5 Ways to Get Grounded for the Fall Season

Hi loves! How is autumn going so far for you?

If you're looking for some simple ways to get grounded for this new season, here are a few ideas. Cheers to cozy sweaters, warm foods, and relaxing routines to help you feel rejuvenated!

5 Ways to Get Grounded for the Fall Season

1. Walk in nature. Notice the colors, smells, and sights around you.

2. Massage your feet with warming essential oils, or use a diffuser in your home. Here’s a great post from Hello Glow with ideas about essential oil blends for fall. Some oils to try:

  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Patchouli
  • Rosemary

3. Eat seasonally. Make a dish with pumpkin, apple, or squash. Create a hearty, delicious soup. Energize your food with positivity and love as you sit down to eat.

I highly recommend this Ayurvedic cookbook for ideas on how to eat seasonally: The Everyday Ayurveda Cookbook: A Seasonal Guide to Eating and Living Well. This weekend I made the pumpkin dal recipe and it is delicious! ;)

4. Try a sauna or spa.

5. Meditate and write in your journal. Create space to process the transition to this new season, and allow yourself to express your inner thoughts and feelings. Fall is a great time of year to slow down, reflect, and incorporate more rest into your daily routine.

Much love!

Namaste.

Photos of me by Brynna Bryant of Respiro Photography.

A Big 'Ol Hug


What I wouldn't give to wrap you up in my arms and squeeze you tight.

I can still picture the smell of your shirt as I nuzzle into you,


and that feeling of how the world stops,

and I'm just alive and here with you,


breathing, smiling,

being

in love. 


PS Hugs on hugs on hugs. Namaste.

Photos in this post via Pinterest by Storyboard Wedding (1), via Victoria Bilsborough on Pinterest (2), via Ohsomoco on Pinterest (3), and by Matty Collett (4).

Hugs


Sometimes there is fear or doubt, and this leads to a sense of lacking.

A feeling of emptiness.


Sometimes there is miscommunication, or lack of it, and this can lead to frustration.

Resentment.


When you are able to open, and allow love in, and express it clearly and fully, the love blossoms.

It grows. It gets shared.

Take a moment today to say 'I love you,' to show you care.

Give someone a hug. Each time you do this, it matters.

Photos in this post found via Pinterest, by Loren & Chris Photography on Storyboard Wedding (1), Hannah Nicole (2), and Like an Old Story on Tumblr (3).

Opening the Hips


In the yoga class I took yesterday, the teacher said something that stuck with me.


We were working on opening the hips and she said, "Take it slow. These are some of the biggest muscles in the body. Getting them to open takes time."


Such a great reminder, don't you think?

When we are working on something big -- something that's vital to the very core of our being -- we must take it slow. Whether that's the muscles of the area around the hips and pelvis, or it's the work that we're doing in our lives, the impact we're making. When we remember to take it slow, we find the opening we need.

Photos in this post by Justin Kral.

Love is In the Air (Plus, a Yogi Surprise February Box Review)

Photo by Tom Huynh.

Hi, yogis! Hope you had a lovely Valentine's Day weekend.

Mine felt like a little stay-cation... it was so nice to rest and relax, get in the spa, go for a sushi date, enjoy heartfelt conversations and long hugs, and take a few yoga classes.

What did you do to celebrate? I hope you included some celebration of YOU and that you took some time to cultivate self-love! Whether or not you're in a partnership, it's so important to love yourself.

Photo by Tom Huynh.

I've also been enjoying my February Yogi Surprise subscription box. When that beautiful little purple box arrives each month, I'm reminded to take some time for myself to rejuvenate.

This month's card inside read:

"When we're loving ourselves, we're loving the life that's right here; caring for the patterns and emotions that emerge moment to moment. Let your intention to be to hold yourself with an unconditional and accepting presence. It is through this open acceptance that unconditional love flows."

Couldn't have said it better!

Photo by Tom Huynh.

My three favorite items from the February box:

1. The Dive-In Deck. These awesome cards are meant to inspire inner dialogue, so I've been using them as journal prompts. These sparked my interest: 
- "Whose radiant inner beauty inspires you?" 
- "What adventure would you embark upon if there were no limitations?" 
- "How does mindfulness create a sacred experience out of the seemingly mundane?"

Graphic from @diveindeck on Instagram.

2. Joshua Tree Skin Care Healing Salve. This stuff is amazing. I put it on my feet right before bed and it leaves my skin feeling nourished and soft after a long day of being on my feet.

Photo via Joshua Tree Skin Care.

Photo via Emmy's Organics.

Keep loving yourself! XO

Three Ways to Let Go of Stress

Photos via Death to Stock Photography.

Are you stressed? I don't know about you, but December has certainly been bringing plenty of challenges my way. There have been a lot of opportunities to put my yoga practice to the test. 

Do I choose to take a deep breath, or do I start to freak out?


In case you're having an overwhelming month too, I wanted to offer three simple ideas for how to relieve stress and feel more grounded and empowered.

Three Simple Ways to Relieve Stress

1. Take five deep breaths. Give yourself permission to stop what you're doing and focus your attention on your lung power. Draw breath in through your nostrils all the way down into your belly. Feel expansion as you inhale, and release as you exhale. Do these deep breaths at least five times. Not just one breath, but five. ;)

2. Make yourself a cup of tea and drink it slowly. What tastes and smells do you find comforting? Look for a tea with ingredients in it that immediately give you a sense of calm. My new favorite is a lavender, nutmeg and rose tea from Buddha Teas. As soon as I smell it, I feel a little less crazy. And by the time I've finished drinking a cup that has a little bit of honey stirred in, I'm in a much better place.

3. Talk to a friend who you're comfortable crying in front of. Ask for a hug. Open up about what's really going on. Try not to hold anything back. Spend some time with that person who you know will love you no matter what, whether you need an ugly cry or just to vent about your day.


What has been helping you release stress during this holiday season?

Namaste. XO

Finding Yourself After a Breakup

 Photos via Pinterest.
To say that breakups are hard is an understatement. Today on the blog I want to offer a glimpse into a great book for anyone going through a difficult break-up or divorce.

In The New Single, author Tamsen Fadal explores the process of falling back in love with yourself after the end of a serious relationship. Her story is powerful and is relevant to anyone, whether or not you're experiencing heartache. Even if you're just hoping to improve your awareness of yourself and your emotions, and you want to love yourself more, this is a great read.


Here are a few excerpts that I loved...

Learn to Love the Sound of "I"
Sounds easy enough, right? Focus on yourself. The truth is, for me, it was extremely difficult. Having to spend time with my own thoughts? Having to spend time facing the truth? I was a forty-something divorcee with no children, renting an apartment, saddled with my former husband's debt and a very public divorce. The hardest thing for me to do at that moment was to be honest with myself about who I was... I was frustrated that I was starting over again and that I was alone. So, I had to take life one minute, one hour, one day at a time to be able to get real with myself.

Self Talk
Over time, I realized that my self-talk was self-destructive. It was filled with excuses and denial, both ways to protect myself from the truth. I decided to take control of my negative self-talk by composing a list of the things I should be saying...

  • You are living your life
  • You can't fix people
  • Decide what you want
  • Go after it. 100 percent.
  • Stop seeking advice from everyone.
  • Remember that before you love yourself, you must like yourself. It is essential, just like it is when it comes to finding a relationship.

What I loved most about checking out this book is that it is a reminder to all of us that we must love ourselves unconditionally if we want to be happy when in relationships.

PS: Further reading:
You were made to be real, not perfect.
Remember to breathe.

The Art of Conversation: Detaching from Our Smartphones

All photos by Babycakes Romero for his Death of a Conversation project, found via Mashable.

How often do we truly connect with each other?

I'll be the first to admit it: I'm attached to my smartphone. I check it often, constantly swiping the screen to see what messages have arrived and what notifications have been updated. Constantly engaging in a variety of conversations and little moments of connection.

All digital interactions: texts, emails, Facebook posts, Instagram photos.

And all distractions from what I'm doing in the present moment.



Granted, digital technology does allow me some authentic connection. I have friends who live far away who I talk to throughout the day, and without my phone, these conversations wouldn't be possible. 

I use social media to promote my blog, to advertise for my yoga studio, and to invite friends and friends of friends to come to my classes. I contribute positive encouragement to others using my phone. But a lot of the time, what's viewable online isn't really the whole picture of how I'm doing, or what's really going on.

And on days when I spend a lot of time glued to the screen, I find myself feeling frazzled, distracted, and pulled in a million directions. Often I feel really disconnected, both from myself and others.


Recently I read Hamlet's Blackberry: Building a Good Life in the Digital Age, which challenges the idea that the more we connect through technology, the better. 

He talks about how when you're using your phone, it can feel like standing in a crowded room full of people. Every time a message comes through, or there's a ping from an app, it's like someone is tapping you on the shoulder.

Tap. Tap. Tap, tap.

All these little taps... eventually, you can be left feeling pretty depleted.


He also asks a really powerful question: Where's the rest of my life?

Meaning, when you take away the screens, what's left?

It's heartbreaking in a way. Especially when you really stop and look around at other people who, instead of connecting with each other, are staring into a phone or computer, even when they're right next to each other! (These photos are a powerful look at that, don't you think? Plus it's just amazing how bad our posture becomes when we're slumped forward, staring at a phone!)


I do believe there is a happy middle ground, though, and that with balance we can enjoy technology and still have rich, meaningful relationships. The two are connected, but making an effort to separate them makes a huge difference -- to say, I'm going to sit with this real person and put my phone away. I'm going to show up.

My goal right now is to invite more awareness around my phone usage, and to cut back incrementally.

This week I moved two of my most-used apps off of the home screen... so now, instead of only needing one click to open Facebook or Instagram, I have to swipe over a few screens to a desktop that only has those two on it. 

It at least makes the action one that's more conscious rather than automatic, and now there is a moment where I can ask myself, "Why am I checking this right now? What am I really looking to find?"

And also, "Is there a better way I could be spending my time right now?"


I'm also building times into my week when I'll step away from my phone altogether.

For a while now, Saturday afternoons have been phone free for me. I love that when I'm teaching yoga or taking class, my phone is on silent and I'm not checking it.

No distractions. Full awareness of the moment. Full awareness of my breath.

I'm encouraging my students, too. At the end of class, I'll say, "I invite you to take a break from your phone for the rest of your day, or at least for a few hours this evening. Let your practice really sink in, fully."


What about you? What do you think of our modern dilemma with the attachment to smartphones? 

What steps do you take to disconnect from your screen, and reconnect with your Self?

I'd love to hear!

PS More on detaching from smartphones...

A hilarious quiz for determining how addicted to your phone you really are.

An article about the artist behind these fascinating photos of people glued to their phones.

An 'intervention' app that temporarily turns your smart phone into a 'dumb' phone :) Genius!

An honest reflection from a woman who says her obsession with her phone is threatening her relationships.

Leverage Your Life (A Guest Post by Sponsored Yogi Justin)

Photos courtesy of Justin.

Am I living up to my highest potential?

This is a great question for spring time, when the earth itself shows signs of renewal, vital energy, and awakening. 

Every day is a new opportunity to invigorate your life, and notice what opportunities surround you. Today I have an inspiring post from sponsored yogi Justin on ways to fulfill your potential by leveraging the tools you have, including a yoga practice.


Leverage, or the use of something to its maximum advantage, has been coming up in my life recently.  

The concept first came up when I took a workshop on Thai Massage recently. If you aren't familiar with that form of massage... picture you and your massage therapist getting into all sorts of pretzel like contortions and at the end of the hour you will feel exactly like a Bavarian Pretzel: soft and yummy. 

What I learned in the workshop was that the various stretches are not used to induce a sense of intimate awkwardness, but to always leverage body weight. Body weight, not body strength, is used to massage the muscles to maximum effect with minimal effort. 

After 25 minutes of tossing my partner Molly around and giving her an amazing massage with a group of 50+ people surround us, she asked, "Wow, aren't you tired?" The honest answer was, "No." I wasn't tired because I leveraged my body weight and my muscles didn't have to do much except get a nice stretch. 


This past week I took a five day coaching course so that I could improve my career and my relationships. One of the surprising things I learned was that if I wanted to easily improve in those areas of my life I needed to work on my communication skills. 

Communication skills are leverage for improvement in other areas of my life. If I focus solely on career and relationships it will require a lot of effort. I'm effectively performing a Swedish massage on my life...things will improve, but it will be exhausting. 

What does this have to do with Yoga? Why am I posting this on a yoga blog, other than because I took the Workshop at a yoga studio? 


Well...What is yoga? It's a practice where I have to communicate with myself. 

I need to listen to my body, understand it, and sometimes ask it to do things it doesn't want to do. If I can't do that with myself, how well am I going to do that with a friend, a partner, a sibling, coworker, or boss? Probably not very well. 

If I take a more intensive yoga workshop or do 1 on 1 instruction then I WILL be asked to do something I either don't want to or physically can't perform and I be forced to communicate that to the instructor or I'll be communicating with a doctor or therapist. Either way I'm communicating with other! 

Yoga is not just yoga; yoga is leverage for your life.


This is so true! Thanks, Justin, for your wise words. Hope you yogis are making time to leverage your lives and spend some time on your mats this week!