Oct 31, 2011

project yoga: austerity

image via ill seen and said

remember how a couple weeks ago i said i was totally disgusted by the volume of stuff cluttering up my apartment? well, i couldn't have set this week up any better if i had tried. this week is all about austerity, which, to me, first and foremost means not being materialistic. since i do have an interest in design, style, fashion, etc., i tend to interpret this more as only keeping things around that are 'just right,' and letting go of the 'so-so.' nothing exemplifies that idea of having one perfect sweater, perfume, coffee mug than ill seen, ill said's sunday best posts. jane just nails it right on the head every week, and her posts will definitely be a source of inspiration as i declutter this week.

image via ill seen, ill said

according to 'hip tranquil chick,' austerity also means maintaining self-discipline to achieve personal goals. the obvious thing to do first is analyze what i have laying around my apartment and purge, purge, purge. i'm also going to pick a couple goals to focus on to practice a little self-discipline. the end is in sight for paying off my debt, but i will have to stay the course in order to do it as soon as possible. that will be goal #1. lately, i've been thinking more and more about getting things going again with my etsy shop, so reentering the world of crafty e-commerce will be goal #2.

image via ill seen, ill said

austere 'to do's':
  • go through all areas of my apartment, keep what i need and/or love, and let go of the rest. for inspiration and guidance, keep the following quote from the shakers in mind: 'don't make something unless it is both necessary and useful; but if it is both necessary and useful, don't hesitate to make it beautiful.'
  • stay the course with the spending hiatus. freeing up money to put to those last few payments is the easiest way to be debt-free.
  • re-list items i haven't yet sold in my etsy shop.
  • brainstorm and/or make new items for my etsy shop.
  • boost motivation by giving the shop a fresh look with a new banner and avatar.
  • actually do some on-the-mat yoga. that's what kicked off this whole project, and yet it went onto the back burner basically the minute i started this project.

what are your thoughts on austerity? any goals that could use a little more focused self-discipline? considering doing some 'fall cleaning' yourself?

p.s. happy halloween!

Oct 30, 2011

project yoga: end of week report

the past couple weeks have been a total killer work-wise (hence the lack of posting), but i think i did manage to luck my way into feeling more content. the key, it turns out is not constructively venting and strategizing about the sources of my discontent, it's just doing stuff that makes me forget all the crap and feel content in the moment: sitting in a coffee shop reading a craft magazine and drinking tea. wandering through the natural foods co-op and/or the farmers' market. spending an afternoon crafting. another key seems to be doing stuff that i might not enjoy per se, but that is critical for feeling sane: getting a chunk of work for school done. cleaning my apartment.

so anyway, i am feeling much better. i am going to assume that another part of my success this week was sticking reasonably closely to a spending hiatus, and maybe that will help me keep it going past this week.

pictured are some of my halloween decorations. how are you decorating? are you doing anything special tomorrow night?

p.s. for those keeping track, my halloween projects are numbers 20-22. two months left, and i have 30 more projects to post to complete my 52 weeks, 52 projects challenge.

Oct 19, 2011

midweek check-in

image via words imagined

if anything, i am feeling less content at work than ever, and some interesting things are coming out of it. whenever i am really unhappy at work, i always get the urge to make my home life as comfortable, enjoyable, and unlike work as possible. this often leads toward making positive changes, like doing a better job of keeping my space clutter-free, taking yoga classes, and taking some time every day to relax and do nothing. this time around, it has manifested itself as an urge to purge. suddenly my full closet and piles of books and magazines are anathema to me. at my heart, i don't feel like someone who values possessions so very highly, but walk through my apartment and you'll find all of the trappings of conspicuous consumerism.

so here's a thought: is living authentically the key to true contentment? if you determine what you value most and use those values to drive your decisions, will you become more satisfied with your life than someone not as self-aware? as always, i'd love to hear your thoughts.

Oct 17, 2011

project yoga: contentment

image via

this is a pretty timely one for me: i've been feeling the opposite of content with some issues at work, and i've always been someone who looks ahead to the next thing. i read about a study awhile ago that suggests that democrats tend to have high attraction to novelty, and republicans have a high attraction to what they know. don't worry; i'm not about to launch into a political rant here, but i do happen to be quite liberal, and i do happen to have a strong taste for novelty. unfortunately, that strong taste for novelty can sometimes lead to never really feeling satisfied. this is definitely something for me to work on.

image via

'to do's' for feeling more content at work:
  • accept what i can and cannot change.
  • instead of venting, ask for advice or write the venting down. a lot of times, writing about issues in a journal makes things much more clear for me than trying to talk them out.
  • look for yoga sequences designed to help increase feelings of contentment, stability, or rootedness. it will be easier to feel content at work if i don't feel like every little thing going on outside my classroom rocks what goes on inside my classroom.

'to do's' for feeling more content with my stuff:
  • do laundry more often. sometimes i forget what i have when clothes start piling up in the laundry bag.
  • hem pants and do other repairs so that i can actually wear everything that's hanging in my closet.
  • use the things i have: cook a meal with a piece of cookware i don't frequently use. read a book that's been collecting dust on my bookshelf. start a new craft project using materials i already have.
  • do a mini spending hiatus. don't buy anything this week unless it is a true necessity.
  • avoid things that make me want new stuff: some magazines, online shops, some blogs.

image via

why all the pictures of sleeping kittens? because i can't think of anything that better symbolizes contentment.

what makes you feel content? do you have any tips for dealing with people who actively spread discontent?

Oct 16, 2011

project yoga: end of week report

i started writing a post about how i didn't really achieve many of my goals for this week, but then i looked back at my list, and i didn't do so badly after all. i did do some cleaning, i did bits and pieces of yoga journal's fall detox, and i drank a lot of green juice. i avoiding plastic and styrofoam, i culled some of products from my bathroom, and i drank an herbal detox tea instead of my usual caffeinated green tea. i (mostly) ate good foods, and, when i went to floyd with my mom yesterday, i came back with things that are either local, sustainable, or both.

i have today to finish up my week of increasing purity and plan next week's focus and goals. i plan to finish cleaning my apartment and clear the decks for week 2. week 2 of project yoga is all about contentment, which i'll talk more about tomorrow. for now, i will share what i got out of a week of purity:

  • less irritation: it's nice to come home to an apartment where there are clean glasses and spoons.
  • less severe allergy symptoms: i pretty much had a headache all day every day, but i think using my neti pot made the headaches a bearable level instead of a debilitating level. living in texas made me forget that i am apparently allergic to everything in virginia.
  • ideas of where to go next: the new magical heartburn medicine i'd been trying totally lost its luster this week, and i feel like i'm back to square one on the GERD front. i keep seeing articles that mention the alkalizing properties of green juice, and it's true that it's one of the few things i can stomach when the acid is out of control. i should probably have a portion of my paychecks deducted and sent directly to naked juice in exchange for cases of green machine. i've seen some books floating around at places like whole foods about the alkaline diet, and i know that it's totally unscientifically supported, but i'm going to learn more about it. i'm not trying to lose weight or cure allergies, and i'm not at all concerned about the pH of my blood. promising to cure all of your ills and scaring you about the pH of your blood and what it means are the things that have given the alkaline diet the label of quackery. i'm not interested in any of those things. what i am interested in is the pH in my stomach. if i am constantly churning out excess amounts of acid naturally, i really don't need to contribute to that with what i'm eating. if traditional medicine isn't going to do much for me, maybe changing my diet will.

pictured above, some tools for detox and purity: squirt-bottle-style neti pot and salt packets, multivitamins, calcium supplements, vitamin D supplements, fish oil, fiber, badger yoga and meditation balm, yogi berry detox tea, lavender soy candle to light while practicing yoga or meditating, naked juice green machine

Oct 10, 2011

project yoga: purity

image via kelleher international

it is week 1 of project yoga, and i am feeling good. i read about yoga journal's 21-day challenge way back in january or february, and, since then, i've been very curious about how spending weeks focused on yoga might alter my perspective. 10 weeks is quite a bit longer than 3, but that's just more reason to believe that this experience will stick with me for awhile.

image via whole living

let's get started! the first of the niyamas, or yogic do's, is purity. purity means a few major things: clutter-free, tranquil space to live and work in, being mindful of what you put on or in your body, and making choices and taking actions ethically. it's hard to retain purity of spirit if most of your actions are of the self-serving, back-stabbing variety or if you spend your days chugging coffee and your nights downing alcohol.

image via whole living

here is my 'to do' list for this week:
  • declutter and clean my apartment.
  • buy healthy foods to eat through the week that reduce chemical exposure, environmental impact, and human impact.
  • avoid excess caffeine, excess sugar, and fake, processed foods.
  • avoid plastic and styrofoam.
  • take my vitamins.
  • do some restorative and/or detoxifying yoga sequences.
  • go through my toiletries and makeup, and determine ways to lesson chemical exposure, environmental impact, and human impact.

image via whole living

i hope to check in with you guys on my progress throughout the week. in the meantime, what are you going to do to add purity to your life?

Oct 9, 2011

a new plan

image via yoga austin

last week, i found myself doing a lot of yoga, feeling like i needed to do a lot of yoga, and feeling way less stressed as a result of all the yoga. whenever i find myself on a big yoga kick, there are a couple things that happen: i get the urge to buy new yoga clothes (which i have so far squelched), and i re-read my yoga books. hardcore yogis and yoginis might cringe at this, but my favorite yoga book is 'hip tranquil chick' by kimberly wilson. it's pink and very cutesy, but if you can look past all of the fluff and gratuitous use of french words, there's a lot of good stuff at the heart of the book. the book seems a little silly on the surface, but i think it really delivers on the promise held in its subtitle, 'a guide to life on and off the mat.' wilson goes through critical sections of the yoga sutra, and she explains how ancient teachings are directly applicable to the average 20- or 30-something woman's life. kimberly wilson's average woman happens to be analogous to glamour magazine's average woman (emphasis on girly stuff like shopping, mani-pedis, etc.), but i think any woman looking to live a more intentional and meaningful life can relate.

image via

one of the first things in 'hip tranquil chick' is a list of the 5 niyamas (do's) and the 5 yamas (don'ts). as i was reading them for the other day, i started thinking, 'hm... i could focus on one of the niyamas or yamas each week, and make a list of related tasks to accomplish to better align my life with those ideals. i want to get back into blogging... maybe this would be a good thing to blog about...' if you've been reading my blog for awhile, you know that i'm not great at following through with the great, grandiose plans that i hatch. however, i think that, in this case, falling short of my lofty goals will just mean that i spent a little bit less time doing something positive than i would have liked. meeting any of my goals at all will be a step in a positive direction.

image via

anyone want to follow along with me? i'll be posting my intentions and actions for the week each monday. if you're interested, let me know! i would love to have some 'project yoga' buddies!