I'm a yoga teacher focusing on creating space for what matters: what Judith Hanson Lasater describes as "mirroring back the inner radiance and inherent goodness in each human being." Here I'll share thoughts and resources that I've found make a difference in living my best life.
Now that I’ve had a week to reflect on my experience at the Relax and Renew ® Level 1 teacher training course that I took in San Francisco, I realize more than ever how important it is that we allow ourselves time to rest. As I learned from my teacher, Judith Hanson Laster, who has been teaching yoga for 48 years, rest and sleep are different, and we need both. As Judith explained, relaxation and sleep are distinct physiological states. The importance of good sleep has been on most people’s radar for the past few years, but most people still don’t give themselves time to rest. I couldn’t agree more with Judith that if everyone gave themselves 20 minutes every day in a restorative yoga pose, such as savasana (corpse pose), the world would truly be a different place. Yes – 20 minutes. It takes that long for people to truly relax and rest. And it’s worth it – in fact, I believe it’s essential.
Try it for a week and see how you feel! It’s like magic in down-regulating the sympathetic nervous system and helping you ‘come home to yourself.’ Yoga is about remembering that, not creating it.
More to come on this. For now, have a restful week.
I completed a five-day Restorative yoga teacher training in San Francisco on Friday (more about that next time, when I will have access to photos to share). It was a wonderful experience, and, being on my own all week, away from my husband and dogs, it got me thinking about the importance of community.
For the week, my yoga group was my community, and it was really fun and rewarding to meet so many wonderful new, like-minded people. I like the way Thich Nhat Hanh defines the Sanskrit word sangha here. I also thought about how fortunate I am to live in my own community on Vashon Island, where I’ve lived for the past five years and where I’ve always felt welcomed.
This weekend marked this largest festival of the year on the island, The Vashon Strawberry Festival, and this year’s was the 110th annual. Vashon is home to many creative people, and festival showcases musicians, artists, food makers of all kinds – and much more. It’s a wonderful representation of what this community is all about. I’ve participated in the Grand Parade several times, and this year my husband and I had a great time volunteering with Backbone Campaign to bring greater awareness to the importance of preserving the environment. I was one of the butterflies! We also had a giant inflatable Orca, salmon and Earth.
Creating community can happen anywhere, with anyone. It starts with connecting with others and kindness. The next time you’re buying coffee or groceries, or any number of interactions where these days we’re so quick to scroll through our phones, try looking the person in front of you in the eyes and asking them how their day is going. That’s a level of community right there. Notice how you feel when you do, and let’s all do more of that. It’s a starting point to a complex topic.
I’m a big podcast fan; there are a bunch that I listen to every week, some every day. I really love the concept of lifelong learning, and I learn nuggets every week from podcasts (for free) that truly make a difference in my life.
This week, I really liked something I heard on Deepak Chopra’s new podcast, The Daily Breath. He was talking about the importance of various building blocks in maintaining health, such as sleep and proper nutrition. In this episode, he mentioned that he likes to think of ‘movement’ rather than ‘exercise.’ For me, this kind of simple reframing can make a tremendous shift in my outlook. I’ve never enjoyed going to gyms, and let’s be honest, if we don’t enjoy/like something, A) what’s the likelihood that we’ll make if a consistent part of our life? and B) isn’t enjoying life the whole point?
So, moving our bodies every day as much as we can is crucial for our health. I stand all day at my laptop while working at my day job – rather than sitting – because it’s healthier and it allows me to move around more, even if it’s something as simple as doing a few backbends, lunges or quad stretches a few times an hour. As Deepak mentioned, he likes to take stairs instead of elevators/escalators, and get off the subway a few stops early so he can walk more. These kinds of small, daily changes make a huge difference over time. It’s why I also make sure I get in 10 15 minutes of yoga at least 5 days a week. What’s your favorite form of movement?
I’m so excited to be heading to San Francisco tomorrow to attend a Restorative Yoga Teacher Training with Judith Hanson Lasater! Looking forward to sharing more on that experience next week. This week, I started a 40-day practice with Sianna Sherman on Yoga International, as well as a 30-day course with David Gandelman on Insight Timer (see below for links.)
I started this blog to share positive thoughts and resources that may be helpful to others. It’s a way for me to share what’s on my mind and do my part to add some positivity to the world!
Each time I post, it’s my intention to include links to a few riches I’ve found that relate to the topic. And in the interest of simplicity, one of my main values, these posts will, for the most part, be brief.
So, here goes the first post. Something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is that everything we need to know is contained in a few Beatles song titles. It reminds me of the book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum, and here’s a quote from that book: “I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.” ― Robert Fulghum
Back to those song titles:
~ All You Need is Love
~ Let it Be
~ We Can Work it Out
~ Come Together
Maybe it’s too simplistic to say, but when you think about it, there isn’t much more that we truly need than the concepts contained in those song titles. They’ve been around for a long time, but these lessons are not easily learned. Why do you think that is?