Being Present.

I wonder what everyone would be like if they took a moment out of their day to acknowledge their body.

Sit with their breath.

Be comfortable in the uncomfortable-ness of standing still.

There is this part of practicing yoga that forces you to be aware of what it feels like to breathe deeply. What it is like to take an hour or so out of your day to focus on what it means to sway back and forth in a forward fold.

Yoga stirs up those emotions.

You know the ones. Those sneaky bastards that are harbored deep in your spine, burrowed down in your hip bones. The stone in the back of your throat. With a gentle hand, I find myself in reclined pigeon, surprised at the release I didn’t know I needed.

How easy it is to whirlwind my way through life. Filling up every hour with plans and lists and day dreams. How simple it is to remain tied to my past while simultaneously flinging myself into my future.

To slow down. To stop the constant spinning. The never-ending planning. The “what now?” that has become my minute-to-minute mantra.

The time I take to dedicate myself to stretching is the time I take for myself. For my creaky knees and sloped back. For quieting my mind, for meditation in what ever form it will take for the day.

Yogi Tea

adapted from Yoga Yoga Austin Yogi Tea Recipe

We serve this tea after every class at the studio I work at… now I am lost and confused when I don’t have my tiny cup of spicy deliciousness… I am spoiled rotten.

To make two quarts:

  •     2 quarts water
  •     15 whole cloves
  •     20 black peppercorns
  •     3 sticks of cinnamon
  •     20 whole cardamom pods (split the pods first)
  •     8 ginger slices (1/4″ thick, no need to peel)
  •     1/2 teaspoon black tea leaves (we use decaf)
  •     Milk and Honey to taste (use local honey, helps with allergies and the like)

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a 3-4 quart pot. Add cloves and boil for one minute. Next, add cardamom, peppercorns, cinnamon, and fresh ginger root. Cover and boil for at least 30 minutes. For best flavor, cover and simmer for 2 to 3 hours. When ready, remove from heat, add black tea and let cool. Strain tea. When ready to drink, add soy and sweeten to taste with honey or maple syrup.

Drink often.

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The Joy of Giving

I have figured it out. I now know how to connect yoga and christmas.

This epiphany came to me in my bed this morning. I had my day planned out down to the minute– as I do. My alarm went off at the appropriate time for my run, followed by my yoga, followed by a walk with a friend, followed by a trip to REI for a coat I have been drooling over, followed by work. You are at the edge of your seat, I can tell.

Here is what happened instead. My bed was warm. Seattle was cold. My dog’s head was on my chest, and he smells like warm potato chips (delicious). My sheets are made of fleece (literally). So I said NO, turned my alarm off and let the sound of hail lull me back to sleep for another hour.

I then had a panic attack about messing up my plans, guilt about not exercising to my full potential, and a realization that I now gained 10 pounds.

Yep, call me rational.

After my head decided to have a break down, it dawned on me. This season (this glorious, miraculous, blissful season) is all about giving. It is all about traditions, and family and being with the ones you love. A lot of time, it becomes about being one giant stress ball of anger and not being good enough.

So here is what it came down to. I rolled out my mat, put on my Adele Pandora radio station and spent some time with my sweet self. I spent 45 perfect minutes stretching how I wanted to stretch. Breathing how I wanted to breathe, and giving myself the gift of unscheduled, unplanned time. I followed this peace with a long walk in the cold, drinking coffee and having a nice conversation with a genuine person.

It was a perfect day.

Lesson learned. This season (this life) it is easy to get caught up in a whirlwind of dates and plans. It is easy to forget to give yourself gifts– to remember to slow down. My gift is yoga. Your gift may be a pint of beer and a good book. It may be a long nap under the new fleece sheets you went to buy (really, do it.)

The season of giving. To others… And yourself.