Throwback Thursday: Welcome To Mommyhood: MONTH 1

It’s Thursday and I’m throwing it back to a video I did when Aria was one month old. It was my first go at mommyhood, and I decided after a full 30 days of it, I was ready to dispense advice (ha!) Actually, it’s mainly my experience as a new mom, and now having done it a second time around, now I’m including a few tips below. Take a look at how little my sweet Aria was (and see how much she and Bray look alike as babies!)

Some of my top advice:

1) Be prepared to be sleep deprived. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but necessary. This was by far the toughest part for me, but know it won’t last forever. Sleep training typically starts around 4 months old,  although some pediatricians like Tribeca Pediatrics will start some babies as early as 2 months.

2) Get support – whether baby’s daddy or grandma or a good friend, have someone take care of baby so you can get some rest.

NYC LIVING: Check out MUST HAVE product picks for baby HERE!

3) Take it Easy – Don’t overdue it as a new mom. Remember your body is still healing and you don’t want to do too much physically. Most doctors won’t clear you for exercise until week 6, but even then listen to your body!

4) Remember it will get easier- the first few weeks are tough, but, trust me, it will get easier.

5) Take Care of YOURSELF too. I remember a nurse in the hospital telling me if I needed to let Aria cry for 5 minutes so I could take a quick shower, that’s OK.  Part of being a good parent is making sure we are mentally and physically healthy. Don’t feel guilty if you need to prioritize yourself once in a while.

Good Luck! See you in month 2!

xxoo

Vanessa

 

 

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Four weeks In: Sleepily savoring every moment…

WOW! Have four weeks really passed since this little one arrived? It’s already flown by, but looking back been filled with excitement, anxiety, plenty of love and adoration, and, of course, SLEEP DEPRIVATION (definitely now set in).

Amazingly, this go around, I’m not nearly as agonized by the lack of my most favorite commodity (yes, I’m the girl who needs 8 hours a night, and struggled through years of working in morning news). Somehow with this little one, the love seems to surpass the drudgery of being tired all the time.

I recently went back and forth with a fellow blogger on Instagram, who had similar sentiment. We both marveled in how these little demanding people can have us completely exhausted, and yet still so in love (cries, cluster feeds, gassy bellies and all!)  I can only conclude that God gives us all these feel good hormones and this overwhelming love to help us deal with the trial of the first weeks of newborn life.

I must admit too, that the second time around seems SO much sweeter. I did not have this positive outlook with Aria. Perhaps it was because my body was in shock. Back then, what I was actually thinking was ,”Yikes, life as I know it is over. What the heck have we done?!”

Yet, this go around, I’m savoring every second.  It’s in part that I now know how temporary the tough time is, and also how fast the sweet parts go. That scrunched up little body laying on my chest, those funny little milk drunk faces….ahh. The fact that this baby is most likely my last also has me holding on to every little mushy, gassy, crying, funny faced, sweet, lovely newborn moment.  I also am now well aware of just how much love and happiness these little people bring, and how as they grow, that love and happiness does too.

 

 

Aria’s Big Announcement (Mommyhood Take…2!)

Hey everyone. Aria here– taking over my mom’s blog for a minute since she keeps delaying telling you all the biggest news of MY life!! While she’s writing about yoga and all that healthy stuff (C’mon this is a mom blog, right??), I’ve been telling everyone on the street and everyone I meet, that…..  unnamed

Yes, my lifelong wish has finally come true! Thank God I finally learned to type (toddler apps are amazing these days, huh?) so you all can be in the know too. I’ve been asking for this day after day for the last year, and finally my parents decided to cooperate (persistence does pay off!).

So, yes, I’ve got a little brother coming. This first pic is a few months old, but isn’t he cute? I’m working on a dog next. Oh, and a baby sister. Stay tuned!

3 Simple Steps To Finding Your Flow (on and off the mat)

flow

Spring is in full bloom and everything is flourishing around us. I sit at our lake house staring out at what are now full canopies of green leaves, when just weeks ago there were just little buds springing out on bare branches.  Nature is an amazing and beautiful thing, constantly renewing itself and allowing the seasons to take their course.

I taught this past weekend at Mayfest (see post below) on Finding Our Flow (both on and off the mat.) So, how do we do that? It’s an ever-progressing task and, even though teaching on the subject, I must admit, often I am not in flow. It’s always a work in progress, and indeed I believe we all come in and out of flow. But, when we are in that space, doesn’t it feel so good? When all seems aligned and we are in the place of effortlessness and fluidity. When we feel like all within and around us is just moving in the right direction, or we are just “in the zone” and operating at our best.

I did a bit of reading on the subject of how creatives “get in the flow,” and much of the research comes back to a Professor of Psychology, Dr. Csikszentmihalyi, who asks the question “What makes a life worth living?” He concludes that pleasure and satisfaction in lasting activities that bring about “flow” (versus the material or superficial) are the only answer. From yogis to composers to star athletes, we all seem to want to be in that flow space. Even just as human beings– as moms and dads, entrepreneurs or just regular ol’ folk making our way– we all desire to be in a state of ease, having the feeling that we are at our peak, effortlessly creating and exactly where we are meant to be.

So, how do we get into flow? Easier said than done, right? When is the last time you felt content or, moreover, in flow?

3 Steps To Get Into the Flow

Do the Work: Well, as mentioned, Flow is a work in progress– the key word being work. We have to make efforts to get to that space, no matter what we are doing. And, as Dr. Csikszentmihalyi points out, we have just the right balance of challenge (in activity) and skill to take on that challenge. So, we need to find our achievable challenge, and work at it.

On the mat that translates to knowing our asana (poses and alignments), and being able to execute them without letting anything else, especially our minds, get in our way. If we’re too busy thinking about our foot placement, or where our hands are supposed to go, or what the pose looks like, we cant get into flow. We need to know the poses and alignments, so that we can stop thinking about them, and just do them. Proper alignment also (literally) opens us up, allowing energy to flow easily (along our meridians) within.

Off the mat we also have to do the work that’s required to get to our desired place. Life is full of challenge, but when we can align ourselves and our lives with our ultimate goals we can move toward happiness and flow. But first we have to figure out where we want to go. What are our passions? What brings us happiness? We need to know this before we can move in that direction. Then we also need to do the work. How do we make the changes in our life that are necessary to get to that place? What do we need to eliminate? What do we need to work harder at to bring change? We often get comfortable or lazy in life, not wanting to reach toward the ultimate, and instead settling for a life the is “good enough.” Good enough doesn’t bring flow, or the ultimate bliss that comes along with it.

Be Present: Csikszentmihalyi’s work has identified that one of the factors of flow is “intense and focused concentration” on the present moment. Makes sense, since we can’t be fully in something if our mind, intention or body is not fully involved.

On the mat this is often challenging, no matter what our experience level. As new yogis, we often get uncomfortable in the poses, feeling awkward and challenged, often yearning to get out. Even experienced yogis battle with fully being in each pose, perhaps jumping ahead of whatever the pose by predicting the sequence, or simply getting uncomfortable and looking forward to next movement. No matter what our level, often all the chatter in our mind and our “inner critic” further prevents us from being fully present. We are instead thinking about how we didn’t do that last movement right, or how we don’t look as good as the person on the mat next to us. But all of this only hinders us, and our flow. We need to just BE where WE are, not worrying about anyone else, or even about what we did up until that point, silencing our inner critic and just being present. Be in the pose of the moment. Breathe in it, and be there.

Off the mat it’s also often a challenge to stay present. We often get caught up thinking about what has already happened, or what’s to come in our lives. We repeat the past in our mind, letting it literally hold us back, instead of just letting it go. Or we are constantly thinking about (or worrying about) the future– what we still need, or all the things we don’t yet have. These are extremely limiting, and will block flow completely. When we are IN the moment, completely immersed in the present, we can’t be longing for anything of past or future. If we can just be where we are, trusting it’s exactly where we need to be, then are we able to experience the fullness of it, and move with ease through it.

Just Breathe : Here comes the yoga teacher in me, bringing it all back to breath. I believe that both on and off the mat, a simple way to move toward flow begins with breathing. Focusing on the easy, steady, rhythmic, balance of breath can allow us to move toward a state of calm, ease and flow. Our inhales open us up, literally letting gravity (or the universe) fill us, and create more space within us. Our exhales allow us to release and let go, only to be filled again. It’s this steady, even cycle that allows us to tune in, and be in tune. Just  like the trees and so much of nature, we can effortlessly move through different seasons.

When we set our intentions, do the work/meet the challenges and remain present, we move toward flow. I believe the real yoga happens when we can drop out of our heads and into our hearts. When we can can operate from this space, letting our hearts lead, we can navigate with a little more ease– both on and off the mat. So, perhaps today we all breathe a little deeper, open up a little more and move with a little more steadiness and grace. Ultimately, we can find our flow.

Lessons From The Yoga Mat: To Everything- turn, turn, turn….

just be seasonLaying in savasana (final resting pose) today I started to hear a far away tune start rolling through my head. Why the Pete Seeger and The Byrds had suddenly entered my yoga practice was a bit humorous at first, but, of course, the gentle chorus repeating within held deeper meaning.

“To everything ( turn, turn turn) there is a season (turn turn turn)””

It wasn’t the fact that autumn was mentioned at the start of class, nor that this time of change was referenced in the sequence that was heavy laden with twisting that brought on the tune. Yes, we are in a literal season of change, but the directive was bigger, yet more personal, than that.

Aside from the catchy melody, the message of being still and enjoying this season (of life) was pressing loudly. Quite often in the quiet of savasana, after I’ve disconnected from all the busy-ness and noise in my head, I hear the clearest. From within, I was reminded to really enjoy this season, and to stop worrying about the things to come or times of past.

I’ve been pondering my place as of late, and the ever-neurotic part of me  wondering if I should be doing more. I am blessed to now have motherhood as my full time job, but the driven little being inside me always seems to nag, that I should be doing more– producing more, working on more projects and pushing towards more “success”.

Just pre-class I had even found myself scanning TV jobs wondering if it was time to make my way back in that direction. Often, I’m also “nagged” to be doing more with my “first child,” HealthyStyleNY.com. “Why haven’t you gotten to this point yet? Why haven’t you done more with that?”, that annoying little side of me (aka Ego) taunts.

But then when all is quiet, I hear the Byrds singing and of reminded of my truth. That I don’t need to  worry and indulge all the useless noise. That I’m not going to miss anything, except if I don’t enjoy this season. For everything there is a season. And a purpose.  I know what my purpose is for this time. It’s confirmed every time I look into her big blue eyes. Why part of me tries to steal or diminish that joy (and importance) is infuriating. But then again that’s why I do yoga. To be reminded and hear truths, in whatever form they come.

 

Abundance: Bringing it Forth

So, although it seems like the only thing that is overly abundant as of late is snow (oh and all of Aria’s toys that seem to be constantly underfoot or all over the floor for me to pick up), I know that abundance exists beyond what we can see. This morning I was baby-free so I took advantage of it by going to a yoga class at Living Yoga. The theme (my how I love my yoga lessons) had me thinking beyond the 75 minute class.

TREE OF LIFE ABUNDANCEAbundance is something that’s been circling around my head lately. I recently watched on of Marie Forleo’s videos with guest Kate Northrop, both of whom I know and respect greatly. Their focus was abundance in finances and beyond, while this morning at yoga it was about a release of holding back or hoarding (whether energy or ideas or material possessions), and in turn allowing abundance to come forth.

In all, abundance really comes back to our energy, intention and faith in the renewal process. It’s this idea that when we give or empty out, abundance is right there behind us ready to fill in that space. The idea that there is plenty for all, and the Universe just needs us to release in order to give it right back to us, and our holding on to anything too tightly not only hinders that process, but in fact cuts us off from abundance in our lives

All great teachings from the Buddha to the Bible re-iterate this, and my experience in life has shown me it’s true. Yet, whether ego, “sense”, or fear of being without, there are still there are days I hold on too tightly and hamper the little voice within that knows better. So, today I appreciated being reminded of the abundance that exists when we let go and choose it. Abundance is ours…we just have to bring it forth.

Unexpectedly Star-struck At STK

I rarely get star-struck. In the old days I would interview celebs and notable folks and have never asked for a single autograph and rarely even snapped a pic. Living in NYC, I feel like I cross paths with celebs all the time- Maggie Gyllenhaal on the sidewalk in Soho (so nice), Hugh Jackman walking the river w/his fam  (just the other day), Prince Harry having cocktails at Soho House, and always Martha Stewart  who makes regular appearances at our playground (her grandkids live in the hood). If I do a double take, that’s a lot, but forget about approaching.

STK RooftopThat’s why my behavior at STK last night caught me completely off guard. I was standing at the elevator waiting to go back up to the roof and down the hall I spotted Rory McIlroy (yes, some of you reading this probably don’t even have a clue who he is. I know I didn’t before meeting Aria’s golf fanatic dad). Before I even caught myself, I was calling his name and walking over to him like we went way back. I was that girl– spotting a “celeb” (can I even call him that?!) and pestering him on his way into the bathroom (embarrassing!) He was ever so gracious, had a chat and asked if I was headed to the roof (which I was), and said he’d come up and take a picture.

I went back up to our table and sent Aria’s dad a quick tweet about my encounter. He, after all, was the real reason I got so excited about spotting the PGA golfer. Rory did in fact end up coming up to the roof. I spotted him over my second course,  but by then had regained my senses (and dignity) and decided to leave the poor guy alone.

Just a little NYC moment… now back to reality and following Aria back and forth to the bathroom a hundred times when she says she has to go potty (but doesn’t).