A new year often stirs contemplation of annual goals. We look forward and backward - explaining to ourselves what worked, what didn’t. There can be pride or guilt associated with this annual reflection. Regardless of past experiences, many of us set goals for the new year.
Far too often though, we set ourselves up to fail by focusing on this whole “New Year’s resolution" thing. I want to share with you two helpful, alternative approaches to consider for making 2018 successful for you!
First, ask yourself if setting a “resolution” around the year-long calendar makes sense? For many of us, that year long journey around the sun is a long time for a resolution. So, rather than placing your resolution on the solar calendar, consider using the lunar calendar. Every 28 days the lunar calendar resets. It will happen 12 more times this year. Why not link your resolution to the moon and every full moon in 2018 is your reminder to revisit your resolution. Is it still needed? Does it need to modify? Is it serving me? Each full moon becomes an opportunity to revisit your resolution by checking in with yourself.
Second, what the heck is a resolution anyway? By definition, a resolution is "a firm decision to do or not to do something." How many of us are honestly prepared to make a firm decision to do something or not do something for the whole year on the first day of the year? I'd venture to say very few of us, if any. It takes a lot of work to make a resolution.
For me, I elect to set a mantra - a word or phrase that has significance for you. For example, a few years ago my personal mantra was "bend, don't break." It was a mantra that I committed to recite and practice in how I reacted to situations, experiences, etc. I needed this mantra to help me pause in the moment vs. react in the moment. I wrote it down and kept it in my wallet. I wrote it on post it notes and placed it around my house. I recited it on a daily basis whether I needed it or not. I found myself reciting it in positive situations and then I started to find this mantra in difficult situations. That's when my mantra manifested and became functional for me. It was transformational!
For the first lunar cycle of 2018, I am embracing a new mantra: Spread Love. I want my decisions and interactions to spread love. Do I know how this will take root in my life - not really. I just know that everyday I want to affirmatively think about whether my actions - large or small - are helping to spread love. This isn't just spreading love to others but also ensuring I allow myself to receive love shared with me. How did I find this mantra? Simple, I was receptive. On vacation in Palm Springs a month before the new year and attended a street fair. I met a vendor who sold inspirational t-shirts. His Spread Love t-shirt resonated with me and it was in that moment that I found this mantra. Sometimes, being receptive is all you need to find something you weren't necessarily seeking. In those moments, auspicious things can happen!
Get yourself a Spread Love t-shirt or browse other such shirts by visiting:
CC THE LOVE!
Recently, our friend Doug visited us from the Commonwealth of Virginia. His visit allowed us to showcase all the things we love about Albuquerque. We toured him through the North Valley, Downtown, Nob Hill, etc. There was not shortage of good dinning, shopping, hiking and good times here in the 505!
In Ayurveda, there's a tradition of a daily routine, called dinacharya. Dinacharya is one of the best tools for improving your overall health and wellness. Think about it - from the time you open your eyes in the morning to the time you arrive at work, school, etc. - what is your routine? Pause and think about your routine this morning, would you describe it as mindful, nourishing, utilitarian, chaotic?
Since studying Ayurveda, I've been more mindful of my morning (and evening) routine. I will share with you that it is not always as routine, mindful or nourishing as it could be but it often is now that I am aware of the benefits of a dinacharya practice.
My morning routine generally includes: waking up a consistent time each day, a couple gentle stretches in bed while focusing on my personal mantra, dog/cat/chicken feeding, scraping my tongue, a glass of room temperature water, making a cup of green or rose black tea for me, personal reflection time with nature, personal hygiene, enjoying a green smoothie, vitamins (don't forget your vitamins!), yoga and other physical exercises, and an occasional face mask of some kind (more on this in a moment).
Ayurveda taught me a lot about my morning routine. First, it had to be routine (kinda makes sense, right?). If every morning starts differently, that's not a routine. Basically, your morning routine should be a consistent practice. Second, Ayurveda taught me to be mindful and contemplative. Pre-Ayurveda, my morning routine was extremely pragmatic and minimal. What is the minimum amount of time I need between the time my alarm goes off and the time I need to be somewhere or do something. Now my morning routine provides time for personal reflection - watching the sunrise, sitting outside, quiet meditation, mantra, pranyama, etc. As I write this I am sitting outside and listening to roosters in the distance, hens murmuring, and many local birds chatting in the trees - oh, and the bull frog in my neighbors pond that I've never seen but imagine him to be about 100 pounds based on the volume and bass of his morning calls. Finally, one of my last practices of my morning routine - which I try to incorporate once or twice a week - is a homemade face mask. This is practical - after all, I live in sunny and dry New Mexico so taking care of ones skin is important. This is also a very mindful, contemplative, reflective, nurturing time as you will have ten minutes of complete stillness for yourself - a morning gift to yourself.
I've barely scratched the surface on the Ayurvedic practice of dinacharya. A good reference to read further on dincharya is on Banyan Botanicals webiste. If you move in this direction, don't get too caught up in making it perfect and adding 15 new things to your morning routine. Instead simplify your morning routine by adding what serves you and your ability to be mindful, contemplative and feel nourished.
Without further ado, here's one of my favorite facial mask recipes:
Facial Mask Ingredients:
Mix the above ingredients together in a bowl and let come to room temperature since the dairy is likely cold. The bananas will even your skin tone and help your skin glow, the dairy will gently renew your skin and reduce blemishes, and the honey will nourish your skin deeply. Next, I usually add one of the follow but not both:
Adding the egg whites will firm your skin. Adding the oatmeal will cool your skin. Either way, the mixture should be ready to apply to your skin. Prior to applying, gently wash your face and neck. Apply the mixture to your face and neck area with your fingers, a clean paint brush, etc. It can be a bit messy. Now, relax somewhere for ten minutes or so prior to washing the mixture off your face and neck. I typically follow with a moisturizing product and my favorite is Badger's Organic Damascus Rose Beauty Balm. Rose is tridoshic meaning it is good for all Ayurvedic constitutions. You can pick this product up at Sprouts Grocery Stores, Whole Foods, etc. Your skin is going to love you even more for this simple treatment! Don't forget a bit of sunscreen too!
Give this a face mask a try and let me know what you think! I hope you are enjoying your morning routine as much as possible.
Taking our yoga practice off the mat and into the world...
These fantastic yoginis and I spent three hours preparing dinner for the sixty families staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Albuquerque.
We made a full menu: fresh veggies with dip, chicken piccata, mashed potatoes and some great looking cupcakes! It was a lot of work to produce this extensive menu but we did it!
What a great time and a good cause...thank you ladies!
During the winter months, we spend more time indoors because the days are short and nights are cold. We may feel a bit like a homebody during this season - nesting, organizing, and frequently reflecting. We spend time looking "in" things - drawers, closets, storage boxes, etc. Sometimes sorting and categorizing things - good, valuable, keep vs. bad, no longer necessary, or give away. Sometimes we hold on to things even though we know we no longer need them - doesn't fit, doesn't work, out of style, etc.
Winter is also the perfect time to look inward and apply the same concepts: What has served and enriched my life? What has not? These are not always easy questions to ask yourself and even harder to answer. Winter contemplation is a practice that can help you look inward and reflect on these questions. Answering such questions will help you prioritize where and how you invest your energy (prana) in 2017.
This winter, enjoy this rich and revealing practice as you prepare for a happy, healthy and rewarding 2017!