On Meditation

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With the day to day stresses that sometimes feel never ending, we’ve become increasingly more interested in finding ways to eliminate the anxiety that can inevitably manifest. The topic seems to be gaining momentum, and people have been increasingly more interested in opening a dialogue about the health of your mind & body.

I started practicing yoga about 12 years ago, and while I love the physical exercise aspect of it, I honestly don’t feel like session is complete without it having a strong mediative aspect — which some classes don’t always bring much attention to. I’ve had several classes that have brought me to tears (in a good way), all because I allow myself to get into a mental exploration of my own self.

Strangely enough, it wasn’t until recently that I started to incorporate this into my life’s routine outside of the studio. While I’ve always been a slightly anxious person, adulthood really seemed to emphasize the constant racing of my mind. It started to impact my sleep habits, diet, exercise, and relationships. In an effort to quiet my head and soften my irritability, I began incorporating some meditative techniques into my daily life, which I’ve found it to be so helpful over the last few months.

Some tools that I’ve personally found to be supportive —

Guided Meditation Apps
Headspace and Calm are both great apps that will slowly bring you into the process of incorporating meditation on a regular basis. I like to use Calm in the evenings once I’ve turned out the lights and gotten into bed — it helps me to escape from the frustrations of the day that are still lingering in my mind, and instead focus on the present. I’m personally a big fan of the Body Scan technique, which focuses on finding areas of tension in your body, and mentally releasing it through the breath.

Sleep Routines
Mine is simple but has made a huge difference for me — drinking a glass of water, turning the lights dim, burning incense, putting lavender oil on my wrists, and putting a sleep mask over my eyes while I use to my meditation app. Having a calming process that I’m familiar with, and look forward to, allows me to get into the sleepy mindset I need to get a full night of rest.

Self Care & Mindfulness
It’s very easy to forget about ourselves when we’re racing around trying to get everything done over the course of the day, but allowing yourself the time to do small things that make you happy will go a long way in the end. Even things as simple as a shower — closing your eyes and embracing the warm water, giving yourself a mini head massage with the shampoo, using an exfoliating scrub and noticing the tingle on your skin. Be present in the moment where you’re treating yourself, rather than rushing through just another daily shower.

Coloring Books
These have become all the rage, and I’m a total fan girl. A couple of weeks ago I had one of the most peaceful Saturday mornings I could imagine — I put some soothing music, made a cup of coffee, watched the snow fall outside, and colored in my new mandala coloring book. It was glorious and I felt so at ease afterward. It made me want to treat my body kindly for the rest of the day, and let me take a couple of hours to have some personal reflection. This is also another great tool to incorporate into your sleep routine for ten minutes before bed.

Have any of you been using meditation as a relaxation tool? If not, I hope I’ve inspired you to give it a spin. Take care, and happy Wednesday 🙂


— rkv 

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G&M’s Fall Bucket List

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Fall is in full force now that it’s somehow the middle of October! The temps have finally lowered a bit and the sweaters are coming out. Before winter hits, we’re hoping to have the best fall ever…

Christa’s fall bucket list:
Hit up as many farmers markets as possible
Make donuts with my new donut pan (post coming soon!)
Figure out a storage system for storing my boots so they look this good next fall!
+ Actually watch Rosemary’s Baby this year
+ Travel to Boston more to visit Reg!
+ Hike more while the leaves are this gorgeous
+ Walk, instead of drive, to as many local things as possible
Finish Moby Dick by Thanksgiving

Reg’s fall bucket list:
Sunset wine on the Charles River with blankets
Hike Monad again!
Biking around the city
Make mulled spiked cider and wine
Walk the Arnold Arboretum
Teach a yoga class for my friends in the park
Get up early to take photos before the city wakes up
Bake all of the apple everything

What’s on your fall bucket list?


 

Yoga Mat Cleaner

While I’ve been practicing yoga for nearly 10 years, I’m definitely a little lazy when it comes to cleaning my mat, and yeah, those things can get funky. My Sunday vinyasa class has an amazing smelling cleaner for community use, but there’s only one spray bottle, and about 30 students, so I usually get impatient and head home before giving my mat the cleaning it needs.

I had been wanting to make my own for a little while now, and since the ingredients used in it are so multi-purpose, last weekend I decided to whip one up!


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These two oils are great for a lot of reasons — tee tea is a natural antiseptic that can also be used as a topical treatment for conditions such as acne or fungal infections, and I like to keep the lavender on my nightstand, dabbing my wrists right before bed. The aroma knocks me out cold. Either can be picked up at Whole Foods or your local natural food section.

You’ll need:

  • 20 drops of tea tree oil
  • 20 drops of lavender oil
  • 1 small spray bottle
  • 1 cotton rag

There’s pretty much nothing to this little concoction, just drip the oil into your bottle, top off with water, and you’re all set! Mist your mat with the spray, and using a damp cloth to wipe down. Allow to fully dry before rolling back up, and you’re ready to go!


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Kale Caesar Salad

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Hey all, how was everyone’s weekend? Yesterday I went to what felt like the most blissful yoga class. Since moving to Boston, I haven’t really been able to commit to a routine the way I did when I was in college. I think it’s mainly been due to two reasons… A) struggling to find the right class where I can really zone out and get a good workout, while not feeling like I am in vinyasa boot camp, and B) studios around here are awfully pricey.

Then Sunday happened, and I found the resolution to all of my problems. I walked into a nice toasty (but not too hot) studio that looked like Free People and Anthropologie had a beautiful lovechild. Dark hardwood floors, patterned wallpaper, sliding reclaimed wooden doors, and only $5 for a Sunday class! I can get used to this.

Anyways, after an afternoon of some serious hamstring stretching, I was feeling mighty hungry, but I wanted something that felt both clean and filling. This led me to my current favorite, kale caesar salad with a lemony vinaigrette. This salad is light, but hits that savory cheesy note I’m always craving (without feeling guilty afterwards). Luckily my yoga studio is next door to Trader Joe’s, a win win!

For the salad
1 cup chopped de-stemmed kale
1 cup chopped romain
1 piece of whole-grain toast, cut into cubes
1/2 cup grilled chicken breast
1 whole diced roasted red pepper
1/3 diced avocado
1/4 cup shredded parmasean

For the dressing
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp fresh or minced garlic
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
A dash of Italian seasoning
salt & pepper

In a small bowl, combine all dressing ingredients and set aside. In a separate large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients, lightly tossing in the dressing, then dig in!

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Sweet Beats // February 2015

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Lately I’ve been finding myself straying from my typical love of breathy folk music (#chickmusic) for something with a little more beat. This type of tune just feels so right when doing a little evening yoga before bed, walking home from the train, or sinking into the couch to get into the photo editing zone. I’m definitely the day-dreaming type, and all about detaching from everyday stresses to take in a few intrinsic moments. What kind of things have you guys been doing these days to unwind?

Click here for a link on Spotify.


february 2015

get good (infinitefreefall remix) // st. south

every other freckle // alt-j

don’t wanna fight // alabama shakes

hospice gates // lower dens

the stars in spring // epic45

great escape // washed out

no stranger // small black

party talk // craft spells

lately // memory house

genesis // grimes

suddenly // junip

inside out // spoon

james dean // dale earnhardt jr. jr.

bloodflood pt. II // alt-j


 

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