“This we know; all things are connected like the blood that unites us. We do not weave the web of life, we are merely a strand in it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.” ~~ Chief Seattle

This past week, I’ve really enjoyed seeing all the people who took me up on my Facebook challenge to post three positive things each day for a total of seven days. At the end of MY seven days, one of my friends suggested that maybe I should keep going for a total of 21 days, seeing as how it takes about that long to form a habit. I decided she was on to something, and have continued posting three things each day…I am now on Day 10.

Also, I came across a really cool Web site called “Daily Challenge” (http://challenge.meyouhealth.com). If you sign up (it’s free), you’ll get a daily challenge e-mailed to you. These challenges can be anything from trying a yoga pose to researching insect bites to trying a new food. It’s pretty cool, and you can even invite friends to join you and create pacts with each other. I signed up, and several of my friends are doing it with me…I love it!

Today I came across the quote above by Chief Seattle, and it really struck a chord with me because these past few weeks, I’ve been working really hard to be more positive, to connect more meaningfully with others around me, to be HAPPIER. And Chief Seattle says it so well…everything is connected to each other. We are all connected to each other.

Every person I tagged to join in on the seven days of positivity, I chose for a reason. Some are already people I find to be positive all the time, so I thought it was important for them to radiate that out and perhaps “infect” others who need a little more positivity in their lives. Some are people who I know are going through tough times right now…and I thought that maybe challenging them to do this might help get them out of whatever rut they are in, especially if they can see that there really IS something good to be found in every single situation.

Some people didn’t jump on the bandwagon, and that is totally cool with me. I get it. Some people just may not be ready yet. I’m not giving up, though. I am loving seeing all the positive things being posted, and it’s inspiring me and lifting me up more and more each day. Eventually, I just KNOW it will “infect” everyone. It has to, right? Because we are all connected. And whatever we do to that web called life, we do to ourselves and it affects everyone around us.

So get connected! Don’t isolate yourself if you’re down…get out there and let your guard down, and believe me, someone will be there to help you pick up the pieces. It’s why I am working so hard to build up the yoga community I am a part of here in the Fort Mill area. I am really working hard to encourage my students to get to know each other, as I am getting to know them. I am venturing out and taking classes more frequently at a variety of places, so that I can meet and connect with even more people who share my passion. It isn’t easy for me, as I think I’ve mentioned before that I am an introvert. But it is therapeutic for my entire being, so I am putting myself out there and getting more and more comfortable each day.

What are you doing to get connected with your world? Are you doing things that help you expand outside of your comfortable bubble? If not, what’s stopping you? I’d love to have you share what works for you, as I am always looking for new ways to challenge myself and connect even more.

Namaste,

Melanie

Hey everyone,

I have never done this on my blog before, but I received an e-mail a few weeks ago from a partner in a mineral suncare brand called Block Island Organics (www.blockislandorganics.com).  They have a line of sunscreen products for adults and kids, and they wanted to know if I would be interested in trying and reviewing their product.

When I read that their philosophy is to actively enjoy the outdoors with the motto “Play Smart. Play Safe. Non-Toxic Suncare.”, I was intrigued.  I checked out their Web site and noticed they really strive to make safe, effective and lovable suncare products, as well as to educate the public on suncare issues.  The business started out of an eco spa on Block Island (which is located in Rhode Island) called Koru Eco Spa (www.koruecospa.com).

After checking out their ingredients, and after verifying that the Environmental Working Group (EWG) gave them a high rating, I agreed to try the product.

Block Island’s sunscreens are non-toxic and mineral based (zinc and titanium), as opposed to chemical based, and include a Baby SPF 30 (this product is zinc only), an SPF 15, SPF 30 and SPF 40 product.  All products are non-comedogenic, vegan formulated, paraben free, phthalate free, nano particle free, artificial fragrance free, non-eye irritating, not tested on animals, and made in the USA. I received the SPF-15 to try out.

blockislandorganics

Here are my thoughts:

Does it Work? Yes! First of all, if you don’t know me in person, then you need to realize that I am a redhead with VERY fair skin…this means that all I have to do is LOOK at the sun shining and I can already feel the burn setting in (Just Kidding)! Seriously, though…I burn within just a few minutes of being outside if I don’t have sunscreen on, so I have to be very diligent. I also sweat. A LOT! It’s a constant struggle for me to find sunscreen that lasts through my sweating.

I used the SPF-15 sunscreen on a really hot and humid day here in South Carolina while I took my dogs on a walk (the walk lasted around 30 minutes). The sunscreen performed very well…no sunburn! Despite the fact that I’d put the sunscreen on over 2 hours before taking my dogs for the walk. The directions say to re-apply every 2 hours, so I wasn’t sure what to expect…but it performed like a champ!

Here are the details on the SPF-15 formula:

Active Ingredients: titanium dioxide 3.50%, zinc oxide 3.50%.

Inactive Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf (Aloe Vera Gel) Juice*, Aqua (Deionized Water), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Carota Saativa (Carrot) Extract, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, Eucalyptus Globulus Oil, Glycerin, Helianthus Annus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Lecithin, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil*, Gluconolactone, Sodium Benzoate, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Rubus Idaeus (Rapsberry) Seed Oil, Hippophae Rhamnoides (Seabuckthorn) Oil, Xanthan Gum. (*Certified Organic)

How does it compare to other sunscreens? There were some noticeable differences between the Block Island Organics sunscreen and the products I typically see in stores:

  1. Block Islands Organics reminded me a little of the sunscreens I used to use when I was a kid, as the ones available way back then (I was born in 1972, by the way) were mineral based as well. This was a little strange at first, since I haven’t used a mineral based sunscreen in YEARS. But the cool thing was that, unlike the sunscreens from my youth, this formula rapidly dried on my skin, and didn’t leave my skin feeling “gloopy” and sticky like most sunscreens.
  2. I am SUPER sensitive to smell, and most sunscreens today are either loaded with artificial fragrances that give me a headache, or they have that “sunscreen” smell. The Block Island Organics sunscreen really doesn’t have a fragrance. When you first put it on, you can smell the natural ingredients (mainly the Eucalyptus), but then pretty quickly, the smell just sort of disappears. LOVE!
  3. Because Block Island Organics sunscreen is mineral based, it does leave a whitish tint on your skin. But if you follow their suggestion of “A little goes a long way”, it really was fine. I put too much on my first arm, and it took me awhile to “rub it in” enough to get rid of the white tint. But the second arm went much better, as I just dabbed on little pea-sized drops along the arm and it rubbed in perfectly.

Do Their Claims Hold Water? After my walk with my dogs, and sweating a LOT on that walk, there were a few areas where the sunscreen had run due to sweating, but it didn’t affect its ability to protect me from the sun. WIN!

Would I Recommend Block Island Organics? Yes, I would. Though I will probably order the SPF-30 or SPF-40, as SPF-15 isn’t always enough for me. It will protect your skin while keeping you from being miserable due to nasty, runny sunscreen. PLUS, it’s all natural…remember, the skin is your biggest organ, so keep it healthy! I particularly love that it has so many ingredients known to be great for the skin (i.e., aloe, coconut oil and shea butter, among others), which makes me comfortable putting it on my face.

Where Can You Get Some? Block Island Organics sells directly through their website, http://www.blockislandorganics.com/. They have offered a discount code for readers of this post, which is valid from July 29 – August 4, 2014. Enter scyogagirl when checking out to receive 20% off your purchase.

Note: I received this product at no charge for the purposes of review. My review was not influenced in any way by Block Island Organics, nor do I receive any proceeds from sales or affiliate referrals. The views expressed in this post are entirely my own.

I hope you decide to buy this product, and if you do, comment here to let me know (and Block Island Organics) how you liked it!

Namaste,

Melanie

“Transformation is a process, and as life happens there are tons of ups and downs. It’s a journey of discovery – there are moments on mountaintops and moments in deep valleys of despair.” ~~ Rick Warren

gutpunch

(Photo Courtesy of DeviantArt)

It’s funny how life works sometimes, isn’t it? Things will seem to be going swell, and then out of nowhere, you get hit with something and it feels like a big ol’ punch in the gut. If you aren’t careful, it can knock you down, struggling to get back up again. Usually, we think of BIG things hitting us, like a divorce or someone we’re close to dying. But it amazes me how sometimes, even “small” things can knock someone out for the count (at least, I notice this with myself…anyone else out there have this same experience on occasion?).

So these past few weeks, I’ve been really focusing on incorporating more positive energy into my life. I’ve created daily challenges for my friends on Facebook (which I am doing right along with them), and some of them are designed to help with bringing in more positivity. Also, I was challenged by a friend to post three positive things each day for a total of seven days, and then name three different people each day to do the same. So by the end of the seven days, I will have challenged 21 of my friends to do what I am lovingly referring to as the “7-Day Positivity Challenge”. Pretty cool, don’t you think? I definitely do.

But let me be completely honest. This morning, I was questioning how cool this little challenge actually was. I had one of those days yesterday where I was hit with a couple of things that most would consider to be “small” things. And they WERE small things, but it didn’t feel small to me at the time. Maybe if I’d been hit with them individually on different days, I would have reacted differently. Who knows! All I know is that by 5:00 p.m. yesterday, I’d hit my breaking point.

The one thing that kept me from totally losing my mind was knowing I was going to meet my daughter at a yoga class after work. I walked out to my car, all excited, and then BAM! The parking garage was PACKED! It took me 20 minutes to get out of the garage, and then once I was out, the traffic on the main road was just CRAZY! This set off a full-blown panic attack. I mean, I totally NEEDED to get to yoga, and now I was wondering if I’d ever make it on time. So I closed my eyes (I was at a dead stop in traffic anyway, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt), took several deep breaths (OK, more like 151 deep breaths), and said a prayer. I asked God to please let me get there as quickly as I could, so I wouldn’t miss the class. I also asked him to keep me from panicking to the point that I’d have to pull over…after all, there was nothing I could do to make the situation better, so me freaking out was doing no one any good.

Well, I made it to class. I walked in right as class was starting, so once I changed clothes and claimed my spot, I really only missed the first 5 minutes. So I relaxed a bit…until we did our first chest opening pose. This was an EASY pose! Simply clasping the hands behind your back from a Mountain Pose and then folding forward while keeping the hands clasped behind you. But I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t even clasp my hands from a standing position. WTH! I used to be able to do this ALL THE TIME! All through the class, every chest opening pose we did, I couldn’t do. It felt like I just had this web of steel across my shoulders, chest and upper back, which was limiting me from stretching any of those areas. As class went on, I got more frustrated with myself, and by the time we reached Savasana, I was struggling to keep the tears back.

The whole way home, I just let it out. I can’t remember the last time I had a really hard cry like that. When I got home, I was exhausted, so I took a shower and just went to bed. I didn’t have the energy for anything else but sleep.

That brings me to this morning. When I woke up, I thought about everything that happened yesterday. I thought about why I went into that tailspin of despair over such small things. Then I thought, “Oh God! I’ve got to post THREE positive things for today! How in the world am I going to DO that???”

Well, it got me to thinking. Maybe that’s why this whole “post three positive things each day for seven days” thing got started in the first place. I mean, it’s EASY to come up with positive things the first day or two…we’ve got the standard positive things to say about our families and friends and health, etc., etc. But as you go, you have to dig a little deeper each day for those positive things, and to me, these are the most meaningful. Because these are the ones we really have to THINK about. Get it?

This morning, I finally got it. And it was nice. I was able to come up with three positive things, despite still being in a rather crappy mood. And doing so made me feel a little bit better and a little more positive.

There are going to be days, for ALL of us, that are challenging. That’s life, right? I love the quote from Rick Warren above…he’s totally right. We can’t just magically be positive. It’s a process, and it takes time. We’re always going to have ups and downs, so we have to appreciate the journey and discover who we are along the way. When you find yourself down for the count, it’s how you choose to react to the situation that will eventually define who you are and how people see you.

So…what will YOU do when you get sucker-punched by life? Me? I will strive to look for the positive things, even if it’s hard to do…they are there. All I have to do is open my eyes and see them.

Namaste,

Melanie

“Don’t ever criticize yourself. Don’t go around all day long thinking, ‘I’m unattractive, I’m slow, I’m not as smart as my brother.’ God wasn’t having a bad day when he made you… If you don’t love yourself in the right way, you can’t love your neighbour. You can’t be as good as you are supposed to be.” ~~ Joel Osteen

LoveYourself(Picture above Courtesy of Date Safe Project)

Before I get into the meat of this particular blog post, I want to take a moment to thank all of you out there. You probably don’t realize it, but you all provide me with SO MUCH inspiration…all the time! Many of you have taken the time to respond to my posts and also to tell me what you’d like to see more of. And it seems like most of you want to see more things that will inspire you to be a better person. Perfect! I want the same for ME, so it looks like we’re on the same page. WINNING!

The cool thing is that, as I work to find things to inspire all of you, I end up finding inspiration for myself. And your comments inspire me even more, which inspires YOU even more, and….well, I think you get the picture. It feels like we’re starting an Inspiration Revolution, wouldn’t you say? Woot woot!

So this week, for kicks and giggles, I wanted to see what would happen if I posted a Daily Challenge on my Facebook page. I’ve only posted three so far, but already I’ve gotten some decent response. If you’re not one of my Facebook friends, here are the three I posted this week:

  1. Say something nice to YOURSELF today.
  2. Say or do something nice for someone else. Pay it forward.
  3. Get outside! Spend at least 5 minutes outside today, sans distractions (that means put your phone away!) and simply notice the sights, smells and sounds that you encounter. This is good for the soul!

It’s interesting…the first one got 18 “Likes” and a few responses. The second one got only 5 “Likes”, but also got a fair number of responses. The last one…well, I only posted it this morning and I am writing this post during my lunch break…but it’s surpassed the first one already.

It got me to thinking…is #2 really that difficult, or is it just coincidence that it got the least number of “Likes”? Is it really that hard to say or do something nice for someone else? Maybe. In my opinion, we first have to like and be nice to ourselves before we can authentically do the same for others. If you’re not right with yourself, you’ll come across as “fake” when trying to do something for other people. And don’t you agree that it’s hard to be nice to others when you’re down on yourself? If talking positively to yourself is new for you, start by finding something good to say to yourself when you’re on your yoga mat…it can be as simple as saying, “Wow, my hamstrings are feeling more flexible today!”

It all ties back to the whole positive energy thing I’ve been writing about for the past two weeks. The more positive we can be, the more we’ll exude that vibe to those we come into contact with. And once we’re there, it’s easy to do items #1 and #2 each and every day, not just when someone (i.e., ME) challenges you to do so. It shouldn’t be a challenge to be nice to yourself and to others…it should come NATURALLY. But so often, it just doesn’t. For a variety of reasons. We need to stop that, and I mean NOW!

So my plea to you this week is to do all three of the things I listed above. If you’re having trouble with #1 and #2, then doing #3 might be a good place start. At this time of year, how can you help but come away from a walk outside with anything but gratitude? OK, OK….I know it’s really hot in some locations right now, but surely you can find a time of day where you can retreat within nature and get away from all the stress and distractions for at least 5 minutes. For me, first thing in the morning, as the sun is coming up, works great. Or right as the sun is going down. I resonate with sunrises and sunsets, so maybe that’s why I like being outdoors at those times, no matter what time of year it is.

Let me know how these three things go. And if you want to get in on my daily challenges, send me a Friend Request on Facebook and get in on the action. Until next week!

Namaste,

Melanie

“Everything changes when you start to emit your own frequency rather than absorbing the frequencies around you, when you start imprinting your intent on the universe rather than receiving an imprint from existence.” ~~ Barbara Marciniak

einstein-hloa-708x404
(Photo courtesy of Awake Peace)

I just want to start this post off by saying, “WOW!” Just. WOW!

Last week’s post was all about how being more positive in everything we do brings about a loveliness…we can’t possibly be UGLY if we think good and positive thoughts. The topic resonated with me, which is why I chose to write about it…but what amazed me was how many of YOU resonated with it as well. WOW!

So many comments came in to me about that post, it humbled me. I always worry when I put myself out there a little bit and say what’s REALLY on my mind, but it was authentically ME so I figured what the heck…go for it! I am SO GLAD I did.

Throughout this past week, I read the post several times (most specifically when I found myself starting to do that whole negative self talk thing, you know?), and every time I read it, it sunk in a little bit more. I think that maybe, just MAYBE, the gorgeous sunbeams inside of me are starting to shine through. If you are one of my Facebook friends, you saw that yesterday, I had four separate people take time out of their busy days to say something to me that totally lifted me up. I’d like to think they took the time out for me because my earnest attempts at being more positive are starting to pay off…surely they wouldn’t have taken time for me if I was radiating a “Miss Negative” vibe, right?

At the end of the class I taught tonight, I shared the quote above by Barbara Marciniak, and it seemed to hit home with others, in the same way it hit home with me. Pretty darn cool, in my opinion! I love it when, by sharing a piece of my soul with others, it sparks a new connection.

I’m telling you, bring some positivity into your life and things will soar for you! If the positive energy is radiating from you, if it’s authentic, others will notice. They notice in a BIG way! And I am convinced it rubs off on them a little, too. It’s happening all around me, that’s for sure. I am starting to see more and more good coming my way. All I had to do was change my perspective and open my eyes…and there it was, in all its glory.

Focusing on the positive things seems to be hard for so many people I know. Therefore, I think this topic is worthy of focusing on for another week. So if I am lucky enough to have your beautiful and lovely faces in class with me this coming week, get ready to get positive! The world is your oyster, if you let that positive energy radiate from within. Things will start to happen in a way you may not have ever imagined, if you just emit your own frequency and put it out there into the Universe. As Albert Einstein said, “Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality.”

Namaste,

Melanie

”If you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” ~~ Roald Dahl

sunbeam

(Photo Courtesy of Humanity Behind a Sunbeam)

Who out there has ever read a Roald Dahl book or seen a movie adaptation of any of his books? If you’ve seen or read “James and the Giant Peach”, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (think Willy Wonka), or “Matilda” and enjoyed, then you probably appreciate Dahl’s ability to write things that make us stand up and take notice.

In my yoga classes this past week, I focused on the concept of energy. Lots of people associate energy with “levels”…you know, when people say things like, “She is so high energy!” or “Man, I have no energy today.” But I’m talking about your TYPE of energy…in other words, positive vs. negative. You know what I mean?

Merriam-Webster’s Web site defines energy as:

energy

So the energy I’m focusing on in my classes with my students relates to definition 1C above, which is “a usually positive spiritual force.” And THAT is what Roald Dahl is talking about in his quote above, which comes from his book, “The Twits”. In that book, the main character’s wife is considered to have grown uglier over the years due to her ugly thoughts. The full quote is this:

“If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on the face. … A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”

You know, I think this is SO TRUE! I really do. I can’t tell you how many people I know who wouldn’t be considered “lovely” or “beautiful” when judged by the conventional definition (I include myself in this mix, by the way)…they may be overweight, or have physical deformities, or (God forbid!) GRAY HAIR! But when I look at many of these people, all I can think of is how lovely and beautiful they are. And it’s because of their positive energy…they just radiate it from the inside out to a degree that it’s infectious and makes me feel great about the world.

There are others I know who are DROP-DEAD GORGEOUS. They could be in magazines, as they are THAT stunning. But there are many of them who, if you asked me, I would call UGLY. And it’s because they are nasty on the inside…never a nice thing to say, never thinking of anyone but themselves, never happy. Who wants to be around someone like that? Not me!

There are many people who tell me I am beautiful, and up until this week, I always thought to myself, “OK…what drugs are you on and can I have some? You MUST be on something if you think that about ME!” But, if I think about what Dahl said, then maybe I AM a lovely person. At least, I’d like to think so.

Of course, I know with 100% certainty that I have been prone to thinking ugly thoughts over my lifetime. I’m only human after all. I’m not sure anyone can be in Utopia ALL of the time. But I can say that the more I’ve evolved in my yoga practice (both the physical and the spiritual sides of yoga), the more I am able to be positive about things. I see good more than negative now, and that certainly makes me feel beautiful…probably because I just see more beauty around me with this more positive perspective.

A quote I shared with the classes I’ve been teaching this week has been one I came across by Shakti Gawain, who is an author of several personal development books. She said, “Every time you don’t follow your inner guidance, you feel a loss of energy, loss of power, a sense of spiritual deadness.”

Hopefully, your inner guidance is one that is positive. If it isn’t, then think about evolving your own practice in a way that allows you to develop more positivity. Don’t expect perfection. We all have times when it’s just not easy to find something good in a particular situation. But if you can start to be more positive, even just a fraction of a bit more, you’ll be surprised at how much stress you’ll be able to shed, how much beauty you’ll begin to notice. Things suddenly don’t look so glum when there are sunbeams shining through.

Namaste,

Melanie

 

Hi all,

I’ve got my July schedule finalized, so please check my Schedule page for updates. The biggest change is my Deep Stretch class at the YMCA on Thursday evenings…we’ve changed the start time to 6:00 p.m., rather than 6:30 p.m., and I was able to get Pam Greene to help teach that class with me, so that we can offer it more frequently. My  Schedule page only lists when I am teaching the class, so you’ll need to check the YMCA’s Web site for the full schedule…I’ve included a link to it for you.

I’m also subbing quite a bit at Synergy’s Rock Hill location, and those classes are also listed on the  Schedule page for you.

Looking forward to seeing you in class!

Namaste,

Melanie

Hi everyone!

Just wanted to put a quick post up because I’ve been hearing that several of you are pretty concerned about me, so I wanted to let you all know that I am OK.

Apparently, I completely and utterly forgot that I was supposed to teach a Deep Stretch at the YMCA last Thursday, so I never showed up. One of the instructors there called to check on me, and as I was listening to the voice mail, I still had no recollection that I was supposed to teach at all. I’ve NEVER forgotten that I was teaching a class before!

I’ve heard several of you who were there were worried about me, especially because many of you know I’ve been dealing with health issues the past few years. I am OK, but I have been dealing with a flare up of my Lyme Disease symptoms these past 3 weeks or so. My guess is that the stress from several things I had going on is the culprit….my older daughter graduated high school, my younger daughter graduated elementary school, and I had a business trip to Texas. So none of it was BAD stress, but stress nonetheless, and I guess it just got to me.

One of my biggest symptoms has been my memory…when things are bad, I get crazy brain fog and have trouble remembering things. I’ve had some other symptoms crop back up, but I promise that things are already getting better…the things that were causing the stress are finished, so I should back to my normal self quickly. It certainly doesn’t hurt that I am at the beach right now, and a desolate one at that…so I have NO CHOICE but to relax and recuperate, right?

I am so grateful that so many of you out there are keeping tabs on me. It makes me realize that I need to do a much better job at managing things to keep things in check.

One other thing. For those of you who attend the Deep Stretch class at the YMCA regularly, the start time may change to 6:00 p.m.  I am waiting to hear from management if that will happen, so I will let you know as soon as I am told. Also, it will still be on a rotation, as I don’t think I can quite take it on weekly at this point. I am still trying to find another teacher who will rotate with me, so that it can be offered every week. I’ll let you know as soon as I have more to report.

Thanks everyone! I love all of you…you make teaching so gratifying for me, so I hate that I let some of you down this past week. Please know that I will do my best to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

Namaste,

Melanie

 

“Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.” ~~ Dalai Lama XIV

nurture
(Photo courtesy of Just As I Am)

This week’s post is a bit late, I know. Honestly, I just have not had the energy to devote to it until today. I think I am still recovering from the events of the last two weeks, as I am noticing my energy is extremely low. It’s like I used everything up to get through these past two weeks, and I’ve got little left to give away right now. It’s frustrating, but just part of this thing called life, right?

Usually when I get this way, I find myself apologizing for not being able to do everything I would normally do. But I came across the most wonderful blog post last week from a new friend of mine, Melissa. Her blog is absolutely wonderful, and always hits home in some way for me. But the post from last week REALLY hit me, because it’s all about NOT apologizing for every little thing because it actually minimizes you. Profound, right??? You should read it…click here to check it out.

Then earlier this week, my other friend, Patty, posted her blog. And yet again, it spoke to me REALLY strongly. When I met up with her for our workout on Tuesday evening, I let her know that it was the PERFECT blog for me to read this week…it’s all about listening…REALLY listening to the messages meant for you. If you don’t, you’ll never be able to truly know where you’re meant to fit in this world. Makes sense, right? Click here to read this wonderful post.

So…I am not apologizing for being late with this post, as I am not sorry at all. I actually did what I needed to do…which was to listen to my body’s signals that I needed to take a break for a few days. To regroup and recharge, so to speak.

It’s all about nurturing yourself. You have to give yourself what you need, body and soul. Otherwise, how can you expect to be any good to the people who need you? Had I posted on Sunday or Monday, like I typically do, whatever I wrote would have been totally unauthentic. And to me, that’s totally unacceptable and a disservice to everyone who takes the time to read this blog.

This week, take the time to nurture YOU. I know many of my readers have families, and you spend most (if not all) of your time doing for others. Do you also take the time to do for YOURSELF? If you don’t, you may end up totally run down like I was. It happens. But do your best whenever possible to take some time for YOU. Maybe it’s to take a yoga class (hopefully one of mine…hint, hint!), maybe it’s to get your nails done, maybe it’s to take a nice walk. Whatever it is, make sure it’s something that recharges and rejuvenates you. If that means doing something by yourself, then do it! Believe it or not, all those people who depend on you will understand. If they truly love and care for you, they’d rather have you at your best, wouldn’t you say?

I love hearing from you all, so feel free to comment here to let me know what kinds of things you do take care of YOU. And I am sure the other readers want to know, too…sharing what works for each of us is a great way to build community…another great way to nurture. Just sayin’! Here are some of the things I did to recharge this week:

  • Watched marathon sessions of True Blood, as I am new to the show…I’ve been watching 1-2 episodes a night to catch up and I am now over halfway through Season 3…total escape from reality, which is just what I needed.
  • Strength session with my friend, Patty. I almost canceled because I was SO tired and run down. But I didn’t and I am so glad I didn’t. It was just what I needed.
  • Hot Slow Flow Yoga class with my oldest daughter. She called me at work yesterday and asked me if I wanted to go to this class with her. Again, I was SO tired, but she’ll be going off to college in a few months, so I will take any alone time with her that I can until then. Plus, my friend Patty was teaching…bonus! I had to modify and take lots of breaks, but that was what my body needed so I listened. And I walked away feeling amazing!
  • Visited my chiropractor. I know that when I am “off”, I need an adjustment. Sure enough, my adrenals were a mess, which explains the super low energy. After the adjustment, I felt a huge difference…LOVE!

Namaste,

Melanie

“Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.”
~~ 
Helen Keller

Young man meditating on rock by sea

(Photo courtesy of The Ayurvedic Path)

In last week’s post, I asked if there were specific yoga topics you wanted to know more about. Several of you mentioned wanting to know more about meditation, and I think now is a good time to focus on that very topic, as I am not teaching one single yoga class this week or next week.

You’re probably wondering why this is the perfect time to focus on meditation if I am not even going to be teaching it to you in a class. But that’s the beauty of meditation…you can do it anywhere, and for as long as you have the time to do it!  So if you’re as busy as I am going to be these next couple of weeks, there couldn’t be a more perfect time for you to begin a meditation practice if you don’t already have one.

Meditation is something I feel everyone should be doing on a daily basis. Benefits of meditation include, but are not limited to:

  • Stress reduction
  • Better physical and mental health
  • Improved focus and memory
  • Reduction in anxiety

I know that for me, when I meditate, I sleep better and I just feel better overall. Sometimes I have only a few minutes to devote to it, but I really love when I can find the time to get in 15-30 minutes.

How to begin? Well, the answer is, “It depends.” Not everyone can meditate in the same way, so you really need to find what resonates with YOU. There are SO many ways to meditate. But here are some tips that may help get you started:

  • Start off small. If you’re brand new to meditating, commit to 5 minutes. As you get comfortable with that, add on if you feel like you can. But even if you only have time for 5 minutes, you get all the benefits I mentioned above.
  • Begin by taking 3 mindful breaths. Most of us don’t take time to do this nearly enough. When we’re stressed, we tend to breathe very shallowly and unevenly. Breathing in that way all the time wreaks all sorts of havoc in our bodies. So start off by focusing on taking 3 good, deep breaths. Close your eyes and really focus on breathing in to your entire torso, letting it completely expand. As you exhale, let everything deflate. I recommend exhaling through the mouth, as a big, heavy, audible sigh…it really does wonders in helping you to let go of tension.
  • Make sure your environment feels relaxing and comfortable. For myself, it’s hard to find a good place to meditate, as I’ve got a husband, 2 daughters and 3 dogs to contend with. That doesn’t leave me with many quiet spaces where I can truly let go and relax. So for me, I’ve recently started taking a nice bath in the evenings, after the sun has set. I light several candles, turn off the lights, add in my favorite essential oils (usually I use lavendar and grapefruit essential oils, as they are very relaxing scents for  me), and I also add about a cup of epsom salts. Epsom salts contain a lot of magnesium and sulfate, both of which are known to induce relaxation. Epsom salts also help reduce inflammation and aid in detox…bonus! Sometimes I read while I’m in the bath, and sometimes I just lay there with my eyes closed and practice deep breathing. Either way, I always feel amazing after!
  • Find relaxing music. Not everyone likes to meditate with music, but if you’re having trouble getting your mind to focus on the present moment, if all you can think about is all the stuff you have to DO, then music could be very helpful. Pick music that relaxes you and makes you feel happy.
  • Pick a mantra. Again, some people have trouble turning their minds “off”, so sometimes it helps to have a short phrase handy that you can repeat over and over while you’re meditating. It could be a favorite quote from a book or song, or just a simple affirmation that means something to you. Whatever it is, pick something that inspires you, something that makes you feel good about yourself. My go to mantra? “It’s all good…”
  • Try a walking meditation. I just started doing this only a few days ago, and I love it! Find a natural setting…maybe a trail, the woods, a creek…and walk for as long as you have the time for. Take the time to notice the noises around you and see the beauty that surrounds you. Notice the smells, the breeze, the temperature…whatever you see and hear, notice it and reflect on it. Don’t play any music. Let the sounds of nature be all that you need.

Hopefully these tips help get you started. Or if you’ve already been meditating for some time, maybe some of these tips will inspire you to try something new. I’d love to hear about your experiences!

There will be no post next week, as I will be traveling and most likely will not have the time to write anything worthy. So I will look forward to hearing from those of you who are willing to share your meditation experiences with me. Look for a new post in two weeks!

Namaste,

Melanie

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