Category Archives: yoga

Yoga and Verbal Behavior

I’m about to nerd out hard on you guys!

Basically, I’ve been super busy lately and haven’t had any time to cook, eat healthy, workout or anything for myself really. Which is fine, because this is the life I chose and it’s only for one more year. I can do it!

Ever since I moved to L.A. I’ve had a hard time relaxing. My mind is whirring a million miles a minute. I have too many places to go, too many things to do and it never ends. I have at least 3 “organizing” apps on my phone and computer with variations of my “to do list”, not counting my calendar!

All this is a new development. Until last year, I lived in a small, slow surfer town. I worked 8-4:30 Mon-Fri and had the rest of my life to myself. Not that I used my time wisely. But I could have if I wanted to. In Santa Cruz my yoga practice began, grew and flourished. I finally learned what it was like to “be in the moment”, forgetting time while you breathe and move. Repetitive movements and rhythmic breathing can lift you up and let your heart sing.

Until it can’t. And you can’t. And your mind is stuck in a loop. You want to relax, but you can’t stop thinking about everything you have to do! Ever! No matter how hard you work out or how hard you zen, you just can’t get to that moment.

Every time I try to practice yoga, my mind gets into a flurry and I can’t stop thinking of how I’m supposed to be relaxing. Then I feel like a failure for not relaxing right! As if I need that stress, right? At this point even thinking about practicing is aversive for me because I know I just won’t be able to do it.
Then I did something brave. I emailed a professor about my problem (it tied into the last few weeks of class and she’s into yoga) and she wrote me back and totally helped me out!

She explained that in moving, starting a new job and a new school I’ve been training my brain to engage in more verbal behavior all the time. New places, tons of reading, new responsibilities and a LOT more driving! So of course it makes sense that now, when I try, I can’t put my inner monologue on hold. I’ve been training myself to do more, think more, notice more for the last year!

She gave me some good advice that I’ve been following and I think it’s going to help me get back to my practice. I’m forgetting about yoga, and practicing meditation. I put on some nature sounds, lay on the floor with my feet flat, hands on my stomach and breathe in and out, pushing my stomach in and out as much as I can with each breath. I have a saying I repeat (a mantra), it can be different each time or the same. I repeat it to myself while breathing. If I catch myself thinking about something else, I start counting. If I catch myself thinking about something else while counting, I switch back to my mantra. I set a timer for 5 minutes and that’s all I’ve been doing.

It’s the best advice anyone could have given me. I’m relaxing more, a little bit at a time. I’m retraining my brain to relax and stop engaging in constant inner verbal monologues. And since the time is so short, it’s super easy which makes me feel confident and successful! It’s a small victory but a victory nonetheless. A lesson that sometimes, when the task is too hard you need to cut back your expectations!

I will gradually increase my time, then bring yoga practice back into my life when I’m ready. I have to give myself time to shape my private verbal behavior back to where I need to be!




Filed under behavior, Healthy Living, yoga

Crying in savasana

You know when you see your ex, and its like “ugh barf what did I ever SEE in that person anyways?”, but then you start to spend some time with them, and slowly it starts coming back.  Soon enough you’ve talked yourself into believing that you should definitely get back into a relationship with them and probably move in. I think I’m going through that right now with Santa Cruz.  It’s only been a year since we moved, but it was a long hard year.  We’ve grown a lot, but this is home. It feels awkward and a little sad and wistful to be here again. What if we never left? Would we be happier? The answer is probably no, but my heart wants me to pack it in and run for home.
All this was running through my mind when I joined my long time friend for yoga practice tonight.  The room was hot and stuffy (why didn’t she tell me it was heated? I HATE hot yoga! Mostly just sweating buckets in front of strangers).  There was a moment when I thought I might be sick, but then a breeze came from somewhere and saved my life.  I kept up with a level 2-3 class after only practicing by myself for over a year!  My friend is a true yogi.  She can do all the crazy poses and binds! Normally I would be jealous of her for her amazing body, but tonight I was just proud. Of her and me.  My body kept up pretty well!
Savasana finally came and I couldn’t stop thinking about everything.  I couldn’t let my thoughts go. Tears started rolling down my cheeks and my nose got all stuffed up.  I couldn’t hold it in and I was full on crying, in yoga class! Embarassing but powerful. I guess there is a heart chakra and you can open it.  And when you open it, you never know what’s going to come poring out.  Ugh, keep that shit closed please. Hold it together, jojo!
I think I just need more time away from Santa Cruz to get a better perspective on the place it holds in my life. I don’t think we should get back together until I have time to grow into who I need to become.  It is nice to know I can always come back, if I need to. But I don’t think I will.  I think we’re growing apart.
Then we went to cafe gratitude that has really annoying and condescending names for their food, like a rice bowl called “i am grateful” (it’s priced at only 7$, so poor people can eat healthy too.  But make sure they’re grateful!) But it was a delicious vegan healthy dinner that was super filling and made me feel good about my life. I had these tacos with black beans, brown rice, and guac.

Then we had delicious raw “nuggets” for dessert, made with fruit and nuts and stuff!

Amazing. And, despite the condescending hippiness of the menu, I am grateful for everything that transpired tonight. Namaste!

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Filed under Healthy Living, work outs, yoga

why you should lead your own yoga practice

ImageWell, it’s awesome!

I’ve been doing yoga for about 6 years, I think.  Sometimes I like classes, sometimes they are way too distracting!  Like that guy that grunts in every pose, or that lady that rolls around on the floor and doesn’t really follow along at all.  I guess these people are just added bonus for your practice: you have to train your mind to let them go.  You have to find your flow no matter what is happening around you.

Since I moved, I haven’t been attending any classes.  In Santa Cruz I was lucky to have a friend that taught the most amazing Warrior Yoga classes and really couldn’t get behind any other class.  Now that I’m in school full time and working full time, and pretty broke (loans!), I don’t have the 100$ + it costs to join a studio.  I’ve mostly been doing podcasts at home (did you know you can download free yoga classes on iTunes? because you should).  I especially like “All the way live” by faith hunter.  The perfect mix of power/stretching for me!  If you aren’t familiar with the poses, going to a class is always better.  But if you know your way around the mat, you can just listen to a class for free! With no weird guy grunting to distract you!

Tonight I decided to lead my own practice.  This is difficult at first but becomes more and more joyful as you go.  I did 40 minutes today, no problem!  Here are some benefits of being your own yoga teacher.

  • You can focus on the muscles you want to stretch/strengthen
  • You can hold a pose (or not) for as long as you want
  • You can explore different transitions and learn how to “go with the flow”
  • You can improve your practice by testing your memory of vinyasas (flows)
  • You can make up new ones! Today I went from a wide legged forward bend and hopped back to chataranga!  Crazy!

Overall, if you want to expand your practice, I highly recommend it.  The hardest part for me is thinking of how to transition to my next pose.

Today I started with some breathing, then stretched my neck and hips.  I went into some cat/cow, then right into a few sun salutations!  I moved through those a few times, then went on to a “B” series of warrior 1, 2, peaceful warrior, side angle, triangle, twists, and dancer pose!  Then I stretched on the floor and really worked on opening my hips.  I tried to work on my splits but they still hurt so bad!

Oh yeah, since originally I started this blog to help me with my weight loss, I guess I’ll talk about my eating too.  Today I stayed (mostly) within my calories, and feel more in control.  My clients gave me some pasta and garlic bread for lunch (whoops), and then they brought delicious Porto’s to clinic!  I slipped and had 1 dulce de leche kiss cookie.  Dinner was light and I didn’t eat carbs (skinny rules coming soon).  I think today was pretty good!

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Filed under Healthy Living, yoga