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Practice What I Preach (Especially During Quarantine)

I planned to write about how I am, by all accounts, a skilled and passionate yoga teacher, a meditation facilitator, holistic nutritionist and health and wellness coach. Then I realized all of that information, those titles and the endless hours of education and dollars spent are absolutely worthless unless I practice them.

Here's the thing about knowing how to care for ourselves. We must practice, especially when it's hard, even more so when we don't feel like it, and absolutely when it's the last thing we really want to do.

Now I am not advocating forcing oneself to do a practice that they do not like, what I am advocating is that we learn to recognize and appreciate that when we are feeling low, feeling beaten and battered or run down and energy gone, we not only know what to do, but must actually care enough about ourselves to do them. 

As a teacher and practitioner of yoga I feel like I can preach about all the things that one “should be doing” for well being. From a holistic nutritionist perspective I am also aware of all that one “should be eating” and yet, if I personally do not use that information to make informed decisions and to practice what I've learned, then it is just that, preaching.

Okay, so here is the deal! We are twelve years (or so it feels, but exaggeration felt fitting) into quarantine and lockdown due to COVID19. I personally have a strong history of enjoying, and often times needing a daily yoga practice. I used yoga to reset and restore myself to what, and who, I intended to be that day rather than what the outside world may have had in mind for me, especially if I wasn't consciously attuned. Additionally, pre-COVID I was heavily into meditation, breathing techniques and a more recent interest in physical activities such as running and strength training.

However, with all of this experience and knowing just what to do, how to do it, and why it helps, I too have found myself struggling throughout the last few months.

 A multitude of times I have found myself on the couch mindlessly shoveling (insert vegan junk food) into my face, I too found myself laying down in the afternoon binging that next tv show, I often found myself feeling sluggish and stiff, and especially found myself suppressing and repressing emotions rather than sitting with them and working through them, via an intentional process.

How is it that I can be so contradictory? I am first in line to support another and yet during these last few months I have found myself to be last in line to do what my inner self is calling out for.

In our modern society we are often taught that self care is synonymous with selfishness. Let's replace the idea of self care and selfishness with the idea of practice. If only we practice taking care of ourselves first, then we will truly know how to take care of others. In this wild world we want to be our best for others, so that when the call comes, we are able to be there for them, because we have practiced on ourselves.

Self care requires more than knowledge, it requires practice.

So today, I practiced. It started by pressing play on the audiobook I'm in the middle of, I then set the mood right with my diffuser on and pulled the curtains to darken the room. I like the warm and humid jungle-like atmosphere when I practice. I maintained my pajamas instead of donning the sweet yoga pants and sports bra I would usually have on for a yoga practice. I rolled around on the floor for a few minutes finding movements that felt good to my stiff bones, joints and muscles.

One small movement led to another, opening the door to a really satisfying practice. A knowingness comes over me, about my body, about my inner self and about my ability to be here in this moment, just moving.

This is not what my “normal” yoga practice looks like, this is not how it looked when I studied traditionally in India, this is though, the intention behind yoga. The true meaning I find in my practice is everything before, during and after the actual “yoga practice”. I move my body, I breathe, I take my time and I practice. Yoga is not only about what the body is doing. My yoga practice is more about what I learn while I practice. Do I learn about my tendency to shy away from the emotions I'm feeling? Or do I learn that I have the capacity to bend more, to move mountains, and to surrender to life in a way that allows me freedom rather than constraint?

My yoga practice may not have looked pretty, but boy did I feel pretty good. And that is what the practice is all about. Let's take it one practice at a time, and know that we are a beautiful work in progress, and this is why we never strive for yoga perfect, but yoga practice.

 

Terroma Moment:

When only a non traditional practice lends itself to the moment, I find myself selecting a non traditional choice from the signature essential oil blends Terroma has to offer.

I enjoy the dichotomy of yoga being a relaxing and yet an invigorating practice. On a day like today, although I know the Yoga blend would lend itself nicely to the occasion, an energy boost was not only invited, but necessary. I would elect to diffuse the Terroma Energy Boost blend to accompany this practice.

 

Outline of the practice I managed to work in today (as described above) for reference:

  • 3 minutes in a comfortable seated position:
    • slow breathing in and out through the nostrils (4 count in, 4 count out)
    • Allowing my facial muscles, head, next and shoulders to deeply to relax
  • 10 minutes warming up:
    • Moving from seated position to hands and knees, to feet and back to the floor
    • Simple stretches that feel good intuitively. There are no wrong answers if it feels good and natural to your body.
  • 10 minutes weight bearing or strength and resistance. Simply put, building heat in the body and raising the heart rate. Examples include planks, downward dogs, warrior I, II, and III and if it is within your practice, vinyasa.
  • 10 minutes Savasana:
    • Lay down on your back, rest and relax all digits, limbs, muscles and breathing
    • Allow the facial muscles, head, neck and shoulders to release tension down toward floor
  • Gratitude and close practice:
    • Thank yourself for the gift of time, space, movement, and grace.
    • Take anything you appreciated from your practice with you throughout the day. Namaste!

 

Author: Sarah Ramus

Here is a bit about her:

"I started my young adult life as a naive young woman who believed in fairy tales, what transpired over the years was anything but, some might even say it was more akin to a nightmare.

On the other side of what is often called the ‘dark night of the soul’ I found solace, purpose, and some may even say hope. I changed my diet and lifestyle to reflect compassion and reverence for life (aka a vegan lifestyle), became passionate about yoga, traveled and studied in foreign countries, began a long and fulfilling love affair with reading books, and I was finally able to take personal responsibility for the choices I make and the joy I bring the world, by way of service and compassion.

I would not describe myself as perfect, or describe the path as easy, however I would attest that it is always worth it, and I continue to gain more than I ever could have imagined.

I write what I have experienced and often times share my story with a sprinkle of humor. I choose love over fear whenever I’m conscious and hope to help others in some small way along their beautiful path.

I have certifications in teaching yoga in traditional Hatha, as taught by my teachers in India, and Vinyasa as taught by my teachers in Mexico. I am also certified as a Holistic Nutritionist and Holistic Health and Wellness Coach through AFPA. Additionally I facilitate learning groups about spirituality and consciousness.

My pastimes are drinking coffee, laughing, yoga, reading, traveling (when it's healthy and safe), cooking, staring at the beautiful dog Stanley who allows me to care for him, and loving my friends and family, along with sending some out to the world. For further connections with me you can visit my instagram accounts as follows:

https://www.instagram.com/enjoyfulbeing/

https://www.instagram.com/theminimalistassistant/

or find my business page also listed here:

https://theminimalistassistant.com/

 

 

 

 

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