Archive for August, 2013

The Mindful Dinner Table: A 3 Day Challenge!

Take a moment and think about your habits and rituals around
food. Do you tend to cook the same recipes or do you seek new ones from books
and friends? Do you eat at a table, in your car, in front of a TV, alone or
with people?  Are you mindful in
the grocery store, looking at ingredients and buying new types of food? Or
could you walk about the store filling your cart while on the phone?   Do you always eat at the same
time, in the same place?  Do you
eat fast or slow?  Do you mostly
get take out, eat out or cook? Who are you as an eater?

For the most part, we are all creatures of habit and enjoy
following routines. Eating can easily slip into the mind-less parts of our day.
Yoga teaches us to be mindful and present.  When we apply these principles to our eating, we become more
aware of patterns, begin listening to our bodies and can then make healthier

Yoga teaches us to become aware of how different foods and
different styles of eating impact us. 
Think of a meal you really enjoyed. Did the enjoyment affect the amount and
how quickly you ate? How did you feel physically after the meal? Emotionally? Do
you stop when you are full?  How
does eating quickly or on-the-go impact your experience?  Just like in yoga, staying focused and
curious about your experience can help you recognize patterns and see the
impact of those patterns.

Want to listen to your body more and eat foods that truly
nourish and satisfy you, leaving you feeling and looking good (from the inside
out)?  Try this eating meditation
during every meal for 3 straight days and see what you notice at the end:

Meditation: Sit down with your food and notice what it looks like.  Appreciate the beauty of the colors or
content.  Pick up your fork and
notice how it feels in your hand. 
Feel the weight of it, notice its edges and shape.  Begin with one bite and be
extraordinarily aware of how the food feels in your mouth.  Before chewing, take a moment to notice
the texture, the taste, the weight of the food.  As you begin chewing, how does that feel?  Can you notice which teeth you use to
chew with?  Where is your tongue as
you chew?  How does the food taste?
Feel?  As you begin to swallow the
food, visualize it moving into your stomach and providing nutrients and support
to your body.  Feel your entire
body receive nourishment.  Take a
moment to feel gratitude for this food that fuels you, giving you energy to
move through your day.  As you move
onto the second bite of food, recommit to taking it slowly and noticing every
sensation through your meal. Continue like this for the whole meal.

Let us know how it goes!  Comment below! 

Posted on: August 29th, 2013 No Comments

Soy Una Tortuga!

I recently started learning Spanish, and one of the first phrases I learned (for no reason that made sense to me) was “soy una tortuga.”  It means “I am a turtle.”  I thought this was funny, so I said it a lot and to anyone who would listen…

What I didn’t realize is that it became my mantra.  As it turns out, I aspire for it to be true.  I’m just returning from a vacation and as I’m re-entering my regular daily life this mantra is making its meaning known.  I have a tendency in my regular life to move fast and stay busy.  This was a much needed vacation and a great reminder for something really important– slow and steady wins the race.  Hence, soy una tortuga!

Being a turtle is much less about the amount we’re doing than our mind set while doing it.  When reframing our relationship to time, we allow ourselves to experience what we’re doing.  We can stop and smell the flowers. We still get there, but without exhausting ourselves and frantically frazzlingly running about.  Sounds pretty good, right?

If you want to join me in becoming una tortuga, here are a few tips:

  1. Want To Be A Tortuga.  We are often addicted to the shuffle and bustle of life.  We love talking about how busy we are, how there’s no time, and how we’re doing so much.  It makes us feel important.  When we can let go of being busy as our identity, there is space to slow things down.  But we have to actually want to make the shift.
  2. Take a Break.  Whether it’s a full blown vacation or a night off, remind yourself what it’s like not to feel things looming, not to have your mind constantly engaged, and not to be scheduled within an inch of your life.  Let this remind you of how you want to feel even when there’s a lot to do.
  3. Remind Yourself To Slow Down.  After college I moved from the east coast to California and often said it was because I wanted to learn how to walk more slowly.  So whenever I found myself b-lining down the sidewalk, I’d say to myself “what’s the rush, you’ll get there.”  Occasionally there is a reason to rush (real emergencies), but in general rushing or feeling rushed doesn’t get you there faster and only serves to make the getting there feel bad.  Find your mantra (options include: slow down, take a breath, what’s the rush, you’ll get there when where you get there, everything works out, enjoy the journey), and repeat it when you start to feel the rush creep in.
  4. Ask What Race You Want To Win.  Is life actually a competition?  Definitely not.  But maybe it feels like that.  So it’s worth asking what the race is all about.  What do you get if you win?  What is most important to you in life?  When I really think about this question, what’s most important to me is enjoying and living life.  So if that were a competition, what would get me there faster?  Slowing down and living in the moment.  Find out what’s important to you, and then adjust accordingly.

Anything else come to mind for you?  I’d love any additional tips that have worked for you or you are going to try! Please comment below.

Soy Una Tortuga!!!


Posted on: August 21st, 2013 No Comments

Oxygen Masks & Bubble Baths: 5 Tips to Self-Care

Self-care could be compared to the oxygen mask on an airplane: you have to take care of yourself first, otherwise you won’t be able to help others.  Realizing your need for self-care is half the battle.  Self care is how you rest, recharge, and rejuvenate.  It includes anything that is supportive to you (from taking time to process deep emotions, to letting go and having fun) You define what it is for you. 

Here are 5 tips to help you begin prioritizing YOU:  

1.     Schedule Time For Self-Care.  Suppose you made plans with a friend to go to dinner, and someone else asked you to do something that same night, would you immediately drop your friend?  Mostly likely not.  You’d stay committed to your original plans unless it was critically important to switch.  Do this for your self care as well.  Schedule a night for you, take a bath or set time to meditate, and when someone else asks you to do something, you have every right to say you have plans.  Because you do, with you!

2.     Make a List of Self-Care Resources.  Articulating what is good for you and what recharges your battery may motivate you to do it more often. Next time you’ve had a long day or you’re bored (or about to login to Facebook or turn of the TV), go to the list and see what speaks to you.  Make sure to include things that you can do quickly and ones that take more time.  Be mindful to note the difference between self-care and self-numbing (sometimes Facebook, TV, or alcohol can be a way to distract rather than be present).  Ask what is nourishing to you, and what is actually an escape?

3.     Tell People You Are Prioritizing YOU.  When I was a lawyer making a great salary, I went on a budget for lent of $10 a day with no roll-over.  (Stay with me, there’s a point.) My friends were used to me going out to fancy dinners, or doing things that cost more money.  But, when I told them what I was doing I was surprised (and delighted) with how understanding they were, and how creative we became with how to hang out.  Enrolling our community in our efforts can go a long way.  When you announce to family or friends that Monday nights are your night for you, you might be surprised by how you start getting help to make it happen.  

4.     Decide Yeses and Nos. Decide what you need to say yes to and what you need to say no to, in order to prioritize self-care. Learn to set boundaries for yourself. If you have a small child, you aren’t likely to say no to feeding them.  But you may be willing to say no to tucking them in once a week.  You might also be able to say no to TV, or other technology.  And what do you need to say yes to? Maybe to turning off your phone, waking up earlier, or to creating a space in your home that’s just yours.  Maybe you need to say yes to saying no…. Think through these two questions and come up with your own answers.  

5.     Commit.  Ah, the simplest and hardest of them all.  Sometimes we don’t realize what is most important to us, and we act out of habit or in response to the loudest request.  Flip this on its head and decide what is most important to you, and what you need to get there.  When we live life honoring our own personal values, we are more likely to take care of ourselves and therefore are able to take care of others.  Self-care is not to be confused with selfishness.  In fact, it is the only way we can truly be there for others.  So decide you will put on your oxygen mask first.  Commit to you. (And trust me, everyone will thank you for it!)

What are your favorite ways to take care of yourself?  What nourishes you?  And how do you stick with it?  Or what derails you from self-care?  

Posted on: August 8th, 2013 No Comments