Cha-Cha-Cha-Changes!

To say that my life has been a whirlwind lately is an understatement. In the past two weeks, I have worked 100 hours, flown to Salt Lake City, and driven across Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming. In the past two months, I’ve moved in with The Mister, turned 27, spent a week in Vegas, started a new job, and have had to adapt and adjust to a huge lifestyle change. Today is the first day where I feel like I can actually stop and take a breath, so that’s what I’m doing.

Mother Nature put on a show for us as we drove across Wyoming.

The biggest change has absolutely been the new job. It’s a bit of a switch going from a 4,000 person company to a 50 person one, to say the least. I feel like in my current position I have more freedom than I ever would have had before. With that freedom comes more responsibility and longer hours, so it is definitely a trade-off, but if there was ever a time to work long hours, it’s now. No kids, a partner who works even longer hours, and a company I’m happy to work hard for – perfection.

The best part about where I am now, however, is the passion every.single.person I work with has. It’s incredible to be around smart, engaged, passionate people day in and day out – instead of coming home and feeling exhausted, I come home energized. There’s a lot of work to do, but it is all work I’m looking forward to doing. That was the number one thing I was hoping to find with a new company – not just another job where I punched in, did what I was paid to do, and punched out, but the opportunity to work on something I loved and cared about. I have to say that I’m lucky and found it!

I literally have nothing to complain about in my life at the moment, and that’s an incredible feeling. I love my job, I love living with The Mister, I’m getting back into my yoga swing, and there’s nothing better than a Denver summer. About six months ago I decided I was going to be happy and try to concentrate on the positive energy in the world, and I feel like the effort has more than paid off – not only am I a happier person overall, but the good energy I’m putting out is returning to me 10 fold.

Before I sign off, here’s a picture of Amy and me at “The Happiest 5k in the World,” aka The Color Run, which we walked last weekend:

How can you not be happy at this race?!

Looking forward, I just have to focus on making my new company proud, getting the new house ready to move into and the old house ready to sell, and being a good Maid of Honor for Amy’s upcoming wedding. I’m also going to try to enjoy summer as much as I can, because it is going to fly by way too quickly. Change so far has been good, and I want to keep it that way!

Exercise Your Heart and Mind

After work, I made myself choose between yoga and writing. I hadn’t been in the yoga studio since Saturday (with self-practice Sunday), but I also had a couple posts outlined in my head that are begging to be told.

I went to the yoga studio, and those posts are still there. I think I made the right decision.

What is amazing to me, however, is that two extremely different activities can have the same incredible effect on me. Both writing and yoga are my own personal forms of meditation; they center me, calm my mind, and soothe my physical nerves. Both offer a catharsis from all the thoughts and feelings constantly swirling in my head. And yet yoga is about letting go of the ego, and writing is about indulging in it.

Tonight, I needed to let go of my ego. I needed the physical release and stretch and the non-judgmental boundaries of my yoga mat. I needed to be around other people, to share their energy and have the courage to let go of my ego. That’s exactly what I did. Hot vinyasa flow is not my strength. I prefer practicing iyengar, focusing on perfecting each pose down to the most minute details. Being in a class where everyone was stronger, faster, and smoother in their practice was difficult for me, but being one of the weakest gave me the courage to be strong and stop comparing myself to everyone else; to leave it all on the mat and revel in what my own body was capable of doing.

Leaving class, I felt strong and relaxed and ready to take on the world. It’s a hard feeling to capture, but the happiness that comes from an exhausted body and calm mind is priceless. All the down dogs, chaturangas, high planks, side planks, inversions, uktatasanas, reverse warriors… all the poses down to our final savasana made a great practice worth it.

Today, it was the right choice to choose yoga over writing. All those posts that have yet to be written will still be there tomorrow. Then, I’ll let the words that have been trapped in my head flow to the screen. But tonight… tonight was a night for yoga.

21 Day Yoga Challenge

I always joke that to live in Colorado, there has to be one thing you’re really insufferable about, preferably an outdoor or fitness activity. For me, that one thing is yoga. The longer you stick around here, the more you’ll notice that when I’m on a yoga kick, I am on a Yoga Kick. It makes me feel happy, relaxed, and strong. I love the challenge and the acceptance you get from yoga, and it is something that will always be a part of my life.

As much as I love yoga, however, I get in ruts where I fall into bad habits of, “I’m too busy,” “I’m too out of shape,” “I’m tired and will go tomorrow,” etc. None of this is because I dislike yoga or don’t want to go, I just get apathetic about my fitness and let it fall to the wayside. Thanks to a slew of winter holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year’s), I had been out of the yoga studio for 6 weeks. The longer I stayed out, the harder it was to go back in.

Then, I read about the 21 Day Yoga Challenge on 6 Different Ways. It gives you 3 simple goals a day: do 1 yoga practice, eat 1 vegetarian meal, and meditate for 15 minutes. This is just what I needed to inspire myself to get back in the studio.

Today is Day 3 of the challenge, and the first day that I will have to do my yoga practice on my own. I’m feeling good about that though, because each day Yoga Journal, the sponsors of the 21 Day Yoga Challenge, provide a different 20-minute yoga video to follow. They have a video each day for beginners and a video each day for more advanced practitioners.

Though I’ve only done the Challenge for 2 days, I have already learned 3 things:

  1. Yoga IS something I need to make a priority in my life. It makes me feel good and that’s one major part of my 2012 mantra of “Do Good. Feel Good. Look Good.”
  2. Meditating 15 minutes a day is a really lovely way to decompress after a long workday. Yoga Journal provides a 15-minute meditation on the Yoga Challenge site as well, so you don’t have to just sit with your eyes closed for 15 minutes wondering what you’re going to have for dinner. The guided meditation allows you to clear your mind and relax.
  3. Though I tend to eat at least one vegetarian meal a day anyways, consciously thinking about what I’m eating makes a big difference in my eating habits. Have I been eating things I wouldn’t normally eat? No. But I am eating 3 meals a day, which I don’t always do, and I’m making conscious decisions about what to put in my body. This goal can easily be adapted going forward to “eat at least 1 meal with vegetables a day,” and that’s good to know.

For those of you who are looking for a belated New Year’s Resolution or just a way to jump start a more conscious way of living, definitely check out the 21 Day Yoga Challenge. It may only be an 18 Day Yoga Challenge for you, but it’s a good place to begin living more healthily.