May Monthly Challenge: GASP!

Breathing. It’s entirely underrated.

You just now took in a deep breath didn’t you? Yes, you did. I know because just a minute ago you were breathing into your upper lungs at about a third of their total capacity limiting your intake of oxygen and stunting your ability to nourish your body’s vital organs with fresh nutrients. Or maybe you’re among the band of “belly breathers,” those who overuse their the lower as opposed to upper lung lobes.

So…drumroll please, duhn duh duh duh DUH!

this month’s challenge is…

…to Breathe.

Seriously.

Ok, there’s more. I plan to breathe fully. Like, all three parts people! Did you know you have three parts to each breath? Belly, ribs, chest…1, 2, 3. Go on, try it (instructional below). And then try to tell me it doesn’t feel AMAZING. (In yoga this full inhale/exhale is called dirgha breath in Sanskrit. Because Sanskrit came first).

Dirgha 3-Part Breath Instructional: Take a deep inhale into your lower lungs feeling the expansion of your belly outward like your belly button was reaching for the wall in front of you. Exhale fully bringing your belly button to your spine. On the next inhale, breathe fully into the belly feeling it expand outward and then into your middle lungs feeling your rib cage flare out to the sides. Remember that your body is in 3-D (oh how quickly you can forget!) and try to breathe into the full circumference of your body. Exhale fully releasing air from the ribs and then belly, bringing belly button to spine. Again, inhale bottom to top filling belly, flaring ribs, and  lastly breathing into the chest feeling the rib cage rise with breath. Sip in breath slowly and evenly and notice how much more air you can hold. On the exhale, release the air from the chest, ribs, and belly like you were pouring out water from a pitcher. Smoothly, no rushing, no spilling. Return to your natural pace of breath.

Pause and notice what you feel.

Are you calmer? Perhaps you feel ripples of relaxation in the residue of breathe. Is your natural breath more steady?

There is serious work in breathing – it’s the bridge that carries us from fear to accomplishment – from cowardice to courage. I’m devoting 10 minutes per day to breathing this way. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Plus, my favorite shaman told me this weekend that breath is the key to the next phase of my life. (And then joked, when is it not?) 😉

Big sighs and natural highs,

Natanya

25 for 25 update

25

In the past four months I’ve been able to check a few things off my list of 25 to dos. Progress! It’s lovely to keep track and build memories this way…

1. Teach a yoga class. Check. This is mandatory as a part of my yoga teacher training. Outcome? Super fun and invigorating. I can’t wait to teach again in a few weeks! I’ve got other classes in the works, some in Massachusetts and some in California (rafting and yoga anyone?)

2. Go on a legitimate vacation. Legitimate = beach. Currently working on this one… rumor is I’ll be in San Diego in December…

3. Bake something. Made some gluten free & vegan chocolate chip cookies. Recipe from my new cookbook frmo cupcake shop Babycakes. They were soooo tasty – I can’t wait to get back to the oven again soon. Good thing I’ve got friends with kitchens 😉

4. Raise a plant. Someone who left last term left a darling green thing in a black container in their room. I took it home and fed it some water. It seemed to like that. I think it’s a plant. And it’s been getting bigger and greener. Good sign? Methinks yes.

5. Meditate 21 minutes for 21 days. This was so much easier than I expected! I missed a couple days but still count the run successful because I jumped back on the wagon and kept going. Apparently I need a goal like this to stay on track because I’ve been really inconsistent since. I think I’ll start another 21 for 21 soon.

6. Design and complete a monthly challenge. These have been fun so far. Though I’ve had other things pulling my attention like life coaching training and yoga teacher training. March sort of slid by without a lot of attention and April was basically consumed with YTT training (15 hour days!). In may I’ll be back with more personal challenges. Its more for fun and the learning than accomplishment and that’s why I want to continue.

7. Learn a card trick. No dice. I’m targeting July for this one. Seems like a good thing to learn before heading to California. Gotta show people out there that I’ve been really busy at Kripalu right? 😉

8. Learn to juggle well. It would have been smart to practice this with Tom McDonnell, juggler extraordinaire while he was at Kripalu but it just didn’t happen. Not worried about it though. This will be perfect for summer when I’m not limited by obstacles like ceilings and walls.

9. Fall in love. My mantra all year has been: it’s on it’s way 🙂

10. Crochet a blanket. Nicole and I have plans to review the chevron pattern. Then we’re going to have crochet and knitting parties. We’re cool like that. Stitch ‘n bitch 4 lyfe!

11. Learn 3 new guitar songs. This has been difficult to accomplish without a guitar. Good thing I’ve got dibs on one that’s moving to the Berkshires with its owner in May! This might be the May challenge…but MAYbe not. Ha.

12. Read one book per week. I was actually on track with this until Coby challenged me not to read a single word for a month. That seemed more challenging than reading so I took her on. One of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. Back on the reading train though I lost the momentum of a book per week. Not sure yet if I really want to pick that back up. Looks like not.

13. Volunteer. On the books for May 1st. Bike Fest 2011!

14. Take daily outfit photos. This was supposed to be an experiment in style evolution and a recap of how many items I’ve collected for free. I think I was too scared to see myself documented that many times in a row. I still want to do this…eh. But I’m on the fence.

15. Define my style statement. I really wanted number 14 to help illuminate this one. So, maybe I should just go for it. No one has to see the photos but me right?

16. Get a typewriter. I’ve been scanning online in Massachusetts and Sacramento/Bay Area but with no luck as of yet. Anyone got any leads? I’ll type you a thank you of course!

17. Watch the Top 5 cult classic movies. Haven’t even defined the 5 yet. This will be perfect for a cozy fall or winter night though so I’ve got time. Plus, I’ve been engrossed in wonderful foreign films as of late. Thanks Alawi!

18. Find a signature perfume. I almost ordered one (smell unsmelt) until my dad happened to look at the reviews and questioned my judgment. Oh well, this can be postponed until the holiday season.(Although then I’ll probably end up with something that smells like cookies).

19. Start my novel. Tis far from well crafted. But it’s a start. And I bought books about writing. And I’ve decided to do NaNoWriMo for my November challenge. Both will help me get beyond the start…to the end. Or at least the middle.

20. Manifest a BIG juicy surprise. I thought I had this one checked off in March. And then April happened. Socks off big. I LOVE this manifestation stuff.

21. Write a pen-pal letter in French. Brought home my French workbook from Sacramento to work on this one. Voilà c’est tout.

22. Explore the Berkshires. Sorta happening. Adventures are being lined up now.

23. Accomplish scorpion pose. This is all about the core (as Jay explained to me one day) so I’m working on the core.  I’m giving myself until October.

24. Finish sketchbook. Haven’t made a scratch. Nearly forget I wrote this one down. Will probably make sketching a monthly challenge to get this one done.

25. Blog it all! I would love to make posts more consistent. I think I’ll spend some time thinking about how to prioritize getting posts published.

5 outta 25. Not bad for a quarter year. I’m so enjoying the process and loving that my to do list is so much fun.

Xoxo,

Natanya

March Challenge: Using the Emotional Freedom Technique…on everything!

This month, my challenge is to use EFT also known as Emotional Freedom Technique, Meridian Tapping, or just tapping, on EVERYTHING. Or nearly so.

EFT is a simple and effective way at unblocking the body’s energy flow through a combination of acupressure and psychology. The best explanation for EFT I’ve found comes from a friend of a friend of a friend’s website which you can view here. More information about EFT can be found on the website started by EFT’s founder, here.

Last month there was an EFT World Summit in which some of the top practitioners shared their insight. The results and feedback have been astounding. Everybody’s into it! Even Gala of galadarling.com has a fantastic list of tips from her experience with EFT. Find that list o’mania here.

I can’t explain enough how much EFT has helped me in the past and I am so excited for what’s going to shift this month with so much more moving energy.

Go on, no one’s watching…give it a try! Let me know what you think!

 

Xoxo,

Natanya

February Challenge: Hot Lips!!!

Red Lipstick:

Make-up for a change

As you may recall, for each month in 2011 I’m challenging myself to try something new that will push me to a new edge.

When I pondered on February’s challenge the month appeared red in my mind’s eye. After January’s food related challenge I wanted something completely different than the standard self-help routine that’s common in the yoga centered world.

Red I though…red…and then…Red lipstick!

Background: Yes, I was the kid that spent hours with a palette of eye shadow creating masterpiece after masterpiece…on my face. There must be a highly wired neuro-net  in my brain for this kind of thing. 😉

There’s just something about those red lips! How fun to have a whole month assigned to playing with this medium. Frivolous? Perhaps. For me, there’s something more…

Full disclosure: though I do wear make-up frequently, I never wear anything on my lips other than a good chapstick. Lipstick is a foreign country – entirely new territory and something I’ve always wanted to explore. Why, you ask? Well, think about it…what kind of woman wears red lipstick? In my mind this woman is so very lady like. Who could pull off something so bold? She has intrepidity and spunk.  This woman knows her limits and hold her boundaries fiercely. She takes care of her needs. She is well respected.

Who would I have to step into to make this look work for me? How would I behave differently? If it changes my actions, what else could it change? My thoughts? My mood? My relationships?! I’m so curious to find out!

And so: Day 1 – so far so good! Lots of compliments received.  I thought briefly of not reapplying it after lunch when I had to speak in front of 100 yoga teachers for work but I kept it on and I’m glad I did. I was conscious of my look the whole time but it was fun to be different and explore the feelings of “being seen” in a new way.  You might surmise that one who is on the path of revealing her “truer” self would want to remove the layers, including make-up. Yet, I have an intuitive hit that something can be revealed by stepping into an image that requires an extra dose of courage and sass. Oooh fun!!

Xoxo,

Natanya

*Photos by Jamie Beck in collaboration with What I Wore

25 for 25

25 for 25

  1. Teach a yoga class
  2. Go on a legitimate vacation
  3. Bake something
  4. Raise a plant
  5. Meditate 21 minutes for 21 days
  6. Design and complete a monthly challenge
  7. Learn a card trick
  8. Learn to juggle well
  9. Fall in love
  10. Crochet a blanket
  11. Learn 3 new songs for guitar
  12. Read a book per week
  13. Volunteer
  14. Take daily outfit photos
  15. Define my style statement
  16. Get a typewriter
  17. Watch the top 5 cult classic movies
  18. Find a signature perfume
  19. Start my novel
  20. Manifest a BIG juicy surprise
  21. Write a pen-pal letter in French
  22. Explore the Berkshires
  23. Accomplish scorpion pose
  24. Finish sketchbook
  25. Blog it all

 

2011 Preview…

2011 is set to be the best year of my life so far…that is not an overstatement.

Without a doubt there are adventures ahead, friends to be made, and more chances to find life surpassing all my preconceived expectations. Rather than create a list of resolutions, the idea of which makes me feel like I’m doing life wrong or under-par, I have created a list of 25 things to do for my 25th birthday (modeled loosely after Elise Blaha’s 25 @25 list). On this list are things that seem inevitable, things I’ve wanted to do for a while but haven’t found the motivation, things that feel nearly impossible, things that will stretch me beyond my comfort zone, things I think will add magic to my life, and things (all of them) that sound incredibly fun!

I plan on updating the blog as I accomplish each item and keeping a log of the progress. There’s something sweetly satisfying about checking things off a list and even though it would be easy to have a resolution to “Have more fun” this year, I love the idea of keeping a log and feeling accomplished when I do something from the list even if it’s just watching a movie. The idea isn’t perfection or to get it all done, but rather, to enjoy the process of self-discovery and building my ‘focus’ and ‘persistence’ muscles. 🙂

 

Happy New Year!

Natanya