Posts Tagged ‘wellbeing’

Let the revolution begin!

07/02/2012

So the revolution begins. A couple of months ago I had written about the incredible transformation that happens when you learn to take yoga off the mat and do it regularly. I also declared I would finally sign up for the 40 Day Revolution, a program and personal challenge to commit to yoga (five days at the studio, one day at home and one day of rest) and meditation twice a day.  I was pretty gung ho but as the first day, 6th February, drew closer and closer I started to question my capacity to undertake such a committment. However, I reminded myself that there is no punishment if something happens along the way and I can’t get to yoga one day or miss a meditation. The reward is in the journey.

Last night was the first night which kicked off with a meeting and I loved listening to my co-revolutionaries share each of their motivations for signing up, ranging from desire for physical benefits and learning to cultivate more focus and balance in life, in particular the ladies who work in advertising and another who runs her own business. A man from the Netherlands, who has only arrived in Sydney five months ago, explained his desire to connect with the yoga community in his new home. And a very honest reason from another guy: “Now that I have paid $300 for this I hope that will motivate me to go more.” We all have our reasons. No judgements here.

Now I feel inspired by the possibilities. Rather than feeling daunted, I am taking advantage of this time to really reflect through yoga and meditation, supplemented by daily journal writing. This allows me to think about and define my intentions during the revolution and observe how I’m feeling mentally and physically. This journey has great potential but only if I don’t allow my own excuses to persuade me that I can’t complete it. For now though, two days in and enjoying the experience so far.

Learn more about the program and the studio BodyMindLife here.

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Year Long Thanksgiving

07/01/2012

Giving thanks. How often do you take a moment to express appreciation for a person, place or something as joyful as that first cup of coffee in the morning? Around the holidays, especially Thanksgiving (for North Americans), Christmas and New Years, we all dig deep to find and share our gratitude with one another which contributes to the very spirit of these holidays. But what about the rest of the year? How often do you find yourself expressing gratitude for any single aspect of your day, week or year?

My awareness for the act of daily thanksgiving changed last year after I read a column in MindFood magazine that pointed out the positive benefits of starting the day with thanksgiving. This made sense to me but between work, household duties, social events, personal development and everything in between, who has time and can remember to do this?

Well, I have come to realize the answer to my question is that everybody has time to take a moment to give thanks for what makes them happy. It doesn’t need to be glamorous, huge or newsworthy. Think about some of the small delights of the day like a delicious glass of wine or it could be the bus driver who made a joke and brought a smile to your face. And as far as having the time goes, I’m finding there are pockets of time throughout the day that can be dedicated to such reflection. In the car while stuck in traffic, the walk to work, while stirring the sauce on the stove top – we all have these slots of time so capitalise on the moment and give thought to what brought joy to your day or something that is constant variable in your life but is taken for granted

The lovely part of thanksgiving is that you can approach it however best suits you whether it is through prayer, reflecting in a quiet space or sharing your thanks with someone. My good friend, Sara Gille, has an inspiring and interesting approach to recognising what she’s thankful for. She has built a visual Thankful collection on Tumblr which you can take a look at here. Such a simple but very profound approach to daily gratitude practice. In fact, Sara is the one who has re-ignited the gratitude spark for me – so I am very thankful for her positive outlook and for reminding me of this very important daily act so now I take pen to journal everyday. No matter how tired or busy I am, I always manage to take a few moments to reflect on life’s delights, big and small.

Do you take a moment from your day to reflect on what brings you joy? Is it a mental list, prayer or do you have a special ritual for capturing the things you are thankful for?

Yoga saves

04/12/2011

When yoga practice becomes more of a way of life rather than an exercise routine done once or twice a week, an interesting transformation begins.Though I have been doing yoga on and off with spurts of consistency for the last 10 years, this year I have made a pact with myself to strive for commitment to yoga and meditation practice. As the days pass, I find myself enjoying life simply by being in the present, approaching the day with more humour and above all, loving. I know that must really sound like ramblings of a hippie but it’s simple really. Love, laugh and be present. In many ways yoga has saved me. Not only am I realizing how to find happiness within but I am also equipped with a stronger confidence and self-awareness.

Frankly, I’m still a beginner. My journey began when I was 17 years old and followed the MTV Yoga video (on VHS!) hosted by Kristin McGee several nights a week. After graduating high school and started university in Minnesota, I was restricted by space and time, so these years my practice suffered as I only practiced once a month at most. There was a turning point when I thought back to how I felt when I did do yoga and wondered why I didn’t do it more. From then I steadily increased my sessions but still never hit the ‘sweet spot,’ so to speak. Now after living in Australia for four years, ten years since I first discovered yoga through MTV, I have unearthed the mental and physical well-being I am capable of achieving.

I am looking forward to 2012 and really allowing yoga to be part of my daily life. For a few years I have been making excuses for not doing the 40 day revolution, at BodyMindLife, a yoga studio in Sydney. The 40 day revolution is a journey and personal challenge, inviting a life changing transformation. The challenges requires five days of studio practice, one day of at-home Vinayasa practice, one day of active rest, and morning and evening meditation over forty days. All of this always sounded appealing to me but also very daunting so have found excuses as to why I couldn’t possibly sign up for such an event. I’ve realized now that it isn’t necessarily about ‘winning’ the challenge but rather about trying and encouraging personal growth.

Everybody who does yoga has a story as to why they first stepped to the mat, whether it was to lose weight, learn to become more focused or to find a bit of tranquillity in a busy life. Yoga is a wonderful way to achieve all of these and being open to it, you can gain some results that you would have never imagined. I for one am loving the journey and learning how to live with more presence, focus and energy.