Rather than hopping on a plane or packing up the car, our main mode of travel these days is our sneakers.But my husband and I have maintained our passion for seeing as much of this world of ours as we can. By deciding to approach our little outings as “travel” or “exploration,” that is what they have become. If you, like us, will be staying closer to home this summer, remember that this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your travels. It’s a great big, beautiful world out there – even in your own backyard. Stay curious and keep your eyes open. See as much of it as you can.
The little things in life that make you smile can slip by unnoticed if you're not paying attention. Practicing mindfulness can help. Mindfulness practices such as yoga teach us that, with practice, we can develop the ability to choose our focus, to choose what our mind is thinking or focusing on in any given moment.
“Things may never go back to normal. You may need to create a new normal. And that’s OK.” These days we’re hearing a lot about a “new normal.” Though the term is having a "moment," the idea isn't new at all. In fact, I suspect you've practiced it before. In essence, embracing a new normal is to understand that it isn’t possible or even desirable to go back (as in “let’s get back to normal”). Growth is never backwards. It is always forward, into the unknown and the new.
My new little sunflower garden has given me a glimpse of a future that feels hopeful and a little exciting. This is looking ahead that I think even our yoga teachers would sanction. It is a forward glance with an open heart and mind. It is looking to the future with curiosity rather than with a desire for a particular outcome. It is anticipation that doesn’t pull us out of the moment, but rather inspires us to savor each moment along the way. It turns out that I’m just as excited to go out and check on my little sunflower seedlings each morning as I am to (maybe ... hopefully) have their bright, happy faces smiling at me as I walk to my yoga studio later this summer.
Lately, after dinner, we’ve been working on a jigsaw puzzle. In addition to fostering easy, comfortable togetherness, the practice of “puzzling” has taught me three valuable life skills. 1) It’s a good idea to begin by building the border or foundation. 2) What you’re looking for doesn’t always look like you expected it to look. 3) Sometimes you must stop focusing on the image you’re trying to create and soften your gaze to look only at the shape of the pieces you have in order to see where they fit.
Resilience is a powerful quality in a crisis. Here are 5 science-backed ways to practice resilience on your yoga mat so you feel more resilient in life. 1) Change the narrative. 2) Face your fears. 3) Practice self-compassion. 4) Meditate. 5) Cultivate forgiveness.
We humans are social creatures. Our nervous systems are actually designed to pick up on and imitate the emotions of others. We actually leak emotions to one another! In times like this one as we (all of us, around the world) navigate this pandemic, we are feeling the impact of this “emotional leaking” more than ever. Each of can practice being mindful of the emotions we share as we engage with the world around us by making sure the things we say are True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary and Kind. This level of awareness will help each of us to stay in the moment, which is the only place we can find some peace and calm. More importantly, when we’re feeling calm (or at least calmer), we will “leak” a little of that sense of calm to the world around us.
What are we contemplating or looking at when we practice yoga? We are looking at ourselves. As we move our body into the many odd shapes of yoga postures, we are teaching our minds to hold still so that we can look inward. Over time and with practice, we begin to see clearly our thoughts, our habits, our preferences, our fears, our joys, our worries and our hopes.
If you struggle with small choices such as “Do I want a salad or a sandwich for lunch?”, it is likely that you struggle even more with life's big decisions. Religious and spiritual disciplines teach that connecting with the desires of our hearts is key to understanding our “call” or “purpose in life” or even what makes us special and unique. Learning to tune into what we really want rather than what we think we should want helps us, in the end, to make the best choice of all - to be happy.