Yoga

The Art of Slowing Down [+New Class]

“Yoga allows you to find a new kind of freedom that you may not have known even existed.” B.K.S. Iyengar

As 2017 came to an end, I noticed a few articles going around from the more popular health and wellness platforms predicting the health trends (I hate that word, let’s use ‘focus’) that we will see in 2018. In short, 2018’s health and fitness goals will focus more on self care, slowing down, unplugging, yin yoga, and holistic approaches to wellness. Shifts to look out for seem to be described as a less boot camp style workout and more yoga and meditation. Maybe not eliminating more intense fitness regimens all together of course, but perhaps finally finding a better balance between the two and understand how freaking important rest is. Maybe this seems like common sense but if you’ve been struggling with this, you know it can be challenging knowing when to push yourself and when to back off without the guilt of ‘giving up’.

To me, this is great! I LOVE really intense workouts like weight training and I LOVE getting out of my mind in slower yoga classes like yin or restorative yoga. I tried for years to find this balance and over the past year or so I can finally say I have found this freedom.

Why is it important to slow down?

Taking time to slow down does not translate to ‘being lazy’ or ‘giving up’.  It is safe to say most of us have REALLY freaking busy lives and making time to turn off your phone at the end of the day or go for a light walk in nature is huge. Why wouldn’t you take time for YOU, aka, the most important person ever. It doesn’t have to be meditation or yoga, find what works for you. Walk your dog, play an instrument, volunteer and be of service. What is your art? What gives you that high? You know what I’m talking about, make time for it. Create a space where you are still and out of the mind.

The best way I have found to get out of the mind is to get into the body via movement. If I’m not feeling an intense workout, I can still get into the body with yoga. Again, maybe not a super intense practice, sometimes I am craving a yin or restorative practice either at home or in a studio. This happened last week: I was having one of the most stressful days at work, I was paranoid about catching the bug that’s going around I was spiraling down this negative hole. Instead of going home and going to bed early like I wanted, I went to my friend’s restorative yoga class and I swear I could feel the stress melting away and the recharging of my mind + body + soul (thanks Jenny!) and I didn’t get sick!

EVERYONE CAN DO RESTORATIVE YOGA. It is super low-impact, and probably the least intimidating yoga class at a yoga studio for a beginner.

Ekhart Yoga summarizes the benefits of restorative yoga as:

  • Enhances flexibility
  • Deeply relaxes the body
  • Stills the mind
  • Improves capacity for healing and balancing
  • Balances the nervous system
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Develops qualities of compassion and understanding toward others and self
  • Enhances mood states

(I will not go into detail about how great exercise is because hopefully, you have heard it before.)

New Class Alert!

Alright, so getting to my point…

I am pleased offer a new class at Bodhi Seed: Relax & Restore. This class is a calming restorative yoga practice and a great way to add in that balance to compliment a busy, possibly stressful life.

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I ramble so much because I really believe in this practice. I created this site with the intention to share more about how I’ve dealt with anxiety, grief, and stress of a student because I know I am not alone. You can find healing and freedom like I have, although it takes work. If you have any additional questions or comments please email me directly.

 

Love & Light

-Whitney

 

Recipes

Plant Milk Recipe

Shopping for non-dairy milk can be very overwhelming and confusing. THERE ARE LITERALLY A HUNDRED DIFFERNT KINDS. Soy, almond, pea, cashew, coconut, hemp, quinoa, or maybe a combination of all of the above. It’s insane (in a good way).

There are a few brands that I love because their ingredients are super clean and there’s none of that added crap that you cannot pronounce. Those brands with great ingredients usually come with a greater price tag because they don’t pump their milk with additives and other unnecessary ingredients.

I’m not an expert or a dietitian, however I have been experimenting making different plant milks for probably the last 10 years and I would like to share my simple recipe I have been perfecting all this time!😉

This recipe uses very few ingredients. The base is mostly from cashews but I also add in hemp seeds for additional nutrients. Hemp seeds are protein power houses packed with B vitamins, zinc (flu season over here has been LIT), manganese, and iron along with plenty of others.

Why cashews?

I use cashews here because you do not have to strain the milk like you do with almond milk. Also, I consume a good amount of almonds by eating almond butter and baked goods with almond flour. I consume coconuts by adding coconut oil in my coffee. I do like both almond milk and coconut milk too, but I try to mix up the different types of fat in my diet so I’m not eating all the same things all the time (kinda like how my soy intolerance began).

Here’s how it goes:

• 1 cup of raw cashews soaked for about 2 hours

• 1/4 cup organic hemp seeds (I used shelled)

• 3 cups water

• 4 dates (adjust to your taste or omit completely)

• 2 teaspoons organic cinnamon

• Dash of pink salk

Soak the cashews for about 2 hours make sure the water comes up about an inch so the cashews are fully soaked. Once it’s time, drain the water from the cashews (do not use this as your water you will notice all the gunk that comes off of the cashews!). Next, add the soaked cashews and the hemp seeds in a high immersion blender with the water. Blend on high until you start to get that milky consistency. If you do not want little floaties in your milk you can drain the milk here and to remove floaties. I usually do not strain the milk because it does not bother me and I am also lazy and use the least amount of dishes as possible. Next, add the cinnamon and the dates and blend some more. You could add a little bit of sea salt here if you would like. Some people may add vanilla for a different flavor.

PLANT MILK • 4ish CUPS • KEEPS 3-5 DAYS

Great in:

Smoothies, shakes, coffee, lattes, granola, baking, cooking, ANYTHING!🤗

 

Happy blending!💗

Lifestyle · Yoga

My 2018 Resolution.

The best thing you can do is to keep turning towards the light

I am not a fan of the whole concept of changing yourself because it’s a new year. Thinking that you are not perfect the way you are does not come from a space of love. Which is why this year I want to do things differently by setting an intention from a space of love.

My intention for 2018 is to remember where I come from; LOVE. To remember I come from love and to be more me as possible. 

To be yourself is to be as close to love as you can because love is what you come from. Non judgement, fearless, compassionate love.

In order for me to be more me, I have to challenge myself to choose love over fear. One of my favorite quotes from Wayne Dyer says, ” fear knocked on the door, love answered… and nobody was there”. Fear and love do not coexist.

These past few months I have hit a huge block. I was so stressed from spreading myself so thin I left no time for myself. My meditation practice only existed in order to ground myself before teaching and my workouts really just kept me from losing my shit all together. Getting through the next tough THING was my only focus. I had a very challenging semester of school along with teaching every day (sometimes 3 classes per day) and keeping my part-time job so I had some type of normal in my life. Fear kept sneaking in, rather than confronting it, most of the time I would run. Run on to whatever was next and push it down until I had time to deal with it.

Now, I have basically spent the past two weeks on the couch (first because I was sick, then because I still needed rest) and as I am reflecting on those last few months of 2017, I am still proud how I handled the mess I got myself in. Because I opened back up to love, I can choose to forgive myself and move the hell on rather than picking out everything I “should have done”.  I am proud because when I noticed myself taking on too much or feeling out of alignment I was so quick to throw on my headphones and listen to an inspirational podcast and go for a walk rather than something destructive. I am proud because I finally started saying no to opportunities I did not have time for that I REALLY wanted to be apart of. I was proud because when clients had to cut down on classes and appointments I did not take it personal and just accepted that it was actually what I needed in that moment and when the time was right we will work together again (already happening!).

Oftentimes fear causes me to shrink down resulting in a loss of creativity and magic. Feeling of dullness and detachment leave me stuck and uninspired to search for the light. I have a funny feeling it’s not just me.

Starting tomorrow, my life will be picking back up again at a fast pace. I will use the lessons I have learned so this time it will be different, I will keep turning to love. Instead of using fear, I will remember love and keep doing what works.

 

Do you have any new year resolutions? I would love to hear them!

 

Meditation

A quote on guidance

You will undertake a journey because you’re
not at home in this world.
And you will search for your home whether
you realize where it is or not.

If you believe it is outside you the search will be futile, for you
will be seeking it where it is not.

You do not remember how to look within, for you do
not believe your home is there.

Yet the Holy Spirit remembers it for you, and he will guide you to your
home because that is His mission.

As He fulfills His mission He will teach you yours,
for your mission is the same as His.

By guiding your brothers home you are but following Him.

-A Course In Miricles

 

Lifestyle

3 years. 

Tragedy doesn’t come to us just to torture us or because we have “bad karma” and life hates us. In fact I think it’s quite the opposite. It’s the shity moments where we hit the ground on our knees crying for help where we hear that voice that says, “finally, you’re ready to start”

That’s exactly what happened to me three years ago aka the shittiest day of my journey thus far. I’ll never forget that phone call I got at work because the police were looking for me nobody would tell me what happened. I tried calling my mom and she didn’t answer. I called my dad about a million times and he didn’t answer. I just assumed my entire family was dead and murdered in their sleep. It wasn’t until I finally got ahold of my brother (who I also thought was just dead) when I heard his voice “oh nobody told you yet… I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this but Dad is dead. It was suicide.” A statement that would change my life forever but not in the way you would expect.
I saw two different outcomes of my life I could take the easy road and give up continue taking drugs to hide the pain and get stuck in the cycle of self-sabotage or I could for once actually ask for help on taking the high road. I knew there was going to be a lot of work to get through this. No time was wasted when the right people showed up into my life; family, friends, teachers from all over the world came to help me heal because I believe that they would. 
I don’t tell different versions of this story every year because I like talking about myself and receiving pity in fact it’s the exact opposite. I absolutely dread talking about personal experiences. Sharing things so personal makes me cringe. However, because I know I had those specific people that helped me with their stories and their guidance I can only dream of being that type of help for someone desperately in need like I was.
Without the fall I would not have gotten back up and chose consciously to be happy and helpful and most of all start to heal my life. 
Coming back to the actual point of all of this is to never judge or label your circumstances as good or bad. Unfortunately sometimes it takes something so painful, especially death, to lead you in the right direction. Continue to be in the mindset of a student and recognize that the whole world (even if it sometimes feels like a fucked up play) is your teacher. That doesn’t mean you’re not going to hurt sometimes or you’re not going to miss people and wish they were still here it means learning to deal with your shit because we’re in this together. I’m sorry if you think differently.
Stay open and ask how you can serve.

Lifestyle · Meditation · Yoga

Finding Your Way Out

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Monday was Mental Health Day where social media was blasted with stories and awareness and although I am a few days late, I still would like to participate in this discussion. Stories are so powerful and hold a great opportunity for healing for both the writer and the reader.

This post may rub you the wrong way, you might think I believe mental health is not real. What I am actually explaining below is how I feel that mental health is as real as any emotion, thought, or physical illness. What is real anyway?

Yes, I believe depression is as real as a broken leg however, you are not a broken leg; your body has a broken leg. It is temporary and if you go see a trained professional it is their job to heal and fix the broken leg. Mental disorders like obsessive compulsive and generalized anxiety disorder work the same way. It may take multiple doctors and treatments but you can find healing because you are more than any illness or disorder, you are not stuck. From my experience it is not a one time fix all situation. It takes time, love, and patience. One week after you get the cast removed from a broken leg, you probably will not be running around and back to your old self again. You continue therapy and taking care of yourself. I imagine you learn a lot about yourself in this process, maybe how to avoid breaking your leg again or you realize the things you took for granted.

I could write about the handful of mental illnesses I have experienced and how real they felt in the moment but that is behind me now. I silently work every day to keep my shit together. I avoid gory movies because I am susceptible to anxiety and death trauma. I do not drink often because I know alcohol is a depressant. I exercise because it is a natural mood lifter (seriously, read the studies!). These are some examples of choices I make to mentally feel my best even though I have lived with crippling anxiety and depression. I’ve tried the medications and they did not work for me, so I had to figure it out myself through counseling and spiritual work.

When it comes down to it, thoughts are just thoughts (something one of my grief counselors told me which used to piss me off because I didn’t get it). You do not have to hold onto the thoughts in your mind. Turning a thought like “this is really scary I am going to have a panic attack…” to “that’s interesting that this situation gives my mind anxiety, I don’t feel like choosing that right now I can think about something else…” takes some serious practice but hey, if I can do it, I believe anyone can.

Here is a list of things that helped me snap out of it when I felt my mind taking over:

  1. Choose a different thought.
  2. Call a friend. You don’t have to tell them why, just hear someone else’s voice.
  3. Watch a video you think is funny.
  4. Take a break and go for a walk.
  5. Get grounded: walk near so trees, take off your shoes and get out of your head.

These choices seem very easy, and they are. When it comes down to it, you are choosing to do/think of something else and not give in to listening to the mind all the time, be the observer of the thoughts, that is who you really are.

Most of the quotes and ideas inspiring this post comes from one of my favorite books, The Untethered Soul which played a huge role in my healing process. I recommend you check it out if this resonates with you at all.

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Lastly, if you do feel captured by your mind with no way out there are services exactly for such purpose. Specifically the Nation Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Mental illness is hard to live with but I do not believe that you have to live with it all of the time. People are good and we are here to help each other by sharing stories and really listening to one another. Reach out and do whatever it takes to find healing whether it’s publicly or confidential. You will find your way out.