Things are heating up, and having recently transplanted to Southern California, I am beginning to sense the shift into Summer. The first day of summer is officially June 21, so get ready to pamper yourself and melt into a nice fun pace.
- Epsom salt baths are a truly wonderful way to relieve stress. Epsom salt is not technically salt but rather the minerals magensium and sulfate. Running a nice warm bath with these magnesium flakes is a great way to refresh and re-charge after a long day. Whether your body is sore from working out, or you’re feeling the need to decompress after a long day of something that brought up lots of emotions, Epsom salts can help cleanse and clear the body of sticky tension sitting in the body ready to be released. Light a candle, and indulge in some self-loving. I like Life-Flo pure magnesium flakes, they melt in the bath and have a great texture that readily dissolves. Add some essential oils, and allow for some YOU time.
2. Speaking of essential oils , my life has been truly enhanced and improved by the installment of various aromatherapy practices. I feel an immediate sense of peace and calm when I drop some essential oils into my diffuser, turn on some mood lighting and allow my mind to settle after a long day. Take a look at my article, regarding the tested scientific backing behind the science of aromatherapy.
I am a huge fan of vetiver because of it’s musky and earthy scent. I enjoy the Young Living Essential Oils because they are such high quality that you can drink them. Believe me, for those of you that know essential oils, it is rare to find such a high quality oil that you can drink, so this is a reason I greatly support this product. I enjoy using their diffusers as well. Two oils that I have been deeply enjoying are Rare Essence OM blend that promotes calming and inner peace through the scent of frankincense, patchouli, cedarwood, and tangerine, and of course the classic, Vetiver oil. These products, are not drinkable, but they are a little easier on the budget and great for diffusing. 🙂
3. House plants are another great and soothing healthy resource to incorporate into life. They cheer up a home and bring life and comfort to a space. There are many plants that can survive indoors off limited light and will thrive inside your home. I can’t stress enough the value of bringing some greenery into the house. Some plants do better in different rooms of the house, so check out this article to see what plants thrive where: The Best Plants For Every Room of the House.
I recently bought some English Ivy which I’m keeping on a ledge in my shower with the hopes that it will live there happily and allow for it’s vines to sexily unfold into our showerspace. Also, in our bathroom I’ve put some classic Aloe, which for the nature of this article is GREAT, as many of us know for, SunBurns! It’s great to keep aloe on hand and to break off a little piece of the plant after a long day of lounging in the sun on a summer day. It also provides great relief from Poison Ivy. Ahhhh….
4. Free Activities! I feel like over the summer every one is out sunning their buns. With that being said there are often tons of great free activities to participate in. You just need to know where to look. Whether it may be a romantic free movie in the park, or yoga session, free is sexy and fun! If you currently reside in the Denver area, take a look at this great article loaded with tips that showcase 10 Free To-Do Summer activities . In addition, for those of you in San Francisco, SF Fun Cheap is a database that has tons of free and cheap activities in the Bay Area. Lastly, for those of you living in the LBC (Long Beach County) take a peek at Yoga on the Bluff Yoga through Yogalution, they host free yoga outside EVERY DAY. What are your favorite free summer activites?
5. This bathing suit, because can it get any cuter?
Enjoy your summer lovelies.
“Is an ancient form
of energy providing China’s children with the
miracle of second sight?”
“In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated.”
“intentions reach out beyond our minds to connect us with our environment”
“our thoughts are not confined to our brains”
“Martin Seligman talks about psychology — as a field of study and as it works one-on-one with each patient and each practitioner. As it moves beyond a focus on disease, what can modern psychology help us to become?”
“This week some exciting news has come out about the effect of meditation on personal wellbeing. Adding to the mounting evidence that meditation has a number of beneficial effects on things like blood pressure and depression, what’s crucial in the new study, which just appeared in Springer Nature’s journal Translational Psychiatry, is that meditation actually causes changes at the deepest level, in our genes. The study was top level, involving scientists from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, the University of California, San Francisco, and Harvard Medical School. Before detailing the research, let us paint the broader picture, because that’s where the real breakthrough is occurring.”
Affirmation: I choose to give and receive love in equal measure.
This past week was challenging. I received some bad news from several of the universities I applied to, and it was hard to deny the sense of inadequacy that swept over me upon opening my fourth rejection
letter e-mail . Yes, you heard right (or…read right), of the six programs I applied to, in hopes of earning my PHD in Psychology (studying the mind-wandering network—the network in the brain linked to rumination, anxiety, and also dreams—that voice in our head that seems to incessantly loop), I have received four rejections. Three more programs to go (2 of which are my ‘safety’ Masters programs), but this experience has got me thinking…
This news has been (slightly) devastating, causing me to reformulate my position in life and evaluate my place in the world. I have been feeling a sense of unease these past few days as I have begun to question the ways in which I hope to contribute to this world and this constant need for external validation. I have become increasingly aware over the past few days just how incessant this need for approval and validation is. It’s maddening.
Firstly, I began observing my relationship to social media. I am growing curious about what I post, when I post, and why I post, becoming aware of this mind-numbing compulsion for social validation through these social media outlets and I can’t help but feel like a slave to the outside world. Much like the denial from these several grad programs, I am noticing my tendency to seek external validation to illuminate internal worth. Trying desperately to appear a certain way on social media to be liked, accepted, envied even. Why is it that my sense of self has reduced so boldly to a few simple clicks and an algorithm of which I know very little about? Why is it that I am allowing my emotional state to be dictated and controlled by this platform of which could be seen as a tool for sharing/archiving/and discovering?
The addiction to this need for external validation runs deeper than just an incessant need to confirm my worth via social media channels. I remember as a little girl, the fabric of my psyche was similarly composed as I would fondly admire the extroverts, the popular kids, the rebels. Grouping people into an identity, one that I wished to be more part of, while often operating just outside of and on the periphery. I remember being a young girl and idolizing the ‘popular’ kids. Wanting to be like them, dress like them, hang out with them. Driven by the need to be accepted by the ‘cool’ kids, as a measure of my own worth. My grad school validation is eerily similar operating under these same principles. Being accepted by an institution that can claim my worth. In psychology, I believe that this is known as having an ‘external locus of control’, meaning, my internal makeup is soothed only by external means. This often leads to a rollercoaster of emotion, and constant highs and lows as I cling to any approval or acceptance.
I have to be OK with whatever comes my way and recognize that whether I am accepted into grad school or not, it is my responsibility to turn to faith and deepen my understanding of a divine plan. I tried my best when it came to applying this round and if I don’t get in that marks the third year in which I’ve applied and been denied to graduate studies. Maybe, it just isn’t for me… I can’t say that this third rejection will drastically alter the course of my life, but I would be lying if I didn’t say that another rejection may in fact alter me applying again for another cycle. I did put things off last minute in a lot of ways. I didn’t improve in the GRE as much as I would have liked, and I’m not published. The recipe I present to an admissions committee isn’t one that statistically shows success I suppose, and I get it, maybe it just isn’t a good fit. Either way, I am devoted to teaching, I am devoted to consciousness and better understanding these aspects of mental and emotional health and whether I explore that in the formalized institutional setting, or rather in a more individualistic and entrepreneurial way, I am committed to that mission.
I am committed to better understanding this epidemic of anxiety and depression. This sense of isolation and loneliness that may be contributing to the shootings that are happening unexplainably left and right. The pressure and tensions rising in this sometimes volatile world, and how we relate to technology and social media and our striving for acceptance and validation to find a sense of self-worth. All of which make things sometimes seem too much to handle. I am going to dedicate my life to the pressure cooker we call society and work to formulate an alternative route for myself and others that promotes self-soothing, and provides the steps necessary to help us live a life with a calm nervous system.
Sticking it to the man, to the popular kid complex. The avoidance of ‘weird’ people that don’t fit in to some formula. Committing to you. Let’s bring back independence, individuality, and personal responsibility. This gentle/yin yoga sequence and playlist are dedicated to just that, with some heart openers and poses that allow us to be our own best friend while practicing the art of radical self-acceptance.
Amen to that.
It’s been a great week. I have had the opportunity to spend the past five days with my sweet boyfriend down in Long Beach, CA. We spent quality time together in the desert of Joshua Tree and beautiful Deep Creek hot springs near Lake Arrowhead. The nature proved to be incredibly healing and relaxing, invigorating, and empowering. I hope for the opportunity to spend more time in nature because of its capacity to help quiet my mind and recalibrate my nervous system. My recent nature experience was inspirational and got me thinking about some of my current daily practices, and the habits I have that are not serving me as I mature into an independent, and responsible adult.
The travel associated with transporting my kitten and myself down to Southern California from where I reside in Northern California was a bit exhausting. Since I’ve reduced my life of discipline and immense self-care, I have felt a tad more lethargic. Have you ever seen the movie Eat, Pray, Love? The movie is broken down into three parts, each one representing a critical part of the characters development. The main character goes to India and takes up a rigorous and demanding mindfulness practice (Pray); however, the last part of the movie she falls in love (Love). The very act of falling in love, however, knocked her slightly off balance and because she was so elated with her newfound romance and the deep love that had presented itself to her, she shyed away from the deliberation of routine and a systematized yoga practice. In the movie, she had to discover how to find the balance between being in love and tending to her practice. I too, can relate to this, and I find that the joy I find in my love relationship has allowed for me to abandon some of my sacred and disciplined practices. So this week is all about increasing focus, detoxifying and grounding so I can be more intentional when it comes to my behaviors. I am working on reinstating my self-care practices. I feel like I’ve been very off-schedule lately. In the whirlwind of falling in love, and with so much up in the air regarding my future, I don’t have a sense of stability or routine that I find critical for keeping a healthy and sound mind. I am hustling 3 jobs and peicemealing my income in order to make sure I have enough for rent and bills and the coping mechanisms I put in place are critical.
I have been learning so much being in a relationship. My boyfriend and I have been together nearly 10 months, and it’s beautiful to notice how we just keep getting closer and the intimacy continues to grow. I spent a lot of my life in very one-dimensional relationships that often proved to present way more heart-ache than actual benefit—one of the reasons for me to outwardly despise men and relationships in many ways. Then this wonderful man walks into my life (after spending 5 or 6 months with a very concerted effort on self-care). I was ready for him. Now that I am in a relationship, and am very happy, the learning hasn’t ceased, nor the need for immediate self-care. Part of me held this belief that once I find the ‘love of my life’, all the puzzle pieces will come together and gears will click into place. This is, however, not entirely the truth. Though I am very satisfied with my relationship, I find my usual patterns and coping mechanisms to creep back in as I face the struggles with life.
Now, more than ever it’s important for me to focus on self-care. I am noticing within myself this dramatic need to be disciplined. Last year, I spent ten months of the year gluten, dairy, alcohol, and substance – free. Though challenging, the experience was very rewarding. One thing I noticed, the brain fog had lifted and the amount of time I spent lamenting over a somewhat intrusive hangover was literally non-existent. Being sober of all of these ‘allergens’ really taught me an immense amount of self-control. While I was the annoying person at the restaurant, asking to see a gluten free menu, or drinking water at a bar and leaving before everyone else, in ways I feel like I had this sense of control over my life. My friends would stumble home drunk, when I was already curled up in bed having slept for hours. In ways I felt more in control. I knew that I wasn’t going to feel negative waking up, or say anything that I would regret later. I knew I would wake up with roughly enough time and energy to meet the next challenges offered to me by life.
Slowly but surely my habits have started to creep back in, and slowly but surely after my ten months of detoxing away I started to reintroduce these things back into my life. Where is the line drawn between being healthy and being neurotic? How can I introduce health in my life in a balanced way? These next few weeks I am going to detoxify, yet again, taking the month of February to remove allergens from my life and meditating on health. The yoga poses for the month of February will challenge self-control/discipline to practice that muscle, support working through cravings, and encourage grounding. Twists are great for detoxifying as well.
Sequence (Runs about thirty minutes):
3 grounding breaths & set intention
I-Arms up/ Look up
Plank (hold for 1 minute: Last ten seconds lift one back leg, then the other)
Upward facing dog
Childs Pose (hold for 10 breaths)
Side Plank (hold for 1 minute each side: Last ten seconds try tree legs)
Upward facing dog
Neck Warm-Up (circles both directions)
Seated Twist (both sides)
Walk hands (sitting cross-legged) out in front of you.
Hands and Knees (Cat/Cow)
Elbow to Knee Each Side (X10)
Opening A X 2
Opening B X 2
Boat -> Canoe (X10)
Savasana (10 minutes of silence)]