1.26.2016

My Yoga Routine

Hello Everyone! It's pouring down snow here in North Carolina, so I thought I would write this post while I'm stuck inside! As you know from my previous post, I would like to practice yoga on a more regular basis in the new year. This means having a more set routine to do either in the morning or at night. Typically it will take me between 25-35 minutes to do a full routine, but depending on how I feel, it can be very short or extremely long. Regardless of how long my yoga session lasts, it is a great workout and is amazing for your flexibility. Not only does it keep you physically fit, but it helps with stress and your mental health as well! Yoga is an extremely calming and entertaining way to exercise, and I highly recommend it.

In this video I go over my typical routine, and some tips and pointers for the beginning yogi!


Remember that your poses don't have to be perfect, and it's okay if you mess up. When I first started doing yoga, I could barely balance on one foot! Although I still am shaky, I have improved greatly since I started. 

Another tip I have is to clear your mind while you are doing yoga. This is what helps relieve stress for me. Whenever my mind wanders, I focus on my breathing or some music that I have playing in the background. You can listen to my yoga playlist here!

Personally, my favorite pose is the standing bow pose. It is difficult to do if you have bad balance, but the more you practice it, the easier it gets! To do this pose, you balance on one foot and pull the other foot closer to your body. I recommend balancing on your dominant foot because it makes it so much easier! While you are grabbing your foot, stick your other hand out in front of you and lean forward while lifting your leg up. As I mentioned previously, this pose can be hard, but it is well worth trying! It is great for strengthening your balance, and it stretches your thigh muscles!


Another pose that I am fond of is the tree pose! It is also based in balance, but it is much easier in comparison to the standing bow pose. You begin by lifting one leg and setting it on your still-standing leg. Again, I recommend standing on your dominant leg, because it makes it a thousand times easier! Then, just try to remain balanced, and enjoy! This pose strengthens your legs and improves your balance, and also is a great pose to use for relaxing and clearing your head in.


The downward dog is arguably the most well-known pose in yoga, as it is the basis for so many different poses. I use it frequently, and it is fairly easy to do. You begin by placing both of your hands on the ground and straightening your legs. Then, you bring the upper half of your body closer to your legs until you form a triangle. Try to keep your feet flat against the floor, but it's okay if you can't do this. With practice, you will improve!


I hope you found this post helpful if you are trying to add a little yoga to your life, and stay safe if you're stuck in snow!

XOXO,
Sadie

1.16.2016

Updated Philosophies + New Years Resolutions

Hello everyone, and happy 2016! I hope that the new year has treated you well, and that you enjoyed your holiday break! In today's post, I'm going to discuss some of the lessons that the previous year has taught me and talk about my personal goals for the year to come. 2015 was a very stressful and busy year for me, as well as a period of learning and personal growth. It definitely had several ups and downs, but all in all, it taught me invaluable lessons that I know will be useful in 2016.

LESSON ONE: IT IS WHAT IT IS


As someone who dwells on the past and my past mistakes, this is a very hard philosophy to wrap my head around and practice. I will often find myself worrying about my previous decisions and running the situations through my mind, thinking "what if?". This question constantly plagues me because from the present moment that I am in, I have no power and jurisdiction over my past self's thoughts and actions. It keeps me from moving forward and enjoying the current moment that I am blessed with. Instead of living in the past, we should learn from it. This allows for personal growth and improvement, rather than trapping yourself in a cycle of reliving your memories. I still haven't fully learned this lesson, and I still struggle with letting things go. However, I know that if I wish to move forward in life, I need to accept the reality that is given and remember that it is what it is. 

LESSON TWO: BE YOURSELF


One of my biggest mistakes of 2015 was trying to fit in and be someone that I wasn't. This caused me quite a bit of frustration because no matter how hard I tried, I was unable to fully become that perfect human being: I still laughed too loud and rambled on when I spoke and cared about other people's opinions. I thought that if I fit in, I would be confident and happy and everyone would like me. I eventually realized that perfection doesn't exist, but beauty does. Simply existing and living in my own skin rather than attempting to be someone else was the most beautiful thing that I could do. After I adopted this philosophy, I noticed that there were other real people who shared my passions and enjoyed my company, even when I wasn't trying to be someone else. I attracted the people that were right for me and they are now my best friends. The simple choice to be myself not only completely changed who my friends were, but also bettered my quality of life and made me happier. My point is, let yourself be the masterpiece that you were born to be, and enjoy the many wonderful consequences that will follow.

LESSON THREE: THIS, TOO, SHALL PASS


I've always been fascinated with the Buddhist outlook on impermanence. One of the main aspects of their religion is the belief that everything- good and bad- is in a constant state of change. They will even create beautiful and complex sand mandalas before destroying them to represent the fluidity of life and its short-lived nature (see a video of the creation and destruction of a sand mandala). This, however, is a double-edged sword. It is quite easy to apply this philosophy when you're struggling, but when life is going well, we tend to not think about how good times end, too. I often forget that happiness cannot come without the expense of sadness, and eventually the high of joy will be replaced with the low of sadness. This may sound depressing, but it is a reality that we all have to deal with. I'm still learning how to accept this truth, and I know that I have a lot of  ups and downs ahead to help me learn this lesson.

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With these philosophies in mind, let's take a look at some of my personal goals for 2016! I try to stick to realistic resolutions, because I have a bad habit of giving up on them within the first month. I picked five goals that will better me as a person and allow for my personal growth and improvement.

LEARN GERMAN


As someone who plans to study abroad sometime during my school career, this goal is very crucial and critical. I've attempted this goal in previous years, but I always fall short and give up. To keep myself from falling out this year, I am using an app called duolingo. Not only can you learn German, but you can choose from a wide range of other languages, too! It's a great way to start learning a new language for the new year!

PRACTICE YOGA FREQUENTLY



I often do yoga in times of stress and frustration, but I would love to continue this practice into my happier times as well. I've found that yoga helps me relax and is a great way to get some exercise! I was lucky enough to get a book on this goal called Wanderlust. I absolutely love the message and tips that it provides, and I would highly recommend it if you want to add the practice of yoga to your life.

KEEP A JOURNAL



I've had this goal in my past resolutions, and I struggle with keeping it throughout the entire year. On dull days, I often don't want to write in my journal, but in 2016 I hope to write every single day. Writing stimulates your creativity, and you also are creating a memoir of your current year. I always enjoy going back and rereading my entries and reflecting on the lessons I learned and the fun times that I had. The journal that I'm using for 2016 is a beautiful notebook from Rifle Paper Co. I recommend all of their journals, but my current favorite can be found here.

CREATE MORE ART



I am a firm believer in the creation of art. I always enjoy stimulating my creativity, whether it be by drawing, painting, or even coloring! Coloring books are currently popular, so you can find them nearly anywhere. I personally love how calming it is to sit down and color! One of my favorites is a Van Gogh Coloring Book that I received for Christmas! It's a perfect use of your free time on the weekends, plus, you get to create your own masterpieces that you can keep and even hang up!

CUT DOWN ON STRESS



Stress is something we all have to deal with, whether it be because of school, work, friends, or even family. However, I tend to over-stress, which is something that I would like to change in the new year. I hope that the practice of meditation will help me remain calm when life throws me troubles. Another way to de-stress is to get more sleep and eat a healthier diet, because both of these factors increase your day to day happiness. I hope that being mindful and aware combined with using meditation practices helps me cut down on my stress.

What are your new years resolutions? Tell me on Instagram!

XOXO,
Sadie