Holy moly! Today’s practice was a complete 180 from yesterday’s. I felt so much more relaxed and in tune with my body today. I NEEDED today’s slow, stretchy, yummy movement. My back needed it, my hammies needed it, my soul needed it. Today’s flow was a breath of fresh air. A much desired slowdown after yesterday’s bittersweet practice.
Today’s theme is Feel. And I f e l t. Every sensation in my body as I stretched, twisted, lengthened, and moved, slow and with love. I felt the sensation of loving my body. Of caring for it. Listening to it. Giving it the ease of movement it craved. I felt so freaking present. It was one of those practices where I couldn’t help by smile through it, thinking to myself, Yes! This is yoga!
I felt a bit all over the place during today’s practice. I started out strong. My breath was deep and steady. My body felt relaxed. My movements were in sync with my breath.
Then my lack of regular practice over the past few months showed up in a big way.
Observing the Struggles
The first thing that through me off was three-legged downward dog. Not any three-legged downward dog. No. Today Adriene asked us to pulse the raised leg, and… I’ll admit it. I panicked. I gave up. Even moving to all fours to pulse the lifted leg felt like too much. However, I did redeem myself when I switched to pulsing the left leg. I latched on to my breath, still going strong, deep, and steady. I re-centered, re-focused, and was able to maintain the pose and movement.
The second struggle was the rest of the practice. No, I’m kidding. Mostly I just struggled with Warrior II, side angle pose, and tree pose. I was a bit alarmed surprised that I struggled with these poses because they’ve never been too difficult for me. This was the first time I had to keep my big toe on the ground during tree pose. I just could not maintain my balance.Continue reading 30 Days of Yoga, Day 3: Learning to be the Neutral Observer
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
It took me until this evening to make my way to the mat, but I did it. I showed up. I challenged myself to stillness. I listened to my breath, letting it guide me through and calm me in the moments that I wanted to give up. I found strength. I zenned out. I went inward to discern why I showed up to this 30-day journey. I stepped off the mat feeling lighter and creative. The result was a poem full of loving intention.
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.
YogaQuest is for the geek, the adventurer, the bookworm, the whimsical yogi who loves a good story and doesn’t take his or herself too seriously.
The Minneapolis-based studio offers narrated yoga classes that blend fandom with fitness—because yoga is all about balance, right? Combining yoga sequences for strength, balance, and flexibility with creative storytelling, YogaQuest’s classes work both your muscles and your laugh lines. The studio also focuses on body positive and adaptive yoga, creating an inclusive community for yogis of all shapes, sizes, levels, and species—humans, elves, hobbits, goblins, wizards, hippogriffs, and Klingons welcome!
Last weekend, YogaQuest kicked off the school season with their seven-week Back to Hogwarts series. As a Harry Potter fan with a love for storytelling and a penchant for whimsy, I enrolled immediately.
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!”
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!