Tuesday, 26 May 2015

How to beat the yoga blues

We’ve all been there – feeling stuck, discouraged, or unmotivated in our life. But what happens when you feel that way about your yoga practice?

It’s not unusual for a person’s passion for yoga to dim or fluctuate over time, but what’s important is a person’s commitment to learn and grow from it. If you’ve lost your love for yoga, read more to figure out how you can reconnect with your practice and fall in love all over again:

Photo credit: Chelsea Desiree Photography

Remember why you fell in love with yoga in the first place

Re-visit the start of your yoga journey and remind yourself why you started practicing in the first place. Was it for the physical practice? To help an injury heal? To spend time with friends? Take time for yourself? Or simply because it made you happy? Remember and acknowledge your reason, giving gratitude for whatever it was that got you on to the mat in the first place.

Take your practice off the mat

The asanas, the poses, are only a small part of a yoga practice. If you haven’t rolled out your mat for a while it doesn’t mean you haven’t or can’t practice yoga. You can try reading a book (anything by B.K.S. Iyenger is a good start) or visit daily yoga blogs (such as this one that you’re reading right now). Share love by volunteering or giving back to the community somehow. Practice gratitude and daily affirmations. Give thanks for your breath. These are just examples you can do to practice yoga without moving into a pose or going to a class.

Look for inspiration within your self

Yoga photos on Instagram can be inspiring and motivating but sometimes you need to take a break from social media. Do this, and then take some time to reflect on yourself. How has your practice grown? What have you learned and how have you changed since you started a regular yoga practice? What can you do now that you couldn’t before? It could be anything from biting your tongue when you’re in a long line up at the grocery store to reaching your heels closer to the ground in down dog. Maybe you can hold a pose a bit longer than you could before. Maybe your clothes fit a bit loser. Maybe you have more compassion for others. Reflect on yourself and how you have grown. Be your own inspiration.

Do what you can

Do what can, even if it’s one little thing a day. You can renew your practice by taking just two minutes a day to sit in stillness and breath. Or maybe by reading a chapter a day in a yoga book. Perhaps you could follow at gentle 20-minute sequence on a YouTube channel at home or take a beginners class at the local studio. Whatever it is that you do, be kind to yourself and know that it’s enough. Know that you are enough. After taking a break from yoga, you can give yourself permission to be nice to yourself and as you start again, move slowly. You don’t want to get overwhelmed and discouraged easily, nor do you want to set unrealistic expectations and set yourself up for the potential of self-judgment.

Like any relationship, one with your yoga practice takes time to develop and it takes work to keep strong and healthy. Remember that if you love yourself, your practice will grow, replenish and renew. Do what is best for you. You already know the answer, you just have to find and listen to it.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Finding Peace

I'm 31 years old today. A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine said that I looked "at peace." It caught me off guard a little bit because I've never thought of myself as being "at peace" before.
 
Growing up, my house seemed to always been in turmoil and I suffered much emotional distress. I didn't know what it meant to love myself or anyone else, nor did I think I would ever get there. I've since been thinking about what my friend said and have realized that holy shit, maybe I have found peace. Then I saw this moment captured by Des Iles Photography which again, caught me off guard, but reinforced my thoughts.
 
Maybe, I thought, I am happy. Maybe for the first time in my life, I'm ok. It may have taken me 31 years to get here, but I'm here. It's about the journey, not the destination, right?
 
I have yoga to thank for this. I have the people in my life to thank for this. But for the first time, without feeling guilty or selfish, I can say I have myself to thank for this. My life could have gone in many different directions, but it didn't.
 
Thank you, Dez Iles, for capturing this moment and sharing it with me. And thank you to every single person who's touched my life.
 
I feel grateful and...get ready for it...at peace ;)
 
 
Thanks for reading
xoxo
 

Thursday, 26 February 2015

BuddiBox: What it is and why I ordered it

I need more yoga in my life.

You know how it goes between work, family, running a household, eating healthy, maybe throwing a couple of children into the mix...life gets busy. Having a yoga practice or being physically active in other healthy ways is important, and having the time to read a book becomes a luxury.

But that doesn't mean you can't treat yourself. In fact, you should. You deserve it. I know I do.

I didn't always think of myself as a priority in my life, but yoga has helped me understand and accept that being selfish is ok sometimes. I also understand the value of hard work and life-long learning and always appreciate the things I have because I'm willing to work for them.

So that being said, I had been eyeing up BuddiBox for a while.

BuddiBox is an organization that ships out a box of surprise yoga goodies once a month. The price per box/per month varies depending on how long you sign up for, but I loved the thought of having yoga-inspired products show up at my doorstep. One day I decided to treat myself and order it.

The price, with shipping, came to under $40 in total for me. Right after ordering it, a sale went up online. 

Damn, I thought. I had just missed it.

I sent the company a Facebook message seeing if they would give me the discount. Within 10 minutes I heard back from them.

"Yes, no problem."

Great! I liked this place already.

A couple of weeks later I went and picked up my little BuddiBox. It came in the mail quickly, and it
was glorious! In it included a beautiful, bright prayer scarf from India, organic lip balm, a chakra necklace, karma bracelet, chocolate, discount codes to ethical online stores and more. Aside from these delicious material items, I received a recipe card, an inspirational quote card, and a nice breakdown of wheel/upward bow pose.


It made my day.

What I love about this box is that it contains things I never would have picked out or found for myself. It's expanded my horizons and educated me on different yoga products. It also helps keep my love for yoga fresh and growing, and reminds me that there is a whole world out there of yoga-inspired creations I don't know about.

Yoga is my passion. And while I don't have enough time to practice the Asanas (physical poses) as much as I'd like to, I remind myself that there are other ways to grow as a yogi. I'm working on embracing more of the philosophy of yoga and learning about it as much as I can.

Please don't misunderstand me - I know you don't need or shouldn't feel the need to sign up for a monthly subscription of yoga goodies to get delivered to your door every month to learn more about yoga or to "grow as a yogi." What I'm saying is that BuddiBox contributes to helping me keep my passion for yoga alive, fresh and exciting. It also helps me feel more connected with the yoga community. It introduces me to new products and ideas that I would never explore otherwise, and for this, I love it.
 
BuddiBox contents Feb. 2015
 

Monday, 16 February 2015

What yoga has taught me over the past year

This month marks the one year anniversary that I earned my 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) certificate. It was an exceptional year, to say the least. Aside from meeting wonderful people, sharing hundreds of hours of yoga, traveling the globe, and getting engaged to the most wonderful man who is a better partner in life than I could have ever dreamed of, I learned a few key points from the practice of yoga. Here are just a few:

Yoga needs to be a part of your life – not all of your life

I’m a very ambitious person and always have been. There are so many things I want to do and accomplish in life. Writing has always been my passion and now yoga is, too. I also work full time, have a house to take care of, a relationship to love and tend to…the list goes on. Not to mention I like to make people happy and have a hard time saying no.

Over the past year, I’ve learned that yoga should be a compliment to your life. You cannot neglect your practice, but you have to find balance between practicing the asanas (the movements) of yoga and caring for your family. Fit yoga into your regular routine, but don’t allow it be all-consuming.

It’s called a practice because it’s never finished

Your yoga practice is a work in progress. You have to be gentle with yourself, yet you have to be committed. Over the holiday season, I didn’t practice for about a month and I felt the consequences. I was stressed out and tired, and when I finally got back to my mat I could tell that I was physically weaker. While you need balance in your life, you have to set some time aside on a daily basis to practice the asanas of yoga. There will always be room to grow and more to learn.

You are perfect just the way you are

This was – and still is – a hard one for me. Like most people, I’ve always picked myself apart and never felt like I was enough. But I’ve learned that yoga doesn’t care what you look like. It doesn’t care what you wear or what you eat. All that matters is that you show up and practice – on and off the mat. And I’ve been working on taking this to heart. Yes, I can have goals and want to work towards things. But just because I can’t hold a handstand without the wall doesn’t make me any less of a person or practitioner than someone who can. And just because my car isn’t new or my house isn’t as big doesn’t make me less of a person either. I am enough.

It’s never too late

Since I was a little girl, I’ve always wanted to be an author. At the age of 29, I started a personal blog (this one!). And guess what else? I got published! I am now a published author. There were points in my life when I didn’t think the day would ever come. But now at the age of 30, I am finally acting out on my dreams and passions. I’m excited about the unknown and what the future will hold. It’s never too late to start.

I’ve said this before and I hope I get to say it again: This has been the best year of my life.

This photo was taken a year ago, by my best friend Chelsea. 
I wanted the photos to be taken as a gift to me, from me, for completing my 200 YTT.
They were also a gift  from Chelsea, to me, because she's a great, thoughtful and generous person.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

How yoga can help you find love


February – the month of love. Valentine’s Day is celebrated by many, and those who don’t celebrate it can’t escape the red balloons and heart shaped boxes of chocolates everywhere. But if this day means wallowing in self-pity and eating out of a tub of ice cream on the couch listening to sob music, then look no further. If you’re feeling lonely and want to know what you need to do to help you find “the one”, the answer is easy: you to need to do more yoga.

This how and why yoga can help you find love:

Yoga makes you spend a lot of time with yourself - inside your heart, soul and mind.

In a yoga practice, it’s just you and you mat. And during this time, you get to know yourself on a deeper level. Maybe on a level that you never knew existed. What do you really want out of life? What do you need out of life? Don’t force anything and let the thoughts naturally come and go. Answers may come to you when you least expect it, and can be applied to all circumstances – including your love life.

Yoga places no judgment on yourself or others

Yoga means to unite the body, mind and soul. It doesn’t care what clothes you wear, what you ate for supper, or where you live. It’s important to remember this in a practice.

Yoga says you’re supposed to be nice to yourself. Don’t judge your body. Notice negative thoughts and let them go. Don’t judge your neighbour, either. It doesn’t matter how close their nose gets to their toes, what they’re wearing, or if they showed up five minutes late for class.

The more you practice this non-judgmental state of mind, the more you may notice judgments that you place on yourself and others throughout your daily activities, therefore making it easier to lessen the judgments and ultimately, letting them go. Naturally, this will open many opportunities for you in life, including in the dating world.

Yoga will help you learn patience


Anytime you feel you need to move faster in a yoga class is a sign that you need to slow down. Yoga is not a race or a competition – and neither is life. It may take months or years before you take a pose to the next level and this is true with relationships, too. Be patient with yourself and with your practice. Be patient with the journey of life. It will all happen as it’s supposed to, and practicing yoga can help you understand this.

Yoga will teach you how to respect your boundaries

When you let go of judgment, you become more in tune with your boundaries and know that it’s ok to stop if something doesn’t feel right, or if it causes you pain. This is why child’s pose is offered in many classes – to stop and take a break. Everyone’s body is different and capable of doing different things. This is true with a person’s heart, too. The more you get to know and accept yourself, the more likely you are to respect yourself, making it easier to choose the right partner for yourself or move on if you know they’re not right.

Yoga encourages self-love

It’s true what they say – you can’t love anyone else until you love yourself. Not only does the physical movement of yoga release your “happy hormones,” like all exercise does, but it allows you to take time out of your day for you, and only you. Showing up on the mat is loving yourself, and everyone needs more of that.

Put down the ice cream and don’t allow self-pity to creep into your life. Practice more yoga and let your body and emotions flow. Great things will happen.
 

Friday, 13 February 2015

Favorite Thing Friday: Homemade Moisturizing Lip Gloss

I have extremely dry lips right now. Abnormally dry. They have been cracking and peeling and feel like they are on fire. Not cool, right? Not very kissable, either! Or attractive for that matter, but as usual, my fiancĂ© has been extremely supportive and understanding :) That being said, I know what you're thinking:

"Have you tried Vaseline?"

"Burts Bees?"

"Blistex?"

Yes, yes and yes. And I can probably answer yes to any other suggestions that come my way, too.

Finally, after a trip to the health food store, I was inspired. I knew what I needed to do and let me tell you that the instant gratification and long term, lasting effects of this all-natural, easy, DIY, homemade lip gloss/therapy has been a game changer for my chapped lips. And to top it off, it smells and tastes delicious. This is all you need:

  • A tablespoon of coconut oil
  • A tablespoon of olive oil
  • 3/4 of a tablespoon of honey
Mix the ingredients all together in a little container and let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours. After it sits for a bit, take it out, stir it up again, and voila! You have a natural, delicious, healing, moisturizing lip gloss.

*Worth mentioning: it will soften and melt easily, especially if it sits around in your pocket all day. When this happens, just stick it back in the fridge for a bit.

The only three ingredients you need!
Try it out and let me know what you think :)

Thanks for reading,

Lisa

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Five tips to help make a busy life more manageable

Life is busy. Everyone is busy. I don't necessarily agree with this lifestyle, but it seems to be the 'cool' thing to do. Scheduling time with friends can take months; having time to yourself is a novelty, and on top of work, health, family and friends, you sill have to make time to manage day-to-day activities. Pinterest crafts? Forget about it. Who has the time, right? But if you want to effortlessly make your way through each day without running around frantically looking for something or being late for every occasion, here are five tips to help keep your head above water and make it look like you really have your shit together:

Photo retrieved from: http://bit.ly/18e0rPU

1) Load up on some essentials

 And by essentials, I mean blank cards, gift bags, and tissue paper.

Chances are, you are always going to be giving gifts. Why? Because people don't stop having babies, birthdays or showers. Buy these three essential things in neutral colours and keep them in a closet. You'll save time and money.

2) Do a little bit of laundry each day, or as necessary

I'm not suggesting you wash an item the day it gets thrown in the laundry basket. What I mean is, if there's enough clothes for one load of laundry then toss them in the wash. This chore is much easier to manage if you stay on top of it. Plus, it's one that can be done as you do other things around the house, maximizing on your time, and you'll never be scrounging through your closet looking for a cute outfit.

3) Set a day aside to cook meals and then freeze them

This take a little bit of commitment but trust me, it's totally worth it. There' nothing worse then having no food for lunch when you have a busy at the office and can't sneak away to get a sandwich. Or when you're pressed for time and can't sit down for supper or - worse yet - you have unexpected company and nothing made to feed them.

It's very convenient to have a frozen lasagna, shepherd's pie, chili...or anything, really, to eat when you're in a bind and didn't have the time or resources to prepare a meal.

4) Stop washing your hair everyday

This is the biggest time saver EVER. I don't know about you, but washing, drying and styling my hair can sometimes take over an hour. When you train your hair to stop needing to be shampooed every day, you save a lot of time. Not to mention all the fun, cute, experimental hair styles you get to play with!

Read my post about to stop washing your hair everyday.

5) Use a planner or calendar

I know this sounds like an obvious one, but it's key to keeping your life organized. Put everything in your calendar - whether it be in your phone calendar, or a pocket calendar in your purse - write it down. If you have to do it, I repeat: write it down. Not only will typing/writing something help keep it fresh in your memory, but you can check in with it everyday to help manage your roles and expectations. And when I say make note of everything, I mean everything. Write down grocery lists, wish lists and to-do lists. Are you supposed to phone someone back? Write it down.

It's easy to forget the little things in today's fast-paced world, but you never know what it could mean to someone if you remember the little things. I find that doing these things helps keep me organized, making my life seem just a little less hectic.

What do you to do stay on top of things? Any tips to share for making your life more manageable? I'd love to hear them :)

Thanks for reading,
Lisa