It’s crazy that I haven’t posted anything for nearly 4 months! I’m sad to have slacked here – but it is for good reason. Let me tell you what I’ve been busy with that has kept me from blogging.
I’m writing a book. OK, well, my daughter and I are writing it together. It is a book about doing yoga with your 2-6 year old. This picture is from the amazing photo shoot that we did this summer. We had 9 local families participate. It’ll be a book helping folks engage with their littlest ones in a way that is safe, fun and health promoting 🙂 So many of my “writing hours” have been and will continue to go to that this year. If you know you want a first round copy of this you can donate on my gofundme page that we made to help cover the costs of doing this right. There is more information on the gofundme page. Yes, you’ll be the first to know when it is in print!
I’ve also been spending some time building a youtube channel(OlyndaYoga) full of short and long and easy and challenging videos for you to pick from. These videos are really for you to practice with. Many of the videos I’ve seen on line look really pretty, but don’t have very much (or any) alignment mentioned. My videos are instructional videos that I’ve made with an eye towards keeping you safe, inspired and connected in your practice even when you need to practice at home. It feels great to give you the ability to practice more, and to connect in this way.
With most of my creative energy and time going into these outlets I may be posting to the blog only intermittently. To stay connected, I’ve started a Instagram account where I plan to be posting regularly. You can follow me there at OlyndaYoga. And you can always sign up for my monthly newsletter if you don’t already get it.
A few weeks ago I found myself, mouth wide open, trying to be patient while the sweet dental hygienist cleaned my teeth. I was focusing on my breathing and being as yogic as I could. Then it happened, I heard this thought, “I don’t have time for this!” There it was. Dental cleaning isn’t exactly what I think of when I think of self-care. But, it is pretty necessary for healthy teeth. And here I was, deciding I didn’t have time to do something that was necessary for my health!
I realized that so often that voice pops up when I would love to sit and slowly drink a cup of tea. It comes up sometimes (gasp) when my daughter wants to pretend we are going on a voyage to return the heart of Te Fiti. I realized that I am in fact rushing through a lot of my own self – care so that I can get on to more “important” things.
We know this. I don’t need to find fancy studies to show you how much better EVERYTHING is when we take care of ourselves. I have time for teeth cleanings, because I don’t have time for major dental work if I can avoid it. I have time to play with my daughter because I don’t have time to regret being to busy to enjoy her. I have time to do my practice, because I don’t have time to be frazzled, distracted and in pain.
But I know I need help. We all do. If we aren’t doing a self -care practice on purpose, it is unlikely to just happen.
For this Mother’s day Month I want to double down on self-care, and I hope you’ll join me. Here is what we are going to do:
1) Make a list of things that are truly nourishing to you – walks in the woods, tea with friends, doodling, dancing, singing, getting sleep… etc.
2) Make time to do at least one of these things EVERY DAY for the rest of May. I plan to start on the 7th of May. That gives us time to plan all that pampering in. Also, it still gives us long enough to really get a good habit started! If something each day is too radical (at the moment) for you, try every other day. You set your own goal! These don’t have to be long moments. A ten minute meditation will do just fine. Yes, your yoga practice counts! These just need to be moments that are all for you. Moments that are pure pleasure and nourishment.
3) Inspire us all, and hold yourself accountable by posting what you did that day on my FB page. I’ll post for that day and you can post your self-care goodness in the comments for that day 🙂
4) Have FUN, and notice what all that self-care is amounting to!
Springtime is here! This is a time of year for splashing in puddles and getting fresh air in your home. It is also a time that is vital for good clean eating. In Ayrveda, this is the time of year for cleansing. Instead of fasting, a great way to support the body is to eat easily digestible nutrient – dense foods. This is my new favorite meal that fits both those requirements while also being * delicious * and easy to prepare.
I’ll admit, that we actually eat this meal about once a week in our home – year round. It’s taken the place of the mac n cheese night. It is actually just as easy as mac n cheese from a box – but insanely healthier. This is a mash up of two slightly altered recipes from different Ayurveda cookbooks. The Kichadi recipie is an amended version of one in A Life of Balance: The Complete Guide to Ayurvedic Nutrition & Body Types With Recipes by Maya Tiwari. The Pressed Greens and dressing is inspired by The Everyday Ayurveda Cookbook by Kate O’Donnell. Both amazing books. The first better if you really want to geek out on Ayurveda as a whole. The second has amazing recipes and great background on why they work.
Yes! There is a high chance your kids will eat this! My daughter loves the kichadi and asks for it all the time. She doesn’t love the texture of the Pressed Greens, so I usually make her a fresh kale salad. You may want to substitute plain butter for ghee if your kids don’t love the taste of ghee. My little one is four and a half (already!) and we have used this meal in particular to talk about nutrient dense foods. She loved learning the phrase “nutrient dense”. I told her it was a fancy way of saying healthy. We then went on a hunt through the kitchen looking for “nutrient dense” foods. This can be a fun way to teach your kids what foods really feed them and which are empty nutritionally. Make a pile on the kitchen table of all the “nutrient dense” foods you can find! Or make a list together! Greens, berries, beans, eggs, nuts, carrots…. delicious!
1 cup rice – basmati is traditionally used, I use an organic white rice that I can get from Costco
1/2 cup – Organic Mung Dhal
5 cups – water or more as needed
1/2 teaspoon – Turmeric powder
Ghee or butter
Start by rinsing the rice and mung beans till the water runs clear. I put them all in a strainer and run water through while massaging (and being massaged by) the beans and rice. Put these in a pot with the water and turmeric bring to a boil. Bring down to a simmer and wait till rice/beans are tender. You can add the ghee and butter to your serving once it’s in your bowl.
A mixture of greens
Here is what I do. I buy 2-3 kinds of fresh greens: kale, chard, bok choy, dandelion greens or spinach and I take out the stems if appropriate and chop them up. The I take however many carrots I’m in the mood for – lets say 1 cup of chopped carrots. Sometimes I add in Red cabbage. I put about 5 cups of all these veggies in a big pot with 2- 3 Tbs of water over medium heat with a lid on. I stir every few minutes. After 10 minutes they are done!
Olive or Safflower or Sunflower oil.
Squeeze the juice from the lemon into a jar, then add that same amount of oil. Add a little salt, cover and shake.
In a pretty bowl, spoon out some kichedi, top with veggies, pour some dressing on top, add a dollop of butter or ghee and you have a yummy, nutrient dense, easy to digest meal. We like to add pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, goat cheese, cultured veggies… whatever we can find!
Let me know if you try this out and how you like it! What are you doing differently?
Here it is! This little recording is my gift to you. It is a Yoga Nidra. Yoga Nidra is an ancient, deep relaxation technique that means Divine Sleep. The good news is you don’t even need a yoga mat, or a change of clothes. You just need a cozy place to lay on your back with no interruptions, for 30 minutes. Yes, that means silencing your phone. In fact, I invite you to put your phone in another room. Let your family members know you are unavailable. If you have pre-teens or teens you can invite them to practice with you.
This practice is the uncontested FAVORITE activity in my middle and high school classes. This recording was made during one of my high school classes. Thanks guys!
If you want to get extra luxurious about it (which I hope you do) grab a blanket, some cozy socks and/or an eye pillow. The practice is designed to help you feel rested, whole, present and more aware of your interconnections. If you have the time, and your body needs to move a bit, do a few sun salutations or a full practice first.
Ready to go? Skip to the bottom and enjoy! Want to geek out a bit? Keep reading.
In yoga we see that all things have a rhythm, a pulsation. Everything that is alive, has a cycle of activity and rest. As modern day humans we are doing everything we can to step out of that rhythm. Our world is organized in opposition to our ability to follow our bodies natural need to rest. It is increasingly hard in today’s world to actually tune in and line up to the slower rhythm of nature. And our body, as part of the earth, craves that slower rhythm. So as a society, we are in a huge deficit of sleep and restful activities. And our need for rest – because of the sheer pace and stress of our lives is at an all time high.
We value sleep, play and restfulness so little, that these things seem like the perfect sctivities to cut out of our busy lives. And we are suffering for it. Brené Brown in “The Gifts of Imperfection” states that “According to the Centers for Disease Control, insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions, such as diabetes, heat disease, obesity and depression.” I don’t know about you, but I’d rather make time for some delicious rest, than make time for doctors appointments and the suffering created by these illnesses! While I encourage you to actually sleep sleep. This practice of Divine Sleep can also be a huge support in finding deep rest.
It’s been a rough week, and a rough few years in the news. Especially when we are grieving, angry, scared or frustrated, it’s vital to take a break. This practice, with it’s guided imagery, is intended to give you a “thought vacation” so you can come back to your life with freshness, support, and new found creativity and clarity.
This quote has been rolling around in my mind and heart this month. No one knows exactly who said it first, maybe Plato. I’m willing to bet that if it was Plato, he was probably quoting someone else – maybe his mother. It seems that, as long as there have been sensitive people and pain, this idea has been guiding us to be kinder to each other. (If you want to geek out on the mysterious origins of the quote, check out this blog post here.
The quote has been in my mind, because it has been a season of hard battles in my family’s life. We say in tantric yoga that everything can be used to help us awaken. If you’ve been through some major heartbreak you’ll know that in the midst of that pain, there is an opening to understand that everyone is carrying their own pains. Everyone is indeed fighting their own battles. Though I don’t wish that pain on anyone, including myself, in the depth of struggle is a perfect, potent place to grow our ability to love.
Ahimsa, often translated to non-harming, is one of the fundamental practices outlined in the yoga sutras. I appreciate the more modern translation of Ahimsa – practicing loving kindness. We can go beyond just being neutral and not harming! Let’s add some TLC to the planet! On the mat we work to line up physically, so we don’t harm ourselves. Coming to the mat, and doing so in a mindful and refined way, is also an act of profound kindness for ourselves. In the inner practices, we grow our hearts and our capacity to be kind.
Practicing ahimsa in family life is of utmost importance. We have to support our ability to be kind with the ones who love us most – our children. They are so tender, and our ability to treat them with kindness is fertilizer for their optimal growth. Being kind to them, of course is important. But also, being kind to ourselves in front of them is vital. The way you talk about yourself and to yourself directly impacts your child’s ability to be kind to themselves. So the work is watching our inner monologue, and shifting it to be a kinder kind of self-talk. Then, and this will seem strange at first, but especially if you have younger kids, actually saying that positive self-talk out loud when they are around. Saying things like, “Oh man, I wish I hadn’t dropped that. But we all make mistakes!” Or, “I carried this all the way up stairs, I am a strong mama!” I expect you’ll hear your kids talking to themselves in the same tone you are using to speak to yourself. Powerful work!
All this practice takes some very serious self care. So be kind to yourself, take the time you need to fuel up in order to be at your best and able to be kind to others!
My valentine’s month invitation to you is to do something kind for yourself, and something kind for someone else each week. Make time for your “kindness practice”. Seriously, put it on the to-do list. For yourself: go for a long walk, make your favorite food, take a long bath – whatever you love. For others, maybe donate to an awesome organization like book harvest, or Porch. Anonymously put treats on your co-worker’s desks when they aren’t looking. Offer to take care of a friend’s kiddos so she can go to a yoga class. So many options! Please have fun with this, and please comment here or send me an email to let me know what you did!!!