Yoga from the Third Eye Chakra: Or Trusting My Intuition

third-eye-chakraAs you have probably noticed, things have been pretty quiet around here. Over the last year, I was enmeshed in several projects on the work and home fronts that slowed down my blogging and refocused my attention. In the month of June, I spent a lot of time packing and preparing to end a job at a place I had worked for 18 years. And then on July 1, I started a new position that involves working away from home for much of the week. This has cut down on my cooking and, when I do cook (I batch cook on the weekends), I’m in a hurry to get it all done and don’t take pretty pictures. Eventually, I’ll probably post my batch cooking plans, but for now it’s been a bit of a drought of blogging.

To be honest, I don’t anticipate the blogging rate picking up much while I’m getting into the swing of a new job, but I thought I would share a little bit about where I am with my yoga practice at the moment.

With several health issues, including a major surgery, a severe infection (related to the major surgery), a fall down a flight of stairs resulting in a broken tailbone, and a plethora of RA flares, my practice really waned in the last two years. It never completely left, but it wasn’t very present either. As I relocated, and had a little space with no one in it but me and a cat, the possibility of leaving a yoga mat front and center at all times seemed to make it more possible to get in a regular practice.

Five plus weeks later, I find myself practicing at least 5 days a week, sometimes more, for at least 40 minutes a day. Whee! I started out doing a very traditional vinyasa/ashtanga surya namaskara a & b pattern, followed by a planned set of poses that I had often used in my vinyasa classes or been led through in classes I attended. After a week or so of this, I gradually let go more of that pattern and began to really tune in to what my body needed in any particular moment.

At this point, I’m calling this “intuition yoga” when I think about it. If I get on the mat and I need sun salutations to warm up the muscles and get the joints lubricated, that’s what I do. But, if my joints are very painful, I’ll opt for an easier flow followed by more static poses. If the front of my body feels really tight, I focus on opening it up. If I’ve accidentally slept on my back and wake up with horrible tailbone pain, I do very gradual standing forward folds that take the muscles surrounding that area to the edge and stretch them gently, but never move beyond. Because of the sacral pain, I’m rarely doing seated folds, even the ones I enjoy (like janu sirsasana) because I know my body will pay me back for that momentary pleasure with hours of spasms.

Doing yoga this way is working well for me right now. I have seen my practice change so much in the last 8+ years of serious yoga focus that I know it will likely shift again, but if feels good to know where I am and what is working for me and notice the positive impacts on my body and mind as I move through my day.

Do you follow your intuition in your practice, or are you more of a “by the book” kind of yogi right now?

 

Shopping for Vegan Yogis on Your List

So, you are shopping for a vegan, or a yogi, or a vegan yogi, and you are at a loss. I’ve got a few ideas that might help. I tried to list things from various price ranges, and only listed things that I personally own. I’ll attempt to pop back in and add more as I think of them. Items that were sent to me to review are so noted, but most of these were purchased at list price.

Yogi Surprise Boxes

IMG_3987aIMG_4017a IMG_3989a

This company sent me their surprise boxes to review and I was impressed with how adorable they are, and what good selections were included. There are two options for the box. One contains more beauty, food, wellness, and yoga items. The other is jewelry. These would be great for someone you had no idea how to pick a gift for, but would likely not be appropriate for the male yogi in your life, as some of the beauty items seem to be slanted to women.

Right now, the Yogi Surprise boxes are 10% off. This makes the lifestyle box $39.46 and the jewelry box $22.49. The plan is monthly, but you can cancel at any time.

My Best Friend is a Bag Lindsey Bag

IMG_4005a IMG_4006a IMG_4011aIn the fall, I realized that I needed a black briefcase that was vegan friendly, laptop compatible, and looked professional. That’s not as easy as it sounds. Of course, I also wanted it to be pretty. After quite a bit of searching, I came across a company called My Best Friend is a Bag. While they are located in Australia, one of their bags, in two colors, is available on Amazon.com. So, I thought I should try it out!

The Lindsay bag is very pretty, easy to use, spacious enough for every day, and feels like a bag that will last. I took the tassel off of mine because the cats kept pulling over the bag and it was a little big for me. Upon first use, the side magnets didn’t want to hold things closed with the pockets full, but as I’ve used it more and the magnet flaps have loosened, it’s all good!

Not only is the bag pretty and functional, the customer service of MBFiaB is wonderful! I contacted the company because I lost the snap on key fob on my first business trip after receipt (I turned it in with my rental car, DOH!), to see if I could purchase another one. While they didn’t have any to sell, the owner assured me that, when they had a bag return, she would have the key fob sent to me for now charge. Sure enough, she did, and I got it just this week. Very nice! I’m thinking I may also need the red one!

Borsa Bella Bags

I have told you about Borsa Bella Bags before, but let me do it again! This company makes the most adorable fabric bags of all sizes and types. I have a particular weakness for the phone bags and the Catch All bags. If you look at the image taken above of the Lindsay bag, you will see a long zip phone bag and a catch all bag tucked inside!

At the moment, there is even a special going on for the Catch All bags. You need to get some for you and your friends and family for makeup, gadgets, and general stuff!

 

 

 

 

 

Crazy Rumors Lip Balm

It can be a little challenging to find vegan lip balm, but Crazy Rumors has you covered, even for funky flavors and tinted balms. They have some fun flavors/scents for the holidays, as well.

IMG_3645a
Thug Kitchen

Like food? Like the earth? Like your health? Like funny? Not afraid of a little (or a bunch of) profanity? This might be the cookbook for you!

Thug Kitchen is one of the few cookbooks that have ever made me laugh out loud, and I spent an afternoon following my spouse around the house reading him selections. He was thrilled, or… something. The recipes aren’t all super simple, but they don’t involve particularly weird ingredients and those I have tried have been quite good.

Woodstock Farm Sanctuary

No,  you can’t buy the farm as a gift, but you could give a donation in someone’s name and help support the really important work that gets done at the farm. From now until the end of the month, all donations are matched dollar for dollar! Just head over to the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary website and make a donation. You should also look at all the pictures, while you are there, because pigs!

Queen Helene Bath Salts

Who doesn’t like a nice relaxing bath? Some lavender and patchouli bath salts add to the relaxation potential. These Queen Helene salts are vegan friendly and inexpensive. They would make a very nice little stocking stuffer gift!

Delicious Peanut Butters!!!

Peanut Butter & Company has some really delicious peanut butters that any peanut loving vegan would snarf right up. The Dark Chocolate Dreams version is so crazy good that I may (did) eat it with a spoon right out of the container. Oh my! You can check out all of their options at ilovepeanutbutter.com. Not all of the version are totally vegan (some have honey), so do read ingredients before purchasing.

 

Asanacation One Year Anniversary

url-11I realized a few days ago that it has basically been a year since my asana practice fell apart. I’ve maintained a practice of yoga in terms of learning, pranayama, and meditation, but asana has been rare. I don’t know exactly how I do/should feel about it, and I’m not sure where I’m going from here.

There are many reasons for the change, but mostly it comes back to health. A surgical procedure in October of 2013 went wrong, causing problems that built up over late 2013 into the first months of 2014. By April, I was miserable. Getting through a day of work was a challenge, and asana was right out. At the end of May, I had a more invasive surgery to correct the prior one. But, then that, and some serious complications during healing, necessitated a continued break from yoga until September 2013. I thought that, by September, I would be back on track. It just didn’t work out that way, as rheumatoid arthritis had other opinions. Work schedule contributed by making the new times at my home studio impossible for me most days, and my home practice commitment just wasn’t strong enough to make up the difference when demands of household and work call. And time passed, and here we are in April.

There are weeks that I manage two classes. Once in a while, it might be three. But, my asana isn’t what it was. Muscles and tendons are tight and constrained. I’m physically weaker. My core is tired and balance is off. Meh. Yet, the RA isn’t significantly worse than it was 18 months ago and I had a more regular practice then. On the other hand, then I wasn’t on particular medication that slows my heart rate to 58, making every moment seem like a good moment for a nap. HA! So, what and where from here?

I want to get back to a more regular asana practice. I know the tricks like putting it on my schedule (though that does no good if I can’t get home from work until 6:30 or later and class starts at 6:15) and using videos and podcasts for home encouragement. But, I knew those last month and the month before, so something has to make the difference. I’m aware that clinging to the idea of an asana practice in a way that makes me feel bad, guilty, ashamed isn’t a good idea. But, I like how I feel when I practice more and (in a non-yogic truth) my clothes also fit better.

This is going to be one of “those” posts, where I end with a question for which I have no answers. It makes me a very not helpful vegan yoga blogger, but it’s where I am right now. So, WWYYD? (what would you yogis do?)