moving on

June has come and gone and my minimalism challenge has ended… I got rid of 465 things  last month … but this challenge has awakened a minimalism monster inside me and I continue to get rid of many MANY things.

For example, things that had been there for so long they had become invisible to me… like the bedside table that my parents passed down to me which sat in my dining room with no specific function…

Things I kept because they were expensive… like the leather coat I hadn’t worn in years, jewelry that an ex-boyfriend gave me that I din’t want to wear because I had not-so-great memories associated with it.

Things I kept because I had positive memories associated with it … like the white summer dress I bought in Fiji 15 years ago that actually doesn’t fit me anymore.

Getting rid of all this STUFF that brings back all sorts of memories has made it feel like a slow ceremony of “moving on” to something new.

I have no idea what I’m “moving on” to… but it feels like I’m creating more space physically, mentally, emotionally for something new.

and it feels GREAT 😊

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all the dresses I got rid of
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INTENTION behind the gift

While I am doing this MINIMALISM challenge this month,  seeking out what I could get rid of, one day a dear friend of mine left me a gift by my front door.

I opened it, and it was these cute chopstick resets (that I’m using to put my jewelry on).

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The day she left this gift for me just happened to be a day I was feeling sad about something and her gift made me so happy because I felt her ❤︎

This made me notice… yes, we don’t need a lot of THINGS but it is the INTENTION behind it that is important. No, I didn’t NEED these cute little chopstick resets but the fact that my dear friend thought of me when she saw these cute pups (because I’m a dog sitter), made me cry not from sadness (which I was before she gave me the gift), but cry because I was so touched by her thoughtfulness.

So, even as I go through this month sorting out my stuff and deciding to get rid of many things that were given to me as a gift, in stead of feeling guilty that I am letting them go, I am allowing myself to relive the warmth and gratitude that I felt when I received these gifts…

got rid of 378 things so far this month

 

 

 

 

hump day ~ going beyond my comfort zone

Only 5 more days to go with the MINIMALISM challenge of getting rid of the same number of things as the day of the month.

I actually experienced “hump day” at day 19 when I felt like I was running out of things to get rid of…. or I think you could say, that was when I was going beyond my “comfort zone.”

When I practice and teach Yoga and am focusing on making the body stronger, I often think and say “if you don’t go beyond your comfort zone you won’t get stronger.” I think it’s the same even with practicing RELAXING your body in Yin Yoga. You want to challenge yourself to see how much you can actually make your body so relaxed that it truly starts to feel like dead weight.

Well, I guess that really applies to everything in life. If you don’t go beyond your comfort zone there is no growth.

Because after day 19 of this MINIMALISM challenge, it has gotten so much easier to get rid of the things that I initially thought I wanted to keep, that I am starting to think 30 days (which amounts to 465 things) will not be enough for me to feel the way I want to feel when this challenge is over. I’ll see how I feel at day 30 of this month.

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the things I got rid of at day 22 (minus Kohana, the dog 😂 )

Let there be SPACE and SILENCE

It is day 15 of my MINIMALISM challenge which means I have gotten rid of 120 things already!! WOW I didn’t notice it has been that many until I calculated it just now.

It’s been very interesting so far.

I thought I didn’t have enough things to get rid of because I purged A LOT of stuff after reading Marie Kondo’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” over a year ago.

But everyday I end up finding things that I initially thought I would NEED or eventually use… but then on second or third thought, thanks to this challenge, I notice that I am just keeping it because I COULD use it or I have the space to store it.

So now when I walk around the house I feel like I’m assessing what I really need and don’t need so I have enough things to get rid of the next day to meet this challenge.

One AHA moment for me during this challenge is
“I DO NOT NEED TO FILL UP THE SPACE JUST BECAUSE THERE IS SPACE”

Of course this applies to things… Just because I have a big refrigerator doesn’t mean I have to fill it up with food. Just because I have a closet doesn’t mean I have to fill it up with clothes. Just because I have a garage doesn’t mean I have to fill it up with junk.

BUT

I noticed this also applies to words.

About a year ago when I was teaching a Yin Yoga class describing the practice and how you can relax your body to get the stretch to reach into your deep connective tissue, there was a girl that had her mat down at the corner of the room that waved me over.

Assuming she had a question for me I walked over to her and she said, “Can you please be quiet because I can’t relax with all the talking you’re doing.”

My first reaction (in my head) was “Is she telling me to shut up when I’m here to teach?”

But this “complaint” that I got that day has been one of the best lessons for me ever.

After she told me to shut up I did talk way less than I usually do. And it made me notice that I was filling up the silent space with my words because “I” was feeling uncomfortable with the silence.

This made me observe the students in their Yoga poses and how they were reacting while they were holding these poses for minutes at a time. It also gave me time to go up to students individually and help them or just simply give them the time to be with their own thoughts, their body sensations, and also be with the discomfort of silence.

Silence, which is something that is pretty rare these days.

So, thanks to this MINIMALISM challenge and this girl that told me to shut up, now I know that JUST BECAUSE THERE IS SPACE, WE DON’T HAVE TO FILL IT UP

 

Minimalism in my body

I’m playing a Minimalism Game this month and getting rid of excess stuff every day of the month. → Minimalism Game

I started following these Minimalists when I watched a documentary called “MINIMALISM” on Netflix a few months ago.

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In my opinion, this documentary is a MUST SEE and a MUST PRACTICE in this day and age when we are overloaded with STUFF and STIMULATION from every direction.

When I watched this documentary I realized that my Yin Yoga practice is a way of practicing MINIMALISM in my body.

The reason is because when I put myself in a Yin Yoga pose to stretch or “stress” a certain part of my body, I use the minutes I spend in that pose to let go of excess holding and gripping that I unconsciously accumulate in my body so that my body can slooooooowly release into gravity.

The other reason it feels like a minimalism in my body is because when I am in a Yin Yoga pose and release the NEED to feel strong and obvious sensations I get when I pull myself into a stretch in a YANG (muscular) way, I get to enjoy the more simple and subtle sensations that arise as I just watch what happens as I take each easy breath while I am in the pose.

Oh, and speaking of simple and subtle sensations… the feeling when I come out of the pose, which my teacher Paul Grilley calls “the rebound” and I sometimes call “the aftertaste” … it is the MOST subtle yet magical sensations that are changing moment to moment and cannot be described in words. The total opposite of the overstimulating sensations you get when you are doing a very muscular movement or exercise.

I was born with a naturally flexible body (thank you mom and dad) and I admit that strengthening my body balances out all the flexibility I have.

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Some people see how flexible my body is and ask me “do you even need to stretch more when you are already flexible?”

When I used to stretch my body only in a more of a YANG (muscular) way by pulling myself into certain stretches I feel like I was more numb to these subtle sensations that I am more sensitive to now.

Five years ago I went to my first Yin Yoga teacher training with Paul and Suzee Grilley. I remember we were in Saddle Pose to stretch the quadriceps and Paul walked up to me and asked, “Is this the best way for you to stretch your quadriceps?”

Up until that moment, I had never practiced in a way of letting the sensations of my body be the leader to create my own unique Yoga pose to get the function of stretching certain parts of my body.

I had always created a shape that looks like a certain Yoga pose and made sure I was doing it “correctly” and because of my natural flexibility I could do a lot of these Yoga poses that required a lot of flexibility.

Now I allow my Yoga practice to be a way to connect to all these different colorful sensations that are present in my body and it has made my love for Yoga Asana practice even greater. It truly feels like a communication with my body when I am making sure I am listening to the feedback that my body is sending me as I move or hold myself in a Yoga pose.

And becoming more sensitive to these different sensations in my body that ONLY I could feel, I can say, YES even if I was born with a flexible body I do need to stretch every day because I can feel where and how I am getting tighter in certain parts of my body, and I’ve also noticed my “holding patterns” in my body from being still and passive with my Yin practice.

My habitual place to grip and hold is in my neck, jaw, and skull and when I practice relaxing these areas it feels like it relaxes my whole body. I jokingly say it is “natural botox” when I practice letting go of all the fascial expressions I make in my daily life.

In this day and age when we are always wanting MORE and MORE, which includes body sensations too… STRONGER body, MORE flexible body, IMPRESSIVE looking Yoga poses, being passive in a Yin Yoga pose and just practicing relaxing and being still for minutes at a time might seem boring and a waste of time to some people…

But just the way getting rid of excess stuff in my house allows me to feel clear and appreciate what I cherish, I love my Yin Yoga practice because it allows me the time to practice feeling what it feels like to live in my own body without having to DO MORE, and to be comfortable being with my own body and my own thoughts.

This is my own unique experience that I feel in my own unique body that I have in this life time.

I will be co-leading a retreat this September and teaching Yin Yoga in the evenings. Click here for more information and to sign up → Retreat Website