Lessons From a Yoga Class

Last night after work I went to yoga to recenter and unwind. Instead of focusing on an intention when we began, the teacher suggested we think about something we’re good at or proud of.  She shared a story about her stellar ability to parallel park; although everyone laughed, her point was understood.

We need to celebrate all our positive qualities, not just pick out the negative.

We are our worst critics.  After busy days at work, responsibilities, and (for some) families to care for, we can easily feel we’re slacking in certain areas of our lives or not living up to our potential.  Sometimes we need to focus on those little things- those tiny victories- to help get us through the day.   We may beat ourselves up for mistakes or flaws, but she reminded us to focus on what your own parallel parking is.

Yoga taught me several lessons last night.  Certain positions were uncomfortable; I felt wobbly and weak, but remembered: next time will be better.  That was why I was there- to gain strength, mentally and physically- not because it was supposed to be easy.

Life is like that, too.

At one point the instructor came up to me and helped me with a pose, which normally would make me feel embarrassed or uncomfortable- but last night it didn’t.  I felt grateful.  My ego wasn’t on the forefront- I was there to learn and to grow.

That’s what life is all about.

As yoga came to a close, she said to the class: “My goal for all of you is to stop moving out of habit.”

Then, in my mind I thought, “stop moving out of habit- move out of purpose.”

We run around all day, multitask, cross off to-do lists, and fill our calendars.  But do we really need to be moving?  Maybe, just maybe, we can take a deep breath and slow down.  We can focus on those things we do well, and continue to grow in the things we need to improve.

Our egos are merely an illusion; are we moving to keep up with our neighbors, or because we have a purpose?  Are we trying to impress those around us, or are we following our own hearts?

Setting intentions that are true to you and remembering all of your gifts and talents is so important on a daily basis.  In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we need to remember what’s going right, not wrong.

Last night I focused on my strengths, went easy on myself for not being “perfect,” and accepted the help that was offered to me. I’m going into this Wednesday with a grateful heart and open mind- although certain poses may be uncomfortable, we’re building up to be even stronger tomorrow.

Refuel the Soul: Weekend Self-Care

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Happy Friday! Another week has come to an end, so it’s time to rejuvenate and relax. Self-care is crucial to our everyday health and happiness, but many of us push it to the side as we maneuver through our busy schedules.

It’s important to spend time to reflect on how your week was, consciously recognize how you’re feeling and what you need to do to have a productive week ahead.

Alone Time

Each weekend I put aside time to myself to do the things I enjoy and make me feel good about me. Whether it’s yoga, writing, going for a long walk, enjoying a homemade breakfast or sipping coffee with a good book, my alone time is imperative to my self-care and overall mood.

Instead of feeling like I have to be “on the go” all of the time, I balance my time between self-care and social interactions. It makes me appreciate my friends and family much more when I have a balance; I can easily get burned out if I don’t take some time to myself (typical introvert, of course).

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Gratitude Journal

You can’t be unhappy and grateful at the same time! Documenting my daily gratitudes have helped me immensely when I’m stuck in my own head or feeling down. Start a special journal and write down a few things each day that you’re grateful for. It’s wonderful to look back on them when you’re in a funk, too! It’s also a great way to get into journaling (which has been proven to increase happiness and improve health).

Exercise

Whether it’s the gym, a sport or taking a class, get out there and exercise! The weekend is a perfect time to burn off energy from your busy schedule and prepare for the week ahead. Although I’m not a fan of the gym, I walk at least five miles a day, take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator, attend yoga class and love outdoor activities. Find what works for you!

Art Therapy

Drawing, painting, crafts and coloring can be very therapeutic and are wonderful activities for mindfulness. I like to keep a coloring book and pencils with me for when I’m stressed, killing time or commuting. It’s amazing how a little creativity can elevate your mood! Inspirational coloring pages are my favorite- here are a few of my favorites for you to print.

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Eat Well

Thinking about picking up a pizza and living off leftovers for the next day? That’s fun every now and then, but try to be more conscious of what you put in your body when you have that extra time to prepare your meals and think about what you’re consuming. Saturday morning is my favorite time to grocery shop- I used to buy my produce that day and prepare juices for the weekend and pack lunch for the days ahead. Take this time to learn a new recipe, too! I am a big fan of Jessica Seinfeld’s recipes (yes, she is married to Jerry); they’re perfect for the person who claims they can’t cook or are nervous to try.

Don’t Be Afraid to Say “No.” 

Feeling burned out? Listen to your body! Just because you have the spare time doesn’t mean you need to fill every second. Don’t fall victim to FOMO! Enjoy the peace and quiet, take care of the things you need to do and remember to take care of you!

Check out these other self-care practices thanks to Tiny Buddah.