mantra

Off The Mat - Be Flexible in Your Goals and Rigid in Your Approach

As humans, we love to set goals. To have something to work towards. To create benchmarks for ourselves. 

Whether it's a birthday, a new year, a Monday, or even just the beginning of a yoga class, we approach that activity or time frame with a goal in mind. This year I'm going to lose 10 pounds. This month I'm going to read every day. Today in yoga I'm going to do a headstand.

I'm one of the biggest goal setters you'll ever meet. I live for creating goals for myself, writing them down, breaking them into smaller portions, and chronicling my way towards achieving them. So please don't mistake this blog for being one about how goal setting is a bad thing. I don't believe it is at all.

But the other half of setting goals is how you approach reaching them. What changes do you make in your hourly, daily, or weekly life? This is where many of us falter. We don't fail at achieving goals, we fail at making the small decisions each and every moment to propel us towards success with those goals.

How are you going to lose 10 pounds if you continue to hit snooze every morning and miss your workout? How are you going to read every day if you instead pick your phone up out of habit and scroll Instagram during your free time? How are you going to do a headstand if you choose not do focus on your breath and bandhas?

And that's not to say that if you made all of those decisions correctly, day in and day out, that you would 100% achieve every goal you set. There are some things out of your control. Shit happens. Life happens.

Which is why I've been focusing on the idea of being flexible in your goals but rigid in your approach. Conditioning yourself to make those small decisions that move you in the right direction each and every moment of each and every day. But removing the attachment to the outcome.

In a month you might wake up and decide you don't actually want to lose 10 pounds this year. That as you've been waking up every morning and skipping the snooze to do the workout instead you've learned that you are more concerned with doing 10 pull-ups by the end of the year rather than focusing on what the scale says. Your approach hasn't changed, but your goal has. 

Halfway through yoga class today you might find that by focusing on your breath and bandhas you feel stronger and more confident. And when you try to do a headstand, you may still fall over - but instead of feeling like a failure, you feel calm and grounded in your breath and body connection, you realize you've learned something and that you've grown as a yogi and a human.

I'll always be a goal setter. But now I'm also a routine builder, a decision maker, and more mindful of how I approach each day. Because the consistent approach breeds results, whatever those may end up being.

This week, try being flexible in your goals and rigid in your approach.

xoxo

LP

 

Off The Mat - Today I Choose To Observe

When we prepare to head to bed at night we often have a routine. Brush our teeth, lay out the clothes for the next day, set our alarms. And when we wake up, the same is true. Shut off the alarm (or hit snooze one, two, or ten times - be honest),  drink a glass of water, go pee, brush teeth, get dressed, head out for a run, have coffee and breakfast, shower, change, go to work, etc etc etc.

And we go and we do all day long. Until the going and doing are done and we're ready to re-do the nighttime routine and head to bed.

But many of us never stop to just be. To ask ourselves a simple question: How am I feeling today? How does my physical body feel? How's my energy level? What is going on inside my brain?

We don't pause to observe ourselves. Instead we become our thoughts and actions. 

When we take a yoga class it's an opportunity to pause for 60 or 75 minutes. To ignore what is going on externally and to breathe and move. 

It's a great time to check in. To notice those things about how you are truly feeling. When you take note you allow yourself time to decide how to think and act moving forward. Instead of just doing and going you can decide what you need to do and where you need to go to improve upon what you've observed.

This week we explore stopping to observe, without judgement, where we are when we step on our mat, during our practice, and after practice. And we work on how to take that off of our mat and into our every day.

xoxo

LP

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 - You ARE A Badass.

Many of you know that I theme my months with regards to my yoga sequencing. Each month follows some overarching theme or arc, ranging from an idea, to a musical theme, to a group of postures, to something to learn, to working up to a specific peak pose. 

This month my theme came from a request from a student who wanted to work towards single leg crow pose (eka pada bakasana). We've spent the month of April working through core strengthening, improving our upper body strength and alignment, and getting comfortable with playing, trying, sometimes failing, and enjoying the challenges that come along with the process.

And here we are, in the last week of April, with a sequence geared towards that ultimate peak pose. Here's the bottom line for this (and all poses): the pose does not matter. The ability to get into eka pada bakasana means nothing. It is not the goal of the yoga practice. It does not make you a good or bad yogi, one way or the other. Our yoga practice is about exploration of our bodies, our minds, our spirits. About exploring how they work together, challenging our self imposed beliefs and limitations, learning acceptance of self, experiencing love. 

So as we play this week with a very physically challenging posture, our intention is to feel empowered. Feel empowered in your physical abilities as they lie today. Feel empowered in your mental strength. Empowerment, a sense of pride in oneself and one's strength, is sometimes looked upon negatively in the yoga world and can be confused with excess ego. 

Don't shun it. Embrace it. You ARE already a badass. It doesn't matter what postures you can and cannot do. You show up on your mat (and off) for yourself and for those around you. 

And this week, we celebrate that.

xoxo

LP

Off The Mat - Let's Have Fun, Ok?

For many of us, our days are filled with "adulting". We have work obligations, family obligations, kids, pets, volunteer opportunities, healthy eating, and exercise needs to focus on. 

And while we may enjoy these activities and the people that we do them with, they might not all be fun.

Can you remember back to being a kid on the playground? You had no cares in the world. No sense of time. No worries about where else you could (or should) be or what else you could (or should) be doing. You did things purely because they were fun. And you skipped the things that weren't. And if you saw someone do something that looked cool, you tried it out. Without stopping to think or wonder what might happen or to worry about what would happen if you failed.

When you were a kid on the playground you were in the moment. You truly were present. 

Stepping onto your yoga mat gives you that same opportunity. Your yoga mat, your yoga studio, can be your playground. Can you allow yourself to take your practice less seriously - in a good way? To approach it with a sense of playfulness, with a sense of fearlessness, to do things simply because they are fun. And stop doing things when they stop becoming fun (hello, 100th chaturanga of class). 

Let yourself be present in your body for your time on your mat and set an intention to experience joy. In this week's flow we practice baby crow and (what has been dubbed) teenage crow. They're goofy names and goofy variations of postures. They beg to be taken lightheartedly.

And when you move off of your mat after your practice can that sense of playfulness come with you? 

Even just for today, let's have fun. Ok?

xoxo

LP