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So there I was, eyes closed, hand on my belly, listening to Alan's cues. I was trying really hard to nail the technique and experiencing the flip flop between breathing and thinking that I'm sure you've experienced if you practice yoga or meditate.
Feeling my belly inflate like a balloon.
Noticing the longer inhale, shorter exhale.
How long have we been doing this?
How long are we going to do this?
Am I doing this right?
You know that voice in your head? The one that chatters incessantly about everything that's going on in your life, worries about what might one day happen in your life, overanalyzes your every move and oh, sometimes if you're lucky, wakes you up at 3 o'clock in the morning with a few problems you really need to worry about. Today we're going to talk about that.
And for those of you that are reading or listening to this thinking 'I don't have a voice in my head', yah you do. Whoever you heard say that just now is the very voice I'm talking about.
We all have that voice and while it serves a very essential purpose by allowing us to process and understand the world around us, when it's left to run wild, it causes problems. By problems, I mean it has the potential to make us feel really awful about who we are and what we do.
Committing to a weekly post has been both a really fulfilling and at times, I'll admit, really frustrating experience. Writing is so much fun when you're full of ideas, creativity is flowing and the words just seem to spill out onto the page one after the other. But what about those days when writing is more the slow process of staring at a blank page with no idea where to start and no clue what to say? You guessed it, not so fun.
Maybe it's that we're in the heart of winter and my energy is always lower at this time of year. Maybe it's the lack of inspiration that I'm feeling during my slow season - which I'm okay with and wrote about last week - but for some reason, I've had a lot of trouble getting words out recently. I told myself I would have this post finished days ago and here I am, finally tackling my blank screen because Monday morning is here and the 'editor' of this blog is pressing me for the finished product - that's me!
I'm sitting here at the laundromat - glam Friday, I know - and overheard the lady who works here say to a man leaving 'have a nice day'. He nodded towards the snowy street (in London standards) and moaned, "how can you possibly have a nice day in this?"
Mindset - it's everything. I've been in a bit of a funk this week that started with an overflowing pipe in our living room (ew) that then spiralled into seriously missing my yoga community in Canada and then moved into feeling sorry for myself that Mike works allllll the time. I find it usually happens like that, for me at least, start complaining about one thing and it has a domino effect.
Basically, I'm right where I should be. I needed to overhear the man in the laundromat letting the weather - something he can't control - dictate his happiness.
I've had to explain more times than I can count this year how I own a yoga studio in Canada but can somehow manage to peace out to London for 8 months of the year. It's easy to explain to the Toronto crowd that understands the short but intense busy season that hits cottage country every summer. It's a little harder for the Londoners who have never heard of this 'Muskoka' place to wrap their head around.
I explain that it's an outdoor studio and that it's only open for 4 months of the year - but if one of your could strike a deal with Mother Nature and get me 6 that would be great! I'm most often met with the same reaction...
A few months ago, I wrote a post about anticipatory anxiety and the useless but frequent habit I have of worrying about what I think might happen in the future.
When I moved to London for the year, I told Mike that I was worried about enrolling for this years June yoga retreat in Muskoka because for the first time since I started teaching, I wasn't going to have any presence on a regular schedule in Oakville/Mississauga/Toronto. He tried his best to reassure me but deep down the irrational voice in my head was worried that no one would sign up because everyone would forget about me by then. Sounds so silly typing it out and sharing that with the world, but let's face it, I'm sure that you also hear a lot of stupid things between those two ears of yours.
I complicate things. It's a skill I've mastered over the years. From the simple decisions of daily life like: what should I have for dinner? To the big picture questions like: what's my life purpose? I overanalyze everything - especially in the wee hours of the morning when I can't sleep and am certainly not going to find any answers.
I remember sitting with a friend a while back, struggling with indecision around a major life choice and after telling her everything that way flying around in my head I said: I just don't know what to do.
"But you do know. You just don't want to do it."
A few months ago I vowed to give up being paralyzed by my quest for writing perfection. I finally started blogging again and took it one step further by committing to put out a new post every Monday morning. Aside from a little break I took over the Holidays, I have been really consistent with my weekly blog post and it feels great. I'm inspired and in love - okay fine, some days maybe not - with the process of writing again and for the first time in, well maybe forever, I'm not really concerned with who is out there reading. I'm writing for me because it feels really, really good to just be creating again.
If there's one thing I've learned from listening to countless podcasts about writing, entrepreneurship and anything in the realm of creativity, it's that we can't just sit around waiting for inspiration to strike.
For those of you reading this that practice yoga, I want you to think of a pose that is out of your reach. One that you eye on Instagram. One that you feel a little twinge of jealousy when the person next to you in class float up like a little angel into it and you, the commoner, are left behind in some basic pose.
If you don't do yoga, I want you to think about something in your life that you really want. The job promotion, the big house, the rockin' body or in the words of Queen, somebody to love. The type of thing that isn't a part of your life right now but that you tell yourself if you could just have that thing, that success or that partner, then you'd finally be happy.
It's a part of who we are. I often struggle with balancing my deeply rooted desire to do and be more - which we all have - with my desire to be present, appreciate what I have and not be so hard on myself
So yes, I'm a little late to the punch here but as you all know, January was a slow start for me with my trip home. Here's what I'm moving around my mat to this month and I'll warn you, it's a bit more dance/house inspired than some of my Muskoka playlists with lots of good oldies. So if the dance-y stuff isn't your thing, check back in February.
Feel free to follow along on Spotify if that makes for easier listening.
Happy Flowing! Xo
Direct - Tranquility
Izzamuzzic - Adventure - Original Mix
Gavin James, Richard Judge - For You - J.U.D.G.E. Remix
Nall, Lawrence - Angkor
I'm back to school today and so excited about it. As you read this I'll be immersed in Day 1 of Module 2 of my 300-Hour Teacher Training with Jason Crandell. I learned so much from him in Module 1 that despite the full schedule, long hours and way too much time sitting on the floor for anatomy, I didn't want it to end. I'm excited to be diving in again so I can share more with all of you! Module 1 focused on the Hips + Legs. Module 2 is all about building integrity and stability in the Core + Spine. We practice what we're learning so in all honestly, I'm a little scared. Say a little prayer for my tummy muscles!
My biggest takeaway from Module 1 and what I'm excited to explore further in the next two weeks is how the simplest parts of our practice have the biggest impact.
It seems like so many of you have kicked off this year with clear intentions and big goals. I've been loving all the enthusiasm that you've shown for 2018. I always like to have a healthy, productive and inspired January but I have to be honest with you.
My first week of 2018 was anything but that.
I pretty much did the opposite of what most of you were doing and I wouldn't have it any other way. It was a lovely and much needed break from the healthy and sometimes rigid routine that I often find myself in. That said, when I returned to London a week ago I was ready to get back to it with two very clear intentions for this month.
1. Save Money. London is expensive!
2. Eat Healthy. More specifically, eat most of my meals at home.