Monday, October 14, 2013

Finding relaxation in a busy life: a guest post

A few weeks back, Alisa won the Barefoot Yoga silk eye pillow in a giveaway here on this blog! I asked her to review it for us so you all can hear about it, and I love what she has written: an honest story of a mom, student and yogini trying to find relaxation in a busy, multi-tasking life. Thanks for sharing your story Alisa, and keep remembering to relax!


Hi, my name is Alisa.  I am a wanna be yogini. I have been doing yoga for 2 years, and am in love with not only practicing yoga but reading about yoga!   I am a new mom and wife, and a full time student in a demanding program.  I am really so lucky I won the silk eye pillow give away, because my life can be very stressful (as I’m sure most of yours are) and this eye pillow has given me the desire to meditate and relax more!

The day after I received my new amazing silk eye pillow I was walking and slipped on some liquid and fell right on my tailbone. It HURT really bad for a couple of weeks.  I couldn’t practice yoga like I wanted to, and I knew my body needed lots of REST!  Sometimes these bad things happen for a reason, to remind us to slow down and rest, something I am working on!!!! 

The silk eye pillow is the perfect accessory for my resting! After I hurt my tailbone, I would lay down in bed with lots of pillows and support for my poor tail bone, and put the eye pillow over my eyes.  Breathing in deeply, I immediately loved the light lavender scent (which is not too strong, but strong enough to enrich my nostrils with calming lavender with each inhale)  I continued to breathe deeply and relax my stressed, sore, tight body...

After a few minutes I realized that I LOVE the slight pressure the silk eye pillow puts on my eyes and surrounding area. It wasn’t too light or too heavy, but the perfect amount of pressure to help remind me to relax my face and all of the tension I hold there.   I feel like sometimes we are so used to relaxing the rest of our body in savasana and meditation but we forget to relax our face!!

Some other things I love about the silk eye pillow are: the silk case it comes in – perfect for storing it, and the beautiful pattern and silkiness/softness of the fabric that feels almost cool on your eyes.
After having the silk eye pillow for a couple weeks, and testing it at least a few times a week, I realized that consciously relaxing my face really helps me a lot with relaxing my racing mind!  Which in turn helps me relax my whole body too. 

This being the first eye pillow I’ve ever used.  I was surprised by how much I love it. The silk eye pillow has definitely took my savasavas and lying down meditations to a whole new level J

I also have a little advice with using the silk eye pillow:  Make sure you have some time to ease back into reality after using your eye pillow. The eye pillow blocks out light completely!  So I found it rewarding to take a couple of minutes to keep my eyes closed after I took off the eye pillow ……slowly easing back into the bright world eased the transition!

I think the Barefoot Co.’s silk eye pillow would make a good gift for anyone really, but especially for those women in your life!  I feel like a lot of women these days worry too much, or stress about everything, trying to carry the world on their shoulders.  I know that ALL women have those days, and life is busy!!! But our lives would really improve if we took the time to settle down and relax our bodies and minds!  The silk eye pillow could benefit both those who are already familiar with savasana and meditation, and those who have never done it before!  I ordered my mom and mother in law a silk eye pillow for Christmas, and I’m going to include with my gift instructions on how to do a full body scan, relaxation meditation.  I’m hoping it will help them!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The yoga of connecting; simple is enough

Hello dear readers,

Technically a blog has no obligation, but every time my life gets away from me and keeps me away from my blog, I always feel the need to apologise! So readers, I'm sorry for the long absence from this space, and I'll do my best to keep the posts coming for the next little while.

True to my gypsy name, I am traveling at the moment, this time a long work trip that will keep me away from home for 3 months. I'm once again visiting the half-island nation of East Timor - long time readers will remember that I used to live here. It seems that my fate is entwined with this place, for life keeps drawing me back. With a whole world out there, incredibly I am sitting in an office that is only a few doors away from the very first office I sat in 9 years ago when I first came here. Perhaps some places are truly magnetic to our souls, or there is some karma that I have with this place that I have yet to work through.

Morning commute ;)

This time I have the wonderful opportunity to be spending most of my working hours traveling around the country and talking to local people. I will be on the road a lot and my yoga physical yoga practice will most certainly suffer from it, but there are other kinds of yoga. The yoga of connecting to people is one that we so often neglect. The yoga of getting to know other human beings, of asking for their perspectives and listening to what they have to say. We get so engrossed in our personal practice that we forget that the real practice is how we live our lives, minute by minute, day-by day.

Being back at a desk job is also a shift for me. Gone are the long, leisurely morning practices that I have had over the past few months. Now, I am rising in the hot, humid darkness, stepping on my mat still half asleep, swatting mosquitoes. Every step between bed and the mat is a struggle with myself, trying to keep the fire of tapas, discipline, burning long enough to get me to the first breath. But once I am there, everything flows. One breath turns into another and before long a thin sheen of sweat has sprung to my skin, and my body moves into life.

These mornings feel like a homecoming, an echo of years worth of morning practices. To do them (and still be at the office by 8am!), I have stripped back my practice to the basics, trying to get the most out of my limited time on the mat, and it has surprised me how well this simplified practice "fits." It's as if I have stripped away everything that was not serving me, and am left with a practice where every breath, every asana, meets a need. Nothing is extra, no energy is wasted, no thoughts or emotions flung into attachment to "goal poses" or the length of my practice. The reward: I am calm, focused, and (I think!) pleasant to be around. I can go about my day of listening to people with ease and relaxation. I notice a huge increase in my productivity at work on the mornings I do yoga, and a huge loss of focus on the mornings when I trade my practice for an extra hour of sleep. It's nice to be reminded of the transformative power of a simple practice and to remember, in the midst of our complicated lives, that simple is enough.

Dear readers, I promise shortly a return to our regular programming, with some highlights from trips around East Timor thrown in as a bonus.

For now, go on, get on your mats - or get off them - and see what happens. :)