How Yoga, Meditation & Feng Shui work together

It's springtime and spring cleaning is still in vogue this month, but yoga, meditation and Feng Shui can help healthy energy to flow in and out of your life year round.

Practicing yoga consistently helps build confidence in your body, as well as self reliance and self acceptance. And maybe you notice that with more time on your yoga mat, you've released the habit of automatically comparing yourself with others. As a result, the plethora of "should and shouldn't be" standards you hold yourself to drop away (or take more time to emerge). There is so much calm power to be gained by de-cluttering old habits stored in your body, and choosing to love and accept yourself as you are. 

In meditation you get to notice your pet peeves, your opinions, and the general clutter of your unconscious energy. And then you make a decision about what you choose to focus on in this moment, mind clutter or the breath, mind clutter or the breath...When you choose the breath, you build stability, clarity and strength of your mind. 

And the de-cluttering you do in your home can release stuck energy that keeps you feeling frozen. Have you ever found yourself saying: "I'm stuck in this _________." Or "I'm trapped by my __________." Or "I want something new happening in my life." The Feng Shui suggestion is to lovingly release the stuff you don't use or wear or are no longer interested in, even if you spent good money on it, to make room for inspiration to appear. 

Yoga, meditation and Feng Shui work together energetically to make room for good, healthy energy to flow into your life. When you release the stuff that may have you feeling stuck in your body, mind, or home you immediately create space for movement in your life. As a result your larger, more inspired life emerges.

Inhale Peace, Exhale Peace...

Namaste, XO Elyce

Embracing impermanence

Welcome to September! It's back to school month, Autumn is on the horizon and all things pumpkin will be showing up very soon. It's also National Yoga Month! That's right, in 2008 the Department of Health & Human Services designated the entire month of September to raising awareness of yoga's health benefits and inspiring people to create a more balanced lifestyle. Perhaps you started your yoga journey during the last decade that National Yoga Month has been observed?

Each week this month I will write about how to be a yogi during National Yoga Month. Here is my suggestion to start off the month: 

Mix it up: Embrace change and accept impermanence: 

Patterns and routine can create wonderful comfort, but I dare you to step out of what you know to expand your consciousness and absorb a new perspective. For example, if you practice at a studio, commit to placing your mat in a different part of the room each time you are in class this month, or try a different teacher, time of day or even a different yoga style, just for fun! If you are used to doing yoga at home, try a studio with a live teacher (this is what I will be doing). And if you are used to doing your yoga sequence indoors, try doing Yoga in Nature with the earth, trees and sky supporting you instead of four walls. Again, just for fun, the joy of yoga and a flexible perspective. Start this week and continue throughout the month. See where your willingness to embrace change takes you.

Nothing is permanent about who you are or what you are capable of

Feel free to leave a comment below about how you mixed up your yoga practice this week.

Spring is on the way!

Winter is considered a restful and introverted time in nature. It is the season to restore energy, investigate emotions and meditate in preparation for the more active energy of spring. But for those of us living in urban environments, it is easy to lose touch with the rhythm of nature. Many people continue to push ahead in the winter and end up feeling stressed, but also guilty if they take a break to replenish their energy, which adds more stress. It is imperative during times of high activity that we balance doing and action, with being and resting: journaling, meditating, being with loved ones, reflecting in nature. I have previously written about creating a balance between doing and being, and I have a strong feeling this will be a reoccurring theme over the year. 

Next week brings the first day of spring! Spring is an exciting time because the energy that has been stored over the winter gets put to use. Buds pop on the trees, flowers push up out of the earth. Plans we were contemplating over winter begin to gain momentum. But what if we humans have not rested and replenished our energy over winter as nature has? Spring can then push out pressure cooker feelings such as irritation, anger, resentment and frustration. (This happens when the Liver Meridian, which comes into focus in springtime, is energetically out of balance. More on that another time).

Luckily, we can get our energy back into alignment by treating our body, mind & spirit as a temple: Go to yoga class. Add meditation and breathing exercises to our morning or evening to help calm our nervous systems. Get some acupuncture to move stuck energy, or Qi. We can also add green, bitter foods (green is the color of spring, bitter is the taste) such as kale, watercress, parsley, dandelion greens, melon and green tea to our palettes. All these mindful tools can be added to our routines as conscious ways to slow down and balance our action based Doing with contemplative and restorative Being

Meditation apps!

I love this image of the brain filled with relaxing, leisurely thoughts. I plan on making a poster of it as inspiration for myself and my son. We have so much coming at us everyday that it's important to allow our brains to have some downtime so it can make connections and insights. Giving ye ole brain a break from work-work-work, from on-on-on mode is very important for our health, and there is scientific research proving that naps, meditation and nature walks actually help us feel more engaged, more creative and more productive. 

I recently started my son on a meditation practice. And as there's nothing more annoying than your mother telling you to do something that's good for you, I used a meditation app to get us going. The apps all offer similar features such as timers and/or guided meditations. Here are a few I suggest: 

https://www.calm.com/  I love the nature sounds.
https://insighttimer.com/
I love the starting and ending gongs you can set with the timer. Also have free guided meditations. 
https://www.headspace.com/ They have some free guided meditations you can listen to while on the subway. 

If you are new to meditation, consistency is the key. You can start like my son did, with one minute a day for a week or two and build another minute on top of that, or find a guided meditation you like and stick with it. The important action to take is to simply start. Your happy brain and spacious feeling day will thank you for it!

Feel free to comment below about your own meditation practice. I'd love to hear from you!

Love, Elyce

Autumn Align

Welcome to autumn! There is a lively, enthusiastic quality in the air this season. The leaves on the trees are starting to shout "Hey, look at how I can change colors"! The Canadian Geese are practicing their flying formations and the wind is picking up, encouraging us to pull on our colorful sweaters and bike through the park. It's the time of year associated with images of flowers, fruit and corn overflowing from cornucopias. Yes, even in the city! I am presently looking at my own "cornucopia" of sunflowers, decorative pumpkins and buttercup squash on my table. And anyone who has a CSA farm share knows it’s all about squash right now!

Autumn has this exciting, creative quality that culminates nicely with the prosperity of the harvest season. Therefore, autumn is a wonderful season for us to reflect upon our where we are in our lives and be thankful for all we have created with effort and all that has been created with ease. More fun, more joy, more free time, more work opportunities, more flexibility in mind, body and spirit, more peace of mind, more consistent, sustainable habits of self-care, maybe a new baby or a new love relationship or better communication with our love partner... And if we find we are off track from our intentions for the year, we still have a few months remaining until the year’s end to find our way back.

Yoga's sister science, Ayurveda, associates fall and winter season with the term "Vata". Vata is linked to wind, air, creativity and liveliness, and it is also connected to things that are cold, dry, rough, brittle, and hard- things we easily relate to in the fall and winter seasons. When Vata energy is balanced, we feel active, enthusiastic and creative. When Vata is out of balance, the imbalance shows up in our nervous system as anxiety, nervousness and the inability to gather our thoughts. Think of a gust of wind blowing into your nervous system: Whooossshhhh! All that windy air affects your brain and it's pretty much so long to serenity! In our bodies, Vata imbalance can literally dry us out, and our skin becomes dry and itchy, and our bones and joints ache. We can also have ringing in the ears. 

The antidote to Vata imbalance is consistent, nourishing routines of self-care. Think of routine as the lasso that rounds up all the scattered air energy and brings it down to earth. Habits that help us grounded internally are going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same every morning. Daily meditation, yoga and breathing exercises help restore scattered, anxious thoughts or achy bones and joints. Lying on the couch reading a book nourishes both our nervous systems and our spirits. And consuming warm foods and drinks this season will counterbalance the cold quality of the season, soothing our digestive system, helping us feel internally warm and grounded. 

Ah, autumn, my favorite time of the year! The blustery season can either be considered lively and creative with leaves changing colors, fun Halloween events and gratitude inducing self reflection or it can feel too cold, too windy and too scattered. No doubt it is the season to maintain healthy habits that will nourish us now and as we prepare for winter. 

Namaste!

XO Elyce