By Molly Patrick
Dec 23, 2014,
Life is beautiful and filled with so much good and love and bliss.
But I’m not talking about that stuff today.
I’m talking about the times that are shit. The times that you don’t want to get out of bed, that you don’t fucking feel like eating leafy greens.
I’m talking about the days that you can’t think of anything that sparks you up because everything in your life at that particular moment are things that you haven’t yet gotten comfortable with, accepted and cuddled in bed with.
The days that even Wayne Dyer can’t get through to you, when the thought of Buddha just pisses you off, and even baby goats don’t look that cute.
You know you have it good compared to a lot of people in this world, and some people in your life might be quick to point that out. And yes, you probably do have it better than a lot of people.
But you aren’t a lot of people. You are you, and you should never have to justify or explain how you feel or feel guilty about feeling like crap just because other people in the world feel like more crap.
When I was in my early twenties, my oldest sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. She went through radiation and chemotherapy and she made it through. She’s been cancer free for over 10 years now. What she went through during her treatment was beyond brutal and around that time I was going through a crap time of my own.
I was talking to my other sister (not the one who had cancer) and I told her that my emotional state didn’t feel justified compared to the hell that my oldest sister was going through.
My sister looked at me and said, “Molly, a burn hurts regardless of how high the flame.” #sisterschooling
Life is weird and strange and wonderful and stupid and hard and tragic and complex for everyone at one point or another.
And you know what?
It is what it fucking is.
Part of being human is feeling shitty sometimes. Part of it is feeling so overwhelmed and scared and depressed and insecure and unsure that you feel like you might burst. So you run fast in the opposite direction.
But you know what? You won’t burst.
Instead of running, try getting super cozy with it and treat it like a best friend. Accept and do what you gotta do to keep going. Impermanence can super suck sometimes but it can also be a blessing.
Whatever it is will eventually change. That’s as guaranteed as mortality.
I say screw the self help books and the positivity workshops and bring on the art of not being attached.
Fill your head with the stars in the sky, the crashing waves of the ocean, the pulse of your light, the roots of trees, the pure and perfect bliss of a child, the quiet beauty of the sunrise, and let EVERYTHING else go…
Sometimes surrender looks like a cold beer and a cigarette. Sometimes it’s more subtle, like in the form of deep breaths in and long breaths out.
Sometimes surrender involves brutal honesty and acceptance and sometimes it involves a yoga mat.
Maybe surrender is french fries and a good laugh.
We’re all on this planet doing the very best we can. Sometimes our best is a brilliant masterpiece and sometimes our best is just getting out of bed in the morning.
If you’re in a dark place right now or if you feel overwhelmed and so bat shit crazy that you’re holding it together by one tiny little thread, take a breath and surrender.
Leave the outcomes to the universe, untangle yourself from your control, and practice the art of not being attached. A weight will lift and you’ll become lighter.
After that, get your ass to a yoga class and surrender on the mat. You’ll feel a million times lighter.
Elizabeth Andes-Bell has made it her life’s work to teach healing through yoga and she runs three yoga studios in the New York area.
I had some questions about yoga and I wanted real, honest answers, so I picked Elizabeth’s brain. Here’s what I learned:
Elizabeth! It’s so awesome to connect with you.
First things first:
Molly: Has anyone ever farted really loud in one of your classes? And what is the etiquette for when that happens? Do you pretend that it didn’t happen or do you say something to make light of the obvious?
Elizabeth: Can’t remember any loud farts, some SBD’s though. We do get tons of queefs, especially in standing straddle poses. Sometimes it’s me. We always make jokes about it, to put people at ease.
(Note: A queef is a fart from the vajayjay. Sexy, right?)
Molly: Have you ever had to ask any of your students to wear deodorant or is stank pit part of the deal?
Elizabeth: Stank pit is NOT part of the deal. We call them later and suggest a non-aluminum based deodorant. People are usually grateful.
Molly: Are there benefits of doing yoga when you’re not necessarily sick, but you don’t feel 100% physically?
Elizabeth: Yes, just modify your practice. There’s always benefit to getting the energy moving again, even when you are sick. You feel better emotionally and physically while oxygenating the system and boosting the healing process. If you’re running a fever or really sick, stay at home and do your own practice though.
Molly: Can you recommend beginner resources for people who haven’t done yoga yet and aren’t quite ready to join a class? Or maybe offer them some words of encouragement?
Elizabeth: You can try online yoga sites and search for a basic level class. These are generic though and you probably won’t stick with it. You’re much better off starting with a real class. Check out your local center. Find a beginner/basic level class. Just do it.
Keep experimenting until you find the teacher and style you like. It’s all about the relationship and you do need an experienced guide.
Molly: What’s the ideal meal or fuel before a class and how long should you eat before class?
Elizabeth: Eat 2 hours before class. Eat light like quinoa, fruit, a few nuts and coconut milk.
Molly: Is there a connection between food and yoga if we pull back and look at the broader picture?
Elizabeth: Definitely! Yoga changes your metabolism and you find your cravings lessening. You want to eat cleaner and closer to nature. You appreciate the simple tastes of fruits, veggies, grains, etc. You enjoy feeling lighter, you have more energy and clarity, you want to do more yoga, you want to eat more consciously so that you can keep doing more yoga…
Molly: Is it okay to do yoga while you’re on your period? I’ve heard that inverted poses are a no-no, but I kind of like going to class when I’m…wait for it…flowing. What’s the deal?
Elizabeth: It depends on you and how you’re feeling. If you’re in the first few days of a really heavy period, you may want to modify your practice by doing more restorative stuff and avoid inversions.
However, I know many yoginis and students who enjoy inverting during their periods. Yoga came out of a very misogynist culture. Female yogis practiced separately. I think this rule came from male yogis.
The thinking was that inversions during your period caused the toxins to flow back into the body. I think it’s a bit antiquated.
Molly: What inspired you to get into yoga and how have you changed since you started practicing and teaching?
Elizabeth: I started doing yoga to recuperate from dance injuries and it enabled me to keep up with a rigorous dance/fitness/teaching schedule. I started with a very athletic yoga practice (which began to take its toll on my body) and after many years of teaching energy healing, the two started coming together.
That’s really when everything changed. I developed a lithe strong yoga body, I learned how to not sweat the small stuff, I discovered a way to bring myself back to feeling clear, peaceful and optimistic within minutes.
Molly: If you had to summarize the benefits of yoga in three bullet points, what would they be?
1. Mudita: Sanskrit for ‘happy for no reason’.
2. You become a nicer person (unless you buy into the dream of becoming a yoga-rockstar).
3. Your body chemistry balances out. You lose weight, hormones even out, skin clears, you get healthier, sleep better, eat better.
Thank you Elizabeth!
This was all super useful information. I don’t know about you, but I’m particularly happy to know that queefs are more common than farts in yoga class. My life is somehow better because of that knowledge.
So Thanksgiving is way over, but today I’m giving you a super yummy brown gravy recipe.
I’ve never been good at coordinating recipes with holidays. I feel like it’s too much pressure.
This gravy recipe is pure comfort food. Pour it over some biscuits, veggies or mashed potatoes and when you’re done eating, you just might think baby goats are cute again.
- 1/2 an onion finely diced
- 3 cups chopped mushrooms 250g
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage 2g, diced
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt 5g
- 1/4 cup rice flour 40g
- 3 cups water 710ml
- Heat a pan, add the onion and cook for 3 minutes. Add a little water only when the onions begin to stick to the pan.
- Add mushrooms, sage, basil and salt, and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Again, add a little water only if the veggies start sticking to the pan.
- Add the rice flour and stir.
- Slowly pour in the water, stirring all the while, and simmer for 7-10 minutes until it becomes thick.
- Allow to cool for 15 minutes and then blend until smooth.
Have an excellent week and remember to love yourself through all of it.