Posts tagged ‘practice’

2016, June 3

Bedtime Yoga!

I know at the time this blog post goes live it’s currently morning where most of my readers reside and the word “bedtime” in the title is funny to read, but I really wanted to talk to you about Yoga today. And about Bedtime Yoga!

After an awesome afternoon spent with my friend Stephany, lots of laughs and her little nudge “Have you tried Yoga? Knowing you, I think you’d love it!”, I bought myself a Yoga mat and the next day went online trying to find a Yoga class. I figured I’d go to class once a week, and do it at home, too, when I had the time to.
Unfortunately there are literally only four places in my city which have Yoga classes (two of which I suspect have actually closed and haven’t updated their website), and none at the gym near where I live.
Good thing I had the mat already, so, I started looking around on Youtube instead. I kept finding videos like yoga for weight loss, total body yoga, power yoga and anywhere from 10 to 45 minute yoga sessions. But which one to choose?

Since I’ve never even tried it before, I was happy to find the Yoga with Adriene channel with so many great playlists for everyone’s different needs. There are also two 30-Day Yoga Challenge playlists with sessions of different lengths, and something new or different for every day. I think that is awesome for someone just starting out!
This is the playlist I started with. I didn’t get bored of the pose sequences, as opposed to if they were the same every day, and even though before doing it myself I thought of Yoga as something which looked oh-so-simple, I realized it’s actually harder than it looks. I can feel every single muscle get the workout!

It has been a blast! After the first two days, I even woke up early to do Yoga before getting ready/leaving for work when I knew I’d get home too late in the evening. When I get home early enough, I do Yoga then and maybe include Bedtime Yoga into the mix. Or, if I know I’m not able to do Yoga every day, I compensate with two consecutive sessions every other day.

I really love the Bedtime Yoga! If all else fails and I only end up doing this, I still consider it a great day, because I did show up on the mat, I did take that 20 minutes just for myself. To unwind, and let go of the day and any stress or anxiety I might be feeling. It has slowly become one of my favorite moments of the day, something I truly look forward to.

I noticed that my back doesn’t hurt as much as it did before starting Yoga, I am slowly becoming more bendy, and I started breathing deeper.
That was definitely one of the challenges – breathing. It’s funny how for the duration of the 30-day challenge, every time Adriene said her little reminder to breathe, I realized I was holding my breath… and I’m not even sure why I did that.
unnamedThe other challenge? Corpse Pose. It’s such a challenge to quiet my mind and just relax (and I know I’m not alone, friends of mine have also said this numerous times). But I do love Adriene’s approach to this. She advises to allow ourselves to acknowledge what we feel then release everything, choose to let go of the stress, of the tension, and to connect to a sensation of peace from within. I think that if we allow ourselves to feel what/how we feel, and let the emotions run though us/past us, by the time we are done with Corpse Pose we might just notice that we’ve let go of all that anxiety and unnecessary feelings, and it won’t build up, evolve and amplify into something worse.
It feels so good when I manage to achieve it all!

Are you a Yoga practitioner? What are your favorite moments of Yoga? Any advice for a beginner like myself? Or have you tried it and it didn’t work for you? What do you do instead, to clear your mind and include some kind of exercise into your days?

2016, January 12

The Flos

I’ve admired Judy Clement Wall’s ability to doodle for as long as she’s been at it. Her art is beautiful, and ever since I saw her first creation, I wanted to try doodling.
Yet somehow, I almost always put it off. Sometimes I doodled, but not nearly as often as I would’ve liked to. And when I did, I was never happy with the output. My self-portrait from last week for example, looks nothing like me…

Last week, I saw an e-book on Amazon that looked interesting, so I added it to my shelf and started reading immediately. It’s called “DOODLE ART HANDBOOK: The Non-Artist’s Guide in Creative Drawing”, and even though I’m only 20% done with it, I like it.
I like that it inspired me to print out some coloring pages, and color again. (Like when I first printed out and colored some of j’s coloring pages.) I also printed out some doodle-art pocket calendars to color.
And I like that this book inspired me to actually start doodling myself.

It’s hard for me to let go and just doodle. I think that is because I like structure, rules and on any given day I am stressed (usually for time).
But after I washed my hair this week and while waiting for it to dry, I turned off my laptop, made a cup of tea, put my phone on silent, opened the book to read the instructions and started doodling. I tried to quiet my conscious mind. I doodled. And I did so in a really pretty notebook my friend Janel sent me like 5 or so years ago and which I kept putting off using in the hopes of someday getting into drawing.

doodling notebook

The first doodle I tried is the Flos, and find that it’s a simple creation which looks really wonderful when complete. It was fun following the pattern that I started, and had a rush of creativity as the blank page slowly filled in.
Halfway through the page, I switched to larger lines of the same pattern. It felt bold!
Once I finished the doodle, I went over it again and added further details which now make it look so much more complicated than it truly was to draw.
Below is my doodle, in case you were wondering. Next up? Petals! ;)

the flos

I am happy with my doodle, and less stressed. It’s as close as I could get to meditating. I like it.

2015, October 20

Doodle… or do as I did and color ;)

Last week in the year of loving ourselves fearlessly the assignment was to Doodle.
I don’t doodle too often, especially since I started working on a laptop every day which drives my pen and paper usage somewhat lower than before.

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, j has some lovely coloring pages up on her website which one can print out and have fun with. (And in case you haven’t bought her “Art Out Loud” coloring book, you can do so either as a physical book, or as an instant download!)

I’ve printed out a few of j’s coloring pages last week at work and brought them home with me to color one evening. To my surprise, when my mom saw them, she immediately requested three! I’m glad she did though, and can’t wait to see them finished.

Below is the page I colored. I just love the little message to the right there, and that I used all of my colors! I never used to do that when I was a kid… I’d have “phases of colors” and stick to just a few. It was so much fun to color though, I think it should become a practice of mine…

Coloring page by Judy Clement Wall

Coloring page by Judy Clement Wall

The assignment for Week 42 is to Indulge Yourself.
“You define it. What is pure indulgence for you? This week, do that.”

How was your week? Did you doodle? Every day, or just a couple of times a week? Or did you color a coloring page instead? I’d love to see your creations if you’ve posted somewhere like Twitter, FB or Instagram. Leave me a link in the comments section below!

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop.

2015, October 13

Start a new practice

The assignment for last week in the year of loving ourselves fearlessly was to start a new practice. To be truthful, try as I might, I simply couldn’t keep with starting one. Life has become much more complicated overnight, and it’ll be a couple of weeks before things get back to normal around here.
As silly as it might sound, at the moment I can’t bring myself to start something new. I need to feel less scattered before giving this a go.

It’s okay to be afraid sometimes. To be anxious. I have trouble believing that I have what I need to be okay. But the truth is that we all do—somehow, someway, we always do. I don’t always reach the realization that I do have the means to weather any storm. That I am stronger than I give myself credit for.

Two things I did do, on Sunday night (which was the tenth day that I felt rushed and stressed out, and quite depressed by Sunday afternoon, truth be told), was to go for a short walk with my boyfriend in a park we’ve never been to, and after getting home I declared: “while you’re watching the game, and mom’s watching TV, I’m taking a shower and reading in bed for two hours!”
If I didn’t have my book with me I would’ve been happy with just sitting and looking at the walls. I needed a bit of time to clear my mind.
That was it. That was all I needed. Two hours to myself in a quiet, cozy space. No interruptions. I felt so much more relaxed by the time my reading hours were up!

The assignment for Week 41 is to Doodle.
j explains that “doodling isn’t the same as drawing. It’s a game in which there is no object, an art form with no rules, which makes doing it badly or wrong impossible. The dictionary defines a doodle as “idle scribbling.” Seriously. What could be more harmless (and wonderful) than that? Doodles are like little wordless poems or sparkling fragments of dreams.”
I completely agree with this. And, I seriously need to do this in the following week. It’ll help ground me, I’m sure, while doodling something cute.
In case you’re still shaking your head “No!” at the thought of doodling something yourself, j has some lovely coloring pages up on her website which you could print out for yourself and have fun with. Who knows, you might like them and want her “Art Out Loud” coloring book, either as a physical book, or as an instant download!

How was your week? Did you start a new practice? What did you start? Was it easy to keep with it, or did you struggle? Will you keep this practice, or did it turn out to not be as fun/essential/useful as you first thought?

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop.

2015, April 27

Practice Hugging Daily

Last week, I very conveniently got a cold, so for the first few days I spared strangers of making them sick, too. I can’t necessarily say that I feel bad about it, hugging total strangers feels weird to me; especially since I’m someone who doesn’t really like kissing people or shaking hands either.

That all came crashing down when we found out a friend had died. Every day we met up with friends to organize our trip to the funeral, talked with his family to see what we could help with, hugged and cried together…

By today, I lost count of how many people I’ve hugged. But every single hug I gave this week was full of meaning. They were the expression of all the millions of things I wanted to say and couldn’t find the words to.
I am still short of words in expressing everything I feel at the moment about our friend’s death, so I’ll end talking about my week here.

The assignment for week 17 is to Take a Daily Walk. I will definitely do this every day this week, probably during my lunch break most often. It is a good idea to stop and clear my head for about an hour anyways, right? I’ll definitely need the alone time.

How was your week? Did you hug people? Strangers, or only people you know personally? Was it something which came to you naturally, or do you usually feel weird about and avoid hugging?

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop.

2015, March 24

Celebrating my body, in London

Last week in the year of loving ourselves fearlessly the assignment was to Celebrate our Body, and, well I can say that my week of body celebration went sort of okay.

The thing is I traveled to London for training. And, every time something about my body behaved as you know, a body part and not this all-knowing, always best-behaving thing, I thought criticizing thoughts.

In her e-mail to us self-love warriors, j shared her trick to refocus her thoughts when her thoughts were relentlessly mean. She immediately thought a good thought when her mind was in a dark place so to speak. When I read that, I recognized doing somewhat the same thing myself this past week.

London Eye

I thought about how my hair was misbehaving, how my feet and head hurt, how sleepy I was. And, looking back, I did try to counteract it by telling myself “You’re in London. You may complain about being tired and your feet hurting and everything else when you get home.”
I should’ve probably phrased that better and focused on how my hair is a gorgeous color and it was clean and shiny and stayed that way for the duration of my stay so I didn’t need to wash it and lose two hours out of my time on that alone. I should’ve phrased it differently and thought about how my feet did get me there and of how lucky I was to be able to visit London every evening after finishing up at work and walking a LOT (from London Eye to the Clock Tower, to Tower Bridge, to Westminster Abbey and all the way to Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross.)

On the other hand, it was a good thing that my days were packed with work and visiting, and so, I didn’t have too much time to think of all of the things I dislike about my body (as I unfortunately do nearly all the time here at home).

Also, I rewarded myself/my body with yummy food like delicious Avocado BLT, Chicken Avocado and Wild Crayfish sandwiches, with Indian Curry, fishcakes and chips, with Pomegranate Raspberry tea, hot chocolate and Full On Fudge Brownies Milkshake.
It was the first week in a while (okay, probably since high school) when I woke up earlier than normally and had breakfast every morning instead of just a latte before leaving for work, and thus I had three meals a day instead of just lunch and dinner.

I also walked a lot, and even though it wiped me out by the end of the week, I really enjoyed it, and decided I want to go to the gym at least once a week after getting back home. I do have a complementary gym membership from the company, so I’d be crazy not to use it.
I think that is a good start to feel better about myself and my body, overall.

The assignment for week 12 is to Solicit Love Mantras.
Here’s what it says in the 52-52 e-guide

Imagine if your friend said to you, “I’m collecting love mantras from people who know just how flawed I am and love me anyway. I’m going to read these mantras to myself whenever I’m feeling insignificant and unsure. They’ll remind me not to get caught up in the voice that says I’m not good (smart, big, savvy, talented) enough. They’ll remind me to embrace my naturally badass ways. They’ll remind me that no matter how alone I feel… I’m not.”

What would you do? Write a kickass, take-no-prisoners mantra for your friend, right?

This week, go out and ask the people who love you most to write you a love mantra. (You can write them one too; they’re fun to write.)

How was your week? Did you celebrate your body? Or more importantly, do you need reminders to do so, or does it come naturally to you?

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop.

2015, March 16

Practicing pleasure

“Practicing pleasure isn’t just about doing what you love, it’s about surrendering to it. It’s about doing what you do – creating, reading, hiking, writing, dancing, singing, gardening, running, knitting, cooking, making friends, making art, making love – with everything you’ve got, savoring the experience, letting delight rearrange your insides.”
~ Judy Clement Wall, the 52-52-Love-Your-Wild-Self e-guide

The assignment for this past week of the year of loving ourselves fearlessly, was to Practice Pleasure.
It was interesting. And I say that, because I noticed (or, re-noticed, actually) that our minds have a funny way of working overtime when we’re trying to focus on just one thing.

I have a trip to London lined up, which I leave for this afternoon. The new firm I work at is sending me there for a few days of training. I’m sooo excited!
So as you can imagine, on the one hand, I tried to keep my mind focused on what ever I was doing at the moment, and on the other, thoughts of “Do I have everything I’ll need? Should I take my winter coat or just a jacket? Which book will I pack into my carry-on for reading during the flight?” kept flooding my mind.

What I tried this week, with all the travel information pushing its way past all other thoughts, was writing them down or otherwise getting them off my mental to-do list. When I remembered I’ll need to take an outlet adaptor with me, I asked if there were any spare ones at the firm. When buying tooth paste for the trip came into my mind, I wrote it on my Google Keep groceries list. After I packed my bags on Saturday and then remembered stuff I hadn’t added, I immediately added them to the contents of my bag.
This way I was able to concentrate better on everything else I was doing at the moment these thoughts have risen, and got back to them quickly enough.

I really look forward to next week, when I’ll keep practicing pleasure. I will learn, probably a lot, I will have afternoons and evenings off to walk around London, do some sight-seeing and meet up with a friend of mine and her boyfriend who live there. I will do my best to be fully present in each and every moment, to surrender and experience all the newness around me with everything I’ve got!

And now, onto next week. The assignment for week 11 is to Celebrate Your Body. 
As a suggestion from j: “Every morning before you head out into your day and every night before you go to bed, look in the mirror and allow yourself to feel only the gratitude and awe that your body truly deserves.”
I plan on doing exactly that, all week-long – and hope it’ll become a habit even after week 11 is over.

How was your week? Did you play with us and practiced pleasure, did you do it every day? Do you find being fully present tough to meet, or is it something that comes naturally to you?

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop.

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