yoga poses for stiff joints relief| yogi surprise

If You're Totally Over the Stiff Joints Thing and Want to Feel Better

Practicing yoga poses for stiff joints is one of the wisest choices we can make. It's right up there with wearing a hat in cold weather and washing our hands before touching food. Pain most definitely decreases anyone's desire to move, but it's actually likely the best thing you can do. Even though it's tempting to take a more sedentary approach when you're feeling joint stiffness, resist the urge. A gentle approach is the key. And, not expecting your body to perform as it once did will greatly enhance the benefits of moving your body with the goal of kindness and increased comfort.

Yoga poses for stiff joints will minimize discomfort

I know, we yoga lovers claim it cures everything. While yoga won't magically give you the ability to read minds or understand calculus, it does have a touch of magic in healing lots of causes of pain and limited mobility. When we strengthen our muscles, they have an improved ability to work as shock absorbers. This enhanced strength and flexibility assist our joints in working more comfortably. It takes time and you may have to change your practice to a more restorative one. But if you're game and willing, there are most likely positive results to look forward to.

Stiffness is no fun. Let's help ourselves out

If you suffer from, "I used to be able to..." knock it off. I'm telling you, me too. But it does us no good to lament for the body we once had or longing for abilities that we used to take for granted. Self-care is demanded here and loving acceptance of what is will minimize the mental anguish that comes with anger towards a body that isn't performing as optimally as you believe it should. It's really sorta cool when you land in the realm of doing what you need and prioritizing it over doing what you want.

Just because you can doesn't make it a good idea

Oh my stars, I need a tattoo of this sentiment. I see it every day in yoga classes. Students who push their bodies past a healthy range of motion only to injure themselves and not be able to practice. It's a sick cycle, but it's one we can stop if we adopt new thinking. Here's a little advice on how to use yoga poses for stiff joints and embrace all truth as good news:

  • If you have pain, don't ignore it. Being kind, patient, and practicing a bit differently will help you feel better physically. Just as importantly, you'll feel a surge of gratitude towards yourself. Maybe this means bending your knee less in Warrior 2. Perhaps it would be best to sit on a block in Malasana. Or, maybe you don't bend your knees so deeply and instead strengthen your quads.
  • Practice non-attachment. This will save you from so much torture both physically and emotionally. I once loved Compass Pose as much as I loved my dog. (kidding!) But my shoulder started to get squeamish. So I don't do it anymore. There are quite a few yoga poses I simply skip now and perhaps, so should you. When we insist on taking our bodies on the trip of shapes that look cool but don't serve, we're in for it. And sure, I can make that shape, but it doesn't feel good. Pain demands our attention. If you want to push yourself, focus on muscle building. It's uncomfortable and challenging, but it will bring you many gifts.

Try these yoga poses for stiff joints immediately

Legs up against the wall pose: It's definitely one of the most restorative poses in the yoga asana arsenal. It relieves congestions from the feet, ankles, knees, and hips. Daily, y'all. Do this as much as possible.

Puppy pose with a bolster: Gently opens the shoulders and provides support for your head and chest.

Figure four hip-opener: Execute it reclining on the floor or transition into it from legs up against the wall.

This is ahimsa in action. Enjoy and have a day full of ease and little distraction.


take yourself on vote|yogi surprise

This Election Day Is Also "Take Yourself On" Day

Did you know there is a national fried scallops day? Umhmm, it was October 2nd. Put it on your calendar for next year if you're upset you missed it.

There's also a national hermit day, name your car day, and get funky day. What does that even look like?

I haven't filed the paperwork or anything yet, but if there can be a national fluffernutter day, then there most certainly should be a day for us to unilaterally proclaim our desire to improve how we live, love, think, and behave.

Join me in celebrating "take yourself on" today

Election day seems like a damn good choice to celebrate this both nationally and internationally. We are constantly influencing everyone around us in both tiny and giant ways. When you show up for a packed yoga class at the last minute, and someone is thoughtful enough to move their mat to make room for you, it changes your entire outlook on your practice.

No improvement or effort is too small. Yesterday, a man opened a door for me. He was walking in the same direction and hurried ahead so he could open the next one too. "I guess today is 'I open the door for you' day", he said with a smile. I smiled too. And I relished the opportunity to open a door for someone else a little later on that day.

3 very simple ways to embrace the choice to "take yourself on" every single day

  1. Choose one thing each day to improve on. It's so easy because there are unlimited possibilities. Smile more. Offer each person you encounter a compliment. Put candy in someone's coat pocket and don't take the credit. Call (don't text) 3 friends whom you haven't spoken to in far too long. Put a fresh towel out for your significant other before their shower. Offer to walk a neighbor's dog in the rain. Hug the hell out of a tree. Have fun making this list and let your mind go wild. It's truly a blast.
  2. Take on a task you've been actively ignoring. I don't know about you, but my list is too damn long. And there are additions almost daily. Whether it's a chore, conversation, or obligation, just dig in and do it. Today, I will get the dent in my car fixed. It's a hassle and I don't want to spend my time that way, but I know I'll be relieved to cross it off the ever-growing list.
  3. Self-care is a necessity. Understanding self-care is the only way we can offer anything to anyone else is an imperative component in the pursuit of taking ourselves on. We must have energetic reserves to be there for others physically, emotionally, and to be mentally present. There are innumerable ways to make sure self-care is a daily priority. From getting enough sleep to meditation, yoga practice, and spending time in silent solitude, self-care is a crucial ingredient in the arsenal of tools to help you take yourself on.

We'd love to hear your suggestions regarding this all too important life strategy. Please comment so we can learn from you.

oil cleansing method skin|yogi surprise

Use An Oil Cleansing Method to Put Your Best Face Forward

I swear to you, washing your face with oil makes a whole lotta sense.

If you've never tried an oil cleansing method, I'm really excited for you right now

I was skeptical too. Very. But those who recommended using oil cleansing versus soap and water sure as hell had really nice skin. Trust the people who have the skin you want.

Like attracts like

It was only about ten years ago that this concept introduced itself to me. The law of attraction is that like attracts like. I had grown up with the opposites attract ideology. When we question what we know to be true, we can consider doing things differently and with gusto.

Reasons using an oil cleansing method will improve your skin

  • It's a fact that oil dissolves oil. If you have oily skin, that means there is an overproduction of oil. To mitigate this, using the right oils depending on your skin's needs can effectively clear up an abundance of oil, blackheads, acne, dry skin, you name it.
  • Balance. By using natural oils to clean your face combats the oils your body produces that have become stuck. Dissolving these oils will create a healthy balance in your skin.

I'm not an esthetician. I have no medical background. But as an avid oil cleansing method practitioner, I've seen the results. I stopped breaking out, even during my cycle. My skin feels moisturized, luminous, and healthy. I definitely have seen a decrease in fine lines. It's even helped with the appearance of dark circles. But it took me a while to figure out the best oil for my skin, truth be told.

But be forewarned, not all oils work the same. Essential oils can be harsh.

Rosehip oil across the board is safe and effective. Essential oils often need to be diluted and combined with other oils to be as helpful as possible. You might have a reaction if you use an oil that is simply not good for your needs. My routine is rosehip oil morning and night and a microfiber towel with warm water. That may work for you, and it may not.

Which oils should you use?

That's the 'rub', isn't it? Here's a list of common skin ailments and potent oils that help reduce the issues:

  • For aging skin, rosehip oil is a winner. This was the game-changer for me. I tried the other recommended oils for aging skin such as jojoba and lavender, but rosehip had a much more noticeable effect. My skin stopped looking oily and I found I only needed a few drops morning and night. You could try a combination of these oils as well. Trial and error may be how you find the best solution for you.
  • Acne is a bummer. Experiment with thyme essential oil. It's been shown to be effective in fighting the bacteria that causes acne. Dilute.
  • If you have dry skin, there are many oil cleansing methods you can try to rectify this issue. Consider carrot seed essential oil. It's incredibly moisturizing and it can also protect your skin because it contains so many antioxidants. But there are many oil cleansing methods that may help with dry skin. Sesame oil is highly recommended by Ayurvedic practitioners to soften and heal the skin. Try it in combination with dry skin brushing. You will be blown away.

Is organic oil an important factor?

Yes. Simply yes. If staying away from chemicals and other harsh components in your skin care matters to you, go organic. Look for products that are labeled 'USDA Certified Organic'. Be sure to read all of the ingredients before buying.

Don't be discouraged if the first thing you try isn't the best thing for you. Sensitive skin and allergies need to be taken into consideration. Counterindications are important to know. There are many skin specialists who can work with you and help you discover the exact best combination of essential oils to create the perfect oil cleansing method specifically for you. Essential oils are not FDA approved as a skin treatment. Educate yourself, know your own sensitivities and allergies, and study up on the ideal course of action for you. Your best skin is waiting for you, just right around the corner.

yoga diet is there one|yogi surprise

Is There a Specific Yoga Diet? Yes but Mostly No

Timing is everything, they say.

And I absolutely believe that cliché. It was when I was in the process of moving back to Atlanta from Columbus, Ohio that I met my life partner. And when I first moved to Columbus, I walked into a yoga studio to apply to teach there. The owner was reading Yoga Journal and was on the page of my DVD review. Timing, y'all. It really does matter so very much.

Let's talk about the yoga diet

We all know the stereotype of the vegan yogi who basically lives on what they can pick from their garden. They can essentially subsist on greens, good vibes, and downward facing dog pose. This is bullshit, for the most part. There are a whole lotta yogis who eat everything and anything. I even know an avid hunter who practices five days a week and just completed his 200-hour yoga teacher training.

Many people who have tried to become either vegetarians or vegans report that they became sick as a result. There are also loads of happy, healthy folks who do not eat any animal products. And there's a ton of people, like me, who are pescatarians (they only consume fish). Everyone has to make their own personal choices about what they consume and why. When trying to define a yoga diet, it's the timing, quantity, quality, and specific foods consumed before a practice that really matter.

The yoga diet breakdown

These are the important things to keep in mind when developing your own yoga diet:

  • Self-care is your primary focus. Taking the very best care of your body by nourishing it with the foods you need, crave, and that help you feel your best. If there's truly a yoga diet, this is it. Eating with thoughtfulness and gratitude for having sustenance plus choosing wisely are the pillars of a so-called yoga diet.
  • Practice on a relatively empty stomach. Make sure you haven't eaten anything of real substance for about two hours before you enjoy an asana practice. Twists do not feel good on a full stomach. All movement goes better if you're not in need of loosening your pants. If you're uncomfortable, it will be pretty tough to enjoy your practice.
  • Certain foods digest easier than others. I ate a bean burrito one time, ONE, a couple of hours before going to a ninety-minute vinyasa yoga class. It was a very bad call. Salads are good. Even sandwiches are fine as long as they include a lot of healthy ingredients and nothing heavy that will weigh you down.
  • Skip the sugar. Sugar. Do you just live for it? That might be an issue during practice. Sugar crashes are real and not at all fun while you're in the middle of a practice.
  • Pacing. If you're anything like me, you typically eat as though you've been held hostage and this is probably your very last meal, slow your roll. Chew your food thoughtfully and deliberately to enjoy it to the fullest extent and digest it more efficiently.
  • Portions. You can eat two eggs and a tomato, or you can eat five with two thick slices of bread. Smaller portions also digest faster and easier. Save the big meal for after your practice. Often, even most of the time, less is more.
  • Quality. Fresh food will always win out over processed. Whenever possible, go for fresh produce, protein, and grains.

Use this guide to help you make the best food decisions you can today. Observe how you feel physically, mentally, and emotionally. Once you reflect on your chosen yoga diet, keep these choices in mind every day that guided you so well today.


giving and receiving importance|yogi surprise

Is The Equation of Giving and Receiving In Balance?

I bet you're a giver.

Most yoga lovers I know really excel at the giving part. They use almost every ounce of energy they have in that direction.

Why is it so much easier to give than to let ourselves to receive?

Energy is currency. Giving and receiving need to balance one another out

Part of self-care is knowing when we have depleted our energy. We have to replenish the well constantly. Making thoughtful choices about how much of ourselves we give to others is a crucial part of making sure we protect and nurture our ability to be of service. If we think of energy as currency, noting when our bank account is insufficient of funds is an important thing to understand. And when it's in abundance, that's when we can indulge being the most generous version of ourselves.

How and when to set boundaries

Giving and receiving will probably never be quite in perfect balance. But getting as close to an evenness as we can needs to be a priority. When your yoga teacher is quiet after teaching a class, it's likely because s/he has extended themselves as much as they could and it's time to conserve energy. When you spend the day listening to a friend in need or helping someone with a project, it's important to take the time to receive yourself. That might be spending time in meditation. Taking a bath, getting a massage, or practicing restorative yoga are all helpful ways to reset the balance within.

Knowing when you're feeling depleted is a practice all unto itself. When we're drained, we don't have anything left to give. Conversely, when you're on the opposite side of the equation and receiving more than your share, knowing when it's your turn to give makes it so that balance is prioritized.

We all recharge in different ways. Making a mental list of how you can ensure the giving and receiving equation is as harmonized as you can make it is self-care at it's best.

In what ways do you give? It might take you the entire day to contemplate that. But it's really in your best interest to know yourself this way. If being on the receptive end is difficult for you, take some time today to explore why that is. In what ways are you comfortable with receiving? Just as we feel the need to give, so do others. Providing that opportunity is a gift.

You deserve love. You deserve abundance. And you absolutely are worthy of it all.

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