Finding awesome frames at reasonable prices can be hard. My absolute favorite place to shop online for glasses is Firmoo.com. Have you guys ever tried the site?
All sorts of lovely books and yoga DVDs have been making their way to me lately and I'm excited to share them with you. If you need a recommendation for what to read or watch the next time you have a rainy, cold day, I got you :)
What I'm Reading
The New Chinese Medicine Handbook by Misha Ruth Cohen
Before checking out this book, I felt intimidated by Chinese medicine and all its detailed information, regimens and routines. I love that the author offers an approachable guide; as she says, the book is an invitation to a shared healing journey. "If you have picked up this book," Cohen says, "you are searching for answers to the age-old questions: How do I live life fully, how can I heal myself of sickness, and who can guide me in this complex process?"
If you're like me and dislike going to the doctor and want a more holistic approach to health,
The New Chinese Medicine Handbook
is a great resource. It gives you a sense of how to approach health with the mind, body, and spirit all integrated as a whole instead of offering quick-fix, Western-minded solutions. Chinese medicine offers a new way of thinking about how to take care of yourself, how to find balance, and how to treat both physical and emotional disharmony.
Restoring Flexibility: A Gentle Yoga-Based Practice to Increase Mobility at Any Age by Andrea Gilats, PhD, RYT
I can't tell you how many times I've heard from friends, family, and strangers, "I'm too stiff and out of shape to practice yoga!" This is the perfect book for answering that statement with a resounding, "Yoga is for everyone!" I'd recommend this book for anyone who is a beginner and wants to increase mobility. If you or someone you know is intimidated by yoga, try this book. Andrea offers simple routines that anyone can do, and she includes great photos, step-by-step instructions and daily practices to try. The sections include:
- aligning bones and centering your breath
- restoring upper body flexibility
- restoring spinal flexibility
- restoring hip flexibility - flexors, and rotators and adductors
- restoring agility - the yoga sun salutation
- restoring lower body flexibility
- reclining joint releases and muscle relaxation
Restoring Flexibility is comprehensive, detailed, and a really smart approach for beginners. Although the title hints at age, I think this book is applicable to yogis of any age, and it's a wonderful guide to starting where you are instead of taking a class that's too fast-paced or intimidating. Highly recommended.
Essential Oils for Beauty, Wellness, and the Home by Alicia Atkinson
I love this book! It's filled with helpful information about essential oils and recipes and methods for using them. Need to fight the flu? Need relief from allergies? Need to relieve stress or feel better after a bad day? This book has essential oil remedies to help.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Hangover Relief Protocol: Detoxifying Blend
1 TBsp sweet almond oil
2 drops lemon essential oil
2 drops thyme essential oil
2 drops cilantro essential oil
2 drops rosemary essential oil
In a 0.5 oz (15 mL) blue or amber glass bottle, mix 1 Tbsp almond oil with 2 drops each of lemon, thyme, rosemary and cilantro. Cap tightly and shake to mix. Use, or store for later in a cool, dry location.
sweet almond oil
8 drops ylang ylang essential oil
4 drops clary sage essential oil
2 drops bergamot essential oil
2 drops sandalwood essential oil
What I'm Watching
"Will is that which changes thought into energy." - Yogananda
This is such an interesting film! A look at the reaction of the western world as a 'superstar guru' came to Los Angeles featuring commentary by Deepak Chopra, Russel Simmons, and even If you've read Autobiography of a Yogi, that's only the beginning to Yogananda's story :)
YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine with Parvati
Wow! Parvati is such a gifted and mesmerizing teacher... one of my favorite aspects to her teachings is the way she draws in energetic movement and lines of energy. She'll help you become more aware of the subtle intricacies of the practice. Each routine is incredibly revitalizing and healing. Great DVD.
What are you guys reading and watching these days? I'd love to hear! XO
One of my absolute favorite things about controlling my own schedule is having slow mornings.
My daily routine used to involve a very frazzled hour at the beginning of my day. I would set my alarm as late as possible, still wake up feeling exhausted, rush around making coffee and getting dressed, and then eat a quick breakfast in my car on the way to work, all the while feeling slightly overwhelmed and dreading the rest of the day.
Now, I wake up (occasionally without an alarm) and slowly get ready for my day. I'll often drink hot lemon water, fix some coffee, make breakfast, check email, and hang out with Jess in the kitchen :)
- Freedom to control my schedule, especially when I get to enjoy slow mornings, when I don't have to drive through rush hour traffic, and when I can plan my day without any rushing
- Long hugs and hearing the words, "You're amazing," and "Have I told you lately how much I love you?" :)
- Yoga books on my doorstep that have been sent by publishing houses who find my blog. Or my Yogi Surprise box :)
- A bottle of wine that my sister brings over to share, and the chance to sit and talk with her about life and kids and relationships
- High res photos in my inbox from talented photographers I'm collaborating with
- Comments and emails from you guys... they literally make my day every time :)
- Community yoga classes that give me the chance to meet new people and make new connections
- An unexpected chunk of time on a day I thought would be busy, and instead I have the chance to take a nap, write in my journal, sit in the spa, or listen to music
And something bad will have happened: You will have lost someone you loved, or failed at something at which you badly wanted to succeed.
And sitting there, you will fall into the center of yourself.
You will look for some core to sustain you.
And if you have been perfect all your life and have managed to meet all the expectations of your family, your friends, your community, your society, chances are excellent that there will be a black hole where that core ought to be.
I don’t want anyone I know to take that terrible chance. And the only way to avoid it is to listen to that small voice inside you that tells you to make mischief, to have fun, to be contrarian, to go another way.
George Eliot wrote, ‘It is never too late to be what you might have been.’ It is never too early, either.”
Hope you are having a lovely week, yogis!
- A tree-pose shaped cookie cutter (!!!!) from Yummi Yogi. My holiday cookies will never be the same!
- Pumpkin spice macaroon cookies from Laughing Giraffe Organics. Delicious.
- Nasya oil from Banyan Botanicals. Great for opening up my nasal passageways so I can breathe deeply for the holiday season!
- Yogi Surprise yoga sequence series card. Loved the poses focused on self-acceptance, generosity, and serenity.
- Sibu Beauty sea buckthorn age defying eye cream. This stuff works great and helps make me feel pretty. Jess says, you're already pretty! haha ;)
- Yuni Beauty instant shower sheets. These things are genius...they're not standard size wipes - they're big! So it's actually like having a little mini shower. Highly recommend for any other yoga teachers who sweat a lot and need to run from class to class. Also, they're very reasonably priced if you need to buy more after the Yogi Surprise ones run out :)
- Breath Perception: A Daily Guide to Stress Relief, Mindfulness, and Inner Peace. This boko offers easy-to-read, helpful tools for mindfulness and meditation. Love it!
Today I'm honored to share sponsored yogini Elizabeth's reflections on teaching and practicing yoga with children. She is certified through Kidding Around Yoga and is offering a training in Nevada City, CA in early December for teachers who want to learn more about teaching engaging yoga classes to children. Check out the Facebook event page or www.kiddingaroundyoga.com for more info :)
Kids love Yoga! Every class is different with its own set of challenges and breakthroughs. Sometimes it seems like every child in the room just ate a pound of sugar and the energy is wild, and sometimes there are children who don't want to participate, but by the end of class, out of the corner of my eye, I catch them doing a pose.
Children have so much stress and pressure from the world; iPads, sports, school assignments, peers, friends, parents. We move children from one thing to the next without giving them the time they need to observe, process, and express what they feel. Kidding Around Yoga provides children a moment in their busy lives to be calm, present, mindful and be given tools for stress management all while hopping, skipping, jumping, dancing, singing, and OMing.
When we really pay attention, it's stunning how many of us as adults tend to breathe shallowly, or struggle to cope with stress, or feel depressed.
What if we taught our future generation how to be kind, mindful, how to breathe, and deal with stress? I bet our world would be much more peaceful.
Thank you, Elizabeth, for sharing this beautiful post!
Yogis, please feel free to reach out to me if you're interested in an upcoming Kidding Around Yoga teacher training or have questions to pass along to Elizabeth.
Things you weren't expecting... like that your poses don't have to be perfect.
And also, that in time, bad habits will lead to injury.
Yoga teaches you to stay true to who you are. Not to let others define success for you.
Yoga reminds you to breathe at the moments when life seems too intense to handle, and also at times when life feels boring, simple, and lovely. :)
One of the greatest lessons yoga has taught me is patience.
To be patient when things are changing. To be patient when something new feels impossible, strange, intimidating.
To be patient in loving myself.
What lessons has your yoga practice brought you?
As I was driving home, I realized something about what I had said throughout the class. The two things I focused on... weren't physical postures.
What are the basics of yoga?
Ahimsa, non-harming. And breath.
As part of this week's focus on gratitude, I wanted to share a list of 10 Alive in the Fire posts you may have missed:
What does gratitude do?
Even when you are in pain, there can be gratitude.
What are you grateful for today?
Three practices for cultivating gratitude.
Keeping a gratitude journal.
What are you grateful for in this moment?
Using your breath as a prayer of gratitude.
Holding space for gratitude.
Three amazing women I'm most grateful for, the sponsored yogis.
How an attitude of gratitude shifts everything.
Here are a few of my other favorite blog posts on gratitude from around the web:
The Most Important Moment, by Leo Babauta.
Reflections on happiness via A Cup of Jo.
The coolest thing about gratitude via Elephant Journal.
The power of gratitude via Elephant Journal.
Namaste, lovely yogis!
I connected with Sara on Instagram, where she sells beautiful and unique electroformed jewelry and healing crystals. I was struck by her honesty and her love for crafting beautiful art. There were a few challenging moments recently when Sara was faced with the decision of whether or not to keep her shop open, and she also had to deal with a copyright issue where a follower of her was posting her photographs without crediting them.
Along with her other 13,000 followers, I watched Sara handle these situations with grace and determination -- and we all cheered when we saw that she was going to be keeping the shop open, and that the photo issue was resolved.
Sara is a lovely and inspiring example of what it means to be badass -- to pursue your dreams fearlessly, to stick up for yourself, and to share your truth. I'm grateful for her and for what she's doing!
What do you do for yourself to rejuvenate?
Who has inspired you or encouraged you lately?
What advice would you give to someone who's having a crappy day or needs to feel badass in this moment?
How do you plan to continue your baddass-ery? ;)
Wake up - Be a Badass - Rinse - Repeat
These are great questions to consider during meditation, to talk about with friends, and to write about in your journal (especially at Thanksgiving time, but really anytime is great for gratitude!).
Gratitude Journal Questions:
What about your home are you grateful for? What spaces do you feel most comfortable in?
What makes you grateful for your community? Who supports you? How do they help you feel supported? How do you contribute to this community?
What aspects of your Self are you grateful for? Are there ways you can thank yourself more often for all you do, instead of judging when your actions aren't "enough?"
What times in your life have you felt most grateful? Why is this?
What activities do you do to cultivate gratitude? Can you think of three ways to incorporate these into your routine this week?
2. Practice yoga, meditate, and chant mantras. These practices help me find a state of peaceful quiet and draw my awareness inside. The yoga poses help my physical body stay healthy, the meditation helps clear my mind, and the singing allows me to remember the power of my own voice.
- hosting a free kirtan workshop
- supporting a friend and fellow yoga teacher with her kids wellness program at a local elementary school
- cooking new recipes and trying more vegan and vegetarian meal options
- watching Awake, a documentary about Paramahansa Yogananda, and participating in the holiday season gratitude challenge (details below)
Are you willing to risk falling?
What parts of your ego are you willing to surrender?
This practice of Yoga is not always pretty; in my experience, it is messy, embarrassing, risky, and humbling.
Yoga is not simply being able to say, 'I can hold the pose effortlessly'... it is also being able to say, 'This pose took years, but I kept trying,' or, 'I'm terrified, but I'm doing this anyway.' Or even, 'This pose may never happen in my body, but I'm not letting myself be defined by that.'
Yoga is a daring act of staring fear down and not letting it win.
Yoga is the willingness to love yourself even when you fail miserably.
Yoga happens when you are facing a situation that feels impossible, something you can't imagine surviving -- like the loss of a loved one, a divorce, an injury that changes your life, an unplanned pregnancy, a fire that consumes your house.
Even though everything is messed up and you're making mistakes and crying alone in the bathroom at night, you're willing to feel everything that is happening. You're willing to stay present, and you even manage to love yourself in the small moments when you feel more alive than you have in years.
It is in these moments -- when your feet are covered in dirt and the ground is slipping out beneath you-- that you're truly in your practice. Not the easy, comfortable, flat wooden floors at the yoga studio. The part when you're barefoot in the cold. The part where you step on a piece of glass and have to call out because it hurts so much.
The part when you fall, and somehow, you get back up.
All this... all your willingness to keep going, to try again, to stay true to who you are... this is Yoga.