Happy National Meditation Month!

It’s a funny thing how quickly a practice can become a lifestyle. It’s only been about a year and a half since I started dabbling in meditation. It started slow, an audio recording here, a 21-day challenge there, the occasional moment of mental stillness during savasana after my yoga practice. Then, slowly, unconsciously, it became a regular habit.

In times of greater stress or emotional upset, I’ve found comfort in meditating multiple times a day, but mostly it’s just a 20 minute practice to calm my mind before bed. There are still the occasional moments that I lose track and forget how important tapping into that inner calm can be, that’s what this week’s video blog is all about:

Looking to start a meditation practice of your own? For this month only[Offer Extended Due to Continued Interest!], I’m offering specially priced Intro to Meditation coaching sessions!

Click below for details & to reserve your spot on the meditation pillow:

Advertisements

Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries: Magical Moments and Improv Play

Magic Things Print on Etsy

Magic Things print on Etsy

There are some moments in life that just feel so perfect it’s unreal. Last night, as I was walking home from a day filled with friends, laughter, love, and great new experiences, I glanced up to see the first few snowflakes falling past the streetlights. Yes, it’s been a long winter and I’m a little sick of snow, but I could still appreciate the beauty of that moment. Then, just when I thought the evening couldn’t get anymore magical, a bunny hopped out of nowhere to lead me down the alley to my apartment. Perfection, right?

The sad thing is that there have been times in my life that I might have missed the magic of these moments. I have a tendency to live inside the labyrinth of my mind, forgetting to pay attention to the outside world. I overanalyze, over criticize, and just generally bring myself inward to the point that I sometimes forget to play and appreciate the simple things. So that’s my new motto: play more. I’ve been reminding myself of it every day and pursuing new interests that encourage it in the hopes that it will become a habit.

For instance, after avoiding it for nearly 5 years, I finally signed up for a Second City improv class. I’m a by the book, highly prepared, and planned out performer so the idea of doing improv has always terrified me to the core. Of course, I also know that some of the greatest opportunities for growth in life come from doing the that thing that scares you most. So a few weeks ago, I took a deep breath, made my payment, and tried not to throw up on my way to class. And you know what? It wasn’t that bad. In fact, it was a lot of fun.

Since that first class, I’ve started attending a few improv jams and mixers around the city. I’m still such a newbie in this world that I love observing everything. One of my favorite characteristics about my new hobby is the lingo. When all is said and done and the evening is about to end, no one says “thanks for acting with me” or “it was great working with you,” instead they say “thanks for playing.” Because that’s exactly what improv is at it’s best: we’re just a bunch of kids getting together on the playground [or in some cases at The Playground] and playing pretend together.

Don't Forget to Play print on Society6

Don’t Forget to Play print on Society6

As for other areas of play in my life, I’ve made a point to break up the serious studies of my yoga teacher training [3 weeks left!] with a little project pose playtime.

Most of the inspiration for these poses have been found on instagram or in the challenge pose section of the Yoga Journal blog. It feels great to dare myself to grow in my practice as I photograph my progress along the way. If you’d like to follow along in my playtime, you can find me on instagram: @michelleshea.

And speaking of instagram, I’ve been posting a lot of photos of my new favorite cherry cheesecake smoothie lately so, as promised, here’s the recipe:

Life is Just a Glass of Cherry Cheesecake [inspired by Mind Body Green’s recipe]

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 3.25.45 PM

Ingredients

2 tbsp raw cashews
2 tsp Sun is Shining powder [or a few handfuls of greens like spinach]
1 tsp maca powder [optional, but good for you!]
1/2 banana, frozen
a handful of cherries, frozen
a splash of vanilla
1/2 c So Delicious coconut milk [more or less for desired thickness]
1 tsp cacao nibs [optional]

First, place cashews, green powder [or greens], macs powder, and coconut milk in blender. Process on high until smooth.
Then, add in the remainder of the ingredients & process on medium until smooth.
Add more coconut milk as desired to assist in blending or to make a thinner smoothie.
Serve in your favorite pretty glass & top with cacao nibs for a chocolatey crunch.

Thankful Thursday 10/11 – 10/18

This week, I’m thankful for:

♥ thrifted Betsey Johnson sweaters [only $30!]
♥ kitchen drawers full of tea [and more on the shelves]
♥ vanilla-scented bedtime candles
♥ finding forgotten black boots in my closet after shopping for a pair all week
♥ free yoga classes with client/friends
♥ lavender essential oils
♥ dark chocolate & tea
♥ Forever 21 care packages [thanks, mom!]
♥ exciting health & wellness writing collaborations [more on that coming soon!]

What are you thankful for?

Vegan Inspiration: Ginnifer Goodwin

Over the years, I’ve collected several vegan/vegetarian role models who continue to inspire my movement towards a kinder lifestyle.  My most recent celebrity inspiration has been He’s Just Not That Into You actress Ginnifer Goodwin.

"I found that eliminating all the cruelty in my life was not only easy, but also very practical and reasonable."-Ginnifer Goodwin

I love Ginnifer’s attitude towards the whole process of becoming vegan in that it’s a personal choice that should come easily.  If you find it truly difficult, it’s simply not right for you.

Through each stage of my own journey, my choices have been influenced by an inner compass of morality.  Every dietary ‘sacrifice’ has felt completely natural and well-timed in accordance to my lifestyle at that moment.

Here’s what Ginnifer had to say about her transition to veganism:

“We were filming the road trip episode of this season’s Big Love and we were staying in a hotel. I was doing a lot–and I mean a lot—of yoga at the time, and I’ve heard it’s not uncommon for something like this to happen when you are in a stage like that.

Anyway, I was having my morning coffee, and I was pouring milk into it, and all I can say is that I suddenly realized what it was that I was pouring into my coffee. I was so disgusted, because I had never actually stopped to think about what milk is. And dairy had always been my favorite food group! I thought, ‘Surely this feeling will pass,’ but at lunchtime I was still disgusted. Over the next few days, I started really thinking about what I was eating.”

[She’s Just Not That Into Meat, W Editors’ Blog]