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Maximize My Month - August

Well here we are, the last month of summer (if you live somewhere other than San Diego). Once again, the month snuck up on me. July was a planned quiet month and I (wrongly) assumed that would make it go by slower. And while I'm sort of shocked that August is here already, I'm excited!

August sees us go off to Vancouver for my 3rd (and Angelo's 2nd) experience pacing SeaWheeze (the lululemon half marathon) as well as going up to Bateaux Cellars for my second Vinyasa and Vino retreat! So I'm looking to August to be full of fun, excitement, and with a goal of staying present through all of it.

I noticed while teaching a class today that my mind was somewhere else completely. And that my ability to stay present has taken a nosedive recently. While I previously had a different idea in line for August, I've decided to focus more on presence. Here's how:

1. Leave my phone at home more. Don't take it on walks with Angelo or Arlo. Disable notifications. Limit the timeframe in which I'm free to peruse the internet/social media. I've talked about wanting to take a full blown detox, but I do use social for much of my business promo and connectivity - so instead I'll apply boundaries.

2. Run or workout solo at least once per week. Whether it's a yoga class, a gym session, or a run, I used to rely on my solo workouts as some moving meditation time. And I miss that.

3. When I eat meals, just eat. No reading, no phone, no computer, no Broad City. Truly savor the eating process.

4. Last but not least, meditate for 5 minutes per day at a minimum. It's coming back. It needs to.

What do you think? Anything you'd add to work on presence?

And how did July go for you? Did you find an accountabilabuddy? Did you guys stay in touch? I have been good about doing the mobility and strength work that was desperately lacking BUT I wasn't so good about checking in with my girls. Allie? HP? You both still doing your thing?

As always, way to stay committed to the little things. They do turn into the big things, after all!

xoxo

LP

Off the Mat - The Space Between

We are a generation of schedulers. 6:30AM teach yoga here, 9AM meeting here, 12PM teach again here, and so on and so forth. We move from one event, one person, one activity to the other. And we move without thinking. 

Sometimes we even move from place to place without realizing how we got there. You've experienced the sensation of driving to somewhere, getting there, and not really realizing how we got there or remembering the drive to get there. 

Our mind wanders during transitional times. We wander to past events or to what's happening in the future. Sometimes we wander days, weeks, months in advance.

This week, on our mat, we practice staying present through the transition. Making the spaces between the postures just as mindful and purposeful as the postures themselves.

Can you take that off of the mat with you? Can you purposefully use your time between your "things"? Sit down and mindfully enjoy the space? Take a different route driving and actually look at the scenery? Stay focused during interactions and conversations, even if they are short and in passing?

This week I honor the space between.

Maximize My Month - May 2017

May marks my 6 month anniversary of creating the Maximize My Month challenges. What started as a simple experiment to see if I could make big change with small (and consistent) changes has grown into a way to push my comfort zone... and yes, it has resulted in some big changes.

But not every month works according to plan. April's challenge was to do 5 minutes of oil pulling with coconut oil each day. Oil pulling has purported benefits like improved oral health and improved natural detoxifying abilities.

While I liked the way my teeth felt immediately after oil pulling, if we're being honest I didn't feel any other benefits. So while I definitely don't think I had any negative effects of this month's challenge, it won't be carrying forward into May.

May's challenge is focused on "mastering the mindset" (an awesome phrase from the badass herself, Jen Sincero). Your thoughts have power. They influence your words and your emotions. Your words and emotions impact the beliefs you have about the world and how you act in the world. Your beliefs and actions result in your life. Mastering your thoughts and words is imperative to living the life you want.

Similar to the first challenge of them all, the no complaint challenge, May's theme focuses on eliminating negative thoughts and words. But these ones are a little sneaky. On the surface they seem innocuous, but with constant repetition you realize how powerfully negative they are.

For the month of May I'm eliminating thinking and saying:

- I'm busy.

- I'm stressed.

- I have to.

Simple words and phrases that have powerful connotation. Instead I'm going to focus on feeling and using:

- My calendar is full, I'm booked, there's a lot going on today, etc.

- I'm overwhelmed, I'm overextended, I'm frightened, I'm scared (and other phrases that accurately describe emotion).

- I'm able to, I'm lucky enough to, I get to, I'm going to.

Who else is ready to master their mindset and wants to get started with me?

xoxo

LP

Off The Mat - Expectations

If you practice yoga with me on a regular basis, you know that at the beginning of the year I took it upon myself to start theming my yoga classes month by month. I did this to challenge myself and my creativity as a teacher, to force myself into a deeper study of yoga, and because I wanted to provide my students with both something they could work on/towards for longer than just one class and with a piece of learning that they could take with them.

This monthly theming has ranged everywhere from concepts like the bandhas to postures like working towards single leg crow. I didn't expect this overarching idea of theming per month to create such an open opportunity for me to theme weekly as well. And I've noticed that carrying a subtheme for an entire week really allows me (and my students) to dig deep into that thought or idea, instead of it passing in just one class. 

Throughout all of my teaching I attempt to suggest some way of taking the learning off of the mat and into the rest of daily life - and hence "Off The Mat" is born.

This week's theme fell into my lap via Facebook. A good friend of mine took my yoga class on Wednesday night. This month's theme is to work on arm balances, towards single leg crow, via different crow variations. This week specifically was all about side crow - lots of twisting (no wonder my abs have been so sore!). After class she blogged about how she started crying in class while attempting side crow. She acknowledges that struggling with this posture started a cascading wave of feelings of self doubt and failure. Feelings of comparison to the others in class. Feelings of expectation - and failure to meet that expectation. And, because she's a badass, she very quickly realized and acknowledged those feelings and so strongly moved on to complete class the way she needed to. But this idea of expectation stuck with me.

We go into yoga classes as students with expectations - of ourselves, what we can and can't do, how it is or isn't supposed to feel. With expectations of our teacher, of the other students, of the entire experience. And as teachers we have expectations as well. I expect my students to behave a certain way, to be able to complete some postures and to struggle with others, to leave class having had a positive experience. And I have expectations of myself - how articulate I'm going to be, how the music is going to sound, how my sequencing is going to work out.

But here's the thing with expectation - it's an attempt at controlling the outcome of the future. Which we cannot do. So this week's theme became about letting go of expectation on your mat. Using your breath as your anchor to keep you in the present moment. To feel and experience postures and transitions and pauses as they are happening. And to let them happen as they do, without expecting them to be something else.

When all is said and done, leaving expectation behind when we step on our mat is relatively easy. The challenge becomes stepping off of the mat and doing the same. Can we move in and out of work and life, meetings and interactions, challenging times and easier times without having expectation of outcome, of ourselves, or of others? The challenge becomes about having trust in the process, trust in where you're at, and trust in knowing that it is exactly where you're supposed to be.

What I'm Into Wednesday - The Freak the F Out Edition

We all have those days (or weeks, or months, or minutes - it really doesn't matter the length of time) where all you want to do is panic and scream. It could be for a variety of reasons, big or small: someone cuts you off on the freeway, your significant other gives you a weird vibe, your dog eats your shoe. 

None of those were my catalyst. Instead, Monday morning I woke up to an email from my bank saying my account was overdrawn. By a lot. I've never, ever, overdrafted my account. Ever. I freaked out. Turns out, instead of scheduling a deposit from one financial institution to my bank, my financial adviser had accidentally scheduled a withdrawal. Whoops. Big whoops. Especially when he told me they couldn't fix it for three or four days. And, you know, the first of the month is coming up. Where things like the mortgage payment and rent get taken out of that same (already overdrawn) account.

I kept my cool with him, as even though it was his mistake losing my shit on him wouldn't change anything. And I was left figuring out how to rearrange things to get by for a few days. The minutiae, the details, were not a big deal. I know they are temporary and that it will all be resolved. But the aftershock of the reality of the situation kicked in: I'm not where I want to be financially. I'm vulnerable and living on the edge of needing paychecks and autodrafts to all fall perfectly on the right days or else I'm screwed. I know I'm not the only one there but this freaked me out. 

What am I doing? How am I going to make this work? Should I even be trying to create this business and life? Should I go back to my 9-5? All of the self doubt and the questioning and the panic grew really, really loud. 

So this weeks What I'm Into Wednesday is dedicated to the things that bring me back from the edge. That help me to tell myself that I'm okay, that I'm doing okay, and that it will be okay.

Have you ever been in one of these "on the edge of losing it" moments? What helps you?

LP

See

One of my favorite books of all time is called the War of Art by Steven Pressfield. It's all about resistance. Resistance is that force that tries to keep you from doing what you are made to do, what you know in your heart is your calling. Resistance shows up all the time, in many ways. It's questioning friends and family, it's procrastination, it's self doubt. And it gets louder and louder as you get closer and closer to that ultimate goal that it's keeping you from. And as it get's louder it pushes you harder and harder to quit. It has a thousand reasons why you should just give up. This moment was all resistance in my face. Re-reading that book has saved me many, many times. 

Do

It's impossible to be creative and motivated and passionate when you're coming from a place of fear. Sometimes you just need to get out of your own head, away from your work, and give yourself space to be present and to enjoy something, anything. Tomorrow I'm taking the day off and going to LA with my friend Amanda. We're going to hike, get a massage, go to a bookstore, and drink good coffee. And it's going to be amazing. A day off and a day away. It's not selfish, it's necessary. 

Hear

MUSIC! Ah, how it heals. My favorite jam of this week? Soldier of Love by Sade. It's just so good, groovy, soulful. Digging it. Did you know you can follow me on Spotify?

Smell

This Saturday we took our Spirit Yoga teacher trainees to the Self Realization Fellowship in Encinitas to visit and spend time in the meditation gardens. This is another space where the rain we've been getting is magical. The flowers, the greenery. Gorgeous and smelled so good! If you haven't been, it's a perfect space to find a bench and meditate or journal. I spent my time journaling about this idea of being a mindful badass

Taste

Nothing fixes a sour mood faster than a cheese board and some chocolate. A much needed date night happened on Monday night. We created a charcuterie plate complete with too much cheese (never too much) as well as all the accompaniments and headed on a walk to Bird Park to watch the sunset and snack. My favorites? Trader Joe's mushroom brie and pesto gouda and the dark chocolate coconut almonds. Heaven.