SalmonBerry

Posts Tagged ‘mindfulness’

Opening to Curiosity

In Yoga on August 9, 2013 at 7:56 pm

0119_130502_SalmonberryMy journey into a daily, at-home, yoga practice has been long and varied with fits and starts and shifting focus. But all of it has been progress and a continual building on itself even if it didn’t appear that way at the time. Maybe to someone other than myself, it looks like a bunch of detours and u-turns but I’m just following the light that bubbles up inside of me when I practice – when I sit in meditation, when I kick up into a handstand, when I surrender to a forward bend.

Sometimes yoga feels like a struggle both physically and emotionally – but within any struggle there comes that moment of light, that burst of relief from the tension, a softening of the pushing and striving.

Practicing yoga makes you curious. You start to tap into and uncover parts of yourself that you didn’t know were there which then stimulates an interest and yearning to keep exploring and finding things outside yourself that encourage these ‘new’ parts of you. Sometimes you uncover light, sometimes you uncover dark. Either way, if you stay open and curious, it will lead you to miraculous places.

0143_130502_SalmonberryYou can start with any of the eight limbs of yoga or you can start with the most obvious, accessible, and least subtle. The asana or posture practice. For many, the physical practice is the beginning of being curious. The poses move your body in ways that are counter to it’s habits and challenge you to hang in there mentally. This physical opening, or energetic release, of the parts of your body – your hips, upper back, hamstrings, shoulders – that are tight or locked down allows something new to rush in.

A curiosity about your mind, a curiosity about your dominant emotions, a curiosity about the effect of food on your body and mood, a curiosity about the inherent beauty of nature, a curiosity about that neighbor whom you never bothered to speak to, a curiosity about your ancestor’s native country.

These peaks of interest – the places where you never realized the light was shining – lead you to take that belly dancing class or stock your pantry with new foods or pick up a different book or talk to a local artist or read old journals or ask your grandmother about her childhood or take that road trip or apply for that job or walk into that meet-up group.

The light will catch your attention anyway it can. Following your curiosity and consistently stimulating your innate knowing through yoga leads to a flowering of the heart and the realization that life can be, and, actually, always is, joyful.

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Cleanse – Day 2

In Mindfulness, Nutrition, Yoga on April 29, 2013 at 7:21 am
cauliflower and cayenne

Steamed cauliflower with cayenne.

“Witnessing can be called the seed and enlightenment can be called the flowers. But begin from witnessing, and then it starts growing. Go on nourishing it, go on caring for it, go on watering it, strengthen it in every possible way — and one day it is going to blossom. That day will be the greatest day of your life.” ~Osho

Day 2 went much smoother. I had to be at the studio at 6am to open for sunrise yoga and I contemplated stopping at Brick ‘n Bell for a decaf coffee (I stop there every morning that I open the studio) but I didn’t think I could resist the smell of baking pastries (mmm, slowly savoring a cranberry scone in my mind right now). Had cleansing soup and green juice for breakfast at the studio. Went straight to DMV (had an appointment – painless). Then to my home studio to teach a class at noon. It was a gorgeous day so after class I took my soup bowl down to the beach and ate it while sitting in the sand. Getting outside and into nature as often as possible during your cleanse makes the 10th bowl of soup in 2 days taste sooo much better. Nature has a grounding, calming effect. Ever take a wailing newborn outdoors and suddenly the crying stops?

beach at westbourne2

Beach at the end of my street.

I had errands on my to-do list for that afternoon but the beach was too beautiful to miss the opportunity to dig my toes in the sand and write in my journal. I had also planned to go to power yoga in the early evening before full-moon meditation but, as usually happens during these cleanses, my energy starts dipping in the afternoon, so I skipped it and worked on my computer instead. I hesitated when deciding to skip yoga. It was tempting to just power through the fatigue. My ‘stay-cation’ was the reason I had an opportunity to attend that class and part of me was saying “grab every opportunity, every time”. It’s the part of me that believes in scarcity. I’d rather choose the abundance mentality as often as possible because who wants to live believing there is never enough or will never be another chance?

cleansing soup

Cleansing Soup.

Full-moon meditation was very intense. The energy was thick as I dropped right into a deep state and was grateful that I had taken the time to eat enough and had not pushed myself too far physically. The thing about this cleanse is that you’re eating all day long. Since the meals are only veggies, they are not calorically-dense but they are high in fiber; therefore, there is only so much volume you can eat in one meal. Fiber may make you feel physically full but it’s fat that is linked to satiety (fat delays gastric emptying – stomach to small intestine). The carbs in veggies are digested quickly and moved from your stomach into your small intestine for absorption and then, bingo – you’re hungry again. I carry around baggies of steamed sugar snap peas (and veggie juice) to make sure my blood sugar doesn’t get too low. I must have eaten 5 bowls of soup this day and I just couldn’t eat another so I simmered cauliflower in veggie broth, onions, and garlic for a quick meal before meditation. With a sprinkle of cayenne, it was a delicious change of pace and exactly what I needed to get to that place where everything just falls away…

Cleanse – Day 1

In Mindfulness, Nutrition on April 27, 2013 at 10:46 pm
juices

Veggie Juices

“Habits allow us to not think about what we’re doing . . . giving us the illusion of ease. When we are under the illusion of ease, not thinking about what we’re doing and breathing the same old way, moving the same old way, thinking the same old way, we check out of the present, out of happiness itself.” ~ Alex Levin

My day of silence prompted me to do an 8-day cleanse. I know what you’re thinking. She’s already so healthy. Clean eating, yoga, meditation. Does she really need to cleanse? Yup, I do. I do it mostly for the emotional release and spiritual growth which allows me to come back to my heart. I am constantly striving to live from my heart. Make decisions from this place. Take action from this place. From where does your action and decision-making come? Is it fear, anticipation, avoidance, contraction? Or is it love, expansion, joy, and present-moment acceptance? Taking the time to change up our eating habits (however healthy they may already be) with a mindful cleanse allows space for awareness of the ‘stuff’ we may still be holding onto.

avocados

Organic San Diego County avocados

Anyway, this cleanse – the Salmonberry Signature Cleanse – is, roughly:

3 days of cooked vegetables only (no oils, fats, protein). Just steamed or simmered veggies. Fresh-pressed juices are definitely on the menu with a heavy emphasis on the veggies and less on the fruits.

Day 4 is just herbal tea, water, lemon water, sparkling water…clean, pure water in all forms.

3 days of raw fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds with a bit of honey and oil. To me this means avocados all day long! Again lots of fresh pressed juices and fruits are welcome!

Day 8 is only fresh watermelon juice (or pineapple juice). At this point in the cleanse I’ll be feeling so fabulous, I’ll start annoying people (it’s happened before!). I usually drink over 100 ounces of watermelon juice on this day.

For 3 days prior to this cleanse I was to have dropped all meat, wheat, sugar, dairy, caffeine, and alcohol. But, since I don’t see the Cleanse Police in my neighborhood, I drank coffee right up to the last minute. The night before I started the cleanse was like the last supper at my house. I ate way too much and even had a belly ache…so embarrassing and clearly time for a cleanse.

Day 1 was tough (as it always is). I was crabby first thing in the morning. Most likely because I couldn’t have my beloved coffee and I hadn’t yet made the Cleansing Soup so there was nothing for breakfast. I pulled my foggy self out of bed, brushed my teeth and headed to my favorite juice bar to stock up on juices. Of course, the super cute juicer was working and I looked really rough (it was like I had a food hangover from the last supper). Oh well. I stocked up on Green Lemonade (ginger, spinach, cucumber, celery, apple, and lemon) and Super 7 (ginger, parsley, beets, bell pepper, celery, cucumber, and carrots) and transfered them into 12oz Ball jars filled all the way to the top and sealed tight so they will keep as many nutrients as possible over the next 3 days. I used to do my own juicing but my juicer is so old that it’s starting to suck at it’s job so it makes more sense for me to buy someone else’s juice. I really need to retire and recycle that poor juicer (here in SoCal that means ‘leave it in the alley’).

movie snack

Movie snack when on a cleanse: steamed sugar snap peas and veggie juice

So I started in on a green lemonade and preparing my home studio for our weekly meditation group. After meditation, I had a much better attitude so I cranked the music and powered through making the Cleansing Soup (recipes turn out much better if you sing during food prep). The rest of my day consisting of getting some work done, a walk on the beach, and 3-4 bowls of soup. In an effort to distract myself from my raging, caffeine-withdrawal headache, I met a friend at the movies. The movie was heavy, The Place Beyond the Pines, and, since I was subsisting off veggie juice and steamed sugar snap peas, I’ve had more enjoyable movie experiences. The movie was actually quite good but we both needed something lighter and more uplifting. That’s what you get when you pick movies based on eye candy as opposed to plot.

I could not get into bed fast enough after the movie and was sound asleep by 8pm. I slept like the dead all the way until 5am when I had to get up to open La Jolla Yoga Center for sunrise yoga. According to my iPhone app – Sleep Cycle – my sleep quality was 100% that night but it sure didn’t feel like it.