Workshops & Immersions

4 Steps to Feel More "In Sync" This Autumn

If you're in San Francisco, you probably know for a fact that we don't feel the effects of the different seasons much, but I know you all felt the following phenomenon - the days are shorter, night comes faster, and waking up in the mornings seems to be a little harder than usual. 

Our bodies are set to cyclical natures, much like the cyclical natures of day and night, the waxing and waning moon, the incoming and receding tide, summer and winter. In fact, almost all metabolic processes within our bodies are cyclical, working in feedback loops that are triggered or stopped by internal and external (environmental) cues. 

Trees and flowers follow the cyclical patterns of Nature, animals follow the cyclical patterns of Nature, and even in agricultural cultures, the cyclical patterns are observed. However, those of us living in more urban environments seem to want to defy the forces of Nature. In late autumn and winter, a time for rest and reflection of the year, most people push themselves harder and harder to finish projects before the year's end. In addition, festivities that require output of energy that are placed closely one after the other - Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year - put further stress on the body and the mind when it is a time for withdrawing and conserving our energies. 

The Yogic sciences place great emphases on following these internal and external cycles. The ancient scriptures detail specific times to rise, to meditate, to eat, to sleep, and even to engage in sexual activities. Diseases arise when we become out of sync with these patterns - when we continue to work and exercise hard when the body wants to rest, when we consume a cold juice on a chilly, windy day, when we sleep at 2am and rise at 10am, and when we eat a large, heavy meal at 9pm. 

If you've been feeling "out of sync" of some sorts recently, I suggest you consider the following steps to help you come back "in sync." Even when seasons are not as clearly defined here in the Bay Area, our bodies ingrained wisdom still follow a pattern, and these practices will help guide you back to the beat. 
 

1. Go to bed between 10pm-11pm. I can already hear some of you saying, "But that's impossible! I have to do X, Y, and Z before bed. There is no way I can get to bed before 11pm!" Well, I urge you to look a little more closely at your evening routine. How much of it is spent aimlessly browsing through social media or replying to emails that are not important? How much of it is spent watching 2, 3, or even 4 episodes of your favorite TV shows? I enjoy TV shows and social media browsing just as much as the next person since it gives my brain a time to be "switched off" or change focus, but I have a hard-stop for all screen-related things by 9pm, an hour before my usual bedtime (so if you are aiming to sleep by 11pm, switch off your TV and phones by 10pm). Yes, that might mean I am sometimes left in suspense after one episode of a TV show, but I never regret it after I switch off my TV and opt for some quality down-time. Usually that means a book, some journaling, a long shower, a mini facial, and/or light stretching/restorative yoga. Give yourself at least 30 minutes to an hour to get back in touch with your body and your body's internal clock to help you get into a deeper, restful sleep. 

2. Opt for soups, stews, and lighter fares for dinner. One of the biggest mistakes people make is having their largest meals at night. Having a large meal at night is not inherently "bad," but the bigger mistake is having a large meal way too late. Ideally, you'd want to finish eating at least 2-3 hours before bedtime to give your body time to digest your food. When you sleep, your body should NOT be predominantly focused on still digesting your last meal. Rather, your body should be focused on digesting and eliminating your emotional and mental imprints from the day. If you've seen the movie Inside Out, you would have seen that during sleep, our brain is actively processing the experiences and memories of the day - keeping ones that are important and eliminating those that are not. In addition to this "brain cleansing" activity, the rest of your organs are being repaired and maintained in preparation for the next day. Therefore, if for the first 2-3 hours of your sleep your body is still trying to digest physical bits of food, you are inherently taking away precious organ repair time. Soups and light stews are great in that a) they are easier to digest, and b) they are grounding in nature, which can help put the body into a more relaxed mode. 

3. Balance your intense workouts with grounding practices. I know many people feel obligated to workout more around the holiday season to "make up" for the large quantities of food and calories consumed around this time of year. However, as I've mentioned above, the body and mind are not primed for intense output of energy in late autumn and early winter. Excessive exercise and activities can ultimately burn you out at this time of the year when your body and mind crave more rest. So if you want to keep up with your workout regime, I highly encourage you to balance that with restorative yoga practices and meditation

4. Reflect and express gratitude. Last and final step that I think everybody should practice all the time regardless of time of the year is to reflect on your accomplishments and express gratitude. The human brain is wired to focus more on faults and negativities, which can bring on a whole 'nother baggage of problems with overall well-being when left unchecked. Whether you want to spend 5 minutes before bed to mentally list your top achievements and grateful moments of the day or physically write them down, you'll be amazed that all this time you haven't been giving yourself the credit you deserve! If you're looking for a more structured approach to starting and ending your day with gratitude, I highly recommend the Five Minute Journal

As with all goal attainments, the most important thing is to take small steps at a time. Try just ONE THING from the list above for at least 3 weeks and observe how that feels in your body and mind. Do you feel more rested? Do you feel more connected with your energy? If not, try another suggestion from the list and repeat. Once you find one thing that works and that you feel really good about, you'd naturally want to continue with this new habit and perhaps even try another one. 

If you'd like some help establishing a home yoga, nutrition, and lifestyle routine, you can set up a complimentary consultation with me to see how we can work together to help you create a life and body that you feel confident and connected with. I also invite you to attend my upcoming Holiday De-Stress Restorative Yoga Workshop to help you get started on a grounding autumn/winter routine. 

become who you are with grace and ease

(be sure to read till the end to find out how!)

Not too long ago, I struggled with being an overachiever.

Not too long ago, I had a poor body image and struggled with eating disorder.

Not too long ago, I was practicing over 2 hours everyday of intense, almost acrobatic-like yoga, and my body was obviously wearing out. 

Not too long ago, I was preaching ahimsa (Sanskrit word for "non-violence," one of the fundamental principles of yoga practice and living) without truly knowing what it means. 

Not too long ago, I was beating myself up (mentally and emotionally) for not being where I'd like to be financially, and for being uncertain about myself all the time. 

Then one day, I woke up.

I was walking down the street just like any other night in San Francisco, and something shifted in me. I started laughing. And laughing. And laughing.

(Yup, just like a typical looney person you might meet on the San Francisco streets. Fortunately, my husband was there with me so it made the situation look just a wee bit better.) 

What I woke up to then could not have been better summarized than this quote: 


"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken."
~Oscar Wilde


All this time I was wasting my energy and insanity trying to be like this person or that teacher, and wondering why nothing I did was bringing me closer to my goals, when in fact I am already the person I need to be! I was laughing because, DUH, how could I have possibly, ever, EVER overlooked this truth? Why ever compare and compete when there is none other like yourself? 

In that pivotal moment, I relaxed. I stopped resisting myself, which was bringing so much tension and fatigue, and started listening to that small, shy, but authentic voice inside me. 

I gotta admit, it was hard. That voice has been suppressed and beaten down for so long, and it's sensitive, timid. Forcing will not let that voice speak up; only gentleness and care will. And till this day, it's still hard. But everyday that I let that voice know I trust her, she reveals a little more. And everyday, I become clearer to who I am supposed to be. With grace. With ease. 


"Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are."
~Lynn Weinberger, Senior Viniyoga Teacher 


My good friend and colleague, Meredith and I experienced first-handedly how we can be so hard on ourselves. While it is still a learning and exploration process for us, we have both come a long way. Instead of forcing ourselves towards our goals, we now listen deeply for easier, less resistant paths towards the same goals. 

Because we see this happening not just to us, but to almost everybody around us, we'd like to share our insights on how to came to live our lives with more compassion towards ourselves. 

Join Meredith and me for an afternoon of yoga, meditation arts & crafts, and discussion centered on compassionate living towards yourself, your lifestyle habits, and your goals and intentions for the new year. 

In this workshop you will learn:

  • What is compassion towards ourselves, and why is it important in our daily lives

  • How does compassion play into setting our intentions and goals

  • Healthy lifestyle and dietary habits to implement easily in the new year

  • Attainable action-steps and habits to implement today for big results in your well-being

  • How does compassion translate into our yoga, breathing, and meditation practices?

For more information and tickets, please click here >>

Join our Facebook event group for inspirations and tips to gear up towards this workshop! 

Learn how to save your back (pain)!

If you're like most people, you have, or will, at one point or another experience some sort of back pain. Perhaps you are sitting in front of your computer right now wondering what you just did to throw your back off. Back pain is so common that, in fact, it is one of the most common reasons for missed work. 

In my personal experience from teaching, both in group classes and privately, students come to me with knee pain, shoulder pain, upper back pain, and of course, low back pain, but for the most part, the previous ones mentioned all end up originating from weak support in their low back. 

In this interactive workshop, we will learn about the basic structure and anatomy of the spine, daily activities that affect spine health, and simple yoga exercises that you can do anywhere, everyday to release and alleviate tension in the back, as well as strengthen and support the spinal structure. 

Space is limited! Be sure to register and claim your spot today! 

Thanksgiving Benefits Yoga Class

In the spirit of the upcoming holiday, I am teaching a special benefits class at Yoga Garden on Thursday, Nov. 28, 8:00-9:30am. All proceeds will go directly to the Tilden Keller Community Center in India. Some info…

 

Gratitude from the Heart

Let’s open up this season with heart-felt gratitude, expressing a big THANK YOU for those in our lives and for everything that we have, taking nothing for granted.

This Vinyasa-based class will include heart-opening backbends for us to give and receive compassion, invigorating twists to stimulate our digestive organs, and restorative reclined postures and meditation to ease our stress.

This special session is donation based and will benefit Children International and the community center in New Delhi, where YGSF student Doug Tilden and his family sponsor 1600 kids, and are on their way to 3000.

Please check this link for more info on this incredible project: https://www.children.org/Sanctuary-in-the-Slum

 

There are also two other benefit classes at 9-11am, and 10-11:30am. Start your holiday season refreshed, rejuvenated, and feeling awesome about the good deeds you’ve done!

To sign up: http://www.yogagardensf.com/thanksgiving