It’s that time of year when people start doing cleanses, detoxes, and spring cleaning. I have certainly been feeling yuck from winter’s layer but more of feeling stuck in stuff lately. I had dinner with a friend last night and we were talking about this exact thing… how things and clutter actually block the flow of energy causing symptoms of “clutter stress.”
Our conversation made me remember an article I came across last week about a woman who had so much but still wasn’t happy. You’ve heard these stories… but this one was different. This woman was inspired by a website about a 100 Things Challenge and how you can live simply by owning only 100 personal items.
“No way!” are the first words to come to mind. 100 things only? really? I am curious… 100 seems undoable but I gotta start somewhere eh? So while I begin going thru my mounds of things, move over Oprah!… your favorite things list has just been trampled by Nikki’s list of favorite things that won’t raise your clutter stress index:
An Indoor Herb rack at the LYFE Kitchen in Palo Alto where I had dinner with my friend. Bye-bye shoe rack…
Herb wall rack
Gerbera daisies… they scream spring time and sunshine… make room on the counter for these beauties!
Food porn! I love to eat! And more than loving to eat is eating with great company! Friends old and new is the secret ingredient in all meals.
This salad is called "scrumptiously divine" sashimi salad
I love a good challenge… Ok so I’m trading away some other things to make room for this beauty. I always thought of myself as musically challenged… we’ll see.
What I love more than things are experiences. My favorite experience from last week… getting all of us to hold and sync this pose with a 10 second timer and hearing, “mommy, the sky is upside down.”
And who doesn’t like a good quote to make you sound all smart:
Loved The Lorax Movie!
P.S. These will blend right in next to the thyme and rosemary rack
A girl can never have too many heels, right?
What’s on your favorite things list that won’t ever count towards your 100 items?
Over the weekend, I finally finished the kiddo’s room make over that was suppose to happen a year ago. Yes, that’s procrastination at it’s best! Over the last year, I’ve spent so many hours and afternoons cleaning and organizing their rooms, giving them the space to stay organized and clean. But no matter how many times I’ve cleaned their cubbies, closets, toy bins and organized their things for them so they would put things back in their places, it NEVER worked! A week later, back to a pig pen and I’m left frustrated to threaten that I will throw everything away. I finally figured it out when I decided to completely dedicate an entire week to get this make over project done. They needed a space to call their own. A space that they would be proud of. A space where they can find joy and a sense of responsibility. A space that sets them up for success. (pics below)
Ready for practice
I often suggest to my students that they should set up their (yoga) space for success. What does this mean? Set up your physical space by setting up your props, towel, water, etc to be accessible and ready to support you when you need. One block on each side of your mat, strap by your side, towel and water near you. Set up your mental space by turning off your cell phone, finish your conversations, set your intention and commit to presence. I often see students bring props to their space, but it either stays at the back of their mat or way off to the side that they can’t reach it when they need it in a pose. Then instead of coming out of the pose and finding the prop, they stay and struggle because by the time they get the prop, the teacher is gonna call the next pose. A successful space will not only support you physically, but also mentally. When we have everything we need, we don’t have excuses to come out of the pose at the moment that our mind tries to take over and bully us into releasing the pose because it’s “too hard.” Count the number of times that you fidget in a pose, fix your hair, fix your yogi toes, sip your water, look around, go to the bathroom, etc anything but stay and feel what you feel. These are “exit doors.” They are convenient ways for us to find an excuse to get out of the pose. If you have to get out, simply get out and take child’s pose. A quick blurb about sipping water. Not only should your space be set up for success but also set up yourself for success. There are times when we are really thirsty, but other times it’s just another excuse to not stay and experience the pose. Come to class hydrated instead of trying to hydrate during class. These are simple tools you can use to deepen your practice (A deep practice doesn’t necessarily mean stronger poses and deeper stances, but there are ways to deepen your commitment and your presence — more on this later).
Before the make over:
Niko's messy room
After a simple paint job and tough negotiations to decide what stays and what gets donated:
Jazzy is working on a couple of canvases for the empty wall space
Niko's creative corner
No extra cubbies to invite clutter and mess
Today I’m stuck. It’s hump day and I feel like I can’t get up and over this day. Energy stuck. Mind stuck. Emotions stuck. Shoulders tight. Hammies tight. Back tight. Hmmmm…
How to get unstuck? And no, yoga was not the answer for me (surprise.surprise.) Well ok.. maybe it is yoga. But not the yoga you know me for. Not power yoga. I need some rest. To stay in child’s pose, balasana for 10 minutes. To put my legs up the wall in viparita karani for 10 minutes. To stay in a supine twist 5 minutes each side. And then to lay in savasana for 30 minutes. Seems boring? More like peaceful.
My mind has been racing too much this week and it’s no wonder why I couldn’t get into my flow during practice. I felt like I was muscling my way through the postures and left with no energy afterwards. Taking a more restorative approach left me feeling more powerful and renewed.
So yes, even a power yogini needs a restorative (whimpy as some of you might call it) practice. But there is nothing whimpy about surrendering. In fact, it takes some courage to admit that you need some rest. We are such a goal driven, task oriented, more is more culture. Admitting that you need some rest could invoke feelings of weakness, incompetence, and “I suck!” attitude.
One of my favorite poses is child’s pose or balasana. I often remind students that not only does this pose provide a home base for their practice during class, but the “bow” is very symbolic of surrender both physically and mentally. Sometimes the body just needs a break. Sometimes our minds need a break too… a break from the ego.. to continuously push and challenge. Sometimes it’s all mental and giving ourselves permission to surrender becomes the practice. The word ‘bala’ means strength and ‘asana’ means posture/seat.
Today I am taking my seat of strength. Letting go of my goals. Dumping off excess. Saying ‘No.’ Choosing stillness and surrender. Doing nothing that really means something.
How do you connect back to stillness? To surrender? To your seat of strength?
The back side of my new business cards! Can't wait til I get'em!
… And a breath of fresh air! Welcome to my new blog look (updated website coming soon too).
This blogging adventure has really challenged me to keep reinventing, to keep peeling away, to keep sharing, and to keep revealing my self to the world, just as I am…
Thanks for visiting and reading and challenging me with your words, presence and spirit!
Stay and linger, share me, leave a comment, give suggestions, ask questions…
About photo banner and credits given where due:
* My little catepillar I found in my backyard. It’s currently in it’s chrysalis and can’t wait to see what it will transform into.
* Me in low lunge taken by Nadia Nasiri
* Blue butterfly from http://www.wallpapers.co.rs
* Me by me at Vasona park – goofing off hanging by the moss wall
“I want my hour back! waaahhhhhh,” I said this morning. Why why why? Who’s crazy idea is it to lose an hour when I need 25 hrs in a day… until I went outside today with the kiddos and saw these beauties. This week, I’m keeping it simple, savoring the sunshine, and awakening my senses and welcoming spring even with sniffles and watery eyes. I will begin my wild flower honey allergy remedy as soon as this current allergy attack calms down. With spring rearing her head so is my 5K coming up. Haven’t ran the last 4 days because of the rain and hay fever. Tomorrow 30 minute run for sure!
A neighbor's front lawn
Right off the curb of the street next to a patch of weeds
Just a cluster of flowers bursting with color
I think this is a weed that thrives on sunshine
A bloom from our jade plant
Weeds could be so much fun.
And lunch for me: seaweed soup. Great way to start a spring cleanse.
Has a week really passed since my last post? Uh ok.. missing in action for good reasons! Well I could say I didn’t blog cause sitting down to type was painful as my left bum was still pretty sore for several days after being dropped in acro class. There’s some truth to that but of course I was really too busy having fun and planning fun things the entire week. Here’s the scoop:
Planning this summer’s camping and yoga retreat weekend with some amazing people! Stay tuned for this one..
Flying lessons. The best thing for a sore bum is to not sit on it so go fly. We practiced a little bit on our own cause bimonthly classes is not feeding my addiction to this practice. New poses learned: The walnut. Check it out:
Friday night – San Francisco Yoga Journal conference with Seane Corn and Michael Franti. Another item checked off my bucketlist. For the past year, I’ve wanted to go see Michael Franti live but everytime he had a concert, I was unable to attend (hmm it was prolly some excuse I had). Not this time! It was a fun night of yoga, music and running around in spirals like crazy kids. Imagine a huge room full of adults (prolly 100+) holding hands. One end of the line starts running towards the center of the room and then everyone follows. A spiral starts to form in the center as the line coils in. Imagine some parts of the line running fast and some parts slowing down. Wheeeeeee! It was like a human roller coaster. I never had so much fun doing such a silly and simple act of running. And yes I need to work on my cardio and also find a bunch of friends so we could do this outside on the lawn!
There is a fun truth to random acts of sillyness or even funny looking pants (or fun pants to wear? NOT!).
Doing the block walk
Here’s one of which Niko had this week. An hour of fun with some plain’ol yoga blocks: It takes skill, concentration, and balance to walk through this maze of yoga blocks!
The nugget for this past week I walk away with is how can I serve my community. Seane Corn challenged us. How can I serve? How can I take my practice beyond my mat? During the class, she asked us to set an intention and take a 40 day challenge to service. I could not find an intention to set… one that would resonante with me deeply and one that would be a honest act of service. One that I wanted to do and didn’t feel like I was forced to do it. I’ve thought about this for several days now and have still yet to set an intention. I am feeling the feeling of wanting to resurrect YogaRiffic Kids again. I’m not sure if teaching group classes is my intention, but I am feeling an overwhelming sense of joy from what I am learning about living like a kid. Running like mad in a circle and walking on yoga blocks was the highlight of my week. Gotta be something in that right? Well I got 40 days to figure this out and do something really meaningful. Michael pointed out some resolutions that people usually make. It’s the usual list we make over and over and over to lose weight, eat healthier, quit smoking, yadah ya. He says it doesn’t work cause we don’t have an action plan and when we do, it’s unrealistic to follow. A facebook friend posted this week that we spend more time planning a vacation than we do planning our life goals. Some of us don’t even have goals. Hmm you wonder why you feel stuck. Lately I’ve found myself saying, “Same ‘ol stuff, different day” quite a bit. I have a list of things I want to accomplish, but they usually get thrown out the door because I don’t have time or the money or this or that to accomplish it. Well in the next 40 days, I will set some intentions for my life around service, career, health, finance, and FUN! No more excuses because we are our own bus drivers! Oh I will have an official buckelist too. These bucklist things have been floating in my head and it needs to be declared!
From fart bombs (smelly ones) to puddles of sweat to great friends and great conversations and ending with t-shirts that say “I survived Nikki’s class.” Use your imagination… I’m blissed out!
Monday morning is never short of adventure. Getting ready for school and making sure everyone gets a decent breakfast is quite the argh-venture. Today was somewhat different. Sure we rushed but we all stayed calm. Wow! I guess yoga IS working. Cool thing is everyone got to school on time. I got to work 15 minutes early! That was weird! I didn’t quite know what to do with myself. But there’s the universe guiding me where I needed to be again. As I get there early, the first student walks in… a regular practioner. She’s looking more low energy than her usual self. Turns out I needed to be an ear for her. Ha! Problem solved. Made myself useful.
It’s the usual routine after class — pick up Niko and have lunch before picking up Jazzy. Well not really.
Once again my boy never ceases to amaze me. The innocence of a child truly brings to light the meaning of adventure. After lunch he went to my yoga room and plops on top of my storage bin and stares out the window while enjoying his slice of apple. “Whatcha doing, Niko?” “Just looking at the big rock outside. I wanna be a big rock.” “Why?” “Because you can just sit there and watch all the things outside. The squirrel can hide his nuts under me and I can eat it up. Yummmmm.” “Why else?” “I dunno.. lay out in the sun all day.”