YouYoga

YOGA THAT LETS YOU BE YOU

Learning To Enjoy The Journey August 31, 2011

I struggle from time, time with the desire for everything to be “perfect”.  I try to tell myself that I’m not a control freak.  And, I’m not when it comes to other people’s surrounding. However, the truth is I really am when it comes to my surroundings, and my personal life.  Last week my husband called with an unplanned invite to go to Colorado for the weekend.  I was thrilled.  I love Colorado, and all summer long everyone that I encountered seemed to be going to, or coming from this land of  inspirational beauty and calm.  I almost felt like it was my duty to go.  Afterall, the pose of the month was Mountain Pose! 

So, for once in my life without pause I said yes, and it felt right.  We were going to Colorado with a close family friend that was looking to purchase some land in the Spanish Peaks mountain range.  My mother is from Spain, which in my opinion was another sign from the universe that I should head West.  We packed, got food, made arrangements for the dog, gathered the kids, and set off on an unplanned, unscheduled journey to the mountains.

We arrived to our destination Friday evening.  We camped, hiked, explored and enjoyed all that mother nature offered.  We spent time as a family creating memories that might only matter to us, but that makes them even more precious.  It was also meaningful for me to bare witness to our family friend coming one step closer to capturing his dream of owning property in the Rocky Mountains. 

During our journey looking out over the mountains, and into the valleys it became clearer to me that life isn’t truly about striving for perfection.  In fact, I think the need to be perfect serves as a distraction from what life really should be.  It can become a stop gate that floods with excuses, after excuses trying to help explain why something didn’t get done, or why another opportunity may have slipped away. 

On the other hand, having a plan for life provides more opportunities for personal growth, personal experiences, and personal gains.  Bottom line, one doesn’t reach the mountain peak by worrying about new hiking boots that got dirty.  One reaches the peak by having a plan to kick off the mud step by step along the way.  They’re also willing to stay committed to the climb no matter the obstacles, or the challenges.  I guess it could be summed up by saying it’s all about the journey, and not the destination.

Our journey was short, but wonderful. I also gained a new perspective that it’s more important to have a working plan, rather than making sure the plan is perfect before putting it to work.  I hope you join me in working your plans along your journey….while leaving the drag-shoot known as “perfection” in the dirt!

 

Tadasana: Mountain Pose 3 August 23, 2011

As the month of August is winding down to an end I wanted to ask…have you been working your Mountain Pose?  Well, in our home it has caught on and my son, Darius insisted that I share his Tadasana with all of you.  How beautiful and how awesome to see him connecting with self.  As he practiced this asana he quickly discovered that he had to become aware of his actions.  He had to quiet his brain and let his body be the guide.  Lastly, he had to slow down and just breath.  Afterwards he stated; “Man this yoga stuff is hard, but I like it.”

His statement shows that in order to grow we have to find grace in the challenges of our lives.  If we pack up and run every time things get “too hard” we will not discover the strength that lies within us waiting to blossom.  We also have to turn our energy inward to explore the possibilities of self.  In the beginning of his practice, he wanted to simply mimic my actions which is perfectly fine, and natural.  However, the true growth of his Tadasana came when his energy began to turn inward.  By drawing our attention to self we find weakness and strength.  We can also find stiffness and flexibility.  Overtime these elements will find harmony given us  a greater appreciation for self.  In my opinion, this is the best gift of one’s yoga practice.

As we visit Tadasana for the last time this month here are a few tips to help you get the most from this asana.

1. Stand with your feet hip distance a part.  Draw your weight evenly between both feet and legs.  Feel your feet rooted deeply into the earth by keeping the heels firm and the toes extended.  As your balance improves bring your big toes and heels together.

2.  As you ground down in your feet, feel a line of energy from the ankles, to the knees, and the hips.  Begin to draw the leg muscle up and curl your tailbone forward.  As you move the tailbone forward feel the lower back, or lumbar spine lengthen.  Begin to gently draw your belly in, as well as up to support the lower back. 

3.  Let the arms extend along the sides of your body, with palms facing your thighs, and fingers pointing down.  Feel the neck lengthen away from your shoulders.  Continue to draw your shoulders back and down, as if you were going to place your shoulder blades in your back pockets.  Lift your sternum, or your heart center,  and broaden your chest.  Let your breath flow in and out normally.

4. As you stand in your Mountain Pose continue pressing down through the mounds of your toes and heels of the feet.  Feel yourself rooted in the lower body and yet light in your upper body.  Allow the breath to quiet the mind as you seek stillness and strength from within.  Hold the pose for 20-30 seconds.  Each time you practice your asana continue to come with a curiosity, and a willingnees to discover something new that lies within you.

(Reference:  B.K.S. Iyengar YOGA the Path to Holistic Health, p.68-69)

 

Sunday Inspiration 7 August 21, 2011

“The important work of  moving the world forward does not wait to be done by perfect men.”

George Eliot

 

Chuck’s Yummy Egg Surprise August 17, 2011

My husband is not a chef, and he doesn’t cook often, but when he does we’re usually in for a pretty good treat.  We were looking for something to kick up the excitement with our eggs, and I think he went above and beyond the task.  This recipe takes some time to chop veggies, but after all that work is complete it’s pretty simple.  I love simple, especially when it’s tempting to the eyes and belly.

Let’s get to the YUM!  You will need the following ingredients:

3 egg whites

splash of non-fat milk

1/4 of a small red onion chopped

3-4 baby portabella mushrooms chopped

3-4 cherry tomatoes chopped

handful of baby spinach

feta cheese

salt and pepper

red pepper flakes

extra virgin olive oil

cooking spray

1 medium-sized ramekins

***ingredients are for an individual serving***

Drizzle a non-stick skillet with olive oil over medium-high heat.  Cook the onions until they’re translucent.  Then add the chopped mushrooms and let them saute….the will shrink in size and caramelize a bit.  Last, add the chopped tomatoes.  Cook for 1-2 more minutes and set aside.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  If you like a little kick add some red pepper flakes.  A little goes a long way! 

Combine the egg whites and milk, then pour them into a ramekins that has been prepared with cooking spray. The milk with make the eggs fluffy.  Add the cooked veggies to the egg whites.  Place a handful of baby spinach on top of all ingredients.  Place the ramekins into the microwave and cook 1-2 minutes.  Keep an eye on the eggs, so it does not overflow.

Plate onto a dish and sprinkle with feta cheese.  So pretty, and oh so good! Once again have fun in your kitchen and experiment.  Switch the veggies, cheese and spices to see what egg surprise you might come up with.  Also, you could make a large batch and cook in prepared muffin tins in the oven.  Then store them in your fridge for the week to come.  This would allow for a real quick bite to start off any day during the week. Or, add some fresh fruit and have a pleasant brunch for the weekend.

Enjoy!

 

Tadasana: Mountain Pose 2 August 15, 2011

The word tada means “mountain” in sanskrit.  Or in my classes I like to say, “Tada….look I’m standing on both feet!”  Often as we go through our day we shift our weight from side to side, rather than being balanced betweeen the legs, and feet.

Next time your standing in a line, or at your kitchen sink take a moment and notice how your weight is being distributed between your legs, and feet.  You might find you’re sagging in one hip placing more of your weight on that leg.  This can create an imbalance in your posture.  The good news is just by bringing awareness you can begin to shift allowing yourself to feel more balanced, along with feeling more connected.

Mountain Pose is good for all!  If you have issues with your spine, or Parkinson’s disease you can practice this asana with your back against a wall.  Practicing Tadasana will help correct bad posture, as well as straighten the spine.  It counters the degenerative effects of aging on the spine, legs, and feet.  The most exciting benefit in my opinion is that it also tones the buttock muscles…..yeah for yoga! (B.K.S. Iyengar, Yoga the Path to Holistic Health)

So takes this pose of the month and work it.  You don’t need a mat or a class to benefit from this basic asana.  Take the time to seek balance, and you’ll find yourself feeling more connected and grounded…just like the majestic mountains of nature.

(Photo created by www.flicker.com)

 

Sunday Inspiration 6 August 14, 2011

“If you do something good to others, do the good thing also to yourself.”

Dr. Louis Mann

 

 

Yeah For Yoga Apps August 8, 2011

I’ve stated earlier that I’m a paper and pencil loving girl.  I take my notebook with recycled paper with me everywhere jotting down little ideas as they pop up in my mind.  No matter how much I love my spiral bound paper… the reality is we live in a high-tech world that is always evolving with new ideas to keep us clicking and upgrading. 

So, yes even I get excited with technology ever once in a while too.  For example…Yoga Apps…what a great idea!  I love to use them as a resource for myself, classes, and my blog.  Here are a few that you might want to check out for yourself.

Yoga Deck version 1.2.2:  This application shares 70 poses that are broken into categories such a standing, seated, back bends, etc.  Each pose is wonderfully illustrated and named in English, as well as Sanskrit.  If tapped, the Sanskrit words become audible, so that proper pronunciation my be obtained.  There are instructions to perform each pose, along with benefits gained from practicing the pose.  This app is affordable at $2.99.

Yoga Journal iPractice:  This application offers 15 yoga sequences that can be practiced anywhere.   Select practice based on your mood, needs or interest.  Each sequence is accompanied with music, along with instruction from a certified yoga instructor.  Can you say yoga teacher in your pocket?  That’s just what this app offers at the cost of $2.99.  What a bargain!

Yoga MINDBODY:  Truly practice yoga anywhere.  This application helps you find yoga studios/classes no matter where you are in the country.  Yes, it’s a Yoga GPS.  Find out class times, class descriptions and locations of any studio.  I plan on putting this app to use on my next vacation, but it can also be a great resource in your home town to help locate a new studio, or discover new class offerings.  At the cost of FREE there isn’t any reason not to upload it to your phone. 

As I come across new apps that I enjoy I will continue to share them on my blog.  If there are any yoga apps you’re currently loving I would love to hear about them…please feel free to share!

Namaste