5 reasons we all need yoga right now
life in 2017… it’s interesting, right? the world is a really, really crazy place right now.
there’s lots of change happening and many of us are getting caught up in the moment of everything… we keep scrolling through the comments of those truly awful facebook posts [i’ve literally lost all faith in humanity doing this]… we’re cutting people out of our lives when their opinion doesn’t align with our own… sometimes, we’re just curling up into a ball, crying our eyes out, and telling ourselves that we should just give. the eff. up. that it’s all a waste of time and we have no control over where anything is going.
it’s easy to forget the big picture. it’s easy to feel hopeless. it’s so easy to be afraid of what’s ahead. but does feeling this way help us rise above the bullsh*t and continue to move forward, both on a personal and societal level?
i’m guilty of feeling all of the things i outlined above. i go through periods where i feel paralyzed by my anxiety… moments where giving up seems like the best option, because why fight a losing battle, ya know? and this applies to my feelings on my personal goals, my professional goals, and where i wish society would go as a whole.
my anxiety pretty much encompasses everything. it’s not picky. if i can worry about it, i most likely will, sooner or later. but there’s one thing that always, without fail, snaps me out of it. one thing that brings me back to the present moment, brings me back to my power…
probably not very surprising, considering that yoga works wonders for a lot of people, and i’ve talked about what it’s done for me personally here many times before. but sometimes, we do need that friendly reminder to put us back in our place.
a few years ago, i wrote an article for elite daily titled “5 reasons why all millennials would benefit from practicing yoga” that really hit home for me when i was writing it… and i think it resonated with others too – it was shared almost 300 times!
i wanted to share it here today, because i think all of these points are still valid… for everyone, not just millennials [although they may hit a little closer to home for us than other generations].
… and then go hit the mat… and take this little piece of yogi wisdom with you…
the guest house
as a yogi, i’m a huge fan of rumi, a 13th century persian poet whose work is full of wisdom that integrates very well into the practice of yoga. i always find myself being able to take away so much from his beautiful insights, and love the fact that his work is still applicable and relevant in a world that he could have never imagined in his lifetime.
recently, i discovered one of his poems, the guest house, after coldplay [we can talk more about my obsession with them later] used several lines from this piece on their new album. the words intrigued me, so i started googling them… and wasn’t surprised to discover that the message coming through my speakers was from rumi:
needless to say, i’ve become completely obsessed with this piece, and find myself sharing it with friends, and reading it multiple times a week, especially when i feel like i need to take a step back and clear my head.
what i love most is that rumi is giving us permission to feel all of the feels. so often we try to control our emotions, ignore how we’re feeling and pretend like everything is fine, but from this approach, we’re actually being told that it’s not only okay to, but that we should, do the opposite.
i also love the idea of our bodies being the guest house for the feels… “guest” being the key word here… guests of any kind aren’t permanent… and neither are our emotions or those unavoidable bad days.
every situation, every feeling has a purpose. without the bad, we wouldn’t know the good. without feeling sadness, how would we ever know what it feels like to truly be happy? …see where i’m going here?
rumi is also suggesting that each emotion has been given to us as a means of figuring out what our next move is. something doesn’t feel right? okay, great. time to take a look at where this feeling is coming from and determine what can be done to resolve it.
feelings, emotions, situations… they aren’t punishment. you aren’t suffering because the universe hates you. there’s a reason for all of this. you just have to step back, look at things from a different perspective, and find out what that reason is.
the yoga diaries: an update
it’s been quite some time since i’ve done an installment of the yoga diaries, and as i sat in front of my computer trying to come up with a topic for a new post, i gravitated in this direction.
as i’ve mentioned in previous posts, my transition to life on the west coast [best coast] has been a process, and for a couple of months, i really neglected my yoga practice. the studio was too far away or i was too tired after a long day at work … i couldn’t afford a monthly membership … whatever the excuse was, i made it. and even though yoga has played such an important role in my life, for some reason, i failed to realize that this was going to be a problem … and wow, did it become a problem.
when i neglected my yoga practice, a lot changed … and not in a good way! i was constantly stressed out, sleeping for less than 4 hours each night, and just constantly on edge. it felt like nothing was going my way and that i was pushing and pushing and pushing towards things that i was just never going to get to. when i finally reached a breaking point, i assessed what i was doing and realized that one major thing that had shifted was how often i was hitting the mat. i recommitted to a consistent practice and almost instantly felt a shift in my demeanor.
this isn’t to say that there wasn’t anything else impacting how i was feeling, but it made me realize how important my practice is to my sanity and how i go about tackling each day. getting back to a consist practice [and teaching more!] is a new year’s resolution i’m already getting after … i mean, why wait when you can start now?
so, the moral of the story? whatever it is that keeps you sane … keeps you in balance, makes you feel good … never stop doing it, even when … especially when … things get crazy. they will only get crazier. find the hour, the day, whatever you need, to do what you need to do for you.
with all of this being said, a monthly installment of the yoga diaries will be part of the changes i’m making to bananas + bellinis in the new year. it’s important to me as i grow as a teacher and student, and i’m excited to get back to sharing the journey with you here.
motivation mondays: week 38
wow, what a morning! today, i taught my very first yoga class at a studio here in erie, so i apologize for the delay in getting today’s post up! i spent most of yesterday prepping for that [i was a little nervous!] so i’m appreciative of your understanding. also, if you’re an erie resident, i definitely recommend checking out plasha yoga if you ever have the chance. the studio even holds beach classes out on presque isle in the summer… and beach yoga of any kind is as close to paradise as it gets!
since i’m spending some time at home before moving to l.a., i’m getting to know places in the area that i’ve never had a chance to check out before, which has actually been fun, even though there isn’t a whole lot to do in this neck of the woods. yesterday, i went to the southern tier brewery in lakewood, new york. they have a really nice outdoor area where you can sit and enjoy a beer [or two or three] as well as a pretty decent food menu. the veggie tacos were on point.
as much as i enjoy talking about yoga and tacos [i do really love both of those things like, a lot] it’s time to get the week started on a positive note with a little motivation mondays [in case you didn’t know that’s where i was going with all of this already].
this concept has come up in a few of the yoga classes i’ve taken over the past several weeks, and after teaching this morning, i thought sticking with the natural themes of life would be perfect a good way to kick off the week. this whole concept can be a hard thing to wrap your head around [it definitely was for me at first… and still is], but i really love the idea and want to share it here, but i’ll do my best to keep it simple!
everything you experience in the world, everything you see, hear, feel, do, etc., is an expression of you. and in turn, you, just as you are, are an expression of the universe. it goes both ways. not quite following? here’s how i like to look at it:
because you are an expression of the universe, you have everything you need within you to be who and what you want to be.
you don’t need to seek approval from others because they too are an expression of the universe, whether they realize and act like it or not. when we seek our happiness, our inner peace, from outside sources it doesn’t usually end well or last very long, and the reason for this is because we can’t find these things anywhere except within.
ponder that this week and let me know what you think.
1. yea, i was a big fan of the hills and this “where are they now?” article kinda made me really happy [team l.c. for lyfe]. i’m also still holding out hope that brody and l.c. will end up together. i mean, stranger things have happened…
2. because dogs. obviously.
3. wanderlusting hard for Zanzibar after discovering this place the other day. i mean come on.
bonus link this week… to sign up for my newsletter! go ahead, just click here… you know you wanna!
have an amazing, peaceful [both outer and inner!] week… see you on wednesday with a recipe post!
photo courtesy of caged canary
the yoga diaries: pt. v
it’s been quite a while [almost two months, if we wanna get technical] since i took some time to post here on the blog about my yoga “journey”… whatever that means. initially, the yoga diaries was intended to be a place for me to record and share my experience going through yoga teacher training, but as it came to a close, i knew i didn’t want to stop writing about yoga.
when it comes to yoga, the learning never ends and you will forever be a student to the practice, and with that knowledge, it didn’t really seem appropriate to end this series when teacher training ended. so, here we are!
immediately following my teacher training [i’m pretty sure i killed my final exams, by the way], i took a little hiatus from yoga… not on purpose or anything… remember, i love yoga… but i was so busy catching up on life that i didn’t make it to class for almost three weeks… and that was a big change! i spent some time with the friends i hadn’t gotten to see too much of, i slept in, i watched some Netflix, i went out and had a drink or two [which i hadn’t really done while training was going on], i took a few weekend trips… i hung out with my classmates from teacher training outside of the yoga stuido… you get the picture.
i almost felt guilty about it, but you know what? in all honestly, as much as i love yoga, i think my body needed a break after 12-weeks of the most intense practice of my life. it was also a good way to remind myself that yoga is not only a physical practice, but a guide for how you approach life… i feel like regardless of if i get to class or do a single asana in a day, i can still find ways to practice #yogaeverydamnday.
eventually, i made my way back to the studio, opened an unlimited monthly membership and got back to the mat. i’ve been consistent with my practice and can feel the difference in the way i move through each class, the way i push myself when i know i can handle it and the way i back off when i know i can’t.
i don’t even view yoga as a form of “working out” anymore… while it has basically always been the only form of physical activity that i truly enjoy, it’s so much more than that for me at this point. it calms and centers me, connects my thoughts and emotions to my physical body, serves as a spiritual practice [seriously, if yoga was a religion… ] and just makes me feel effing good.
my demeanor and outlook on life has definitely shifted, as well. i feel more confident, less stressed and just generally a little mentally calmer… a lot less brain chatter going on than i’m used to! i don’t dwell on things and have become much better about just letting sh*t go. i feel kind of unstoppable and as if i can do anything i want. i’m gearing up to make some big changes in my life and i honestly don’t know if i would have the courage to do it if i hadn’t gone through this training. i seriously have yoga to thank for so many things.
[my teachers gave me a postcard with this quote on it on the last day of training for a pretty specific reason. i look at it every. single. day. and it will always serve as a pretty special reminder to me… thank you dani and heather for always being so supportive… i love you guys!]
i’ve obviously noticed the changes in myself, but my friends and coworkers have told me they’ve sensed a shift in the way i carry myself, too… as if i seem lighter [not physically, but in an energetic way] and just more at ease. you know you’ve gone through a transformation when other people take notice… and it’s a pretty good feeling!
finally, i’m pretty excited to say that i’ve been teaching classes! i’ve taught a handful of small groups as well as some private sessions and it’s just so much fun. i’m feeling more and more comfortable with teaching each time i do it, and i think i’ll be confident enough to start going on auditions for teaching positions at some studios here in new york soon. the thought terrifies me but… i can do anything i want, right?!
before i sign off for the weekend, if you’re located in new york and want to do some yoga with your’s truly, please reach out! i can teach all levels in private, group or corporate settings and i‘m offering free sessions from now until the end of this month on a first come, first serve basis. if you’re interested in, shoot me an email at email@example.com and let’s get something on the calendar!
enjoy your weekend… and go to yoga! namaste!
the yoga diaries: pt. iv
well, this is it. my final weekend of yoga teacher training is here! tomorrow, i will take my final exam and teach my final pose to my classmates, and sunday, we’ll be celebrating with yoga, food and champagne… and probably a beer or two, as well… because we seriously all deserve it at this point. i’ve even purchased a new outfit for the occasion… because why wouldn’t i?
i’ve spent the last 12 weeks with some pretty incredible people. i couldn’t have asked for more inspirational and amazing teachers to learn from or have been a part of a more caring, open, honest and just generally effing awesome group of people to go through this training with. yoga teacher training has been something I have wanted to do for several years now, and i used to feel like i was losing out by not having the time for it rightthissecond… i sort of felt like i was putting off where i was headed/what i was doing with my life. looking back, i feel like there’s a reason this whole group was brought together and i owe the universe a major thank you for making sure i was too busy to commit to this until now.
as this 12 weeks wraps up, i’m feeling a couple of different ways. first and foremost, i’m nervous for the final exams… but i’m also pretty confident that we’re all gonna absolutely kill it. i’m beyond ready to have a weekend to myself. i love yoga and everything… but a girl needs a break every so often! i’m excited to be able to start auditioning for teaching positions so i can spread the yoga love and see where this takes me, but I’m also pretty sad to not have this happy, safe place to go to every weekend. on top of all that, i’m seriously confused about what i’m going to do with all of my free time! this has become my routine… a routine i’ve seriously loved… and it’s going to take some serious getting used to not being in it.
one the first day of training, our teachers asked all of us to set a sankulpa, which means “intention” in sanskrit, for the training. my sankulpa has been to be okay with where i am. let go of where i think i should be or where i am in comparison to anyone else. while this started as a teacher training specific intention, i’ve made an effort to apply this to all aspects of my life. and i’m so happy that i did.
i’m feeling like a new person these days. i’m more confident. i’m nicer to myself. i don’t feel as if i need to be in control of every aspect of my life or have every little detail figured out, and i do feel more comfortable going with the flow. while i would never have considered myself an uptight control freak, i do have some type a tendencies that show up here and there. i’ve always been an over-thinker and i’ve slowly learned that there is just no point in going through life fighting with myself to try to reach a certain outcome or make decisions immediately. i’m learning to be perfectly happy with the now, and i think half the fun in life comes from the unknown… not knowing what’s next… going with the flow… and being fully present in the moment.
a lot of people might appear to have it all together. even more people pretend to have it all figured out. and yes, some people do have every aspect of the next 10 years of their lives mapped out to a tee, but honestly, to me, that just seems kinda boring and quite frankly, a little bit sad. who knows what could happen tomorrow? next week? next year? no one.
with all of that being said, i’ve also found a new sense of motivation and with all of the free time i’ll have very, very soon, i’m ready to start putting some of the ideas that have been swirling around in my head into action [but not after a week or so of a little vino, netflix and brunch… god i’ve missed brunch… first]. i have a few trips planned in the coming months [weekends in philly, boston and l.a.], my birthday is at the beginning of may and in june, i’m off to australia [!!!!!!!] for a couple of weeks, so i do have a lot to look forward to. i’m promising myself that i will make an honest effort to remain present enough to enjoy life in the moment, while still having all of these fun things on the horizon.
originally, this series was supposed to last for the duration of my teacher training. one thing i have learned is that going through this training is only the beginning. i will forever be a student of this whole yoga thing, so the yoga diaries will continue. and i also want to continue writing these posts because i’ve really loved translating the yoga philosophies into my own words, applying them to my life and sharing them here.
so, until next time… namaste!
the yoga diaries: pt. iii
as of this week, i’m in the final three weeks of yoga teacher training. we’re down to just a few days at this point… and i’m kinda freaking out! t the beginning, 12 weeks sounded like an eternity and now, i’m not ready for it to be over.
spending my weekends immersed in the physical and philosophical practice of yoga has quickly become a part of my routine. it happened so organically and naturally that i’m not even sure how i was spending my time before this. it wasn’t as difficult to fit into my schedule as i thought it would be… i’m not exhausted [well, i’m not exhausted most of the time], i’m still able to do just about everything that I want to do… it seems like i’ve only enhanced my life and elevated my sense of being… definitely an unexpected [but welcome!] benefit of this entire process.
i realized exactly how much this has become a part of my life when i was away and missed training while in miami. yoga has been a huge part of my life for quite some time now, but teacher training has taken it to a new level. it felt weird to be out of my routine. i needed some down time and the opportunity to let loose desperately, but it also showed me how much i also need yoga in my life. i’ve benefited from it in so many ways over the past several years and it continues to change my life in ways i could never have imagined back when i showed up to my first yoga class six/seven years ago.
training has been pretty transformational for me. and not just physically, but mentally and emotionally, too. i knew heading into this that my life was going to change, but i wasn’t exactly sure how. i walked into the studio on january 10th with an open mind and just have kind of let things come and go and manifest themselves on their own. i honestly haven’t had much time to think too in depth about much of anything else, so that mindset has definitely helped me make it through this entire process. i’ve been trying to listen to my gut a lot more and act on feelings rather than thoughts. our brain can sometimes talk us out of going with our feelings, using ration to talk us into or out of something. while making smart decisions is something we need to do, when our mind overpowers our gut it can lead us into sticky situations.
having a weekend off and not practicing yoga while i was away kind of sent me into a tailspin. all of these things that have been in the back of my mind decided to all of a sudden show up front and center. i have so many things that i want to do, but making the decision to go forward with them isn’t exactly easy and i’ve been struggling with that a bit. i’m trying really hard to listen to my gut. i want to make the right decision, but when i try to look ahead… i worry about the “what ifs”… and there are so many of them!
at this point, i’m telling myself “one thing at a time”. i don’t have to make any major, life-altering decisions today, tomorrow or even next week, and i’m just going to continue to try to let everything flow, let the answers come to me when they’re ready to. that’s really all i can do for now.
before i sign off, i wanted to let everyone know that between now and graduation [march 29th], i’m offering free yoga classes to anyone who might be interested. all levels, all class sizes. so, if you’re in the new york area and wanna do some yoga, send me an email [firstname.lastname@example.org] and let’s figure something out!
the yoga diaries: pt. ii
this past weekend marked the completion of half of my yoga teacher training. i cannot believe how quickly the time has gone [i feel like i’m always saying that but it’s 100% true] and that in just a few weeks i will be certified to start spreading the love via yoga.
i’m excited, but also freaking out a little bit. while i’ve learned so much, the idea of actually teaching a class kinda, sorta petrifies me. what type of classes will i teach? what if no studio wants to hire me? what if my students don’t like me? all of these questions [and many, many more] have begun racing through my head over the past few days. i’m sure that in the coming weeks, as i delve even deeper into anatomy and alignment, yoga philosophy and how to actually lead a class, i’ll become more comfortable with the idea of walking into a studio to teach rather than practice, but that doesn’t make the fear any less real.
i’ve been thinking a lot about fear lately. what causes fear, how we deal with fear and how ultimately, we need to move through it to reach a higher state of being. fear is one of the five klesas, or causes of suffering, listed in patanjali’s yoga sutras. the yoga sutras talk about fear more so as the fear of death, but i think that fear of just about anything can be approached and looked at from the yogic perspective.
fear comes in all shapes and sizes and can show up just about anywhere… on the mat, at the office, in your personal life. we all have fears and we all struggle. no one is exempt from either of these things in life. no matter how “lucky” someone might seem, they will suffer and experience fear at some point in their life.. this is just a part of the human condition. the difference lies in how we tackle the fear and how we work through our struggles.
many people try to completely ignore whatever it is that’s causing them to experience fear and pain… if we don’t think about it or deal with it, it can’t bother us, right? wrong. just because you are choosing not to think about something doesn’t mean that the problem isn’t there. it just means that you’re not dealing with it and letting it linger… you won’t be able to avoid it forever and the longer you wait to confront it, the harder it will be to overcome. why not just get it done and over with?
now of course, depending on the circumstances, this isn’t always a possibility, but no matter what type of situation you find yourself in, what kind of fear you’re facing, you can’t avoid it forever. yoga teaches us to confront our demons, look them straight in the eye and tell them that you are stronger than they are.
day by day, i’m tackling my fears surrounding yoga and where i’m going and in turn becoming more and more excited about the possibilities that lie ahead of me. i was terrified of getting up in front of my class to teach a pose for the first time, but once i did, i realized how much fun it was and how much truly i enjoyed it. will teaching my first class be difficult? of course. will i be nervous? yes. but what we have to realize is that progress is made by confronting our fears and that success can only be achieved when we work through the fear and come out on the other side, allowing the journey to transform us along the way. this is a part of the path to discovering our true self, our purpose, our passion. conquering our fears makes us stronger and shows us that we are capable of just about anything, as long as we put our mind to it.
the yoga diaries: pt. I
as i have mentioned a few times over the past month, i’m currently in training to become a 200-hour certified yoga teacher. the past four weeks, [and for the next two months] my weekends have been spent with a group of about 25 yogis breaking down the practice of yoga piece by piece, learning not only the postures and how teach them, but studying anatomy, yoga history, the philosophy of yoga and learning so much about ourselves in the process.
i really want to document this experience here on bananas + bellinis, so i’m gonna go ahead and start a new little series i’m callin’ the yoga diaries. i’ve already thrown some yogi wisdom into a couple of motivation mondays posts [here and here], but every now and then i’ll go beyond that and talk about my progress and what i’m learning in a way that i think will be helpful to you. but first, just a little background…
i started practicing yoga about six years ago, sometime during my sophomore and junior years of college and it truly changed my life. at this time i was struggling with a fairly restrictive diet [that was fueled by the fear of eating something “bad for me”] and poor body image when someone suggested that i give yoga a try. i found out about some free classes held on campus and decided to check it out. i loved the practice and the way it made me feel, both mentally and physically, so i started attending classes here and there. since i was a broke college student, going to classes at a studio regularly wasn’t really an option, but i began practicing almost daily, following along with the YOGAmazing podcast in my room.
with that being said, my practice didn’t really become consistent until about three years ago. i would practice here and there at different studios in new york, taking advantage of every “your first 2-weeks free!” offer i could come across until i eventually accepted a job at a company that offers free yoga to their staff members four days a week… yes, free yoga… basically my dream. having access to yoga like this really took my obsession to a new level. i saw myself improving and having the confidence to attempt challenging poses i never thought i would be able to do. i became more interested in meditation and really going inward to find peace with not only myself, but the world around me. finally, about a year and a half ago, i started exploring the idea of becoming a yoga teacher. i felt that because yoga had done so much for me that i needed to share it with other people and if i could help others, even just one person, who might be struggling with something similar to what i’ve gone through, it would be worth it.
fast forward to today and I’m four weeks deep into making that happen. i did my research, checked out a bunch of different studios and in october decided to go with yogaworks. something in my gut just told me this was the right direction to go and i could not be happier with how it’s been going. my teachers are incredible, i’ve met so many wonderful people and i really feel my life transforming. it’s a lot of work, there’s absolutely no denying that, but i love what i’m doing and how i’m feeling, both in my mind and how i go about my days, but i also feel physically stronger and notice a huge difference in how i practice already.
this weekend will be the fifth [of twelve total] and i can’t believe how fast it’s going! we’re tackling inversions this weekend… and going into this training one of my goals was to have a perfect handstand by the end of it. five weeks later, i’m less concerned about having a “perfect” handstand and focusing on being okay with where i am now, both on and off the mat. perfect, imperfect… it doesn’t matter. yoga is now and i’m working so hard to accept where i am, enjoy the ride and see where it takes me.
so, with alllllll of that being said, i would love to know what your experiences [if any] have been with yoga? have you found something in your life that just totally makes you feel at peace… and what is it? i would love to hear from you in the comments below or via email [email@example.com]. until the next installment of the yoga diaries…
xo + namaste,
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