Thursday, April 17, 2014

What do you do before yoga class starts?


The minutes before the yoga class starts can be the most awkward moments on the planet.

So awkward, that sometimes NEW people won't even come to yoga because they feel so uncomfortable with the pre-class atmosphere.

I, too, frequently dislike the moments before class. So I decided we better address this.

Here are Lora's top five things NOT to do before starting yoga. (Followed by a few tips on what TO DO.)

Guess what? Waiting for a class to start is awkward. It will always be awkward. But don't make it worse for yourself or those around you.


1. Do not talk on your phone or text on your phone in the yoga studio!

If you need to text, do it outside the yoga room. There is no way you need your phone so badly that you need to be gabbing or snap chatting in the yoga studio. And please, please, please put your phone on silent and keep it away from your mat.

2. Do not show-off and try to do every supposedly "hard" pose you've ever heard of at the front of the class

Does this one really need an explanation? Showing off and yoga do not go hand-in-hand. It's one thing to practice handstand once or twice at the wall; it's another to try to do fifty million arm balances at the front just to show everyone in the room you can do it. If you really feel you need to do every inversion in the planet or every arm balance--do it in your home practice or wait until after class.

3. You do not need to maniacally do sun salutations!

The number of people who think they need to rush through five sun salutes (or more) before class without breathing astounds me. You are coming to take a yoga class. A good class will provide a good warm-up and connect you to your breath. Do not whip through sun salutes before (especially without BREATHING properly) "just because you feel you need to do something." Just breathe. Just chill. Wait. The teacher will do this for you. Have patience. (Plus, you don't know what class will hold--don't tire yourself out before it has even begun!)

4. Do not practice singing or chanting meditation

Just don't sing in the studio. Pretty please. Unless the instructor is there to help you chant or you ARE the instructor, please don't sing. My ears can't take it.

5. Do not awkwardly fidget around and go in and out of the room over and over again because you just don't know what to do.

Waiting for yoga class IS awkward. That's ok. Just let it be awkward. But getting up and running to and from your spot in the room, moving your mat all around the room, standing up and then sitting down, fidgeting all over your mat, etc. is NOT going to make it any less awkward. Hate to break it to you, but waiting is just uncomfortable. Pick your spot and unless there is a reason (ie making room for someone else) to move all over the room, just hang out there. You'll be fine, I promise.

Waiting for ANYTHING to begin can be uncomfortable. Waiting in a yoga studio, gym, or other space for yoga class to start can sometimes feel TEN TIMES more uncomfortable.   Just be with the uncomfortableness.  Yoga helps us learn how to act OFF the mat and that process begins BEFORE class has even started.

Use the time before class to go to the bathroom, get water, get your props situated, say hello to a friend, meditate, practice some nice seated poses or poses on your back (savasana before class is always an option), and just sit with the awkwardness.  Smile at a stranger. If the teacher is passing out straps or blankets, ask if you can help! Do things to SLOW down the mind and prepare for a great class. You've made it to the mat and now just be patient to watch things unfold.

If you're in a new class and especially nervous, it is okay to ask people around you for the protocol(ie do you need props, which way to face your mat, should you tell the teacher you are new, etc.). Large studios can be more intimidating and have less of a personal relationship with the instructor, whereas small studios may be very chatty before class and the teacher will want to know all about your body before you begin. It's okay to ask others what the etiquette is...and it will probably help you to feel a little more secure and comfortable.

But really, just plop yourself down on your mat and wait for class. Breathe in the awkward. Breathe in the uncomfortable. Just be exactly where you are.  Life is uncomfortable ALL OF THE TIME. If you can't just be okay with the five awkward minutes before yoga class, how will you be okay with those awkward moments throughout all of life? Just sit with it. Just breathe. Just be where you are.

You already did the important thing--you made it to class. That's the most important step.  Now just be where you are and trust that the magic is happening, without you having to do anything at all. :)

What do you like to do before yoga class starts?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What does #PassLove mean to you?

I have been asking this question to myself, my friends, on twitter, etc. Now I pose it to you.  What do YOU think of when you hear or see #PassLove? What does #PassLove mean to you?

I wan to know! Share it with me! Here are a few answers to get the ball rolling. Expect a vlog and update next week with more answers and inquiry! :)

Here are some of the answers I've received so far:

"It means to spread happiness and help to those you love and strangers.. make someone smile #passlove" -- @samieshmamie

"A grassroots social movement to help us keep love top of mind and therefore better our relationships with ourselves, friends, family, co-workers and the world around us."

"To simply put it...#passlove to me kind of like how a parent is to a child. You genuinely do things, provide opportunities to see the success of another. However it's a win-win because creating positive opportunities for another is gratification in itself. By passing love, you create the potential for it in others and therefore create a domino of happiness and caring." - Evelynn

"To #passlove is like when someone gives you a compliment or gives you an unexpected gift just because whatever it may be it leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy; it makes your day.  That feeling of happiness, love and wholeness.  When you feel that you just want to spread it and #passlove on to someone else.  It's being grateful and kind to others. It's a tiny circle of karma.- Karen

"#passlove means being able to bring some love to someone else through simple asks of kindness. You can even #passlove by loving yourself and keeping a positive attitude because others will see that ray of sunshine in you and it will spread to them." - Jenna

"When I think of #PassLove what comes to mind is obviously love, loving your neighbor, your family, your boss, your friends but also showing love to those people that might make it harder for you to show love, so yes even that old lady that cut you off on your morning commute to work today, instead of sending her somewhere else down south, send her love. No doubt it'll make your day better and maybe that old lady's too!" - Sara

"#passlove is to abide in abundance by remaining conscious of the universal love."

What do you think? What does #PassLove mean to you? Comment below, email me (dailysouthernsunshine (at) gmail (dot) com), tweet me at @lora_hogan, capture it in a picture, you name it! We'll be sharing more responses as they come in. Stay tuned! And remember...

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Effortless Effort

This week Kate Northrup shared an old post of hers from May of 2013-- "3 steps to stop making it so freaking hard."

BAM! She hit the nail on the head.

We love to try hard.

We want to succeed.

So we push push push and cling cling cling.

Because we are scared.

We forget to relax.
We lose the moment.
We (sometimes) end up failing because we squeezed the life out of the very thing we wanted.


So what do we need to do instead?

We need to practice EFFORTLESS EFFORT.

What, you may say?

Lora, you are talking crazy talk...That is the penultimate oxymoron.

Working harder is not always the right solution. As Kate says, "remember that white-knuckling it and suffering for the sake of achievement is absolutely optional."

It is entirely possible to try too hard.

We need to know when to soften and relax and when to push and exert maximum energy.

Think about running a marathon.  If you go to hard and try to hard at the beginning of the race--there's no way you will make it to the finish line. You'll be pooped half-way through and end up crawling your way to the finish line or, worse, find yourself injured!

In yoga, we strive to attain "Sthira sukham asanam" which, roughly translates into say that yoga should postures should be done with "steadiness and ease."

We need to put in EFFORT while practicing EFFORTLESSNESS in our lives.

Here's three ways to practice effortless effort with your goals, desires, and life:

1. When you are working towards a goal, where else can you relax in your life? Let go of everything that you don't need at the current moment!

Running, we need to soften our arms, our jaws, our shoulders, to run faster. The same is true in life.

While you are working on one task, what can you relax? Can you maybe allow for more relaxation, schedule a massage, plan your meals if cooking is too much on top of everything, hire a personal trainer if you know you won't make your gym class, etc. Find a way to let go of other forms of stress in your life. And always be sure to leave what you don't need at the door! Don't bring your work to your kids, don't bring your personal drama to the office, be focused on the task at hand and LET GO of absolutely everything else.


Let go of the things you cannot control. Know that reaching a goal, change, making the life you dream, all these things take time. And you need to be willing to wait for things to happen. You can't force things to happen at a faster pace than the universe wants. You can't make things happen overnight. Things take time. Let them take time. Be okay with the process. Be okay with the pace.  Practice patience.

3. #PassLove to your goal

Treat your goal like a person. #PassLove to your goal. Would you squeeze the living daylights out of another person! (I hope not!) Don't squeeze the living daylights out of your goal!

Whether it be a career change, a personal goal (like marathon training), your relationship, you name it...treat the goal, the thing, the desire like you would a person.  Be good to it. Love it. Treat it with kindness and compassion.

What do you think? Do you practice effortless effort in your life?