Friday, February 27, 2015

7 Tips for a Daily Meditation Practice

By now we've all heard the benefits of establishing a daily meditation practice. Among other things, it helps to lower blood pressure, improves sleep and can even rewire the brain.

However, if you're like me, and I'm guessing there are a lot of you out there that are, then finding time to meditate seems like another thing on the list of to-dos. How on earth are you going to fit in ONE MORE THING?

Believe me, I know the feeling.

Yes, I aim to have a consistent daily practice, but gone are the days when my time is my own. Right now baby Noah is my main focus and we mainly operate on his timeline, not mine. It's taking me a while to adjust to this, but the more I give in to his flow, the easier it has become to find my own.

I'm here to tell you that it's possible. You can absolutely find time to meditate each and every day. The first step is to change your perspective on what sitting down to meditate is supposed to look like and do it as it appears to you each day.  

What do I mean? Students often ask how to start a meditation practice. What I find in talking to them is that they get stuck with this fanciful idea of having to have all the right materials, space and availability on their calendars BEFORE they can even sit down to meditate. When I tell them to start with 1-2 minutes a day I get a lot of blank stares.

"You mean I don't need to do this twenty minutes a day?" No, you don't. In fact, if you try that to begin, then you'll probably give up after day three. Establishing a well-rounded meditation practice takes time, patience and practice. 

My advice. Start small and build from there. All you really need is comfortable seat and few minutes to get started. It's that easy.

Here are my top seven tips for establishing a daily meditation practice. 

  1. Start small. Giving yourself small, attainable goals each day will help you stick with it! Start with 1-2 minutes and work your way up to 3-5, then 8-10, and so on. Make it your goal to meet your mark on a weekly basis. 
  2. Keep track. Make yourself accountable and track your progress. Use a journal and write about your experience. I love using the Meditation Insight Timer app for my phone. I use it to keep time, log my activity and see my stats over time. I need this in order to stay motivated. You might not. Find what works for you! 
  3. Find the Right Time. Some people love to meditate in the morning, others love it at night. You have to try it a few different ways in order to find the one that works for you. I love meditating in the afternoon or just before bed, but it took me some trial and error to figure this out. Give it a go and see what time calls to you. 
  4. Get comfortable. There's no use trying to meditate if your back hurts and all you can think about is the throbbing in your knee. Yes, absolutely there are seats of meditation in the yoga practice, but if that's not comfortable for you then how will you stick with it? Try sitting in a chair or with your back against a wall. Use a cushion or pillow to sit on. Just don't get so comfortable that you fall asleep! 
  5. Follow the breath. There are LOTS and LOTS of meditation techniques. The more you practice the more you'll find the one that resonates with you. Keep it simple to begin. Follow the breath in and out through the nose. Whenever the mind wanders, come back to your inhale and exhale. This will help create focus and concentration, which are the first steps towards true meditation. 
  6. Consistency is key. Keep it up and keep consistent. If you miss a day, don't worry about it. Just start again tomorrow. The key is to "start again" and to come back to your practice. Be disciplined in your approach and make it consistent. 
  7. Do it because it needs to be done. Some days you might not want to sit and meditate. You may be too tired or, let's face it, you'd rather NOT sit with your own thoughts for another minute. If you're feeling unmotivated then that's the time you really need it most. Push aside your feelings about not doing your practice and get it done. You'll feel much better once you do, I promise! 
What are your favorite meditation techniques? How do you make time to sit each day? What does your daily practice look like? Share your thoughts in the comments below and let's support one another! 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

It's Back! Free 5 Day Digestive E-Course, March 9-13

I'm re-launching my Yoga for Digestion 5 Day E-Course and I want you to be the first to know. Sign up today to receive a daily tip delievered right to your inbox. I've planned a few goodies too.

What are you waiting for? It's going to be great! Sign up today!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Do Your Best

I don't know what the Sanskrit equivalent to Do Your Best is, but if I did, I'd chant it over and over again. These three words have become my daily mantra as I navigate the ebbs and flows of my current life transition.

Do Your Best. 

How do you Do Your Best? What does that even mean?

For me it comes down to this. I try not to be so hard on myself when things don't turn out perfectly. My best may look sloppy and lackadaisical to you, but it's really the best I can do.

Being the ardent type A over-acheiever that I am, I'll admit that sometimes my best really isn't good enough even for me. Like many of you out there, I'm my own worst critic and my own best cheerleader rolled in to one. It's confusing at times, but I'm doing my best to manage both sides of the coin.

I'm trying to find balance between work, family, and living my life in a way that reflects myself authentically and according to the principles I believe in. Balance was much easier to find when it was just the two of us. Balance with baby a new baby is a whole new thing. Balance while trying to manage work, the baby and a bit of a health scare is a strange new world. But, we're doing our best to figure it out. That means I may not be able to do everything I want to do, but it makes me so much more grateful to be able to get done what I can.

I'm struggling with very intense emotions about the way things used to be versus the way things are now. For example, I desperately miss the time I had set aside for my personal practice, going to classes, workshops, etc. Some days these matters are easier to digest than others, however, when I find myself in an emotional upheaval over missing said events, I tell myself that I'm doing my best, that everything is perfect, and this too shall pass. That may sound cliche, but it makes me feel better about my day. My practice has always been spiritually based, but now it seems to be more important than ever.

This is the focus for me now--quiet the mind the stories it wants to tell by continuing to do my best, day after day. Oh yeah, and take a deep breath once in a while too!

Transitions are tough and sometimes scary, but are also an opportunity for growth. Whether it is the birth of a son or the passing of a loved one, transition territory can leave one sheltering for storm under a pile of cozy blankets and wanting to stay in bed forever. However, I've learned over the years that you can't hide from life. It just keeps coming at you. Better to face it head on and do your best.

Hmm, I wonder, when did doing my best become sub-standard? Seems like my best is exactly what it needs to be.

My best may not look like your best, but I'm more than okay with that. I know some amazing people that make transitions like this seem like a breeze. I think that's amazing and inspiring. I may feel harried and unsure, but I'm doing my best and it's all that I can do.

How do you face transitions? What does it mean to you to "do your best?" Share your thoughts in the comments below and let's support one another!

Monday, January 5, 2015

New Year's Intentions 2015: I am Confident

Rather than a resolution, I prefer to set a new intention every year. Last year my intention was to stop comparing myself to others, and by extension, stop caring so much what other people think about me. If you followed my story at all then you know I was pretty challenged by this intention. Be careful what you put out to the Universe!

When I took a moment to reflect on 2014, I came to see that the root of many of these issues was a lack of confidence on my part. That is why I plan to make this year the year of confidence. Besides, I'll need all the confidence I can scrounge up since I've got Big Visions for 2015.

I am confident. 

Some people are born confident. A people-pleaser to the bone, I really have to work on it. Too many times I've shied away from stepping out of my comfort zone or standing up for myself when the stakes were high all because I lacked the confidence to do so. I've allowed people to take advantage of me and by extension been hurt by more than a few people. The times when have found the confidence to do what I thought was right always come with some stress and discomfort. I created unhealthy coping mechanisms and allowed myself to play small when really I want to play big. Now I'm taking a stand and saying it's time to confidently breathe ME again.

It sounds like an oxymoron right? Here I am blathering to the interwebs about my personal life in no-holds barred way and I'm telling you I have confidence issues? I am perfectly comfortable talking in front of large groups of people and I'm the one that needs a confidence boost? Yes, it's true. While I'm confident enough in some areas of my life, there are many others that need a little pick me up. Now is the time.

By coincidence, I took a yoga class on New Year's day and was randomly given this angel card as my parting gift. I love it when these things happen. I guess my intuition was spot on again.

"Moving forward does not necessarily require you to have confidence in yourself. Confidence in God is enough, along with knowing that God works through you and with you in all ways. Lean upon us if your confidence wavers, and we will buoy your courage and faith."'s a deal.

What are your intentions for the New Year? Please share in the comments below and let's support each other for a happy 2015!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

ISO: Big Vision for 2015

I heard on the radio the other day that Americans are more optimistic than ever that 2015 is going to be a kick ass year. Is that you? It's definitely me and as far I can tell from what my friends and family tell me, they are feeling that way too.
found on Yoganonymous
This time of year is the opportunity to reflect on what is and isn't working in your life and then make a change for the year to come. It's a great time to set goals and intentions and get your visioning skills working. You never know what you might manifest!

So what's my vision for 2015? So, so, so much. Here are a few ideas that I have to help you get started.

1) A partner-in-crime. I've got lots of great ideas and looking for someone to help me narrow my field of vision. There's so much I want to do, now it's just about making it happen. Although a self-proclaimed introvert, I am most creative when I can bounce ideas around and get good group energy going. I'm hoping a partner-in-crime (or a group of like-minded peeps) will help me stay motivated and excited about the work I want to do.

2) Consistency. In whatever I end up doing, I am craving consistency in my day-to-day. I'm open to however this might happen and I'm putting all my good manifesting skills to work to help it come in to place. Taking care of baby Noah is my top priority, but being able to be productive and use all this good creative energy I've got brewing would be nice. Consistency is key!

3) Balance. I could use more balance these days because baby Noah makes sure to keep me on my toes. One way is with my activity level and yoga practice. My body and soul crave a consistent practice, but I'm just not there yet. We're still ironing out some kinks. It will happen (and hopefully soon!). One day at a time...

4) Productive creative energy. Here's where the partner in crime, consistency and balance come in to play. I've got that creative energy, but it's up in the air. It's time to pull it back down to earth and make good use of it all. I'm also ready to play with some new tools I'm learning and see what happens.

5) Travel. This one is for fun. With all the excitement of 2014, I barely made it anywhere last year. I'm hoping this year will be full of fun, travel, new experiences and lots of relaxation. Why not?

What are your goals for 2015? Are you ready to get started on a kick ass new year? Share your ideas in the comments below and let's get this party started!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Inspiration is Reciprocal | Fulfilling a Calling to Serve

Confession: I recently almost walked away from teaching yoga and this blog for good. That was until a few of my students reminded me that what I do matters. And by inspiring them, they inspired me.

If you know me or have been following my blog, then you know this year has been filled with tremendous ups and downs. From the completion of my 500 hour teacher training with Sri Dharma Mittra to the unfortunate circumstances that landed me in the hospital for five days and the long road to recovery that followed, to the early arrival of my son Noah, it's been a wild year. While personally life could not be sweeter, professionally things have been a bit muddled and by the end of this summer I was found my self fed up and ready to walk away from it all.

Preparing for Noah's arrival was a good distraction. I landed a position in an office doing non-yoga related work that I admit, I rather enjoy and plan to continue to do. At that time though, I convinced myself that this was my path now and teaching yoga was a thing of the past. It was a welcome respite giving me time to reflect on myself and my feelings towards yoga practice and the industry as a whole.

I hid from the yoga world, logged off of social media and quarantined myself away from all I had grown to love, including my peers. It was easy to do being pregnant and unable to attend many classes. It's hard to accept where you belong when you cannot accept where you are at. Circumstances from my professional life left me reeling and all I wanted was to get as far away from it as I could. I grappled with fear and told myself "it's time to grow up", "what you do doesn't matter, no one will miss you." I really started to believe the crap I was telling myself.

I knew something was off when I thought I might shut down this blog forever and allow my thoughts to dissolve into the ether. Rather that act on that mind game, I reflected instead, too attached to the time I've put in over the years to hit the delete button right away.

In the weeks following Noah's arrival, I struggled with next steps. Do I teach, stick with my office work or try to do both? I kept telling myself that the practical thing to do was give up teaching for the time being; that it would be too hard to do both. Deep inside my heart was aching to serve once again, however I continued to vacillate.

Then I received an invitation from a few of my students to teach a Dharma class at a new studio. At first I hesitated. Could I really do this? I felt so far from where I'd been that I wasn't sure I had anything to offer anymore. Yet, that breaking, aching voice pushed me forward and I decided to teach the class.

I taught said class this weekend and was more nervous than I'd been in years.The last asana class I taught was months ago. Could I remember everything? Would it come back or would I be caught with a case of stage fright and run out of the room? As Sri Dharma reminds us from the Bhagavad Gita, "release any expectations from the fruit of your actions and make every action an offering." So...that is exactly what I did. That class became an offering in the highest sense.Not only to my students to but to my dharma and my purpose to serve. Although rusty, the class went well and I was happy to be in the seat of the teacher again.

I am so grateful to my students for believing in me when I had all but given up on myself. When I saw them, they both kept telling me how grateful they were for me helping them on their path, as both are now doing the work they feel called to do. Although I can't say I had a major part in this, I am grateful to have been a support for them. And now, even though they don't realize it, I am grateful to them in that same way that they gave me the space to show up and connect with my purpose once again. We truly are all mirrors of each other.

I was ready to walk away, but now I am inspired to stay the course. Inspiration comes full circle.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I Really Love My...Baby B'Gosh Surprise!

This post will not directly touch on yoga, but I will say that I'm always amazed at the abundance and surprises the Universe has in store.

If you keep on my blog, then you know that Baby Carr, now formally named Noah, arrived early at the beginning of October. It took a while to put the words together, but I finally did and shared our journey in this post.

Following the tweet of the post, I was contacted by Osh Kosh B'Gosh to congratulate me on the arrival of baby Noah. They also asked if they could send me a sweet #BabyBGosh surprise. Being new to the mama game, I'm still learning all the baby brands, but I vividly recall Osh Kosh B'Gosh from my own childhood and was excited to see what a #BabyBGosh surprise entailed.

Oh my gosh, a #BabyBGosh surprise indeed! I was expecting a something simple, like a t-shirt, but never imagined so much cuteness to show up on our doorstep. I'll definitely have to check out the Osh Kosh B'Gosh store near us to keep up the cuteness quotient. Dad and I agree this kid is already more stylish than we'll every be!

A perfectly packaged surprise

I'm in love with these baby suspenders.

Baby Suspenders, oh my!

Baby pea coat and overalls. Yes please!

Cute overalls

Stylish pea coat

And just in time for the holidays....

Grandma's Christmas Cutie

I can't wait to deck Noah out in all these cute outfits. All of the fabrics are soft and durable. He'll definitely be ready for his close up this holiday season. Thank you so much Osh Kosh B'Gosh for your generous  #BabyBGosh surprise. We truly appreciate it!