Life has been a little crazy lately (moving across the country, traveling non-stop, the holidays, the current state of the world, etc.), so I have been trying extra hard to focus my energy on making space and creating calm in all of the corners of my life.
I’m here today to share my favourite tools and tips for inspiring stillness in my space, in my mind and in my body. Hopefully they work for you too!
Maintaining A Consistent Yoga Practice
Maybe you have never taken a class, let alone kept up a consistent practice, but I can’t stress enough the impact that yoga and meditation have had on my life. My practice is time that I set aside each day to relax, to calm down, to breathe, to move, to be. It’s time I set aside for me.
The challenging part is making time for practice when life gets in the way. But don’t let it be a daunting task. For example, lately it has felt like I am always on the road, or in the air, or on the go... I’m the first to admit that lugging a heavy yoga mat as your carry-on is not ideal, but how about a yoga mat that fits folded IN your carry on? Owning a travel mat has been a complete game changer for me, and as someone who travels often, it has allowed me to take my asana practice with me everywhere I go.
And if I can’t make it to the studio? No problem! Enter Yoga Cards. This handy deck of flashcards comes with a collection of 5 sequences and 3 breathing exercises to follow, or you can use any of the included 47 poses to create your own.
No one said you have to power flow for 90 minutes every time you step onto the mat. If 10 minutes in your hotel room is all you’ve got, then use it for some Sun Salutations and Savasana. Find ways to make your practice work for you.
Regular Physical Activity
If I’m being 100% honest, I have never liked going to the gym. It turns out after all these years, I just hadn’t found the right one.
When Pedro and I moved to Los Angeles, we joined the rock climbing gym, Cliffs of Id, and I LOVE IT. The best part, it’s so much fun that I forget I’m working out. My muscles don’t forget though, it’s hard work! Finding new hobbies also means new gear! And yes, obviously my new leggings are my favourite colour, and match my climbing shoes.
It’s really no secret that exercise is good for us, but don’t treat it as just another thing on your already out of control to-do list. If you can’t stand running on a treadmill, then don’t. I’m encouraging you to do the things that make you happy. To approach physical activity in a way that makes it fun, and something that you look forward to.
Challenge yourself, step out of your comfort zone, and try something new! Whether it’s a martial arts class with your BFF, joining a weekly dodgeball league, paddling the ocean on a SUP board, or going on hikes with the pup - find activities that you enjoy, and get out there and move.
Anytime I’m feeling sick / gross / light-headed / blah, I think to myself, “Have I drank enough water today?” 99% of the time, the answer is no. Which is serious, as when I don’t drink enough water, I get tension headaches, my eczema breaks out, and I get nauseous (especially if I’ve had caffeine). I have also been known to pass out on occasion.
Your body needs water to function properly. Learn from my mistakes, and get that H2O! It is way more stressful, and dangerous, to deal with the consequences of dehydration than it is to drink the recommended 2-3L per day.
I’ve seriously upped my hydration habits since moving to Los Angeles, because it’s just SO DRY here (something this east coast livin’ lady isn’t used to). I suggest investing in a durable, glass water bottle, and taking it with you everywhere you go.
Creating Tranquil Spaces
Make your space an oasis full of your favourite things. Whether it’s a yoga corner, a bedroom full of pillows, or your desk at the office, make it yours.
At home, I fill my yoga space with hand-poured candles with natural scents, cozy blankets and pillows, mementos, crystals, greenery, mala beads, sage and palo santo. I like to diffuse a few drops of Urban Organics Breathe Inhalation Oil (it’s got lavender, eucalyptus and mint) to calm and combat congestion - plus, it makes my apartment smell like the yoga studio.
When I travel, I bring some of these things with me. It’s important to create a space that is yours - a space you can retreat to, that grounds you, wherever you are. Because even a road trip motel room can feel like a sanctuary with a little lavender room spray and some good vibes.
Writing + Journaling
Writing has consistently been a cathartic, calming and enjoyable practice for me since I was a child. My journal has evolved over the years (from a straight up diary, to these days, admittedly, mostly random notes and lists), but the act of writing has always been a part of my life. It helps me clear my head, work through my feelings, and allows me to remember things.
I know this is not the case for everyone, and if you’re struggling to find the words, don’t stress. It doesn’t have to be poetic prose, just sit down, and write for five minutes. Without putting too much pressure on yourself, write about anything. It doesn’t have to make sense, go anywhere, or have a purpose - just get yourself a notebook (bonus points if it has awesome graphics), put the pen to the page and write. There are plenty of journal writing prompts online if you need a little help getting started.
Having a Mantra
I have a few mantras that I use all the time, and they help me to check in daily with my goals and intentions. They are also useful tools for bringing me back to center, and helping me to slow down and focus on my breath. To focus inwards.
Traditionally, you’re supposed to keep your mantra to yourself, but I’ve never been one for rules. I say break out the brush pens, make it a meditative practice, write it down and hang it on the wall. Keep it on your phone, in your planner, tattoo it on your arm - whatever works for you.
Say your mantra to yourself, over, and over and over again, until it becomes second nature. You can use meditation tools, like mala beads, to count your mantra repetitions. Wearing mala beads serves as a constant reminder to live your intentions. Take it one step further, and make your own set of mala beads. I love choosing precious stones to best suit what it is I am trying to manifest in my life. I also find the stringing of 108 beads to be an incredibly meditative process. And what’s better than mindful (and beautiful) jewelry packed with positive energy?