Y.

Yoga Teacher Training: Halfway There!

Yay!  I am so happy to finally get the chance to sit and write! It’s been too long, Internet, too long.

So, here’s the scoop: I have been taking yoga teacher training classes Saturday’s and Sunday’s for the past 5 weeks and it has been amazing. I am not finished just yet, but the incredible self-observing journey this has taken me on is one that I am grateful for. I, too, am eager about what this all means at the end of it!  I cannot yet generalize my whole experience since I am not a time traveler and have, well, not experienced it all, but I want to share with you my journey thus far.

I don’t know whether to say that my life at the current moment is crazy good or crazy bad; therefore, I will just label it ‘crazy’! Having a full-time corporate job, finding a new apartment, packing, starting to move, going to yoga on the weekends for 14 hours and then yoga during the week for at least 6 hours (total of at least 20 hours a week, if you’re keeping track!), attending family events, attending friend events, being a wife, and finding time to just breathe (*breathes*) has been a little… crazy! You’d think that yoga was relaxing (it is!), but this teacher training is definitely isn’t; it’s quite intensive and like a part-time job! So I guess I’ve been, for the past month, been working 1 full-time and 1 half-time job- mamma mia!  But. all. worth. it.

My Experience:
Rather than me go on about how each week was and go off on a tangent, I want to share with you my entries in my journal that I have been keeping (don’t worry, they are short and to the point!). But just see how crazy of a roller coaster ride this is (I was surprised!): Read more

S.

Spring Cleanup: The Purse, Your Mind

Ah, spring, you have finally decided to enjoy us! Welcome, welcome.

Now that the weather is starting to warm up, we may be putting away some of our heavier, winter clothes and pulling out the lighter garments for our wardrobe.  Today, I want to talk about something that could also get a little lighter: our purses (or satchels ;)) and our minds.

You know, I was in the subway the other day and felt tension and pain on my shoulders.  And with reason!  There were just so many things in my purse that were, literally, weighing me down.  Confession: I usually carry around three bags!

So when I got home that evening, I sat down and emptied out the contents that were in my bag.  And, voilà, it occurred to me just how much anxiety was hiding in there.  Think about it, “Ah! I can’t find my keys!” usually gets you aggravated.  You have to dunk your hand in your bag and dig them up from the land of ‘beyond.’  Or, you might be checking out at a bar or retail store when suddenly you go “OMG my wallet! I know I had it in here!  Where is it?!” and that instantly just fills you up with a great overwhelming feeling of nerves and anxiety because now your ‘entire life’ is potentially gone.  Living like this is crazy (!) (and I’m no stranger to this kind of life).  So I vowed to clean up my purse… and more.

complexity

It does, however, beg to ask the question of “How did my bag get like this in the first place?”  Well, for me, I think it’s because I, and perhaps may others out there, are always in this ‘just-in-case’ mode, where we have to carry so many things around, just for that one time we may potentially need it.  In the past, I’ve tried to leave all of the truly unnecessary things behind, but failed.  I was so nervous that I wouldn’t have that one thing that would save me one day.  So I kept them.

And this actually goes further than your purse; it extends out to your life.  An example could include perhaps an acquaintance, or friend, that you honestly cannot stand, but may keep them in your ‘back pocket’ just in case you need them one day for a favor.  Or maybe it’s that sweater that doesn’t currently fit, but may one day fit, so it sits in your closet taking up space.  Or, maybe it’s that gym membership you pay for on a monthly basis and won’t cancel because, again, maybe one day you will go back to it.  All of these things aren’t farfetched to me, because they are some of the things that I couldn’t let go of.  And, surprisingly, they were all subconsciously something I was holding onto.  They were things that were bringing me back to where I didn’t want to be.  But you have to think: why spend your energy on someone who doesn’t appreciate you or help you ‘grow’?  Why tell yourself that you’re not ‘skinny’ enough to fit into something and then hate yourself for the rest of the day?  Or why spend money on something you don’t currently use instead of putting it towards something you do use?

All of this, believe it or not, is code for a fear of ‘letting go’.  Yes, it’s hard, but you need to push yourself to make a change, because it will lead to a feeling of relief, a feeling of freedom, and a feeling of open happiness.  You need to trust yourself that you can do without all of these things and build a life that is better for you.  Here’s another expression that makes more sense to me these days: “Carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders.”  Right?  It’s real.  And it’s literally on our shoulders.  That bag just gets bigger and heavier, huh?  And it drives us crazier and crazier.  Yeah, wow.

I went out for a run the other day and all I needed was my house key.  But, instead, I started to pack my cell phone, three credit cards, some cash, all of my keys, my pharmacy customer loyalty card, and a bottle of water.  Was I going out for a run for my health and well-being or was I going out to run some errands?  Running for my health.  I was going out to run for my well-being.  So I took my one key off my keychain, dropped everything else on the floor, and left the house without anything else.  You don’t know how hard that was for me.  Because, honestly, I wasn’t just leaving behind my belongings.  I was leaving behind my comfort zone.  But I sucked it up, walked outside, told myself that I was doing great, and off I went for a run.  I let physical things go, but also the intangible feelings of worry and concern.  It was me time, something that we probably don’t get too often, but something that I am learning to really, truly appreciate.  I cannot explain how great it felt to not have things bring me down!  I not only felt a sense of freedom, but also felt a sense of growth in my confidence.  Because if I can do this little thing, I know I can do bigger things.

You know, my dad always teased and said that he didn’t understand why many people (women, especially) reminded him of the ‘mules’ (you know, the animal) back in his home country.  I always laughed it off and gave him a little innocent eye-roll (what a terrible thing to compare a woman to, huh?!)  But, he said it out of fun, and to put across the point that the mules ‘back home’ would be loaded up every morning with the fruit, bread, and merchandise that would then be brought to the local market to be sold.  He didn’t understand why everyone (including me) had to carry so much weight around.  He was sure that if the mule had it his/her own way, it wouldn’t be carrying anything at all!  And I am always reminded of that (oh, dad, haha).

simplicity

So I started with my purse, because it’s a symbol and a reflection of me and my life.  It does hold some aggravation, worry, stress, and neglect.  But, little by little, I will start to let go of other things that bring me down, too.  I don’t need the extra pair of flats every day in my bag – just wear the flats.  It won’t rain every day, so check the weather and leave that umbrella home.  I carry around a small bag in my big bag, just in case I need it.  Yeah, that had to go.  And all of that loose change?  That gets heavy.  And it’s also money that is laying around.  Into a piggy bank you go and off to the bank at the end of the month you shall stay! 😉

As for my earlier examples, I’ve been working on cleaning that up: I don’t have a gym membership anymore, but instead put that money towards my yoga instructions. I also (very hard, but had to) let go of acquaintances/friends that were just bringing me down and didn’t help me ‘grow’ and make me want to be a better person.  And those sweaters that didn’t fit?  I donated them to those who would get a better use of them than my closet and mind would.

Learning to live in the present, and growing a sense of confidence in yourself, is amazing.  Because you truly are your own Superman.  Think of all of the great things you’ve accomplished thus far and just think of all the other great things you will accomplish in the future by slowly working on yourself today, for a better tomorrow.  In order for something to come in you need to make room for it by taking it out.

So spring clean your purse, spring clean your mind.  You will feel more in control, trust me – it’s so relieving!  And trust yourself; you are greater than you think you are.  Spring clean your life and, oh, don’t be a ‘mule’ 😉

Loren.

T.

The road trip that made me sob– happily.

Road trips.

Sure, they are fun to some, but after my giant anxiety attack last summer, I grew afraid of them.  So much that I didn’t want to leave NYC.  At all.  But we shouldn’t live our lives like that, right?  Because it limits us.  And fear shouldn’t limit us.  No, it should enable us.

Within the past 6 months, the only long trips I have gunned myself up to make were to Connecticut (a one and-a-half hour drive away) and then to Pennsylvania (a two hour drive away).  And, to be honest, those trips were very difficult for me.  On my way up to Connecticut, I had to listen to Christmas Carols because they made my environment seem more cheerful and pleasant.  It made me feel like I was living  in a magical world where there could be no harm.  That I wasn’t going to be harmed.  And then on my way to Pennsylvania?  I had to eat to keep my mind occupied (think: nothing is wrong with you, you have food and water –basic things humans need to survive in this world– you will not die) and want to make conversations in the car never stop (they were great conversations, I must add!), so much that I could remain ‘distracted’ with them and not realize that I was actually traveling further and further away from home.

But we can’t live that way.  I can’t live that way.  So, in an effort to enjoy life and face my fear, my husband and I ended up taking a trip to Washington D.C.  last weekend (which, I must mention, was a four hour drive), and you could only imagine my cringing.  Pre-giant panic attack, I would have never been bothered with lengthy travel times.  I looked forward to them!  But that isn’t the case these days.  And that wasn’t the case this past weekend.  So, I made sure to stock up on snacks (!) and off we went.  Interestingly enough, though, as we were on the road, I wasn’t worrying  too much about the distance away from home.  No.  I felt the benefits of leading a healthy, active life.  Which, in turn, has lead me to develop a healthy, active mind.  Because it make me think that maybe I am stronger than I give myself credit for.  And the truth is, we all are stronger that what we give ourselves credit for.  Reaching the end of the trip, I realized that I didn’t munch on snacks to trick my mind nor did I keep a conversation going for hours on end; I actually enjoyed some of the silence in the car.  And get this, I didn’t even have to crack the window open to feel the ‘fresh air’ outside (yeah, in the past, I had to do this because I would  feel claustrophobic and stuck inside of an enclosed car.  I needed to ‘feel’ the free, outside world).  No, on this road trip, I was calmer than usual.  And when we finally made it to Washington D.C., I cried.

As we drove past the Potomac River, I had a sense of awe and, in a sense, a feeling of enlightenment.  So much that I broke down and, actually, started to sob.  My husband thought it was funny at first, but it’s important to let others know that what may seem like little accomplishments to them, are actually huge, life-changing things to you.  And that’s exactly what I did.  I explained how I was so proud of myself for not freaking out on the way down, remembering to breath, and taking it easy.  I must have sobbed for a good five minutes and, interestingly enough, when I was crying, I pictured myself like those people on TV that get a brand new house built for them and their family.  I was thinking of those tears.  Because I could never understand how something that makes someone so happy could cause them to cry so much.  And last Friday, I understood what that feeling was like.  And I respected it and let it come out.  I didn’t hold it in.  I didn’t care if I looked like a ‘fool’ or thought about what anyone else would have said if they saw me.  I was living for me.  I was living in the present.  And I was taking in all of that good feeling and letting tears of stress, relief, and happiness out.

Don’t let a little fear that you have stop you from living the life you want to live.  Don’t let how you may look to others get in the way of showing yourself how you truly look.  Because it’s from this understanding of our own self that we could really start to take the steps in developing and becoming our best self.  Personally, I feel that it is at these moments of surpassing an obstacle and allowing yourself to feel ‘vulnerable’ to your own self, that you really get to appreciate what’s on the other side (and you do feel the benefits).  Imagine if I stayed home and didn’t want to venture out?  I would have missed out on all of the fun I had this weekend (some posted in the photos below!).  And what about if a future five-hour, six-hour trip comes into play?  Well, that won’t stop me.  Oh no, it will only continue to prep me for my best life yet.

loren lincoln

 

loren uscapitolLive your best life.  And if you find yourself sobbing from self-enlightenment and/or self-success, allow it to come, sob happily.

Loren.