Creating a Yoga Flow: Part Three

Yoga has been a significant part of my self-improvement. As explained in my What “Yogi Life” Really Means post, it is more than just exercise. Each asana has revealed something to me about myself in multiple aspects.

This week, my Inner Self chose crow pose or bakasana as the next addition to my yoga sequence. I struggled so much when I attempted to conquer this pose for the very first time. I had what felt like zero strength to achieve it. Although I still would not say I’ve mastered it, I certainly see my growth over time as I can now hold it for roughly 10 seconds.

I do not practice this pose as much as I should and it has been noticeable in my yoga practice and my spiritual life. My upper body strength is something I’ve always wrestled with as is trusting myself entirely. This pose requires both upper body strength and a enough self-trust to shift my entire body weight onto my hands with my forehead hanging in a way that it could potentially catch a mishap. Given my more recent personal struggles (that I will not dive in to in this post), I say the Universe/Higher Self is trying to tell me something, eh?

Namaste!

 

What Becoming a Dog Mom Taught Me

In June 2017, I became a parent for the first time; a dog parent. My fiance and I welcomed home the first dog he and I had ever owned independently. His name is Grayson Richard after Dick Grayson of the Batman comics. He is a Blue Nose Pitbull with a ton of energy and human-like mischievousness. I love him to pieces but truth be told, neither my fiance nor I was ready for what we had signed up for. Regardless, I have learned a lot about dogs and myself since our plunge into dog parenthood.

The first thing I learned upon Grayson’s arrival was another level of sacrifice. Our space had to change, our availability had to change, our concentration became amplified. While he was still a tiny puppy, there was an overwhelming concern for keeping this little bundle of life happy and healthy. This often meant, and still means the excessive spending of money to ensure he is never bored, ill or malnourished even if it means less for the adults of the house. I thought romantic relationships were inconvenient, it turns out I didn’t know what true inconvenience really is until taking on this venture.

Since becoming a dog parent, I’ve become more inspired to get moving. As Grayson grew, so did his energy and we immediately realized we needed to put in work to keep up with him. He carries a lot of weight with his puppy-like wildness and stamina which requires us to be not only in physical shape ourselves but also quick-minded. In order to prevent utter chaos in our home, I had to learn the patterns of Grayson’s personality and teach myself to think at least one step ahead of him. In our home, this means always having cleaning materials ready and keeping the doors to certain rooms in the house shut when he’s roaming about.

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The most important thing I’ve learned about myself with Grayson around is my actual level of patience. I used to consider myself relatively slow to frustration until I adopted a dog. Every bit of his adjustment required steady repetition, failures, and revelations. There are some days he appears to be the most precious and obedient son a dog parent could have. Other days, it’s like having a demon spawn in the house! Whichever day it is, I am constantly challenged to bring my best self to the situation along with the proper training tools and a heart full of love. I’d be lying if I said I’ve never fallen short of this but over time I have improved tremendously and so has he. I have to remember that even though we understand each other sometimes, we do not speak the same language nor do we have the same instincts. Once I get back into the mental and spiritual inner space of accepting Gray where he is in his learning, we enjoy each other a lot more.

I am not the same person I was before being a dog mom. I was forced to grow so that I could be the best support for my puppy. He challenges me daily to do better, to speak up, to share, to have fun and observe the little things. I do not recommend this journey to everyone as it requires a great deal of time, love and dedication. It may not suit every personality or situation. Although I did not know what I was getting in to, I’m glad I got into it. I truly have no regrets.

If you’d like to see what Grayson is up to, follow #graysonrichardthepit on Instagram.

 

Creating a Yoga Flow: Part Two

In a recap of my 2018 goals, I am creating a Vinyasa yoga flow for myself that will grow weekly with a new asana. By the end of the year, I will have a 52-pose-long flow that will be a representation of my physical and spiritual growth. I began with downward dog, child’s pose and frog pose. This entry is a bit late as life has already become quite stressful this year which is why my second week’s asana is malasana or garland pose.

Malsana is a squat pose. The knees are to be separated as far as possible in this pose which stretches the adductors and lengthens the muscles around the sacrum. It’s a great asana for balancing the root chakra or Muladhara which has an effect on our level of groundedness. When accompanied with clasped hands at the chest, the heart chakra or Anahata can also be engaged which can help promote overall energetic balance.

During a week such as the one that has just past, this pose helped me to stay level-headed and balanced in spite of some obstacles I have been facing lately. I believe it has contributed to my ability to remain optimist and self-aware on an external and internal level. In engaging in a grounding pose that balances my foundational chakra, my other chakras are better able to flow which will, in turn, have a positive impact on my practice.

I am still encouraging everyone to join me. It’s never too late to get started. Namaste!

Is “The One” Really Out There?

If your childhood looked anything like mine, you probably watched a lot of Disney films, various other cartoons and movies, and had a mom or grandmother with a monthly subscription for Harlequin romance novels. I cannot personally attest to how things were before, but the 90’s pushed a lot of feel good content our way, including the notion of The One. The idea is that we are supposed to find that It person, the one who would fulfill every need and desire that a significant other would. They’d be the perfect spouse, the perfect co-parent, be extraordinarily good-looking and share all the same interests and beliefs. I think it’s safe to assume that by 30, most of us know this is an unrealistic goal. However, that does not mean The One does not exist but perhaps the definition should be somewhat altered.

When I stumbled across The One, I had no idea he was The One. In fact, our relationship began very quickly and and just as quickly turned a bit messy and dramatic. We had different beliefs and our similarities seemed few. Somehow, we found ourselves drawn to each other in spite of the messiness and uncertainty. Our differences became our strengths together and our varying beliefs eventually helped us achieve balance and spiritual growth. The messiness became smoothed out and cleaned up by what we allowed ourselves to learn form each other over time. Our union was unconventional, still is any some ways and there’s no one else I’d rather live this crazy life with. He is the one, because we worked at being that for each other. It did not play out like a fairy tale but I’m glad at how it played out.

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My advice to anyone still looking for their one is to be careful not to overlook them by focusing on a list of qualities and possessions. Your one my not have it all together or like everything you’re in to. They may not even share religious views. They will, however, treat you like you are their favorite person. They will go our of their way for your happiness. They will better themselves as it betters you. They will show unconditional love even when you appear unlovable. They will be a reflection of you in the ways that really count. A fancy car or hefty bank account would only be bonus. There’s a catch, though.

The catch is the Law of Attraction. You are most likely to pull towards you what you exude. If you’re coming up short in the love department, it’s possible there is something the Universe is trying to teach you. Before you can find The One (or The One finds you), you must first work on being The One. I know I’m guilty of demanding something that I was not putting forth myself, it got me plenty of heartache and frustration. If  you get nothing else from this, know that true love start with you. Namaste.

 

Heaven on Earth

Do what you will and spill your mind on the floors of passerbyers

Provide what they sought through transmission beams and hanger wires

Filter your thoughts through a pen to scribble their answers

Prance and dance in high traffic for potential glancers

Lift your voice with a sound of deliverance

Extend your hand to heal and except her repentance

Speak his secrets, reveal the truth of the soul

Die in light,

For heaven you truly know.

 

 

Vegan Diet or No Vegan Diet?

I have tried many diets over the years in search of something that would put me on the right direction towards a healthy lifestyle. Going vegan was something I heard of for the first time over 10 years ago and I had absolutely no intention of participating. I was and am still a meat-lover, and considered the debate on whether veganism was even a reasonable lifestyle. However, I’ve just decided to go vegan/vegetarian recently and I have felt better in the last two weeks than I have a in a long time.

The argument between meat-eaters and vegans is on whether or not eating animal-based products is a healthy choice and/or a compassionate one. It is apparent that humans, like other meat-eaters on our shared planet, are built with the ability to digest meat products as we have for the last few thousand years or so. Meat tends to be packed with proteins necessary for our health and partaking in meat does not exactly equate to lack of compassion for other living beings. We are inevitably born into a food chain, the great Circle of Life in which all living beings rely on each other for food and other resources for survival. For this reason, I do not find it fair to judge anyone who eats meat as it is in our nature to do so; however, if we can find adequate nutrients in plants, shouldn’t we take that route instead?

This is, of course, the side of vegans and vegetarians who have made their choice for the purpose of compassion. This position should, also, not be shunned. I made the choice to become vegan/vegetarian because I finally listened to my body when I’d consume meat and dairy on a regular basis. My taste buds thanked me but my brain and my digestive system did not. I am now in the process of learning new and exciting ways to cook meals at home and to meal prep for work. I feel lighter, more energetic and aware of what my body actually needs opposed to what it is craving. My choice was also influenced by my spirituality and desire to be more compassionate towards animals. However, when I feel like the vegan diet may not be supplying me with enough (which could be due to the lack of knowledge of all my options), I may turn to a vegetarian dish to remain properly nourished. I am also willing to admit that if I had no reasonable alternatives in front of me, I would choose meat over deprivation for the sake of my health. There would be some hardcore vegans our there who would detest my flexibility but that’s why I took the time to make sure I had a handle on the “why” for making my choice.

Indeed, there is a right and a not-so-great way to carry out either decision. If one is a meat-eater and gives no thought to the life or lives given for the meal, there is something to be assessed. On the same token, if one is vegan just to keep up with the Jones’ and ridicules the meat-eater without regard to the individual’s personal journey, there is something to be assessed. There are also things to be aware of in either decision. The over-consumption of meat (especially red and/or low quality) can put any person at risk for a number of illnesses and disorders. Likewise, the vegan should be mindful of their intake of soy which should be limited and what ever nutrients what may require supplement due to their lack of animal product consumption. Whichever side anyone takes, it would do us all well to diminish or perhaps even abolish judgement on the other as we all have our “whys” and what is right for you may not be right for someone else. Namaste.

 

Creating a Yoga Flow: Part One

Although now a highly ridiculed phrase, I’m on my “New Year New Me” game. Truthfully, every day is a good time to start enhancing ourselves and setting goals towards our ideal life. However, there’s something special about this season that seems to motivate us. Each year is like a new chapter in our lives in which we get to start fresh with new goals. Unfortunately, many of us tend to fall off the wagon within a few months, weeks, even days. Some find it scoff-worthy; you may even come across comical memes about it online. I think it’s unfair to judge the lot who strive for change even though many of us run into regular life obstacles which, frankly, don’t care about our timelines. On the other hand, some of us simply get bored or overwhelmed with all the goals we’ve set in front of us. I’m certainly guilty myself. So, for 2018, I’m taking a new approach to reaching goals by encompassing them into my yoga practice.

On January 1st, I will begin building a Vinyasa flow that will grow every week. For those new to yoga, Vinyasa is a yoga practice that uses a continuous movement from one pose to another opposed to holding a single pose for an extended period of time – although these methods can be somewhat combined. I’m beginning with 3 asanas and will add a different pose every week accompanied by meditation and a written journal in which I will explain my practice of the 8 Limbs. I will also post a video of the flow on Instagram for visual feedback. The goal is to track my progress throughout the year to see how much I improve mentally, physically and spiritually by the end of 2018. Weekly additions will hopefully ward off boredom and because I choose my own poses and because I am only adding one a week, I will reframe from getting too overwhelmed.

The initial three poses are downward dog, child’s pose and frog pose. Feel free to join me in this challenge and share your progress on social media also. Remember that yoga is more than just poses and physical fitness; it’s a lifestyle! However, it is what you make it and the possibilities are endless. Happy New Year! Namaste.