Monday, January 28, 2008

Updated Yoga Teaching Schedule

Here is my updated Yoga Teaching Schedule:


7pm-8pm Reisterstown Brick Bodies


7am-8am: Baltimore Yoga Village
9:30am-11am: Baltimore Yoga Village
7:30pm-8:30pm: Padonia Brick Bodies


12pm-1pm: Baltimore Yoga Village


It doesn't matter how many vices I cut out of my life, I always find an addiction. Even if its something that is harmless, the addiction is the problem, not the focus of the addiction. Once you realize this, you discover that the obstacle is internal and cannot be overcome by eliminating one nasty habit after the next (although getting rid of unhealthy habits is a good thing!). As I peeled away the layers of vices, they became less and less detrimental to my health. Now that I'm staring at chocolate like its a bottle of Gin, I have to think to myself-where are these feelings coming from? How many more things can I take out of my life while I run away from the fact that these emotions and thought patterns are not a product of the outside world?

As my thoughts raced this evening, I took out a pad of paper and started writing. I promised myself that I would not stop writing until two pages were filled and that I would write anything that came to my mind. Although I felt somewhat crazy, it felt good. I wasn't turning on myself, I was unravelling myself and just being. My heart is racing as I type this, but that could be from the half a bar of dark chocolate I just ate.

I am just starting this journey. I have to remember this. Yoga, meditation, positive thinking, yogic philosophy, vegetarianism, juicing, chanting, all of this entered my life only 6 months ago. At least I've gotten this far. My mantras at the moment are: Surrender, play, and let go. I'm going to do those things right now. Most of the times I sit down to write here, I don't know what will occur, but usually I learn exactly what I need to do at that moment to be happy and free.

PS- One of the people who inspired me to make these changes is Kris Carr from Crazy, Sexy Cancer. A few days ago, I awoke to find that she had commented on one of my blog entries. I can't explain how motivating and uplifting it was to hear from her! If you haven't yet checked out her site or blog, do it now!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Ashram life for the weekend and Dry Brushing

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh. Thats how I feel when I think about this past weekend at the Sivananda Yoga Ranch in Woodbourne, NY. I visited the ashram with one of my oldest and dearest friends. It was like we were kids again at summer camp. Lots of laughing, conscious living, peaceful silence, sharing wisdom, and positive thinking. The focus of the weekend was positive thinking and there was a wonderful workshop on Saturday afternoon on the subject. Here is a quote from Swami Sivananda's writing on positive thinking:

Lead a well-regulated life respecting the natural rhythms as much as possible.
Adapt, Adjust, Accomodate.
Live in the present.
Allow sudden changes to arise in your life.
Do not look for perfection in life. Perfection lies in stillness of one's own mind.
What really matters is not what happens but how we react to it.
Under stress most people loose their balance and their routine. We let things 'fall apart'.
Try to stick to your minimum routine.
Sit down and sort out any changes you could make to help you. Then make them NOW!
Do not waste your life speculating about others in ways that are not to your mutual advantage.
Purge your mind of all aimless and idle thoughts, especially those dealing with affairs of others or wishing them ill.
Become a staunch believer in self-reliance and self-effort.
You are affected by things only in accordance with your idea about them.
The minds sees value in that in which it has intense faith.
Each time I read this passage, I find something new and helpful. One of my biggest challenges at home is making time to meditate, which is one of the most integral parts of living a healthy life (in my opinion). We sat for meditation four times during the weekend and I realize how restless and cloudy my mind is at the moment. I promise to meditate at least 30 minutes a day, even if it is 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at night. I want to find my quiet mind.

The hatha yoga was fantastic! I hadn't taken a class since teacher training and it was so relaxing and satisfying to be on the mat. I would like to begin taking at least one a yoga class a week in Baltimore in addition to my home practice. It was also wonderful taking a class in the temple, which is an octagon-shaped room with floor to ceiling windows. I felt surrounded by warmth and peace.

Satsang is also a wonderful part of the ashram schedule. We attended four Satsangs during the weekend. Swami-ji spoke about positive thinking after chanting and meditation. We also went on a walk through the ashram property on Saturday morning. It was a silent meditation walk and we traipsed through the woods over the crunchy snow to the Shiva and Ganesha shrines. The fresh air was cleansing and invigorating.

All of the meals are vegetarian and it was wonderful catching up with friends from TTC and newcomers to the ashram over brunch and dinner each day. It was simply a fantastic weekend and I highly recommend making a visit to any of the Sivananda Ashrams, even if you have never practiced yoga. The majority of guest were completely new to ashram life and yoga as a whole. I am working hard to carry the principles of yoga into daily life. I'm sure I'll be back at the ashram for another refresher as soon as possible!

I also picked up a natural bristle body brush at the ashram. I used it before showering last night and this morning. Kris Carr introduced me to this great detox tool in this blog entry. Check out this site for some helpful instructions. It feels great while you are doing it. I can't report on the long-term effect yet, but I'll keep you posted:)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Day... I have no idea what day it is

I don't know what day I'm in of my nutritional journey, but I've found a place where I've integrated new elements into my daily diet and found a regimen that works for me right now. Without a doubt, 32oz of juice is the first thing I consume. Lunch-salad (romaine, carrots, cucumber) with homemade dressing. I get protein through snacks-raw almonds, Lara Bars, 70% Dark Chocolate. Dinner is usually salad and soup, lately I've been having a baked sweet potato too. I'm still writing my morning pages, although morning pages turned into late-afternoon pages today. And I'm just about to do my daily dance. I read about this in Kris Carr's blog. Dancing alone to a song of your choice every day tends to lift the spirits. It lifted mine yesterday. With that, lets dance.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Day 17

I fell off the deep end this weekend with a slice of apple pie and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. To tell you the truth, it was unsatisfying and gave me a sugar hangover the next day. I'll take some organic dark chocolate over pie any day. I've started writing "morning pages" on the recommendation of a dear friend. Its nice to do a brain dump first thing in the morning.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Day 13

I'm drinking my Green Lemonade and still loving it as I type this blog. I've lost a few pounds since Day 1. Shambhala meditation will have to wait until next week because of some grant writing that can't wait. There is a Open House at Baltimore Yoga Village this Sunday January 13, which should be a wonderful event, including: two free yoga classes in the morning, free food by nutritionist Lucas, free chair massages, and an Art Show. Check out the website for more details. I am finding heavier foods less appealing and gravitating more towards juice, salads, and soups. I feel full faster and food isn't running my life. I feel nourished.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Day 8 and Day 9

Here is the start of my blog from yesterday (day 8): Blogging yesterday was exactly what I needed to start meditating at home. I meditated yesterday and today, and it was fantastic.

Continuing on Day 9...
I bought a scale yesterday so that I can track my weight. Although weight loss isn't a major goal, I am curious to see if making these lifestyle changes will effect my weight. I am still drinking my morning Green Lemonade every day! I'm also still snacking on almonds, Lara Bars, and fresh fruit. For lunch and dinner, I've been eating soup and salad, and to satisfy my sweet tooth-organic 70% dark chocolate. I've also been drinking a lot of herbal tea.

On Thursday, I'll be visiting the Shambhala Center for the Open House and meditation from 7:00-9:00pm. I'll let you know how it goes.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Day 7

I like the Green Lemonade more each day. Its almost 12:30 and so far today I've had 32 oz. of Green Lemonade and a pear. I am taking more time to take care of myself, my husband, and my home lately. I don't get as stressed out about these tasks either. One thing that I have not done since returning from the ashram is meditate. I'll make every excuse not to do it-like writing in this blog. I'm going to meditate right now actually. I'll write about it later.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Day 5

I've found a nice balance. I made a carrot-sweet potato soup last night for dinner. I was planning on juicing, but the cold weather had me craving warm soup. It was delicious, but I felt VERY full afterwards. I was a little hungry in the late evening, so I made my second salad of the day around 9pm. My energy, mood, and state of mind is improving every day. Right now, I am sipping 32 oz. of Green Lemonade:) I have also been eating a little 70% Dark Chocolate each day. It keeps my sweet tooth at bay. I don't know exactly why, but I am having an easier time taking things less seriously, slowing down, and enjoying myself. I am looking forward to visiting the Sivananda Yoga Ranch in a couple weeks for a weekend retreat. Hopefully some friends and yoga students will join me!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Day 4

I was surprisingly rested this morning when my alarm went off at 6am. Usually it is a struggle. I didn't get to sleep until midnight, which is something I want to work on. I would like to get at least 7 hours of sleep per night. I think that I do best on 8 hours, but thats not realistic most of the time. I have had two cups of herbal tea this morning and I'll be juicing some "Green Lemonade" soon. Green Lemonade is described in my last post. Yesterday I juiced twice, snacked on raw almonds and a Lara Bar, and had a BIG salad for dinner with homemade salad dressing. Today, I plan to juice this morning, pack some raw almonds, a Lara Bar, and a piece of fruit, juice again in the late afternoon and have a salad for dinner again. We'll see how it goes!

Overall, I have noticed that my mood is improving since adopting this diet. I don't have severe ups and downs and I feel more optimistic. I also feel more clear-headed and mellow. I am committed to following this diet for as long as possible and I don't see the end coming soon!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Day 3

Last night was a struggle. I ate a small amount of cooked food at dinner. It is difficult to explain why I am trying to eat raw food and juices to certain people. I feel like I have to defend myself sometimes, but I know that the people who are questioning me only do so because they care. I am trying to be true to myself despite this discouragement. I am adding raw nuts, salads, fruit, Lara Bars, and raw recipe's from Natalia Rose's book, to my daily diet. Juice will continue to be my first "meal" of the day and I will try to incorporate it later in the day as well.

Today, my first meal is 32 oz. of the following juice:
  • 1 head of celery
  • 2 apples
  • 1/2 inch of ginger
  • A few pinches of Cayenne
  • 1 lemon (with peel)
  • A few leaves of Kale
I feel very clear-headed today and relaxed. The juices are also becoming more palatable. I hope that I'll learn to love them. I drank a carrot-beet-apple-lemon juice yesterday that was very nice. Tomorrow I will be returning to teaching yoga, nannying, and writing full-time so we'll see how things go. I will have to do some meal planning today!