Unexpected New Beginnings

This blog entry is an announcement! Excited to share some news with you. 

IT’S A PLUM! I’m twelve weeks pregnant! Surprise!

In 6 months from now, I will have a little bundle of love. It sounds so unreal. I haven’t wrapped my mind around it fully.

One day I’m checking out wedding venues with a friend, with a cocktail in hand, and the next, I’m sober with the news of a completely different future. Don’t get me wrong– I am excited and happy. But, there is fear and anxiety that accompanies that joy.

There’s so much responsibility that comes along with the baby. Am I ready for that? I had all these ideas of traveling the world. There are so many countries I wanted to visit in the next couple years– Spain, Italy, Philippines, Thailand, Costa Rica…and the list goes on. Now, I know traveling to all those places will be possible albeit a lot more difficult.

It will be okay.

Yoga has taught me to soothe those nerves with deep breaths and a mantra of “I am happy and I am at ease.” It has taught me to adjust with changing times and not to be too attached to one possible future.

Perhaps this is all happening exactly as it should be. Having kids a few years earlier than planned has its upside too. I’ve always wanted to be a Lorelai Gilmore with a sister-like daughter Rory (Non-Gilmore Girls fans please excuse this reference). And although I’m not 16, I am still in my 20’s! ha. (Fingers crossed for a girl!)

I am excited for all of the possibilities. Chris, the soon-to-be father and my fiance, is too. At the end of this month, we will likely find out the gender of our little plum!

How do I feel?

Luckily, I am healthy and also amazingly not a victim of morning sickness! I have just had that constant sense of tiredness everyday for the past 3 months and lately, some dizziness.

My on-the-mat practice has been minimal. I teach 4 times a week and have to be careful getting up and down since that’s when the dizziness hits. I need to find some local prenatal yoga classes. Any recommendations?

In contrast, my dancing hasn’t been too affected by this all! At least for salsa & bachata, there’s not too much up and down so I don’t get dizzy. I am slowly cutting back the hours of dancing since I do get more tired than normal.

Updates with vegetarianism: The cravings have been a lot less frequent lately! It turns out just around the time I starting cutting out meat from my diet is when I became pregnant! I wonder if that has anything to do with my struggles the first month or so???

I’ll keep you updated on the journey ahead.

Namaste,

Lindsey

Aspiring Vegetarian: Week 3

Mini-blog series of a yogi’s journey to become a vegetarian. 

Yes! WEEK 3!

Fortunately, the cravings this week have been minimal. I think I’m starting to adjust! Whenever we pass a people BBQing, I just try to tell myself it smells horrible. (LOL)

My fiance Chris and I had seafood a couple times this week (poke, shrimp dumplings, fish curry) when we were out and about. I still don’t know if we are keeping fish in our diet permanently or just for the transition.

For protein in other meals, we used tofu, beans, eggs, and have even tried some “meatless” sausages & chorizo. The substitute meat products aren’t bad tasting honestly. Especially the soy chorizo from Trader Joe’s. However, I don’t exactly love eating heavily processed foods. The substitute meats seem to be heavily processed. When soy tastes like pork…you know that’s not exactly fresh. I know it’s probably better healthwise just to eat the edamame version of soy than the version that tastes like Italian sausage, but, if you’re craving a chicken-ish protein or something that slightly resembles bacon, fake meat is there for you. Also, it’s pretty convenient! Veggie burgers and meatless hot dogs are just as easy as their meaty counterparts.

I did some research. I guess bloating is a common problem for new vegetarians. Our bodies aren’t used to the higher levels of fiber from all the vegetables. And, I read something about how when you eat meat, the antibiotics in the meat kill off a lot of the good gut bacteria which really hurts our digestion. So, overtime the bacteria will grow back and you should have a healthy stomach environment to break down and process all the fibrous food. Probiotics and prebiotics are recommended to aid in the digestion. Also, there’s some enzyme supplements I guess you can take to aid in the transition too.

Questions: 1) Is eating seafood just as “bad” as eating other animals? 2) What are the best fake meats (if any)?

 

Vegetarian Yogi

Aspiring Vegetarian: Week 2

Mini-blog series of a yogi’s journey to become a vegetarian. 

This second week has been challenging, but my fiance and I are sticking to our new “meatless” diet. I expected this journey to have its obstacles, but I didn’t know just how difficult it would be for me! (Somehow Chris is finding this transition easy!)

I’ve noticed that a lot of simple vegetarian meals have bread, cheese, and legumes (beans/lentils/chick peas). All of which are foods that I would have previously avoided because they don’t always agree with my stomach! Bread is fine when I have it on the side, but it can make me feel bloated in excess amounts. Cheese is delicious, but I’m lactose intolerant so I try to avoid it. Legumes are also delicious, but not always digestion friendly. Ha!

This whole week my fiance and I have been eating lots of bread and substitute meat products. On top of the abovementioned problems with bread, it can make me feel sluggish. Too many carbs!

So what other options are there? This next week I plan on looking up more recipes and doing some actual research. This past week, we haven’t been too creative with meals and I have found myself slightly bored with our meals and sadly craving meat a bit.

We have been eating seafood. In my opinion, this isn’t a horrible alternative as long as it’s sourced responsibly and isn’t consumed in high amounts. But I think eating seafood can lead us down a blurry road of what is acceptable. Hopefully, we will gradually decrease our consumption of it!

Because of my personal struggle with this lifestyle change, I’ve reached out to a few of my vegetarian friends to get as many tips as possible. I heard philosophies on vegetarianism range from “eating meat is murder” to “it’s okay to eat meat once in awhile as long as you’re reducing your overall consumption.” I understand both viewpoints.

Just a couple weeks ago I was eating meat with almost every meal. I had chosen to use my consumer power to support organic and free-range cows and chickens in the marketplace. I’m not sure if that was a valid philosophy. I’m not sure if my current one is either. I’m figuring it out! What I do know: my carbon footprint is a little smaller now, a couple more animals are still alive than would have been otherwise, and I’m eating more vegetables.

Wish me luck!

Aspiring Vegetarian

Mini-blog series of a yogi’s journey to become a vegetarian. 

WEEK 1

I AM READY!

After more than 5 years of talking about eating “less meat,” I am finally taking concrete action! My fiancé and I have made the decision to cut meat out of our diets! (FINALLY!)

Background: In college, I learned so much as a Biology & Anthropology student about the environment & about the food we eat. Yes, we have canines and our bodies can digest meat. We are evolutionarily omnivores. However, here in America, we are excessive with our meat consumption. I remember at UCLA in my conservation & food-related classes we would discuss the problem with our eating habits– the negative impact on our bodies and the environment. We were all somewhat disgusted, but at the same time somewhat detached. I felt bad for the animals and the environment, but how was I supposed to be expected to change my behavior? And if I changed my behavior, what difference overall would that make? 

Journey: Oddly enough, the tipping point that changed the “let’s eat less meat” to “let’s eat no meat” was watching OKJA last week! (seriously!) Something about that fictitious Netflix movie moved us and made us rethink some of our decisions. SO…This week, we GAVE AWAY all of our meat! When my mom came to visit, I gave her all the meat in our fridge and freezer. We kept the seafood for now because 1) we want to ease the transition & 2) we are not completely sure if we want to give it up yet! (What if we just buy sustainably raised/caught fish?…)

Temptation: Going out to eat with friends is harder than I thought it would be! Especially, when they order shared dishes. I found out that firmly saying “no thanks” a couple times works and if not, just ignore the pressure! Also, there are some staple cultural foods (pho!) that traditionally have meat that I know I’ll miss. I know it’ll get easier over time. For now, I’ll just have to keep reminding myself of the reasons behind my new choice!

My fiancé and I are happy with our choice so far. I remember my yoga teacher told me that the further along you get on the yogic path, the more you’ll want to give up meat and go vegetarian. The “do no harm” principle applies to animals too! 

NAMASTE

 

Graduate

A Wandering Scholar

 

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” -Ghandi

I was a type A, ambitious young lady who graduated high school with seven “5’s” on her AP tests (and three “4’s”). I had a ridiculously high GPA. I went straight into UCLA as a Biochemistry major with a scholarship for pre-med and a mother who had a dream that I would cure cancer one day.

In other words, I was good at following rules, a quick learner, and strangely competitive. I followed the path that I saw laid out for me ahead. I wasn’t really pushed (besides the occasional mention of future greatness from my mother) but I had an internal drive to just keep going and to get to my destination faster (and better) than anyone else. I never paused to ask myself where I was going or why I was doing it.

Fast forward 4 years later, I graduated UCLA with Departmental Honors. B.S. in Biology, minor in Anthropology. I did well in all my pre-medicine classes but after an incident with a rat in lab, I was pretty sure I didn’t want to be a doctor. After a couple years working as a Anthropology research assistant, I was also pretty sure I didn’t want to do solely research either. So…you might ask…how would I use my degree??? GOOD QUESTION.

UCLA has opened so many doors for me. That degree is a badge showing my commitment to learning, my hard work…and my stubbornness. I am forever grateful for that. I learned how to critically think, how to question everything, how to work more efficiently, how to be independent. From the Biology realm, I learned about the beauty of tropical forests, the complexity of ants, the adaptability of a sprouting plant. I learned the importance of conservation. I learned how to start caring about our planet. From the Anthropology realm, I learned just as much. I learned so much about humans: stories from the past, stories about the present, and stories explaining the possible future. I gained a deeper appreciation for different cultures as well as a fuller understanding of human nature.

(On the recreational side, UCLA also introduced me to rock climbing, hiking, and DANCE)

I will always be proud to be a BRUIN and always be appreciative of all the opportunities my education has allowed me.

HOWEVER,

I now know that there is so much more to life than the fast-paced, straight-ahead trajectory. Although society pressures us to keep to that path, we should be confident in our freedom to stray. Straying from that path can lead to self discovery. It can lead to new-found passions; it can lead to a happier life.

It’s okay to graduate from high school and go straight into a 4-year university. But, it’s also okay to take a few years off to travel before college. And, it’s okay to completely skip college and go an alternate route of learning!

THROUGH YOGA, I discovered the importance of all the in betweens of life. Having an end goal, the future “accomplishment” (eg. graduating, getting a promotion, buying a house), is great but shouldn’t overshadow the journey to get there. I focused so much on earning good grades in all subjects in school, that I sometimes sacrificed my passion for certain subjects. I couldn’t take more art classes because then…I couldn’t fit in all 6 AP classes that year! ha. And in college, I often would skip going to class (no attendance taken) so that I could get readings done in time for an assignment or study for a quiz. I wish I would have went to class, asked questions, and soaked in all the professor’s knowledge that I could have. I wish I would have chosen more classes not because they were required but because they were interesting. Because, like I said, the journey is just as important if not moreso. I ended up graduating with Honors on my degree…but was it worth it? I’m not sure!

I try to live more in the moment now. I still have a planner and a calendar with tasks and goals all written out, but I try to not stress about it all so much. If certain plans don’t work out, just do it tomorrow or go a different route!

Currently, I’m exploring multiple paths. I’m enjoying the in betweens and studying new subjects. 

I enjoy learning so I take my pick of online classes through the local community college every quarter. I have a loose goal of getting a certificate in Computer Science and maybe one day getting a Master’s Degree (I like programming…weird, huh?).

I joined a dance team. I learn choreography every week. I learn how to connect with others through body language. I learn how to let go and flow with the music.

I also teach yoga. Putting together class sequences is fun. I also like helping people. Whether a student has back pain or just tight hamstrings, I want to help alleviate their problems! Everyday I learn something new from my students.

Right now I’m beginning to put together my passion and talents. Passion: I love creating (programming, dancing, teaching!). I love learning. And, I love using natural products. I just want to know what I’m putting on my skin or breathing in is nourishing and healthy. Talents: I have a science degree and am good at lab work & research. I don’t just love creating, but I’m pretty decent at it too. So now, I’m making these organic lip balms, candles, lotions, etc and spreading the goodness around!

Takeaway: Continue to learn and remember that education can come in many forms. Also, enjoy the journey that you’re on. Sacrificing your happiness today for the hopes of a brighter, happier tomorrow is okay when necessary…but it shouldn’t be your motto in life. As Gandhi stated, “Live as you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

 

 

 

 

Yoga, EVERY DAMN DAY?

How often do you practice yoga? Do you practice everyday? (I’m far from perfect!) How often do you actually take class?

Finding time to physically go into a yoga studio for your practice can be seemingly impossible at times. There’s finding a class that fits in your schedule… communicating with your significant others, friends, family or whomever that you’ll be busy for the next few hours… then there’s finding clean leggings (it’s a real struggle!). Once you’re dressed, you then have to travel to yoga! For those of you lucky enough to live next to an awesome studio, you can stroll to class, knowing exactly how long the trip will take. If you’re in a different neighborhood, however, you have to account for traffic, parking, etc. I usually leave 30 minutes before class! With scheduling, getting ready, driving, and the actual class… it can take around 2.5 HOURS! That’s a big chunk of the day.

Lately I have placed this going-to-class “production” on the back burner. I have felt guilty, a bit sad, and a lot more anxious because of it!  Sure, I’ve still been practicing asana on my own…but even as a certified yoga teacher, this is not the same as going into class.

There’s always more to learn. And although you can learn a lot from an online class or your own personal practice, it’s quite a different experience from going into a physical studio to be guided by a yogini.

When you go to class, you share a space with your community, your sangha. You join your voice in AUM, you hug your friends, you share a smile with your neighbor, you openly receive kind words and loving adjustments from your teacher.

My reminder to myself (and to you): Yoga happens everywhere. It’s not just asana. It is the stillness between movements, the pause between breaths, the silence between words, the space between thoughts. YOGA IS the quieting, the calming, of the mind. Yoga is reflected in the way we treat others and in the way we treat ourselves. As yogis, we do not have to go into the studio to grow our hearts, expand our minds, and “perfect” a pose. BUT, WE SHOULD. GET. IN. THAT. STUDIO.

My goal is to put my favorite classes in my schedule and just go. Maybe wrap the trip to yoga up with a trip to the grocery store to save on time (and gas). Maybe invite a friend along if you feel torn between yoga and quality time with them. Try not to think of going to class as a hassle or production, but as self care.

Know that if you do not follow your schedule exactly, that’s okay. There’s always tomorrow. AND, you can practice on your own at home for a bit too TODAY! A short practice by yourself is better than no practice. That’s my theory at least ;). REMEMBER at least set the goal to go to class. Write it down (it’s more likely to happen that way!) or tell a friend about it (keeps you accountable!).

NAMASTE.

[Today I went to yoga class at my favorite studio (HAPPY-U NAMASTE) and it felt fantastic. I may have fallen asleep during savasana. RIGHT NOW I’m about to write into my schedule my next planned classes!!! XO]

 

Ocean, Sun, & Dance

Find Your Passion

In Hinduism, Nataraja (“lord of dance”) is the god Shiva in his blissful, dancing form. He creates and destroys. His dance is powerful.

When I dance, like Nataraja, I feel as if I can create and destroy. I feel powerful & divine.

A couple months ago, I joined a salsa & bachata team. I have always loved to dance. Something about the joy and freedom that comes out of movement. Expression. Heart.

In college I went from dancing for fun with friends to taking more formal–yet still recreational–dance classes. Ballet and jazz. At first, I joined to be more active, graceful, and flexible. Soon, however, my perspective on dance changed. You see… It starts in your core and spreads to your extremities. Like breathing. It’s natural, it’s something so in-our-blood, innate, prehistoric.

Dance can be refined and structured…seemingly detached. But under the surface there are always the stirrings of emotion. There’s an inner child that comes out when you allow your body flow. Boom-ka. Boom-ka. Following that drum rhythm like a heartbeat. It guides us to listen to what makes us happy.

For me, dance has done just that this year. It has filled me with bliss. It has freed me. I am taking a break from data analysis. I am dancing and practicing yoga. Writing. Exploring. I am living. Sure, I still crave a certain intellectual stimulation. (To feed that part of my brain, I’ve been taking computer science courses!) But, there’s so much more to life than sitting in front of a screen all day. At the end of each day, I want to feel happy & I want the gratitude to come easily. I know everyday is different and there are days when it’s more difficult to thank the universe… BUT, I think by doing what you LOVE, you will EXPONENTIALLY increase your chances of being truly happy.

I have chosen to believe in the power of positivity. In the theory of abundance. Money will come if you follow your heart and open your mind. Know your talents & your passions. Find the intersection and your path will lie ahead.

I am so thankful for dance and yoga. Each day through dance I learn how to express myself and be free. Each day through yoga, I learn how to do all of that with love, kindness, & gratitude.

NAMASTE.

Living Mindfully: Be Good to our Planet

AHIMSA

“Do Not Harm.” Sure, we think this is a no brainer. We shouldn’t steal, lie, be violent, etc. But it extends way beyond this–to our planet, to our food, to ourselves.

We live in a world where everything and everyone is interconnected. The food we eat, the water we use, the plastic we throw away, the vehicles we drive, and even the clothes we wear, all have an impact on the planet, on our fellow Earth-inhabitants, on everything and everyone. Because of this, we must try our best to mindfully navigate life with loving attention to our environment.

 

Be good to OUR planet.

Plastic bottles take on average 450 years to degrade in the landfills (some even 1000 years!). 5.25 TRILLION pieces of plastic debris are in our oceans right now. 500 billion single-use bags are used worldwide every year.  The average American tosses 82 pounds of clothing/textile a year. 11 MILLION tons in America end up in the trash EACH year. These textiles take up to 200 years to degrade.

(Have you seen WALL-E!?)

On top of all that, a combination of excessive deforestation and climate change can lead to severe drought and desertification of once fertile, moist ground! This has affected many countries– ruining crops and making water a scarce and valuable resource (even to the extent of being a cause for war).

I’m not vegetarian BUT…

  • A UC Davis study found that to produce 1 pound of beef, it takes 441 gallons of water. This is the conservative estimate. Another study estimates as much as 2,500 gallons of water is needed. In addition, cows are fattened up with grain and corn (not their natural diet) & dosed with antibiotics… oh and again… the water!
  • Poor caged chickens. Clipped beaks, cage only required to be the size of an A4 paper… Stressed & overweight chickens often have brittle/broken bones. Aggressive pecking since close quarters with too many chickens (can result in injury + death)… Too many chickens = disease and bacterial infections!
  • For more information on the effects of meat-eating, check out this article from Science Magazine which describes the created pressure against bio-diversity (towards species extinction) of meat-eating.
  • HEALTH…We know eating [too much] meat can cause high cholesterol levels and increase your risk for heart disease and cancer.

What can we do?

Here are some thing that I wanted to share. Some of these things are part of my daily practice… and some things I rarely do but am aware I should do!

I choose to vote with my money by purchasing some of these Eco-Friendly(er) products for my apartment.

Paper:

I choose to use recycled paper products like Seventh Generation’s toilet paper & paper towels (but still use cloth towels for most things!). For tissues, I use a “tree-free” product made out of bamboo grass and other renewable resources.

Plastic:

This year in California we got rid of single-use plastic bags at grocery stores! Such good news. Now, we have to pay 10 cents to purchase a reusable plastic bag or BRING our OWN reusable bag! I have several reusable bags. They are usually around a dollar to purchase and last forever. Canvas ones can be thrown in the washer, while plastic ones can be wiped down.

For our kitchen trash bags I use Seventh Generation’s recycled bags. For pet waste, there are a couple options of compostable and biodegradable plastics (EPI–chemical additives to break down the plastics faster… probably not the best!) & then bags made out of corn starch or potato starch as well. Amazon has quite a few options!

Food:

Food is a hard one! I LOVE going out to eat with friends & family. It’s a great way to socialize & bond (without the mess and work!). Although there are a growing number of  local/sustainable/organic restaurants, the amount is limited even in larger cities. Also, I love hole-in-the-wall places where the meat and produce are unlikely to be of the most environmentally friendly. I aim for balance. Less meat, and responsibly raised when possible. I know that a lot of my fellow yogis are vegetarians, and maybe one day I will be too. But, as of right now, I’m voting with my money for a feasible alternative for most Americans. If we support sustainably-raised and healthy animals, we create a larger demand and a bigger market. Overall, I want to believe that we can make a difference in the meat market.

When I grocery shop, I buy all organic if possible! I have a favorite co-op store that I shop at, and when I cannot make it over there, I just shop at my local chain grocery store with  a selective mind. I go for labels that say “organic,” “cage free,” “local,” and “grass fed.” In San Diego, we are lucky that our big supermarkets carry such things. I know in my hometown Loma Linda, you have to go to a specialty store to have these sorts of options!

Another reason I like to eat out so much is that I get tired of making the same dishes at home. I know there are cookbooks out there for this problem, but I admit to being quite lazy! So, a couple times a month, I order Sun Basket or Green Chef. Both of these contain sustainably sourced, organic ingredients. You can choose vegan/vegetarian meals. On top of that, the packaging is recyclable. Sun Basket allows you to ship it back to them for free when you’re done cooking your meals (so they can do the proper recycling for you!). Sun Basket is my favorite because the recipes are always amazing and the ingredients fresh (and interesting…like szechuan peppers or banana leaves..mmm). There’s also Terra’s Kitchen, which I’ve tried and liked. They send you the food in a make-shift refrigerator with reusable packaging. You just leave it on your doorstep for pickup when you’re done.

Cleaning Supplies:

Around the house, I like to use natural products too! Biodegradable, non-toxic, and environmentally friendly! For dish soap, I use Seventh Generation. They have great hand soap, laundry detergent, and cleaning supplies too! I choose to save some money with some alternatives, however.

Instead of laundry detergent, I usually use soap nuts! Soap nuts, or soap berries, are all natural (with the cleaning power of saponin) and are a gentle alternative to normal detergent. You just add a handful to a muslin bag and toss it into the wash!

For hand soap, I make my own with Castile Soap (Dr. Bronner’s), water, and essential oils. It’s super easy to make and a cheaper alternative. You can also make your dish soap out of this! (For bar soap and other personal care items, see my shop!)

And for cleaning surfaces, I use vinegar, water, and essential oils mixed together in a spray bottle. So simple and works well.

Water Usage:

I LOVE BATHS (so bad…). I take them pretty often with my bath salts. Whether you are a bath or a shower lover, here are some guidelines to pay attention to:

    • Don’t fill the bath up all the way!
    • Take a short shower instead 😉
    • For showers: If it’s not freezing out, turn off water while you shave, wash your hair, sud up, etc…
    • Try washing your hair every other day… or less!

Other Tips:

Recycle: Know your local regulations

    • Not all cities accept the same things
    • Make sure your recyclables are free from oil and food
    • Know where to recycle
      • Return your grocery bags to the store!

Compost (I don’t do this yet!)

  • Check with local facilities that take compost or use in your garden!

Personal Care + Beauty Products:

  • Select those with recycled (or at least recyclable) or reusable packaging, safely sourced & healthy ingredients, & support companies that you believe in
  • Things to check out for feminine care: reusable cotton & charcoal menstrual pads, THINX underwear, & Diva Cups/Moon Cups (Not as weird as you think!)
  • Clothing: Upcycle (ThreadUP), Threads4Thought, Minimalism, Avoid Trends (hard one!),

Public Transportation/Driving

This one is an important one and definitely something I should work on! I recently got a trolley pass and try my best to carpool to places. When I was a college student at UCLA I took the bus everywhere (left my car back at home) and it wasn’t that bad! Depending on the city you live in, taking public transportation everywhere can be completely feasible or frustratingly difficult. So do some research and create your driving habits from there. Oh, and WALKING is a great alternative too!

Let’s be good to our planet. Vote with your money and educate others. Have those uncomfortable conversations with your friends and family. Let’s create a better world for future generations (of humans, animals, trees, and so on) by just making some  of these small adjustments in your daily life!

Yoga Beginnings

wheelFlexibility and Athleticism

What do you think of when you hear the word “yoga”? Is it a fitness class where you get to wear your favorite Lululemon leggings (or some other outrageously expensive pair!)? When I first started yoga, I was fresh out of college and had just moved down to Pacific Beach, San Diego. My cousin, who lived nearby, introduced me to yoga. She took me to a very sweaty heated class at CorePower. THAT is what I thought yoga was. A place where all the trendy 20-something year-olds went to sweat as much as possible.

My first experience was so challenging, but at the same time amazing. I had somehow retained some of the flexibility I had acquired as a childhood gymnast and felt like yoga was something I was naturally pretty good at. The TRUTH was that I was probably doing many poses incorrectly! I wasn’t focused on alignment at all, but rather on keeping up and pushing myself. That’s how injuries happen. Thankfully, I dodged the injuries as newbie yogi. Whew.

This newbie was HOOKED though. I felt great after yoga– physically and mentally– and I looked fit too!

Not Just for Fitness

Don’t get me wrong, my first year of yoga was awesome. It was a way for me to sweat, and a way for me to de-stress. But, it wasn’t until I moved back up to LA for a job that I started to understand what yoga was. I tried a few studios, experiencing different yoga styles from mellow & yin classes to alignment-focused & strong classes. These foiled the heated vinyasa classes I had experienced.

Yoga class became a mental escape for me. While class was sometimes a place for me to physically exert myself, it was often where I relaxed mentally (sweat-free!).

Mindful Movement

ALIGNMENT. It is so important. Back in San Diego (after my LA job training), I decided to try some Iyengar yoga classes. WOAH. I was shocked at how focused on alignment the classes were. You were either doing the poses right or wrong, with no room for interpretation. I didn’t exactly enjoy the classes since I felt like I was doing everything wrong, BUT I finally learned how to do a “proper” downward facing dog. Took a couple years to get there!

After my handful of Iyengar classes, I decided to continue my yoga studio search in Ocean Beach, San Diego. I mean…I love hippies, the beach, and it was close by. I found my home at Happy-U Namaste.   Their website’s homepage says, “We are a holistic yoga and training center guiding people towards a happier, healthier approach to life, both on and off the mat. Welcome to our community :)” Umm… doesn’t that sound just PERFECT?! Well, I thought (and still think) so.

Finally, I started learning about the roots of yoga– the history, the mythology– along with the other branches– starting with meditation and pranayama (breath control). I was eager to learn more! I eventually would sign up for their AMAZING teacher training (which I will write about in another post!). 🙂

NAMASTE,

Lindsey

Girl Power

SHAKTI: “Power” or “Empowerment.” Representing the divine FEMININE creative power. Michigan Women's March

I have never been particularly active in politics. History and government were always my least favorite subjects in school (did anyone else frequently nap in history class?). But let’s get real. This recent election has woken so many of us up. We can no longer ignore and sit quiet about what’s going on. Suddenly, our futures seem to all be at stake. Politics are no longer this removed, separate thing. It’s right in front of us. Tangible. Scary REAL.

Almost my whole family is conservative. Many are pro-lifers, heterosexual marriage up-holders, non-evolution believers, etc. They are some of the sweetest people I know, yet their beliefs when it comes to many of these political and social issues could not be further from my own.

I am LIBERAL. I believe in EQUITY (vs equality). I believe in Women’s RIGHTS. I believe in climate change, the right for everyone to marry, education for all, and the list goes on. I believe that we often need FEDERAL policies to enforce our ideals because innately we are selfish beings and in order to protect our planet and each other, we need to have the force of the law at times. (Have you heard of “Tragedy of the Commons“? It’s a good read. Maybe ignore the freedom to breed part ;))

Background: I am the daughter of immigrants. My paternal grandmother married a white American to find escape from the Vietnam war. He adopted my dad and his siblings and “provided” for them. On my other side, my maternal grandparents moved from Hong Kong with their young children and worked so hard just to make it in this country.

I don’t understand how coming from that, members of my family still voted for Trump. Because no matter how many jobs Trump promises to bring back to America, no matter how much he says he’ll protect conservative principles, he shows himself as anti-immigrant, racist, closed-minded…and the list goes on! How could we have voted for him to be our president?

Here comes the Women’s March. I am BEYOND proud of my friends for marching in this. I taught yoga that morning and did not participate directly myself. (I still am beating myself up about this). It was a great moment in history. The biggest march in the US, right? Ever? 1 in 100 Americans marched in this. Women and men from all different backgrounds came together to take a stand against being marginalized.

Why March?

Some of my friends have questioned the effectiveness of marching. “What’s the point?” Here’s what I think: Marching is a great way to show resistance. By banding a large group together, you let the world know your cause. This influences policymakers and also encourages others to at least look into whatever you’re marching about. You can change opinions. You can change hearts. On top of all of that, it creates DISRUPTION. This disruption can affect the economy. (Have you heard about #deleteUber?) If a city cannot function like normal, government will take notice and will [or should] try to appease the masses.

Back to the recent marches:

Some people think signs and hashtags like #notmypresident, #imstillwithher, and #lovetrumpshate are undemocratic/un-American. That these words divide. That these words are whiny or hateful. I think these words are perfect. We should not support what we do not believe in. We should stand up and speak OUR truth!

My friends who were at the march tell me that although the march came from a place of injustice, anger, and sadness,  the march itself was full of hope, unity, and beautiful energy. That SHAKTI energy!

Namaste.