Browsing articles in "self-care"

Another Afternoon of Art Journaling

Feb 13, 2012   //   by Yoga Lisa DC   //   Art Journaling, Blog, creativity, self-care  //  No Comments

the contents of my ephemora packet... a fun take-away from the workshop

I actually started writing this post as I sat in Philadelphia’s 30th Street train station waiting for my 8:35 train back to DC, yesterday. I arrived in Philadelphia Saturday for a day of fraternity brotherhood and yogic tranquility. Yesterday, I headed home early in the morning so I could add an afternoon of art journaling creative play led by Kimberly Wilson to my weekend activities.

Sunrise in Philly - Sunday, February 12

I’ve been excited about this weekend for weeks. I got to do lots of the things that I love in two days. And after last Saturday’s art journaling afternoon, I’m completely ready for this one. My bag of supplies was packed before I left for Philly. And I was ready to make a quick transition of bags at my apartment after arriving to head straight out to the workshop.

my spread - images, magazines, ephemora, and supplies

 

 

As always, Kimberly started the workshop with a brief explanation and background on art journaling and our first prompt was creating a background, since a blank page can often by a bit daunting to start with.

creating backgrounds - the first prompt

 

 

Like the last workshop,  I followed some of the prompts, but not all of the prompts. I created a few backgrounds, which I did work with.

more backgrounds - i was drawn to the lines and the colors in this one

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a while, I ended up in my own world piecing together inspiration. While I had sought out to only find inspiration about personal style, I also found inspiration in words about finding a healthy life and personal transformation. Some images I was just drawn to and so, I used them where they seemed to fit.

inspiration for finding my personal style

color and shape inspirations, plus some 2012 bucket list items, that seemed to fit in

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kimberly also prompted us to work with layering. There are various layering techniques. Some are as simple as adding the tags and writing on them or the card stock. Others are creating foldouts or inserting envelopes to create more private pages.  I was having fun playing with foldouts today.

inspiration for my personal style, using a layering technique

images and words that i was just drawn to, relating to transitions and a healthy life (the page on the left is the foldout page, folded in half)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also followed prompts on creating a self-care and gratitude list (not pictured) and my top ten (really 12, maybe even more takeaways). I used one of the backgrounds that I put in a few months ago for this top ten list.

Today’s workshop was a lot of fun as always. Some of my friends (Valerie and Christine) and fellow yoga teachers attended, which just made it that much more fun. And afterwards, Valerie and I went over to Cafe Green for a nice vegan/vegetarian late lunch.

It was a great afternoon of creative play and the perfect complement to Saturday’s exploration of tranquility. And it ended with an exchange of e-mail addresses, so that new friends could join in on our monthly scheduled afternoons of art journaling.

When was your last afternoon of creative play? When’s your next one? Mine will come in about 4 weeks and I’m pretty excited about it.

A little bit of retail therapy

Feb 9, 2012   //   by Yoga Lisa DC   //   Blog, self-care  //  No Comments

Every woman knows that there are those days when you just need a little bit of retail therapy to make everything perfect again. And truly, retail therapy isn’t all about shopping. It’s sometimes just about taking time away to spend with your friends or a few minutes out just for yourself.

Last Saturday was one of those days for me. My friend Alison and I headed down to Potomac Mills in Woodbridge, VA. We walked the Mills, making stops at H&M, Gymboree, and Ann Taylor, just to name a few. Here are some of the fruits of our retail therapy expedition and I’m quite happy to say, not all of these are for me.

my new chair from our stop at Ikea - so incredibly comfortable to knit, read, and watch TV in

new going out and work tops from Ann Taylor Factory Outlet

a fruitful trip to Banana Republic Outlet... so looking forward to lounging in this sweatshirt and the dress will be adorable for the office...

some more going out tops procured at H&M... maybe a top for some future alumni gatherings

i may have had a little too much fun in Gymboree... bright side, some of this will be saved for Christmas.

So, you could say, I had a just a little bit of fun shopping on Saturday. I don’t do it very often any more, but when I do, I have lots of fun. And besides, who can beat time out with the girls, sometimes that is the true “therapy” in retail therapy.

When was your last retail therapy trip? Have one planned sometime soon?

Another Afternoon of Art Journaling

Feb 6, 2012   //   by Yoga Lisa DC   //   Art Journaling, Blog, creativity, self-care  //  1 Comment

Saturday's art journaling workspace... a.k.a. a table at Starbucks

This last weekend was quite busy and quite fun. It involved a trip to Potomac Mills, an afternoon of art journaling, and a morning of knitting with the girls. After a morning of some retail therapy with Alison (check for a post later this week on that little expedition), I met up with Valerie for an afternoon of art journaling.  The girls are meeting up later this month and due to some scheduling conflicts I won’t be able to attend, so we set aside some time at the beginning of this month to catch up, tear some images, and do some journaling.

The afternoon was pretty icky, so it was nice to be seated inside with a cup of hot tea and good company. And unlike my last afternoon of art journaling, I was completely ready to get to work on pages. I tore some images and articles out of one magazine, but then, I started to put some pages together. Today, I was ready to find inspiration and start pulling a mis-mash of images collected from previous afternoons together. I found myself pulling together ideas of where i want to be, searching for my personal style, and reminding myself of some of my intentions for the year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a really fun afternoon. I expressed my creativity, caught up with a friend, and stayed warm on a cold and rainy Saturday. I even had an accessory consultation (check out my yogini’s knitting corner for the details). I really enjoy my mornings, afternoons, and evenings of creative play – knitting, art journaling, cooking. For this particular Saturday, it was a really nice way to spend the afternoon and I’m really looking forward to more afternoons of creative play coming up soon.

When was your last afternoon of creative play?

Evoking change… developing a daily practice

Jan 20, 2012   //   by Yoga Lisa DC   //   Blog, meditation, self-care, Yoga  //  No Comments

This last November, I was inspired to start making changes for what was left of 2011 and had begun setting my intentions for 2012. I am happy to say that as a result of that process, I have successfully been eating my veggies and fruits every day. Then in December, I committed to a 25-day Yogathon created by Teeg of Living in the (k)Now. I modified the requirements of her yogathon to fit into my life, while committing to change body, mind, and soul. My commitment was to:

- practice yoga everyday – at a minimum, 5 sun/moon salutations each day (mind)

my comfortable seat for meditation, I use a cushion too sometimes.

- develop a daily meditation practice – 5+ minutes of seated meditation each day (soul)

- eat healthier – 5 fruits/veggies each day, leveraging my November changes (body)

some of those veggies - a vegan pizza slice from Whole Food Foggy Bottom

I found that by changing my mindset of what it meant to do yoga everyday, it was a lot easier for me to commit to practicing everyday. I also found that by not requiring myself to do more than what works out to about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes of practice, that it became easier to build my home yoga practice. There were days that my body wanted more than the 5 sun salutations and I ended up practicing at home for a lot longer, sometimes 45 minutes or an hour even. There were also days where 5 sun salutations was exactly enough.

Through this “yogathon”, I also learned that I can sit and meditate without fidgeting. I would set the timer on my phone for 5 or 7 minutes the first couple days and when it would go off, I actually felt disappointed, I wanted to sit longer. So, then I increased the time 12, 15, 18 minutes and sometimes that even felt too short. I learned that I could sit, focus on my breath, and just be. It was amazing.

My preferred meditation was a Sanskrit mantra meditation, referred to as Soham or Hamsa. I would practice Soham during my yoga practice – inhale “so”, exhale “ham” (like hum), as I moved through my practice. And I applied a visual that one of my yoga teachers taught me, envision on “so” energy as a bright light moving down the spine, on “ham” see the light explode and leave the body in all directions. After I completed my practice, I would come to sit and practice the inverse – Hamsa, inhale “ham”, exhale “so”. I’d visualize the energy moving up the spine this time. In and of itself, this mantra is suggested to be the natural mantra. It is the natural sound of inhalation and exhalation. I think this is why it resonates so much with me.

These last 9 months, I had found that I was having a lot of trouble finding my practice again, after becoming a yoga teacher. I found this yogathon to be my way of coming back to my mat and my practice. And it was a nice bit of encouragement to help me develop a meditation practice. Although I do falter some days and my practice may not be exactly what’s expected, i’m learning to let that go and be happy that tomorrow is always a new day and another opportunity to come to my mat and meditation cushion.

Are there any daily practices that you have struggled with coming back to or have always wanted to develop? Are there any you “resolved” to start in 2012? What will you do to make it easier to keep them?

Another Afternoon of Art Journaling

Jan 18, 2012   //   by Yoga Lisa DC   //   Art Journaling, Blog, creativity, self-care  //  3 Comments

my workspace for this afternoon of creativity

This past weekend was another weekend full of creativity. I spent my Sunday morning knitting with the girls and then I spent my afternoon sharing in creativity and art journaling. I have to say, this weekend I didn’t do much journaling per se, but I did share in the creative energy.

me and Valerie (we've been meaning to get a pic of the two fo us for the last 6 months, so finally, we did!)

 

 

 

 

 

I met up with my some of my friends and fellow yogis – Valerie, Julie, Carol, and Rachel. And we were joined by Rachel’s friend Christina too. I spent the first couple hours we were at Teaism tearing out lots of images and phrases from magazines. I had been running low on pics and phrases, so this opportunity to collect more was exactly what I needed.

the table

a close-up of my workspace - yes, after i collected my images, I shared in the creativity by working on the baby blanket.

I had such a great time. I really enjoyed  sharing stories, getting to know these ladies even better, and being creative together. It was such a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon and a great way to spend the second third of my three-day weekend.

our collection of magazines

Have you shared creativity lately? When was the last time you enjoyed this kind of social time? Me – I’m can’t wait for my February creative gatherings and hoping to get a little creativity in every day until then.

My Mini-Anusara Immersion

Jan 6, 2012   //   by Yoga Lisa DC   //   Blog, self-care, Yoga  //  No Comments

One of my teachers frequently reminds us about the benefits of and need for making time for self-care. She even suggests that we each take time to go on a retreat – whether that be an afternoon alone wandering in the city, a formal planned retreat to some far off destination, or even a day trip up to NYC to sightsee and maybe take some yoga classes. Time away to help ignite your internal fire. Last week was just that for me. I took 4 yoga classes at my go-to yoga studio near the town I grew up in – Dancing Foot Yoga (“DFY”). DFY specializes mostly in the Anusara, Iyengar, and Kundalini styles of yoga. My week was a like a mini-Anusara immersion, since that was the style of all the classes that I took.

It was the jumpstart I needed after the incredibly busy last few months and before moving into the new year. I made the time for self-care, bought myself a 5 class pass, and made it to my mat 4 times while in NJ. And my favorite part of the entire experience was all that I learned from the wonderful teachers at DFY. Each teacher – Emily, Kat, and Regina – is Anusara-certified teachers and brings her own distinctive teaching voice into the studio.

I took two of Emily’s mixed level classes last week. Emily’s background includes practice in the Ashtanga tradition, in addition to her Anusara practice and training. Her practices were challenging to me from the sequencing to the application of alignment. I had fun playing with the flows and was definitely inspired to bring some of Emily’s simple creativity into my classes. My favorite sequence included a modified lunge twist (parivrtta prasvakonasana) transitioning to extended side angle pose (utthita parsvakonasana) transitioning to side plank (vasisthasana). It was a fun sequence to play with. In class, Emily reinforced the principles of keeping the side body long, inner body bright – allowing the heart to shine, and keeping the arm bones in the shoulder sockets along the back body. By my third day of taking classes last week, I was showing marked improvement in doing all three and although I get sore when doing my downward facing dogs (adho mukha svanasana) now, my alignment is improving greatly. And I picked up some new cuing, which helped me, and I hope that I can effectively bring into my classes to help guide my students.

Regina’s class on Friday also had a strong alignment focus. Regina started her class with a quote from Buddha about abandoning that which does not serve us (I really have to find the quote). She talked about samskaras (samskaras are patterns that we tend to repeat over and over in our lives). And in light of the upcoming new year, her focus was on letting go of the past and trying to break some of the patterns that may hold us back. The practice focused a lot on keeping our lower ribs in our back body, while keeping the heart open. I found it particularly hard at times to do this, as the natural inclination can be to puff out the lower ribs, but I did it. She taught us to sit straight up and down, rather than leaning forward. The class theme particularly resonated with me and I only wish I could remember more of her exact cues. And in our seated forward fold (paschimottanasana), Regina came over and taught me the “anusara” way to do it, breathing into the back body and incrementally folding deeper, keeping a yogi toe-lock and elbows out to the side. I think it has changed my seated forward fold forever.

In DC, I don’t take the opportunity very often to attend classes in meditation and there are very few opportunities to take classes in pranayama. So when I saw both on the DFY schedule, I made it a point to go and try them out. I went to a class called Hip Opening & Meditation taught by Kat. The class was really hip opening, pranayama, and meditation and I loved it. It was a complete change of pace from my normal practice. Our hip opening was akin to a yin practice in that we weren’t overly warm when we started and we held each asana for several breaths. After about 30 minutes of hip opening, Kat set us up to practice some pranayama. I had my first experiences with Viloma I and Viloma II breathing techniques. We practiced a little more before more pranayama and then a short seated meditation and savasana. On Friday, I stayed after Regina’s class for Kat’s pranayama class. It was 30 minutes of just pranayama. We did some of the same techniques that we did on Tuesday, including some nadi shodhana (alternate nostril breathing). I am so happy that I took these classes. I am excited to try to bring the new breathing techniques that I learned into the classes I teach. It will be challenging myself as a teacher, something that I definitely need to do more often.

I really enjoyed my mini-Anusara immersion. I learned so much – refinements to alignment, new breathing techniques, and new ways to explore how to let go. Now, time to implement what I learned in my teaching and personal practice (and maybe find an Anusara class that I can take to help supplement my vinyasa practice).

When was the last time you went on a retreat or made time for self-care? Did it reignite a fire within you or give you a much needed jumpstart? When are you going to have that time again?

Intentions for a new year…

Jan 2, 2012   //   by Yoga Lisa DC   //   Blog, creativity, self-care  //  3 Comments

Cheers to new beginnings! Happy 2012!

I made the decision towards the end of 2011 that I wouldn’t make any new year’s resolutions. I decided that instead I would set intentions for the new year. Intentions of things that I would do or strive to do throughout the new year, rather than things that I resolve to do. My intentions span all areas of my life – work, yoga, family, life. So here goes, in 2012, I intend to:

  • be present
  • be kind
  • let be and let go
  • smile
  • laugh and laugh at myself
  • not take myself so seriously
  • live
  • love and be loved
  • have fun
  • attend yoga classes and/or practice yoga at home at least 4 times a week
  • eat 5 fruits and veggies a day
  • be compassionate towards myself and others
  • pay off all non-mortgage debt
  • set long-term goals for my careers in accounting and yoga
  • pen two or three blog posts every week
  • complete my thesis for my 500-hour certification – Yoga & Knitting: an exploration of mindfulness, meditation, & creativity
  • visit my family in NJ as often as I can
  • take care of myself
  • fail, as failure plants the seeds for success
  • grow up
  • grow old gracefully
  • be my authentic self
  • embrace my creative side
  • continue to knit and art journal regularly with my friends
  • break the patterns that do not serve me
These intentions are not in any particular order. This list will grow and evolve throughout the year. Some of these intentions are goals with tangible end results and steps to achieve. Some of these are attitudes for me to embrace. And some of these are reminders. My intentions are never fixed and while the “goal-orientated” intentions may come off the list over the year, many of these will stay on the list indefinitely. I look forward to continuing to look back at these intentions and see how they evolve over the next twelve months.
And these are only my intentions. Check out the intentions of some of my friends: YogaTwistOnLife and Adventures in Vegetarianism.
Did you set any intentions or resolutions for the upcoming year?

Another Afternoon of Art Journaling

Dec 12, 2011   //   by Yoga Lisa DC   //   Art Journaling, Blog, creativity, self-care, writing  //  No Comments

the finished cover of my 2012 planner pad

I spent today enjoying a lot of creative energy with two artist dates – art journaling and knitting – and my bi-monthly book club meeting. (Check out upcoming posts this week to hear more about the knitting circle and book club meeting – The Four Agreements.) After a morning of knitting followed by a much needed manicure, I headed into the Penn Quarter to meet up with some friends and fellow yoginis at Teaism to art journal.

Jessica, Julie, Valerie, & Julia

Danielle, me, & Hilary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

we really spread out at the Teaism in Penn Quarter. (this is completely normal for us.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also delivered Julia's new scarf to her. Here she's modeling it doubled.

We settled in, spread out, and got to work. As usual, we each did what worked for us. There were images collected for future use, creations of 2012 inspiration pages, and lots of catching up. Me? This afternoon, I spent my time decorating the cover of my 2012 planner pad with inspiring words and images. (I’ve left the back to be done sometime in 2012.) I “laminated” it with clear contact paper, so it should be able to withstand getting beat up in my purse over the course of the next 13 months.

As always, I had a great time. But then again, it’s hard not to, when the your afternoon is filled with great company and good conversation.  And before we left, we picked dates (to be confirmed) for our first couple get togethers in the new year. It was a great way to spend the afternoon.

When was the last time you shared inspiration and creativity? Have you found your inspirations for the year ahead?

Letting my hair down…

Nov 5, 2011   //   by Yoga Lisa DC   //   Blog, self-care  //  No Comments

fall 2011 - me and my favorite hat, which sparked letting my hair down again

As we move into November, the leaves are changing and falling off the trees, snow is beginning to fall in many areas of the country, and I decided it was time to let my hair down, again. It’s funny though. I thought that I was only wearing my hair down, because I love my new pink hat (I do love my new blue one too, but I’ve been wearing the pink one a lot to work on these cold autumn mornings) and it looks so much cuter when my hair is down. But really, this change goes a bit deeper than that.

the librarian hairdo back in 2008

This isn’t the first time that I’ve started to wear my hair down. In January of 2009, I made the decision to get my hair cut so that I could wear it down, which was a huge change from the “librarian” look that I’d gone with for the previous 4 or 5 years (yeah, it had been a while). Changing my hair style after so long was not just about getting a new look, it signified letting go and being open to something new. So now, nearly 2 years later, I’m right back where I started. In some ways, I’m in a different place in my life, but in others, I’m not. I’m still on a journey that has taken me over hills, through valleys, into rivers, and over rocks. I’m figuring out more and more where I want to end up and on the path to identifying how to get there. And again, I’ve let some things go and I’m open to the new adventures along the way.

in early 2009, when I first decided to "let my hair down"

It’s funny how a change of hair style, a new wardrobe, or moving into a new place can help you feel as if you have a fresh start. It can almost be like you are a new person. And although the changes aren’t big, these small changes lay the groundwork for being open to bigger things on the journey. I’m looking forward to seeing where this fresh start takes me, who knows who or what will come along as the journey continues, but it really doesn’t matter, because I’m ready for it.

When was the last time you made a fresh start? How did that start happen? Are you ready for whatever comes along as your journey continues?

Finding balance…

Oct 26, 2011   //   by Yoga Lisa DC   //   Blog, self-care, Yoga  //  No Comments

copyright: http://www.ou.edu/ouija/jugglingtricks.htm

A few times before I’ve mentioned here that I’ve been seeking balance between work, life, and yoga (yes, for me, the scale has more than 2 sides, so maybe it’s more like juggling). It’s a challenge that I’ve been facing, since I began to teach yoga. As a new teacher, and I’ve been told that even with more experience, it can be hard to find a balance between your yoga teaching practice and your personal practice. Before I embarked on my teacher training journey, I was in the studio 5 or 6 days a week. There were even some days that I would double-up and take two classes back-to-back. When I started my training and then began to teach, I found it harder and harder to come to my own mat and I’m continuing to work on coming back with more consistency.

This week I made a change to help me find balance. For the last 7 months, I had been a teaching assistant in one of my favorite yoga classes. I used to take the yoga 2 every Monday night, but when I started to assist it, my options changed: the earlier class – the 5:30 – which I’m not always able to make it to or the 8:45, which I tried for a few weeks and realized it was just too late for me. I also began teaching regularly at the studio (3 classes that I absolutely love teaching). Life has also picked up (hanging out with friends, visiting family, finding time for baking, knitting, art journaling, etc.), so even the few days that were completely open for my practice began to disappear.

So, this week, I made a change. I made the difficult decision to stop assisting the yoga 2 on Mondays to assist a class on Wednesday nights (which I’m thrilled about and is such a great opportunity). The change reduces my teaching and assisting commitment to 2 days a week and frees up my Mondays for my personal practice – at whatever time I would like. The change was an important step for me in a never-ending journey to balance all the important aspects of the bigger picture – work, life, and yoga. I’m excited to see how this change helps me on this journey and what other changes I might start to make as a result. How often will I practice? Will the time of my practice change (maybe I’ll make a 6:45 AM class once a week)? And how will all the changes impact me overall? Will I feel different? I’m excited to see and over time write more about my journey to find balance.

What have you done in your life to find balance? What changes have you made in order to align work, life, and other things with your current priorities?

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About Lisa

Auntie to two adorable little boys and a beautiful little girl. Sister. Friend. Yogini. Yoga teacher. Accountant. Knitter. Amateur photographer. Very amateur golfer.

Where to Find Lisa

Wednesdays, 8:30 p.m.
Yoga 1 (1 hour)*
Tranquil Space Arlington

Thursdays, 5:30 p.m. Yoga On-the-Go*
Thursdays, 7:00 p.m. Yoga 1*
Tranquil Space Arlington

Substitute Teach, As Needed*
Tranquil Space Arlington and Dupont

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