Yoga influenced a lot of the poetry in the last section of my book, A Time for Winter, including the “Vulnerable,” a poem in which I detail the struggle between wanting to unfold and fold in.
Over the past two years, yoga has taught me focus, stillness, and how powerful the breath is. In the past year, during deep waves of depression and social anxiety, yoga has helped me get out of the house as I graduated from at-home practice to public classes.
It was in public classes that I really felt the vulnerability that comes with yoga—the vulnerability of closing my eyes in front of strangers, of breathing loud ocean waves in front of strangers, of lying flat on my back and kicking my feet up to the sky in front of strangers, of rising out of forward fold and shouting “Lumos!” in front of strangers (hello, Hogwarts Yoga!).
I LOVE core day. It’s always a good reminder to bring awareness to my core, to recognize how strong it is or that it needs tending. This year’s core day was especially exciting because Adriene added some new moves to the mix. My personal favorite was the three-legged knee hover. I love trying new workout moves and yoga poses to hit my muscles in a new way and keep fitness fun and fresh, so those new poses were a delicious treat and welcomed challenge.
Wow. What an amazing, transformative practice today!
I have to admit, I was a little impatient during yesterday’s practice. But I reaped the benefits of sticking with it in today’s practice. And while that impatience creeped up once or twice during today’s practice, I felt much more mindful, patient, and aware. I surprised myself by sinking deep into poses like Downward Dog and Child’s Pose—deeper than I’m normally able to. My body was r e l a x e d and open to it. My mind was hyper present and aware but not overthinking every movement.
I think that’s what they call letting go.
Day 2’s theme is Foundation. I practiced bringing awareness to my own yogic foundation. I found that it is surprisingly strong but definitely needs some tending to. Today’s practice added a solid layer to that foundation. I also stepped off the mat feeling completely blissed out, both physically and mentally. Ah, the rewards of yoga! Continue reading 30 Days of Yoga, Day 2: Building a Foundation
I’m so excited to dive into another 30 day journey through which I can build strength, increase flexibility, open my heart, expand my mind, and nourish and grow the seeds I’ve been planting in my soul over the past year. A year in which I’ve focused on my mental health and healing through therapy, self-care, and learning to love every dark, sticky, soft, glowing inch of myself.
Today is Day 0. A day to rest, take a breath, set an intention, prepare. My intention for Dedicate is to rebuild my at-home yoga practice; reconnect with my mind, body, heart, and soul; practice self-care; and continue falling in love with myself.
My intention is to show up for myself every day on that mat so that I may learn to show up for myself every day off the mat.
Are you also embarking on a 30 day yoga journey? If so, what are your intentions? What are you choosing to dedicate yourself toward?
2018 is coming to a close. FINALLY. (Raise ya hand if you’re ready to shed your 2018 skin and bask in the promising glow of 2019!)
And with the end of one year comes a new year. A time for new beginnings. A time for setting goals. A time to spiral inward and shed light on the darkness we’ve been sitting with, face to face. A time for one of my favorite times of year: 30 Days of Yoga!
If you’ve never done yoga with Yoga With Adriene before, I invite you to join the Find What Feels Good community in January 2019 for 30 Days of self-care, self-love, change, growth, mindfulness, and YOGA.
Finding Light & Self-Love Through Yoga (With Adriene)
I think you are having a different sort of heartbreak. Maybe a kind of heartbreak of being in the world when you don’t know how to be. […] Everyone has that moment, I think, that moment something so…momentous happens that it rips your very being into small pieces. And then you have to stop. For a long time, you gather your pieces. And it takes such a very long time, not to fit them back together, but to assemble them in a new way, not necessarily a better way. More, a way you can live with until you know for certain that this piece should go there, and that one there.
from Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow
Girl in Pieces was hard for me to read, but I couldn’t put it down. I related to Charlie—in small ways. She reminded me a lot of my younger self. Her mindset. How she felt about and treated herself. How she let other people treat her. The things she thought she deserved. I think that’s why I had overwhelming empathy for her. My heart broke for her. I cried every time I sat down to read this book. I wanted to dive into the page and help her in the same way I want to dive into my past and help my younger self.
It’s like being at a zoo. And you’re in a cage. And people come up to you and they can see that you’re hurting and you’re sad. And they gather around the cage. They might even reach in and try and touch you, but it’s never an embrace, and it’s never full understanding. And then the zoo closes, and then they all go home. And I’m in a cage by myself. And it’s a very scary place to be.
This gut-wrenchingly accurate depiction of depression was spoken by a woman who chose to share her experience with depression anonymously for an episode of Sincerely, X, a TED podcast featuring talks from people who tell their stories behind hidden identities.
In the podcast’s seventh episode, “Mood Changer,” this anonymous woman talks about her depression using the most elegantly and accurately crafted metaphors. Every description she has for depression is spot on. I found myself screaming inside my head, “Yes! That’s exactly how I feel!”
You have to break the habit of thinking that the solution to your problems is to rearrange things outside. The only permanent solution to your problems is to go inside and let go of the part of you that seems to have so many problems with reality.
– Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself
The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourselfby Michael A. Singer is a heart-opening, soul-awakening guide to freeing yourself from the boundaries and limitations your habitual thoughts, emotions, and energy patterns build inside of you. Drawing from awareness-creating techniques like meditation and mindfulness, Singer explores the path to consciousness, happiness, and inner peace through the practices of letting go, staying present, and pushing out of your comfort zone.
As a continuing explorer of the inner self and someone deep in the throes of battling her own fears, anxieties, negative thoughts, and sometimes skewed mindset, I thoroughly enjoyed my journey through this book. I found so many nuggets of wisdom and gentle reminders of what life can be like when I let go of that which does not serve, stay present, eschew judgement, and live outside of my comfort zone.
Two rounds of yoga and 12 minutes of meditation had me feeling focused, productive, and zenned out yesterday. I felt extra aware of my breath throughout the day (yay mindfulness!) and noticed that my breaths were smooth, deep, and steady. A true breath of fresh air for someone who often experiences shallow breathing and a tight chest (hello anxiety!).
That’s what a weekend full of yoga, meditation, nature, and introspective journaling will do for ya!