Summer is here!
The joy of children (and teachers) as we approach the end of the school year is a part of all of us - I remember long afternoons of running in and out of the sprinkler, picking raspberries in our backyard, and ice cream melting down the sides of the cone and all over my hands. It seemed like the days went on forever!
Often as adults we don't find the same excitement this time of year. We may even feel left out of the school year cycle and summer celebration, but there are ways you can reclaim it! Read on for a few of my favorites.
do you remember where you were 4 years ago? If you were one of my lucky original newsletter subscribers (aka friends and family members who were unknowingly added to my email list) you were about to get your first taste of Siena Wellness!
The first week in May of 2013, I send out my first newsletter. The next day, I met with my first client. Between then and now I've worked with hundreds of women and men to improve their lives while positively impacting the world we share. We've practiced yoga together, eaten delicious local homemade meals, been through the challenges of sleepless nights with newborn babies, and shared amazing healing moments.
I am so honored and humbled to do this work that I love. To spend my time helping people nourish their bodies, connect to their children, make radical changes in their lives, and to create wonderful and supportive communities in the midst of the very real challenges of our world today.
And it wouldn't be possible without you. You have accompanied me through the amazing moments and provided support when things were tough. You came to workshops, classes, mamas circles, and gatherings. You make it possible for me to be a small business owner, mother, friend, and more, and for that I am eternally grateful.
This month, I'd love to hear how I can continue to support you. What would you like to see from Siena Wellness before our 5th birthday? Find me at a yoga class, reach out to schedule a coaching call, or simply send me an email.
I can't wait to hear from you!
Time to let go a little. Or a lot.
We have a desire to control - we choose our schedules, what to eat, where to go, and how to interact with others. We plan, save, and work hard to create the lives we want to live. Maybe it comes out of knowing that there are so many unknowns in life - wonderful people who will bring us pure joy, tragic events that will change us forever, and everything in between.
But this same control creates a challenge. On a narrowly-focused path or during an over-scheduled day, we end up feeling out of control - like our lives are moving forward with someone else in the driver's seat. We can get frustrated by our circumstances, bogged down by what's socially acceptable, or by getting "stuck" in a job, relationship, or other commitment.
Today I googled "antonyms of control" to see what would come up. It wasn't very encouraging. The list started with chaos and disorganization. Freedom was thrown in but followed by lawlessness, mismanagement, and neglect. We clearly have a positive association with control and a negative one with the opposite.
But aren't the best adventures the ones that flow freely? Without plans or structure or timelines? Without big expectations or even big budgets?
We spend so much time trying to fit everything in to this life - work, friends, family, maybe even a little time for ourselves - that we often don't have time for those moments. Our desire to control ultimately leads to feeling stuck, overworked, bored, or even disengaged. Let's fix it.
The signs of spring are here! The days continue to get longer and flowers push up through the soil and stretch into the sun (or rain). The feeling of expectation hangs in the air, the promise of new life and more.
Spring also brings its challenges. You may find yourself looking around and thinking: How did I ever have the time and energy for everything in my life? Why am I so annoyed all the time? How does everyone else have it all together while I'm falling apart?
I'll let you in on a little secret - a LOT of other people are asking the same questions.
This year, I've found answers and guidance in the traditions of Eastern medicine. As spring's energy rises around us and within us, we're often not prepared for the changes coming with the new season. As a result, anger, the emotion associated with spring and the wood element, often gets out of control. We quickly blame ourselves and others when things go wrong and find it difficult to resolve this emotion. Anger can cause liver imbalances - resulting in increased tension and toxins in our bodies. All of a sudden we're tired, angry, inflexible, and it's hard to look forward to the beautiful weather, flowers, and growth that is possible in spring.
The good news is there are ways to find balance and calm to more peacefully transition to spring.
Welcome to February!
I'm going to be honest, the world is throwing a lot at us right now. Sometimes my reaction is action - calling, emailing, donating, marching - and other times I just want to pull my baby close and hide under the covers together. Or gather with friends and laugh so hard our bellies hurt.
It's all important. And therapeutic. And necessary.
This week I've come back to one of my favorite Maya Angelou quotes:
We have to continue to support our friends and families, to raise our babies to be kind, to find the joy in life even when it's challenging - especially when its challenging.
My hope is that this month you can continue to shine your light with friends, family, coworkers, and strangers. To join in community in a yoga class, mamas circle, spiritual community, or family dinner. To be and breathe with those like you and those different from you.
Thank you for being a part of my community.
Read on for February offerings...
Wishing you and your family, friends, and loved ones a day filled with gratitude.
Need some gratitude inspiration?
We're on day 24 of the Gratitude Challenge - see all of the posts:
My yoga students know I love a good quote. Whenever I come across little nuggets of inspiration, I scribble them down in my notebook to share in class - often about gratitude, self-acceptance, and relaxation. The one I keep coming back to this week is from Amy Poehler's book Yes Please:
I find this is a message that is always helpful since something is always changing. For my new mamas every day reminds us of this as our little ones grow, learn new things, sleep better, sleep worse, and become little people right before our eyes. In yoga we experience the change in our breath, our bodies, and our practice - sometimes how we desire and sometimes in ways that challenge us.
So in this season of dramatic change, see how you can embrace it. The longer nights, cooler days, the excitement (or not) of the holidays. Join me for a gratitude challenge or a yoga class!
Experts tell us why being thankful will improve your life and The New York Times tells us more. Harvard agrees. So let's share the happiness - I invite you to join me for a 30-day gratitude challenge!
My own gratitude practice started over 3 years ago. On September 10, 2013 a dear friend emailed a small group of women with an invitation to participate in a daily practice: we would send the group an e-mail with three things we were grateful for each day. It started off simple but over the months and years we've shared amazing joys and heartbreaking losses. Love of avocados and gratitude for warm homes, loving families, and food on the table. Some days the gratitudes flow freely, while others it is truly an exercise. I have to say it is one of the most important parts of my life - taking time to acknowledge all of the good even on the tough days.
This challenge is even more simple - write down one thing each day you are grateful for. You can keep it to yourself in a journal or on a sticky note, or post on social media to spread happiness to your friends.
A dear student of mine, Sara Meadows Shawe, was recently the featured student at Circle Yoga. She kindly permitted me to republish what she wrote about her experience at the studio:
Prenatal Yoga. I began prenatal yoga in January of this year. Each Thursday night I would join other pregnant gals in Studio 1 with our teacher Elizabeth Hubley, a new mother herself. I expected a typical yoga class with its silence and concentrated focus on maintaining postures, but I quickly realized this was a different beast.