Busyness is practically worshipped in our American culture. I suppose we can thank our Puritan forefathers for the no nonsense "get shit done" and don't dilly dally about it ideal that is perpetuated. Taking time for yourself is a luxury. Self care is a billion dollar industry because we know we should slow down, but the shame we feel when we do is very real and very deeply ingrained. How do we break this mold?
I see a lot of claims that improving posture will reduce or eliminate pain. But is this true? What does the research say? What is the link between posture and pain? Read more to find out...
... go check out this amazing resource! Read all the nitty gritty about each mat, or skip to the summary of what they found. You'll find answers to most of your yoga mat questions...
If you happen to live in Dickinson, ND and you regularly come to my group classes, you might notice a slight change in my music choices. Why would I spend a blog post talking about this? Well…
...This is why I practice. Not to achieve poses. Not to be more flexible. Not to advance deeper. Those are extra benefits. I practice so I can do the things I love. I practice so I can move through my world with ease.
If you've been on the fence about joining the 6 week challenge the time is now! Early Bird pricing ends tomorrow!
You can sign up for the 6 week challenge until the day of - January 9 - but you can only do it for $59 ($89 for the LIVE upgrade) for one more day! On January 5 the price changes to $79 ($109 for the LIVE upgrade).
Wondering if the price is as good as you think it is? Here's the breakdown:
12 full length (40 - 60 min) practice videos for less than $5 each! Seriously. Less than $5 each.
2 short (15 - 20 min) practice videos for FREE! Yep. I said free.
2 listen along meditation audios for FREE! Gratis.
The short practices and meditations are yours as a bonus just for signing up.
What if you are a Dickinson yogi and take part in the LIVE upgrade?
You get the above value plus:
6 in person classes at BodyLift Studio for $5 a piece. The usual drop in fee for a single class is $15. The cost of a 5 pack of classes is $50 - $10 a class, which is a fabulous deal, but you get the LIVE class option for half! Half!
Even if you decide to wait until the very last minute you will still get a phenomenal deal, but why spend more money when you don't have to?
Make 2017 your Year of Practice.
Here's a sneak peak of what some of the practices will be like. Let me know what you think!
About 40% of Americans make New Year's Resolutions (that's more people than watch the Superbowl!). And yet only 8% actually achieve the goals they set out for themselves.
I used to pride myself on my resolution not to make resolutions; the truth is, I just sucked at follow through. I failed to reach my goals so instead of risking failure, I claimed to be above such silly traditions. But whether or not I voiced my goals on Jan 1, I was constantly setting personal intentions that looked remarkably like the typical New Year's Resolutions I mocked.
Here is Neilson's list of the top 10 resolutions for 2015 (pretty much any year you pull up looks the same):
- Stay fit and healthy
- Lose weight
- Enjoy life to the fullest
- Spend less, save more
- Spend more time with family and friends
- Get organized
- Will not make any resolutions (I'm apparently not very original!)
- Learn something new; new hobby
- Travel more
- Read more
When I read that list, I think, hell yes! Those are great resolutions. We are not all that different from each other. We want the same things. So why don't we achieve them? Is it really that hard to stay fit and healthy? To travel more? To spend more time with friends and family?
Articles about how to craft your resolutions so you are successful this year are plentiful. This is not just another one of those! I'm not about to tell you that the reason you haven't achieved your goals is that you weren't specific enough, or that you set the bar too high. As a matter of fact, I have a somewhat different opinion on why my own resolutions failed. I think it's because I looked outside of myself. I made a resolution to exercise more but didn't take the time to figure out why I wasn't happy with myself the way I was. Why was I not exercising in the first place? What story was I telling myself that was resulting in my not exercising, even though I said it was something I wanted.
I made excuses like I don't have time, but I made time for other things. The problem is not time. The problem is that I am fighting a war with myself. Jack Kornfield says in A Path With Heart that, "we cannot easily change ourselves for the better through an act of will... When we struggle to change ourselves, we, in fact, only continue the patterns of self-judgement and aggression... and in the end, often strengthen the addiction or denial we intend to change."
He challenges us to stop fighting the war against ourselves and instead learn to let go of these internal battles, but he also warns us that when we let go of the battle, we must come to terms with what we have truly been running from - loneliness, unworthiness, shame, unfilled desires, etc. The only way to do this is to "rest in the present moment."
He doesn't pretend that this is easy, and neither will I! Stopping the war happens over and over and over again. To truly stay in the present means allowing myself to feel pain and sadness as well as joy.
I plan to make my own set of New Year's Resolutions this year (a very big part of that is the 6 Week New Year's Challenge), and I hope you do too. I also hope that you will join me in utilizing this meditation before you finalize your resolutions for the new year. Let's begin 2017 by stopping the war, and then let's resolve to keep doing it all year long.
Studies show that taking time for self-care can improve our moods, our relationships, our careers, our bodies and our minds. And yet we (women especially) tend to put other's needs before our own. We've all heard the "put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others" analogy, and it makes sense, so why don't we follow good advice when we hear it?
Don't be too hard yourself, we usually make such decisions based on socialization and not by conscious choice. We are brought up to believe that taking time for ourselves is selfish. We must make sacrifices for our families, our careers, our.... wait a minute... didn't I just say that taking time for self-care would improve our relationships and our careers? Yep. Sure did.
Our families and friends are our most important relationships, so when we choose to run ourselves ragged in service to the imaginary superhero model, we sell them (and ourselves) short! Be honest, are you a "better" friend, mom, or partner when you are tired, cranky, and stressed?
How does self-care affect our careers? One simple example is that when you are well rested, well fed, and calm, you think more clearly and are better able to problem solve, be efficient and effective.
What about our health? I know you aren't surprised to hear that lowering stress and getting enough physical exercise reduces your risk for more diseases than I can list!
The trick is to remove self-care from your "should" list and place it firmly on your "hot damn! I get to do this" list.
Yoga has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety; it's a fantastic way to get your body moving, building both strength and flexibility; it can help you learn to cultivate balance in your life, both physically and mentally. I sincerely hope that you decide to join me on January 9th for the Peace Monkey Yoga - Deepen Your Practice - 6 week New Year's Challenge. But don't make the good choice to add a consistent yoga practice to your life and then relegate it to something else that you "should" do.
So, how do you move something from the "should" list to the "hot damn" list? You give yourself permission. You write yourself a permission slip, just like in school, that gives you complete and total license to put yourself at the top of your own priority list. Instead of doing what feeds you if you have time, you schedule the time and the other "shoulds" take a backseat!
This radical choice to take care of yourself just might be the best Christmas present you've ever received!