Monday, January 19, 2015

My Morning Ritual

To me, how I spend my morning is how I set my intention for my day. There were days that as soon as my eyes would flutter open I would immediately be thinking about my 'To-Do' list, or checking my e-mails. Those days usually ended up with me frazzled and exhausted. 

Over the last year or so I have been practicing a morning ritual. This routine sets the tone for my day! My head will be clearer, I move with purpose and I am more present. 

My Morning Ritual

As Soon as I Wake Up

Drink Water: I keep a water bottle by my bedside, and give myself a few big gulps upon waking up.
A few easy stretches: 
A easy twist,
Body stretch
Shoulder/Neck Rolls

2 minutes of deep or belly breathing.

I set my intention for the day:
Stay grounded
Stay present
I am Here

Then I crawl out of bed!

Up and At 'Em

Hot Lemon Water then after that mug is empty, I have a cup of Green Tea Or
10-30 Minutes of Yoga: Depending what I have going on that day, sometimes I can only squeeze in 10 minutes, but I usually aim for 30 if I can. 
5-10 Minutes of Meditation

So, that's it! Practicing this ritual every day has had such a positive effect. I strongly recommend creating a ritual for yourself. Even if all you can squeeze in is 10 minutes. Creating a routine that give you some  'you' time and sets your day on a positive foot is worth it!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Curiousity on the Mat

cu·ri·ous adjective \ˈkyr-ē-əs\

: having a desire to learn or know more about something or someone

How often are we curious about something? As a child, we are constantly learning and observing. Getting into things to see what they are, how they work, what makes them do the things they do, how they taste, how they feel, etc. As a child, curiousity lies around every corner! When we grow older, I find that curiousity fades a little. We either know how this or that is, what it does, how it feels, tastes, how it works, where it goes, etc. Unless we experience a brand new thing in our life, then curiousity doesn't play a constant role in our daily lives like it once did when we were eager little kids. That almost saddens me in a way. There is something whimsical and fairytale-like when it comes to curiousity. You are dabbling your toes into the unknown; Whether big or small, discovering something can be exhilarating! 

How do we incorporate this curiousity on our Mats?

  • One of my favourite things to do is to play on my Yoga mat. My intention: To be curious. Often I will run through a Yoga flow, or even just a few Surya Namaskara A's and B's with my eyes closed. Taking in all the sensations and allowing room for sense of humour. Most likely, you will wobble or sway. It may feel funny and awkward but that is part of the joy of that experience. You are observing. 

  • Another fun thing is leading with your non-dominant side first. If you are right handed/sided, then lead with your left side first. When I add that into my practice, I love the extra spice it adds. It reawakens your mind, body and spirit. It's almost as if your senses heighten.

  • Pick a posture and hold the pose. Ask yourself:

How does this feel?
Where am I feeling this pose?
What sensations are happening in my body
Can I add something to this pose (i.e. a variation, an arm/leg movement, a twist, etc)

  • Pick of posture that you want to explore, and explore it! Arm balances, strength postures, balance poses, the list goes on and doesn't end!

  • Play with props! Add a block to your core work. Roll up the end of a blanket for a neck roll in Savasana and/or add a pillow under you knees. Trying different things with props may enhance your experience. Or not, but you never know until you try! 

The most important message I am trying to convey here is to always remain a student. Always be open to learning more and exploring more. You don't have to travel the world or spend your savings to explore either. Just being in the present moment and taking in what is around you. Taking the blinders off and feeling, looking, touching, etc. Be open and curious.

Below is an Apple Meditation from Thich Nhat Hanh.  I feel it speaks to what I was touching on with you today. Taking time to notice, being present, observing, being curious to all that is around us.

An Apple Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh

Take an apple out of your refrigerator. Any apple will do. Wash it. Dry it. Before taking a bite, pause for a moment. Look at the apple in your palm and ask yourself: When I eat an apple, am I really enjoying eating it? Or, am I so pre-occupied with other thoughts that I miss the delights that the apple offers me?
If you are like most of us, you answer “yes” to the second question much more often than the first. For most of our lives, we have eaten apple after apple without giving it a second thought. Yet in this mindless way of eating, we have denied ourselves the many delights present in the simple act of eating an apple. Why do that, especially when it is so easy to truly enjoy the apple?

Monday, January 5, 2015

Eating for You in 2015

We need food. We need it to survive. However, nowadays, individuals have developed an "auto-pilot" approach to their eating. Distracted, mindless eating. Eating in front of their computer at their desk, eating at the T.V., standing up in front of the Kitchen sink, etc. Not paying attention or eating with intention. Mindful eating is a beautiful practice to develop into your life.

What is Mindful eating?
  • Paying attention when eating. Savouring, noticing and enjoying your food
  • Eating with intention. The food that you're consuming is nurturing and providing your body with energy. 
It is so easy to get distracted. We're human and we all have obligations or days where some things get the better of us. A little while ago, I was busy running errands, trying to get caught up after the busyness of Christmas. I came home and prepared a Sweet Potato Squash. I baked it with some ground Ginger and Coconut Oil. The house smelled lovely, and I couldn't wait to dig into it! **My mouth is watering thinking about it all over again!** I sat down in front of my computer hoping to catch up on e-mails while I ate my dinner. A short time later I looked down to take another bite and realized all my food was gone. I had eaten it, and barely even noticed. I was looking forward to that Squash the whole time it was cooking, but as I sat to answer e-mails, I lost all attention on my food and just ate it on "Auto-Pilot".

Mindful eating is a process:
  • Are you Hungry? Or eating due to emotional/physical stress? Eating mindfully brings awareness to these cues.
  • Choosing food that will not only provide your body enjoyment but with energy and nourishment.
  • Using the food you are eating to not only Survive but to thrive!
Ever since that day where I devoured my squash without tasting it, I have put a huge focus into Mindful eating. When it comes time to eat, I enjoy that experience. I give 100% of my attention during meal time just as if I was during any other activity. My mindful eating practice has also transitioned into other tasks. Being in the moment; Living in the now is so very important. When spending time with your partner, kids, friends, co-workers, anything that uses your time, you spend that time the best way you can. Putting your energy into this quality time. Why should eating be any different.

We dedicate so much precious time into cooking meals and preparing our food, and a lot of the time, we just chow it down in 10 minutes or less. Let's give that beautiful food the attention it deserves.

Try this: Next time you eat a meal. Turn off any distractions. Put the phone on silent, or better yet, don't even have it in the same room. Switch off the computer and steer clear from the T.V. Then, eat. Chew each bit, and savour the taste. Take your time, and you may realize half way through how beneficial a mindful eating practice can be!

**Disclaimer: I am not a professional. This is based purely on personal experience and general information. This information is not advice and should not be treated as such**