Mellow Flow Playlist

One of the things that I love to do is to  create yoga playlists. By now, Spotify really knows me and recommends lots of amazing songs, so creating playlists is getting easier and easier.

Bellow is a playlist for a slow, mellow flow, stretching, relaxing yoga sequence, but can be used anytime you need a calm mind, but cannot fall asleep! (think stuck in the traffic).

If you don’t use Spotify, you can look for the artists/songs on your music service.

Hope you enjoy!

 

 

Weekly inspirational mantra

I don't know the author of the picture. If you do, let me know so I can credit it!
I don’t know the author of the picture. If you do, let me know so I can credit it!

It has been such a busy weekend, I thought I wouldn’t have the time to post a mantra for the next week! Besides more yoga classes, and teacher appreciation week coming up at my daughter’s school, my seven year old decided that it would be a good time to catch whatever bug is around and develop a high fever, keeping her (and consequently myself) up and restless all night long.

Sleep deprivation affects me something fierce, I suspect more than the average person is affect by such condition. My first reaction was anger: I don’t have time to deal with that. I have a busy weekend planned ahead of me, I have to rest at night, because I simply can’t rest during the waking hours. At 3am, I was hyperventilating in despair of my unaccomplished days ahead. How am I supposed to do everything??

Well, maybe I’m not supposed to do everything, or anything at all. What is really imperative to do? Can I delegate some activity and – shocking – ask for help? Can it wait a couple more days?

I do believe that I have enough, more than enough, really. But it’s hard for me to accept that I do enough, there is so much I want to do. And I certainly don’t think I’m enough. I could be a better mother, wife, yoga teacher, yogini, friend…how can I be enough?

But for the next week, I’m not allowed to say that to myself. I’ll repeat everyday, for the next seven days: “I have enough, I do enough, I am enough.”

Weekly Inspirational Mantra

There are so many things that I want to do, so many areas in my life that I want to improve, physically, mentally, spiritually…

I try to do it all at once and end up being overwhelmed, stressed, an impatient with myself and my limits, which is quite the opposite of the improvement that I was seeking.

I was thinking that maybe, if I did just one small thing at a time, focus my mind in a tiny bit of task, and really center my attention on it for the entire week. Would that be easier? Not sure and there is only one way to finding out. I’m a very driven person when I have a plan and rules to follow, so I decided that the best way to implement my plan was by creating a weekly mantra, something to focus my mind for the next seven days, before reaching for something else. Nothing like a structure schedule to keep me going!

For the next week, I want to encourage myself to keep reaching for my dreams, silence my self-doubts and that little annoying self-critic that keeps telling me that I’m not good enough, that I’m not going to make it, and should give up before even trying.

Here is my weekly inspirational mantra:

Photo by Livia Lobo Yogini
Photo by Livia Lobo Yogini

Creating a Gratitude Journal

IMG_3788Admittedly, keeping a consistent meditation practice has been a struggle for me. On the other hand, I’m doing an awesome job creating a gratitude journal. It was one of my new year’s resolutions (alongside meditation) and I have been writing on my journal daily, right before I sleep.

Since I’m the kind of person who thrives in structured environments, I created a set of “rules” to writing on my journal. That’s right! I know it doesn’t sound all that spiritual to follow rules when you are being grateful, but hey, whatever works to keep me on the path of being grateful, right?! It is easy for me to follow rules and a preset format, and it has worked wonders when it comes to my journal. I don’t know what sort of long-term benefit I’ll have from daily writing, but I can tell it is nice to end the day on a positive note.

So here are my set of rules for writing a gratitude journal, and I hope they encourage you to start your own. They can be only guidelines, and then, once you have the habit of keeping the journal, you can let your heart guide your writing:

1-  Write three items: I write three things and that’s it. I thought that even if I had a very discouraging day, I can still find at least 3 things to be grateful for. On the other hand, If I had a wonderful day, when 20 things pop in my mind at the same time, and I could write two whole pages of amazing events, what would happen if the next day was an awful one? It would seem like a bad day, 3 things to be grateful for, or not.

2- Don’t go for the deeper stuff: I avoid writing that I’m grateful for being healthy, having a roof over my head, or food on my table. Don’t get me wrong, I know these are really important things in life, but thankfully, I have them on a daily basis. If I wrote everyday that I’m grateful for these 3 blessings, it would sound as if my life is rather uneventful, boring even. I try to go for the small stuff that makes life fun, those fleeting moments of delight that come and go, and if I don’t keep track of them, I often forget just how amazing my life really is – and that is the reason why I’m journaling – to remind myself all the moments I should be thankful for: savoring a delicious meal at a restaurant, that glass of wine with friends, having time to step on the mat, laughing while watching a movie, the relief when my kids eat their whole meal without complaining, buying amazing yoga pants on sale, watching the sunset…Because health, food, and housing is what keeps me alive, but those small blissful moments is what I live for.

3- Freestyle: This one goes against the grain on the whole “rule” notion, but when seeking for inspiration to write, I listen to my heart. I can write one or two words, or a few sentences, anything that helps me replay in my mind the good feeling I had during the day.

4- Write right before falling asleep: I keep my journal and a pen next to my bed and write right before I fall asleep. No checking emails or Pinterest on my iPhone after that, I want to have the feeling of gratitude fresh in mind to take it with me to dreamland.

5- Be honest: If I don’t actually feel grateful for whatever happened during my day, even though I know it was good for me, I don’t add to my daily list. The journal is for me only. No one is going to read it (hopefully), so I don’t want to feel pressured to be politically correct with my feelings.

6 – When things go bad, override rule number 2: Some days are hard to swallow. It feels like the whole world conspired against me all day long. I find it very hard to put a positive note on anything. Even the “thank you for the lesson learned” won’t cut it. All I can think is “hell, the lesson didn’t need to be that hard!!!” Then I go with “thank you for being healthy, safely tucked inside my warm comfortable bed with a full belly.”

I hope you get inspired by these rules, I mean, tips and start you own gratitude journal.

First Step

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© Livia Lobo

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”   Lao Tzu

I’ve been meaning to start a blog about yoga for quite sometime now, but I was filled with a lot of doubt about what specific yoga theme should I write about (there are so many wonderful yoga blogs out there, how could I possibly contribute with something new?), or if anyone would read or like what I wrote about, would I have time to keep the blog up and running with frequent new content? Why did it matter what I write about if no one is going to read. Fear and doubt can be paralyzing and I never got a single project or idea in motion.

And then it came the need to have a personal website for my yoga teaching career, so I thought, why not add my dreamed about blog along with the website? I finally got around creating both, but then I sat in front of the computer paralyzed again by the same concerns. I knew I only needed to write the first post, to get it in motion and the inspiration and themes for all the new posts would come naturally and with time.

I suddenly remembered when I was a teenager, and a water polo competitive player. I trained everyday, all year long, including winter time. I saw myself again, by the edge of the pool, dreading jumping inside the cold water, and fearing even more when, after three hours of non-stopping swimming I would have to get out of the water, into the cold air, and run at the top of my lungs to the hot shower. Standing there, gathering the courage to jump was actually the worst part of the training, because the moment I had the courage to take the decisive step that would plunge my body into the freezing cold water, all the hesitation and fear were instantly gone from my mind. I knew what I had to do: I had to keep swimming and fast, to keep warm. I knew how to swim, I knew how to play, that part was just so easy.

The same analogy can be applied to my blog, or any other activity that I have fears and doubts about the outcome. Just take the first step that will break the ice and set whatever it is in motion, and go from there, adjusting, steering, feeling the way as I go. It is a law of physics after all: a body in motion tends to stay in motion. A body inert will remain inert unless an outside force acts on it. I acted upon my blog. I wrote the first post, took the first step and set it in motion.