15 Minute Mini Vacation

vacation

Friends, how about that Daylight Saving Time? I don’t know about you, but our house is full of what would seem to be hungover people. It is not pretty.

Yesterday was National Napping Day and I celebrated with a 15 minute mini vacation because I was simply too tired/wired to really nap and sometimes there just isn’t enough time or energy to do a whole yoga practice.

Are you in?

15 Minute Mini Vacation

You will need:

15 minutes alone

three pillows or rolled towels or bolster plus two blocks

this Tara Brach podcast and something to listen to it on

Do this:

Set yourself up in reclined cobbler’s pose – a pillow under spine/head, soles of feet together, knees splayed out resting on pillows or towels.

Here’s a picture:

Listen to the podcast.

Breathe.

Ta da! A 15 minute mini vacation.

I feel much better now. Don’t you?

If you’d like an entire restorative practice and are in Sacramento, come on by It’s All Yoga at 7:15 tonight.

Image 1: pinterest

Image 2: VanderbiltHealth.com

Savasana: A Love Story

savasana a love story

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to talk to some Yoga Basics students about coming to my classes. Here’s what I told them.

Savasana: A Love Story

During the first year or so of going to yoga classes around town, I fell in love. That overwhelming feeling of I-just-can’t-get-enough kind of love. An obsession, really.

At the beginning, I didn’t know its name. I called it “that lying down part at the end”. My secret wish was that each class I took  would end with “that lying down part”.

I fell in love with Savasana.

What’s to love?

I loved that feeling of my body letting go of tension, releasing the urge to work,  and falling into relaxation and rest at the end of class. Even if we only were there for a few minutes, that was the part I liked the most. I felt its power of rest like nothing I’d ever experienced, except maybe for an actual nap.

After each class, my mind felt calmer, my body relaxed and for a brief time, I felt peaceful.

For a super Type-A, pitta-deranged, smart Alec with amazing perfectionist tendencies, peaceful was something I’d never felt before.

And I liked it.

So I kept going back, week after week, hoping that we would end with “that lying down part”.

It surprises me now – a decade plus past my first class – that not one time, in any class I took that first year, did any teacher mention that every class ends with “that lying down part”.

Imagine my delight when I finally asked someone and they explained that EVERY yoga class ends that way!

To this day I love Savasana.

In fact, I’ve dedicated my yoga teaching to the lying down part! We pretty much do that the whole time in my classes. And while, yes, it can be hard to do – it is worth it.

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Interested in starting a love affair with “that lying down part”?  Check out my class schedule and come rest with me.

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What yoga pose would you write a love story about?

Photo credit: Robert Bejil Photography on Flickr (cc)

A Resolution for Self-Acceptance

reloveution

In preparation for planning my yoga classes for the month of January, I settled in on the notion of resolutions or the need for change. I, myself, have made countless promises to myself to finally get it right this year.

Each New Year, I promise myself and set out to to become the new and improved version of me, one with no more of those pesky flaws I tend to worry about when no one else is paying attention. I suspect they may be too busy running themselves into the ground to worry about me.

As most of us have made resolutions each year and wholeheartedly and with great enthusiasm pursued our freshly flossed teeth, countless miles on the running trail and ingesting everything green in the grocery store, only to burn ourselves out by February and return to our previous state of unflossed teeth, couch/channel surfing and emotionally eating comfort foods because we have once again failed to change ourselves for the “better”.

What if we decided to do it differently this year?

What if we resolved to spend all our enthusiastic January energy into accepting ourselves for how we are, flaws and all?

What would life feel like in February?

In Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance, author Rosie Molinary, challenges readers to Accept Your Imperfections  and to “give up the perfection facade and just be who you are.”

This, my friends, is my challenge to you this month. And by you, I mean me.

Can we just practice letting things be as they are and learn to finally accept who we really are?

What are your thoughts or resolutions and self-acceptance? I would love to connect, so please let me a comment.

Also, if you’d like to practice letting things be, I am teaching restorative yoga at It’s All Yoga on Sunday afternoons from 4:30-5:45.

Image source: pinterest

Naps Are For Smarties

rest

You must sleep sometime between lunch and dinner, and no halfway measure. Take off your clothes and get into bed. That’s what I always do. Don’t think you will be doing less work, because you sleep during the day. That’s a foolish notion held by people who have no imagination. You will be able to accomplish more. You get two days in one – well, at least one and a half, I’m sure. When the war started, I had to sleep during the day because that was the only way I could cope with my responsibilities. — Winston Churchill

(Or you could always come take a restorative yoga class with me at It’s All Yoga and receive all the benefits of a nap – and more! – without actually falling asleep).

What’s your take on naps? Pro or anti? What are your napping best practices?

Ten Things I Loved In November

Taking time each month to reflect on the good stuff has done wonders for my ability to actually stop and notice the good stuff. I’m truly thankful for Rosie’s inspiration.

Ten Things I Loved In November

Things I/We Did

1.      Voted. Since the election is over, we can now start answering our phone again. Yes, we still have a land line and we are the only living humans without caller ID, so you understand why this is so exciting. I’m also really happy with the outcome of the election and feel pretty damn good about the people in my Facebook feed. Hardly a reason to defriend anyone.

cutest ballot holder ever

2.      Draped over a bolster for hours at a time at the One Day Emotional Restoration Retreat with Michelle at It’s All Yoga.  Laying down for a couple hours, without sleeping, fully supported by props? Totally underrated. People, get yourselves to a restorative yoga class STAT!

pausing is good.

3.     FairyTale Town – Built in the 50’s, the play areas are metal and pointy and not at all what I expected. I think I liked it more than the kid, so we’ll definitely be going back.

4.    Embraced the leaves changing.

the twins

5.     Visited the redwoods in our backyard at the UC Davis Arboretum. Holy moly tree huggers! These redwoods ground me in a way I never thought possible or at least thought was reserved only for the ocean. I’m glad I’ve decided to embrace nature instead of bourbon.

tree hugger

6.    Introduced Ruby to the chickens who roam free in Fair OaksTo be honest, I just really needed a change of playground scenery and deciding to visit the chickens was a pretty easy choice. A 20 minute drive from home and some serious laughs. Little girl was perplexed by their very existence. It cracked me up because a lot of the chickens were taller than her.

chickens are king!

7.    Celebrated Thanksgiving on Wednesday instead of Thursday. Dude, talk about taking the pressure off. I highly recommend it for the holiday avoidant.

On The Plate

8.     Mandarin pineapple smoothie {3 seedless mandarins, a bunch of frozen pineapple chunks and a container or plain soy yogurt in the blender with a touch of honey.}

deliciousness

9.     Polenta with marinara, olives, spinach, artichoke hearts and Daiya.

On The Bookshelf 

10.      Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

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So what are you loving lately? I’m always on the lookout for what is delicious in food, drink, fashion, and life. Leave me your favorites in the comments or write a post of your own and link back here.

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My friend, Rosie Molinary, made a list and I loved hers so much I stole her idea. Now I’ve been inspired to pause and notice the good stuff each month.

How {and why} to Hold A Clothing Swap

For the past few years, I’ve been involved with organizing a women’s clothing swap twice a year at It’s All Yoga, the yoga studio where I teach,  and recently I’ve been asked to explain how and why we do it.

What Is A Clothing Swap?

It’s a get together with friends, clients, students with the purpose of trading gently used items (clothes, shoes and accessories) with others.

Wardrobes are remade and friendships begin with chatting over tables while in search of that perfect new-to-you outfit. I have connected with friends and students while building a new seasonable wardrobe.

Why Hold A Clothing Swap:

1. It’s fun.

2. It’s an environmentally and budget friendly way to build a new wardrobe for yourself while helping someone else build theirs.

3. The clothes and shoes that mock you from the closet because they were expensive, but just not quite right, usually can find a new home with someone you know, thus making everyone happy.

4. We raise a bunch of funds for a local charity and donate all the unclaimed items for them to sell in their shop.

5. We get to finally talk to the lovely people on the mats next to ours! Teachers and students interacting with each other in a super friendly environment is a great way to help everyone feel like they belong to the IAY community.

6. Friends bring friends and we usually leave SwapAsana with new to us clothes and connections with people we wouldn’t have otherwise made.

How To Hold A Clothing Swap:

My friend Amy hosted a swap party at her house this summer with a couple of girlfriends and wrote a post about it. I totally scored in the sweater and dress department and got to taste Joy The Baker’s famous Simple Vegan Chocolate Cake.   All in all, a great night!

In my research I also found this post and this comprehensive guide.

At It’s All Yoga’s SwapAsana, we put half of the goods on tables at the beginning and take a break midway. We use the free-for-all method and most people take what looks best and leave the rest. There is one group of swappers who try things on together and decide who brings the item home based on who it most flatters. Team work at its finest!

If you are interested in hosting a swap party, I definitely recommend going to someone else’s party first. I did and fell in love! Thanks, Stitch Swap!

It’s All Yoga’s bi-annual SwapAsana is this Sunday, October 14th at the studio in Midtown Sacramento. Feel free to come by!

Have you ever hosted/attended a swap? What was your experience?

Image 1 source

All Together Now….A Long, Steady Exhale

{via}

Michelle wrote an excellent piece about breathing called Epidemic Inhale. Please go read it.

No, really.

Go.

Read.

It.

Ok, while you were there did you follow her directions for a long, slow, steady exhale?

Feels good, doesn’t it?

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This is what yoga is for me now: one giant exhale.

A time and a place to just LET.IT.BE.

Reminders to pause, yawn, and be conscious of my breathing and how my body feels.

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It hasn’t always been this way.

I’m pretty sure most people are thinking I’m making funny shapes with my body when I’m “at yoga” and for a long time that is exactly what I did. The more difficult the class, the better.

I was ‘doing’ yoga, damnit.

But now, I’m focusing on the not doing. Letting things go. Asking myself what my body really needs in this moment.

More often than not, my body is craving rest.

And exhaling.

As a culture we spend so much going, going, going. Always pushing forward and racing from one project, meeting, soccer game to the next.  I am totally do this too. Even as I sit here with seven open tabs on my computer – including three email accounts, Twitter and Facebook.

So I rest.

You can too.

Ready?

All together now:

A long, steady exhale.