The Yoga Meal is all about mindful eating; not just what eat but how you eat. See how the ordinary meal becomes an experience. This method helps you to develop an intimacy with your food unlike any other. You begin to slow down and appreciate not just the foods, but the efforts that went into getting your food onto your plate. There is an intentional pause or stillness. Follow these guidelines just one meal per day and you will find that foods become tastier, more vibrant, and deeply rich. This is all about awareness.
Give it a try to see for yourself if your relationship with food doesn’t evolve into a healthier space.
1. Remain seated. This doesn’t mean in your car. It means that you set a space at a table and you sit to eat your meal. Even if the meal is as simple as a bowl of oatmeal or a piece of fruit. Sit down with a plate and a napkin. The before you eat, pause. Pause and look at the foods; colors, smells, textures. After you have paused you choose to bless the food, pray over the food or simply pause.
2. Only 2-3 handfuls of food on your plate. Start with this amount. This is the amount that typically is enough to sustain our bodies. We often live in the mindset of lack, and therefore we take in way too much food.
3. Put the fork or spoon down between bites. When we are loading up our utensil with the next bite, we are not experiencing the bite that is in our mouth. We are in the future bite rather than the present bite. When the fork or spoon is down you are more aware of the sensations that are happening in your mouth.
4. No talking with food in your mouth. We may have been raised with the words “don’t talk with your mouth full” but this goes deeper. Conversing at a meal is fine, but doing so with food in our mouth is not mindful. When we are talking with food in our mouth, we are usually not chewing as much as we should (in order to get that sentence in), and we are really not focused on what is happening in our mouth. Awareness again.
5. Wait 10-15 minutes after eating before reaching for more. As humans, we eat way too much. It is pretty evident that in our country more people are over eating and struggling with weight. By becoming aware of not only what we are eating and how we are eating, we deepen the awareness to the possibility that we are eating for reasons other than hunger.
Breathe in the abundance of great change!
One year ago this week I watched as my kids walked straight towards a life-changing experience without wavering. They began to learn about real life decisions and how to face the uncertainty with grace. At times I am stopped when I remember that despite their own years of heartbreak, they graciously loved their dad until the end.
It still amazes me that their dad is gone. I think about him often. I wonder what he must have been feeling, deep in his heart, to allow himself to spiral into the end of his life the way he did. I become saddened when I picture the once vibrant, healthy and alive man who became one who was unable to get out of his own cycle of self-defeat. The memories of a once happy life remain in my heart; kids being born, family vacations, birthday celebrations, the infamous all-nighter ‘Santa Claus can’t get the spring horse together’, and so many more.
There are times when I see him in each of the kids. Small little mannerisms that would go unnoticed by most. I see them. I know where they are rooted from. It is baffling to me that even though he was minimally involved in their lives, they each have innate and distinct characteristics.
For me this experience has had many layers. Watching how the kids dealt with it, but also observing how I have too. It is not like I haven’t experienced death. I had lost a dear friend right after high school and my sweet grandmother died when I was a young adult, but this loss has been my first experience in the finality of death. The finality in wishing I could talk to him, wanting to have had him suffer less, wanting to relive the final days and say something more.
Sometimes I see him when I am walking. It might be in the sensation of the breeze, the hawk overhead, or simply a presence. I know he is around. I ask him to watch what the kids are doing and share in the amazement of who they are. I ask him to make sure that somehow they each know he is seeing them.
Death is a strange thing. Feelings arise at times least anticipated and yet I am certain that each October, I will have a tenderness in my heart as I think of the twenty days we waited and watched. We watched him, and we watched each other grow in ways that cannot be described.
My prayer is that he is now finally watching.
I am totally not a salesperson. I am so far removed from 1:1 interactions that I will 99% of the time send you to voicemail simply so that I can text you a response. I loathe talking on the telephone. I dislike parties. I really don’t like to even go out to a restaurant, though that may be because I have become one of the pickiest eaters around. Well, I prefer to say choosey, rather than picky. This all goes away however of course if I am in front of a group of people on yoga mats. Then I become alive.
I have been blessed with teaching yoga for over 8 years and the groups have been dynamic in every sense of the word. I have shared my passion with a variety of people and it has truly been a gift to me. In learning and experiencing awareness in the body through Yoga, I have also discovered the deep connection between how I care for my body. Over the years I have struggled with weight and health issues, especially following a complete hysterectomy at age 30. Despite years of struggles, I am settling into a space where I am doing really, really well. I eat a really clean diet and I also incorporate healthy exercise into my daily routine. No longer am I killing it in kickboxing or swimming laps and laps. I have eased into a routine of yoga, pilates, walking and movement. My body is happy to no longer ache daily.
When I first began teaching yoga, I used essential oils to compliment the experience for the participants; adding a bit of lavender or peppermint gave a nice touch to the class in savasana. A few years later, I began to use lavender and other oils to reduce anxiety, help me sleep, or clear my sinuses. It wasn’t until the last 6 months or so that I really began to get a better connection between oils and my health. dōterra means “gift of the earth” and it truly is a gift. I have done some studying and research on these oils and feel confident in discovering an alternative to the modern medicine where I have endured side effects and not so great success. The simplicity and going back to nature for remedies is a refreshing alternative.
I am so grateful that I have spent the last 9 years waking up and discovering a better me everyday. Whether it is better in my actions and my words, or simply how I choose to spend my day, I am cultivating the best version of me. No longer closed-minded or making decisions out of fear, I have found that there is another way and it is really, really exciting.
So here is where the anti-sales pitch comes into play. Just learn, then choose. Either way, own it. Own your choice.
If you wanna learn more about the benefits of essential oils, check out www.mydoterra.com/staciewyatt, trust me you will be amazed at what two drops of an oil can do for you and your family.
Many have asked what I have done in the first few days of my newly discovered freedom. How does one begin to describe what joyful things I have done? Mundane to some, joyful to me; organizing cabinets, walking the dog for pleasure not demand, sitting on the porch, pondering life’s big questions, watering my garden, spending time with my favorite girl, and ghastly I even found myself ironing a few shirts. More than the tasks, I have been nurturing me.
In doing this, I have definitely noticed a complete shift in my energy. No longer do I feel like I am carrying the energy sucking leeches on my body. I have an extraordinary amount of energy and a significant lightness of being. I am joyful, airy, giggly and totally relaxed. So relaxed that when I mistakenly erased my entire contents of email, I handled it remarkably well. I even told the lady at the Apple store that since I am practicing non-attachement, it was all good.
Adding to my relaxed state of mind, I have been incredibly creative. Being creative is our nature; how it looks for me may be entirely different from someone who is creative with music or art. I am creative with my house, the foods I cook, and in my desire to define my purpose. I know for certain that I am supposed to share my blessings with others, perhaps in person or in the vastness of the internet. Check out my new blog that has a different flare and a different tone than this one; less personal, and yet I hope to still convey my personality and my deep desire to be authentic.
You see, I am joyfully ecstatic with my new life. It is amazing to just be home, talk with my girl or listen to her sing, be surrounded by my blessings, and simply…be me.
How is possible that within this last week I have had my girls last IEP meeting ever, AND I resigned from the day job that ends my daily life in the school district??
Well it is indeed possible. The road does end. The end of an era for both me, and for her.
The job served me well, and in turn I was blessed to experience countless families and young people with disabilities–all of them in some ways teachers for me. From humble moments to ah-ha’s to painful losses, each year and each student valuable on my journey and each one so critical to get me to the end. Critical for me as a person, and definitely for me as a mom.
The morning of the girl’s final meeting, I walked along the banks of the wetlands near my home and I stood in awe of how I had come to be here on the morning of her final IEP. Like a ribbon from my heart, I reviewed in my mind all the years of heartache and advocacy. I watched as we have both grown into our own skin more comfortably. I recalled the things that were once so important to me, no longer really a big deal. I stood with great pride for who she has become, and for who she has revealed in me.
On this final day of my job, I stopped at my nearby grocery store and how magnificently timely was it to walk right into the very first student I ever worked with—-an awesome guy with Aspergers. Now, a grown man working at the grocery store, and happy doing so. We stood and talked and were both happy to see each other after so many years. It was like the icing the cake….or the final hoorah for me to seal the deal that I have indeed come full circle. The Universe works in magical ways.
This chapter closes on a wonderful, heart warming career. My next page is blank. Somehow I imagine that whatever is written will remain heart warming and meaningful….for both me, and my girl.
“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love.”~Rumi
Sometimes the greatest gift that we can give to ourselves is that which is the gift of listening to our silent yearnings, our hearts desires. A conscious choice to take a risk, open up and blossom.
I have listened. I have taken the risk. I am blossoming. I have officially resigned from my day-job position to pursue my life purpose and to care for my girl. The morning I planned to turn in my notice, I woke to the words, “Soon there will be a lightness of being”. Indeed there is.
I am a blank canvas ready to be adorned with color and magic. I am a garden about to bloom. I am living my dream. And, I am incredibly grateful.
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”~Anais Nin
I bless the night that nourished my heart
To set the ghosts of longing free
Into the flow and figure of dream
That went to harvest from the dark
Bread for the hunger no one sees.
All that is eternal in me
Welcome the wonder of this day,
The field of brightness it creates
Offering time for each thing
To arise and illuminate.
I place on the altar of dawn:
The quiet loyalty of breath,
The tent of thought where I shelter,
Wave of desire I am shore to
And all beauty drawn to the eye.
May my mind come alive today
To the invisible geography
That invites me to new frontiers,
To break the dead shell of yesterdays,
To risk being disturbed and changed.
May I have the courage today
To live the life that I would love,
To postpone my dream no longer
But do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fear no more.
~ John O’Donohue
As the years have gone on, I have settled into a wonderful sense of peace with the relationship that I have with my girl. Certainly it is very different from those of typical mother/daughter, yet it is a comfortable space that we share. We spend time planning out next outing to the coffee shop or library, what short trips to the store we might take, and hitting up our favorite lunch spot. We do not talk about heavy subjects, and she is the wise teacher of staying in the present by rarely talking about the future.
And yet, that pang of sadness that comes when least expected. The awe of watching a mother and her daughter interact. Wondering what it must be like. It took me by surprise as I caught myself gawking at what appeared to my eyes as something remarkable and even perhaps foreign. To others, it may appear an everyday phenomenon .
I watched the duo enter the yoga studio for the first time together. Mom had encouraged her 14-year-old daughter to join her for her first practice. Showing her where the mats were located, choosing the perfect spot, unrolling the mat, and then facing each other to chat while the room filled with other yogis.
It was as if I was separate from this space and I felt myself feel things that I have not felt for many, many year. It reminded me of the first day of kindergarten and feeling hopelessly heartbroken that my girl screamed with terror as the bell rang. A disheveled mess of tears and twisted clothes, I was not on the receiving end of happy goodbyes and cheerful excitement of the first day. I sat in my car and wondered if it would ever be easier.
It has been easier. And it has been beautiful. And yet, I have a space in my heart that yearns for the relationship I do not have, and that I will never have.
One year ago today, I had the big joint on my first toe replaced. What was anticipated to be an easy in/easy out surgery ended up to be a year-long challenge. The lessons were many and the gifts embedded within the pain have been ones that will forever be cherished. Just a few of the richness that ‘this little piggy’ taught me:
1. I am deeply loved. The people in my circle rallied around for my greater good and showed me unconditional love. Over and over again.
2. I am resilient beyond measure. Just when the toe began to feel better, the blood clot made itself known. Just when the blood clot resolved, the toe needed another surgery. Just when the toe felt better, I re-injured my back. Throughout, my spirit remains uplifted.
3. I am worthy. Yes, I am. Of love, of health, of friendships, of acceptance. Indeed I am .
4. I am grace. Not always graceful physically speaking as I grunt and groan coming down stairs, but I am grace. I am tender and I am kind and refined. I speak with grace.
5. I am humbled. I am no longer twenty years old. I heal slower and I hurt more. And yet, I am so grateful for my body and the ability to experience life.
6. Accepting help is easier as time goes on. A once dominated root-chakra-independent-woman-who-never-accepted-offers-for-help, I am now much softer. Needing assistance getting your pants on, or being driven everywhere for 7 weeks makes one quickly shed her armor. Learning to say ‘can you help me’ has been life changing.
7. My body is capable of great things. When I listened, I heard the signs of something wrong and I acted. Knowing my body, really knowing my body, has been a gift. Appreciation for my body has helped me to see all that it is capable of.
8. Patience. For myself and for others.
9. More patience. More for myself and my body.
10. One weak part leads to a wrath of compensation and misalignment. The toe is connected to foot that is connected to the ankle that is connected to leg that is connected to the hip that is connected to the back that is connected to the shoulders that is connected to the neck. You get it.
On this special day of remembering all that I have endured, I am taking my first ever adult ballet class. I am loving my toe, loving my body, and loving the little girl in me that has always wanted the ballet slippers and tutu. Plié on!