|“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”-Albert Einstein|
I would say this quote sums up why I’ve chosen the career of professional student, I love learning. When it comes to changing our thinking though, there is no magic snap of the fingers to facilitate this and at times it’s not easy.
Like most things in life, it’s work and dedication, and checking ourselves, moment to moment, to see if we are living with intention. The other morning I wrote in my journal that I simply wanted to be intentional with my time. What a different type of day I had, by ironically, setting an intention to be intentional. It felt like I was being true to myself, in all ways. From getting work done, to doing the dishes, to running, and yoga - I chose these activities. I also chose my words and interactions with others and myself. I think this is piece that makes the challenging work doable, we won't resist it as much mentally and physically, if we check in on our own intentions, our why.
Why am I studying inverse dynamics and fluid dynamics? And why am I writing a paper on how software processing variation yields wildly different outcomes in knee adduction moment? Oh yes, because this fits my bigger why. And so, while a lot of my day to day work is ‘hard’ and might not come easy, no it’s plain tedious, by incrementally challenging my brain and self to think differently I am getting one step closer to my bigger goals. And in the process, through the grind, albeit with intention, expanding my mind and changing my thinking. Thus, changing the way I interact with and see the world. And by checking in and seeing the work for what it is, it is less intimidating.
I am no psychologist, but I did work in a psychiatric hospital, many moons ago. I also was an undergraduate psych major and I did research in cognition and neuroscience for my undergraduate thesis. Plus I read, a lot. And I've learned, and the research supports, that to name these feelings in our mind, 'that's fear, that's anger, that's anxiety' is to demystify them and render them less threatening. I think this concept of identification, holds true when it comes to components of our work and patterns in our thinking. We don't need to love the moment to moment, but it is important to connect the things we do with our time to a larger purpose, even if indirectly.
Yoga has been the key to unlock a lot of these connections for me lately. It has been an absolute constant these days. Quarantine life lends itself very well to academic pursuits, less the data collections themselves. And I am finding this need to stop the brain grind work and let go, through yoga. There is a need as well to break the cycle of inactivity with a few yoga poses throughout the day. To connect mind and body, with soul and purpose, I find myself on the mat daily. Truthfully, I have not practiced yoga to this extent in a long time. Now, this daily connection is currently a must, I simply must schedule in a yoga practice. It has been a godsend.
Living with intention is a breath of fresh air and clarity, in a world that currently feels a mess and at times even scary.
I feel I am expanding my mind and body over these strange months. Together on the yoga mat, we are all building mental and physical sweat equity, and I am excited to see what comes next, for all of us. It is one thing to be in quarantine bummed, sad, scared, or all of the above, but it is quite another to feel you are growing and learning from these moments in your life.
We are witnessing the once linear thinking patterns of the world as they are being stretched and pulled, torqued, and well you name it, it is happening. We have all been forced to expand our thinking to accommodate the odd circumstances at play, and we are doing it! We are making the most of it, but I think we should be really intentional with this time and try to grow and learn. If not about the world, certainly we can learn about ourselves.
It is tough in many ways. Even more reason, to take the time to connect, to hit pause, to step away from the laptop, and simply sit with yourself and breathe deeply. How do you feel? Meditate on it. Write it down. Be purposeful. Be intentional.
Join me tomorrow morning for the Sunday Yoga Flow, (every week from 8-9:15am) via the same link as every other week. Email me for the link and password.
We have already donated $500 to Aloha United Way, let's keep it going! Make this a cannot miss weekly appointment, you deserve this time, to process the week, to connect and feel all the feels.
I hope to see you tomorrow (Sunday) on the mat!
“Allow yourself to be a torch, and allow the flame of your torch to be transmitted to other torches. Practicing like that, you can help peace and joy grow in the entire world.” -Thich Nhat Hanh
Very simply put, I think this is what life is about, finding what lights us up inside and sharing that light. I love the energy of a big class, it is uniquely different than an at home practice or a small studio class. Did you know that at some point in a vinyasa class, the breath, heartbeats, and movements rhythmically syncopate? It’s in this space, this feeling of oneness and connection via our physiological rhythms, that we support each others growth in a practice. It might lead to successfully making it through the core workout or to a restful savasana, but the point is the energy of your yogi neighbor's truly helps and it heals.
It’s almost as though our individual light becomes more tangible, whether it's through thermodynamics, mindfulness, physical activity or some combination of all of it. With every drop of sweat, every exhale, or each chaturanga, we feel it surface more. The heaviness of the day becomes more distant and our to-do lists fade. We are present with that light. Our light. Suddenly our light becomes much more accessible and recognizable. With each successive practice, the process of digging up that light and connecting becomes more efficient.
The sum of the parts is that with a mindfulness based yoga practice we connect more deeply to ourselves and to others. We form real connections and sometimes without words. We know ‘Tom the lawyer in the second row,’ even if we’ve only practiced yoga together a few times. I love watching my students become friends and connect in their shared passion for yoga. We all leave class feeling a little bit lighter and more connected. We can sprinkle that light everywhere we go. Start with yourself, be the light, be the torch.
Love and Light,
Wake up and do your best.
Basically, all you can do every day is wake up and do your very best. In your journey, what matters is what you think, what you say, how you act, and why. Will you be perfect? No. Will you make mistakes? Yes. Don’t let the critics get under your skin; let them go, there will always be critics. The supporters? Keep them close and don’t let them go. You hold the compass and decide not only where you are going, but also how you will get there and who you will take with you.
You choose. So choose wisely. Choose inspiration. Choose good people. Choose health. Choose kindness. Choose love. Choose enjoying the process, the highs and the lows. Choose learning and strength through the struggle and challenges, because this is it.
You will be dealt a balance of highs and lows. For some reason, I’ve always thought that when things are ‘right’ they must therefore be ‘easy.’ As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized how flawed this thought proved to be.
For example, yoga, Navasana (Boat Pose), never gets easier; but it’s certainly ‘right’ I feel myself quivering and shaking, and getting stronger with every breath spent holding the posture. Relationships are another great example; one of my very best friends in the whole entire world and I have always bickered like sisters, okay sometimes more than just bickered we could call it full on blow outs. With that said, we’ve always worked through our difficulties, maybe with a whole lot of tears, and emerged stronger. Was it is easy? Hell no. Was it worth it? No doubt.
Sometimes, waking up, and facing the up and down journey through life can be hard. But that’s what makes it so real, so amazing, and so worth it.
What really matters is getting out of bed and doing something. Our time here is fleeting, we never know when it will be over, so why not do your best? Why not connect with everyone that you can, hear all of their stories? Why not, stretch the limits of what you feel you are capable of? Why not feel ridiculously happy, because who really cares if others express jealousy? Why not let go of your own feelings of jealousy, because who is it serving? Why not step up to the plate, swing your little heart out, and maybe strike out? Because getting out of bed and doing your best, is the best thing you can do. If you fall, get back up, and know that in someway there is a lesson there. Maybe it is hidden or maybe it’s glaringly obvious, but it’s there.
Surround yourself with good people that support and love you, the light and the darkness, where you are now and where you are headed. Thank you to awesome teachers, like Marissa Jeanne Sinclair, who inspire and live their yoga. Thank you to all of my incredible supporters, family and friends, for loving and never failing to be there.
"When you get to a place, where you're seeing the positive in others more than the negative, it means you're doing the same for yourself.
You amazing, wondrous vessel of spontaneity, creativity, beauty and strength. - The Universe"
Set your goals high, think about them, write them down, and then go after them.
I’ve never been a “writer,” per se, but now I feel their pain. Writer’s block, is a real phenomenon. Don’t be discouraged, there is a way to combat writer’s block, and that is with the power of intention. There is a huge power in setting intentions and then leaving them be, to develop as they will.
Oh the trials and tribulations of being me…
If you want to write a blog post and you don’t have an idea yet, whatever you do, don’t sit down to write one. Go do something else, like take a shower; really, you can do anything you want, except sit down to write.
While you have the intention of wanting to write, go off and do something else. As soon as you forget about the intention (though it has still been planted), suddenly, BOOM, ideas start flowing at a rapid pace.
Now, you have about 7 theme ideas in your head and you are trying to finish up your shower, whatever you do…don’t get out of the shower and plan on writing, because unless you repeat those 7 theme ideas in your head continuously (and all of the thoughts that stemmed from the original idea), you will only remember the last idea formulated.
Try that experiment, but, if you are not vested in the outcome of the blog post, you may find different results. However, I can conclude that I am clearly vested in the outcome of my blog, as this current post is the only idea that I’ve been left with since my shower ended.
I am going to interpret this as a gigantic memo from the Universe to slow down, let go of my attachment, and go do something that I enjoy. So I will go practice yoga for an hour with a notebook beside my mat…
And hopefully, you will all be hearing from me tonight!
I hope you enjoyed my stream of consciousness, I wrote this at midnight and I’ve been up since 4:30am! OH, life, why are you so awesome at dishing out lessons in the most unusual of manners?
Have you ever had the experience where you are doing what you love, feeling peaceful, and happy, and suddenly you are flooded with brilliant ideas and you feel you can solve all of your problems, no scratch that, the world’s problems? I often have this feeling after a great yoga practice, while I am in meditation or savasana. Sometimes it even distracts me and makes me want to come out, so that I can take action, write my thoughts down, and make something happen. When the time to come out of savasana or meditation arrives, suddenly, you just feel peaceful and no longer do you have those brilliant and peaceful plans to disseminate and share.
What is the lesson here?
The lesson is to do what you love, whether it is practicing yoga, running, surfing, rock climbing, painting, cooking, or playing soccer, do it. Whatever it may be for you, the more you do that one thing you truly love, the one thing that floods you with inspiration, calm, focus, energy, and happiness, the more at peace, connected, strong, whole, and vibrant you will feel.
Your problems will suddenly seem manageable; your life will fall into place, in a manner that makes sense. Where you know that you can take the appropriate action steps to get to wherever it is you want to go.
More than that, by doing what you love, those around you will feel inspired by your presence. Subconsciously, they too will do more of what they love and their light will shine brighter in harmony with yours. In essence, by doing what you love, the world will feel the effects and be better off.
Today, go do what you love. Commit to it, with your intention: I will start today.
Recipe: Rainy Sunday Tofu Scramble!
Step One: Wash all of your farmer's market veggies. And if you have an awesome "farmer" boyfriend who grows rosemary, tomatoes, and bell peppers, wash those too!
Step Two: Slice baby portabella mushrooms in half.
Step Three: Add one tablespoon of extra virgin cold pressed coconut oil to your pan.
Step Four: Chop your zucchini and broccoli and add vegetables to your large pan.
Step Five: Add the spices 🙂
...and your organic kale!
...add your tomatoes and rosemary last!
Step Six: I cooked the tofu in a separate pan with coconut oil, only because I have no pan large enough to fit the veggies and tofu. Make sure you add plenty of turmeric (color and taste) and course pink himalayan salt!!
Step Seven: Bon Appétit! I add nutritional yeast to everything, sprinkle some on top to taste!
Enjoy! If there is anything you would like me to write about related to food, yoga, or life, please let me know!
Now, let me tell you a bit about me.
I have been wanting to get a blog started for years. Mainly because I feel I have something to share, but the timing has never quite been right. I feel now, more than ever, that I not only have the time to maintain a blog, but the ideas, and a beautiful setting, Hawaii.
When it is raining in Honolulu, no one really knows what to do. If you are anything like me, your free time is typically spent outdoors, either hiking mountains, swimming in the ocean, spending time at the beach or yoga-ing in the park; however, many people choose to stay inside, watch movies, and veg out in this "guilt-free" manner because the sun isn't shining. On Saturday, I chose to visit the KCC Farmer's Market, make a scrumptious breakfast, do laundry, practice yoga, and spend time with Derek. And most importantly, I chose to take these photos of my tofu scramble ingredients, so that I could share this post with all of you lovely people.
I adopted (I cannot even believe that is the term) a vegan diet in 2008, at the end of my junior year of college. It was not easy, but it just felt right for me. At the time, I was learning about how to eat a well-balanced diet and still maintain enough quality nutrition to play soccer and lacrosse; there sure was a learning curve. While vegan cookies and muffins are certainly delicious, let me tell you, if you are an athlete, you need to eat way more than these sugary-salty treats to stay healthy. Thankfully, there was a wonderful shop in Saratoga Springs (Four Seasons Natural Foods) where I was able to eat healthy vegan meals almost daily. Also, it helped that I went to a hippy-dippy liberal arts school in upstate New York where an entire section of the d-hall (Emily’s Garden) was stocked with plenty of vegan options. Six years later, I can say that I have finally figured out how to eat and feel great as a “vegan”.
Which brings me to my next point, I despise the term “vegan”. I really dislike that we have to label everything in our society, particularly because there is a stigma attached to being “vegan”. Please allow me to clear the air and say, that I do not and will not judge you for eating what you eat. I eat a vegan diet, because it is the food I want and crave. By ALL means, continue to eat what makes you feel happy and healthy. However, I plan to share lots of yummy vegan recipes on this site, which I hope appeal to both meat eaters and non-meat eaters.
In addition to my hippy diet, I am a lover of yoga. I love yoga for the mind-body benefits. Eckhart Tolle said it best ”Be at least as interested in what goes on inside you as what happens outside. If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place.” Yoga, meditation, and mindfulness play a huge role in my life. My blog will share bits and pieces of my thoughts on life and yoga. I plan to write the blog, as somewhat of a stream of consciousness, where the ideas, the flow, and the content will be similar to what I write in my journal.
I wear another hat, as a researcher at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center. Science plays an important and necessary role in our society and in my life; I will try my best to incorporate scientific research findings into my blog posts, though many of my thoughts on life, love, and happiness are not found in published research papers. My thoughts are felt, observed, experienced, and perceived truths that I hold.
Without further ado, here we go! Now, go get your tofu scramble eat on... 🙂