Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Quote of the day

Past and future are in the mind only - I am now. --Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Take a moment to think about what this means to you. How much time do you spend in the past and in the future? What kind of feelings or thoughts do you have when you're not living in the present moment? And, if you find yourself floating through time, how do you bring yourself back to the moment and just 'be?'

Monday, May 18, 2009

Thoughts on Thoughts

Ever notice how sometimes our thoughts can make a crummy situation even more miserable? I had no idea how powerful my thoughts were until I was forced to face them. My thoughts could turn normal stress into a full blown panic attack and make me truly believe that if I left my house or attempted to step outside of my comfort zone something horrific would happen. And even though deep down I knew better, my thoughts called the shots.

There's nothing worse than feeling the first pangs of stress and anxiety. I used to feel it in the pit of my stomach. Then my entire chest would sieze up and my fingers and toes would get ice cold and ultimately become numb. Then, as if watching a movie in slow motion, I could mentally predict each thing that would happen to me as I began to launch into a panic attack. And at times, I felt there was nothing I could do about it but freak out. Initial thoughts went something like this...

OMG, I'm going to lose it and EVERYONE is going to see me have a panic attack!

Oh no, I'm going to get sick, I just know it. I'm going to get sick in front of everyone!

I gotta get outta here RIGHT NOW! I can't let anyone see this happen to me... they'll think I'm crazy!

It took me a long, long time to learn to ride it out and work on not letting my thoughts get the best of me. And like I've said many times before, anxiety never goes away... what does change is our ability to cope with it. So armed with my "anti-anxiety tool belt" (which included knowledge on breathing, stress relieving yoga poses and the confidence in positive thoughts) now I just ride anxiety out. I've been panic attack free for awhile (knock on wood) but I still get feelings of anxiousness. Instead of perpetuating it through scary thoughts and doubt, I talk myself through it and actually try to just sit with it... weird at first, but pretty cool once you get the hang of it. I go through my entire body and notice what it's feeling and how my thoughts impact what I feel. I stay connected to myself and in the moment.

Have you ever taken time to sit through an anxious episode or crappy experience? Where you ever able to change the situation and feelings by utilizing your thoughts?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Yoga Geek In Training?

Found this cute list on a fabulous blog I like to follow - Write-On Yoga. The blogger, Melissa Garvey, provided this checklist on how to know if you're a yoga geek:

  • You take pictures of your pets and/or children striking yoga poses.
  • There are dirty footprints on your walls.
  • You know words in Sanskrit that you can’t remember how to say in Spanish.
  • You use a neti pot.
  • You videotape yourself practicing yoga.
  • You dream about yoga.
  • You’ve convinced your partner that the most practical thing to do with the spare bedroom is to turn it into a yoga room.
  • You have a special bookshelf designated for your collection of yoga books.
  • You pack yoga props for business trips and vacations.
  • You’re considering a yoga conference or a meditation retreat for your next vacation.
  • You spend enough time on to qualify as a part-time job.
  • You do arm balances at dinner parties.
  • Your teacher has a worn-out yoga mat and a copy of Light on Yoga that’s losing its binding, and you think it’s cool.
  • No one ever seems to want to carry on a conversation about yoga for as long as you do.
  • Your girlfriends ask you how your husband feels about all the yoga stuff you do.

So? Are you a certified yoga geek? I definitely checked "yes" to quite a few of those (especially the one about always wanting to talk about yoga longer than anyone else, for proof of this just ask hubby p...whoops!)

check out for clever and funny musings on Melissa's adventures with yoga.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Relax with...Standing Forward Bend

1) start with feet hip width apart, spread your toes and root down through all four corners of your feet
2) inhale and sweep arms up to the sky, connecting the palms
3) exhale and begin to gently swan dive down making sure to start your bend at the hip crease
4) Reach your arms as far as what is comfortable for you. if your hands reach the floor, rest them there. if not, cross your arms bringing each hand to the opposite elbow.
5) take a few deep breaths here and envision your stress pouring out of your body!
6) when you are ready to come back up, inhale and begin to lift your torso up slowly - bending from hip crease with straight spine (i like to sweep my arms back up to the sky!)
*photo courtesy of

Friday, May 8, 2009

Art of Procrastination

I know a lot of people that fall victim to procrastination, myself being the biggest one of all! I'm going to confess - I hate when I realize that I've left something for the very last minute and am forced to drop everything else I want to do to tend to something I'd rather forget about!

Having gone through the stress and anxiety of procrastination one too many times, I've decided to make a commitment to myself. No more procrastination. It'll definitely be a challenge... keeping up with this commitment is an act of non-procrastination in and of itself. I realize that a lot of people (again, myself included) seem to procrastinate the most with personal things. I'm more prone to keep a promise or commitment to someone else before I'll keep one to myself. I'll work my bum off trying to motivate someone else into doing something positive before I motivate myself. I'll promise myself that I'll make it to the gym, but then spend so much time taking care of errands and to-do's that by the time I wanted to go to the gym, I'm beat and I bail out. I encourage people to pamper themselves and treat themselves every now and then, but neglect to treat myself.

This week has been an eye opener for me with my tendencies to put things off until "later." When I came home to a stack of bills, a pile of laundry and a flooded inbox after my trip I realized that I inadvertently left everything on my to-do list until after I got back. I spent a lot of time before the trip running errands, shopping and pretty much getting everything in order for the trip. Anything unrelated to the trip fell into my "I'll do it later" category. As you can see, I tend to fall short on the ability to balance multiple things as well. I was consumed with going away, rather then balancing what was going on at home with what needed to be prepped for florida. I didn't even realize how much I left for myself to do until I actually sat down and got everything done this morning! I had yoga and gym classes planned for this week, a visit to the park with the dog and some fun stuff I wanted to get done... and most fell to the wayside because i over packed myself without realizing it.... all thanks to my superior procrastination skills.

So this is my promise to myself- no more procrastinating. No more putting things off until tomorrow. And this holds true for fun things too! Leaving everything until the last minute or putting off so many tasks that you're inundated with work by the end of the week causes immense stress and anxiety... and avoidable stress and anxiety!

If a project or task seems huge and you just don't want to deal with it, break it down into parts. Then try to accomplish at least one of those parts each day until the task is complete. If you have a few things to get done and some are dreaded things for you, spread them out... don't leave all of the dreaded tasks for the end. Do some fun stuff, then some stuff that has to get done, then the stuff you really don't want to do but have to do and then repeat that cycle until you're finished with everything!

Make a commitment to yourself to not procrastinate. Write out everything you need/want to get done and go do it! And schedule "you" time in there too! I have officially blocked out two full hours of "me" time for the gym tomorrow. Honor your promises to yourself as you would to a friend. We have enough stress in our lives... why let procrastination add to it!?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Stress Less with Tara Stiles

Here's a great sequence for reducing stress from the fabulous Tara Stiles. For those of you who don't know Tara, she is the founder of Strala Yoga. She's also a model and yoga activist. She became popular through her weekly YouTube segment "Yoga for…" with Tara Stiles. She has been featured in magazines including W, Marie Claire, Glamour, CITY, Paper, Self, Shape, Women's Health, and Men's Health, as well as ads for Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Target, and Athleta. Tara also contributes a weekly column to Rodale's iYogaLife, and created a video series titled "Yoga Emergency" for Men's Health.

Notice her use of chest openers, restorative poses and spinal twists.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

highlights from the sunshine state

I'm having an awesome time in sunny florida and can't believe its almost time to leave! Feels like we just got here. Wanted to share some highlights from the trip so far:

1) Early morning yoga on the beach
2) Lunch eco-cruise (saw dolphins and the big city of jacksonville!)
3) Strolling and shopping in st augustine
4) Playing volleyball in a dress and flip flops
5) Meeting some amazing people (one girl has 4 marathons under her belt, is training for another, has a little baby and a fab job)
6) Drinks on the beach

Here's to a great rest of the trip!