pause + rewind + try again

if 37 is prime, so am i

y’all…it has been a HOT minute since i did any blogging and for that i apologize sincerely. like so many of us, life got a little hectic, personal tragedies, yadda yadda. it’s not that i want to diminish the trauma we collectively and individually faced these past couple of years, it’s that i want to move forward. this post is not about THAT, it’s about what’s going on NOW.

in this, the last month of 2022, which is also the month of my birth, which is also the peak of Sagittarius season, i want to acknowledge some truths i have come to behold. the most potent among them is the idea that we are dynamic people. all humans are capable of learning and adapting and that is awesome.

on the final days of my 36th year, i can say that i am becoming a different person: a person who is more positive and kind. i see that encouragement and understanding and loads of curious optimism are the only real way to get things done. 

i journaled about a few goals at the beginning of this year. they were mostly terrifying and i thought i would fail, so i didn’t really broadcast them (i regret my choice, but that will be a whole different article). instead, i read, researched and strategized. even though i was out of my depth, i tried to stay positive and hopeful. it nearly killed me at some points, but it paid off.

early 2022 saw a variety of obstacles: the raleigh, nc housing market was wild and it was looking like time was running out for first-time buyers like ross and i. (ross is my partner and significant otter BTW.) COVID-19 was still looming large with variants popping up and making things dangerous. studio yoga classes were unpredictable, and i was eager to expand my outdoor yoga schedule and nurture my little corner of the yoga community. 

i was also feeling frustrated with my marketing career and curious if there might be something better out there for me. if i may–the great resignation is a silly name to call it. people are simply waking up to the simple fact that if they are going to spend so much TIME at work, they should get to enjoy some fulfillment from it. so, yeah, i realized it was time to make a change.

it wasn’t the first time i’d pondered these life change, but i arrived at a crossroads. what was holding me back? information? certainty? i mean we can always have more money and time, but realistically, my fear of failure was stopping me from starting.

this made me LOL. when i walk it back, it doesn’t make sense. how can i be fearful of something that hasn’t EVEN happened yet? like for real. i did not have the answer to whether i could do these things or not, and yet, i was totally subscribed to my limiting beliefs. i allowed my fear of an uncertain future outcome to rule my present circumstance.

i decided to do an experiment; i had to at least try to manifest these changes. just like in yoga, i tried to think about the situation in a different way. Instead of how i would feel if i didn’t get what i wanted, i considered how home ownership, a new job, and more outdoor yoga classes would positively impact my life. the more i meditated on this, the more i was motivated to make it happen. the expression “nothing to lose and everything to gain” had never been more true. 

there were a few moments of affirmation along the way where i felt like i was on the right track. we got pre-approved for mortgage lending which felt great! even though it was still chilly outside, people were asking me about my outdoor classes, saying they’d seen my instagram stories and wanted to try it out. i also started getting excited as i perused marketing job postings on linkedin and indeed. 

it was a very slow burn though, and each of these goals took months of planning and scheming to actualize. then, when i finally “got in the game”,  i experienced several losses. we went to dozens of home showings and had offers get rejected. i had many zoom interviews with nary a word from the company. i was struggling to find a new yoga venue and the online classes were not getting traction. i was discouraged and it all had me wanting to give up. for some reason, (maybe it’s just my stubborn Sag energy?) i kept at it…

the possibility of change catalyzed that curious optimism again. i noticed how the pursuit of these big goals really fueled me. and, i decided that even if it failed, it felt good to at least be trying to change. i was doing things not because i had to, but because i wanted to and that also felt kinda nice.

of course the yoga teacher in me also considered this time to be a wonderful opportunity to practice managing stress, LOL. oh, and the stress was palpable. i cried a lot, yelled a lot. i went on runs and cried, i did yoga and cried, i talked to my mom and best friend and cried and yelled. as much as i wanted to give up, i was relying on myself.

among my three big goals, a theme emerged: finding solace in uncertainty. i had to sit with ‘not knowing’ a LOT this past year. when you put yourself out there, even in a quiet way like i did, you can get rejected. which i did. quite a bit. but every time you don’t immediately die after that rejection, you become wiser and more resilient. and less afraid of future rejections.

eventually, the little dream nuggets came to fruition. we became homeowners and moved into a cute place we love. this fall, i added a second weekly outdoor yoga class and met tons of new clients. i also started a new position with an amazing experiential marketing firm that does incredibly powerful work for communities i love.

i have to shout out Ross because the homebuying process could not have happened without him. we truly did it together in every aspect, and i am grateful for his support. we are planning to die here though because neither of us want to move again, ha!

so, as i head into year 37, i am full of curious optimism. i’ve learned that i am a person who enjoys a challenge and likes to work hard. i’ve also learned that, while i do NOT like it, i’m a person that can sit with a little uncertainty and not explode.

the number 37 is prime, and so am i. while i don’t advise plotting a course for three major life upheavals in a single year, shoot your shot! it might be fabulous.

xoxo,

e

Living Well

Don’t Forget Yourself

November is well underway at this point. Halloween has come and gone, Thanksgiving is just around the corner with other winter holidays following close behind. It’s a busy time of year, which for many of us will only get busier. While you’re running around gifting and giving this holiday season, don’t forget yourself.

I say this because I’ve noticed that in my own life, the self-care rituals I really enjoy are the first things that drop off when my schedule picks up. We all have responsibilities and must be flexible at times; it’s part of adulting. But we usually sacrifice those little things that bring us joy when we need them the most. Head’s up-I have one way to ensure you get yourself a little TLC before the holidays, (and at 15% off too) but you’ll have to read on for that.

When the tasks pile up, I feel like I don’t have time to take care of myself. How can I possibly go to yoga when I have so much to do? I can’t spend an hour cooking when I’m already behind on this project…Sounds familiar, yah? I think many of us have felt this conundrum. FELT being the key word. 

If only I had more…Subconsciously I believe if I can require less energy/time/food/sleep/whatever I can have more energy to channel elsewhere. While it would be cool, this logic doesn’t say much for common sense. The truth is that we have to take care of our needs if we’re going to be of any use to the world. And speaking of the world, it will continue to turn regardless, so you may as well make yourself a priority.

Simply put, we cannot get something from nothing. I think it was a third grade science lesson that I first learned that matter can neither be created or destroyed. It can be transformed though and embody different states. I like to think about human energy in the same way. Our energy can ebb and flow but it is present at all times.

Self-care is one way we can transform our energy. Spending time generating good feelings can help us feel rejuvenated and refreshed. A few months ago I had an opportunity to recharge my energy at a local yoga retreat hosted by my dear friends Lauren and Cici. It was the perfect way to reconnect with myself and my yoga practice in a playful and friendly atmosphere. Here’s a little recap of my Day Pass experience.

The retreat was located nearby at The Eco-Institute at Pickards Mountain in Chapel Hill which is about 40 minutes outside of Raleigh. I couldn’t go for the whole weekend, but I was able to purchase a Day Pass to attend the Saturday sessions. This was perfect because it allowed me to enjoy a TON of great activities like multiple yoga classes, workshops AND yummy snacks, at a great price.


Photos courtesy of JME PhotographyPhotos courtesy of JME Photography

Photos courtesy of JME Photography

I arrived at the farm and was greeted by the sweetest little goats just in time to gather with the group for a quick cup of tea. We said hellos and headed upstairs for an energetic morning vinyasa lead by Lauren. About 75 ass-kicking minutes later, I was roused from Savasana by the scent of roasted sweet potatoes. Magically, there was a delicious brunch spread waiting for us after class. It thoughtfully included every possible dietary option with labels to help clarify… very nice touch!

After brunch, we had a couple of hours to explore the farm before we resumed our afternoon activities. I took a walk down to the adorable Honeysuckle Tea House to get a cuppa and chat with some of the other retreat goers. To my surprise, everyone had the same story. We chose to attend the retreat because it was perfect for a last-minute Treat YoSelf activity. 

We reconvened in the afternoon for a workshop focused on demystifying the “bandhas” which of course, lead to an upside-down yogi recess. Even with many different levels of experience, Cici was able to get everyone playing with the concept of arm balancing. SO FUN!


Photos courtesy of JME PhotographyPhotos courtesy of JME Photography

Photos courtesy of JME Photography

After this empowering but exhausting hour, Emilee from Healer’s Hemp Co gave us a crash course in all things Cannabis. She offered some insight on dosing and what to look for as you shop. Raleigh Raw came through with a create-your-own poke bar which was a huge highlight for me. I just LOVE Raleigh Raw and I got extra cashew sauce this time. 

Our evening yoga class was inspired by Yin and Thai massage and was a perfect way to conclude such a physical day. We partnered up for some assisted stretches, which contrary to my expectation, was not weird at all. (By that point in the day, we were all very close friends, ha!) The class was gentle and relaxing and it left me feeling restored but still alert…I had to drive home after all. 


Photos courtesy of JME PhotographyPhotos courtesy of JME Photography

Photos courtesy of JME Photography

After a fireside s’more, I hugged everybody–literally everybody at the retreat, goodbye and headed home. I was so blissed out, I don’t even think I turned on the radio.

So, with the Day Pass I got way more than I paid for…multiple yoga classes, knowledge, delicious foods, fellowship with awesome yogis AND I was home before 11pm! It was amazing and I highly encourage you to join Lauren and Cici for a day at their upcoming Winter Immersion Nov 21-24. For 15% off, use the code DAYPASS15 when you check out. Visit the retreat website to sign up; the discount is valid until Saturday 11/16.

As the holidays draw near and you’re giving everything to everyone, don’t forget yourself. You deserve TLC as much as the next guy or gal on your list. When things get crazy double down on the joy mongering. Make time for fun so you can smile your way through these wild times. 

Whether you commit to your weekly fitness class, family dinners or spending a day (or maybe the whole weekend) at an amazing local retreat, DO NOT forget yourself this holiday season.

in love and light,

E

taking care

Namaste Y’all!

If you’ve taken a yoga class or two, you may have heard the word “namaste”. You may have also seen memes like “namastay in bed” or “#namaslay”. These are fun and you all know I LOVE a clever meme, but it detracts from the meaning of this amazing word. Really, it’s more than a word. It’s a practice unto itself.


IMG_3436.JPGIMG_3436.JPG

Namaste is a sanskrit word that literally means “I bow to you.”  It is used as a salutation and can be a greeting or farewell. Pretty simple, but when flavored with context and seasoned with yoga philosophy, these three little syllables become so much more.

The word “namaste” symbolizes the connection of different individuals through the fabric of the universe. It reminds us that, although we are different humans, we are all one at the same time.

Let’s begin with a teensy bit of yoga philosophy…

While most people believe they are familiar with “yoga” they are really only familiar with one aspect or “limb” of the yogic path: the physical practice of asana (you know, the poses like upward and downward facing dogs, the sun salutations and happy babies, etc.). There are seven other “limbs” of yoga that make up the entire philosophy and cover a variety of topics such as how we treat ourselves, how we treat others, meditation, and breathing to name a few. If you’d like more information in the 8 limbs of yoga, try this.

In a broader sense, the word yoga means to yoke. What are we “yoking”? In one sense, the body and the mind. In another sense, we are connecting ourselves to the world at large.

Yoga is a form of exercise, but it’s not just fitness and fat burning. It has spiritual roots, but it is not a religion. It is a philosophy, through which regular practice builds awareness, focus, and confidence, in addition to physical strength, balance, and coordination. Yoga requires equivocal and simultaneous effort from the mind and body, and is quite unlike other physical activities for this reason.

It is an individual activity, but yoga is popular in a group setting, such as a yoga class. Even though practitioners are learning and progressing at their own rates, there is a shared energy among the students in the group. We are all in different places, but we are thinking, moving, and breathing as one being. It’s amazingly powerful.

There is usually a teacher in the room leading class, but that individual is much more of an adventure guide, as we can only teach ourselves. That’s right! At the risk of my livelihood as a yoga teacher, I’m telling you that nobody can “teach” you how to do yoga. Instructors make thoughtful suggestions based on our experiences and observations, but it is up to you, as both student and inner teacher to take what you want and leave what you don’t.

So when we say “namaste” it is not just a cute way to end class or a signal students to jump up and leave the room. It is a shout-out to our connectedness. It helps us tie the physical yoga practice to the other limbs of the philosophy. When our mind and body work in harmony, we realize our truest self. It reminds us that teacher and student are equals. It encourages us to use our practice to prepare us for what happens in life; working through challenges, staying focused despite obstacles, returning to our breath and intention…it is so much more than a workout.

The exchange of “namaste” between teacher and student encourages us to pay forward the goodness we create through our practice, to feel grateful for our gifts, and to keep the yoga in our lives even after we roll up our mat.


IMG_3433.JPGIMG_3433.JPG

I recognize the light, the goodness, and the power within you, because it is also within me. I bow to you, as you to me. Although we are different,we are connected, we are one.

– E

taking care

5 reasons to #loveYOU

At the beginning of March, I had the privilege of attending Sweet Cheeks All Natural’s “#LoveYOU” kick-off event. This was the first of many Sweet Cheeks events focusing on self-care. The topic of self-care comes up everywhere these days…Maybe that’s because most of us don’t do it enough, if we do it at all. Taking care is something we value at The 91 Rewind. We believe that everyone can share a little more of the T.L.C. we dole out to others with ourselves as well.

Not too long ago, Erica and I were having a conversation about what self-care means for each of us. As you may expect from two best friends of nearly 27 years , we have similar ways of caring for ourselves, BUT there are still some differences to note. We both love yoga, but our connection to the practice happened at different times. I began practicing yoga a little over ten years ago at Yoga Source. Erica didn’t step onto the mat until 2011 when a friend conned her into taking a class. I love a great  restorative class, where I can focus on my breathing and allow myself to relax through deep stretches. Erica gave restorative a try a few weeks ago and told me she would rather do someone’s calculus homework than to take another restorative class. If I had to describe Erica‘s preferred type of yoga class, it would be one in which she is upside-down as MUCH AS POSSIBLE (FYI-I simply cannot fathom how a person finds relaxation from something like that…).

I mention this not to suggest that one type of yoga practice is better than the other, but to highlight that different methods can yield the same outcome. We both experience a euphoric yet relaxing, warm-fuzzy, post-class feeling, but we take different paths to get there. Caring for ourselves is much the same, in that it depends on individual preferences. Each of us will need something a little different, and only you can truly know what that is. 

So, while I cannot tell you exactly HOW you need to care for yourself, I CAN tell you some reasons WHY you should care for yourself; why you have to #LoveYOU. I’ve debated the best way to do this, so I decided to go with a David Letterman-esque “Top 10 List.” Unfortunately, ten is far too many reasons to really remember, so  I’m going to stick to five. Let’s keep it simple. Now, without further ado, here are the top five reasons to #LoveYOU!

#5 You are beautiful! Society wants to tell us what beauty is and should be, AND how or what we need to make ourselves beautiful. But let me tell you, none of that is true. There is nothing you need to do to make yourself beautiful. Beauty comes from within and extends to our outer being. You are beautiful with or without makeup; with or without the perfect outfit, or expertly styled hair. You are real and flawed and amazingly alive and that is truly beautiful. You are already here, my dear, living and breathing. There is nothing MORE you need to do to  make yourself beautiful. Just #LoveYOU, and everyone else will, too.

#4 You are important! Obviously, our needs are important. That’s why we have jobs! So we can provide for ourselves…but how many of us REALLY feel that our needs are the MOST important? How often do we put off going to the doctor because we can’t miss work? How many times do we reschedule appointments because we are just too busy? How often do we want to take time for ourselves but feel too guilty to actually do it? What are we afraid of? If you ask me, it’s the fear that once we finally DO put ourselves at the top of our list, that we will never be able to go back to how things were before. Maybe that’s true, but hey you are important! After all, no one else can authorize our self-care. You deserve to feel important and it’s okay to put YOU first.

#3 Your happiness matters! I find this is hardest for mothers, and women in general, to grasp and embody. Women are natural care-takers and have a habit of prioritizing the needs of others, sometimes at the expense of our own happiness. We make a lifestyle of overextending and begin to feel stressed out and unappreciated. We wonder why no one seems to care about us, yet we behave as if we never need anything. Acknowledging that we deserve happiness and taking time to discover and create our own joy tells others that we DO matter and that our happiness is a priority.

#2 You are enough! The world would like us to believe that we are needy and ill-equipped. There are entire industries that thrive on people’s fear that they are not good enough (we won’t name any names…). Tapping into the human fear of inadequacy is a great sales tactic, but a terrible life philosophy. We question our career choices, believing the right job will suddenly fulfill us. We think we need to buy the right clothes or accessories to help us feel more love. We feel like a bigger house means a better life. We believe that our adventures only count if they get lots of “likes” on social media. We seek affirmation of ourselves from external sources. No one can tell you who you are. You would still be you without an instagram account, without a fancy job, without the latest clutch that you paid a fortune for. You are not perfect, but you are whole. You are complete, you are enough.

#1 (and Most Important) YOU’RE AN ADORABLE BADASS! You are a first-edition, limited-release, ORIGINAL. There has never been, nor will there ever be another YOU. You are the only person you can be. Embrace your originality my friend, because no one has it quite like you. 

 It may sound backwards, but taking care of ourselves can help us take better care of others. Learning to cherish ourselves; working to #LoveYOU flaws and all, makes us better. It makes us more kind, more compassionate. After all, you can’t convince anyone of anything until you first convince yourself. 

There are a truckload more reasons to #LoveYOU and we hope this little countdown may inspire you to some steep on some reasons of your own. We often feel pressure to achieve or obtain. That self-worth is derived from doing things. You are alive and individual, and that’s all that is required.

If you doubt any of these reasons, stand in front of a mirror and repeat as many times as necessary. Some days it’s easier to believe than others, but EVERY DAY you need to #LoveYOU…no matter what!

xoxo,

C

taking care

recovery discovery

I have grown to resent the number hours I need to sleep to feel rested. I find myself saying things like “if I could just wake up a little earlier” or “if I could just have a couple extra hours in the day” all the time. Although, I’m quite sure if I had “extra” time, I wouldn’t spend it resting. I would undoubtedly find ways to fill that time with all sort of stuff and find myself in the exact same situation.

Not long ago Crystal posted about slowing down and taking time to enjoy the little things in life. I read it and even commented that I agreed, but have I taken time to slow down since then? No, I have not.

Every day seems like a race against the clock to do more in our waking hours than we did the day before. If we succeed, the bar is raised! (And so is our anxiety from trying to continually increase our productivity.) If we fail, we feel sad and guilty.

So what gives? When our cell phones and tablets indicate a “low battery” we know and respect the limited amount of time left. We stop what we are doing and scramble to find an outlet, we rush to recharge these devices so we can stay connected. People will traipse miles in an airport or conference center to find a place to plug in their devices. We even tote little portable battery packs so that we can stay charged up.

If we can understand the limited lifespan of our rechargeable devices, should we not take it a little easier on ourselves? It’s as if we expect our “batteries” to last forever. If we do actually admit we feel depleted, we make excuses as to why we have to suffer through it and we keep on trucking.

We don’t recharge. We grind away at life, willing ourselves to continue despite our exhaustion. Why? Because we feel guilty.


IMG_7826.JPGIMG_7826.JPG

Self-care is greatly undervalued in this country. Most can agree that we don’t have time to be sick/injured/tired/not in the mood, yet most of us don’t take the steps needed to prevent the maladies from affecting us.

While taking a vacation may not prevent you from getting the flu, research shows that it can relieve stress. Chronic stress can affect a wide variety of biophysical processes AND can weaken your immune system. Regular exercise and a whole food diet may not put more money in your bank account, but it may help you sleep better. Arriving at work well-rested helps us stay positive and productive. 

Taking “personal time” can be seen as a narrowly afforded luxury or worse, as an excuse for slacking off. (The entire concept of playing “hooky” was born from the idea that our personal time is not valuable enough to be taken seriously.) We feel irresponsible taking a “personal day,” like doing something just for fun is not value added. We have talked already about the importance of playtime, but still why don’t we allow ourselves a break?

If we temper our expectations for our devices when the batteries run low, why can’t we also temper our expectations for ourselves?

There is a tremendous amount of research in the fitness world that suggests that recovery is as critical to your routine as the workouts themselves. Elite athletes all over the world tout the benefits of the “off-season”. Think about it, even professional basketball players do not hit the court every single day. They spend long hours training in their chosen modality, but they also take time away. Giving the body time to rest and rebuild between workouts is the keystone to realizing progress.

Recharging does not have to include sleeping, or binge-watching shows on Netflix-although that is pretty darn nice too. Rest and recovery means engaging in low-stress (physical and emotional) activities that stimulate creativity, bring joy, or help us connect with others. Cleaning my apartment has become a favorite off-day activity for me. (I can’t believe I just said that. Mom will be SO proud!😂) I can take it at my own pace, listen to music, and by the end I feel way more relaxed.

Whether your recharge involves being playful, productive, or simply present in the moment, relish in it! Plan for and look forward to it. Make rejuvenation a habit. The ability to recover from stress (whether it’s physical stress from a workout, or emotional stress from an intense day at the office) helps us raise the intensity, to endure higher levels of stress in the future. BUT it is not until we slow down and give ourselves time to recharge that we can actually raise the bar.

The only way to make progress in life is by allowing our minds, our bodies, our spirits, to rejuvenate. Just like our cell phones, sometimes we absolutely NEED to power down and give ourselves a break. If we keep going without enough rest, we become useless…just like an iPhone with a dead battery.

Go hard, my friends! Chase your dreams, and live large. But, if you’re ever feeling tired or stressed, it’s okay! Sometimes rest is best.

Namaste,

E

taking care

pause and press play

When was the last time you did something just for the fun of it? I’m talking about gallivanting shenanigans, here. Really try to think…I’ll wait.
So many of us lead full busy lives with hardly any leftover time for shenanigans. It is widely known that play is critical for children to develop creative thinking and problem solving skills. But who has time for playing around in their grown-up lives?


HebrewDawn: pause and press playHebrewDawn: pause and press play

HebrewDawn: pause and press play

The truth is that playtime is important for people of all ages. Engaging in activities purely for enjoyment can bring much more than fun into our lives. Dr. Stuart Brown is the founder of the National Institute of Play. He defines “play” as an apparently purposeless activity; something done for it’s own sake that is fun or enjoyable. There are many different types of play available to adults, but the important part is that we are only invested in the activity as much as it is pleasurable to us. Basically,  the act of playing is more important than what you do or how it goes.

For instance, I teach dance and yoga in Raleigh, NC.  While I am extremely passionate about both activities in any context, I have a much different experience giving a class than when I’m taking a dance or yoga class. As a teacher, I spend a lot of time preparing lessons, creating sequences and choreography, to make sure I can guide my students safely and effectively through each class. Sort of like having a party at your house, my job, as the host, is to make sure everyone is having a good time. When I am NOT the teacher,  I can let go of my expectations and live in the moment. I can be present in what’s happening right now and not worry about where we came from or what’s happening next. It is truly a gift to be a student attending, and I find my practice in both modalities is invigorated by this playtime. Conversely, the absence of playtime leaves me feeling like a stale bag of chips…

Humans are not alone in their need for play. Dr. Brown has researched play among species in the animal kingdom, finding that species that play more when danger is not present are better able to defend themselves when a threat emerges. There is also evidence that animals of different species can communicate through play.  Brown’s famous story about the polar bear and the husky illustrates this amazing concept. This suggests that in some way, from an evolutionary standpoint, play is purposeful. That is an odd concept to wrap around the old noodle…Why on earth would messing around give us an advantage?

Regardless of our age, the act of playing catalyzes some pretty important reactions:

  1. Playing helps us connect with others; when we are children, it’s how we develop communication skills. As adults, it helps us feel trust and bond with one another.
  2. Playing helps improve our brain function. Games from simple to complex engage the mind and increase our cognitive function.
  3. Playing helps us relax. Because we are enjoying the activity, we let go of our sense of time when we’re playing.

Even if we are simply taking a mental break from it all, playtime refreshes us. Maybe animals who play sleep better and are more rested when the time comes to be active? Maybe that group of thirtysomethings playing Magic in the back of the video game store is not really so strange? (I mean clearly, they are having a wicked good time, they are here every Friday night!) Maybe those silly corporate team-building activities aren’t so silly, after all?

This is the first of a series of posts about “playing around” and how we can all stand to invite a little more of it into our routines. Until then, go have yourself a ball, do something just for grins…I Double Dog Dare, you!

xo,

E


HebrewDawn: pause and press playHebrewDawn: pause and press play

HebrewDawn: pause and press play

Resources:

http://www.nifplay.org/institute/about-us/

http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2014/08/06/336360521/play-doesnt-end-with-childhood-why-adults-need-recess-too