I wrote a poem and here it is.

OK, I wrote a poem. I’m unfamiliar with this art but I am staying with this vulnerability, I am leaning into this. Remember when we were kids and we all wrote poems? We painted, we acted, we sung, we wrote songs, we wrote short stories, and we fell in love with our work. I wrote this poem a month ago I don’t even know why I did and have kept it in my notebook, haven’t even looked at it again. Because many of us, now all grown up and filed down by life, deny our natural desire, NEED, to create. We are all creators. We all want to work and make things but somewhere in our life’s education, we were told we only create may one thing. The rest is for someone else. Well, that is BS. We are all poets, singers, songwriters, playwrites, painters, sketchers, fashion designers, architects, we’re the actor, the director, the visionary. 

Last night, I was sitting in the airport with my headphones in, scrolling through whatever sh** I apparently needed to see and then a young girl tapped on my shoulder. In Spanish, she informed me she was now putting on her ballet and I could watch. I thanked her, I took out my music, and I watched this girl dance her absolute heart out for a full 7-10 minutes with no music. This was no random dance, there was a plot, a story. There was drama. A lot of thought went into her movements. Now I will admit, this was the first ballet I have ever attended, but it was easily the best ballet I’ve ever seen.  I applauded and complimented but she was very indifferent about how I felt about her ballet. She did not need me to be proud of her work or tell her to continue. She walked back to her corner of the international arrivals gate and created a new ballet. It was not about the performance, it was about the work. It was not for me, it was for her. 

So same.

No title because I have no idea how to title a poem that’s too far for me. 

There is something romantic about an expert at work. At play.

I watch him watch.

He is looking for something specific.

The amateur longs to see what he recognizes like family.

He watches so patiently

So accepting

Almost indifferent but not quite.

There is longing but it is aged.

It has matured.

He knows only a child wants what is not being given.

He knows his is a sport of receiving.

He has surrendered control

and even the desire for control.

He only wants what is being offered freely.

With a lack of disappointment, he turns.

He has something better to do

But he’ll be back.

Sharing My Struggle: hey this was supposed to be inspiring! Feeling disconnected, mild identity crisis, everything is fine.

Sharing my struggle – a series (termed loosely as I don’t blog enough to have a series) where I talk about my feelings usually negative and don’t really turn them around. Enjoy!

I’ve been trying to put this into words for so long and late last night, I was flooded. This all came out as quickly as the food poisoning the night before. I guess I needed my first real bad day. I will admit I don’t love sharing this because I’d prefer you all to think I’m bouncing around loving life with everything held together…but that’s what sharing the struggle is all about. So here we go.


OK, you may be wondering, hey what’s Sophie doing in Ecuador? Let me give you TMI.

For almost a year, I’ve had this glorious plan. To finally graduate from school then jet off to who cares where and teach yoga. Yes, this would be it and yes I wanted this to be permanent. Not necessarily permanently in one place but you know the kinda cliché but totally still beautiful nomad yoga teacher? That was going to be me. I was going to full time travel, live just at my means (food, shelter, love), and share yoga with whoever wanted a piece. I didn’t want to live in the USA for all of 2019. I didn’t want to stop teaching even for a vacation. Nice right? So obviously the original plan didn’t work.

What happened?

It started to crumble last June when I had a “big girl”, “real” job and didn’t hate it like I was supposed to. I actually enjoyed it. I found the commute just pleasantly annoying, my office was on a swanky side of town with hip gyms and restaurants (my fav hip things), my peers were fun and smart, the company itself was too big for its own good and everything was convoluted but my supervisors were down to earth, I enjoyed earning significant amounts of money that I was able to do significant things with, and I was good at what I did. I didn’t dread going to work, I liked talking about it, and I got excited about it. I also taught yoga twice a week which gave me my fill (OK like half my fill) of yoga, yogis, class planning, and inspiration. This experience made me doubt my master plan. However the moment I was back in school, learning things I didn’t care about, feeling only motivated by teaching (now 7-8x per week), the plan was back in action.

Then around September, I began to feel disconnected from the person who inspired me to keep this plan, who I (only partially) dreamed of doing this plan with, who would keep me grounded during these indefinite travels. Eventually I became apathetic about our relationship and we lost those ties. Another strike against the plan.

Later in 2018, I started to get tired of where I was. I was restless and maybe a bit doubtful of myself to pull the trigger. I was excited for the plan and wanted it to happen immediately. It had to happen at some point and I was ready to have a more clear vision of my next step so I took a job or two or five in Ecuador. When I say job, you may think of contracts and salaries and this is not that. I use the term loosely it’s actually an exchange deal. Since I only wanted to live at my means, it was perfect.

OK – plan in place. And then blah blah blah some more things happened that messed up I mean romantically tampered with the plan (because like shit, boys happen).

Now the date is here, I am outtie, and so happy. So what if the plan has been slowly deteriorating? It’s on. So here’s what actually happened. Let me say before I continue, this is not Ecuador. This is me. I don’t have one negative thing to say about this amazing country and highly recommend it. Basically all of the worst cases (that I had already discussed with myself as possibilities) were here. I’m not going to get into it but if you think you have even been to a night club or seen aggressive German men on every single drug, please come here and see it for real. So I picked up the vibe that this place might not be for me but no panic I can always leave I knew that. I wanted to make it work and teach yoga. I told myself I would bring the peace with me and everything is fine. Which is true and it would’ve worked out just like everything does. But I was talking to someone who felt similarly (like no way it was a coincidence we met similar) and he said something that resonated with me so deeply, “for whom?”. For whom am I trying to work this out for, or staying here for? I had no answer so I left.

I desperately looked for similar exchange deals or any kind of teaching work in other places close by. Nothing was working out and it started to feel forced. I trusted my gut, if things feel forced, they are forced, and there is absolutely no purpose behind forcing. Beyond the lack of teaching, I miss home and routine (ok, the gym. I miss the gym.) and having a partner (ugh romantic me). And I blame everything that goes wrong in my life on where I am. I feel far away from my family which makes me feel lost, not supported, and scared. I make assumptions about what they’re doing and feeling. I assume no one wants to hear from me or hear about my life here now that it’s taken a different turn. This list goes on.

I took this all as a sign from the universe that it’s not time for me to be the nomad yoga teacher. It’s time for me to be the fellow earth citizen who is experiencing and learning. To my own surprise, I took this shift in mindset gracefully. I accepted that I would spend a good chunk of my savings and decided this would be a 2 month trip instead of a dramatic move and lifestyle shift. I’d use the 2 months to get myself together, get inspired, have fun, and figure out what I really want going forward.

I’m a believer that the universe is always on my side but it’s testing me and like basically every exam in college, I can tell I’m failing. Because I have never felt more unaligned with my purpose, confused about what I want and why, and just plain damn unmotivated and uninspired. If you know me, you know how unlike me this sounds. There are days I cannot find me within myself at all. But regardless, this is me right now. The universe is giving me a break. A pause. And I am resisting like the foolish human I am. The child in me is throwing a fit “hey this was supposed to be inspiring! This isn’t fair!”. Breaks are supposed to be nice right? I haven’t had one in forever. My entire existence up to this point has been planned. Maybe not specifically but I have been in school for longer than I can remember and this is literally the first time I’m not. In 2016, I fell in love with teaching yoga and since 2016, I have not gone more than 2 weeks without teaching a class. I didn’t want a break from teaching but I got served one.

So let me pull up my big girl pants and say thank you universe. Not sure what you’re doing, but thank you & I love you. What can this break from teaching teach me? I’ve learned a lot about myself and here’s the real and raw: I feel unmotivated when I don’t feel needed. More to that, I feel unmotivated when I’m not a leader or guide, preferably THE leader and guide. I sometimes used teaching yoga as my excuse for not knowing what I want to do with this engineering degree that no matter how hard I try to hate, I actually like and am proud of and identify with. I feel disconnected from other humans when I’m not teaching yoga. My personal practice suffers and sometimes disappears for days when I’m not teaching. It is more difficult for me to achieve a meditative state when I’m not teaching regularly. I feel disconnected from and inferior to other yoga teachers when I’m not teaching. I am constantly preparing my thoughts for sharing with a group. More to this, when anything happens, I’m in the moment for just a moment, then I’m considering how I will talk about it later and theme a damn yoga class around it. (I’m doing this right now.) I rely on my teaching job for my sense of identity. I do this because I pour myself into teaching. If I were a yoga bucket I’d be completely upside down. And probably empty. A couple weeks ago, I posed a question on my Instagram (something I sit with often), who are we without our job titles? I didn’t think I had his figured out by any means but now I feel more confused than ever. Who am if I’m not a yoga teacher?

Then comes fears (which can be great teaching tools), what if something happened to me that didn’t allow me to teach yoga anymore? What if I can’t earn enough to support myself? I’m scared to go home and not have my same teaching job. What if I can’t get hired anywhere else? Do my old yogis miss me as much as I miss them? I’m going to move? What if there are “better” teachers there? Did I actually just use the word better to describe a yoga teacher? It goes on and on.

There is no conclusion here. Except maybe this, we can’t always get what we want (no, Donald Trump cannot soil that song for me). But we do get what we need. I’m not sure why the universe isn’t giving me what I want or why I’m being such a baby about it, but I know I’m growing.

& a message to my past yogis and yoginis in case you didn’t get it, I MISS YOU. SO MUCH. THANK YOU.

The Real Reasons Spiritual Practices are Hard + A Mantra Meditation

I told myself that in 2019 I would write in this blog more. And I’m not doing so hot on that. I’m in Ecuador doing the whole I-just-graduated-with-a-degree-I-don’t-know-how-to-use-right-now thing and while I have a lot to say about it, it just hasn’t come into words. The whole reason I’m writing about this topic is because I had some expectations of this trip (mistake oops I mean learning moment #1) that haven’t panned out. Complete transparency, I thought this would be a time of connecting with new and different humans, teaching yoga, meditating every day twice a day, surfing, feeling intensely connected with my body and earth, deepening my yoga practice, having daily epiphanies, and being inspired for months. And for the most part, it’s not the way I expected. Because that’s not realistic for me at this point in my life and that’s ok. I am trusting the universe’s message that maybe that kind of experience is not what I need right now. Don’t worry, I’m fine and I’m having fun and I’m learning a lot.

The usual disclaimer: Like all of my posts, I am generalizing and voicing my own opinion in my own words.


Alright, let’s have a real moment and say keeping up with any kind of routine can be hard. Take it from me as I am in South America, not working, totally chilling, and still not able to find time for everything. We’re busy humans and it’s difficult to commit time to certain things especially things that don’t pertain to school, work, our families, the “necessities”. But see? Right there? It’s already started. Today I’m going to talk about the real reason maintaining a spiritual practice is difficult for so many of us and spoiler alert, the reason sucks.

Many of us do not think highly enough of ourself to put the proper amount of time and work into our spirituality. Or maybe if you’re not so into the big S word, this still applies. Many of us do not think highly enough of ourself to properly take care of ourself. When I mentioned all the of time suckers of our day (work, school, children, farm animals, I don’t know your life) I called those the necessities but didn’t include myself. Sure every day I remember to get out of bed, I eat, I usually bathe (OK I don’t but I look and smell like I did), I survive. But there are days I hardly think of me; who I am, who I want to be, my purpose, my truth, what I want to give, what I want to receive, and so on. There are days when I don’t take a moment to be happy to be alive. I don’t think of God (universal flow, love, whatever you call this). I don’t think of my connection to other humans. I spend the day numb, bumbling through a to do list. Maybe I’m not even bumbling maybe I am absolutely killing it and feel super motivated and happy to get it done. But there was no me involved. Maybe my ego was happy to check things off, but I wasn’t there. Some days, my true self doesn’t show up. Have you had a day like this? Was today a day like this? Are most days like this?

So before we delve into our (generalizing) screwed up measures of self worth, let’s discuss a more tangible reason for this lack of self care or effort. For many, spiritual work’s benefits are too long term or maybe too concealed, too subtle. Other work isn’t. Like, I am hungry so I eat. Or more long term like, I wanted a degree so I went to the library and studied my ass off. Someone else wanted a promotion so they put a ton of meaningful time in at work. Our mothers wanted us to live and grow so they made whatever sacrifices necessary and fed us. Obvious right? It gets harder like, I wanted what was best for my partner and I so I ended a relationship. Someone wanted a new direction in life so they quit their job and stopped earning a pay that made them comfortable. What about, I want to reach a higher level of consciousness so I sat in meditation every morning for all of my life and some days I still felt like it was day 1. Hmmm. A little harder sell, yeah? (Read my last post to hear more about our need for very tangible results.)

The “results” of a spiritual practice can be the most significant changes we experience in life but can also be very subtle and slow. So why don’t we put in the work for subtle and slow changes that make us more in tune with ourself, fellow humans, nature, and the universal flow of energy?

We don’t think we’re worth it.

We think keeping our job is worth effort. We think improving our grades is worth effort. But we don’t think a task that solely benefits us, as everlasting souls experiencing the human condition, is worth the time, effort, and sacrifices that it may require. We don’t see the point of committing to ourself! To bettering us! To creating a meaningful connection between us and God! What. A. Damn. Shame. So here’s me, just another soul in a different body experiencing the same human condition and struggling to think of myself worthy, saying you are worth it. We all are.

So whatever a “spiritual practice” looks like to you, make time for it. Not because it’s “healthy”, not because it “relaxes” you. The “” don’t really make sense here but I am using them to express! Make time for your practice not for any reason other than it’s for you. Not the you that needs a glass of wine and a bubble bath so you can be a better *insert job title*, not the you that wants a sexier, healthier body. This is for the you that has no job and no body. Because even though you might not see that piece of yourself in the mirror or even experience that raw, true you every day, that version of you is worth so much. So spend that money on a membership at the yoga studio, chant your mantra, get up an hour earlier than your kids to write in your journal, get some reiki, burn all the sage, do 108 sun salutations, meditate for 20 minutes when you wake up, pray every single night, whatever this looks like for you (and it may look like anything), do it! Get it done! Trust that you’re worth putting other things off or sacrificing time spent elsewhere.

Let’s have a mantra meditation. Want to learn more about mantra? Google it. I use mantra to get things into my head.

Our Mantra: I am worth time, I am worth effort.

In a comfortable seat with an upright spine, bring your attention to your breath. Breathe normally and notice your breath in your body. Then notice your body in the space of the breath.

When completely aware of your breath, let’s layer on. As you inhale, say (I like out loud but in your head works too) “I am worth time”. Retain your breath and this thought at the top of your inhale. As you exhale, say “I am worth effort”. Pause before inhaling again, repeating the process.

Continue breathing with this thought until it comes naturally. You can use a mala for this meditation or count on your fingers. You could use a timer if you prefer. I find keeping count of time or rounds in my head distracting, so use a tool or use intuition to know when you’re done.

If this meditation resonates with you, make it your spiritual practice.

Remember to take each day to love and support your highest self, the part of you that makes you feel alive and a part of something beautiful.

Much love.

Yoga, Meditation, & Our Obsession with the Physical. a scattered thought with no answers.

This is a place to talk about the touchier topics in life…so I’m going to start with a disclaimer that I love any and all yoga practices, regardless of what brought you here or to your mat. I would never cast shame on someone trying to take care of their body and overall health. I truly believe yoga is for everyone regardless of goals and intentions. I am in no way passing judgments, just sharing my thoughts and trying to spark yours! Here’s what I think: the western world has taken yoga and turned it into a health fad. And THANK GOD. Truly, thank God, because I never would have found yoga if it was a better kept secret. Thank God it’s so accessible and popular. Thank God so many people are being exposed to these teachings. Yoga is yoga is yoga….alright ready for the tougher sh**?

Probably the #1 reason people begin a yoga practice is for some physical purpose – gain mobility, flexibility, lose weight, get stronger, have a six pack, etc. And the #2 is probably a mental or emotional gain like reduce stress, increase focus & energy, etc. These are GREAT. But side effects. And in my opinion, these are often (but not always!!) distractions. Distractions from being there.

Here’s my question. Why does it feel like we need some benefit to point at to do things? Not all things. Just hard things.

So yoga has been a tradition for 4500 years probably more. Eating cookies during the holidays has been one for a while too. I hate to be the bearer of bad news here but there is absolutely no physical benefit to eating cookies. Regardless, people eat cookies on Christmas and then google yoga to make sure it will benefit them. They read and say “Ooo I should try that. I need to stretch more. My low back has been killing.”

Why are there no online articles convincing me to eat cookies on Christmas? Why do I already know I need to do that?

What else? Meditation has been around for a very long time. But it’s not big until it’s considered part of some list of shit successful (the rich kind of successful) people do. “How Meditation Benefits CEOs”, “7 Ways Meditation can Physically Change the Brain”, “Quit Coffee with Meditation”, “How Meditation Improved my Workouts”, “Less Migraines with Meditation”, “Grow Your Circle of Influence with Meditation”…. these are all articles online. MindBodyGreen even claims meditation makes men last longer in bed…I’m not saying any of this is untrue or negative. And I love that people are motivated to meditate…but isn’t meditation supposed to pull us out of the physical? To connect us with God, love, prana, the force, the universe or whatever name it goes by to you?

Dude, why are we all so stuck in this physical world? We can’t sit down for 10 minutes without needing it to improve our human experience. We’re here for what, 90 years if we’re lucky? OK cool, make it a great 90 years where you make a lot of money, have kickass workouts, and last as long as you want in bed. And be able to scientifically back up everything you do. Do that. Then what? What did that mean?

I ask all of this because I’m guilty of it. I hear of something, then ask but what does that do for me? How do I benefit from that? Especially when I began diving deep into yoga and reading about some of the things the sages did. Sleeping on nails, sitting for years while their skin rotted and was eaten by rats, ingesting and digesting long strands of fabric. WHY? What is the health benefit to that?

And you know what makes all of this harder? There are physical benefits to yoga and meditation. TONS. IT’S SO DAMN GOOD FOR OUR BODIES. Same to many of the things I’ve been asked lately. Why do you smudge? Why do you wear crystals? Why do you pray? Why do you oil pull? Why do you fast? Why should I do yoga? Why should I meditate? The purposes are easy to think of and easy to talk about. Even though our questions have valid, health-industry-valuable answers (unlike some traditions, like cookies), I wish we didn’t have to ask them all the time.

What if we did things just because? Because they’re sacred, because they’re special. Or maybe we can’t explain it but it just must be done. Like eating cookies at a holiday party. I don’t know why I have to. It doesn’t help anything, in fact, science shows it hurts things. But damn it, I’m going to and it’s going to be tasty and Christmas-y and I’d be sad if I didn’t.

What if we didn’t have to reach into our scientific knowledge (that is so vast and awesome) to keep sacred traditions? Maybe there could be a trust there, even stronger than a trust, maybe there’s a call.

No answers as usual. I don’t have many. But I’ll conclude.

Ask not what your higher being can do for your human experience but what your human experience can do for your higher being.

Have a great holiday. Eat cookies & meditate because you want to.

Brain Dumping: the what, why, & how

Back again to talk about brain dumping. I mentioned this concept last week in my Stuff I Do Now post and there’s a lot more to read about it on the internet but I’ll tell you what it is to me, why I do it, and how I do it.

What?

Brain dumping is getting things that you’re thinking about out of your brain and somewhere else. It’s that simple. Literally anything you’re thinking about – release it somewhere else. It may be jotting something down on a sticky note when you think of it, an hour long journal session where you really clear your head, or anything in between. Maybe you’re physically writing, maybe you’re typing on your phone or computer. Maybe it’s right when you wake up, right before you go to bed, maybe you do it 5 times per day. I find brain dumping most helpful when I’m about to settle in on one task for a while. I have a specific notebook just for brain dumping. Sometimes my thoughts are organized lists of things I need to remember to bring somewhere, sometimes diagrams , sometimes stick figures, just whatever’s there.

Why?

I brain dump so that I can focus on what’s in front of me without being distracted with other thoughts. Are you one to have a thought then agonize until you can do something about it? I am. Writing them down makes me feel like I’m not ignoring or putting things off without consideration. These days, many of us are constantly being pulled in so many directions. We have way too many things to do and think about. Often when I’m working on one thing (or just trying to relax), I feel like I’m being irresponsible by not working on some other thing. Or I’ll feel like I’m going to forget this thing I just remembered! Brain dumping relieves me of this since I know I have that written down and I’ll get to it later.

How?

I usually brain dump at least once a day, sometimes more. When I’m really relaxed, I don’t feel the need to. Here’s what a typical brain dumping session looks like for me: I wake up, I’m a busy human so I cannot help but think of all of the things I have to do that day, stuff I don’t want to forget to bring to wherever I’m going that day, etc. I want to sit in the moment, tune into myself, plug in and reconnect with all that’s around me. I can’t do that if I’m stressed about forgetting all my clear thoughts I woke up with. So I grab a notebook right next to my bed and write everything down. I don’t try to pull new information, I just semi-mindlessly write what’s already there at the front of my brain. It’s an important distinction as thinking too hard about what to write down causes more distracting thoughts to come up, the opposite of the point here. Usually it’s a mini to-do list or just things I don’t want to forget to bring to campus (computer charger, work shirt, snack, etc). Now I’m able to feel clear-minded and fresh for my meditation. When I’m done, I have all of those thoughts down and can handle them when I want to.

Here’s my brain dump from this morning…

Screenshot (6)

Part to-do list, part me reminding myself where all of my clothes are, part me looking for a cold pack, part yoga class planning – just whatever was sitting on the top of my mind!

 

I highly recommend brain dumping to feel relaxed but not lazy!

Stuff I Do Now (& I’m happier)

Hi friends. In this post, I’m sharing habits I have adopted in recent months/years-ish. Life has changed a lot and wow it’s better. I guess I’m growing  up or something.

I spend a lot of time alone.

I used to hate being alone. I would get so bored. If I spent a day without spending time with someone, I would consider that a wasted day.  Now, I appreciate my own company. I do what I want, when I want, where I want, etc.

I wake up early.

I’ve never been one to sleep in late but now I make it a point to be up early. I talked about this in my morning routine post, but I like to be up before I have to be. I like to be able to take my time waking up and enjoying the sweet earliest hours of the day.

I go to bed early.

I go to bed when I am tired. And going to bed isn’t a chore anymore. I used to only go to bed so I wouldn’t be tired the next day. This makes sense – but it’s not enjoyable and it’s taking the time for sleep for granted. Now, going to bed is a wonderful ritual of settling in and resting.

I sleep a lot.

I used to stay up late and get up early, trying to use all of the day that I could. I’d feel lame if I went to bed at 9 and I’d feel guilty if I wasn’t in the gym by 6. Now, I sleep. And damn, I sleep so well. I listen to my body to decide when to go to bed and when to wake up. If I need to sleep in, I do. This might seem obvious to you but it was a radical (& amazing) change for me.

I reflect.

I spend more time reflecting on myself and how I feel. I feel so much more knowledgeable about myself, my needs, my reactions, and my feelings. Goes without saying but that’s SO helpful in life and relationships with others.

I brain dump.

I’m planning to do a whole post on brain dumping but it is essentially writing down all of the things weighing on my brain before I begin meditation/a task/the day/whatever. Then I can go back to those things later and they won’t take away from the now.

I eat more plants and less processed foods.

It’s that simple. There was a time when I loved buying crazy health foods: protein bars, superfood supplements, protein icecream, and other commercialized bullsh** over-processed by automated machines and then wrapped in plastic that will sit in a landfill for as long as I’ll live. I’m over that. I eat more plants in their original form, carefully crafted for me by Mother Earth herself. This has led to me feeling light, energetic, and so delightfully dependent on the earth.

I cook my own food.

Cooking my own food has been a game changer. Not only do I save money, eat healthier, and get to control what I put into my body, I feel more connected to my food. I have so much more gratitude for food and the time I have to prepare it. Cooking my own food is one of the ways I affirm my self worth. I am worth these high quality ingredients. I am worth this time and effort. I am worth this delicious meal, made with love and gratitude especially for me.

I’m less strict.

Just in general. I go with the flow more. I don’t hold myself to tight schedules or rules. Some days I go to the gym at 6. Other days I go to the gym at 10. And some days I don’t go at all. Sometimes I go to the bar, order water, and leave at 10. Other times I go to the bar and get drunk. Some mornings I drink my lemon water, meditate, do my sun salutations and feel great. Other mornings I lay in bed til noon, watch a movie and feel great. I don’t feel bad or guilty when I don’t get everything done. In fact, I don’t even think of it that way anymore – done or not done. I am grateful for the time that I have to do whatever it is I enjoy in that moment.

I spend money on stuff I actually want.

Less leggings, more yoga. Less bikinis, more trips to the Caribbean. Less $8 smoothies, more food. You see my point? Besides spending money differently, I just spend less. I go to less stores, less often & I buy less things. I don’t go out to eat. I buy bags of coffee instead of cups. I don’t buy shoes just because they’re cute or clothes just because they look nice on me. I don’t get my hair highlighted or my nails done. Spending less on stuff that doesn’t matter (to me) makes things that do matter more attainable and that much more special. Like high quality food, memorable experiences, and flights to places worth going.

I don’t throw myself pity parties.

I used to go through the same cycle: making a mistake/something bad happening, being upset with the outcome, feeling sorry for myself, then making it nearly impossible to lift myself out of my bad mood. Now, I don’t see the point of feeling sorry for myself. And I take responsibility for myself. Everyone on this planet has the same choice to make: take what you’re given and make it work or be mad about what you’re given and still have to live with it, just a lower quality of life. I am sad when stuff doesn’t work out the way I want it to. Then I remember my choices and have gratitude instead. Understand what I can and cannot control, take steps as appropriate, then settle in and let the universe keep doing its thing.

I don’t judge and I pay less attention to gossip.

I have found that if I don’t listen and don’t participate, it doesn’t make me feel icky. Who knew it was that easy? Really, I pay less attention to what others do in general. If they’re happy, I’m happy for them. If they’re not, I’m sad for them. I try to mind my own business and not judge what others are doing. And bonus, I’m not as worried about what people think of me. When I gossip less and expose myself to less gossip, I’m more confident and I don’t walk around feeling like a jerk.

I have less opinions in general.

One of the best changes I’ve made in recent years is softening. Softening my hard edges and crazy intense opinions. Obviously, I have them. And I don’t try too hard to hide the opinions I have. But I used to feel like I have to have an opinion on everything, even the stuff that has nothing to do with me or the stuff I know basically nothing about. I was always eager to share my opinion and I was very loud and there was no changing my mind. But after all of the stuff that’s gone down in the last couple years…I realized that if everyone just had less opinions, we could all get along much better. Just let both and all sides be OK.

What’s in my Yoga/Gym Bag

Hello yogis! I’m back after a little blog break of vacationing and starting school. I’m sharing what’s in my yoga/gym bag that I bring with me to teach, to attend a class myself, or to work out at the gym.

  • Yoga Mat. Obviously! I love my Jade mat, it’s crazy durable & the perfect amount of stick. It takes a little time to break in but so worth it!
  • Eye pillow. I use my eye pillow for savasana or a restorative practice. Be on the lookout for a DIY eye pillow tutorial coming soon!
  • Strap. I often carry my yoga strap with me. For info on how I use it, read my post all about yoga props!
  • Resistance Bands. I love these for workouts or stretching.
  • Bluetooth earbuds. Love these for the gym – Bluetooth earbuds will change your life! Highly recommend if you can’t seem to stay in one place at the gym like me.
  • Phone charger. I keep a spare phone charger in my bag so I know my phone is charged for playing music during my yoga class or listening during my workout!
  • Notebook. My notebook contains plans for yoga classes I teach as well as thoughts I want to share with my class. I recommend carrying a notebook to yoga class in case you hear a cue, quote, or thought you’ll want to remember. Plus, you never know when you’ll have an amazing, life-changing savasana epiphany you’ll need to write down!
  • Book(s). I’ll sometimes carry a book or two to find inspiration for yoga classes or sharing a reading with my students. I especially love readings from Dana Faulds and Thich Nacht Hanh.
  • Essential Oils. I take these along with me for aromatherapy in my yoga classes or just for a pick me up! Currently, I teach yoga after a full day at work so some peppermint oil is the perfect re-energizer!
  • Hand-sanitizer. I offer hands on assists & adjustments during my yoga classes so hand-sanitizer is a must to keep everyone healthy! I like the spray hand-sanitizers from Mrs. Meyers (especially the lavender one) because they don’t dry out my skin or leave that awful alcohol smell – so not relaxing.

What’s in your bag?? 🙂