Good Monday morning. Before I dive into today's topic, I (Erinn) want to give a shout out to the security guard at my office building in NYC. Every morning when I walk in (amongst many other people walking in at the same time - my office has about 5,000 people in it) I get a , "happy Monday", "happy Tuesday" etc. He always seems to be in good spirits and having him greet me every morning is a lovely encounter, so I just wanted to give him some props for the positivity he is putting out into the world. It's always the littlest things isn't it?
Onto today's #MindfulnessMonday topic, we wanted to share a quote from Bryan Kest that reads, ""Yoga doesn't ask you to be more than you are. But it does ask you to be all that you are". Sometimes getting on our mats can be intimidating. We look around and see super bendy people "warming up" in full hanumanasana (split) or others with a really strong inversion practice hopping and holding all kinds of fun things upside down and we start to think, "well, I can't do that, so I am not enough- not good enough at yoga, not strong enough, not bendy enough" and it goes on and on and on. But, as we all know, this is not the goal of yoga. It is not about how much you can do, but it is about how much you can commit to being present. It is not about pushing beyond your physical or mental limits, but it is about being fully where you are. This quote asks that when you show up on your mat (and in your life really), you fully and truthfully show up with all that you have. And, that can be different from day to day. And, that is okay.
We are going to try to be all that we are this week - no more and no less. For us, this means, we won't over commit and over schedule ourselves, but we also won't make excuses or stories about why we can't or don't want to do something. We will acknowledge where and who we are, practice presence and try to live up to the best versions of ourselves. We encourage you to try to do the same.
Have a good one! Namaste.
Happy Monday! How was your weekend? We hope it was wonderful! Anyone watch the Grammy's? Anyone just burst into tears for Beyonce and Adele and all the epic beauty of those two!?! No? Just me? Okay!
On this #MindfulnessMonday we want to talk a bit about mortality. Death is one of the biggest fears of living beings and yet, it is one of the few absolutes in our lives. One day, we are all going to die. We're not trying to be morbid or a downer, but it is a fact. What happens in between now and then though, that's up to us. That is why, we say, let's live! Let's live out loud. Let's take advantage of this beautiful, challenging, amazing, heartbreaking, mesmerizing life we have and live it to the fullest. And that doesn't mean we have to jump out of airplanes (although speaking from personal experience, it's fun) or do karaoke in Times Square, but it means to engage, to connect and to go for the things you want. Commit to activities that matter to you and take advantage of opportunities that are presented.
My father battled cancer and won at a very young age. As a result he is a major do-er! If there is snow on the ground, he is on the ski hill. If there is sun shining he is playing golf followed by biking then windsurfing topped off by a midnight kayak under the stars. If there is a classical music concert at the local university, he is there. People say he's nuts, and he kind of is, but no one can say that he doesn't live his life and make the most of all it has to offer him.
Too often it takes a major life event, be it an illness or a death to make us stop and remember to take advantage of all of our opportunities and capabilities. Let's not wait for those things anymore. Let's dive right in whenever, wherever!
Have a great week, everyone.
We live in a society where we’re always giving away our energy. We’re working hard, caring for family, spending time with friends, trying to be healthy.... constantly on and going going going.
We end up feeling drained and resentful, which can lead to burnout and unreasonable amounts of stress. Stress is the #1 cause of chronic disease and can show up in our bodies as weight gain, acne, anxiety, indigestion, and many other things we’re better off without.
The thing is, we can’t give away something that we don’t have. What do I mean? If you want to have loving and fulfilling relationships you need to create one with yourself first. In order to do that, you must put yourself before everybody else. I know this may feel counter-intuitive to being the superwoman (or man) that you want to be, but in fact it is the most self-less thing you can do for the people in your life, and great for you too!
So with love in the air -- love yourself first!
Here are 6 easy ideas to show yourself some TLC, every day:
1. Morning mantra: We have a choice to start every day with love. Instead of letting your to-do list wake you up, try this: as soon as you get up, look in the mirror and say (or scream) I LOVE YOU!
2. Indulge in a hobby: When are you most in the zone? Whether it’s reading, cooking or channeling your inner Picasso with some adult coloring books, find a passion that lets you unwind.
3. Make time for sex and romance You might be super tired once you climb into bed, but making time for some Vitamin Lovin’ with your significant other can lead to better sleep.
4. Watching your fave show: Allow yourself to fully be present and really relax, so when it’s time to get back to other activities, like work or cleaning up your home, you can be fully present in those moments too.
5- Take yourself on a date: Whether it’s seeing a movie, trying a restaurant you’ve always wanted to check out, or walking around in your favorite hood, it’s all about YOU
6- Schedule it in! Notice how you never miss a meeting or dinner reservation? That’s because you’re honoring the commitment you made to others. Honor the same commitment to yourself by scheduling in time for self-love.
Happy Monday! We hope you are all doing well despite all the turmoil that has been going on in the U.S. and around the world. Inspired by the conversations around discrimination and equality, for today's #MindfulnessMonday topic, we want to talk about the meaning of Namaste.
Namaste is translated or interpreted in several ways. Examples include, "the light in me honors, the light in you", "the G-d in me, bows to the G-d in you", "the divine in me, honors the divine in you". As you can see, these are all variations of the same thing. When we say Namaste as a greeting or to close a yoga practice, we are essentially saying, I see you and I respect you. I honor your presence and your gifts. I know that the light that lives in me, also lives in you. We are one and we are reciprocal beings of this universe.
There has been a lot of conflict lately and a lot of talk about boundaries and barriers and borders and lines between us keeping us apart. Keeping us separate. Keeping us different. Today and every day we want to say to all of you, Namaste. With love, gratitude and honor,
Happy Monday! We hope you had an amazing weekend.
Okay, raise your hand if you're a planner? My hand is up, up, up! I try to plan everything from my workouts and my meals to all my life events in the next 6 months of my life! Well, I try to anyway. Planning is not a bad thing. It helps us be focused and move towards that which we want out of life. However, there are so many things in this life that we just cannot plan, and often if we even try to, we will likely end up disappointed. So, for today's #MindfulnessMonday we want to talk about plans and being adaptable.
Can we all agree that the one constant in life is change? From the weather to the corner coffee shop, things are always changing. That's how we survive. And yet, so many of us are so scared of change. We don't like it because sometimes it messes with our oh-so carefully laid plans. But, that is when we have to take a step back and think, well maybe that plan wasn't what was meant to be.
Getting fired from a job is never a great thing. It sucks. And in the moment, it can be almost impossible to see a positive side. We think the universe is working against us in those moments. Until 6 months later (and ya, it took 6 months) we are at a new job that we love, doing something that makes us way happier. But, if we had not gotten fired, we may still be in that same job that wasn't really right for us to begin with.
That is one example. And there are hundreds, no thousands of things in our lives that we just can't plan, so sometimes we just have to make our choices and let it play out. There is that old quote that goes something like, "people plan and the universe laughs". As much as we would like to, we do not know our destiny. All we can do is take a path and see where it leads. And if that path isn't working, we can switch direction. And we can do this again and again and again. Sure, it's scary, but it's the only way we will get where we want to be.
So from one planner to another, I encourage you to let go a little this week. Make your choices that feel right to you and then let the universe do its work. Let go a little. Breathe. Trust your instincts.
Have a great week.
Happy 2017! We hope you all enjoyed the holiday season and are feeling ready to take on the new year.
A very popular thing to do at this time of year is make resolutions and at Mindfulness Matters we are no different. We like to set intentions and break our year down in to smaller chunks of time to make measurable goals that we actually see ourselves fulfilling. This year, we decided to focus on gratitude. If you have been following on Instagram (@mindfulnessmatters), you've seen that Samara has embarked on a 31 Day Gratitude Challenge where she posts daily the things she is grateful for. They vary from big life things to little day to day things that make her life great. Too often we get caught up in what we lack that we forget to remember all that we do have.
So, if you want to make a resolution this new year, go for it! Let it come from a positive and constructive place. Join us in embracing an attitude of gratitude. Sure, not everything is awesome all of the time, but we can consciously put practices in place that help lift us up. when we encounter bumps along the road.
We would love for you to join Samara on Instagram with this challenge - you can comment on what you are grateful for below her pictures and qualify to win a special gift.
Here are some other ways we like to practice gratitude:
1. Keep a "happy thoughts" journal on your nightstand and at the end of each day write at least one thing that made you happy that day.
2. Walk around your apartments or your bedroom and say out loud all the things that you are grateful for in that space.
3. Keep a note in your phone of all the lucky moments you have had, so you don't forget.
Do you have any gratitude practices you do? We'd love to hear them!
Have a wonderful week.
Get Clear on what it is YOU Want.
We often do what we think we should, what is safe, what seems logical what is better for everyone else. But can you get real and ask yourself what you really want? When coaching clients around food i compare this to eating chocolate. Sometimes we will eat five other things in order to avoid eating the chocolate before eventually caving and reaching for the sweet morsel. If we were real with ourselves from the start we would have just eaten the chocolate and be done with it! 70%+ dark chocolate and in moderation of course!
Be Really Intentional With Your Time.
In order to avoid having another year go by and mutter to yourself - where did the time go? - break the year down into 4 parts and view it 3 months at a time. When you are setting goals and thinking about what you want to call in, it is way more attainable when we view things in a shorter more measurable timeline.
Figure Out What Makes You Happy and Do It Everyday.
When we are happy, good things happen to us. Period. Happiness doesn't just happen. It is cultivated by doing small things on a daily basis that create our reality. Committing to these acts the same way you would honour any other commitment is vital to sustaining it. Whether it is yoga, writing, painting, skydiving - I don't care. Just do it, and do it often.
Release Your Fears.
We all have those thoughts and worries that we think of constantly. It like a hamster running on a wheel and getting nowhere. You probably don't even remember what life was like without them. Well guess what? Most of the things you are worrying about NEVER happen. These thoughts are taking up valuable real estate in your mind. When you notice yourself getting stuck on this wheel, take out a paper and pen and write them down. Once on the page, they are out of your mind and can free up space for inspiration, creativity and connection. I like to keep a paper and pen on me at all times so I can release my fears as soon as they come up!
Happy Monday! Holiday season is officially upon us. On this #MindfulnessMonday we want to talk about self care at this busy time of year.
This can be such an amazing time where we get to celebrate good times with friends, family and colleagues, go to parties and maybe even go on vacation. It can be awesome, but it can also be overwhelming running around from one party (both professional and personal) to another, trying to get some gift shopping done and maybe even some cooking done, not to mention then trying to think of all our "resolutions" or plans for the new year. Also, this can be a hard time for a lot of people who may have lost loved ones in the past or are struggling with health issues, relationship issues or just general life issues.
So, with that in mind, it is important to remember to care of ourselves during this wonderful/hectic/exciting/stressful time. Now, don't stress and think, "oh man, now I have to add self care to my to-do list" because taking care of yourself can actually be really simple. It can be giving yourself 30 minutes to read a book. It can be buying yourself a nice smelling candle while you're in the store already buying something for someone else. It can be taking the time to meditate or go to a yoga class. Or, even just getting a hot chocolate with extra whip cream. It is simply about doing something for yourself. Making time for yourself to take a minute to breathe and enjoy this time for yourself.
We wish you all a very happy holiday, whichever one you celebrate!
Happy Monday! We hope all of your weekends were full of things that made you happy.
Today for our #MindfulnessMonday post we would like to share a quote from Maya Angelou (we know, how can we pick just one!?) that is really resonating with us lately. The quote goes, "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude".
So, this quote is two parts - "If you don't like something, change it". This can be easy and this can be hard, right? If you don't like your outfit, change it. Don't dwell, just change your clothes and move on. If you don't like the colour of your kitchen, change it up! But, for bigger things like your job or your partner or your roommate, there are not such easy fixes.
This is where we get to the second part of the quote, "If you can't change it, change your attitude". Let's say, we are really unhappy in our jobs, but we cannot leave yet for any number of reasons be they personal, financial etc. then we have to change our attitudes. We have to make the decision to go into work everyday and try to be positive and find the things (even if they are so little) that make us grateful to be there. Maybe it's the pay check. Maybe it's the free coffee or maybe it's the sweet man at reception who gives us a smile every morning. Whatever it is, try to focus on the elements that will make the time there bearable. And also, try to embrace the attitude that our jobs are not the definition of our whole lives. They are merely a part of our lives just like doing laundry and taking out the garbage are. So, while we still have to be there, try and detach from all the negative, stressful and difficult thoughts we have about it and approach it with neutrality, if not positivity.
Same goes on the mat. It is most likely that we all do not like every posture (in fact, I'm sure most of us even hate some), but when we're in a group practice and a teacher calls it out, there it is, right in front of us. And sure, we can sit it out. But, we can also try to change our attitude towards it. Instead of saying, "I hate this pose, I am not strong enough for it and it's so hard for me!" why not just try! Or, try a modification. And try to be in it without all the negative thoughts and emotions and judgement. Let's face it, we're never going to change ardha pincha mayurasana (Dolphin pose), but we CAN change our attitudes towards it.
Have a great week everyone, namaste.
Happy Monday! And happy belated Thanksgiving to those of you celebrating in the U.S. We hope you all enjoyed your weekends and are excited for the week ahead. For today's #MindfulnessMonday, we want to talk about acknowledging milestones.
Our lives are full of the chase right? We spend so much time setting goals and making plans and trying to get to the next step, and this is great. It's important to feel motivated and like we are moving forward. But, of course it is also important to be present and acknowledge where we are now and what we have accomplished. Unfortunately, so often we are so focused on the next thing that we forget to acknowledge the first thing we may have been working towards. For example, you graduate from a Master's Degree. That is a huge milestone, an amazing accomplishment that should be marked and celebrated. But, too often, these graduates are so focused on what's next - where will I get a job? Where will I teach? Where can I publish? And this results in us not enjoying and appreciating all we have accomplished.
And milestones don't even have to be major life events. Maybe you celebrated a big birthday. Some people like to shy away from those, but we say, celebrate! Take it as a day to look back on our year or years and think of all the great things that happened. We can also think of the less great things that happened and see how they led us to where we are now. And if we are not happy with where we are now, maybe use the reflections to set a different course. So often we are all so modest, we don't want the attention to be on ourselves, but there is a difference between being self-centered and having pride in one's own life and all its glory.
So, this week we encourage you to either take a look back at some of your life's milestones and feel joy for those accomplishments, or look forward to ones to come. And again, don't worry if they are not major life altering things. Maybe you cooked dinner for a group of people for the first time ever. Maybe you jumped back from bakasana (crow) to chaturanga without face planting (personally still working on that) for the first time. Or, maybe you turned 30. Whatever it is, acknowledge it. Appreciate where you are, where you have been and the next place you have to go.
Have a great week.
Samara Zelniker is a yogi, wine drinker, pet lover and travel junkie.