When Life Gets Busy Your Practice is the First Thing to Go

One could say that moving falls in the top five life challenges. I’d say that’s a safe bet, just based on the volume of time and energy that moving requires. When life gets busy taking care of ourselves loses priority. Fast.

It’s been a week since I moved into my new home. It still feels like I have a thousand things to do and I’m juggling so many balls in the air. I’ll be so happy when I’m settled in and can get back on track with my practice.

As I’m unpacking I keep pausing in front of the window of my new training space. We just had a late spring blizzard and the beautiful pine tree outside is covered in snow.

I watch as the sunlight begins to shine through the clouds. I’m daydreaming about practicing in my new home.

I had to sacrifice my own training quite a bit this month. It happens. Especially when your home is under construction.

When life gets busy your practice is the first thing to go. – Garrell Herndon, Bodyworker and Yoga Instructor

At times like these I remember some wise words from an Iyengar yoga teacher that I studied with. They always serve as a good reminder to be gentle with myself during times of high output.

I know the work is worthwhile. I’m just so incredibly grateful to have a home training space. It’s a long term dream that requires very particular dimensions of space. I am not a fan of the tiny house movement. Or low hanging ceiling fans. Or big pieces of furniture.  I like to move!

I’m getting close to achieving my dream lifestyle: to have a job that I love, to be able to focus on my practice, and create Personal Yoga retreats. I can’t even begin to describe how happy this makes me…

Living my Dharma, one day at a time.

Self Teacher Study – Personal Yoga Training Chart

A Personal Yoga practice gives you the freedom to practice anytime, anywhere. Practicing at home sounds easy enough but it can take years to cultivate your own intuitive, organic practice.

Needless to say, it can be challenging to self-direct your own practice. Having too many choices can feel overwhelming. Without a clear road map you might start avoiding your mat altogether.

When I feel overwhelmed I get organized. I keep a wire-bound notebook on my desk at all times.

I love making lists. All kinds. Grocery lists, “To Do” lists, long-term goal lists, project lists, etc. I love the satisfaction of crossing things off and throwing lists away. I keep the best lists.

Six months ago I started developing my first Personal Yoga training chart (feel free to expand upon it). This organizational tool played an essential role in my recovery from a herniated disk.

Create your own Personal Yoga Training Chart

Step 1: Free Writing

Start by free writing a page of notes. Write continuously until you fill the page. Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc. Write about your goals. Write about any challenges you might be having with your home practice. It’s okay to go off topic, just keep writing.

Step 2: Movement Vocabulary

On a fresh sheet of paper make a list (!) of exercises. Think about your movement vocabulary. Which exercises will help you reach your goals? What do you enjoy doing?

[The key word here is: Enjoy. One pitfall to avoid is too much structure. Too many have-to’s. Not enough want-to’s.]

How do you want to move?

The level of challenge is up to you. You could include one or two exercises that you don’t necessarily enjoy but would be good for you. For the most part include exercises that you genuinely enjoy.

Step 3: Training Chart

On a third sheet of paper make a chart. On the left side of the page list all of the dates for the next month. Across the top of the page create columns for each exercise that you listed in Step 2.

The number of exercises is up to you. I recommend anywhere from 3-12. Your personal practice can be as simple or as challenging as you want to be. The idea is to pick exercises that you can see yourself doing on a day-to-day basis.

Tracking your daily progress is very satisfying. And a training chart provides you with a record of your efforts over time.

Off Days

Gaps in your training schedule are okay! It’s bound to happen at some point. Life gets busy or takes an unexpected turn. Be kind to yourself on your off days. Trust that you’ll get back on track as soon as possible.

Could you use a little help with with your budding home practice? I’d love to hear about your goals. Book a free no-obligation consultation today.

If you enjoyed this article you might also like:

Self Teacher Study – Mind Body Parkour

Personal Yoga Benefits

Practice, Practice, Practice Alone

Practice Alone Do Not DisturbI just completed a month-long Personal Yoga retreat so I thought I’d share a few insights while they’re fresh in my mind. I still had my day-to-day responsibilities to attend to but I managed to raise the bar of my practice. I also did a social media fast (well, except for Pinterest – does that count as social media?)

Taking a month to withdraw gave me a much needed break. And it helped to raise my awareness of the challenges of being a modern day sadhaka. A sadhaka is a Sanskrit term for someone who follows a particular sadhana (a spiritual practice or way of life).

Practice Alone Flowers

According to B.K.S. Iyengar, one of the most famous yoga teachers of all time, a sadhaka uses yoga to gain knowledge, light and liberation. It also helps to purify the body and soul. – Yogapedia

Challenge #1: Practicing at Home

Some of the obstacles of maintaining a home practice are a result of, well… being at home. Home isn’t the gym, or the studio, or any other designated place for exercise. So we have to consciously make it into one, which takes work. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started my practice only to have a “to-do” flash through my mind.

“Oh I forgot to change the laundry over, put the leftovers away, etc.” 

“Darn it, I meant to turn off my cell phone.”

“Oh man, I really need to shave my legs.”

It can be tricky to navigate the transition from housework or home office work to doing our home practice. My best advice is to stay on your mat. You’ll be able to take care of all of these things afterwards.

Challenge #2: Shared living spaces.

If you have housemates or family members around you may have to work at communicating your boundaries.

“I’m going to be practicing from now until such-and-such a time. Do you need anything before I get started?”

“I’d like to practice for the next hour. Could you please use headphones if you want to watch TV or listen to the radio?”

Practice Alone Purple FlowersChallenge #3: This path can be lonely at times.

We may or may not have a community (sangha) of practitioners to support us in our journeys. It’s okay though – you’ll feel far more connected, centered and whole after you practice.

Challenge #4: Interruptions

It’s very important to choose a practice time when you won’t be interrupted. The people you live with may or may not realize what you’re doing. I’ve had people walk in and start talking to me when I was in a extraordinarily expansive meditation. It’s incredibly jarring to the nervous system to be disrupted when you’re in that state.

According to the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, “Useless Talk” is one of the 6 Destroyers of Yoga Practice.

Hopefully you’ll remember to turn your cell phone off. You can also minimize unexpected guests or workmen by telling people you work from home and can’t be disturbed.

Practice Alone MandalaIf you’re thinking about doing a personal retreat or just want to start a home practice, my very best advice is (to echo the words of the master himself) – practice, practice, practice alone. Try to practice when you won’t be disturbed. You can avoid many of these obstacles simply by making good use of your alone time.

As someone who used to dread the idea of being alone, I can tell you that practicing alone is one of the greatest things you can do for yourself. And when you do your sadhana (translation – good for you) you’ll have more than enough energy to extend to others.

Practice Alone Tea Cup

Liberty Health and Wellness

Liberty Health and Wellness Yoga

Liberty Health and Wellness

 

I’m proud to announce a new partnership with Liberty Health and Wellness, a holistic and alternative health care service provider on the Western Slope of Colorado. We have clinics in Grand Junction and Montrose, and are planning to set up a third clinic in Moab, Utah! We specialize in home care and clinical services including acupuncture, tui na, yoga, as well as dietary, herbal and exercise therapy. To learn more about how Oriental medicine can help you and your loved ones please visit: libertyhealthandwellness.net

Personal Yoga FAQ’s

Personal Yoga Frequently Asked Questions

Thinking about starting a Personal Yoga training program? I’d love to help you and would be happy to answer any questions that you might have. 

 

Who are Personal Yoga sessions for?

All levels of practitioners can benefit from Personal Yoga. Whether you are brand new to Yoga, have some experience, or are a certified instructor, Personal Yoga sessions will help you take your practice to the next level.

How long is a session? 

A session usually lasts one hour. If you would prefer a longer or shorter session I can adjust my rates accordingly.

When do sessions happen?

Mid-mornings, afternoons or early evenings. I’ll work with you to find a time that is a good fit for your schedule.

Where do sessions take place?

I can travel to your home or I can reserve a private studio space.

What happens in a session? 

We’ll check in about your progress and discuss what we’ll be working on that day. We’ll start with a brief meditation and then go through your sequence for that day. Each session builds upon the previous one, so we might review some content before moving ahead.  I’ll offer modifications and adjustments, and will answer any questions that you might have. We’ll conclude with the final resting pose and then chat for a bit afterwards.

What are some of the advantages of Personal Yoga sessions?

Personal Yoga sessions have far fewer variables than drop-in classes, where the teacher has no way of knowing who will be there. So classes are constructed with these variables in mind and you might receive a few adjustments and corrections. Personal Yoga sessions are planned with YOU in mind as well as your ability to practice each pose or technique accurately. You’ll be amazed at the progress you can make in this kind of focused learning environment! For more information visit: Personal Yoga Benefits 

Is there anything I should know about training with you?

Consistency is key for your success, so I recommend taking one or two sessions a week for maximum benefit. I do require that students practice on their own between sessions (same as if you were learning a musical instrument). My advice to anyone who is considering my services is to decide if they are ready to make that level of commitment to themselves.

Do you offer Personal Yoga sessions for two or more people?

Yes, I also offer semi-private sessions for groups of 2, 3 or 4 people.

I’m an intermediate student and I’m interested in the Level Two training. Do I have to take the Foundations course? 

I encourage everyone to start with the Foundations program. This is part of my commitment to your safety and wellbeing. With so many styles of yoga nowadays I want to make sure that we are on the same page. Depending on your ability level you might complete the program in less than ten sessions, or else you might benefit from additional sessions. We can discuss these options in your initial consultation so as to find the best course of action for you.

What should I do to prepare for a session?

Before your first session I’ll send you some information about how to prepare for yoga. I also encourage you to warm up on your own before each session.

How much should I practice between sessions?

As much as possible! Every day would be ideal – even just for 10 or 15 minutes. If you can’t practice every day then aim for every other day. The more you practice the more you will progress.

Something has come up and I need to reschedule our session – is that ok?

Certainly, and as much advanced notice as possible is always appreciated. Please note that I have a 24 hour cancellation policy.

What are your rates?

Please visit the Pricing page for more information.

Have more questions? Book a FREE no-obligation consultation today.

The Skinny on Skin Care

Emily Seymour yoga skin care
The warm weather is here! And with that comes the gradual shedding of layers, swapping flip flops for shoes, and increasing our Vitamin D intake. As with any seasonal transition it’s a good idea to give ourselves time to adjust our lifestyle patterns accordingly.

Body care is one of the many aspects of a balanced home practice regimen. Just like you might want to give your car a routine waxing it’s a good idea to give your body “vehicle” a good skin care treatment. Especially if you’re anticipating spending more time in the great outdoors.

While there are some purists who won’t practice yoga in the sunshine, I absolutely LOVE practicing outside. But there’s just nothing fun about sunburns. I’ve gotten my share of “tomato-face” syndrome from practicing during peak hours (10am – 4pm) so my advice is avoid sun exposure during that time.

Twilight is my favorite time to practice outside – the sun isn’t too intense so you don’t really need to use sunblock. But if you’re a die-hard sunblock user I recommend reading What You Need to Know Before You Ever Buy Sunscreen Again.

If you like to play with making your own body care items, I recommend reading Adventures in DIY Products. It was written by my friend Mandy who makes her own sunscreen using aloe and coconut oil. I absolutely love using coconut oil on my skin. Whenever I’m cooking with coconut oil I’ll take a little and rub it into my arms, elbows and hands. Here’s a quick overview of the many benefits of coconut oil:

  • Hydrates and conditions the skin
  • Clears away dirt, grime, and flaking skin cells
  • Has antibacterial properties
  • Soothes bug bites
  • Helps with rashes
  • Softens and shrinks wrinkles
  • Protects against skin damage
  • Prolongs tans
  • Prevents cellular aging
  • Can be used to remove make-up easily
  • Is a great massage oil

In addition to protecting our skin externally we can also nourish our skin by eating certain foods. Dark chocolate contains a high level of antioxidants which protects the skin from sunburn and cancer. The carotenes in apricots, papaya, mango, carrots, sweet potatoes and beets all help to reduce the negative effects of UVB radiation.

Staying hydrated is key. Drinking plenty of room temperature water creates a natural moisture factor which protects the skin. After spending time outside it’s always a good idea to drink plenty of fluids so as to prevent dehydration.

How do you care for your skin during the warmer months? Feel free to leave a comment in the box below:

A Taste of Divinity – Raw Cacao

Practice Create Repeat

For just a moment ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the BEST that you’ve ever felt?
  • Where were you at the time?
  • How old were you?
  • What were you doing?
  • Were you alone or with someone?
  • Did this happen more than once?

Just sit with these questions for a minute and see what comes up. Now ask yourself:

  • Could you create this state again?
  • What would it take to replicate it?
  • What (if anything) is keeping you from feeling this way now?
  • How might you take this experience to the next level?

I’m asking these questions because they relate to my mission as a yoga teacher. For the past thirteen years I’ve been focusing on my personal evolution. My body is the healthiest it’s ever been. I’m committed to eating the most beautiful food, moving in ways that I enjoy and living a low-stress lifestyle. I am free from scoliosis-related back pain. My mind is calmer, clearer and more creative than ever before. I am learning so much and I am more in love every day.

My goal is to help people learn how to do this for themselves.

Life is not easy. We face countless challenges and seemingly endless distractions. Thankfully there are some simple ways to create heightened experiences on a regular basis. One way to do this is by cultivating a personal practice. In my humble opinion this is the BEST thing that we can do for ourselves. A personal practice is an amazing tool that helps us connect with our highest Selves – our creativity, divinity, sovereignty – call it what you will.

When you treat your body like the temple that it is you elevate your life.

If a daily yoga practice seems overwhelming to you, not to worry. There are plenty of ways to administer self-care. I suggest that you start small by picking ONE healthy habit that you can do on a daily basis, such as drinking lemon water or eating one superfood every day. A superfood is a food that is extraordinarily good for your health.

One of my favorite superfoods is raw cacao. The botanical name Theobroma cacao means “Food of the Gods.” Raw cacao is one of the most antioxidant-rich foods on the planet. It contains three natural mood enhancers which make you feel like you’re in love. The health benefits of raw cacao are far more powerful than conventional chocolate.

Raw Cacao:

  • Aids in weight loss
  • Promotes healthy skin
  • Is high in antioxidants
  • Enhances mood
  • Contains essential minerals and vitamins
  • Improves brain function
  • Promotes heart health
  • Is an aphrodisiac

I have a little side project called Amaroons. I make handcrafted macaroons with raw cacao powder, coconut, almonds, maple syrup, vanilla and Himalayan sea salt.

Amaroons make a wonderful gift!

I’m happy to announce that my Etsy shop is open for the holidays.

Your purchase supports my independent small-business and will help to expand my operation. Thank you for your support.

Amaroons Raw Cacao Superfood Macaroons
Amaroons – Raw Chocolate Macaroons

More Taoist Travel Tips

More Taoist Travel Tips

I’ve just had one of those full-tilt travel days – the kind of day when there’s no time to eat and lollygaggers seem to be EVERYWHERE. The sounds, smells and sensations of the city have been noticeably intense. It wasn’t possible to do my home practice but I did have an opportunity to practice off the mat. Here are a few more of my Taoist Travel tips.

Internal Arts

At times like these it’s easy to get stressed out but frustration would only add to the challenge. So I try to view days like today like they’re a game. Shifting my perspective helps to streamline things and makes these challenging experiences more enjoyable.

Next time you’re in a situation where you can’t do your daily asana practice you might try visualizing yourself going through your sequence. You could also try listening to a recording of a guided meditation. Some people find that having something tangible helps them stay focused and will use a mala to practice mantras in silence.

Foot Washing

Another Taoist Travel Tip is to clean your feet after you arrive at your destination. Washing off the dust of the road and putting on a clean pair of socks is a simple yet effective way to renew yourself after a long day. Physically, the act of cleaning your feet relaxes your whole body. Foot washing also helps to clear out any energetic “muck” that you might have picked up along the way.

Last but not least, it’s always good to keep a sense of humor. Keep an eye out for something that makes you laugh. Even if it means that you’re the only one laughing at your jokes – just keep going with it. When the going gets tough a good laugh will lift your spirits and fill your sails.

Do you meditate when you’re on the road? What techniques do you use? Feel free to leave a comment in the box below.