I am excited to welcome you to the happy heart yoga site. You will find several free yoga class videos and blog articles, which I hope will be useful resources to help you on your journey. To learn more about me and my philosophy please check out the about page.
I went to a yoga nidra class last weekend. I had heard about the practice and I sort of knew what I was getting myself into but I did not know what my reaction would be to the class. The format of the class included some movement to get the body warmed up, then about an hour of guided savasana meditation. It felt like awake sleeping. Being pregnant, I cannot stay in one position for too long without getting uncomfortable. So, about half way through the meditation, I felt the urge to move. I started worrying and feeling guilty and, ultimately, second guessing myself. I worried about the baby - was I sitting at too deep of an incline for him to get adequate blood flow? Was he alright? I started feeling guilty about being so distracted and potentially moving positions, thus disturbing the teacher or the people around me. Then, I started second guessing myself- did I really need to move or should I just suck it up and stick with the position I was in? Or was it my body signaling that it was time for a change and it would be beneficial to both me and the babe to move?
This is an example of something that I have experienced and heard expressed often from others. There are many points in our self-discovery journey where we second guess ourselves and become confused by the difference between our intuition and fear. We don’t know whether to keep going, keep digging and moving deeper, or whether to stop and rest or readjust.
It is a common human tendency to overextend ourselves - to stretch ourselves too thin.
It can be a way of life for some people and for others just a habit that reoccurs over time or in specific situations. I have been thinking a lot about this tendency recently. For the first time in my life, I am very aware of when I am doing this (or tempted to) and have been working on allowing myself to step back and let go the desire to overextend.
HOW IT SHOWS UP
There are many ways we do this. Some examples in life where we over extend ourselves can be with work, social engagements, general time commitments, staying busy, exercise and dieting, etc. We don’t allow ourselves to slow down, to rest, or to care for ourselves. The act of overextension is draining and unsustainable. We may think we are invincible and we can “rest later,” but the truth is, it takes a toll on our health and our wellbeing, if not immediately, then definitely in the long run.
Never has change been more apparent to me then during pregnancy. Everyday brings something new. My daily abilities and mobility change minute to minute. Growth and expansion are so apparent. My yoga practice has also changed so much with some poses being completely inaccessible to me all of sudden. At first glance, this can be frustrating and depressing. But then I realize that the frustration is a result of trying to hold on to a past identity or grasping at what I was once able to do. I can look at my tummy expanding and get fearful that I will never be the same size and shape I was before this pregnancy. I can watch my flexibilty and muscle mass decrease and worry about how long it will take me to regain it back.
Change can be hard to digest and scary to face, especially when it is so apparent and noticeable. It is extremely confronting. It makes me realize that I am getting older and will never be the same as I was a year ago.
The truth is that we are all changing every moment of every day.
Oh, beautiful Spring! There is so much hope and growth and renewal in the air.
Spring feels like a convergence of all the elements - earth, water, fire, and air - so presently before us.
The fertile earth beneath us, sprouting new life from deep within. The green of the earth pushing through with soft grace.
The recent rains still soaking the soil and feeding a fury of growth.
The fire of the sun shinning down upon the earth, beckoning the earth to rise up toward it.
The cool, breezy air caressing life and filling our lungs.
I feel so connected to nature at times like these. We are creatures of this earth. We are a part of this great, mysterious universe above us. We are in tune and inherently connected to the cycles of our planet and of those marching steadily above us. We are moved by the sun and the tides.
We are both worldly and other-worldly. Human and divine. This is the convergence. Right where we stand. The union of heaven and earth, light and darkness, the known and unknown. Harmoniously connected and intertwined. Inseparable.
This connection is even more present for me in this state of pregnancy.
The experience of creating new life and feeling it blossom within me. It feels like I am on the precipice of creation — I am an intricate piece of existence, fostering and fulfilling life. I am a reflection of mother earth — rich with the soils of fertility, with the waters of life, the breath and fire of creation. I am embodying Spring. I embody both the masculine and feminine energies and can give life to both. I feel humbled and honored by this magical process, a lot of which is still a mystery to our modern ways.
And just as the earth does not know the beauty of each individual flower she plants until it bursts forth from the earth, I too can only lovingly grow this life and dream of his beauty once he decides to step forth on the earth.
He comes from the light. He is made of light and love. And I know that when he sees the light of the sun one day, he will recognize it in himself, as a part of who he is. When he feels the rain and the wind on his face, he will recognize the same movement of the waters and air within him. And when he steps forth on this earth he will know where he came from and feel intrinsically and wholly at home.
I recently got an email from a reader that is struggling with making a big life change. She wants to make a career shift but is struggling with motivation since she is comfortable where she is. She doesn’t NEED the change but she WANTS it.
I have been in this exact same position many times and I know so many people that have been in it as well. I feel like it is a right of passage, of sorts, on the career path. We find a job, we enjoy it, we get bored, we want a change but we don’t know how to start.
The truth is, it is scary to take on a big life change — especially one that involves our livelihood and finances. For some reason it feels like too great of a risk to go after our hopes and dreams when money is involved. Seeking pleasure in career is a hard sell when you are making enough money to be comfortable.
In fact, being comfortable but not fulfilled is one of the most dangerous and daunting positions we can be in.
Here is a question I have wondered about for quite some time now: What is the best approach to take when you know you want and need to be creative, but the inspiration or direction isn’t there?
Recently, this question has been really present on my mind. For the last two weeks, I haven’t felt inspired to write a new blog post. I haven’t had a direction in mind or a good idea for what I should focus on. When this happens, I always wonder if I should push myself to write something or just take a break and wait for inspiration to strike.
This time, I took the “wait and see” approach and I haven’t written a blog post for two weeks (and what I do end up writing revolves around this dilemma I am having). But I wonder if I took a more active approach and scheduled a specific time to write, maybe I would have come up with something sooner.
One way isn’t right or wrong, but perhaps one could be more effective.
I have been practicing and meditating on loving kindness for the past couple of weeks and it has had a huge impact on my state of being - mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual.
With everything going on in the US and in the world, I can easily get consumed with frustration, anger, and despair. There is a place for frustration and anger and despair - the emotions themselves are not bad - it is the effect that they have that can become harmful. What I notice is that when I am angry, I brood; I get caught up in unpleasant thoughts that can spiral out of control. It darkens my mood and the mood of others around me. I even catch myself saying or doing harmful things.
When we are angry, we have to measure our actions to ensure we are not acting out of anger or hatred. When we act of our anger, we end up hurting ourselves and others.
So, we have to redirect ourselves toward love and act from a place of loving kindness.
Never underestimate the impact that love can have. When we act out of love instead of anger, we can still take strong stands, impact a course of events, and affect the world.
This week, in addition to my daily morning routine, I have been experimenting more with figuring out an effective evening routine. A lot of times, when it is time to go to bed I don’t feel ready, I drag my feet to start getting ready for bed, and I end up laying awake for a long time trying to invoke sleep.
In the past, whenever I have taken more time to intentionally prepare for bed I always ended up feeling better and sleeping more easily.
And since I have been having some trouble getting a good night's rest recently, I figured it would be a good idea to create an evening routine.
When I have implemented successful evening routines, I have experienced the following benefits:
Last week we talked a little about morning routines and I shared a video that guided you through an example morning routine. I figured I would take some time to go into more detail about the importance of morning routines and to offer some ideas so that you can create your own routine that inspires and works for you and your lifestyle.
What is a morning routine and why should I have one?
A morning routine, as the name suggests, is a series of activities that you do every morning, which help you start your day of well.
A lot of times, especially when we are tired or busy, we sleep until the last possible moment, jump out of bed, and rush around to get out of the door. Our morning feels rushed and stressful.
On the other hand, when we take time for a morning routine, we have the opportunity to wake up and get our day started in a peaceful and intentional way.
The tone we set in the morning, follows us into the rest of our day. If we feel stressed and rushed getting out the door, our whole day will be colored by that same feeling of stress. If we feel calm and relaxed in the morning, we will bring that feeling into our day and it will help balance us when things get hectic.