Off the Mat is a series on YBC that shares bits and pieces about what goes on off the yoga mat, and in my everyday life.
PSA: FYI, our video bundles available for yogis of all levels. Don't forget that you'll get a free gift when you screenshot your review of our app to Lauren. And if you screenshot a review of my book, Namaslay, to @YBCsneakpeek, we'll send you a different free gift in thanks. Lastly, some teaching updates: We are putting together a second London workshop and one in Dubai in July. In addition, we are planning our first ever yoga teacher training program. Email Jan (at) yogabycandace if you'd like an email when details for any of the above are finalized.
Disclaimer: Off the Mat posts are not sponsored, but many of the products I mentioned were sent to me. I've noted when that's been the case, and as always, I only recommend products I truly enjoy and would purchase for myself. This post contains affiliate links, which means YBC earns a small commission when you check them out.
I finished this book in a weekend and when I finished it I felt kind of sick and sad, in only a way that a really good book can. Now I've moved on to this book and it is keeping me up at night because I simply cannot put it down!
As I've mentioned before, I am a big fan of rompers and jumpsuits, just because they take the guess work out of trying to figure out what top or bottom goes with what. I've been living in this Splendid jumpsuit (similar by them in black on sale!) lately, and I love how casual and comfortable it is. However, I recently stained it - think it might be massage oil or something? Does anyone have any special tricks to get it out after I've washed it already? :( A few other similar jumpsuits I'm loving below from $21 up -
I've got a ton of travel coming up over the next few weeks, so I'm making a major effort to keep my mental and physical health priorities so I don't burn out or get sick. Trips include Key West, Boston, Chicago, London, Santorini, Dubai and Nairobi and I am so excited. During my last trip to Italy, I packed a little differently than I normally do. Instead of just throwing in whatever I felt like (#rookiemove), I decided to try a more organized way to pack. One day, I tried on a bunch of different outfits, took photos of them, and then neatly rolled them (no wrinkles that way!) into my suitcase. It wound up, as you're probably not surprised to find out, working out so much better. I don't know why I never did that before. Like I knew there was a better way to pack, but I always avoided it because I felt like it'd take too much time. However, that time figuring it all out ahead of time saved me a lot of time once I got to Italy, and it was a far more efficient way to pack. So that's what I think I'll do moving forward. If you have any packing tips, I'd love to hear!
Listening to Lately
Podcasts have become a daily thing for me. Like, to the point where I just don't understand why I'm only recently starting to get into them. I used to think, "Who has the time for a podcast?!" I mean, since I work from home, I don't have a commute where I could listen to them...but then I realized I could use the time during which I walk the dog to tune in and it has been an absolute game changer. I tend to gravitate towards more uplifting or inspirational ones like Dear Sugar, but now that I've listened to them all, I need a new uplifting one - any recommendations? I tried Terrible, Thanks for Asking, and while I loved the premise, I found it to be too much of a downer at a time in my life when I'm just feeling a little bleh. Normally, I could probably handle it, but my anxiety meter has been up lately....
I also listen to Up First from NPR, which I love. It gives you a 10 minute run down of the biggest news headlines from the previous day. To be honest, I feel like lately I can only take current events in small doses. Between the drama at the White House and the suicide of rock legend Chris Cornell, I have certainly noticed an increase in my anxiety and stress levels. I feel ridiculous admitting that, to be honest. I know I live a very cushy life, and while things like health care are a concern of mine, let's be real - unless something catastrophic happens, I can (barely) afford to take care of myself. I'm not rolling in money, but I will be fine. But the thing is, it's not just about me. Family and friends of mine are not as fortunate as I am and that weighs on me heavily. I pass between two or three homeless shelters every single day that I walk my dog and many of these people are war veterans. My dog is such a sweet guy, and we generally stop to chat with them outside the shelters and I've met nothing but kind, respectful, good people. And I always walk away feeling like we really aren't taking care of our vets. It just makes me very sad. I don't have answers, but I feel stressed and anxious and sad about the current state of our country. Anyway, I apologize for going off on a bit of a tangent there, but my point is, this NPR podcast is great for staying on top of current events without having to invest too much time (and in turn, emotional health) into it.
On the music side of things, I - like many around the world - was heartbroken to hear of the suicide of Chris Cornell. What an incredibly talented musician. A voice of our generation. I still can't believe it, to be honest.
I hate to hear of any kind of death, but news of suicide always hits a bit harder. I know all of us are struggling with something, and sometimes - no matter who you are and what it is you're dealing with - it may feel unbearable. But please, please if you ever find yourself contemplating suicide, please get help.
Like I mentioned, self-care has been high on my list of priorities lately. I've been making it a point to really practice one of the key aspects of yoga - self-awareness - to ensure I'm taking good care of myself. For example, when I am stressed out, I unknowingly clench my teeth which leads to jaw pain. I also have a somewhat short temper if I don't keep my stress in check. And stress affects me physically - sometimes the quality of my sleep sucks, my skin may break out, and I have a hard time recovering from strenuous physical activity. So I truly make it a priority to be as mindful as I can. I wake up, and before I do anything, just take a deep breath in and out and give thanks. I'll try to cultivate a sense of gratitude for the current moment and the day ahead. Then I'll get up, say good morning to Buckles and cuddle with him for a bit, and then make my breakfast. I'll eat slowly, chew mindfully, and really try to appreciate each bite. Then I'll start work, and remind myself to body scan. Am I holding stress anywhere? Am I clenching my teeth? Am I taking short breaks to keep my stress levels low? If you're feeling stressed to the max, give the self-awareness body scan check thing a try and see if it helps. Sometimes taking a minute to check in with yourself is enough to reset things before they get too out of control.
Bread-making: Zojirushi sent me this bread machine last week and it's the best thing to happen to my kitchen in ages. I have been frustrated because my stomach does not do well with most bread in the US. Even if I get special sourdough from the local bakery (sourdough is supposed to be easier to digest because it's fermented). I always wind up feeling bloated, uncomfortable, and crampy. I'd chalk it up to a gluten sensitivity but the thing is, when I was in Italy, I ate #allthebread and #allthepasta. And I was absolutely fine. Like, no problems at all. So now I feel like it's not a gluten sensitivity but a pesticide sensitivity, because Europe is so much more stringent about things like pesticides than the US. So, I bought an organic sprouted flour (easier to digest than regular organic flour) and made a few different types of bread this weekend. One was just a regular wheat, and the other was a walnut, cinnamon and raisin bread. It was insanely easy to make, and so, so good. And the best part? My stomach was completely fine! Hallelujah.
Getting outside: Since the weather has warmed up, I've been making an effort to get outside more with the pup. I notice a near immediate mood boost when I hang out outside. Not sure if that's just a benefit of the sun's vitamin d or if it's just what naturally happens when I'm not sitting in front of the computer, but either way, I'm not gonna argue.
Buckles and I have been on so many different hikes and walks all over the state in the last few weeks, and I know he loves it just as much as I do.
I'd love to hear what's going on with you lately. Feel free to share down in the comments section below.