Tag Archives: yoga

THE MORNING ROUTINE

This New Year’s, I heard about the “morning routine” on three different levels, a one-two-three punch, if you will, that helped me to re-engineer it in a way that today, 14 days, two weeks, into the new year of 2016, I’m feeling like if I did this for 351 more days, I’d be pretty damn unstoppable! Firstly, I read “the School of Greatness” which I blogged about in my last post – please feel free to read.  In it, Howes emphasizes the importance of setting up a routine, no matter what it is, and advises that it include certain key components.  I chose from his list of recommended components and came up with the following commitment to my morning routine: journaling/free-writing/ setting up day, prayer/ visualization, yoga/forearm work.  Let me further break these down: journaling/ free-writing/ setting up day:  This is simply opening up a journal, old school or new school (I personally use the DayOne free e-journal) and writing what’s on your mind for a few minutes.  I find it cathartic to write my thoughts and emotions out and find that it gets my head cleared out and my shoulders unweighted.  After I do that for anywhere for 5-20 minutes, I write out my day’s main to-do’s and plug them in on my calendar. yoga/forearm work: Many people build their workout right into their morning, but since I teach classes, I enjoy pairing another workout with my classes later on in the day.  However, I do have a goal to be able to do a forearm stand and I heard that I should do a few minutes of practice every day, so I decided to guarantee it gets done by building it in to the morning.  I have a nice amount of space when I fold my murphy bed that becomes my insta-yoga-studio!.  I lay my mat out and do a few vinyasas, poses, stretches, etc and when I feel warm enough, I’ll start kicking up into inversions.  I was scared at first that I would fall over, smash into the walls, etc, but I’m more comfortable now and doing it in my apartment it actually the best way to guarantee it gets done. visualization/prayer: By the time I’m done trying inversions, I’m usually warm and a bit sweaty, so it’s the perfect time to go into a child’s pose and then a little meditation.  I relax in a sitting position, close my eyes, and start some visualization.  If visualization is a practice shared between Olympic athletes and business greats alike, I’m sold.  In the School of Greatness, they talk about imagining the feel, the sound, the taste and smell, even, of your achieved goal.  It’s mandated HD daydreaming!  After this very enjoyable exercise, I get into prayer, praying over others, giving thanks, seeking answers, and simply having time with God.  It’s the perfect end to the perfect start to a new day. Around the same time that I was reading the School of Greatness, I came across Michael Hyatt’s podcast on “How to Become a Morning Person.” He was talking about what it takes to really get up early and take charge your day with the first step being “throw away the ‘I’m not a morning person’ story.”  He’s got some great tips so listen to it here: but what stuck out for me was the importance of protecting your evening in order to ensure your morning.  So, for example, if I want to be up at 7am with 7 hours of sleep under my belt, then I should be asleep by midnight and so I start getting ready for bed at 11pm.  11pm is the mark for shutting everything down and saying, “no more, I will pick it up tomorrow. ” Sounds practical, but up until this point, I was traveling down a slippery slope of allowing that “bed time” to creep later and later for no good reasons: watching silly videos, doing work, watching silly videos, etc.  Michael Hyatt breathed a very realistic reminder into my brain and I’ve been sticking with it. Finally, I went to church service on the first Sunday of the New Year and their message was about “Giving God the first part of your:______”  The blanks were filled in with “my day, my week, my relationships, & my energy”  The way these translate are:
  • my day: quiet time in the mornings
  • my week: church attendance on Sundays
  • my relationships: sharing God in your relationships
  • my energy: serving God
Again, this theme of starting the day properly with a morning routine that protects everything that’s important to you to “self-care” and “put your mask on first” was just another great reminder. Btw, I did not do this perfectly for the past 14 days.  I certainly had mornings where I mussed up or had to leave so early I didn’t get it in, and all that showed me was the cost.  Those days, in particular, were not as peaceful, not as fruitful as the days in which the morning routine was paid time and attention.  On the days when I implemented my routine, literal miracles were allowed to occur in my day – those days were not only peaceful and effective, they were miraculous.  And the correlation is uncanny.  I am so sure that when I leave the house having written, prayed, moved, & doing what I deemed important for me, all things go better. And so, I hope that if you’re in need of a morning routine, that you’ll pull something out of my experience.   The first step is designing (or re-designing) your routine, the next step is protecting it to ensure it takes place, and the third step is doing it consistently.  Go ahead and bon voyage!

Mi Web.Com Commerciale!

According to my college friend, my old college Hall Director, and a smattering of other keen eyes out there, my Web.Com commercial, where I fill the role of a yoga instructor/user of web.com, has his the airwaves! We shot this in a studio in City Stage in August and I booked it through Liz Lewis by way of good ‘ole Actors Access. (I’m not too good for self-submitting!)  The script was one of those pages of one-liners, many of which ended up in the final product.  In the first casting, I read the lines w/ a another woman and in the callback, I read them alone.  I remember being in an ornery mood at the initial audition and was so gratefully baffled to be called back, during which I came w/ the charm and talent full-force..haha!  Angela was incredibly supportive, even just through email, throughout the entire process…I felt fully prepared and nurtured from casting through to payday…a refreshing rarity! The shoot itself was a pleasure.  I had a shoot earlier that day and they worked with me so that I could shoot during the later portion in the day, allowing me ample time to shoot a voiceover in NJ for Deloitte Touche and get back to NY to shoot Web.com.  Some highlights of the shoot, in bullet-point recollection, in no particular order:
  • Catering by Carmine’s (their famous: tiramisu, garlic bread, chicken marsala)
  • Fresh-baked-on-set cookies
  • Creative craftie all-around (can you tell I did a lot of eating?!)
  • The opportunity to improv while on set.  They just had me speak off-the-cuff about my “experience” after delivering the scripted lines
  • Bumping into a crew member that I’ve worked with several times and catching up
  • Having the opportunity to relax and read while waiting for the turn (it’s the little things!)
Behind-the-scenes captures of both shoots are here…and don’t forget to watch the actual commercial!  Enjoy!

My Yoga Shoot @ Kripalu

I was in Lenox, MD for the past two days for a yoga shoot…my first formal yoga shoot!  I can hang w/ the heavy hitters now and claim my yogi title confidently!  Some things that stood out about this gig:
Behind-the-scenes!
Opportunity: grab every one! I learned of this shoot through a Crunch Gym email network of instructors and answered it just days before leaving for Nepal with the realization that I wouldn’t be able to attend the casting, but with the hopes that my photos could still make an impact.  Come to find out, a week before my return, still Nepal-side, I receive an email inviting me to shoot w/ them!  They wanted to direct book me!  Yay!  Of course, I was interested and two weeks after returning, I find myself in one of the most reknown yoga centers in the picturesque Berkshires, striking yoga poses for Kripalu paraphernalia!
cute sign at cafe!
Divine Appointments: believe in them! At 10pm on Monday night, soon after arriving at Kripalu, I am standing at the elevator which will take me to my room, when I feel an uncanny recognition for the man standing next to me.  I say to him, cautiously, “You look familiar….”  And (thank goodness), he echoes the sentiment.  Within a minute, we realize that we had met at CanDo, a gym near my home and that we had discussed private spin instruction for him.  He had even given me a ride to the city once, as I worked there and he owned a restaurant there!  And here we are, standing in a darkened hallway of a tucked-away yoga retreat 4 hours into the countryside!  “What in the world was he doing here!?,” was my first and most insistent question.  He was “retreating,” as is the desire of many there.  We caught up and I realize that this could not have been a coincidence.  God wants me to reach this man somehow and make something happen.  This is the second time this has happened this month with someone and I believe that it is an indicator that greater plans are at work and I get to be a part of them!
Scrutinizing myself!
Kripalu (yoga/wellness centers): They exist! If you’re like me, you may have formed some sort of preconceived notion of yoga/wellness centers as being super healing-centric, overrun w/ modern-day monks, militant in their control, etc.  Well, it’s not entirely inaccurate!  My first exposure to this place was that my accommodation was back-to-basics in an almost dormitory setup, complete with a community bathroom!  And I noticed that the few people that I passed in the hallways made no attempt to interact.  The next morning, I started the day with a SILENT breakfast!  I noticed a lot of “mindful eating” and “meditating over the food.”  And as I read Kripalu’s paraphernalia, the general message was always of centering, alignment, self-awareness, healing, harmony, self-inquiry, etc, etc.  And in speaking with people, I realized that many spent months here on a path of “self-inquiry!”  It was wild!
Kripalu silent breakfast!
 
Kripalu lunch!
Kripalu nutrition: Whole Foods on steroids! The one thing I could get used to about Kripalu was the food!  Most places have healthy options.  Here, healthy is the only option!  Breakfast was amazing, boasting Indian kichari (a dish made of mung beans, basmati rice, and Indian spices!) poached eggs over leeks!, baked grapefruit (w/ clover honey and cinnamon!), organic peach soy yogurt w/ toppings options such as raisin sauce!, gluten-free bread with peanut butter made from dry-roasted peanuts w/ skins!, and a selection of teas that would make any tea-lover swoon!  What a treat!  And lunch was no step down!  We’re talking generous turkey burgers, portabella mushroom burgers, tempeh, roasted veggies galore, Indian dal soup, a basics bar, a sandwich bar, a salad bar w/ greens that I hardly ever see!  In order to try everything (the only option, really), I had to make a wrap to go!  I felt like I had a free ticket at Whole Foods.  A very good thing!  
cast and crew!
Relationships: make them! One of the reasons that I’ve been enjoying my shoots more lately is because of the relationships that have been formed from them.  I used to shy away from being too social during shoots, fearing that it was not the “kosher” thing to be the Chatty Cathy!  Well, either it started been accepted or I stopped caring because I’m all over everyone at every shoot now!  When I leave every shoot, I want people to know that they can continue to connect w/ me via social media, at my spin classes, at my workshops, at my runs, at church, etc, etc.  I’ve picked up some very important relationships from shoots, personal and professional, that have gone on to reap valuable harvests!  I believe in the philosophy that “Strangers are friends that you just haven’t made yet” and try to operate with this open mindset rather than burying my nose in a book or my laptop or my Ipod (a common sight on sets.)  God also has designed for us to be rivers through which he can flow through to bless others as well, and so I believe this goes hand-in-hand! Yoga: do it, love it! I have been doing yoga for years now and yesterday I was in good company for a yoga lover: amongst a shoot full of yoga teachers.  I was honored to be the only one from a modeling background as opposed to a yoga background!  Our shoot was essentially a verrrry long yoga class!  We were led through poses, we “ohhhhmmmed,” we were talked through meditations…it was all very peaceful and dare I say, centering!? I was reconnected with my enjoyment for yoga, (especially with the fit bodies around me as testament to its benefits!) and I’m definitely going to make time in my schedule for more yoga in addition to a retreat back to Kripalu! To see all the behind-the-scenes pics, check out the Gallery!