I’m almost 2 months into my yoga routine, Kundalini yoga to be specific. Do I feel better? For sure. Kundalini yoga focuses a lot on the spine. My back feels more flexible and in return my whole body feels more pliable. In general, I feel lighter mentally and physically. Take a look below at 15 possible benefits you can have from yoga.
Stress is an inevitable part of life, however being able to monitor it with breath and introspection can change the outcome of many situations. Ideally stress will begin to subside with the tools discovered in yoga.
Over time the body will become stronger and yoga poses will feel much more accessible. Discovering body awareness and incorporating appropriate cues from instructors can take a practice to another level. Yoga will never be easy, however the body builds up strength to support the practice in time. Certain daily activities that felt difficult before will get easier. Activities such as walking up stairs, balancing to put on shoes or picking up children can become less challenging.
Although many people do not initially turn to yoga for weight loss, it is a surprising bonus. The pure and detoxifying feeling the body experiences after practice sends people in a healthier direction. The body begins to crave nutritious foods and denies heavy meals.
Learning tools to incorporate breathing and body awareness into scenarios that are mentally or physically demanding will change the outcome of many situations. Letting go of self-medication with food, alcohol, or prescription drugs is difficult. However in minor cases, replacing self-medication with yoga can help. The residual buzz from a yoga practice can deliver some of the happiness people struggle to find.
Releasing things that no longer serve or fulfill are some of the first steps toward change. Like-minded individuals, and better decision-making replace toxic relationships, negative friends, and harmful environments.
Some people have been known to try vegan or vegetarianism at least once. There are teachers that promote non-harming and compassion to living beings with emphasis on a plant based diet. Some bodies can handle not having meat while other bodies need it. The best advice is to do what fits for the individual. What works for one, may not work for all. Ask a doctor if uncertainty arises with diet.
Many of the postures in yoga strengthen the spine and the muscles surrounding the spine. The majority of the work is to maintain a tall spine in each pose. A great yoga class will train the practitioner to take daily habits such as a hunched over body out of the practice. Overtime, students will learn techniques on how to carry the body in everyday life. Some yoga poses and classes strengthen the abdominals, which improve the posture quite a bit.
There are so many poses and ideologies in yoga that make the practice a lifelong journey. There is always another variation to achieve or a style to discover. One of the most gratifying feelings is when accomplishing a posture that seemed so difficult in the past. Noticing changes in the body and advancement in the practice gives a person that confidence they may have been searching for. Whether it is an inversion/arm balance or holding plank pose for an extended period of time, these small achievements ignite a positive sense of self.
Bringing attention to areas of a person’s life that may have gone unnoticed in the past is the first step toward mindfulness. Maybe its deciding to stop wearing high heals, or forgoing the pain medication for small aches and pains, or possibly holding back on negative thinking. Maybe it’s noticing how many chips are consumed in one sitting or how the body is sitting while eating those chips. Shedding light on these little moments that are overlooked so often can change how life is lived in a positive way.
In time, tight muscles will release. That stiff and achy feeling when getting out of bed or right into downward facing dog won’t be as common. All bodies are different. Some people are extremely flexible and hypermobile, while other’s bone structure won’t allow for a super flexible practice. Finding the appropriate flexibility for each body type is the healthier way to think about it. Forcing or pushing the body to become flexible like the person on the neighboring mat is not a safe decision. It is extremely important to balance that flexibility with strength.
The yoga practice can become addictive because of the mental relief it offers practitioners. Yoga is a lifetime practice with so many different postures, variations, and lineages. Some people practice intensely on a consistent basis to achieve their goals faster. This is when injury occurs. Many people learn the hard way and ultimately realize that a safe, strong practice will result in longevity of the muscles, bones, ligaments, and tendons.
Depending on which route is traveled in the yoga world; learning about the body is an incredible discovery. How often does a person cross their legs every time they sit, with the same leg over? Understanding how body patterns and daily routine can affect well-being is tremendous.
Life can be very hectic and stressful with to-do lists and priorities. The mind eventually becomes cluttered putting up roadblocks in our path to clarity. The physical yoga practice is helpful with clearing the mind, however the meditative aspects of yoga can change thoughts drastically. A daily meditation practice is known to clear the mind and bring clarity to situations in which we feel limited.
Depending on the person, there will be interest in becoming a yoga instructor. Even if teaching isn’t the goal, some become certified to understand the practice on a deeper level. Spirituality is a huge part of the path of yoga. Studying yogic philosophy or reading up on spiritual teachings can help. Learning more about who you are as a person is a growth process unlike anything else.
“I have found that if you love life, life will love you right back.”- Arthur Rubinstein. Learning to move through life from a place of love is one of the best feelings in the world. Whether it is love for one’s own body, other people, or the love of life in itself, positive outcomes normally result in this way of thinking.
Yoga can turn a person’s world upside-down, literally and figuratively. Diving into a yoga practice in order to gain wisdom, peace, and physical strength is one of life’s best-kept secrets. As time goes on, life will continue to change for the better with the help of a little thing called yoga.
My face is extremely sensitive to product. I know this because I have spent hundreds of dollars trying different face moisturizers only to have them all cause redness and irritation to my skin. So I finally decided to try an oil on my face, instead of a moisturizer.
I’ve been reading a lot about Argan Oil. Argan oil comes from a fruit tree (using the nut inside the fruit) found in Morocco and has been used for generations as a skin/hair moisturizer. It contains vitamins A and E, anti-oxidants and omega 6. Normally, I fear all natural skin products as they cause the worst reactions for me. However, the information on Argan oil says it helps with inflammation too. Not wanting to spend a small fortune again, I went to Target and found Acure Argan Oil for $12.99.
I have been using this product for about a week now and it has yet to cause any skin problems for me and my skin looks great. A little goes a long way. One pump of the oil is all I need for my face and neck. So if you have sensitive skin and are in need of a moisturizer, Argan Oil might be the way to go for you.
Trying face moisturizer tip: Put a little bit of the moisturizer on the back of your ear to see if it will cause a reaction. (Putting it on the wrist never worked for me)
I have started a new blog dedicated to my current home of Monterrey Mexico and my other travel adventures. Check it out!
Joan Didion takes us through her year after losing her husband unexpectedly; and at the same time, having her only daughter in critical condition. It’s an honestly written book on the denial, fog, and numbness she felt from her loss. I thought for sure I would cry through this whole book, but someone in denial doesn’t cause tears. It’s in the paragraph below that I cried.
“Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it. We anticipate (we know) that someone close to us could die, but we do not look beyond the few days or weeks that immediately follow such an imagined death. We misconstrue the nature of even those few days or weeks. We might expect if the death is sudden to feel shock. We do not expect the shock to be obliterative, dislocating to both body and mind. We might expect that we will be prostrate, inconsolable, crazy with loss. We do not expect to be literally crazy, cool customers who believe that their husband is about to return and need his shoes. In the version of grief we imagine, the model will be “healing.” A certain forward movement will prevail. The worst days will be the earliest days. We imagine that the moment to most severely test us will be the funeral, after which this hypothetical healing will take place. When we anticipate the funeral we wonder about failing to “get through it,” rise to the occasion, exhibit the “strength” that invariably gets mentioned as the correct response to death. We anticipate needing to steel ourselves the for the moment: will I be able to greet people, will I be able to leave the scene, will I be able even to get dressed that day? We have no way of knowing that this will not be the issue. We have no way of knowing that the funeral itself will be anodyne, a kind of narcotic regression in which we are wrapped in the care of others and the gravity and meaning of the occasion. Nor can we know ahead of the fact (and here lies the heart of the difference between grief was we imagine it and grief as it is) the unending absence that follows, the void, the very opposite of meaning, the relentless succession of moments during which we will confront the experience of meaninglessness itself.”
― Joan Didion,
I have been doing the backward hanger challenge for almost two months now. I totally recommend doing this. It’s been a real eye opener. And the reality is I only wear a small portion of my clothes. For example:
- Out of my 17 dresses, I currently only wear 2 on a regular basis.
- Out of my 19 pair of shorts, I currently only wear 4 on a regular basis.
- Out of my 28 pair of pants/jeans, I currently only wear 5 on a regular basis.
I counted a total of 34 items I normally wear on a rotating basis. Whaaaat..
That being said, my first goal is to condense to the following:
- 5 pair of jeans (boyfriend, skinny/regular x2, cropped flare, around the house pair)
- 1 pair of white jeans.
- 1 pair of black jeans
- 10 pairs of pants (other than jeans. Including nice pants, cargos, drawstring, khaki)
- 7 pairs of shorts
- 2 skirts
- 10 everyday dresses
I was almost successful with this first goal. I did keep 3 extra pair of jeans (blue, white, and black). I’m happy to report I don’t miss a thing.
I just returned from 5 days in Chiapas and it was as beautiful as I imagined. Here is my recap, as well as my tips for traveling to this region. Our itinerary was 2 full days in Tuxtla and 3 full days in San Cristobal.
Let me start by saying Tuxtla is not a tourist town. There is really nothing to do there. However, it is a good base to visit Cañon del Sumidero and Chiapa de Corzo. Cañon del Sumidero is beautiful. We took a tour of the canyon from above and a 2 hour boat trip through the canyon. Definitely a sight to see, including the crocodiles!
The next day we went to Chiapa del Corzo. This is a small puebla of Indians and Mexicans with a tourist area of restaurants and Mexican goods. My advice is that if you are also visiting San Cristobal, visiting Chiapa del Corzo is not necessary.
The next tour we took was of a village of the Chamula Indians near to San Cristobal. The Chamula Indians do not appreciate photographs, so I have no pictures. I found these indigenous people fascinating. The tour was basically of their church. The church is catholic and they pray to Mary and the catholic saints, but with their own rites and rituals. Though it was brief, this visit was worth it.
The next village we visited on this tour is of the Zinacantán. These Indians are major producers of fruits, vegetables, and flowers. In fact, many of their flowers are shipped to Canada and the USA. It’s a beautiful area because we are now in the highlands. I am not sure, but I believe we are around 6000 ft above sea level. Men, women, and children all work.
Again, this was a brief tour simply to a textile shop to purchase handmade goods. I would have liked to have spent more time here and walked around a bit.
Now, on to San Cristobal. This is a pueblo mágico meaning the façade of the buildings cannot be reconstructed to maintain their historic values. It is definitely a tourist area with a lot of restaurants and shopping, but I still felt a strong sense of the city itself. I saw very few Americans here. I had the sense more of the tourists come from Europe and South America.
In the center is the Diocesis de San Cristobal.
Walking up the 400 steps for San Cristobal views.
The last tour was of Lagos de Montebello. Gorgeous blue lakes and waterfalls.
The best meal I had was in Lum Restaurant. I highly recommend this place. The food was excellent.
My Chiapas recommendation recap:
- I would stay in San Cristobal for my entire visit. Or stay in Tuxtla for the Cañon del Sumidero tour only.
- I would also add Palenque to my visit, staying the night there.. It is very far from San Cristobal (though they do do day trips).
- I would skip Chiapa del Corzo tour.
- For me, 2-3 full days in San Cristobal is sufficient.
- For this April 5 full day trip, I recommend 2 pair of shorts/capris and tops for 3 tours. 2 pair jeans, tops for the town including 1 long sleeve shirt, and one lightweight jacket (I actually used a pashmina scarf). Sneakers for tours and walking shoes/sandals for the town. For whatever reason, it was in the 50’s temp at night, but it never felt that cold to me.
- Any hotel in the historic center of San Cristobal is within easy walking distance to the center with a lot of the restaurants and bars. Think of the Diocesis de San Cristobal as ground zero for all the “action”.
- The indigenous people are a huge part of visiting this area. I feel it is important to repay them by purchasing goods directly from them and the local artists in the area.