Meditation resources

Last week I was having a conversation with a friend about meditation - he works for a meditation start up so I was curious to learn more about HIS meditation practice.

As we were talking I noticed how it felt good to just talk about meditation: my body was relaxed and I even started to feel my brain go into that "meditated" state where the little things don't stress me out.

I personally have an interesting relationship with meditation. I know my body and brain crave a consistent practice, but it hasn't always been easy for me to make the time and really drop in.

One thing that helps me tremendously is having a handful of recorded meditations I can turn to when I need more guidance and structure with my practice.

Yes, I've used the apps like Headspace and Calm, which are GREAT for just starting a meditation practice. But I've noticed that most of the mainstream meditation resources leave a little something missing.

I've had the good fortune to practice with some next level teachers. I prefer to have something more personal, a little deeper, a little bit more magic in my meditation Rolodex.

With the holiday this week (and all the family and travel and everything that comes with it!) I wanted to share my personal meditation resources with you.

Below I've linked some incredible teachers and recordings that you can access online for support no matter where you are or what you have time for.

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Meditation resources:

- Biet Simkin - Meditation + Music - Biet's an incredible meditation teacher here in NYC. She mainly does in person and private events but I found one of her meditations online (linked here). Her music is also meditative in itself (I love putting in on for some inner peace while commuting or working).

- Orkie Meditations - Orkie is great for a meditation that goes deeper and encourages you to reflect on your own consciousness and subconscious beliefs. You can get a little taste for Orkie on the page I linked. If you're into it, there are many (longer) meditations available for purchase and download.

- Jana Roemer - Yoga Nidra Recordings - Yoga Nidra is the practice of Yogic Sleep and Jana is one of my favorite Nidra teachers. She's based in LA but offers Yoga Nidra recordings every month in connection with the moon cycles. Great for a longer, evening meditation.

- Katonah yoga + pranayama - My current daily meditation practice consists of Katonah yoga and breathwork (pranayama). If you're in NYC you can come experience a class at The Studio, but if not, check out this basic breathwork video I made.

Wishing you a peaceful and happy Thanksgiving!

It's okay to do less

The last few weeks have felt a little wonky - maybe it's the travel or the end of the vacation season, but I feel like I haven't totally found my post-summer flow.

Although I have SO much I want to share with you here, I'm struggling to find a regular time and space to write.

In addition to taking on a few more 1:1 coaching clients and working on some exciting projects with Robyn, I've been focused on my own gut stuff and making my health my #1 priority.

Despite being a health coach and virtually living in a world of wellness, this is the first time in years (or maybe ever???) I'm really, really putting myself first.

And you know what I've realized? Putting yourself first sometimes means being a little quieter and doing a little less while you go in a little more. And for right now, I am okay with that.

I'm okay with not being the first to check out the latest and greatest matcha spot in Brooklyn. I'm okay with passing on dessert during a fancy dinner and sipping hot water with lemon instead (not saying it was easy... but I'm okay with it). I'm okay with saying "no" to some networking opportunities and not immediately responding to every email that comes my way.

It's okay to do less.

It's also okay to share or give less.

If you're in a position of leadership, influence or service (which most people are to some extent), your default setting is likely giving out a lot of energy. Sharing your expertise or advice, teaching or mentoring, or mothering.

This is amazing, but not sustainable 100% of the time. As much as we give, we also need to receive. And I'll take that a step further to say it's not just about receiving support, encouragement and love... it's about digesting those energies as well [see last week's post for more on that!]

All this is to say... I'm digesting!!! ;)

I'm leaning into this space of processing and allowing myself to not juggle all the things and instead focus on fewer things, more important things.

I'm not telling you this as an excuse of any kind, but simply as a reminder that it is okay if you're feeling this way too. It's okay if you need to take a break from something to focus on you. And it's okay if you need to conserve your time and energy and do a little less than what feels normal to you.

It's all okay friends.

 Serene sunset over the sound this weekend in Duck, North Carolina

Serene sunset over the sound this weekend in Duck, North Carolina

On that note, I do want to share a few quick reads, views or listens that may provide you with a little inspiration or entertainment while I'm feeling a little more quiet on the sharing front:

  • Watch: Simon Sinek on Millennials in the Workplace - Whether or not you work with anyone from the millennial generation, I think this 15 minute interview is a must-watch. I whole-heartedly believe that social media (and work) are the newest forms of addiction and that we're going to be hearing a LOT more on this subject in the years to come.

  • Listen: Abbie Galvin on The Lifestylist Podcast - I've been practicing a LOT of Katonah yoga the last year. A full blog post is definitely in the works, but if you're curious on learning more about this unique style of yoga and the theory behind it, listen to this episode with my teacher Abbie.

  • Read: Gabby Bernstein's Blog Post on Gut Health - Gabby is a modern spiritual leader, and she's not shy about sharing her own gut and food struggles. This blog post goes into detail about her own challenges and gut healing story. I skimmed it yesterday and look forward to diving in more fully later this week.

Hope one of these will be of interest or useful for you!

Is your diet missing this?

This past weekend I had the pleasure of helping run a retreat for some of the ladies I coach with Robyn. On Sunday, we had a special guest teacher come teach us all about adaptogens, a special class of healing plants that help balance, restore and protect the body. We learned about which of these superfoods are best for stress, which are good for your hormones and which support glowing skin. I've talked about some of these before, like maca and ashwaganda, and they are featured in many of my recipes like this Superfood Hot Cocoa and this Berry Avocado Beauty Smoothie.

However, my biggest takeaway from Jamie's talk was NOT that I needed more of these herbs in my life. I realized there was something else missing from my diet.

I needed more intention with my food.

What do I mean by that? Essentially I needed to more strongly believe that my food (and drinks!) is good for me and helping me feel my best.

As someone who's struggled with digestive issues, it can sometimes feel like food is the enemy. Is this going to make me bloated? Will I have a stomach ache after eating this? Will this give me heartburn?

Sure, food itself can be healing or harmful, but it's actually your thoughts that have more power to improve your health.

Does this feel a little too woo-woo for you? I hear you - I was a skeptic too. But it turns out there have been multiple experiments proving that our thoughts and feelings towards food can cause it to go bad faster. 

This article does a good job of summarizing some of the most profound studies: I Said Mean Things to an Apple for a Week to See if it Rotted Faster.

 

"The bottom line: If this is what bad vibes can do... imagine what they are doing to our human bodies."


Basically, you can eat the same exact thing as someone else, but if you BELIEVE it will make you feel sick or bloated, it likely will. Luckily for us, the opposite is also true: if you think that your food is going to make you feel great, it will.

The cool part about adaptogens (and any food really) is that they each have different healing qualities, which means you can use them sort of like medicine. This gives you the opportunity to set an intention around your food.

Here's how I'm practicing this: Most mornings, I have some sort of tea or blended superfood latte. Instead of just throwing ALL the healthy ingredients into my Vitamix, I'm taking a minute to check in with how I feel and what I need. For example, do I want to feel more energized and focused today? Or more chill? Does my body need something that will lift my spirits, or soothe an troubled belly?

I'll then add the ingredients that support that feeling, and take a quick moment with each to think about what that specific ingredient can do for me. Then as I'm sipping my drink, I'll say to myself "This is my healing drink."

 My healing drink this morning!

My healing drink this morning!

You can do this with superfoods or adapotgens, if you're into them, but also with your regular food. Take a breath and say a prayer, blessing or just a quick thank you before you dive in.

Believe that your food will heal you, and it will.

Do you set an intention with your food? What's your practice and how do you see it impact how you feel? I'd love to hear your experience - leave a comment below and let me know!

I wrote this sweet letter to myself

Do you ever have the intention to eat a healthy breakfast, meditate or workout in the AM, but it never seems to end up happening? Or maybe it happens, but not really the way you planned and it doesn't leaving you feeling the way you want to feel?

When I find myself struggling to start my day in the way I KNOW makes me feel my best, I write myself a love letter.

Yep, a love letter.

Before I go to bed, I write a note to myself. I think about what would be supportive and motivating for me to hear in the morning; what I might tell a friend or loved one if they were struggling to do something really good for themselves.

Here's a note I wrote to myself a few weeks ago:

 Wouldn't you want to read this in the AM?

Wouldn't you want to read this in the AM?

Then, I'll place the letter on my nightstand or somewhere else where I'll see it in the morning. When I wake up, I try to read this FIRST THING - before turning on my phone and checking social media, before breakfast, before I officially start my day.

Not so much of a writer? You can also leave yourself a voice note on your phone and listen to that first thing.

Even though I love my work, I often wake up with a seemingly endless to-do list running through my head, which can leave me feeling behind or like I'm not doing enough. And while I have SO many people in my life that regularly tell me what a GREAT job I'm doing, at the end of the day it's really only my perspective of me (and your perspective of you) that truly matters. I've found this "self love letter" the perfect way to show myself some appreciation; this practice also helps to shift those subconscious, limiting belief systems such as "I am not enough" or "I don't have enough time."

I don't do this every day, or every week for that matter, but every time I do it totally changes my attitude and mood for the better.

Try it: Tonight, write yourself a little note. It can be a full letter, or just one or two words that you think will be helpful for you to read in the AM. Put it on your bedside table or next to your pillow, and then make sure to actually read it before you start your day! You can also come back to it at any time throughout your day when you need a boost.

 

Have you ever written yourself a "love letter," or do you have a similar self-care practice that always sets you up for feeling great? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.

Summer 17 Reflection

So long Summer 2017, I'll miss you but honestly, you were not what I expected.

Back in the spring I dreamed of living in my bikini and endless beach days, nights spent sipping cocktails and dancing and having way too much FUN. I had visions of finally feeling REALLY really good in my body, of crushing running races, of falling in love with this crazy city, and with that special someone.

I had big dreams, none of which really came true. Don't get me wrong, there was plenty of magic the past few months, but they've also been a challenge. I stopped running. I don't have those toned abs. I'm still confused what I'm doing in NYC, and still single.

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As I watched the sunset tonight, the last official night of summer, I felt my heart ache and tears in my eyes, but not because I'm sad or disappointed or feeling regret. Seeing the sun set and the moon rise reminded me that it's all part of the cycle - the moments of pure joy, of freedom, of soul connection, AND the moments of loneliness, of self doubt, of pain. It's all temporary, it's always changing, and just like the sun and moon, there's something much bigger than you or I pulling the strings.

What I have learned this summer is to appreciate it all and to be present in the hurt just as much as I'm present in the good. That's life, that's actually living, that's having a human experience. THAT is what connects us no matter what you are and what you do or don't believe in. And isn't that what we're all looking for after all?