Tag Archives: yoga

30 Day Mind and Body Challenge Finale

22 Mar

30 Days Mind and Body Challenge

So it wasn’t really yoga, officially, but I did go to a stretch class a couple nights ago that was very yoga-like.  And although the 30 day challenge officially ended 8 days ago, that was my little nod to the loveliness that it brought back into my life.

It was actually my first yoga class of the whole challenge.  Because of my mommy status and my discomfort with leaving my little one at the gym kid’s corner, it has been easier to do yoga at home this past 30(8) days.

This challenge went through so many phases for me, and I really found myself shifting focus three times throughout the whole month.  I petered out in my yoga practice after the first 10 days or so… and although I continued to stretch far more regularly than I had done before, it wasn’t true yoga, you know?

But then again, I guess I shouldn’t say that.  Because one of the things I’ve learned through this, is that yoga isn’t just a practice you do on the mat.  It’s a state of mind, and a way of being present that you practice in your life.

Either way… around the ten day mark, my family went on a trip to Half Moon Bay.  That trip triggered my shift into the self-love aspect of the challenge, which I had all but forgotten about in my focus on the yoga.  It was there that I remembered how to pause in my day.  To breathe, and consider… what I really wanted out of that moment.  What my body needed (food? rest? movement?), what my mind needed (a stimulating book? a tv show entertainment? the emptiness of just being, in front of a fire, with a cup of tea?), and what my baby needed… because it was just the two of us for long stretches of time.

I realized how much my days at home are filled with activity, without very much consideration for what I really want or need at the time.  I’m playing with Mason, or making sure he’s entertained while I’m doing something else… and then when he naps, I go to the internet out of reflex.  Do nothing terribly important most of the time, while I half-heartedly try and figure out what I wanted to do during that nap.  And by the time I figure out what it is, and rush to do it, Mason is starting to wake up again.  And over again we cycle.

Half Moon Bay was a great weekend, for all of us.  And upon returning home, although old habits die hard, I’ve been able to bring more awareness… more Attention to our days.  Which makes me a happier lady, and a more fully present mama and wife.  And when I fall back into habitual mindless activity… I’ve been able to identify it much quicker.

My last shift was another mind, body centered focus… but a surprise one.  A groupon deal prompted a friend and I to sign up for 30 days unlimited classes at The Bar Method.  It feels like an amazing cross between pilates and dance techniques.  And although it kicks my ass every time I go, I feel stronger and more capable in my body after every class.  And the mental lift, energy and sense of discipline it’s giving me are an amazing handful of side effects.

So clearly… i think this challenge was rad.  And although I was enjoying my life as it was unfolding prior to these 30(8) days… i’m so smitten with it now!

Soooo a huge thank you to Laura, who’s amazing blog led me to this challenge, to Betsy who dreamed it up, and to all the fantastically brave women who participated.

I know I posted this video in the last post on this challenge… but it’s just so gorgeous that I have to do it again.

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30 Days Mind and Body Challenge – first week

22 Feb

30 Days Mind and Body Challenge
 

I’ve been wanting to write a post since the second day into this challenge!  But life is busy, right?  I have had so many lovely moments in each of the past seven days, each so different from the one before.  Some days I’ve been full of energy and excited to spend an hour or more on my yoga mat, some days I’ve been so full and tired and felt relieved to be able to squeeze in my ten minutes right before I collapsed into bed.  And I’m almost shocked to say that I’ve actually done some amount of yoga EVERY SINGLE DAY so far.  I’m super proud of myself for keeping up with this commitment.  And thankful for all the ladies participating in this challenge, and keeping us all motivated with their supportive, kind, honest, and funny words.

The first few yoga sessions, I was reluctant to give up my time during Mason’s naps… so we did yoga together.  I had recently gotten a mommy & me yoga dvd through a book swap website that I LOVE, and had only tried it once before.  He would got tired halfway through the first time and needed to go down for a nap… but while he lasted, he seemed to love it, which was so fun.  He would watch my arms go up and down and side to side during stretches, he loved being right under me and I coo’ed at him during a swan dive, and he sat or stood on my belly while I did bridge pose.  Mark even joined in once we hit the weekend, and it was family yoga!  I was in heaven!  There were grunts and giggles, pauses for diaper changes and a lovely shavasana at the end with a quietly kicking babe lying between us.

Mark even found a couple netflix yoga videos and did them on his own on the weekend days I worked.  I was thrilled that this challenge was catching on in our home!

baby yoga

One of my most inventive yoga sessions was this past Friday.  The morning flew by, I worked the afternoon away, and then Mark and I drove down to a Ryan Adams concert (ps… AMAZING) in LA, getting back home around 1am.  I realized on the way to work, that there was no way I was going to want to do anything besides fall into bed when we got home from the concert, but I was on such a roll, I didn’t want to miss a day!

Get this… remembering a quote that Lauren Emily put up on the facebook page:

“You cannot do yoga. Yoga is your natural state. What you can do are yoga exercises, which may reveal to you where you are resisting your natural state.” -Sharon Gannon

I tried to bring the intention that I experience in yoga, to my work.  A little easier in my case, since I work as a massage therapist.  But wow…

You know, I’ve been doing massage for about four years now, and while I do feel I am “present” for every massage that I do, I have to be honest in that I’m definitely not present for every moment in each massage.  After doing thousands of massages… it’s almost like driving home… some of it happens on auto pilot.

But I tried to stay very aware throughout the entire first massage and an hour into the second (before I had to take it down a notch and just focus on the massage because I felt like I had been in a two hour yoga class!).  I tuned into my client’s bodies, and the changes in their muscle tissue as I worked on them.  I tuned into my own body, and how I held it, my alignment, and how I was leveraging my balance and shifting my weight to apply the necessary pressure. And I was even able to throw in a few yoga poses as I massaged.  Which felt amazing to me, and seemed to bring more of a centeredness to the work.  I warrior’d my way down my client’s back.  I stood in tree pose while working on their neck.  I took dancer pose as I ran my knuckles up their leg.  It took concentration, but I feel like it made the massage better for both of us.  I even did a quick sun salutation while their feet rested in warm towels.  Yoga while doing massage… who knew!

Here are a couple yoga videos that I’ve found on youtube over the past week… And again, if anyone wants to play along, do click the banner at the beginning of this post and link up!  This challenge.  It’s amazing.

((This video was posted by Betsy on the facebook page.  Phew! Quite a workout!))

((This one I found by searching bedtime yoga, nice and gentle, a great wind down))

((This video was also posted by Betsy, and I dream of having my yoga practice have this much of a seamless, graceful, gorgeous flow))

30 Days Mind and Body Challenge

15 Feb

30 Days Mind and Body Challenge

I’m pretty sure I’ve said before that I’m a sucker for these types of mini challenges.  When I saw this post by one of my favorite bloggers, it called my name and demanded I link up.

I’ve been a yoga lover for at least the past decade.  And as you can imagine, it’s hard to keep up on pretty much any commitments I had in my pre-baby life.  Such is life with a growing, bright-eyed, curious baby four-month old.  But I re-learn everyday just how important it is to make sure I’m taken care of as well.  A 30 day yoga commitment (to start with, at least), sounds like a great way to make sure I’m giving myself that attention.

What I loved most about this idea is Laura‘s response to one of her comments, “you should join us! even if its just for 10 minutes a day!”

And that very well be all I have some days!  But 10 minutes is better than no minutes!  I even have a new Mama & Baby yoga dvd I’ve been wanting to try out.

Play along if you feel the urge!  Click one of the buttons above to link up on one of the lovely founding ladies blogs.