It's (still) cold outside!
Kind of...So last week when I wrote this newsletter it was snowing and there were a few days it didn't get above freezing. Today I wore a tank top to take the kids to the park! But I know winter isn't over yet... so even if you're enjoying the almost summer weather in the DC area bear with me here :)
Winter is here in full force and for so many of us the early darkness, bone chilling cold, and days and days inside with little people are getting EXHAUSTING. The other night I was texting with a group of mamas and we were all dreaming of getaways - Tahiti and Sanibel Island were at the top of their lists. I'm SO ready for some warm weather and a beautiful sandy beach, but with no island vacation planned I couldn't help but think: what can we do in the here and now to make these days better?
I was reminded of this quote from Albert Camus:
“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.”
It's cold outside!
Winter is a time of slowing down, turning inward, and, well, pretty much hiding under the covers. Which can make the holiday season - with its parties, family gatherings, and celebrations - a challenge. We've just come off a month of gratitude, which can help us approach the next few weeks in the right mindset: we can be thankful for time alone and time with friends. For the abundance already in our lives and the spirit of gift giving.
As we near the end of the year, we celebrate the winter solstice: the shortest period of daylight as we reach our maximum tilt away from the sun for 2018. In a solstice-inspired class (and my last public class of the year) this Thursday at noon at Crossings Healing we'll move through moon salutations and find deep rest as we come upon the longest night of the year. We'll find gratitude for stillness and the darkest day as it signals the return of the light.
It's almost November!
As we come into the final months of the year it's a natural time for reflection. And while there have been many challenges this year, taking a grateful approach can offer a welcome shift.
I personally love this time of year because I get to share a very special daily practice with you through my annual Gratitude Challenge. It's been over five years since I started sharing three gratitudes each day with an amazing group of women, a practice that has truly transformed my life. I can't wait to share it with you - especially because its free! I'm also offering a special 6-week yoga series called Exploring Gratitude that will dive a little deeper and set you up for a grateful holiday season and new year ahead.
I am so thankful to get to do the work that I love, but as my own boss it's sometimes hard to get feedback on how things are going. Which is why it is especially heart warming and affirming to hear from the women I work with. And in a time of hard news and a world that seems to be coming apart at the seams we could all use a little lifting up. So a big thanks to Bhavna for sharing these kind words and brightening my day!
Oh hello there!
I hope you had a joyful and relaxing summer
After a very long pregnancy and relatively short labor we were thrilled to welcome Aiden Felix Brandt into the world just after midnight on July 18. It has been such a joy to embark on this new adventure as a family of 4 and my new mantra is "embrace the chaos!" Here are a couple of the more peaceful moments:
With the remaining fiery energy of summer and the early "letting go" lesson of fall, I've been working on embracing finger painting that becomes face-body-hair painting, going to bed instead of washing the dishes, splashing in creeks, turning off my phone, hiding in pillow forts (yes, hiding from the dishes), dancing around the living room to old mix CDs, and saying "YES" to offers for help (thanks for doing the dishes!). It's been pretty awesome.
Even though we're just a week in, the transitions of the seasons and life have made themselves very present so far this month. This past week I joyfully celebrated many of the babies from my original Mamas' Circle turning two, and have been deeply saddened by illness and loss affecting dear friends and family. There are constant reminders of resilience, impermanence, and ever-present change.
And as I settle in to the last 2 months of my pregnancy, this sense of in-between is only magnified. The forces of my toddler and my yoga practice both demand that I live in the present moment. Then the excitement of bringing new life into this world takes me away to a place of curiosity and wonder about this person we will get to meet and raise and parent.
Welcome Spring! I have a lot to share with you this month so let's dive right in...
I love creating new recipes but with a toddling 9-month-old my time in the kitchen has been pretty limited. That, combined with my inability to eat a bunch of (organic and fair trade) bananas before they get brown spots, inspired this recipe. It comes together fast - like 30-minute nap fast - and is only slightly indulgent. It's definitely my new favorite afternoon snack. Plus, its vegan and with a simple swap of a gluten free flour blend for the whole wheat can be enjoyed by my GF friends, too!
Or are you ready to crawl back under the covers?
As we move out of winter and into spring, there is often a feeling of excitement that comes with the longer days and budding flowers. We can be motivated by the whirlwind of activity around us but sometimes just wish for a snow day so we can slow back down, snuggle up with a good book, and drink a steamy mug of tea.
Imagine a friend asks you to sign up for a triathlon to take place next May. The only catch is you’re not allowed to prepare. No training schedule, outdoor swims, or weekend bike rides for the 9 months leading up to the event. I’d venture to guess you wouldn’t sign up.
Many women argue that labor and delivery is the most physically and mentally intense experience that we can put our bodies through. So why would we not prepare? We’re told to indulge in ice cream and prop our feet up, but why not work also to strengthen our bodies, calm our minds, and prepare for welcoming our babies into the world?
Practicing yoga during pregnancy is a powerful way to support your growing body and baby both physically and mentally.