Eight years ago, before I really learned how to nurture myself, I was convinced for a while that slowing down might break me. When I got home at the end of a long day, I was often so tired that all I wanted to do was flop on the couch, but as soon as I did, I felt restless and anxious. As soon as I closed my eyes to meditate, I’d either break into tears or a cold sweat. For the life of me, I couldn’t lure my body into a full night’s sleep.
I sometimes see this in clients a
After what feels like weeks upon weeks of rain, the sun has finally emerged here in Chapel Hill. The past few days have been beautiful, balmy, and nearly 90 degrees, and after being in a bit of a funk, the lure of light is irresistible. My yoga mat has a few bits of fresh bark ground into it from practicing on the porch, and I’ve got a funny tan on my lower legs from wearing my capris for meditation in the sun.
In honor of one of my favorite outdoor yoga seasons, I’m off
I'm not too worried about how yoga poses look. I'm interested in how they feel. During a yoga class some years ago, I was practicing a warrior pose and experimenting with how different it felt to shift my weight from the inside of my foot to the outside. Suddenly I noticed the teacher by my side. She looked me up and down for a moment and then asked me to, “Suck in your stomach.”
Even though she couldn’t see it, my core was active. But in an attempt to be a “good” y
The first time I watched a video of myself teaching yoga, I had to take a time out. Even though I knew the lighting wasn’t quite right and I was wearing a boxy shirt that didn’t move properly and had sweat marks from the humidity and sunshine, the way I saw my body shook me. I’d taught yoga hundreds of times in this body, but I hardly recognized it on screen.
After uttering a loong “oooooooof,” I excused myself from the video my friend and I were reviewing together, and sa
Last month I wrote about lowering your standards so self care is an invitation, not an obligation. For example, rather than resisting an hour of yoga, offer yourself one pose. If more happens after that one pose, awesome! If it doesn’t, you’ve still practiced.
The purpose in lowering standards is to offer yourself an invitation to self care that’s easy to say “yes” to. The more often you accept that invitation, the sooner you’ll find yourself with a steady habit that can g
This past year, I’ve been grieving. Grief can be an alarmingly unpredictable thing, swinging you perilously between panic, numbness, stomach-turning sadness, and peace, sometimes within the course of a day, an hour, even a minute.
And oh boy, the tears.
We have a difficult time with tears in our culture, don’t we?
There are times, of course, when crying is inconvenient or feels inappropriate. There are other times when crying is thoroughly inescapable and you hav
The summer before I started yoga teacher training, I aggravated an old running injury and found myself with continuous knee pain. Most movement and even some sitting and lying positions hurt.
So nearly every evening that summer, I showed up to my yoga mat with the same intention: to be gentle. I chanted it to myself before every sun salutation, every forward bend, every hip opener, every last movement: “Be gentle.” If any hint of pain or tweaking arose, I would again finel
Americans are big fans of ambition and productivity. We work long hours, wear “busyness as a badge of honor,” and set New Year’s resolutions designed to take us from non-runners to marathoners in a flash.
This can lead to advances in science, humanitarian contributions that help the world become a better place, and professional success.
When it comes to lifestyle change, however, we can feel as though we’ve failed if we fall short of our high expectations.
I want to share a loving reminder with you that's been on my mind: You haven’t failed at self care, body positivity, or anything else, if your relationship with your body is on the rocks at the moment.
There are just some days when loving your body is too tall an order. Sometimes you’re in deep physical pain or you’re thoroughly exhausted. Or your inner critic may be on a bender, shaking her fists and shouting judgments that are so high-pitched you can’t hear over them. Or
Recently, I came across a box of some of my many old journals. The last time I stumbled upon them, I found some embarrassing relics of my past, including a love letter to New Kids on the Block and a photo of my face pasted onto a model posing with Chris O’Donnell.
This time, I found a notebook of mostly tables and numbers. I flipped through a couple of pages before I recognized it as one of my old “health tracking” notebooks.
From high school through public health grad