Posts Tagged ‘yoga’

The Joy of Listening

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Listen carefully because I need to tell you something really important…We don’t listen. Yes! It is so true. None of us (or very few) truly listen to each other or to our bodies. We often don’t even listen to the small voice inside–you know the one you may call intuition or your gut that is your innermost guide to what works for you.

We don’t listen to our spouses, our children, our families or our friends. We don’t listen to clients. We don’t listen.

As a part of my course in Nutrition at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, listening is taught as a very important concept for both personal wellness and coaching others. Makes sense, doesn’t it? So why don’t we do it?

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Well we all have our reasons. Usually it’s because we are thinking of ourselves or thinking about what we are going to say next. Often it’s because we think we are smarter or know better than the person that’s talking. Sometimes it’s because our minds are wandering or fretting over all the things on our to do list. It may be because we are distracted with social media (put your phone down please!) or television or our kids or our dogs. I mean seriously could we have any more distractions in our lives?

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So I am going to be brutally honest here—isn’t listening the only way we really learn and help others? As I really started to think about the reason that I personally don’t listen the way I should to my family or my clients I learned that for me it’s a matter of time. I’m always in a hurry. I never feel like I have the “luxury” of listening. And I think that is really sad. It goes back to my post last week on “having my plate too full”. I realized I feel this constant pressure to get things done and so every meeting, every encounter whether with friends or family or my business associates or vendors I am in a race against the clock to blurt out all the important things that I feel must be said before that imaginary buzzer in my head sounds and tells me it’s time to move on to the next thing. And I wonder why I always feel so stressed!! Living in this self-imposed fight or flight mode has the cortisol pumping 24-7 in my body and the repercussions on my health and relationships is detrimental.

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Then I started thinking about the JOY that comes with listening. And I am depriving myself of that connection with others when I am harried and on a deadline for every conversation. It is most evident when I think about my pre-teen daughter. I want more than anything else to stay connected with her as she grows like my mom has connected with me. And I’ve now had the light-bulb moment about listening and I realize this means clearing my plate so that I have time to listen to her. Real time. Eye contact. Being fully present.

And that is not semi-listening while on my laptop. It’s not pseudo-listening while I am cooking dinner. It’s real listening maybe while we go for a walk, or drive in the car or head out for a frozen yogurt and sit across from each other and smile. I have been drawn to a quote for a while that says “Time without attention is worthless”. These are powerful words. I think it goes to the heart of idea of quality time. But I feel like quality time has become one of those things that Americans give lip service to, don’t you? Most of us consider it “time with family” if we are in the same room or house with them while we multi-task on a million different things. And then there’s the problem of not listening to ourselves.

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Yes, there is the whole debacle of me not listening to my body. Seriously, could it scream any louder when I am out of balance. I suspect some of you can even hear it screaming where you are right now, ha! But all joking aside, when your joints ache and your pants don’t fit and your feet hurt and your brain is foggy, wouldn’t an intelligent and logical person listen? One would think, but so few of us do. That’s why we are all overworked, sleep-deprived, stressed out, and depressed. It’s why we need alcohol and anti-depressants, mindless TV and Facebook to numb us from hearing that persistent voice inside telling us exactly what we already know, but don’t want to hear. For me the message is SLOW DOWN! DO LESS! RELAX! It’s saying please, please, please I beg of you to go up to your yoga room, or take 20 minutes and meditate, or go out for a walk and breathe all that fresh air! What message is your body telling you?

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So I am turning my focus now not to listening (ironically), but to getting things off my plate. My need to open up whitespace in my life, to prioritize and say no. I need to remove more deadlines and stress and quite honestly to love myself more. This is the only way I will be able to listen—truly listen, to those precious people and clients and colleagues that are most important to me. And it is definitely the only way I will ever hear myself.

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I know in my heart and in my gut that listening is one of the things that can bring me the most JOY this year. I want to listen to my heart, my loves and my body more than ever before.

Will you join me in finding the Joy in listening? Tell me your answer—I’m listening.

Joyfully yours,

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Come On, Get Happy!

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joyI’ve said it before – and it still holds true – running a business is hard. Really really hard. But it shouldn’t be so hard that you resent it, or even hate it. It shouldn’t become a grind that you dread every single day. Otherwise, why do it at all?

Yes, there are stresses, there are problem clients or employees, and there will be times when you wonder where the money will come from to keep the doors open. But that shouldn’t be every single day. There should still be moments (days, weeks) of joy! There should be some (or lots of!) fun and laughter – or none of your hard work is really worth it.

If you find yourself caught up in the grind, or unable to see the pretty forest for all the mean trees, then I have 10 tips to help you get your happy back!

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1. Schedule joy. While you’re setting your schedule and packing it full of meetings, remember to schedule something fun in there, too. At least once a week, put a fun item on your calendar. It can be as simple as going to a museum or picking your child up early from school for an ice cream date. But put it on your calendar and don’t move it off for any reason.

2. Turn it off. It’s a proven fact that our electronics cause us stress. If the election is making you crazy, don’t watch it on TV. If your phone buzzes all the time, turn it off so you can get some work done. And stop scrolling through Facebook. You may think that you’re just connecting with friends, but when you’re under the gun, those photos of someone on vacation may give you some serious guilt/envy.

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3. Simplify. Put only 3 things on your “have to do” list for each day. If you keep making super-long lists of things to do, you’ll only make yourself feel like a failure if you don’t accomplish them all. It feels so good to check things off your list, so make your lists achievable!

4. Take care of you. Why is it that we seem to push our own self care to the back burner? We are our company’s best asset, so why in the world do we come last in most cases? You have to eat right, get plenty of rest, exercise regularly, and be mindful of how you’re moving through your life. It’s critical to your personal life and your professional life. Make the time to take care of yourself.

5. Have a gratitude attitude. I keep a gratitude journal every single day. I always write down the things that I’m grateful for in my life, or that happened that day. It reminds me of why I started my business, of what life is really all about. That’s so important. And celebrate every single success in your business! We tend to just push towards the next goal without really celebrating, and that is a real thief of joy.

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6. Laughter IS the best medicine. You should find the humor in something every single day, even in some mistakes or challenges. Sometimes it’s either “laugh or cry” so choose laughter! And really, if you ask yourself how much something will truly matter in a year, in most cases the answer is that you’ll barely remember it.

7. Meditate. I can hear you say, “How in the world am I supposed to schedule joy, make time to exercise, AND now meditate? I’m too busy!” I get it. We get caught up in the whirlwind and we think everything is so critical that it just can’t wait. But you know that isn’t true. You can take 10 minutes to do some yoga poses. You can have that phone meeting while you’re walking. And you can definitely take 5 minutes to be still and breathe. It’s been proven to reduce stress levels AND to help you focus!

8. Keep your eyes on your prize. Don’t look at what others are doing and think they have some magic sauce that you don’t. You don’t know what their struggles are (and they definitely have them), so don’t be envious of what you think others have. Keep the focus on you.

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9. Delegate. It can be tough to shoestring a budding business, but you definitely need help. Don’t try to build your own website, don’t try to do your own books, don’t try to take on every task by yourself. You’ll burn yourself out! You should focus only on what makes your company money – that’s it. Outsource anything and everything you can – and if your budget for that is tiny then just pick one thing that someone else can help you with right now.

10. Don’t blame your business. Your business is not there to make you happy. It can help you get to goals that will eventually make you happy – but it can’t be the entire source of your happiness or your life. That’s expecting way too much from your company. Look outside your job for other sources of happiness to help get you through the stressful times at work.

Try these 10 tips to get you back on the happy train! You’ll be amazed at how much more you’ll get done when you’re feeling more upbeat – and at how much you enjoy it!

xo,

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New Year’s Shopping Guide

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During this, my favorite time of the year, I am busy preparing my goals and resolutions and plans for an exciting 2016. I am giddy with excitement about moving closer to my best self in the coming months. And I am working on making the New Year my best year yet.

To be the best Me I can be, I have a major goal of putting myself first next year. This is something I find really hard to do, do you? Well in that spirit of self-care and healthy living, here is my shopping guide for a fabulously healthy 2016. These are the things I need to be my best and I hope they will help you be your best too!

Meet me back here later this week for my tips on writing resolutions that work, goal setting and my word of the year for 2016.

Happy (and healthy) shopping friends! xo,

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1.Columbia Fleece Vest–Layers are a must for working out in Arkansas weather. It can be 70 degrees at Christmas like this year and 20 degrees in March. You just never know. So having some great Columbia fleece vests in my favorite colors are perfect for layering on cool mornings or freezing afternoons for my walks. I got a white one for Christmas and can’t wait to wear it.

2. Northface Thermal Leggings–To be my best and most healthy self, I have to have a “no excuses” mentality for exercise. And thanks to these awesome Northface leggings, even on cold days I am hoofing it to stay in shape.

3. Fitbit Charge–Take your fitness to a whole new level with the fitbit Charge. I have been using a fitbit for years but this new model has all sorts of amazing features including a clock so you no longer have to double up your fitbit and your watch, they are now all in one. And if you get the Fitbit HR, you can keep track of your Heart rate too so you ensure you are exercising at your optimum level.

4. Nike Leopard or Snakeskin Running Shoes–How do you make exercise fun? Well for me it’s by wearing fun workout clothes and shoes (yes I am a shoe girl even when it comes to athletic ones!) So why not jump on the trend of leopard and Snakeskins we are seeing all over the runway and bring it to our workout gear. They even have the leopard print in sizes for your kids so you can keep them active and healthy too!

5. Massage Bolster–In a moment you will see my great link for an in-home massage table in fabulous fashionable colors. And if you go the route of having a massage room all your own, a bolster for propping up your ankles and knees is the best way to make your at-home experience seem like a professional one.

6. The Best is Yet to Come Journal–Journaling has been a lifesaver for me to relieve stress and get in touch with my innermost self and writing down what I really want out of life. That’s why I love this encouraging quote from old blue eyes himself, Frank Sinatra. Because I really do believe that the best is yet to come for us all, so why not remember that in your daily journaling exercises!

7. Pebble Journal with 3-ring Binder–I love to keep one journal for my thoughts and another for my gratitude for all my many blessings. I am crazy about this 3 ring journal because you can add pages to it. So when you have boundless blessings like I believe we all do, you can add more space to write them down.

8. Pajamas–one of the most important parts of healthy living is getting enough sleep. I think a great pair of Pj’s is the perfect excuse to go to bed earlier this year and these pretty black and white ones will help us sleep stylishly.

9. Sleep Mask and Memory Foam Pillow–Being comfy and relaxed is an important part of your sleep routine too. How about this fabulous Memory Foam pillow so you are comfy and wake up feeling great? And it’s paired with this fab sleep mask with built-in headphones. They’ll keep it dark in your space any time of day and allow you to listen to relaxation yoga or meditation tunes so you drift off easily to your happy place and stay there all night long.

10. Yoga Bolster–Yoga has been a life saver to me. Particularly Yin-style yoga. I get my cardio by walking out in nature and breathing in fresh air and for me yoga is about stretching and restoration. So for that I need great props like this oversized rectangular bolster.

11. Yoga Blocks–Getting into some of my favorite Yin yoga poses require the help of yoga blocks. So add these to your tools for staying healthy this year. You can also do some amazing before bed stretches and release all the tension from your neck with a great yoga block ensuring you get a restful night’s sleep.

12. Yogitoes Yoga Mat Towel–Nothing annoys me more than slipping on my yoga mat. That’s why I love my Yogitoes Yoga Mat Terry Towel. It makes your mat comfy and slip resistant all at once. So now you can Nama-“stay” on your mat!

13. Calypso Massage Table–Massage is a must for my healthy lifestyle. I try to get at least one a month and more if time and budget allow. Having an in-home massage table and home massage space is one of the ways I squeeze massage into my busy lifestyle. So when I can’t get to the spa, my massage therapist can come to me.

14. Yoga Strap–To really get deep stretches for my hamstrings to counteract all the sitting at the computer that I do (and sitting on airplanes too) a great yoga strap can really help. I’m not as young and flexible as I used to be so my yoga strap is one of my BFF’s these days! 

15. Personalized Yoga Mat–And to add a little fun to your yoga time, how about a personalized yoga mat. I love the idea of having my name on it, but even better an inspirational quote that makes me want to be on my mat everyday. Whatever it takes, right?

16. Yoga Blankets–If restorative yoga sounds good to you, creating a sanctuary for your practice is a must. For me that means a lovely and quiet place, lots of candles and several cozy blankets for helping with stretches or covering up during Savasana and lingering just a little bit longer than usual.

17. Massage Table Sheets–Making your massage table especially soft can help you get to your happy and relaxed place faster that normal. I love these high thread count massage sheets from Wamsutta that really help me have sweet dreams while getting my massage on!

18. Massage Table Electric Warmer–I don’t know about you but I get chilly easily. I am known to use an electric blanket on a chilly summer night (even if it’s chilly because my hubby is blasting the A/C), and I am the same way during my massages. So having an electric warmer for your at-home massage table is the perfect way to make sure you are cozy and relaxed every time.

19.Fitbit Scale–I’ve been using a Fitbit cardio step counter for years. But now I am ready to take Fitbit’s capabilities to the next level with their scale that measures weight, body fat and BMI. It can be programmed for up to 8 different users so my family can use it too. I am thinking this might be one of the things that keeps me most accountable in the new year!

20. Vitamix Blender–Oh how I love my Vitamix. It’s the way I get my fruits and veggies in everyday with my regular morning Green Smoothies. I have tried other blenders and trust me, there is no comparison with the Vitamix. So if you haven’t tried this amazing blending machine, I highly suggest you do. It will help you get your smoothie on all year long.

 

 

 

 

New House Diary: The Yoga Room

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New House Diary

One day until Christmas…are you ready? Well, I am excited, but in more ways that you might imagine. As you know if you read this blog regularly, I am completely committed to self care and to my health. So there is a room that is shaping up in my home remodel that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time! I’m turning a second guest bedroom into a yoga/massage room for me and for my family. And I’m excited that for Christmas some of my family members are gifting me the fabulous yoga gadgets that will be a big part of this space.

Too often my busy career gets in the way of my regular yoga classes. And when I do have time to go, the studio often isn’t open. So I decided that I would get rid of that problem by putting a “studio” right in my house, complete with a yoga wall. A yoga wall, pictured below, allows you to hold poses longer, and to become stronger and more flexible. I have gotten to use one of these amazing yoga walls during some of my travels and I have dreamed of having one of my own ever since.

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With a yoga wall, you use straps, ropes, and harnesses to help you suspend yourself in some of the more familiar yoga poses. They help you get deeper stretches and you can even achieve something very similar to traction for your neck with the help of the wall and its accessories. But more important than the wall to me is the overall space. I love what yoga does for my mind, as much as what it does for my body. It puts me into a good frame of mind and allows me to get rid of stress. So as un-glamorous as it may sound to you, I can hardly wait to open my Christmas gifts this week and I hope they are full of brackets and straps and harnesses for my yoga wall system! (Yes, I’m a geek, but a healthy geek for sure!) Want your own yoga wall? You can order all the parts here at Yogawall.com

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I also plan to include mirrors and a ballet bar that attaches to the yoga wall brackets that my daughter can’t wait to use for practicing dance. I will practice my morning meditations in this space with my bolsters and blankets. And I’m even including a fold-up massage table for at-home massages. Just thinking about this space makes my blood pressure drop!

I’m also going to have a television on the wall in this space so that I can use workout videos. And I will have a built-in desk in a niche where one of the two closets used to be, to use as my home office. The other closet in the space will remain and will be very organized to hold my printer and all of our home crafts and office supplies. This room is going to get a LOT of use. I can see many days of working in my yoga clothes and taking my “yoga breaks” between projects in my future. Sounds like pure bliss to me!

So what do you think about my idea for this room? It’s really sort of a “Woman-Cave” for me, I suppose.  What would you do with an extra room if you could have anything you wanted? Let me know in the comments section below!

Namaste!

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Gift Guide for People Who Have Everything!

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Are you finished with your holiday shopping? Me either. But I am getting really close! At this point, I am always looking for the perfect gift for those people in my life who already seem to have everything. And if I’m honest, a lot of people in my life probably think that refers to me. Ha! But isn’t it true that so many of us are able to just get what we want when we want it and we don’t wait for special occasions or holidays? And then, when those gifting occasions roll around, we can hardly think of anything that we want or need.

Well today I am bringing you a fun round-up of things that are exciting and cool and hip and unique. Things that would be perfect for those people who have everything. Many of these are things that people might not know about or that they wouldn’t buy for themselves, so they would make fun and fabulous presents from you!

Good luck finishing your shopping, friends!

xo,

Tobi Signature

 

 

 

  1. Jonathan Adler Lacquered Backgammon Set–My family used to play backgammon when I was a kid, but I haven’t played in years. Leave it to Jonathan Adler to make this old game fabulous and chic again! Choose from purple, blue, or orange. I’m partial to the purple interior with the white box. Game on!
  2. Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker–How fun to make homemade soft-serve for your next party or just on the weekend with your kids! I love how it holds the cones and sprinkles right in the machine. And I don’t keep up with the Kardashians (I know, I’m about the only one) but I think I did see that one of them had this fun gift on their wish list, too.
  3. Neiman Marcus Famous Pop-overs–I have wanted to learn to make pop-overs for years and Neiman Marcus is known for these delicious treats in their restaurants across the country. Now you can give those “have it all” sort of people on your list everything they need to make these luxury pop-overs right at home.
  4. Wood Pillar Speakers–These fabulously handsome wood-patterned speakers have amazing 360-degree sound and 15 hours of wireless play. They connect to any bluetooth device and are oh-so-stylish! One of these may need to find its way to my hubby’s stocking.
  5. Monogrammed Kate Spade Tote–Apparently I have a thing for red bags this year, and I think this one from Kate Spade is extra special because it can be monogrammed with 3 letters in gold foil. How sophisticated and personal, right? I have a special person on my list that this would be perfect for!
  6. Firewood Canvas Tote–A fun and handy gift for your friends who love to sit fireside at home or in their vacation home. Personalize this handsome leather-and-canvas firewood tote and they will love how it looks, and how it keeps their clothes all clean and tidy when they carry wood in for the fire.
  7. Personalized Yoga Mat–No one will pick up your yoga mat if it’s personalized with your name or initials. This is a fun gift for all the yogis on your list this year.
  8. Personalized Gym Bag with Yoga Mat Strap–Take it a step further and add this great personalized gym bag as a companion to the personalized yoga mat. It even has a strap that keeps all your items together and organized.
  9. Red Beats Headphones–Whether working out or just hanging out, these beautiful bright red, wireless Beats headphones are great for anyone on your list, young or “not so young,” male or female. So if you have music-lovers on your list, how about a snazzy pair of these?
  10. Junior Chef Baking SetFor the teens and kiddos on your list who love to cook like my daughter does, Williams Sonoma has a whole line of REAL cooking and baking utensils like this baking set. They are regular-sized (not kiddie-sized) and perfect for aspiring and practicing cooks with a few safety features built in to make learning to cook fun.
  11. Pink Home Massage Table–Ever wanted to have your own massage room at home? That’s the ultimate luxury, right? And even more fun for your table to be PINK! This is perfect for the busy working woman in your life who needs to relax at the end of the day. Don’t love the pink? Well you’re in luck! It comes in a rainbow of colors.
  12. Fitbit Charge HR–Stay fit and keep track of the time, all in one device. The super-smart new version from Fitbit has all sorts of features, including tracking your heart rate, and you don’t have to double it up with your watch anymore.
  13. Breville Crispy Crust Pizza Maker–Pizza lovers take note, this table-top beauty has a pizza stone built right in to make all your favorite thick and thin crust recipes come out perfect every time. I asked for one of these for Christmas this year and my daughter is already planning the pizza parties we need to host in 2016.
  14. Zoku Iced Coffee Maker-Freeze the canister of this travel coffee mug and it instantly turns your hot beverage into iced coffee. A convenient and handy tool for all the iced coffee lovers in your life. 
  15. Jonathan Adler Domino Set–And if backgammon isn’t your thing, or you want a full-on game night, Jonathan Adler also brings us gorgeous lacquered packaging for his domino set. And the dominos themselves are even colorful, which designer-folks like me will really love!