences such as lotus, tulip, and Angelica can be burnt or applied to the neck and wrists for meditation. 
  • Nutrition – Light meals, brightly colored fruit and vegetables and lots of water can be consumed to cleanse the crown chakra and enable a clear connection. 
  • Yoga – Relaxing into savasana at the end of a yoga class is the perfect pose for the crown chakra. After you have burnt up the impurities in the body and mind the class, laying back with the eyes closed allows the spirit to take over. Lululemon leggings or not, you start to detach from your body and drift somewhere into the yogi-world.
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What Is Minimalism?

“Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it.” – Joshua Becker

To understand a life of minimalism, it is important to fully understand that there are different perceptions of what this means. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide what is important in your life and what is not. 

How Can You Tell If You Need To Minimalize?

Minimalizing your space, also similar to decluttering, is something you may not even realize you need to do. Humans fall into patterns and repetition very quickly; we move throughout the days of our lives in a very routine manner. We clean the same rooms over and over, promising ourselves we will go through some papers when we get the chance, or we will organize our cupboards when we have more time. 

If this sounds familiar then likely it is time for you to declutter or minimalize your environment. Put it in your calendar or agenda and go through one room at a time; your home, office, or even your car and look at what you keep within this space. 

It can be a difficult process to complete. You may find yourself uncertain about some items, holding on for sentimental value, or holding on because you’re not even sure why. In some situations, you may have to cut out with items that no longer serve you or bring you happiness. 

In other moments, it might be wise for you to set items you are unsure about into a box or bin; and put them away for a while. It can be in a week or a month but set a designated time to come back to them and evaluate how you feel. 

If you haven’t used it and for the whole time it has been put away, then the odds are that you are not likely going to use it anymore and it needs to be thrown away. Acknowledge your past and all that it has allowed for you to become today, but also learn to let it go. 

It’s Not Just About Objects

Minimalization is not only about the objects that we have around the house – piles of papers, embellishments, books we’ve never read – but also about the way we spend our time (or some may view it as waste our time) on electronic devices. 

It can include but is not limited to, time spent on a tablet or computer, watching television, social media outlets, or playing games of various sorts. Whatever the reason you choose to designate some of your time to these outlets, keep in touch with friends, allow your brain to shut off for a while, reduce stress, consider your interactions with friends and loved ones, and take a break from the electronics for a while. 

By minimalizing the time spent on our devices, we are showing the people in our life that they are worth our time. Although for some, this may be extremely difficult. Their jobs revolve around the fact that they have to respond to an email right away. However, it is always a good idea to set limits for when you are available. 

Letting others know that you will not be available by text or email after a particular time helps you avoid feeling the need to constantly checking in on your phone and instead allow you to check in with people in real life. 

Live In The Present Moment

Yoga is all about living in the moment; worrying about the past, or the future is inconsequential. When we are not in the present moment, we are cluttering our mind with unnecessary worry and regret. Whenever you feel your mind is slipping into something that happened a week ago or fretting about something that has yet to happen, remind yourself just to be, and that everything will be sorted out. 

Minimalism does not mean living life with the bare bones of life and not having nice things that make you feel good. It is a lifestyle that allows you to remember what and who is important in your life, and the thought to acknowledge them. 

Take the time to declutter all parts of your life and make time for it. You deserve not to be distracted from what is most important to you.

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How to Instantly One-Up Your Look

 

Being put together instantly boosts your confidence. It entails everything from your clothing, to make up, to freshly washed hair, and young-looking skin. Moreover, there are subtle nuances that elevate your appearance in no time. Try them out and let me know how they make you feel.

 

Add eyeshadow on your hairline, especially when you wear your hair up. Particularly above your temples. If you have any grey roots, you can easily mask that as well. For darker hair, go with darker shadow, obviously. While blondes can use a shade of beige. Play around a little until you find your fit.

Whiten your eyes. You normally look at someone’s eyes to see what color they are. But what makes that color pop even more, is the white around it. You’ll achieve healthy white shade by eating healthy and getting plenty of sleep. While the instant option comes by adding eye drops to your eyes. Don’t use them all the time, but when you feel like your eyes are getting particularly dry, it is a good time to reach for them.

Exfoliate your skin. I would do it about twice per week. Find your routine. And I suggest practicing it before bed so the possible redness goes away by morning. After exfoliating, use essential oils. Oils that contain lavender are recommended as it has the health properties to reduce redness, inflammation, and prevents the skin from forming acne while it cures the ones that you already have.

Love long eyelashes? Probably not many of us are blessed with naturally long lashes. While I’m particularly not a fan of extensions. The solution comes in the shape of a natural ingredient: castor oil. It makes both your eyelashes and brows longer. Cone it on your lashes and brows before bed and wash it out in the morning. I’ve seen results within days. I was even able to grow my once super thin brows into a bushier kind that are more on trend these days by using castor oil.

While don’t you go for a pop of color on your lips while doing the rest of your makeup simple? You’re right, there’s nothing subtle about a red lip. The trick is to go an ever so slightly darker shade with your lip liner than your lipstick. It will give your lips a fuller look.

Show off your figure by well-fitting your clothes. Get a pair of well-fitted leggings and pair them with your favorite tops. Fall is slowly but surely approaching, so layer your clothing. A well-fitted wardrobe will boost your confidence. While you’re checking yourself in the mirror, just bring your shoulders back. An upright posture will even make you look taller. Try it. Smile. It will enhance your mood. Plus, it’s contagious. Who doesn’t like to smile back at the person with sides of the lips towards their ears and peachy cheeks?

You can try one tip at the time or all of them together. Do it for yourself and you’ll quickly see what suits you so you can make it a routine. Usually, the things we get complimented on are the ones we keep on doing. But also having reassurance from the mirror that we elevated ourselves from the version we were yesterday makes us walk out the door with confidence in our step.

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