Find a Comfortable Seat

When settling in for a meditation, or starting off a yoga class. The yoga teacher may ask you to “find a comfortable seat”. What does that mean? How do you find this comfortable seat?

Picture your pelvis as a three legged stool. You want to balance the weight of your body evenly between the front and back. Your sits bones would be two of the three legs, and your tailbone might be the third leg.

Speaking of sits bones… you may have heard that you should sit on your “sits bones” – or “sitz bones”. What are those exactly?

Ideally, we are sitting directly on top of the sitz bones, with a slight anterior tilt to the pelvis. This means if your pelvis were a bowl, filled to the brim with water, water would spill out the front of the bowl.

Wtih this base set up, it allows for lots of space to grow and expand upwards and allow for our biggest breath.

HOT TIP: sit on the edge of a meditation cushion, or yoga block, or even a fold or two of your yoga mat. The elevation of the hips will allow for a natural shift ofthe pelvis into an anterior pelvic tilt.

What do you think? Does this give more context to “finding a comfortable seat”?

How to Save Money in 2022

What you focus on – increases.

I started this habit a couple years ago, and have been refining it ever since. My goal is simple: each month I write down what my account balances are at the beginning and what my balances are at the end. I want to see the amounts grow between the beginning and the end!

The first step is to write down your income for each month. Then, write down the bills. What are the fixed expenses that must be paid monthly? Jot those down, tally them up and reduce your monthly income by the fixed expenses amount.

Now you’re left with discretionary income. Take a moment and think about how you want to pay yourself . Consider yourself a fixed expense too! Here’s where I split off at least half of the discretionary income into seperate saving accounts.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

If you don’t yet have seperate savings accounts for key areas in your life – I highly recommend starting that now! It’s usually quite simple to open more savings accounts with your bank, especially in today’s day and age of online banking. I have a few key areas that I put money aside for each month:

  • Car Account. Putting money aside for car insurance, maintenance and general costs that come with owning a vehicle. I calculate what my non-negotiable expenses will be for the car this year, and aim to put aside at least that amount divided by 12 – et voila!
  • Emergency Fund. I like knowing that I have a decent chunk of money put aside in case of emergencies. A last minute flight (although not these days!) or an unexpected expense, are less stress inducing if there are a few dollars in the rainy day jar! I have had this account wavering at about $1,000 the past years, but I may bump that goal up to $2,500 for 2022.
  • Trip Account. Although we haven’t left home the past couple years, it’s nice to see my savings grow in this account – for when travelling will be the norm once again. This hasn’t been a priority savings account, but I do throw at least $50 in here each month.
  • Treat Account. Life is all about balance. I know myself, and if don’t have a visual on how I am paying myself – I am liable to splurge and spend fivilously. Silly, I know. But getting to know my sepnding habits means that I can outsmart myself… with some planning ahead!

Go ahead and jot down a couple key areas that you want to save for each month. Are you saving up for a house? Kids education? Do you want to buy a Peleton? Think about what you would put your dispensible income towards, given some time to plan for it.

Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

My final note is on TFSA’s and RRSP’s. These are registered accounts in Canada, and each one offers financial perks. Read more on TFSA’s – Tax Free Savings Accounts – here. Read more about RRSP’s – Registered Retirement Savings Plans – here.

In a nut shell, the tax free savings accout allows you to save money and withdraw without penalty. An RRSP contribution reduces your income by that amount, and puts that money aside for retirement. You will be penalized for withdrawing money from an RRSP account. It is advisable to connect with a financial planner to discuss how you can best leverage these kinds of savings! However, it never hurts to open these acccounts (especially a TFSA) and start saving money. This way, you have a little pile going as you decide what you want to do with this money for future you.

What you focus on – increases. So focus on the money in your life!

Wishing you a prosperous new year.

With love, Esta.

Meditation SOS

Hi, I come to you today with a bit of a racing heart, and I feel like I have been shallowly breathing all day. Maybe you’ve had a day like this, too. So I thought together we could take a few deep breaths, remember that we are all powerful and sometimes that’s scarier than the problem in front of us.
But I find courage in the fact that within me, there is an energy and a power that will rival the energy and the power that is external to me. If that makes sense. What I’m saying is that we are very strong creatures. So let’s, let’s pull on that a little bit.


Let’s relax the shoulders, drop your shoulders away from your ears. Notice if you are slouching or if you’ve locked your jaw or your knees, just take a moment to scan over your body from head to toe and seek this tension.
Where do you feel it? Is it butterflies in your stomach? How do you describe that? Is it a tightness in your throat? Do you feel like maybe you swallowed a bubble? Just notice what it feels like for you, become very curious with these sensations and feel them out fully, just becoming more aware of your body and the signals it gives off for you.
Good. And if you want to close your eyes and take a few easy breaths with me, please feel free to do so, or keep your eyes open. Just a relaxed gaze in front of you.

We’re going to take a few deep breaths. It’s going to be in the style of box breathing, which has historically been very good for calming me down. And maybe it’ll be helpful for you too. So we’re going to breathe in to the count of four hold for four seconds, exhale to the count of four hold for four seconds and repeat.
It makes like a little square in your mind. If you can see it here.

So together, we’ll inhale.
Hold exhale, hold in through the nose. Hold I looked through the mouth, hold in through the nose, out through the mouth.


Now let your breathing return to normal. Thank you for joining me for a little unusual meditation. I think I needed it just as much as you with love Esta.

Grounding Meditation

A grounding meditation 🧘🏻‍♀️ to settle in, find your balance and start from a place of stability.

This meditation can be done standing, seated or lying down. Just make yourself comfortable.

Take a deep breath and as you do, see if you can find any extra length in the spine.

Exhale slowly and fully. Taking a brief pause at the end. Get curious about how and when the next breath comes in. Where do you feel the air move within you?

One of my favourite quotes is to let the air breathe you. See if you can hand over control for a second. Let your lungs fill and empty as they need. Soft and easy.

Bring your awareness to where your body meets the surface beneath you.

Is your weight distributed evenly on this surface? Can you feel fully, the support of the bed, chair or floor beneath you? Holding you up. Steady and sure.

If you want to close your eyes, go ahead and flutter the eyelids closed. Draw your attention in to yourself.

Imagine roots are sprouting from your base, flowing from you to the earth. Have fun imagining these roots play over the surface between you and the planet. Winding down a chair leg or seeping through the mattress to meet the ground. Take a moment to see if you can visualize yourself rooting in.

Let yourself feel heavy. Drawing on that stable energy below. Imagine you can pull energy up from the earth, much like a tree with a rich root system.

Let’s take a few deep breaths here. As I guide you through the inhale and exhale, practice building out this image of yourself grounding in to the earth. Expand your imaginary roots ever deeper.

Together we will inhale – in through the nose.

And exhale – out through the mouth.

We will do that two more times.

inhale – in through the nose.

exhale – out through the mouth.

And last one. Inhale, through the nose.

And exhale. Out the mouth with a sigh.

Let’s take a moment to say thank you. Thank you to yourself for taking this grounding pause. Thank you to the earth, for providing support and assurance.

Bring someone close to your heart into mind now. Someone who helps you, encourages you, cheers you on. Send them a thank you too.

Love is better shared.

Thank you for joining me.

With love,

Esta

Body Scan Meditation

Find a comfortable seat.

Take a big, deep inhale and let it out with a sigh.

Close your eyes and drop the shoulders.

Try to release any thoughts and commentary on the day, as you take this moment to come home to yourself.

Inhale.

Lift your heart space, and settle your tailbone.

Exhale.

Bring your chin down towards your chest.

Inhale.

Bring your chin level to the floor.

Exhale and find a neutral sitting position.

Notice how your jaw feels. If your eyebrows are lifted or furrowed. Or relaxed.

We will do a brief body scan. Just checking in with the incredible vessel that carries you through your day.

How do your feet feel? Are they sore? Tired? Rested? Happy?

Notice your ankles and feel into the muscles of your calf.

How are your legs today? Powerful? Achy? Asking for a stretch? Take a pause and let the whole leg. From hip to heel. Just relax.

While we’re at the hips, see what these points of movement feel like. Can you relax anything around them? Ease back into yourself.

Let’s see where the breath is. No need to change how you’re breathing. Just noticing. Where does it go?

Is your tummy moving with the air? Is the air filling the top of your chest? I sometimes find the air here or at what feels like the base of my throat. When I notice I try to deepen the next breath just a little bit. Then the next breath, a little bit more.

See where your shoulders are today. Are they moving with your inhale and exhale? Are they taut or holding onto the day? How about your arms? Can you relax the wrists and the elbows. Letting the arms just be.

How about your neck? The head and the muscles and wiring running up the back of your neck and down your shoulders. Maybe try moving the head in a circle and feel how that feels along the back of the neck.

Lastly. How is your heart today? Is it light? Heavy? Take a moment to be with yourself and just acknowledge how you are in this moment. You can be totally honest with yourself. Be gentle and know that every day the answer to this question will be different.

With one final inhale – and exhale – together. Thank you for joining me.

With love,

Esta

Easter Baskets

I love making baskets of any kind. Join me for some Easter basket making!

Basket making 🧺

Basket Fillers

I wanted a basket that would be useful after the fact, so I went to my local Dollarstore armed with a list. I knew what the base of the baskets would look like:

  • Re-usable basket
  • Snacks and treats
  • An Easter craft
  • Something useful
  • Something fun

Here’s what I ended up with brainstorming for the baskets:

Snack Fillers

Sesame snaps
Rice Krispies
Mini ginger ale cans
Mini Jar of Easter eggs
Lindt bunny
Bubblegum

Useful & Fun Fillers

Slip on garden shoes
Water bottle
Chalk
Bunny ears
Easter craft
Gardening gloves
Sensory toys
Socks
Bubbles
Books

Adult Easter Basket Fillers

Mini champagne
Orange juice
Plant
Salty snacks
Gum
Gardening gloves
Ginger ale
Books
Grocery list

While I’m not quite finished with the adult baskets, these kiddo ones filled out quite nicely!

Do you have a formula for your Easter baskets too?!

The Social Dilemma

Tech experts report on the cost of social media. Nothing is free. Your attention was purchased.

January 31st I deleted all my social media apps. It took only two points from Jared:

Why You Should Delete Your Social Media Accounts.

It’s true. I was addicted. The symptoms were all there. And like all addictions, I couldn’t and wouldn’t take a hard look at my actions.

Oh my, how did I rack up 3 and a half hours of scrolling time? What did I have to show for it? Check out that neat iOS feature, Apple friends:

The easiest way to see the impact of screen time, is to hand the device to children. They won’t want to give it back, they lose time in it, they become irritable and agitated after putting it down. The compulsion to check for notifications increases. You see the numbers and followers and “friends” come into focus as goals and worse.. value barometers, for these young souls.

We are all addicted to our own echo chambers.

Quote from video linked above.

Why are we parents telling kids to get off the devices? To go outside? Is it because it’s better for them? If so, why don’t we want better for ourselves? And isn’t it true that actions speak louder than words? So, by this logic we have to put our devices down first.

Okay parents, then let’s get outside!

Have you seen the Netflix Documentary called The Social Dilemma? The second week of February, eight days after deleting my apps, my partner and I sat down to watch it. The drama part was a little cheesy. The facts drew us in however. Creators and experts from behind these mega apps come forth to tell you about the game. More sinister than we think, is the goal of the players on the other side of this social field.

Look into it for yourself. When you’re ready. The thing about making life changes, as far as I can tell, is that we need to be in a ready and willing place to make a change.

A little bit of fire, at the right time, can keep everything from burning to the ground.

Jordan Peterson

Let Your Insufficiencies Burn Off Like Driftwood

I understand that social networking apps are a wonderful tool, and so I have come back to them after a few weeks off them completely. I’ve turned my notifications all off however. I’m going back with eyes open, and focussed on filling my time chasing goals. I’m exploring fun again too. A paint by numbers. A book I’ve been meaning to read. It feels good and I’m looking to keep it up.

How do you feel about social media? Why do you think these apps are “free”? What is the cost then? Surely the money, expertise, psychological hacks and time that is poured into these distractions, isn’t done free of charge. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Depop

From getting set up to shipping out your first order. Here’s what I picked up along the way!

I set up my Depop account earlier this year, and it fell in line with my #nonewclothes2021 goal nicely.

What is it you say? It’s one of many second hand clothing sites/apps. Users upload photos of the items they want to pass on to new homes, posting the price and description along with shipping cost.

What happens to clothes that cycle out of your wardrobe?

I did a Marie Kondo on my closet this year. The purge of clothing and accessories that I didn’t use or no longer sparked joy, left me feeling lighter. This is a whole blog post on its own so I’ll save it for another time. However. It was what happened after I purged the wardrobe, that brought me to Depop.

The very first sale!

My first sale was Feb. 3rd, 2021. I had found gifts and a sweet pair of Kate Spade boots through this gem of an app. But it was the sale that thrilled me the most.

She’s ready for her new home.

Here’s are some tips and pointers if you too want to set up a Depop account, based on my own experience!

  • Download the app and set up your profile.
  • Take well lit and clear photos of your article of clothing for sale.
  • Consider modelling the clothes, it’s easier for people to see how it fits/sits/flows.
  • Take a close up of any defects to ensure you’re being transparent about the state of the article of clothing.
  • Use descriptive words and utilize all those colour and style buttons!
  • Have great customer service, a stellar star rating might be what ultimately sways someone to buy from you.
  • Send off your item with care. I wrap mine in tissue paper and add a personalized note. I was on the receiving end of a personal note with my ‘Spade boots and it was genuinely heart warming!
  • Stay organized. I set up an excel sheet to keep track of what I have posted and it’s sale price. I’m tracking the posted date to see how each item performs. This way I can price adjust as I go.
  • Keep shipping prices in mind. You want to make a profit, right? Take a look at shipping costs for average packages around Canada and don’t undervalue your products.

My second sale was Feb. 4th, 2021. I had gone in the evening before to update my price because … I didn’t make a dime on the first sale! Nope. I had undervalued myself and paid more for shipping than what I got from the sale! Especially after the $1.25 PayPal processing fee. I learned the lessons and tweaked my pricing and shipping costs. I woke up to a sale.

Do you have any experience with second hand clothing sales? Have you tried Depop or Poshmark or gone with an in person option like Style Encore or Plato’s Closet?

I’ve had so many good experiences with Style Encore. A blog post on my closet refresh with them is coming soon!

The second sale heading to her new home!

What tips and tricks would you add to the list? I’m here for info sharing so leave me your hot takes in the comments below!

Happy selling. ☺️

YTT 200

Feb. 1st 2021 I signed up for Brett Larkins Yoga Teacher Training Course. It was an inspired decision and she popped out of the woodwork for me.

I did my research mind you. Explored her website, the program itself, downloaded the brochure, looked up real people’s reviews.

Brett even has a video explaining how to vet your Yoga Teacher Training course. (Linked here.) The words she chose and the way she laid the course out encouraged me. She speaks my language. When I got the syllabus and each video had a little tick box beside it I knew… this was a course for me.

I’ve always loved yoga. I’ve dabbled here and there. Discovered Tara Stiles to start and then Yoga with Adrienne. My partner gifted me a hot yoga gift certificate for Christmas one year. Moda Yoga was a beautiful place. I loved the experience.

There was a video my partner and I saw, maybe from a Ted Talk, asking what you would do if you could do anything. If you were free from guilt and expectation. If you could release all history and obligation. What would you do? And for me. It’s yoga.

I wanted to be a teacher from a young age. I moved provinces just to attend U of W for their B. Ed. Program. I was quickly discouraged however. The department was overflowing. Jobs weren’t a reality upon graduation. Floating as a substitute would last years after graduating.

I dropped the dream. I had an opportunity to work a “real job” and so I stopped attending university. I didn’t give up learning. I pursued my industry designation and finally achieved that last year. I attended First Aid training and MB Safe training. I love to learn.

This course was therefore. A perfect fit. Things begin to click into place for me. Serendipitously, almost! 😉

So what is the YTT 200 exactly? It means that I’ll be putting in 200 hours of Yoga Teacher Training. From anatomy, to history, to correct pose names… I am diving in.

Image from Yogapedia

Here’s to a year of svadhyaya 🙏

The Saturday these textbooks arrived was sunny and FREEZING. Perfect to colour and learn.

In February my textbook arrived. I’m loving the lectures so far and discovered pose flash cards with the Sanskrit and English names on the back, at the back of the Anatomy Colouring book. They too, are colourable and highlight which muscles and joints are active in each pose.

May Update. I’ve attended my orientation week. It was nerve settling and nerve inducing all at once. I met people in my class who are calling in from around the world. It all feels more real and exciting!

5.22.2021 The greasy faced real time excitement is here.

I’m excited to share this journey. It’s been a rally of back and forth in my mind, whether I would share as I go or just focus on the course and share once I’ve learned. I concluded that I will never be “done” though. So why not share as I go? There won’t be a time that I stop learning and growing and expanding perspectives. So I would love to start the conversation now. Now is when yoga can happen after all. To be present allows you to experience more fully.

Eep! Thank you for joining me on this journey, for however long you are here for. You can follow along here, on my Instagram and more will come I’m sure. I’m bursting with ideas and I can’t wait to share. Easy does it.

With love,

Esta

Day One of My Second Life

Confucius says that everyone is born with two lives, the second one begins when you realize you only have one.

I’ve jumped two feet into living.

January 31st, 2021 marks a day that my mind changed. Something clicked. I felt sick with my choices. I couldn’t go back to living like this:

  • Drinking daily, not getting drunk daily, but the slow and consistent accumulation was haunting me
  • Burying myself in social media from the moment I got up to the moment I rolled over to sleep
  • Letting go of working out. Even yoga ceased to spark something in me and the mat stayed rolled up in the corner

I felt polluted. I felt heavy and icky and ashamed.

Self discipline isn’t punishment, self discipline is the highest form of self love.

My partner and I had a Sunday afternoon of deep talks. And some tears. Some realizations and some “playing it out”. Where were these actions going to take us?

Ultimately, I love the person I see in the mirror. I want the best for her.

Change begins with action. I deleted all social media. Guided by our own intuition, we dumped any alcohol we had in the house. It pinched the pocket for a moment, watching my boxed wine go down the kitchen sink.

I imagined a tub with my monthly supply of wine.

… I certainly could not continue like that.

I wish I could bring you into this clarity of mind that I found that afternoon. It was a painful look in the mirror, but it was also a crucial catalyst for change. I can describe it as slipping on a new prescription and wondering how the world could look so sharp.

I’ll explore how I am changing my relationship with social media in a separate blog post. I’m excited to share what I’ve learned! I’ve rejoined those apps, but with eyes open a little wider. (And with all notifications turned OFF.)

Have you had that moment of clarity too?

You have to let go of the things (and habits) that you don’t need, in order to make space for the things that you do.

Marie Kondo with an Esta twist.

Here’s to a new day. To gratitude. To living out my best, every day of my second life. I hope the same for you.