From the day I was born, I was in constant motion. My mom was pretty much in shock dealing with me as a baby after my older sister. She sat still and was content reading a book or anything that required staying in one spot. I was the polar opposite. I am often reminded of the way I maneuvered my walker before I officially could run and walk on my own. I would get a running start and then roll back and forth down the hallway crashing into the wall and exploding into laughter. I am assuming that may be the reason the hardwood floors were eventually covered by wall to wall carpeting throughout the house.
Growing up, movement continued to be what I lived for. I was rarely sitting and when I was, it was usually because I was forced to do so. I had no problem sitting in school as I had the fear of death that one wrong move would cause the teacher to write me off forever. The perfectionist in me outweighed the need to move during school. I found ways though, very annoying ways to move even when I was seated. If you have ever had the delight of sitting near me, you have noticed one of my legs is typically shaking or moving. I actually had a girl in college turn around and tell me how annoying I was and then get up and move to another spot. Honestly, I don’t even notice that I am doing it. I am just programmed to move. Always.
So, as a yoga teacher, I can very much appreciate the power of stillness. Am I good at this stillness thing? Well, it’s a ‘practice,’ right? Let’s begin with my very first experience with yoga. I was in college. I decided to try this whole yoga trend out and see what it was really about. I went to a class at my local gym. I took a spot in the very back of the room. The class began, and it was slow. Too slow. Way too slow. My mind was making up for the lack of movement in my body and would not shut off. At that time in my life, the focus of any physical activity was to burn calories. There was no way in hell then that this was doing any good to my body I decided. I left the class on edge and swore I would never do yoga again.
Isn’t it crazy how things go in life? Here I am, over 10 years later, teaching yoga, practicing yoga, something I completely wrote off. What changed? A lot, that’s what. Life became very stressful and almost too much to handle. My mind became just as constantly active as my body and I desperately needed something to TURN IT OFF. Years and years of striving for perfection had left me completely exhausted. That’s how yoga became a part of my life. That’s how I was able to find balance, acceptance, patience, peace within.
But there is still the “M” word that I find to be a struggle. You know, the “M” word: meditation. Read the word again. Does it make you uncomfortable just uttering the word? I can appreciate and understand that. As I mentioned earlier, it’s a practice. When we think of meditating, we may have some picture in our head of someone sitting with the backdrop of a beautiful ocean scene, the wind softly blowing as candles are lit nearby. Maybe we picture a Buddhist monk. At any rate, meditation seems to be something out there, not within reach. It doesn’t seem ideal or comfortable.
Well, let me tell you something you need to hear. Sometimes, you have to just sit down and shut up. That’s all it is. Get quiet. Be still. It doesn’t have to involve candles or burning incense. It doesn’t have to be in a special room or on a special pillow. Just sit down, close your eyes and breathe. I can’t begin to tell you the benefits of doing this just for a few minutes a day. I think we put pressure on ourselves from the beginning that if we do something, then we have to do it perfectly. So, if we know we will never be able to find time to sit quietly for fifteen minutes a day, then we quit before we even get a chance to start.
As I mentioned, sitting still has never been my forte. I still struggle with finding time to just sit and be calm. Some days, it’s a matter of sitting down in the shower and closing my eyes right there. I try to shut everything off for a few minutes while enjoying the warm water. If that’s what it is, then that’s what it is. If you can find even just a minute, then take it. All you have to do is sit down and shut up.
For more on Meditation, Click Here.
If you are trying to rush out the door in the morning and need an easy grab and go breakfast that will fuel you, then smoothies are amazing. Perhaps you would like an extra moment or two of calm and quiet in the morning. My favorite green smoothie will help get you fueled and energized for the day!
My Favorite Green Smoothie
2 handfuls of baby spinach
1 1/2 frozen bananas
2 frozen strawberries (if you don’t mind your smoothie being a bit brown, feel free to add more!)
1/2 T shredded coconut
1/2 T Chia seeds
Dash of Turmeric powder*
1 cup water
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1. Put ingredients into container based on the needs of your blender. I put spinach in first and then add banana and strawberries. I then add coconut, Chia seeds and Turmeric.
2. Add water and almond milk. (if you like a thicker smoothie, adjust by adding less liquid to the mix.)
3. Blend well until smooth.
* Why Turmeric? Turmeric is an amazing spice! I don’t really care for the flavor so I add a bit to my smoothie each day to get the benefits. Read more here!