This breath is on fire

What up! I felt compelled to share a post that I wrote for a class blog several months ago. It’s all about cultivating inner peace in an often chaotic world. Check it out:

Living a spiritual life in a material world means interpreting and experiencing stress, fear, and chaos in a new way. When we feel anxious about the turmoil in our lives, regardless of the level of intensity of that turmoil, we have the power to choose another way to live, to choose another way to view that turmoil. Instead of letting the turmoil drive us to engage in destructive behaviors (anesthetizing our emotions with food, booze, acting out, sex, etc), we can choose another way. Fortunately, we can turn to ancient spiritual technologies, such as Kundalini Yoga, to help us feel inner peace at all times, even in times of turmoil.

Kundalini Yoga is a “scientific technology for happiness.” When we practice the meditations and mantras of Kundalini, our brains change. Our neural pathways literally change so that we cultivate the capacity to “experience each day with increasing inspiration and joy.” While all of this Kundalini stuff sounds a little trippy, Kundalini is a very simple practice. For example, Breath of Fire, a foundational breath technique in Kundalini, is a pretty easy technology to use, but one that yields MANY benefits.

kundalini-yogis-meditatingBreath of Fire is done by inhaling and exhaling rapidly through the nose while pumping the navel in (on the exhale) and out (on the inhale). This breath is done through the nose with the mouth closed. Regularly practicing Breath of Fire regulates the pituitary gland, which is associated with blood pressure, sex hormones, and metabolism. The rapidness of this breath generates so much heat in our bodies that we release toxins and deposits in the lungs, mucous linings, and blood vessels and cells. Mental benefits of Breath of Fire include feelings of regaining control, feelings of groundedness, clearer and calmer thoughts, and inner peace. A regular Breath of Fire practice can help us see that there is another way to live, to think, to act. We can lean into the idea that we can change our experience of the turmoil in our lives simply by breathing in a certain way.

gabby-meditating-on-street1To put this breath technique into practice, try a Kundalini meditation called Ego Eradicator. Gabrielle Bernstein, my meditation and spiritual guru (she’s freaking awesome), promotes Ego Eradicator as a way to unblock stress and let life flow. I’ve done a 40-day practice of doing Ego Eradicator every morning for 3-5 minutes and while I was often frustrated by having to breath rapidly every morning, I felt my sinuses clear and my mind get quiet. Practicing Breath of Fire with Ego Eradicator is SUCH an easy way to live the spiritual life in a material world.

I graduated! (again)

Man oh man has this blog been with me for a while. This past weekend of graduation festivities (yeah I have my Master’s now, what what!) inspired me to revisit the early years of College Kid Yoga, particularly a post that I wrote only minutes before I graduated from undergrad. Check out the post, Pre-Grad Yoga Pics!

While I didn’t do any yoga before my ceremony this weekend (I was making/eating a breakfast of Cake Batter pancakes with my fam), I did attempt to reenact the pics I took about this time three years ago.

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Photo on 2014-05-10 at 08.57

Gorgeous, right? (that is not right). But I was feeling sentimental (shock) and wanted to document myself before I officially graduated, just as I had years before.

Also, I think my inner sense of relief and elation radiates in these pics. Relieved and elated; what every graduate must feel!

More food on my face and just for this weekend, okay?

Currently writing this while a mixture of egg and raw honey dry on my face. According to bad-ass Alexis Wolfer (also the woman who I wish was my big sister), this DIY face mask can treat breakouts. Raw honey (the creamy, somewhat expensive stuff) contains antibacterial and hydrating properties that cleanse the skin without drying it out. Egg white tightens skin (I feel my skin tightening this very moment!). And the fat and cholesterol in the yolk reduce the appearance of acne scars. What the what? Check out the full recipe here!

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My skin has taken a beating this semester (this entire year, actually). The massive amount of stress I felt manifested itself on my skin. This is new territory for me. I’ve never really had trouble with my skin and for the past several months, I’ve been breaking out almost every day. Alexis Wolfer’s brain children have helped me focus on not only treating my skin very gently with stuff I already put in my body, but also having fun with skin care. We can all use more fun in our lives, right?

The stress from the past two semesters has also manifested itself in my relationship to food (duh. i talk about that sh*t all the time here)…and subsequently, on my body. While the way I view food and my body has certainly improved, I still have many moments where I ashamed of and frustrated with my body. Consequently, I also have many moments where I obsess about food (am i hungry? should i eat that when i already ate that other thing earlier today? am i really hungry? WTF is wrong with you, sarah!?!?). Slow your roll, girly. In those moments, I dig deep and force gentler thoughts into my brain (the irony there is not lost on me). I stop my dark and reeling thoughts. I DO something-breathe, take a walk/run, call someone, drink water, have a 5-min dance party, so many things.

very recent example: Today, when I freaked out about how I looked in my graduation outfit (um yeah i’m graduating. hollaaaa!) and then obsessed about whether I was hungry and should eat dinner, and why the f*ck I can’t just feel peaceful and normal about food and my body, I made a big decision. What if I just committed to being peaceful around food and my body for the next three days? The next three days are celebratory; full of being surrounded by family and friends, taking pictures, recognizing accomplishments, and of course, eating food. I don’t want to miss out on any moment of the next three days because I’m obsessing about how I look in my clothes or what I’m going to eat. I want to welcome my family, show them around the city, acknowledging the fact that I finished my freakin’ Master’s, take pictures with friends, and feel excited about everything. There will be no room for body hate or preoccupation with food.

Making this weekend commitment is keeping me calm. I don’t need to worry about feeling crazy around food/my body for the rest of my life. All I need to do is strive for peace in that area for the next three days. For the weekend, I will relax about this stuff. And I will be present with the people around me. Just for the next three days. I can worry about forever later. But this weekend, a very exciting and special weekend, I’m just going to act as if I feel normal and peaceful about my body and food.

DIY facials help. Mediating helps. Iggy Azalea and Madonna help. Yoga helps. So, so many things can help us regain our sanity and focus on the sh*t that we actually want to experience in our lives.

I’m starting to believe that American women’s obsession with thinness is a patriarchal rouse to distract us from doing real sh*t, from living our dreams so that we don’t become too powerful. Thoughts?

Food on my face

When I do a Beauty Bean mask, I tend to repeat the words “food on my face” to the tune of Miley’s J’s on my feet. I’m cool.

Greek yogurt and raw honey have donned my face today. It’s a soft and sweet combination that tightens and exfoliates the skin. And putting food on your face is fun. Try it!

Post-yoga facial mask pic:

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If you’re looking to give yourself a quick jolt of love, try a homemade facial. So much fun.

Food on my face. So get like me.

Things that will make you feel better

What up, yogis. Tomorrow, for the first time in a looooong time, I’m heading to a yoga class in an actual studio. To save some cash, I’ve been relying on the genius of Tara Stiles and Kathryn Budig. These ladies rock. I love having them as my private yoga instructors, but I’m very excited to get out of my house tomorrow and roll out my mat on somebody else’s floor. Yes.

On another note, I have become acutely aware of the exact things that pull me out of moments of body scrutiny, future-tripping, and self-doubt. One of them is Iggy Azalea. I have formed an intense, all-consuming love for her. Talk about a woman who loves her body. This chick is hot. And she kicks ass. Listen to her music. Watch her videos. She feels so at home in her body. She is unafraid to get loud and provocative. She is unafraid to love her curves. Do what the cool people do and dance in your room to the following:

You will sweat. You will feel better. You will feel sexy.

Something else that helps me shift gears from body drama to body peace, or from future-tripping to living in the present, is forcing peaceful, loving thoughts into my brain. That sounds kind of violent, but sometimes, you just gotta make yourself do stuff in order to feel better. The lovely Jen Saunders of Wild Sister wrote an article called Stop Being So Damn Hard on Yourself. Read this. It will comfort you so much. Here are a few comforting snippets:

You’re doing awesomely.

Everything you’re doing is getting you closer to where you want to be.

Congrats, you’ve got this.

Just remember to take some time to appreciate where you are, too.

Count your blessings.

You have tons, and they’re all waiting for you to notice them.

If you’re wondering if you have what it takes.

Yes, you do.

If you’re wondering if you can do it.

Yes, you can.

Beautiful, right? Read this every morning. It will bring you peace, if even for a moment. And when you do stuff to give yourself those peaceful moments on a regular basis, things really do get better.

Remember this today, okay?

Hello beautiful college kids. Happy Friday. Just want to take a minute and tell you something comforting, something that is comforting me today, anyway.

This too shall pass.

You may be feeling distraught. Stressed. Overwhelmed. Anxious. Fearful. Exhausted. Hopeless. Ashamed. Guilty. Angry. Inadequate. In any area of your life.

We often get so mired in these feelings that we cannot fathom ever feeling peace again. But you will. Today will progress and tomorrow will come, as will the next day and the next. Things change. Time heals. We get better. Everything gets figured out. So just lean on this proverb today:

This too shall pass. Okay?

And do some yoga today. That will help, too. And this.

Unleash Yourself Challenge Day 3

Okay, yogis. I gotta post this and then do some schoolwork fo real. Why have I had such a problem getting myself to do work? Hmm another post for another day.

So yesterday I got unleashed again. It happened last night, actually. I ate a little too much food a little too quickly. Feelings that plagued me during my bingeing days weighed on me again last night. But I just decided not to give those feelings-guilt, shame, unsexiness, no power over me. Instead of sitting around and freaking out (and eating over) those feelings, I went upstairs and gave my hair a sexy blowout. I reveled in brushing my hair and getting warmed up under the heat of my blow dryer. Before I knew it, my body felt normal again. I digested the food quickly because my attention was focused on something so different than everything I ate and how fat I felt. Miraculous. Seriously.

So the next time you eat a little more than your body wants, just MOVE ON. Get out of the kitchen or off of the couch and go do something that makes you feel really relaxed and good. Do yo hair. Put lotion on slowly. Read a delicious book. Do some delicious stretches. Do a 5 minute yoga video. Take some deep breaths. These things may seem small and incidental, but I SWEAR if you shift from overeating or bingeing to consciously caring for yourself, those feelings of guilt and shame (which lead to more overeating and bingeing), will dissipate. And you’ll actually be able to unleash your sexy, peaceful, all-knowing self.

Also…I put food on my face again. Wine. Honey. Greek yogurt. On my face.

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Go unleash yourself today!