Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009: A Year In Review






















after nearly 12 hours of sleep, my aches and sniffles seem to be a bit more tame this morning. i woke up bright eyed around 5am and managed to lay in bed until 6. i fed my 4-legged loves, brewed some coffee and booted up my laptop for my annual YEAR IN REVIEW blog post. i was going to journal this, but never got around to it so i'm asking a lot of my brain this morning... but i am excited to recap with you what was probably one of my most transitional and powerful years to date.

Sept-Dec 2008 (yes, i know i'm cheating a bit here, but it's important to include!) completed 200 hours of hatha yoga teacher training and am released out into the world to share what i've learned.

Jan 2009: juggling the start of my third year in PR and also taking on my very first yoga class on saturdays.

early jan 2009: make the monumental decision to leave the safety and comfort of PR to teach yoga full time. after seeing how much it changed my life, i can't imagine not sharing this gift with everyone in the world. i sit in my boss' office, sick to my stomach, and tell him of my decision. one of the most emotional days of my life. i loved my job and my boss and co-workers and clients. after it was done, i swore i was going to throw up.

jan 16, 2009: last day of PR job. hubby and i go out to celebrate my next steps into the world even though i still have that nagging vomit feeling.

jan 24th : gave first ever Present Moment Workshop in honor of Yoga Day USA. met with huge response and gave me signs i was on the right path.

feb 2009: with the help of my fabulous sister-in-law, Anxiety to Zen was launched!

march 2009: slowly gathering more classes under my belt. i join the team at world gym and harmony yoga studio. became VP of Discover & Recover, a non-prof dedicated to raising money for yoga scholarships and introducing alternative health therapies into institutions.

april 2009: first private client signs on for anxiety and stress coaching. went to florida with hubby on a company trip and had a great time. the last time we went i was so riddled with anxiety i skipped out on some group activities and dinners and barely spoke when faced with new people. this year, i partied it up with everyone and finished the trip off rocking out to "sweet home alabama" on the dance floor.

may 2009: my 26th birthday. feeling good about leaving 25.

july 2009: was interviewed by kimberly wilson (www.kimberlywilson.com/blog) and had my story, along with Anxiety to Zen, featured on her amazing site. got to talk to a teacher that i really, really look up to and admire.

summer 2009: kept adding more classes and officially became considered a part time teacher. on my time sheet... bally's, world gym, harmony yoga, sunrise health club and a handful of private clients. website kept growing as i reached out to more people for insights and thoughts on anxiety and yoga. gave another Present Moment Workshop and also completed multiple 6 week long stress and anxiety relief yoga programs. introduced running into my life and there began my love affair with it. totally fell in love with raw foods. after years of experimentation (what makes me feel sick, what doesn't, what helps ease my anxiety) i found my freedom in raw foodism. i was met with stares and gawking about it, but i kept pushing through.

sept 2009: went to europe for the first time! only needed to take some stomach soothing meds every once and awhile and conquered two nine hour flights, packed out trains, travel confusion and running around different countries with no sweat! had the best time and made memories that will last me a lifetime. discovered a deep passion and love for traveling. anxiety didn't stop me once! and took home my first piece of prada.

oct 2009: celebrated my 2 year wedding anniversary with the best hubby ever. signed up for 5k. booked a trip to new orleans for the new year. was asked to be a bridesmaid!

nov 2009: by far, my busiest month. ran my first 5k with my pup. went to a wonderful anusara workshop. threw a baby shower. celebrated thanksgiving with my family. officially consider myself 50% raw foodie. started volunteering at Last Hope. immediately fell in love with every dog in there.

dec 2009: ran my 2nd 5k with the hubby. officially obtained full time teaching status. began helping promote D&R Krishna Das fundraiser. BECAME AN AUNT! got my 2nd piece of prada. a new laptop! started taking bikram yoga classes. this was a huge mind trip for me as it exposes my anxieties. i get very anxious when i feel trapped or stuck. i also get anxious about having to go to the bathroom or become ill in front of people or in public. enter bikram. i was told once i enter the studio i cannot leave (gulp), if the heat makes you feel ill just sit it out until you feel better (double gulp at the thought of passing out in front of the class) and drink gallons and gallons of water but don't leave the class to use the facilities (ok, i'm nearing my limit). but i did it anyway. i drank the tons 'o water, i stayed put in the studio and focused all my energies on my poses rather than the fact that the heat could make me pass out. it was like a torture chamber for my mind. now i know i'm making this sound as appealing as a lobotomy, but.... i left feeling empowered. i conquered something that exposed all my anxiety weaknesses. i felt stripped down and scared, but i did it and i succeeded. and i went back for more! out of all the yoga classes i've taken and all the studios i've gone to, bikram was the first one i committed to. that says something. i wouldn't go as far to say i'm a devotee at this stage, but i'm sure as hell loving the adventure of it. there's something transformative about being in that kind of situation. i'm sure i'm over thinking it a bit because i'm coming at it from such a different mind set, but that's what makes it all the more powerful for me. so i discovered a lust for bikram yoga.

so there you have it. my life in 2009. i feel transformed and different. and i hope 2010 brings just as much transformation and growth. i reconnected with old friends, made new ones, lost some. after all the styles of yoga i've tried i became enamored with bikram as it touches me on so many different levels. i got two 5ks under my belt and am looking forward to training for a half next jan. discovered the power and beauty of raw, living foods. fell in love with my beautiful baby nephew and saw how rock star my sister-in-law was with her natural birth! deepened my relationship with my hubby. began to devote some of my time to volunteering to a cause i care about. grew my classes and clients and my ability to share anxiety relief with others.

i'm a lucky girl.
i'm a thankful girl.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

bitten by the bug!



ick! i've finally managed to catch myself a little cold that has left me hacking and sneezing all over town. luckily i was able to cancel my classes tonight so it's nothing but hot water with lemon and bed rest for me. i'd like to kick this bug before ringing in the new year.





on an exciting note, my germy little hands are typing out this blog on my brand new laptop! my old one was coming close to celebrating its 7th birthday and caused more frustration than fun when trying to do anything like use the internet, load a page, answer emails, work, you know - basically anything. hubby felt bad because i pretty much relied completely on my phone for internet and work so when i came home from a client sesh yesterday a beautiful, new, black, shiny laptop was awaiting me! and because electronics don't like me very much, i also found another late christmas surprise in my stocking .... a new (functioning!) ipod nano! now i can make all my running and yoga playlists which makes me a very happy girl.





how were your holidays? i hope wonderful and RELAXING!





have you set your 2010 intentions yet? i've been doing this in all my classes this week. i have a mile long list of intentions, but the ones i'd like to focus on the most this upcoming year are creating more space in my life, practicing non-reaction as opposed to over-reaction, mastering (or at least stepping within the vicinity of) the art of forgiveness and ego-checking.





in the meantime, i plan to spend some time journaling the highlights of 2009, writing out game plans for 2010 and figuring out ways to incorporate these intentions into my life.





i would love to hear some of your intentions!






image: madammoisellenon

Sunday, December 27, 2009

baby's first christmas

after a crazy couple of days i have finally been able to sit down at my computer and catch my breath! the days leading up to christmas were a blur of teaching yoga, taking yoga, running around for last minute gifts, snow storm prepping and gym time. i was definitely looking forward to some holiday down time, but my soon-to-be-born nephew wasn't! we got the "i'm going into labor" text early christmas eve AM and by 5pm my very first nephew was here to say hello! my husband and i raced eagerly to visit baby and family at the hospital where i was a mess of emotions. crying, laughing, excited... mom and baby looked fabulous!

the rest of the days were a mixture of relaxing, visiting family, excited phone calls and nephew cuddling - i'm so in love with that kid!

i hope everyone had wonderful holidays! i get back to teaching tomorrow and i am very much looking forward to it. i was only able to fit in one run since christmas eve but it was 3.5 miles in rain and frigid wind so i feel that i've earned my quality couch time. NY's been giving me some rough weather and my legs were aching so i just had to get out there.

on a fun note, some things i got to do this weekend:
* snuggle my nephew
* spend quality time with my parents
* make raw choc coconut crinkle cookies (and my husband totally digs them!)
* a crazy run in the pouring rain where my hubby and i got lost half way through
* have cocktails by the fireplace
* watch a marathon of A Christmas Story
* go out to dinner at one of my fave restaurants

i hope your week brings you many more days of fun (and relaxing!!)

Monday, December 21, 2009

happy winter solstice!

Today officially marks the shortest day of the year. After today we can look forward to longer days of sunshine. Many people celebrate this transition day and find ways to reflect. And you'll probably find lots of yogis rocking 108 sun salutations. If you're not up for that many, than do what you can and celebrate whatever way works for you!

I was recently introduced to a new blog I'm totally loving and she did a great post on the winter solstice and the importance of the number 108. Check it out here: loveveggiesandyoga.com.

Enjoy your short day my loves. I plan to honor the day with lots of twists to help with the transition this day marks.

And at the rate this year is winding down, summer solstice will be here before we know it!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

I'm officially snowed in. There's over a foot out there and I spent all night watching it fall and coat my block in white. Hubby and I took a walk with puggle at one point and it was coming down so hard I could barely see in front of me. Puggle was thoroughly confused as he watched it pile higher than him! Its been great being snowed in. Nowhere to go, nothing to do. Sometimes we all need a little something to slow us down. I've gotten my apartment cleaned, gifts wrapped and all loose ends tied up. I'm topping off my snowy sunday with ordered in pizza, a margarita and some quality time spent curled up on the couch. I'm starting to get excited for all the holiday festivities coming up around the corner...especially spending christmas eve with my parents and their home cooking and christmas day spent with my new nephew (considering he'll be arriving any day now!).

If you're with me on the snowy east coast, stay warm! If not, send some of your warmth and sunshine our way!

And in honor of the winter wonderland outside, I've been indulging in Snow Angel Savasana... Take you savasana with arms outstretched to the sides and legs wide apart. Rest here and sit with your breath for 10 mins (at least!). When bringing movement back to your body, slowly draw arms down to your sides and back out to the sides while sliding your legs together and back out. Ta-da! Snow Angel Savasana.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

in a holi-DAZE



i've been running around like crazy lately. i have an almost full-time class load, am volunteering weekly at a rescue animal shelter, fitting in private clients, holiday shopping/decorating/card writing and tree trimming and trying to keep up with my race training and yoga classes. i feel like these last few weeks have just flown by.





i'm very excited about a new 'ask the experts' piece which i'm hoping to get up in january to kick off the new year. my sister-in-law is about to give me the best present ever... my nephew is due any day now! hubby has some upcoming time off and my classes will be easing up a bit soon so i'll be able to get some much needed rest right in time for new year's eve!





in between all of the chaos, i'm trying to take time to still take care of and appreciate my myself. last year the holidays were even more chaotic as i was working full-time in PR and wrapping up my yoga teacher training along with all the other holiday responsibilities. so i am reminding myself that even though my schedule is a little nutty, i'm still loving every class, every client and every day. i also make time to spoil myself with little yoga treats now and then... can anyone say "legs up the wall pose."





here are some of my 'stay sane' secrets for this year:





*practice yoga - right now i'm doing restorative asana at home and bikram 2x a week to sweat out toxins and stress





*keep moving - even though chilly 30 degree days make me want to hide under the covers all day, i make sure to get a spin class in or a run. got to keep my energy flowing smoothly and not bottle up - sure fire way to feel anxious





*invest in food - i'm still trying to make time to prep healthy, light meals that keep me full and energized and feeling good. it's so tempting lately to just grab something on the go, but i know it'll make me feel worse in the end





*take it one day at a time - there are numerous times i want to just sub out a class or skip a run because i feel a cold coming on or am just physically exhausted, but i push through because once my classes slow down due to the holidays i'll miss them and regret it





i leave you with this... when you get caught up in the holiday crazies, grab your mat, shimmy into legs up the wall pose and throw a blanket over yourself for a 10 minute time out.

photo: active

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

forget about what it's not, take it for what it is

this phrase is like my new MO. kind of like that whole "he's just not that into you" craze. we spend lots of time making things into something they're not. we over analyze what it means if a guy hugs us rather than kiss us, we ponder endlessly about why our co-worker was called into our boss' office instead of us after a huge presentation, we try desperately to make diet food taste just like the chips and cookies we're used to... we tend to resist accepting things for what they are.

this concept came to me (read: hit me so hard it almost knocked me unconscious) when, for the 100th time, i found myself explaining that i haven't lost my mind just because i find myself wandering over into the raw food lifestyle.

over the past couple of years i've spent my life experimenting with food. at first it was weight related... diet this and diet that, non-fat everything. then it was because i became committed to animal rights activism and quit eating meat. then i ventured into a soy-craze. finally i finished off my experimentation by reading about metabolic typing, ayurveda and raw foodism. i tried it all and what left me feeling the absolute best was raw food. so it seemed to be completely logical to continue to learn about this new food lifestyle and how to best incorporate it into my life.

on thanksgiving i became so bold as to bring a raw pecan pie to my aunt's house. my family conveniently looked away from it, grabbing at the usual dessert staples - apple pie and cheesecake - but a few brave souls braced themselves and tried it. it was met with pretty positive reviews, although directly followed with "but i still prefer regular pecan pie." ugh.

so as i sat there talking about raw food and my health i was met with a familiar question - "but does it taste like regular food?"

this is when i found myself hit in the face with my realization. yes. raw food does taste like regular food. regular for raw. just as french fries taste regular and normal for fried food and milk tastes normal and regular for dairy. everyone gets so hung up on whether or not this raw food i'm eating tastes exactly like its cooked counterpart that they lose the entire concept of the diet. its not about whether jicama mimics the exact taste of a cooked french fry, its how the jicama makes me feel compared to the cooked french fry.

i began to scour over my raw recipe books and realized that all of the food had names like "unfried french fries" or "rawvioli." now these names help me understand what food i'm making and the cooked food it resembles, but i'm sure to find that the raw food doesn't ever taste exactly like the cooked food. and if i really just forgo that concept, i often find that some of the raw stuff i make actually tastes better! i happen to totally prefer my raw pies to any cooked.

and i started to see that its not just food we do this to. we expect people to look a certain way, act a certain way and behave in a certain way. if we see someone picking up garbage along the street the first word that may come to mind is "gross" because its out of the ordinary and "not normal" but maybe that person is deeply committed to the earth and environmentalism. Maybe a friend tells us something less than stellar about ourselves and we get offended because its not the regular niceties this person usually exchanges with us. forget about the fake kindness and take the words as those of advice and caring. i have caught a lot of flack for enjoying practicing my yoga to rock music and encouraging students to have fun on the mat. but that's not me disrespecting yoga, its my interpretation of a practice that has transformed my life.

so today i whipped up a raw spinach quiche, flax crackers (currently dehydrating) and cacao sunflower balls... and i'm not going to cut into that quiche expecting it to taste like a cooked quiche and i'm not going to bite into those cacao sunflower balls and expect them to taste like sweet chocolate fudge... i'm going to look forward to enjoying them for what they are and decide if i like them based on nothing more than their individual taste. forget what they're "supposed" to be or "supposed" to taste like. and tomorrow AM i'm hoping to take my first hot yoga class. i am not going to lie, i've formed some preconceived notions about this style of yoga, but i've based it on my own personal thoughts and opinions. i've never tried it. so i'm going to take a class and experience it for what it is, not constantly judge it or anticipate how i'll feel after compared to a "regular" yoga class. that word regular is dangerous. its a slippery slope for me and leads me into endless amounts of dissatisfaction and comparisons of nearly everything.

so i'm going to try to encounter things and appreciate them all for what they are. stop the comparisons. stop trying to replicate what already is. stop making something into what it's not.

i love you, you're perfect, now change.

i love you, you're not perfect, forget change.

Friday, December 4, 2009

FREE YOGA CLASS THIS TUESDAY!

i'm teaching a free yoga class this tuesday, 12/8, at Melexis Fitness Studio in Bellmore from 9-10am!

if you'd like to join me, give 'em a call and let them know you'll be coming!

http://melexisfitness.com/

Monday, November 30, 2009

the art of forgiveness


this morning in class i got into an interesting discussion about forgiveness. a yogini friend of mine recently went through a difficult time and is still in the transition stage of moving from anger and pain into peace and forgiveness. i commented that, while i'm immensely proud of her, i don't know if i myself would have been able to forgive as successfully as she has at this point in her life. she's an amazing girl and i know its her strength and resilience that aids in her growth. that convo happened almost 5 hours ago and i still find myself thinking about it. forgiveness has always been a tough one for me. for some reason, i always felt that if i forgave someone i was somehow condoning and accepting their behavior towards me. but forgiveness is really about the freedom to let go of grudges, release pent up pain and breathe a little lighter. it doesn't have anything to do with me rolling over and becoming a doormat. it has to do with me being strong enough and secure enough to let it go (whatever "it" may be).


if we don't forgive people for hurting us, we're the only ones carrying that weight on our shoulders. we'll always have that grudge holding us back and causing us pain. i know there are definitely some grudges i'd like to release. so while last week was all about giving thanks, i'm making this week all about offering forgiveness. and its something i want to do for me. i know the people that i'd like to forgive won't even know that i have forgiven, but i'll know. and for right now, that's what i need to do. forgiveness is powerful because its not always easy. it doesn't make us weak. it takes more strength to forgive than it does to hold onto hate or anger. and those emotions are so toxic to us.


and while my mind is meditating and working on forgiveness my body will be twisting and releasing all of those long-held, painful emotions that come with grudges.


a heart-opening and twisting practice will be my life on the mat. saying "i forgive you" will be my life off the mat.

image: epic self

Friday, November 27, 2009

giving thanks

yesterday was really terrific. usually i tend to dread the holiday bustle as it used to cause me immense stress and anxiety, but this year the holidays have been so different. i spent time yesterday morning putting finishing touches on my raw pecan pie, sipping coffee and watching the parade. time seemed to move at a snail's pace because neither hubby P nor I had anything to do or rush to. it was a nice treat. i had intentions to get to an early AM thanksgiving yoga class, but lounging on the couch seemed to suit me better since i had spent the past couple of weeks running around like a crazy woman.

the day unfolded with time spent hanging out with family, catching parts of all the football games, snacking on hors devours and sipping wine. it was laid back and much needed. and the best part? half my raw pie was eaten! not everyone was diggin' the whole raw thing, but they tried it nonetheless and my dad and aunt actually really enjoyed it! and i, of course, had a huge slice myself.

this entire week has been spent on my mat reflecting and giving thanks and i thought i'd take some time to share what i'm thankful for this year:

* having the strength and dedication to work through my anxiety
*support and love from friends and family
*the courage to run my first 5k
*reconnecting with good friends and putting effort into old friendships
*officially becoming a full- time yoga instructor
*my students and clients that have joined me on my journey
*my teachers that believe in me
*lessons learned - both good and bad because each had an important place in my life
*my little family (hubby P and all the 4-legged loves)
*the opportunity to volunteer doing something i really love
*and every one of you!

so whether you've been up since 3am and hitting up the sales or (like me) still rockin' your PJs, enjoy your time this weekend. savor the moment. appreciate everything.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

baby shower bliss

i had the best time helping host my sister-in-law's baby shower this weekend. my precious nephew is making his debut in january and it was so much fun celebrating his upcoming arrival (and his mama!) on saturday. as you can imagine there were gifts galore, family fun and tons of food to enjoy including homemade carrot cake! everyone had a great time taking a baby quiz i made for the occasion and baby shower bingo. and by the time it came to a close i was absolutely beat! i didn't realize how much energy i had been dedicating to the party. hubby and i were hosting another party that night (a UFC fight night extravaganza) at our little abode so we ordered in some pizza and settled in while awaiting our next dose of company. needless to say, today has been quite the lazy day, with the exception of meeting a much loved friend at our local coffee house tonight. i managed to stay awake and alert until almost 3am!

since i haven't gotten a lot of yoga or running in i have a lot of pent up energy and have been feeling restless even though i'm exhausted. i'm so looking forward to getting a big mug of herbal tea and their vegan chocolate cake and indulging in much needed catching up - haven't seen this friend in many months! busy schedules put a kink in a lot of plans.

i'm super excited about thanksgiving this week and hubby having a long weekend. my weekend will be filled with teaching classes, taking classes, running, getting together with family and friends, birthday celebrations, endless glasses of vino, raw pecan pie, eggplant parm and time spent lounging in bed with books i'm desperate to catch up on.

i'm breathing easier just thinking about it! if i get my training in shape then i'll also be adding another 5k into the mix the weekend after this one. i've been loving my booked weekends! its so awesome to have something to look forward to all the time. and of course, countdown till new orleans take off is still going strong! almost exactly 2 months away!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

so much to do, so little time

i just finished making the biggest pot of veggie soup and am totally loving the smell that's invading my apartment. it makes me feel like i whipped up a five course meal and not just some soup. i've been super busy working on discover and recover's big january kick off event and baby shower planning. i'm cutting, gluing, writing, designing and compiling more than ever! and because of all the craziness i've been craving more and more yoga and comfort food.. hence my channeling martha stewart in the kitchen this afternoon. i've also started my training again for my next run the first weekend in december. hubby is amazing and giving me an early holiday gift - a running watch! i never really know how far i go, or my average pace, so this will help my training immensely and i can't wait!

i've been feeling a bit anxious as the holidays fast approach and i'm cramming my weekends full of things to do so i'm always running about somewhere and doing something. i'm going to spend the next few weeks paying very close attention to what i'm eating and putting in my body because for me my number one issue causing me stress/anxiety is eating bad food which makes me feel sick and then i get anxious about it.

might be hard to do with all the activities and festivities going on, but i'm going to stay determined. i feel the best when my diet is mostly raw foods, so i see lots of green smoothies and salads in my future! i definitely don't want anxiety to rear its ugly head when i have so much amazing stuff going on. stress better get ready to take a back seat!

Monday, November 16, 2009

run first ever 5k - check!

another thing to check off my list of goals! i ran my first 5k this weekend with my puggle, a girl i've been lucky enough to be friends with since middle school and her two pups! we had the best time! during one part of the run another runner went by us and shouted "keep going! you're almost there!" and i broke out into the biggest smile! everyone was so amazing and supportive. i fell in love more and more with each step i took.

i was definitely sore the next day, but the whole experience was so worth the sore knees, the sweat, the internal struggles to keep pushing when all i wanted to do was relax in bed... and i can't wait to do it again! i already found my next run - december 5th! that doesn't leave me a ton of time so i'm heading out tomorrow to start my training again. hopefully i can shave a few minutes off of my time. plus i'll be running sans pup so i'm sure that'll help me a little!

needless to say my body was craving (read: screaming) for some quality time on the mat today. at class we did leg stretches, deep breathing and tons of hip openers. much needed!

i have another very exciting weekend coming up and my week is filled with work for my non-profit, volunteering, yoga classes, training, baby shower prep and running lots of little errands to keep myself ahead of the game.

oh! and the hubby and i officially booked a trip to new orleans for january. and you know me - i've already started the countdown till take-off!

Friday, November 13, 2009

immunity enhancing moves on the mat

want to strengthen your immune system while you're on the mat? try supported poses and inversions! these poses increase the circulation of lymph, a water-like fluid that travels through our bodies picking up viruses and filters them out through the lymph nodes. and its not just movement. inversions help lymph move into respiratory organs, which is where germs tend to enter the body. so grab a block, a blanket and your mat and try this sequence to keep sniffles away:

*childs pose (either rest your head on a block or roll a blanket under your torso to rest on)

*down dog (w/ a block under your head for support)

*standing forward bend (yep, still with the block!)

*back to supported down dog

*return to supported childs pose

*add a supported shoulder stand only if you've done it before and feel comfy with it. Otherwise try it with an experienced teacher.

*lay flat on the mat, extend hands out to the sides and bend knees toward the chest. Release those legs down to the right and look over your left shoulder. Repeat on opposite side.

*relax in savasana with some pillows and blankets


Check out yoga journal for more info on supporting your immune system with yoga

Thursday, November 12, 2009

sniffles and stress


with winter right around the corner, i started making a daily effort to keep myself in tip top shape so i can successfully avoid all coughs and colds. but this season also brings another thing with it --- stress! between holidays, shopping, money, family and work schedules we have to stay on top of more than just our physical well being.

lately i've been noticing that stress is just as contagious (and feared!) as the dreaded winter flu. i've already heard people stressing over the upcoming holidays, party planning, get togethers, moving, jobs, lack of time, lack of money, lack of patience...

and just as the flu starts with some sniffles and body aches, i've started to feel the onset of stress and anxiety creeping in. it's showing up in my shoulders which have started to climb dangerously close to my ears and totally showing the pressure i'm feeling. my head often aches as new responsibilities fall into my lap and my body is facing the exhaustion i've been working it up to by cramming in as much yoga, running and spinning as possible.

don't get me wrong, i'm psyched that the holidays are coming, i'm excited to see my family and it makes me really happy that literally every weekend i have something amazing to look forward to, but between my own stress and everyone else's... i'm starting to feel the pain!

so just as i'd drink green tea by the gallon and take hot showers to keep the flu at bay, i've started to take some 'mental medicine' to keep my stress/anxiety at bay.

here's what the "doctor" ordered:

1) deep belly breaths 3 x a day

2) daily dose of restorative yoga

3) spending chunks of time being 'un-plugged' - no work, no email, no internet browsing, nada

4) bath soaks with lavender scented soap and candles

if you're stressed, or worried about catching someone else's stress (because, hey, stress can be contagious!), indulge in some mental medicine!

i'm determined to focus on my mental health just as much as my physical health this winter.
image: sirius buzz

Monday, November 9, 2009

listen up

i had one of those perfect saturdays that leaves you in a state of pure bliss. it started out with my favorite spin class where we rock out to metallica, the stones, the who, meatloaf and guns and roses. i've never found a true rock and roll spin class until this one and i've made it my new mission to never miss it. after spin, i was all smiles as i made my way home to freshen up for my three hour anusara yoga workshop. i got to see some familiar faces there and worked.. hard! it was three hours of tailbone tucking and inner spiraling and deep breathing and handstands (my least graceful pose of the day!). after getting my yoga on, i headed over to crumbs - possibly the most amazing cupcake bakery on the planet - and picked up four amazing cupcakes for the hubby and i. when i got home, i headed out for a run and was able to squeeze in 1.5 miles before settling in for the night.

i awoke sunday still feeling blissed out. i taught a class and then went out for a 3 miler. my state of bliss must've affected my better judgement because my body was tired. i pushed through a tough two miles before finding my stride in my third. just as i was about to finish strong, i came down awkwardly on my right foot and hurt my knee (read: bliss starting to fade).

once home i had to cancel bridesmaid dress shopping because i developed a rather embarrassing hobble and i curled up on the couch to ease the soreness. luckily it was football sunday, and anyone who knows me knows i love my football. so i was able to relax and kind of tune out for a bit.

i definitely should have listened to my body a little more. i pushed when i should've relaxed. and towards the middle of the night i woke up terribly ill which really forced me to slow down and cancel all pre-planned workouts for today.

its so easy to overexert and tune out what we know we should be listening to. because i refused to leave that high after all of saturday's events, i used that feeling to determine how hard i should run the next day and clearly what i really needed to sustain the bliss was a day of relaxation. so today, besides teaching a few classes, i've stayed couch-bound and curled under blankets. i left the errand running for tomorrow and the workouts for when i'm feeling stronger. and i'm ok with that. i'm not feeling lazy or sluggish. i deserve this rest just as much as i deserve running, yoga and working out. even good things can be way overdone!

chalk this up to another lesson learned.

Friday, November 6, 2009

living your yoga

things have recently been a little chaotic around here, which is why i've been slightly MIA. it's all exciting things: more classes, new clients, creating classes, working on certifications, training for my 5k... but it's a lot! and like any other girl that suddenly finds her schedule slowly taking over her life, i've started to crave more r&r to re-balance.

i even spaced on a class i had this morning! i totally forgot about it until i opened my planner book and saw it (and it was highlighted to boot!). thankfully i had plenty of time to get to the studio and no one even suspected my brain fart.

i always feel like i thrive with a lot on my plate, but that's the time i tend to care the least about myself. my to-do's hold way more importance to me, so since my life is getting a bit busier i'm really trying to tune into my needs just as much. i've recently spent the afternoon at the salon getting a make-over, taking time for baths and painting my nails, whipping up awesome raw food dinners and browsing online for winter clothes. but one of the things i was most thankful that i took the time to do was join in on a one hour tele-class with the Self Love Studio (http://www.selflovestudio.com/). the call was hosted by christine arylo and kimberly wilson! so fabulous! i got to hear musings and inspiration from two wonderful women and even got dared to induce more tranquility into my life EVERYDAY. this dare could not have come at a better time. and i was reminded of that call this morning after teaching the class i almost forgot about (!) because i was discussing with a student the difference between living your yoga and practicing your yoga. we were chatting about how to infuse yoga into everything you do, because it's not just about practicing asana. you can down-dog it all you want, but if you get into your car after class and have a meltdown because you get stuck in traffic, all that serenity and peace you just practiced went right out the window. i definitely have had my struggles with this!

i often used to (ok, ok, sometimes i still do!) get super-stressed within 2.5 seconds of learning about anything that inconvenienced me or messed up pre-made plans. not the most tranquil lifestyle. living my yoga has helped me return to a place of stillness and not just fly into reactive mode. how many times are we tossed into a situation and we automatically just react to it rather than process and think about it? for me... it was way too often.

yoga is about so much more than just asana and the physical aspect of it. there's breathing, yamas, niyamas, meditation, etc. the yamas and niyamas are very responsible for playing a huge part in my healing from anxiety. i couldn't have healed by just practicing the poses. i think i needed the rest of the pieces to complete the puzzle and call on those emotions i evoked through yoga to help pull me through tough times.

in the spirit of the self love studio, i'd like to offer a dare too:

i dare you to LIVE your yoga! embrace it, breathe it, live it, love it!

take it off the mat!

take deep breaths.

eat healthy, nutritious food.

take a walk outside.

play with your dog.

take on a challenge.

work out a problem with a friend or family member.

be a rock for someone in need of some stability.

read a book in bed.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I can, I get to, I like to...


now here are words we don't hear (or say!) very often.


i can, i get to, i like to...


yesterday i read a blog dedicated to these words and i can't stop thinking about it. when anxious it's easy to surround ourselves with the "i can'ts, i shouldn'ts, i don't want to's." how often though do we really stop and think about the opposite?


two days ago i hurt my knee. nothing serious, but enough to cause a little hobble and quite a few stares. my hubby seized the opportunity to tell me that maybe i should lay off some of my workouts because between the race training and all the spin classes (packed in so i can finish my certification) i'm OD'ing a bit on the heavy cardio. however, the mere thought of stopping my training (over a knee that was a tad sore) or holding back on my certification nearly drove me to tears. i enjoy this. it's stress relief. it's fun for me. so i promised to stick to some rest and be a good patient. by the next morning my knee was feeling much better and yesterday i returned to spin feeling great. and by the time we hit that first 'big hill' and piled on the resistance instead of feeling self defeating and telling myself how hard this was or how intensely my legs were burning, i thought to myself i'm so lucky my knee is better and i can rock this hill!


something as simple as a sore knee really changed my whole mindset. and this brings me back to the blog i mentioned. something happened to this blogger that changed her whole attitude towards things. every time she did something, no matter how mundane it seemed, she felt lucky to be able to do it. how awesome to get a dose of that every now and then!


so rather than waiting for something to happen that changes our mindset, let's create the change on our own! what are some things you can't wait to do, that you get to do or that you can do?


I CAN:

*run my 5k

*take any spin class i want

*walk my dog (even though it may be pouring rain!)


I GET TO:

*come home every day to an apartment i love even though it may not be perfect or a mansion

*look forward to time with friends and family


I LIKE TO:

*try new workouts and test my physical limits

*work towards improving my yoga practice but can be content with where i am each step of the way

*try new recipes even if i'm not the best cook


there are so many more to add to the list. and whether it be something life-changing or anxiety that keeps the negative thoughts swirling, you always have the power to change them. if you feel frustrated or closed off because of anxiety, start thinking and believing that you have the ability to change it! working through my anxiety brought me so much closer to the person i wanted to be so i always look at it as a blessing in disguise. anxiety gave me the push to work hard and create change and encourage growth... because if i didn't i would've sat back and watched my life slip away.



Tuesday, October 20, 2009

recent reflections

here's a glimpse into how i was living my life a year ago:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Near the Breaking Point
I cried this morning. Not so much a can’t-catch-my-breath, mascara-running-down-my-face type of crying, but I shed a few tears. I felt frustrated that I let my exhaustion come out thru my eyeballs, but a release is a release and I needed it! I was in the kitchen around 6:30 in the morning feeding all our pets and I just felt overwhelmingly tired and before I knew it – tears. There’s no hiding it, I’m tired. I’m burnt out. And I don’t know what to do. Every morning, when I hear that dreaded alarm clock go off, I squeeze my eyes shut and will there to be an email on my blackberry from my boss saying that somewhere along the line we had forgotten that today is actually some obscure holiday and we have off – enjoy! Then of course I drag my butt out of bed in a haze and try to shower without drowning.
I tried to focus on my relaxation CD while driving to work and it didn’t help. I actually felt a panic attack creeping up, so I quickly switched it off and focused entirely on breathing. It helped and I avoided a full blown attack, but my body is telling me to slow down. The part that I’m unsure of is how I do that. I knew when I decided to commit to yoga I would have to sacrifice a lot. And it’s been fine so far. What I didn’t anticipate was the exhaustion. I can’t afford to take any days off of work, I can’t miss any yoga classes, if I cancel one more time on my personal trainer she’ll probably reach thru the phone and kill me and my husband is about to have a sheer breakdown because what little I have time for around the house isn’t nearly enough to ease the burden on him.
When I start to feel like this, I try to imagine the people that go through so much more than me and are forced to function on three hours worth of sleep. In the grand scheme of things, my exhaustion seems so irrelevant because there are much bigger things out there people have to be concerned about. It’s times like this when I need a gut check. Eventually, my goal is to teach yoga and personal training, but in the meantime I have to do what it takes to reach that goal – and in order to do that I have to sacrifice.


i can still remember sitting in my office, on my lunch break (because i rarely left my desk), typing that out. i can remember my 'brag board' in front of me, a big board where i posted all my successful pitches and press hits. i can still see my collection of pictures to the right of my monitor filled with smiling faces and happy times. and i can still remember that feeling of overwhelming sadness. i felt so empty. i felt incredibly lost. and i felt obligated to smile through it and act as if everything was always OK. i've been through a lot in the past year.

my life is drastically different now. in 2009 alone i left the comfort of a full-time job to persue teaching yoga, i launched a business dedicated to helping people suffering with stress and anxiety disorders, i've gone to numerous yoga workshops and met some incredible teachers, i've started training for my first 5k, within the next few weeks i'll be certified to teach spin and kickboxing, i've traveled around europe, celebrated a much happier 2nd wedding anniversary and have started to become the person i wanted to be but was afraid to be.


funny what can happen in just one year.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

relaxation on rainy days


a chilly, rainy sunday practically begs for heaps of time spent relaxing.


on my agenda today:


*morning spent preparing a breakfast of raw "oatmeal" and hot coffee

*a rainy run with my pup

*a seriously warm bath with ginger (to help draw out toxins)

*quality time on my couch catching the giants game

*loads of burning candles

*book reading

*wine sipping

*blog reading


how are you going to exercise your relaxivist rights today?



image: delany blog

Saturday, October 17, 2009

currently loving this: quote

Just saw this quote and knew I had to share it!

“If you want to reach a state of bliss, then go beyond your ego and the internal dialogue. Make a decision to relinquish the need to control, the need to be approved, and the need to judge. Those are the three things the ego is doing all the time. It's very important to be aware of them every time they come up.”
~ Deepak Chopra

This struck a very deep nerve for me. It's always a struggle when we fall victim to our egos and I think this quote hits it right on with addressing the unending desire to control everything around us, the obsession to be approved of or loved and of course judging others. I'm not going to lie, I still get mentally caught up sometimes in these struggles, especially the need to control, but these will never lead to happiness. All they do is cause pain.

Whatever you do today, be aware if the ego pops up with negativity. I always loved when teachers would say "check your ego at the door.". How true it is! And how powerful to detach from it.

I'm definitely going to write this in my journal and maybe even tape it to my 'fridge. A daily dose of these words hits home and reminds me where to find my true happiness.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

100th post!


in honor of my 100th post, i thought it would be fun to share a journaling exercise with you compliments of Hip Tranquil Chick (and if you haven't picked up HTC, a fabulous book by the inspiring Kimberly Wilson, run -don't walk-to your nearest book store and grab it!)


HTC is infused with different ideas for jump starting the life you want. it's packed with awesome yoga sequences to fit your every move, great advice on getting what you want personally and professionally and offers ways to dig deep down and discover what you really want and what really makes you happy.


so this particular exercise caught my eye and its focused on finding your passions.


write 20 passions that bring you pure bliss:

1 reading

2 writing (creative writing)

3 practicing yoga

4 learning about yogic philosophies

5 running (first 5k is in 4 weeks!)

6 traveling

7 fashion, creating looks/outfits

8 cooking, exploring different diets and how they impact my body

9 helping others overcome anxiety

10 holistic health

11 modern art

12 listening to 60s and 70s rock

13 animals

14 coaching, motivating students

15 drawing

16 adventure/challenge

17 meditation and introspection

18 Buddhism

19 learning

20 psychology, studying the mind


write 10 causes that inspire you

1 animal rights

2 environmentalism

3 mental health awareness (MHA)

4 activism for women's rights (NOW)

5 creating awareness about the importance of health (discover and recover, UNICEF, make a wish)

6 global and national antipoverty movements

7 human rights (oxfam)

8 fight against cancer (team in training)

9 creativity and creative arts

10 food drives, clothing drives, etc.


write out your top 10 strengths

1 detail oriented

2 hard working, dedicated

3 writing

4 creating goals, strategic planning

5 creative

6 work well with others/in groups

7 determined

8 decorating/designing

9 public speaking

10 quick study


now, my job is to look over these lists and look for similarities. i'm going to see if common themes emerge or if i can tie things together and bring more of these aspects into my life. maybe i can use some of these ideas to reevaluate my goals and make sure i'm on the right path.


so as i start that, grab your journal or notebook and start your own lists. see if you have anything pop out at you that you may have overlooked. take your time and really search your heart. maybe while researching causes that inspire you, you'll find the perfect charity to volunteer with that will allow you the opportunity to display your passions for public speaking and event planning!



*exercise courtesy of hip tranquil chick by kimberly wilson


* image: english language expert













Sunday, October 11, 2009

meditation reflections

It's no secret that meditating with an anxious mind is a tough task. I used to read all about the benefits and be amazed by the stories I would hear and the breakthroughs people would claim to have while logging in time on their meditation cushions. I always used to want to try, but found myself unmotivated and gave up before I even gave it a try.

Since yoga become a regular practice in my life and my mind has calmed down quite a bit I find meditation easier, but I still have lifetimes to go. I look for inspiration on meditating from anywhere I can find it, including books (like the one I'm reading and currently loving), blogs and other yoga teachers. Every source I've turned to has offered insightful info, but you know what I found they all have in common? While there are similarities, a lot of people have tuned into meditation as a very personal experience and each one took different paths to find their ways. This book I'm reading on running (5k is in 5 weeks!) Shares the authors experience with using running as a means to meditate, tapping deeper and deeper into himself with each mile. Another teacher uses a cushion, soft music, incense, and anything else she can to wake up her senses before starting her practice and another person I read about used multiple retreats to get where he wanted to be with his meditation.

Having dedicated this month to meditation I asked a wonderful and amazing yoga teacher to share her insights and experience with meditation - it'll be up soon! Keep a lookout because you don't want to miss this!

and I've started playing more with what works for me. I'm very quick to get frustrated and I tend to hold on intensely to feelings and emotions (hello guilt and anger from 6 months ago!). That clouds my mind immensely. And because I know myself very well, a bored mind for me is the worst. I can't do anything productive if I haven't gotten mu yoga in, or a run or a spin class...even a walk with my pup. So I try to meditate after I've worked out my body because for me it works out the stress in my mind also.

If you've meditated, I'd love to hear your experiences!

Monday, October 5, 2009

NEW stress and anxiety relief yoga class

so excited to announce... well, a few things!

1) i just started a new stress and anxiety relief candlelight yoga class at Harmony Yoga and Dance in wantagh. it's friday nights at 5:50pm. come check it out if you're around!

2) today is my two year wedding anniversary! i'm still finding it possible to fall more in love with my husband each day.

3) i *finally* got in a run this morning. a 1 mile tempo run to be exact. ok, so i won't be ready for the nyc marathon by the weekend, but hey, a mile's a mile!

on that note, i found a cute 5k to train for that includes your dog! how awesome is that! so puggle and i will step up our training and maybe we can hit that up when it comes to town in november. that makes me smile!

4) we're starting to send out SAVE THE DATES for Discover and Recover's january fundraiser - a kirtan with the fabulous Krishna Das! Don't know much about KD? check him out here: http://www.krishnadas.com/ I'll be posting about this like crazy because it's an event not to miss! January 9, 2010! great way to start off the new year!

i haven't had much more time to spend on my meditation practice this weekend since it was filled with anniversary fun, but i plan to get back to it this week. it's very eye-opening.

Friday, October 2, 2009

happy october


i love october. it's one of my favorite months. after coming home from europe and feeling like i got hit by a mack truck with all of the things i came home to i decided to take a time out and reflect on some things. one of the things i focused a lot on was some soul searching. this search lead me to unearth my curiousity about meditation. i actually have a workbook on insight meditation (because i'm a nerd i absolutely love interactive books) and finally pulled it from my bookshelf. i often like to dedicate my months to something... almost like a lifestyle theme. so it feels almost too right to have this month, my favorite month, dedicated to meditation.


even though i just started reading the book i've already started to dig up some rather uncomfortable things which is both good and bad. i always like learning about emotions and feelings and why people (especially myself) behave the way we do. But you have to be ready for this kind of stuff... pretty powerful. so i'll be sure to update as i go along. i believe october is going to be one hell of a month for my meditation practice.


my soul searching also kicked me into overdrive on the motivation front and i officially finished the bulk of my kickboxing and spin certification exams. i'm very excited to start launching these classes in the new year.


other things i'm looking forward to:

* halloween party with my favorites

*weekly lunch dates with my girls

*a weekend getaway with the hubby out east filled with wine tasting and pumpkin picking

*cool morning runs

*walking through falling leaves with puggle

*completing my additional certifications and adding classes to my schedule

*pulling out all my fall clothes and maybe throwing in a tiny autumn shopping spree

*and of course (!) lots of active vinyasa to warm up the body on those chilly days


happy october to all!


image: just get there blog

















Thursday, September 24, 2009

getting back to normal

i'm slowly transitioning back to normal and feeling better everyday. The wake was tough, but it felt good to be there with my family and we spent a nice time remembering and chatting and keeping each other strong throughout the night.

i'm finally welcoming a return to my routine and am enjoying getting out of the house and seeing familiar faces in my classes. i also got a large chunk of my cycle certification exam done and had time to make some yummy raw foods to store for dinner since my nights are getting back to being busy again.

i have my first long run (and by long i mean like 2 miles) scheduled for sunday morning because i think it'll be a terrific way to kick off the day since the huby and i have a long car trip for a family party later that day and i hate being cooped up and cramped in a car for too long.

i've also started reaching out to plan some much needed time with my girlfriends.

all in all, i allowed myself to stop resisting my feelings and decided to just sit with whatever came my way. you'd be surprised how powerful that was... knowing i was going to feel immense sadness and pain and i allowed it. we're so much stronger than we give ourselves credit for.

i'm very happy to feel like myself again. eager to get out and start running, yoga-ing and hitting the gym. looking forward to playing with raw food because it makes me feel fabulous and when i get sick and cranky i tend to reach for take out rather than put time into food preperation. hubby's happy to see some smiles coming from me.

we all hit bumps in the road, but the feelings don't last forever. you can be with the pain or sadness or anger or whatever you feel and you can overcome it. we just can't lose ourselves in the process.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

more de-stressing tips from yogini tara stiles

more coping strategies for stress and anxiety from tara stiles worth checking out


Nissan Master the Shift - Masters: Tara Stiles - Videos: Introduction: De-Stress

Shared via AddThis

coping

i'm currently avoiding the task of getting ready to head into new jersey tonight for my uncle's wake. i almost feel like if i don't get ready than none of this is real. it's hard to find comfort in family because they are all suffering and coping as much as i am. i feel my energy is massively displaced, i've pretty much dive-bombed off the running wagon and my mat has remained curled up in the back of my car for days (only seeing the light of day when i unroll it to teach a class). after being couch-bound all weekend with a nasty cold and sore throat i felt unable to muster the strength to do anything after hearing of my uncle's passing so i've pretty much been sidelined for almost a straight week. i'm not feeling like myself. i don't even think i am myself. i'm keeping a stiff upper lip and playing the "rock" card during this time for those that need me to, but i'm slowly crumbling and don't think my brave face will hold up tonight.

these are the times when anxiety finds ways to creep up on us. our defenses are down and we're anywhere BUT in the present moment (the present moment often feels to painful). so i've found other ways to redirect my energy and attention until my brain fully wraps around recent events... i did some soul searching.

great loss (whether it be death, a break up, job-related or a busted friendship) can sometimes guide you into a deeper sense of who you are. struggles can lead to triumphs and sadness can bring closure. we tend to always want to avoid pain and suffering at any cost. i see this a lot in my classes. students struggle and twist and squirm when they find themselves in an uncomfortable pose and i always try to offer a nod to acknowledge their discomfort but also try to remind them that it's ok to just sit with it. it's ok to just be with it. i've spent a lot of time and energy in totally zoning out and i rarely have been talking about how i feel. but tonight i'm going to be face to face with the reality of it and i need to be ok with it.

if i need to cry, then i'll cry. if i need a hug, i'll ask for one. when i see my family hurting, i'll go to them. and when it's time to say good bye, i will. i can't 'check out' because i'm afraid of my feelings and afraid to let go. it's not about me.

i'm giving myself one more half hour and then i'm getting off the couch, out of my pajamas (which i've pretty much been living in lately) and getting ready to face this day. i won't break down, but i'll be sad. and i'll sit with it. and it'll be ok. we'll all be ok. but we'll never make it thru this if we spend more time fighting how we feel than finding solace in healing from it.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

soul searching

a death in my family has left me feeling a little lost and semi-detached. a nasty cold has left me sidelined on the couch for the past couple of days and the lack of physical movement and exertion is causing me to be increasingly agitated listless.

i promised myself that when i returned from my trip that i would re-dedicate myself to my goals and aspirations and spice up my journey a bit (september seems to cause that stir in me), however recent happenings have squashed my intentions. i'm finding myself craving some serious soul searching and introspection and while i usually relish in this progress of self-discovery, for some reason i'm finding the task daunting.

i recently read a quote on a FB friend's profile that went something like this:

constantly thinking about who you want to be is a waste of the person you already are

this struck a nerve with me. i believe that my path absolutely lead me to yoga and i feel more fulfilled than ever teaching and working with those suffering with anxiety... however, there are still some personal things i would like to accomplish just for me. something seperate from work and relationships and home. all of that is fabulous. i'm not doing everything i want to be doing and yet i constantly find myself daydreaming of all the things i'd like to do, yet i'm not doing. and this recent loss of life has me looking deep inside for comfort and also for answers.

rip

Thursday, September 17, 2009

home sweet home













ciao le ragazze ed i ragazzi!

(hi girls and boys!)


I am officially starting to get back into the swing of things since returning from my amazing european adventure. hubby and i had a blast. we did our share of exploring (like checking out the parthenon and wandering around olympia) and made sure to sprinkle in some much needed down time - often on a beach! venice was breathtaking and i thoroughly enjoyed strolling through Piazza San Marco. we met fabulous people, ate amazing food and saw gorgeous scenery... it really was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. and, while i know i was concerned about anxiety rearing its ugly head and ruining the trip, it was actually surprisingly tame. yes, i did have some moments of stomach aching moments of panic, but it was so few and far between i hardly noticed it. i thought i would be numb with panic during the flights, but i was fine and actually found myself very relaxed. i thought not really having everything planned out and in my control would cause a freak out, but it didn't. i had one moment of anxiety the first morning we awoke and jumped out of bed to get ready for our adventure in croatia (because my anxiety tends to flare up in the AM) but i breathed my way right to relaxation and it didn't pop up at all throughout the day after that. i was very aware of how my body was reacting to things and if i felt anxious i quickly worked to identify why and start to relax.


and just as it is when i'm home... if i got anxious it was in the morning or when we got lost trying to find our way around. two things that caused me immense stress and anxiety way back when. getting lost was close to being my worst nightmare and mornings were always when i had massive panic attacks. knowing myself and my anxiety so well really helped me to avoid any real panic and it seriously never became an issue. it was really powerful to see how far i've come because at my worst i never would've been able to take a trip like this.


so now i'm dealing with post-travel blues and desperately craving another trip to look forward to.


in the meantime, i'm greatly enjoying getting back to my classes and indulging in much needed stretching and moving because there was little time during the trip for full on yoga and my body has been craving it. and since we've gotten back my internal clock has been off and i find myself waking around 4am (which i'm totally digging!). i've decided to re-commit to my training and have been enjoying early morning runs that energize me and clear my head. all of this is making the transition back to reality a little less painful.


i hope you all had a fabulous week and enjoyed your labor day weekend!

Friday, September 4, 2009

and...i'm off!

I'm en route to italy for vacation and am feeling really excited and energetic about the fun adventures headed my way. I'm going to try to update as much as possible so stay tuned!

Things I'm looking forward to:
1) Falling asleep on the flight and waking up in venice
2) Wandering around croatia & greek isles
3) Spa massage
4) Dining out in venice
5) And of course, time w/ my hubby

Camera is charged and ready to go, suitcases packed, backbacks on... And away we go!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

happy september


happy september loves! can you believe the summer is over? the autumn chill is definitely making itself known and i'm breaking out jeans and sneakers more often than dresses and flip flops, but i'm still finding things to look forward to. here's some exciting things coming up for fall:

* adventuring around Europe

* baby shower and birthday parties galore

* football sundays

* hockey games

* 2nd wedding anniversary

* pumpkin/apple picking

* thanksgiving with friends and family

* weekend out east filled with fabulous dinners and overflowing wine

i'm also happy to announce its NATIONAL YOGA MONTH!

some studios are offering a week of free classes, different yoga workshops or intro specials to celebrate. and in case you need to be reminded of the benefits:

Lower blood pressure
Decreased stress
Greater flexibility (not just physically!)
Enhanced brain function
Lower cholesterol
Better skeletal alignment
Strengthened bones/joints
Improved respiration
Weight Loss
Enhanced circulation
Easier transition through menopause
Deeper peace of mind
And many more…

check out the Yoga Month website for participating studios by you http://www.yogamonth.org/

and if you're already an avid yogi/yogini, then take this time of transition to expand your experiences with different styles of yoga or perhaps taking a workshop refresher course in something you're interested in such as the sutras or chakras.

Happy Yoga Month to all!


image: yoga month

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

negative spinning


i've dubbed my endless cycles of worrying 'negative spinning' because the racing thoughts mimic spinning out of control. we've all been there at some point. our mind is creatively whipping up doom and gloom situations that we waste endless amounts of time obsessively worrying about and feverishly working to avoid. my husband called me out on my negative spinning concerning our upcoming trip to europe.


so we leave next friday and while i find myself exhilarated at the thought of 2 weeks adventuring around europe, i also find myself equal parts worried. what if our flight is delayed and we miss our cruise departure? what if our luggage gets lost? what if our planned excursions get mixed up and/or canceled? what if there's very little vegetarian options to eat? what if...what if... what if...


my mind is extremely creative when coming up with 'what if' scenarios. however, what about the fun WHAT IFs? WHAT IF this is one of the most memorable trips of my life? WHAT IF my husband and i meet amazing people? WHAT IF we get to experience things we never thought we would? WHAT IF we become fulfilled in more ways than we can imagine? and the one 'what if' i should be most concerned about.... WHAT IF i never want to leave!


why isn't my mind spinning out of control with these fabulous thoughts? i've spent a lot of time picking up fun things for the trip including $100 worth of books (yes, it's an addiction) and piles of new clothes that i finally get to wear! we've poured over websites and booked mind blowing excursions that promise fun and adventure. so why am i only consumed with thoughts of lost luggage?


so forget it! i'm throwing caution to the wind (well, any caution left over after i finish all my vacation prep!) and i'm taking this trip for what it is... an amazing trip full of fun, inspiration, experience and of course, tons of uninterrupted time with my incredible hubby. so here's to fun and being carefree! and anytime i catch myself 'negative spinning' i'm going to plan out a fabulous outfit for dinner in venice or imagine the sights we'll see strolling through croatia. we've waited a long time for this trip and i absolutely refuse to let useless negative spinning ruin this for me.



image: yahoo travel



Monday, August 24, 2009

NEW expert post!

check out our newest expert advice from the amazing Sadie Nardini in Ask The Experts!

Her 5 minute panic buster is a must-have! enjoy.

Friday, August 21, 2009

anticipating anxiety or anticipatory anxiety?


a few days ago i mentioned how i had a totally busy weekend running all over the place - from classes, to clients, to parties and back again! i was so happy the week started again at a slow pace because i definitely needed some time to rejuvenate and breathe. i had my normal monday and tuesday night classes, but once wednesday hit something funny happened. as i made my way to my class that evening i was hit with the sensations of anxiety. now i've been teaching this class for months. it's only 15 minutes away from my apartment. i wasn't rushed or running late. i had nothing to stress over. so why was i finding myself feeling anxious? as i sat at a red light i tuned into what was going on inside and really tried to pay attention. then it hit me... the past weekend, on both friday and saturday night, i took this same route to the airport to pick up hubby and the next day to head to an engagement party. both events caused me immense stress getting there because the airport is always craziness and we hit an insane amount of traffic on the way to the party and i got very upset about being late. both days i had anxious feelings and stress on this exact drive. both days i passed the gym i work at on wednesdays. and now here i was, a couple of days later, on route to the class and my mind couldn't shake the feelings i had on this same drive just mere days earlier (for totally different reasons).


so we've all heard of anticipatory anxiety - when we have anxiety and anxious feelings over a future event that we find ourselves worrying obsessively about. but what was this? i mean, it wasn't anticipatory. i didn't even think about the past weekend drives until i started to wonder where these stressed feelings were coming from. it was more like... anticipating anxiety. my mind was anticipating traffic, airport craziness and an all-over stressful trip, when in actuality i was just heading to a class. since i did this drive two times previously and felt anxious, my mind just launched me back to that place because it was anticipating more anxiety. and for no other reason than the fact that i'd felt it a lot before when in the same place.


i switched my ipod to krishna das, i opened the windows up wide and i went right into my belly breathing. i brought myself out of this feeling of anxiousness even though in my mind it had become my norm. almost as if you have a relative that always gives you a hideous sweater for your birthday and every year you're forced to endure the embarrassment of wearing it for the rest of the day to appease that relative. each year you have that shiny wrapped gift in your lap and you mentally prepare yourself to smile through the pain of wearing it and expressing how much you love it. then one year you open it and it's a really awesome t-shirt that you've been eyeing. imagine your shock. my mind was prepping for that hideous sweater when i started driving that same route i had over the weekend. but, i was going to class, not racing to the airport or slammed in traffic.


so next time you experience anxiety and you're not quite sure where it's coming from... ask yourself if it's anticipatory anxiety or if you're anticipating anxiety because you're doing something that's caused you anxiety before.



image: jupiter images

Monday, August 17, 2009

taking time to slow down


this weekend kicked off in a whirlwind of craziness starting with a jam packed friday that included lunch with one friend, dog park with another friend and rushing off to the airport to collect my husband as he returned from a business trip. i taught all morning on saturday and once night fell my jet-lagged hubby and i ventured into queens to celebrate the very happy engagement of two dear friends. by the time sunday rolled around we were beat from long and exhausting weeks and both decided to put the brakes on. we ordered in, settled in for a movie and refused to change out of pajamas once 5pm hit. sometimes you need that refresher. since i had missed a lot of my usual workouts during the previous week my anxious energy was practically vibrating my body and my mind was a mess of worrisome thoughts. i found it hard to stay focused and found myself with very little motivation. so i also took some time out on sunday to run to the bookstore and picked up some books on Buddhism that caught my eye. it's been money well spent because since taking them out of the bag i have absolutely devoured them. i finished one in a matter of hours and have already began the second. yoga has served as a crucial philosophical grounding for me and i think that Buddhism may serve as a spiritual grounding. i adore the focus on meditation and have decided that i am going to incorporate a daily meditation into my life (perhaps part of my morning ritual??). i think the increase in anxious energy is driving me to seek more serenity at this time in my life and rather than ignore the signs to slow down (as i usually tend to do) i'm sitting up (on a meditation cushion!) and taking note.

in case you're interested, here's the books i picked up:

1) the pocket idiot's guide to Buddhism
2) meditations from the mat: daily reflections on the path of yoga
3) the Buddha in the mirror

Friday, August 14, 2009

rituals

do you have any rituals you enjoy? maybe a cup of coffee while reading a magazine or the paper? or maybe some restorative yoga before bed? i don't have a lot of rituals and i think i need to add some to my life. spice up my routine a bit. i recently came across an article (and of course I wanted to post, but now can't find!) that talked about starting a morning ritual to kick your day off right. i love that! how come i never thought of that before!? and i felt this was perfect timing (thanks, universe!) seeing as i just touched on morning anxiety in my last post.

so i'm going to start a morning ritual. i would adore it to include yoga, herbal tea and a magazine. my morning schedule does vary depending on clients and classes, so i think i'm going to dedicate some time to figuring out what works best for me and start to dedicate that time in the morning to myself. start my day off on a positive note and alleviate morning anxieties. does life get any better than that??

and if you have rituals that make you feel fabulous - i want to hear 'em!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

morning, noon or night

i tend to have anxious episodes in the morning. i'm not really sure why this is a peak time for me, but when anxiety rears its ugly head, it is more often than not in the morning. this morning was one of those mornings. i had been excited to teach all week (busily creating playlists and new flows) and when my eyes opened a little after 4am i found myself riddled with anxiety. i eventually fell back asleep and awoke with my alarm clock feeling a bit better. i shook it off and went about my morning routine and about 45 minutes before i was supposed to leave for class i got very ill. my anxiety knotted up my stomach so badly and so fiercely it actually shocked me. there was nothing to be nervous about! i was excited about teaching. i began my breathing, knowing that once i got to class i'd be fine because i'd lose myself in the moment and pleasure of teaching and all would be well. but i had to get there first!

needless to say, i did make it to class because even though the anxious feelings nagged me, they didn't stop me. big difference from a year and a half ago. but it still bothered me that i had the anxious feelings in the first place. after coming home and dissecting the morning activities i think i know what may have caused the anxiety and stomachache.

1) my husband was going on a road trip

2) i ate a boat load of pizza last night

ok, so #1 doesn't really seem relevant to me, but it is. road trips were triggers for me. i despised the car. i hated long car rides. it caused me IMMENSE stress and many times i made myself SO sick i couldn't even get in the car. maybe just the thought of him traveling in the car, even though i was personally far removed from the situation, caused me to stress without realizing it. if i don't sense it or catch it, it escalates. perhaps this triggered something in me that was very unexpected. it's funny how these triggers work!

and #2... well, that's self explanatory. I hardly ever eat junk food and this is due in large part to how it makes me feel the next day - which is totally crummy! but i threw caution to the wind last night and inhaled some eggplant pizza. i won't lie, it was amazingly delicious. but feeling so sick i was near tears this morning made it so not worth it. and another thought flashed in my mind.... i cannot eat like this in europe or i will ruin my experience and my husband's trip. every once and awhile i enjoy indulging in 'bad for you' food but i do it so infrequently that once i do my body totally rejects it and i'm made to pay the price. and this leaves me thinking... is food really worth it? i'm self inducing anxious feelings and stomachaches for the experience of eating pizza (or any junk food!) and it serves me no purpose other than shallow satisfaction.

chalk it up to --more-- lessons learned. i may not always enjoy every minute of my journey, but i can sure learn from everything i encounter on my way.

Friday, August 7, 2009

a glimpse of my personal practice

taking my practice out of the studio and into my home... here's a look at one of my fave sequences when i'm feeling stressed or anxious:

Legs up the wall
1. Sit with knees bent, left side of body against a wall.
2. Place palms next to each hip.
3. Turn hips to the left and swing legs up the wall while lowering torso and head until they are flat on the floor, perpendicular to the wall, legs extended straight up and against the wall. Rest palms on belly.
4. Stretch arms out to left and right, palms up.
5. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths.
6. Place palms on belly, bend knees and lower legs to the right, roll to the right, press into ground with left hand and return to sitting.

Knee to Chest
1. Lie flat on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor, legs together; arms are stretched alongside the body, palms face the ceiling.
2. Bring knees in toward chest
3. Place right hand on right shin, left hand on left shin and gently pull knees in toward chest.
4. Bring knees in closer to chest.
5. Wrap inside of right elbow over right knee and inside of left elbow over left knee.
6. Grab right elbow with left hand, left elbow with right hand
7. Gently rock left to right 10 times.
8. Release elbows from legs.
9.Place right hand on right knee, left hand on left knee
10. Using your hands, make 10 small circles with your legs and hips (keep knees and shins together.)

Seated Forward Bend
1. Stand straight, feet together.
2. Bring hands to prayer position in front of chest.
3. Place fingertips where thighs meet hips.
4. Lift chest and gaze toward ceiling.
5. From the hips, pour torso forward, keeping spine straight.
6. Bring palms to floor if possible, just outside of the toes.
7. Come to fingertips, lift chest and gaze slightly forward, toward front of mat.
8. Place palms on floor, lower chest toward thighs, then lower head toward knees.
9. Hold for 3 to 5 breaths.
10. Come to fingertips, lift chest and gaze to front of mat.
11. Place hands on hips, lift torso upright while keeping spine straight.
12. Bring hands to prayer position.

Down Dog
1. Start on all fours with your wrists about 6 to 12 inches in front of your shoulders. Separate your knees hip-width apart and curl your toes under.
2. Pushing evenly into your palms, lift your knees off the floor. Lift your sit bones toward the ceiling and push the top of your thighs back so that your body looks like an inverted “V.”
3. At first keep knees bent and heels lifted off the floor. Slowly start to straighten your knees—but don’t lock them.
4. Gently begin to move your chest back toward your thighs until your ears are even with your upper arms; don’t let your head dangle.
5. Keep your hips lifting and push strongly into your hands.

Standing Forward Bend
1. Stand straight, feet together.
2. Bring hands to prayer position in front of chest.
3. Place fingertips where thighs meet hips.
4. Lift chest and gaze toward ceiling.
5. From the hips, pour torso forward, keeping spine straight.
6. Bring palms to floor if possible, just outside of the toes.
7. Come to fingertips, lift chest and gaze slightly forward, toward front of mat.
8. Place palms on floor, lower chest toward thighs, then lower head toward knees.
9. Hold for 3 to 5 breaths.
10. Come to fingertips, lift chest and gaze to front of mat.
11. Place hands on hips, lift torso upright while keeping spine straight.
12. Bring hands to prayer position.

Tree
1. Stand with feet together, hands in prayer position in front of chest.
2. Lift right foot off ground, turn right knee out to side, place sole of right foot on inside of left leg, right heel just above left knee.
3. Hold for 2 breaths.
4. Lift right foot away from left leg, grab right foot with right hand.
5. Using the hand, position right foot on inside of left leg, right heel just below the groin, sole of right foot gently pressing into left thigh.
6. Return hands to prayer position.
7. Hold for 3 to 5 breaths.
8. Release right foot from left leg, turn right knee to point straight in front of you, lower foot to floor.
9. Lower hands to sides of body.


i'm getting blissed out just thinking about it! this sequence can totally fit into any schedule because you can make it as long or short as you'd like! enjoy.


pose descriptions courtesy of: www.iyogalife.com