Restorative Yoga + Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea “Latte”

Does it get any better?

Restorative yoga and pumpkins and chai.  Not to mention cool crisp air, a changing sunset in the leaves, scarves, rainy days in, candles… All of these things represent one word for me: Fall.  My absolute favorite season.  For whatever reason it has become more of a “New Years” to me than the day itself.

It’s a chance for me to start over.  Or in yoga terms, to set my intentions.  It’s the kick off of the holidays — of time with family. Generally my only resolution is to soak it all in.  To experience the Harvest Festivals, pumpkin carving, decorating for Halloween, and to be truly thankful.

Restorative Yoga is a wonderful way to soak it all in.  I’ve been teaching my Slow Flow/Restorative class at Yoga Revolution since July.  For the past two weeks, it finally feels “right.”  Now when I teach, it’s dark outside, rather than the sun blaring through the windows.  It’s cool outside when I arrive.  Walking into a warm, post-hot yoga studio is so inviting.

It’s not just the atmosphere of the studio either.  It is as if my students are giving off this vibe that they are finally ready to relax.  There is less fidgeting and more calm in each of their poses.

If you’ve never been to a full restorative class, you should probably make it a goal.  They are wonderful classes to help you rest, relax, and renew.

In the mean time here are 3 steps to help you kick off a more relaxing Fall season:

1. Light candle. Preferably pumpkin spice, vanilla or apple cinnamon.

2. Do Slow Flow/Restorative Practice below.

3.  Make Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea Latte below.

 

Advertisements

Gentle, Reflective Resolutions

restorative 2
Inward, gentle, self-reflection. In yoga philosophy it referred to as Svadhyaya or self-study. Of all the Yamas and Niyamas (the yoga dos and don’ts) it’s probably the one I most easily follow.

I’m a natural at Svadhyaya, but not at gentle. My self-study, pre yoga, has mostly been critical and harsh. Self-bashing to the point of loathing. But, somehow (by the grace of Jesus? Yoga? Maturation?) my self-reflection has shifted toward gentle, soft, nurturing. It’s such a relief too, because I can be really hard on myself.

This time of year, being close to the hubbub of resolutions and all, I am turning inward again. I find myself reflecting on where I am in life, my goals, my shortcomings and my blessings.  I guess, in a way, I’ve been making some early New Years’ resolutions.

  1. To be more active and spend more time in nature. <–This is the gentle version of what I would have resolved in the past. I currently don’t feel well in my body. Part of that is lack of physical activity. But instead of resolving to unrealistically change my body, or adhere to some ridiculous amount of calories burned each day, I’m going to leave it at this. Move my body, preferably outside!
  2. Refine my morning routine. <–After doing a lot of nurturing, self-study, I’ve come to the conclusion that, for my sanity, my morning routine could be a little more disciplined. Now that I work a day job, my mornings are sacred. There is A LOT I want and need to accomplish in a morning. I’m blessed to work just part time so this can happen, but even still, I’ve been a bit of a lazy worker ant in this department. (While being gentle, I still need to be honest) My goal is to wake up earlier (which also means going to bed earlier, yikes!), do my yoga first thing, move my body a little more (outside), stick with my daily chores/upkeep and make sure to carve out one on one time with my daughter.
  3. Live, love, laugh, be thankful, be bold and be kind. I want to embrace Christ’s heart. I know it beats inside me, but I know I don’t always show it.

If you’re not a natural at self-study, like me, resolutions can be a great place to start. Take some time to reflect on your life. Your day to day activities, how you interact with others, larger goals, etc. Base your resolutions on these observations. Be realistic, fair, gentle and nurturing.

If you struggle with negative thoughts toward yourself, being no expert, the only tip I can pass on is to be mindful of your thoughts. Watch your thoughts, pay attention to what you’re thinking and then actively attempt to change it to something more positive. Or maybe you really do need some self-constructive criticism. How can you talk to yourself more softly? How would you treat yourself if you were a small child? Be nice.

Make yoga and reflection a part of your New Years Eve celebration! Join me on New Year’s Eve, December 31 from 6:00-7:30 p.m. for a Reflective Restorative Practice.

signiture copy copy