Like most yoga instructors, from LA to India, I instruct my students to start class in a comfortable position with their eyes closed. I encourage everyone to drop into their belly breathing. This sets the tone for their yoga practice.
Many of my students desire to practice yoga at home. The two biggest reasons this doesn’t tend to happen 1) They don’t know what to practice. 2) They just can’t seem to get in the habit to actually begin.
If the latter is your main issue, this article is for you. It is important to set the tone for your home practice just as a yoga studio sets the tone. You are presented with a clean open space. The lights are probably dimmed. You are surrounded by like minded people all there for the same goal, to breathe and move together.
As with any new healthy habit you want to incorporate into your life, you must set yourself up for success. Make things easier on yourself. As I gain more years in life, working smarter and not harder is my motto. Keep it simple.
Create an inviting space for your home yoga practice. Make sure you place your yoga mat in your practice space. Hey, it could be your living room, hallway or bathroom! If its your kids play room, make sure toys are picked up so you don’t get easily distracted. You may have to get creative.
The space will be calling you when its time to practice. You may feel like walking past your new yoga area but the vibe is so awesome you won’t be able to pass it up! Those emails can wait.
Clean up this area the day before, you need a clutter free clean area, even if its a small space or a make shift area. Make it happen, you are worth it. You don’t have to wait until you move into a bigger home. You don’t have to wait until your favorite yoga teachers class next week.
I love having candles and essential oils on hand. Citrus oils are great for invigorating your mind. Lavender is wonderful to calm down on those overwhelming days.
My thoughts on music. If it gets you to practice, use it. I have found that listening to my breath and allowing my internal rhythm to guide me is essential.
Now, I can practice yoga almost anywhere. My bathroom, living room, hallway, office, rooftop and sometimes I even squeeze into a narrow space next to my bed. Once you are in the habit of moving consciously on a regular basis, your body will not let you skip out.
Not all of the places I practice are dynamic movement friendly but it works. My whole body appreciates the effort (emotional and physical body). I live with my S.O. and my parents visit for 3-4 months out of the year. It may not be the perfect serene place atmosphere all the time and that is OK.
We’ve become a culture that feels like we must have tibetan flutes playing in the background, gorgeous hardwood floors and dimmed lights to practice yoga. Does it help? Yes, especially in the beginning.
However, we simply need to take inspired action and create a sacred space for this beautiful practice that heals us from the inside out. Progress, not perfection is what we are looking for. You will continue to attract what you desire in your body and your life. You are taking responsibility for your health.
I too used to have to psyche myself up to get moving. Once you get started, I promise, you will get into the flow on a regular basis. Do the same when you travel! You may start with 15 minutes. Who knows, you may surprise yourself and move for 30-60 minutes. It’s all good!
Not sure what to practice? Cindi Lee Yoga can help. We now offer personalized At Home Yoga Programs for your unique needs. Please contact Cindi Lee for more details, .
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Image Credits: Google images-https://destressyoga.wordpress.com/2012/09/30/inhale-exhale, repeat/http://www.yogawithsuzanne.co.uk/5/Yoga_Benefits/, http://www.tarunaoils.orghttp://addicted2success.com/spirituality/4-yoga-principles-that-will-make-youunstoppable-in-business/
Although we just celebrated the Holidays, its never to soon to talk about infusing more getaways into your life. Last year I vowed to visit more amazing places in California. This called for mini Cali Vacays.
For myself and many of my clients, the more years we spend on this earth, the more important it is for us to take healthy vacations.
Does this ring true for you too?
We want less vacations where we come back feeling exhausted. We desire more vacations where we come back feeling rejuvenated.
For myself, this has been about taking small steps and trusting my intuition.
In the past, the thought of calling off from work, for anything but an emergency and to visit family, used to create so much anxiety in my body. I would hold off until the time seemed right.
We all know, the timing is never quite right. At some point you gotta take action. What better way to take action than to combine yoga + mini vacation in central coast of California?
I’m grateful yoga was the reason for last trip to the charming San Louis Obispo. I took a week long Shadow Yoga workshop. It was the first time I allowed myself to call off a full work week and it was incredible! The yoga sessions were in the morning and the rest of the day I had to myself. After class one day, this is what greeted me, a rainbow!
The charming town of SLO can put an extra pep in anyone’s step. No one honked at me once while I was driving around. Of course there was a lot walking and hiking too. There are many healthy eating options throughout town, from their award winning farmers market to Vietnamese to Indian to farm to table restaurants.
One rainy afternoon, a fellow yogi told me about an outdoors natural mineral spring spa, Mineral Springs Resort and Spa. Right up my alley. The other participants decided not go because of the rain. That didn’t stop this Ohio girl. The water was plenty hot, you can see the steam.
Check it out. You get your own individual hot spring tub nestled in nature! After pretty intense yoga, the water soothed all my sore muscles. The cherry on the top, it cost less than $15 for an hour.
Upon my client’s advice, one morning I decided to be spontaneous and drive to San Simeon. My client insisted I see the Elephant seals along the coast. OK, i thought, if you insist. Now the drive to San Simeon was the beautiful California I’d been hearing about for ages. The landscape was vast and breath taking. But those elephant seals stole the show.
I heard stories of mating season, however, these seals were in vacay mode too. I also took a tour of the famous Hearst Castle, which had the most stunning 360 degree views of Central California.
Say yes to rejuvenating 2016 and schedule your next healthy mini vacate today. Yoga + nutritious food + sight seeing = Healthy Mind and Body. After my mini yoga vacay, I came back to Los Angeles more physically, spiritually and emotionally whole. Better for all those I am connected to.
If you live in Los Angeles, SLO is only a three hour drive up the coast. Remember, you are worth it.
If you are interested in going to SLO and trying out Shadow Yoga, visit this website http://catherineyoga.com/#corporate-yoga. Shadow Yoga is a unique practice that is powerful and effective.
Photo credits: All photos taken by Cindi Lee
Just before Thanksgiving I went to a beautiful and quaint town, Fort Collins, CA. I was visiting my sister for some well needed sibling bonding. Even though the Holidays were fast approaching, we made a pack that we would have a healthy time together, well, pretty healthy.
Whether you stay in Los Angeles or head out of town, here are some ideas on how to keep stay well mind, body and soul!
Taking care of your inner and outer body throughout the holidays is of uber importance. Done mindfully, yoga loves every inch of your body. Plus, twisting yoga poses help the body’s natural cleansing process.
I’ve been chatting with my clients. Even with your best foot forward, it can be challenging to resist yummy food and spirits you know we will pay for later! First, set the intention to be good to your body.
Plan activities on the healthy side and try to keep holiday treats as occasional treats. One of our favorite activities was dark chocolate tasting from Nuance Chocoalate (a great place to buy a guilt free gift)! We had fun red wine tasting too. We split a flight and it was just right. We also loved Pu-erh and matcha green tea tasting from Ku Cha House of Tea. Both teas are known for their healing benefits such as lowering bad cholesterol and detoxifying the body.
If you miss a few (or many) yoga sessions, the worst thing you can do is stress out about it. We already have even drama this time of the year. Stressing out will only make your immune system more susceptible to getting sick. Twist it out.
Most of us feel the want and need to spend as much quality time as we can with our families during the holidays. In Fort Collins, although my nephew would rather us play with his toys, I was able to sneak in a few yoga sessions in the mornings. Fifteen minutes of yoga is better than nothin’!
Twist also allow you to be your own chiropractor, saving you time and money, especially when you are buying pricey plane tickets.
Along with twisting, tis’ the season by connecting to your spirit on a deeper level. You’ll remember not to sweat the small stuff. I am grateful my sister drove us up into the mountains to visit the Shalbala Mountain Center in Fort Collins. When I stepped inside the Great Stupa, my body started vibrating. I knew in that very moment I would be back.
Whether you are in the Los Angles sun or winter wonderland, like my family in Colorado, enjoy this Holiday season! With all of the hoopla please don’t let your well-being take a back burner.
Be good to your family, friends, coworkers and those less fortunate. Here is one more twist for the road, reclining floor twist. You can even do this while vegging out watching football. Taking care of YOU will ensure you experience happy healthy holidays.
There are many choices of how to spend your time during the holidays. Don’t get pulled into too many different directions. We are responsible for how we treat ourselves. Stay true to yourself. Have a freakin’ blast with peaceful moments in between.
Photo credits- All yoga photos taken by Cindi Lee at Two Hearts Yoga Studio in Sherman Oaks, featured photo- http://source.colostate.edu/holiday-fun-fort/, chocolates-http://www.nuancechocolate.com/cafe.html, The Great Stupa- https://leadersinfreethought.wordpress.com/2011/06/26/shambhala-buddhism/
Several months ago I joined an unintentional new sisterhood. A sisterhood of courageous women who have experienced miscarriage. This article is more like a letter from my heart for anyone who is going through a significant loss. Lay down, relax and have a cup a tea.
I slowly began to reach out to other women in my life and I was astounded how many had gone through the same loss.
For everyone I began to confide in, we all felt the same. Having a miscarriage is one of the most profound and heartbreaking experiences of our lives. It will forever leave an imprint.
My story is probably similar to yours. When I went to my first ultrasound at nine weeks there was no heartbeat. As you can imagine, I was beyond devastated.
As much as it warmed my heart when family and friends called, I would send most of the calls to voicemail.
I needed quiet.
I do have a dear friend, lets call her Tracy, who has had nine miscarriages. Unimaginable to most of us. Now she has 4 beautiful kids. Even though Tracy lives in Ohio I talked to her almost every day for a few weeks. Step by step, emotion by emotion, she shared her most private experiences with me. And believe it or not, there were a few hilarious stories too.
Tracy was most definitely my air. This amazing woman was my confidant and I am blessed she had my back.
For me to move forward, I had to help my physical and emotional body begin to heal.
Since I was mostly keeping to myself, I read every blog possible. The blogs I resonated with I even read two or three times.
A few weeks ago, my best friend sent me an article Mark Zuckerberg wrote regarding his wife’s miscarriages. This prompted me to share some of what I went through. It may sound cliche, if this article can help ONE woman, it was worth putting myself out there.
Thankfully, being in the wellness industry, I had tools in my toolbox and many resources available to me. I had to make the choice to use them.
Both of my amazing LA yoga teachers are male and they were great.
I really wanted advice from my female yoga teacher who lives overseas.
I was hesitant to reach out. She’s my yoga idol and kind of a rock star in my opinion. I’m so glad I sent her an email. Her loving advice helped me to grieve in a therapeutic way and I am forever grateful.
As much as I wanted to get back into working my body, my rock star teacher advised me to take is easy with yoga for the first 4-6 weeks after my miscarriage. She reminded me that restorative poses, like when I’m on my moon cycle, are best. My teacher told me that any forward folding (except in lotus for a very short time) would disrupt the healing process.
When I forgot and practiced a restorative forward fold, emotionally I felt traumatized, physically it felt wrong. On the contrary, when going backwards I felt relief, my body and mind felt, awwwwwww, relaxed and open.
My teacher also suggested I spend a lot of time in nature, particularly moving water. I had to chuckle because in Los Angeles we are experiencing a serious drought.
I do live very close to the LA River that flows a bit. So that was a great start. I tell you walking by the LA River helped me release on an emotional and physical level.
Of course living in Los Angeles, it was great making as many trips as I could by the ocean. Driving to ocean is not convenient yet I was reminded it is worth every minute.
Walking in the sand, getting my feet wet felt freeing. At times I would dance. I often cried. I no longer felt the world caving in on me. I felt new possibilities.
There is also the lovely Lake Hollywood, a 3 mile hike. This hike is pretty flat. Its a great way to move the body and not overexert yourself. There are a lot of trees along with the big beautiful lake.
This particular walk surrounded by nature helped me release a tremendous amount of grief. I was surprised. I felt the energy of my baby most at Lake Hollywood. The spirit was strong, fierce and loving. Doing this walk brought up so much of my “stuff.”
Gazing at the Hollywood sign, I was overwhelmed with how many dreams I already had for this child. It wasn’t meant to be and I had to let them go.
For anyone of us who lives in Los Angeles, many of our dreams were born here. When we’ve been lucky, some have manifested. Other dreams have died here. And as long as we are breathing, no matter where you are in the world, here we are left to dream again.
I truly believe everything happens for a reason.
As the women in my life told me, “It sucks but it does get better.”
If you or anyone you know is going through a miscarriage or any other significant loss, no matter how you feel, you are NOT alone.
As a yoga teacher, I knew it was imperative for me to have to grieve therapeutically. I still had to show up for myself and those around me.
Don’t get me wrong, I had a lot of anger, disappointment and sadness. I cried at the pharmacist, I cried at acupuncture, I burst into tears leaving a message over the phone. For real, at times you will feel pissed. One evening I punched my pillow over and over. But then I practiced yoga too. Breathe.
I can’t express enough how much I leaned into my yoga practice, daily meditations and walks in nature. Daily journaling was also a part of my routine.
These practices lead me to immense gratitude, compassion for myself and others, forgiveness, healthy boundaries, new dreams, a clear mind, clarity and so much needed release.
Thank you for letting me share my story. Right now there is a lot in the news about the challenges of pregnancy and postpartum. Ladies, lets continue to share and support each other for life.
It is necessary to reconnect and listen to your body, especially with the ancient healing traditions of yoga. Tell your friends and family exactly what you need. Do remember we have the power to heal ourselves. Do remember there are healers out there to help you. I recommend acupuncture. Most of all be good to yourself.
Photo credits- Featured image from google images- http://reflectonthis.com/health-well-being/let-water-be-thy-medicine/rest of photos taken by Cindi Lee.
Can you believe that the season of Fall is here? Here in Los Angeles the weather still feels like summer. However, most of our schedules have shifted back into a regular Fall routine.
After summer vacations, bbqs and pool parties, your body probably feels out of balance.
We all know getting back into our healthy eating habits and exercise routines can be challenging.
Usually we just need to put one foot in from of the other, incorporate one healthy habit and then the next.
Its so important to do something once a day that grounds you in mind, body and spirit. The late great Maya Angelou said something in an interview that spoke to my gut.
Maya Angelou mentioned when she is grounded and centered, she is well. When she is not, she is dangerous and in danger.
She reminded the audience that it happens to everyone, its part of being human. Its up to us to recognize and come back to ourselves.
For many people this centering involves yoga, meditation, spending time in nature and eating foods that ground you.
When you are regrouping you may jump in with all three or start with one.
Schedule your yoga class or book a private session. Put it in your calendar. Jump on you tube and take a 10-30 minute class! Here is one of my 30 minutes yoga videos for you to enjoy.
I used to be so down on myself about meditating on a regular basis. I actually got so frustrated at my inconsistency, I paid a meditation teacher quite a bit of money to teach me TM. It was worth every penny.
There are also several free options such as Oprah and Deepak Chopra’s 21 day meditation challenge. No excuses!
Thank goodness here in Los Angeles, the opportunity to buy fresh organic produce is almost everywhere.
I adore my local Studio City farmers market. Years ago when I shifted to a more plant based diet, I felt very airy fairy and flighty. One of my mentors told me you just can’t eat salads and smoothies all day and think you are going to have enough fuel in your body to be active.
I wasn’t used to eating grounding plant based foods. Now I enjoy black beans and rice, mung beans, beets and lots of potatoes. Yes starches like sweet potatoes and brown rice are my friends. I cook a lot with bone broth. Occasionally I also enjoy lamb or buffalo meat. All of which I can get from local organic farms.
Just like the kids going back to school, us adults have to get back into our health and fitness routines as well. Good luck and let me know how it goes!
I was watching a beautiful documentary on Greg Louganis, one of the worlds best divers. He was giving advice to a young olympian who was frustrated about her progress. He said something to the effect that learning happens in layers.
Do one thing, master it, then move on to the next. As you settle back into your Fall routine, infuse one healthy habit back into your life at a time.
We want lots of changes now! As Greg advices, learn in layers. Then it will stick just like those amazing dives he used to do over and over again!
Image Credits: Featured image- google images http://www.naturepictures.co/fall/best-fall-fiolage/, video-Cindi Lee, fruits & veggies- http://www.thedynamicturnaround.com/nutritionanddiet.ht