Meditation: Some Were Not Made For Stillness…Yet!

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A Photo of a Calming Duck

 

If you have read my blog, you know that I am on a yoga kick this year.  It will happen, but as of this time, I have not missed a day since the beginning of this year, even if it is only 10-15 minutes, I am getting it done.  Though yoga has been a wonderful addition to my day, I have decided to add a little meditation to my rotation.  Why?  Because I live in NYC and need all of the calming I can get—especially riding the subway.

But in all seriousness, the daily commute can be stressful at times.  Sadly, many people do not know how to behave making the ride very uncomfortable.  Also, I am a Type A person and am in desperate need of some calming sessions as I can easily get stressed if I am not careful.  Not good for the psyche. 

So far, I have done pretty well and have been on a two week roll.  I’m pretty proud of myself actually, as sticking by things can be a challenge for me sometimes–especially when it comes to stillness.  I have trained myself to believe that being still and peaceful is a waste of time.  I am the queen of multi-tasking, and being asked to sit quietly and focus on my breath is asking a lot.

The issues I have had so far are not letting my mind wander.  I can’t help it, I have too many thoughts going on in my head at one given time.  I will think I am doing a great job and then I will realize I am thinking of pizza or taking out the garbage.

Another problem I am having is that it puts me to sleep.  I have insomnia so I appreciate it, but it doesn’t help me in the middle of the day.  Yet, at night, it doesn’t work.  Very odd.

So far, I am not sure if I have felt too many positives as of yet.  It does relax me for sure, but I still haven’t felt any major changes.  I think it will take at least 4-6 weeks to really feel anything slightly significant, but patience was never my strong suit.  I think I need to start keeping a journal of thoughts and activities, but again, I am bad at keeping routines as my free spirit doesn’t like to be limited. 

Still, I think this is a worthwhile venture so I will continue on in my journey to a better me!  And of course, I will keep people posted.  This way, I will be held accountable for my progress!

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31 Days of Yoga Challenge Finished!

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My Cat and I Getting Our Yoga On!

 

I have made it through 31 days of yoga and beyond!  Though I definitely feel the benefits, it hasn’t always been easy.  There have been days where I didn’t want to hit the mat and days that I wanted to quit early, but I didn’t.   I stuck by the program I picked and I couldn’t be happier.

I have done yoga before, but took time off from a regular practice so this was just what I needed to get back on track.  This year, I am in the mindset that you only have today, so quit putting this off and get it done.  Regret doesn’t look good on anyone.

Some of the benefits I have noticed:

  • Less anxiety.
  • Better sleep patterns ( I have insomnia).
  • Better breathing.
  • More toned through out my body.
  • More acceptance of myself and others.
  • Better digestion.  Way less bloating which is a huge plus!
  • Fewer “blue” moments.
  • More flexibility.   My flexibility has always been questionable which got in the way of dance in the past.  It has been theorized that I gained muscle too quickly as a child and never gained the flexibility because of this.  What can I say?  I was a hyper child!

It’s amazing what a little yoga practice can do even in the span of only one month.  The benefits are so amazing.  I have been here before, but sticking with things long term have always been a struggle for me, which brings me to my cons:

  • Doing yoga daily is no easy feat for someone like myself.   I really am not great at sticking with things which in many ways can be a downfall as you can imagine.  This was a real struggle at times.  Especially when going out on the weeknights.  There were times that I came home to honor the practice, but it was not the best circumstances.  I like to get my drink on here and there.
  • Also, some days you just aren’t feeling it making the practice counterproductive.  This happened a few times.  I would come home tired from the day only to find that I had one more thing I needed to do, making it a chore.  Once I started it, I felt better, but somedays the best therapy is not to do yoga.
  • Pushing things too far.  I am in decent shape, but sometimes, I tend to move quickly into poses as I am a very competitive person, even with myself!  Also, some of my postures were off, especially in my neck causing some strain.  Even though I know I needed to take it easy, I would push it again the next day instead of working on my problems spots or resting my neck.  I am a go getter for sure, but not always in the best way possible!

So where does a girl go from here?  Onto the next month!  I would like to continue my streak though February, but I may ease up a little if needed.  A break here and there would be beneficial and I shouldn’t look at it as a failure if I decide to let a day go.  It’s better than making something I want to succeed at become a burden, but with that being said, I have to make sure I don’t get too conformable and let it go completely.

*In case you were wondering what program I used, it was one that I have watched periodically on YouTube.  The course is called Yoga with Adrienne.   Adrienne, is the type of person I could see myself hanging out with over a few beers on the weekend.  She is very chill, very likeable and very down to earth.

What I like about her yoga sessions are that they are set for all levels.  She really focuses a lot on the self and how you can improve as a whole being—mentally as well as physically.  Because of this, her videos tend to go at a slower pace than some of the others.  Also, she is really great at explaining the best ways for people at various levels to hit postures.   Very positive experience.

For me, I do feel as if her lessons can be a little slow and less challenging for me, but that is my preference and skill level.  Also, there are a lot of postures that occur on the knees, so if you have bad knees, be prepared with extra padding.  I personally am not a fan of these poses as much as others, but again these are personal preferences.  That being said, I would continue with her any day of the week.  She really is an enjoyable presence.

So, here’s to another 28 days!

Things to Be Grateful For: Week 1

Below I have listed the one thing I am grateful for each day of this week.  It’s easy to get bogged down with negativity, but there is always light.  We make choices to see the good, or we don’t.  I am choosing to see the good as much as possible for the New Year.

Sunday, January 1st:  The ability to acknowledge that everyday is the chance for a new start.

Monday, January 2nd:  Holiday are the best.  Nothing like two weeks off for the holiday.

Tuesday, January 3rd:  Returning to work to see a group of co-workers who are sincerely glad to see you.  It’s humbling.

Wednesday, January 4th:  Coffee.  Iced coffee when it is cold outside.

Thursday, January 5th:  It’s great to see my friend who has gone through so much writing again.  She has been to hell and back and she still smiles through that pain and shines on.  Kudos beautiful friend.

Friday, January 6th:  Drinks with a friend I had lost contact with.  Feels great to be remembered even after time passes.  We will need to do this more often.

Saturday, January 7th:  Snow days when you don’t have to go anywhere.  Eat cookies, chai lattes, read books, PlayStation and snuggle cats with the candles lit.  Perfect day.

Snow Day

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NYC was hit by a snow storm today, and though it wasn’t anything major, it did last all day.  I am not a cold weather person.  I never have been.  Even as a child, I would stay indoors when the snow came. I detested the feeling of the cold wind and the feel of the snow in my hands and the chill through my body.  I was a California girl whose family had moved to a colder state in childhood against her will.

Later, I moved to NYC in hopes of attaining a dream, and in some ways, myself.  But the cold weather never agreed with me.  Yet, on days like today, I realize how beautiful the snow can be.  Even in NYC.

Today, I had a list of things I wanted to do so that Sunday could be my day.  But with the snow starting to fall in the early afternoon, I decided to sit in my plush red chair and just stare out the window.  I live in NYC, I’m always part of this crazy scene.  But for once, I decided to be an observer of this crazy city and watched the bundled up people walk by in their winter clothing.

Children played, men helped their female companions across the street, and the elderly hunched with age carefully stepped into the street as the cars slowly went by.  Even though I wasn’t “there,” I really was, and in a way I haven’t been in a long time.  It was beautiful.

So I read in my big, red plushy chair with coffee and a book in hand, gentle music playing in the background–my two cats playing at my feet.  And I realized that always “doing” doesn’t mean living.  In this moment, I was living to its fullest even if others may view it as idle.  And, I didn’t care, I was too lost in my peace.

Then chocolate cookies and chai lattes were made, and I took a deep breath and really lived.  Today was the New Year for me.

Staying Strong with Yoga! Day 6!

 

The year has started out a little crazier than anticipated, making it hard to stick to one’s goals.  I have done yoga every day since January 1st.  I almost skipped it yesterday due to a friend visiting the emergency room, but I came home, took a brief nap and got it done.  I’m sticking to goals this year.

I used to do yoga every day, but due to life circumstances, I had to give up a few things.  I loved how it made me feel physically and mentally.  After a while, it really becomes an integral part of my life.   When I quit, I really missed it, but sometimes life gets in the way.  So this year, I didn’t let life stop my 31 day goal even if I was exhausted.  Got to get it done!

I’m in decent shape body-wise.  I’m thin, but would like to be more toned.   So I will be adding cardio two times a week for the first month or two and possibly move it to three.  I walk a lot, but even with my fast New York clip, it isn’t enough.

Yoga is amazing, but I do want to clarify that it is not enough for weight loss.  It does help if that is what you need and is great for toning.  But for me, the toning is secondary to the mental aspects–it really clears my mind and puts me on the right path in life.

I will say, because I was out of practice, my body was a little sore the first few days; especially in my abs, upper body and neck.  The sore neck made it apparent that I was holding too much tension in that area and I stayed aware for the next few days of my posture and long lines.  Today, the soreness is minimal and I am ready for the next day’s challenge. Also, what was once a chore is now becoming the thing I look most forward to in the day.

Lastly, I have ADHD and my mind wanders.  The first few days I couldn’t wait to finish, but now, I am slowly getting more focused and able to stay on the mat longer without wanting to rush off of it.  I am really beginning to enjoy the mat more and more.

Bring on the yoga!

New Year, New Chance

New Year, new me.

That’s what most would say.  After a rough couple of years, I decided to challenge myself more this year and get back on track to the person I would like to see again.  I invite others to do that as well, because we need to learn how to take care of ourselves positively first using strength to help others.  It goes with the old saying that we must love ourselves before we can love others.

Below are some of my goals.  If I put them on paper and force myself to be responsible, I will succeed.  That is my goal.  I will list all items that I want to work on below.  After the first month, I will reevaluate the ones that are most important to me and give them more focus throughout the year.  The others will still be there, but perhaps move slightly to the back seat.  Also, others may appear as life moves on during the year.  I want o hold myself accountable while I have the first day of the year momentum.

  1. Yoga for the next 31 days. This is hard with a busy life, but it has helped me so much in the past.  I welcome it back
  2. I used to practice hours a day but after a while, I became jaded.  This has to change.
  3. Guitar
  4. Learning the following languages Spanish, Korea, French, Italian and Russian. Specifically in that order.
  5. Clean this apartment and organize it once and for all. I’m tired of the clutter.  30 minutes a day until it is done.
  6. More photos, editing, and classes.
  7. Specifically math.  I am horrid at math.  No more excuses.  I need to get this done.
  8. Say yes to the universe more. Especially to invitations.  Sometimes I say no when I should be saying yes more.  One life.  Go out and enjoy it!
  9. Travel more. Yes, please!
  10. Be more positive. I will take note of a positive item and post this daily list at the beginning of the week.
  11. Read one classic a month. I never read too many and probably should.
  12. Read a positive how to book one a month and learn.
  13. Cardio twice a week. At least 20 minutes.  I walk 10-20 miles a week living in NYC, but I would like to do more high impact.
  14. Write a short story once a week.
  15. Study different topics that interest me in the month. Education is important.
  16. Cook more.
  17. Eat healthier. I do eat well, but I can take it to the next level.
  18. Drink more water. This has always been a big fail!
  19. Love and live!

Seems easy enough!

Have a wonderful New Year and join me on a positive journey!