Wednesday, May 21, 2014

6 Naughty Reasons to Meditate

When I first heard that meditation was a key aspect to yoga, I was not at all interested. Who has time to meditate anyways? By the time I got to Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) one of the homework assignments was to meditate for 10 minutes a day, so I decided to be a goody good and give it a shot. Ever since then I have become a meditation addict! We all know that meditation is good for your health and all that jazz, but there are lots of fun and naughty reasons to meditate too!
The Naughty Yogi Spotted in the Wild Meditating and Doing the Chin Mudra Incorrectly 
Without further ado here are 6 Naught Reasons to Meditate: 

1. An excuse to do nothing? 

My slothful side can't wait for meditation, because it is an awesome excuse on a daily basis to do nothing. Also, "not now honey, I need to go meditate," is a great line to get out of confrontations, obligations, household chores and all sorts of things. Just kidding about that last part... sort of...

2. You can do it anywhere!

Yes, the traditional method is on your rump, crossed legged as seen in my picture, but you can really meditate anywhere. I prefer sitting on a meditation cushion to avoid any tension in the lower back, and it feels like sitting on a cloud of comfort as my hips and back open. You can meditate anywhere though! In bed, on a chaise lounge, floating in a pool, walking. There are no strict rules to meditation as long as you are making some sort of effort to clear your mind, close your eyes and let go.  

3. It makes you look cool...

Meditation is like the new smoking! You look sooo totally zen doing it. Okay, this really is a terrible one, but who doesn't think that people look totally awesome when they meditate? 

4. With a drink? 

A student in my YTT class shared the story of a co-worker who told her on his smoking break that he meditates everyday... with a glass of white wine. Sure, why not? Sip on your cocktail or whatever beverage, close your eyes and slip away. It really tunes you into the enjoyment of the drink and moment. However, I don't recommend doing this one everyday! 

Add some fun to a meditation with a tasty cocktail like this "Clean Monday"!
Ingredients: cucumber & mint-infused gin, St. Germain and Cava!
5. Meditation is the only thing that is good for you that requires no effort! 

It seems to most of us all that all good things take a tremendous amount of effort. Meditation is the only thing I can think of that is good for you that you just sit around and reap the health benefits. Meditation is the perfect exercise for someone who wants to work on their health, but would rather just sit around and do nothing.  

6. No one can tell if you suck at it. 

I can't say for certain, but I think most people suck at meditating at first. As easy as it may sound, it is tremendously difficult to clear your head. Also, for some of us it can prove a challenge to find a quiet place and time to meditate daily. Stick with it, don't judge yourself and know that every person who meditates has experienced the same difficulties. You are not a freak of nature if your mind wanders off every other minute like mine tends to do. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

I'm a Naughty Yogi: 10 Confessions of Very "Unyogic" Behavior

Doing yoga is  more than just being able to flow through an asana practice with grace, it is about being a good person. I struggle with both constantly! I know we are all supposed to be positive and perfect in yoga, but as the inflexible yogi I just wanted to remind you not all of us wanna be yoga teachers are perfect as Yoga Journal and other such publications would lead you to believe. 

1. I hate waking up early 

I'm not going to lie to you, most of my sun salutations are in fact moon salutations. I've been a night owl since my mother let me loose from the crib where I would leave piles of toys all over the house as I rampaged through the night! I know what the yoga teachers say "all the good energy" blah, blah, blah is in the morning. I just don't feel that good energy before noon or coffee. 

2. I get very angry about politics 

I don't even want to get into it. To keep it simple, I dislike greed, oppression and prejudice in all forms. Guess which party I'm part of? 

3. I eat a lot of animals without remorse

Sorry. Chicken, cows, pigs and even baby sheep are delicious. I can't stop. I do try to support natural and organic meat whenever possible. Even the Dalai Lama eats meet though! So I honestly don't feel too bad about this one. I just try to honor the animal I am enjoying by not wasting or overindulging in tasty, tasty meat. 

4. I think a lot of homeopathy is crap and harmful

Antibiotics, painkillers and all that good stuff modern medicine brought us- there is nothing wrong with using these innovative  medicines. Chewing on flowers that we wouldn't ever naturally have eaten is not useful. I'm sure those dealing in homeopathic medicine are laughing all the way to the bank. I know i'm laughing all the way to the bank from all the money those homeopathic-medicine-selling clients pay me to write articles LYING for them (I did stop writing for these type of clients, because I felt evil). So please, PLEASE, if you are sick and modern medicine can fix it, don't let delusional romances of homeopathic cures stop you. 

5. I just WANT to be more flexible

I know, I'm not supposed to really want this. I do. I'm working on not worrying about being flexible, but just let me do this one more hamstring stretch...

6. Sometimes I think the journey sucks. 

Long car rides, plane rides, lines, waits and all that really annoy me. The romance behind road trips is a mystery to me. I can't wait for the day that I can just teleport somewhere. 

7. Slouchasana is my number one posture! 

I'm slouching at the keyboard as I type this. BAHHAHAA. Oh man, I really need to work on sitting up straight. 

8. I sometimes compare myself to others 

This one is terrible. I was raised to be a very competitive person, so even with considerable effort not to I still compare myself to other people. Even in yoga class (sometimes)- although I have gotten a lot better at just focusing on myself in yoga class.  

9. The big picture often escapes me 

Sometimes, I obsess about little tiny things that don't matter. Putting things in perspective is something I also am actively working on.  

10. I love cocktails and wine 

Sometimes I over-indulge just a tiny bit. Although I do not drink very often, when I do I sometimes have one drink more than I probably need. Wine and cocktails are just so tasty. I can't wait until they invent synthehol, an alcohol from Star Trek that has all the good things from alcohol with none of the bad effects.


Don't be ashamed to have flaws as a yogi! Own your flaws! Ultimately that is the only way you can try to improve as a person!

Cheers to all the naught yogis out there!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Pretty Much Sums Up Why I Do Yoga ;)

Half of the battle is admitting you have a problem right? One of the many reasons I do yoga is due to the fact I have a pretty bad temper... especially when it comes to politics. I also like being upside down. What more in life do you need besides inner peace and acrobatics? 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Monthly Yoga Sanskrit: Satya

In a past blog post I discussed the meaning of 'Satya' within the context of the 8 branches of yoga, so I figured I do an official blog for the word. 

Satya means commitment to the truth. It is key step to living an ethical yogic lifestyle. 

For teacher training over the past month we were supposed to practice Satya in our everyday lives. I have to be honest (satya after all!), it was a challenge at time to follow truthfulness all the time. 

A fellow student in the YTT program shared the acronym T.H.I.N.K. with us, and I found it to be a very helpful tool. Before you speak you are always supposed to consider the T.H.I.N.K acronym that you can see in the image below. Basically you want to consider if the communication is true, helpful, inspiring, necessary or kind. 

Satya seems like such a simple idea, but it can be difficult to follow. It takes discipline, control and mindfulness- all of things which I know personally I need to work on. This month I censored and reconsidered my words more than a couple of times thanks to satya and T.H.I.N.K., and I have no doubt this benefited my personal relationships. 

If anything the T.H.I.N.K acronym and satya made me stop for a second before delivering perhaps unnecessary criticisms and judgement. This tool of mindfulness is invaluable, and anyone could benefit from the practice of satya. 


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Buddhism Through a Cat's Perspective

Meow! As some of you may well know, I am die hard cat lover. I was really excited to find out about a book that tells a story from the perspective of a cat who belongs to the Dalai Lama. Buddhism and kitties! What more could a girl ask for? 

The book explores Buddhist ideas through the fun loving perspective of a cat. The book takes somewhat complex Buddhist ideas, and it makes the ideas accessible and fun by having us learn the lessons through the eyes of a Himalayan cat.

There is now a sequel that is equally wonderful that I have not quite finished yet. The first book isThe Dalai Lama's Cat and the second book is The Art of Purring. The sequel even includes yogis as characters for all the yoga lovers out there. Oh and gourmet food is featured within the pages for all the foodies! We all know that kitties have an appetite for human food, and the Dalai Lama's cat is no exception to this rule! There really are so many small surprises in these books that make it such a relatable tale. 

I really recommend checking these books out if you are into Buddhism or cats. These are simple and friendly novels you also could share with your children without worrying about any controversial content. It would be a great way to introduce Buddhist ideas to children in my opinion! 

Through the journey in these two books you get an eye opening view into what it is like to be a kitty cat, and David Michie, the author of the novels, especially reflects  the sometimes temperamental, silly and diva-like tones that kitties are known to have in real life through the amusing narrative of the Dalai Lama's cat. The personality of the kitty who is the main character of the story really comes off the pages, and you quickly become attached to her furry flaws and quirks with each passing page. As a bonus, there are important Buddhist philosophies to help live a happier and more fulfilled life too. 

Even though the second book just came out, I would be happy to see yet another sequel. :)  

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Yoga Teacher Training: Satya, Vulnerability and Avoidance of Blogging!

At the end of January I began a Yoga Teacher Training program at The Yoga Studio of Columbia, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Given the magic of Googling things, I do not want to offer any spoilers for future students who may stumble upon my page! So sorry if that is what you were looking for! The surprises are part of the magic of yoga teacher training in my humble opinion. Instead, I'm going to focus on me, me, me. This turned out to be more a  diary entry than a yoga blog entry! So forgive me for a self-indulgent post. 

One thing you may know or not know about yoga is that is it is more than just the Asana practice, but there are a whole 'nother 7 branches to truly practice traditional yoga. Who knew?! (Seriously I didn't know). Anyways, the first branch of yoga is the Yamas (the social ethics of yoga) that include four different elements. We're focusing the second element of Satya (truthfulness) this month.

It dawned on me as I thought about my blog today after a fellow yoga student asked about this here blog, that I hadn't been exactly honest with myself as to why I've not updated this blog. As a professional writer, I have written a couple of yoga blogs for money. I've also written lots and lots of other blogs. I'm not in some sort of writing dry spell. I've even had times where I started to create a blog, but then I found myself getting this anxious, uncomfortable feeling.  

If I'm being honest with myself, I've been AVOIDING this blog like the plague, because this whole yoga teacher training thing is making me feel quite vulnerable. Vulnerability is not something I'm quite used to in any element of my life, and I'm notorious for not handling serious things very well. When serious issues come up I have two ways of coping: avoidance AND jokes. So voila, I've been avoiding my blog, because this whole mushy gushy yoga thing with the inner feelings of yoga is making me feel uncomfortable. In a way it is changing how I perceive and approach everything in my life- in a good way. It is a huge change, so naturally my flight instinct has been kicking into high gear!  

I went into yoga teacher training expecting perhaps there would be some "new agey" and "hand wavy" things that turned me off to the experience, but that at least I would get to learn how to physically practice yoga better. Instead, what I'm finding is that yoga teacher training is a journey of the inner being as well as all the poses, and that I actually like all the feel good elements that focus on tending the inner self. Somehow the teacher training is really teaching me things that I already academically understand you need to be a happy person, but I haven't necessarily applied to my life. 

So basically, I've been too scared to blog about yoga in my own personal way, because it would be opening up truly to these new changes. I guess by writing this blog I've overcome that step. Maybe. I'm going to have to approach the way I write about yoga and just about everything differently. Some of that will require letting down some callouses on my inner soul when I'm hammering away at the keyboard. Gross. It will be for the better though! 

Anyways, here is to a new dawn of this blog where I can write more proficiently about the physical elements of yoga and all the touch-feely stuff that may or may not have cooties.


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Years Eve Sankalpa

Last year in a yoga class one of my teachers suggested to set an intention for New Years rather than setting a specific resolution. I absolutely forget what my intention was or if I even made one. Regardless, I thought it was an interesting idea. In yoga this setting of a goal or intention is known as sankalpa. We can make a small sankalpa for every practice, or in this case an intention for the whole year.   

With our New Years resolutions, it seems often we are playing to our egos. "I would like to be more fit this year." "I would like to get that promotion." Most resolutions start with "I" than rattle on with a very specific goal. Why limit to yourself to something so specific? Why limit yourself to setting life changing goals once a year? What is so magical about the bridging of one year to the next? Generally, I think resolutions are a great thing, but I still am left with lots of questions.

I haven't thought about a resolution or a sankalpa this year, so I'm not going to make up one for the sake of a post. I do hope to find an intention or motivation make my impact on the Earth a more positive one. That goes for 2013 and for 2014. Now just to figure out what general word would apply to such an abstract idea? Perhaps the word "yoga" itself would be a good intention given it means the union of the mind and the body, or at least it can be interpreted that way in some yogic schools of thoughts. In other words, I want my actions to match my ideals. Perhaps, "genuineness" would be a good word for it then? 

Anyways, happy new years! Before things get too heavy, I'm going to go drink some champagne. Here is to an awesome 2014 for all of humanity!