Small Steps: How Yoga Helps Me Reset & Have A Better Day

I believe in small actionable steps. I think they are important and how anything is accomplished. Small steps are what make up the world around us, everything we love. It all was once just a thought, acted upon not in one herculien leap that brought it into manifestation, but in small steps. Small steps bring so much about.

I like to apply this idea whenever I can. I try to remind myself not to look at the big picture, but to look at the very next small actionable step. What can I do next that would make this better?

I say this about small steps, because yesterday I was thinking about how one small step in particular has completely changed my life. Yesterday, I was having a bit of an off, grumpy morning. You know the kind of morning I'm talking about. I just felt tired and frustrated for no particular reason.

I stopped everything, set all tasks aside and rolled out the yoga mat. For a half an hour, I stretched, worked my core, and breathed deep. And it turned my day around.

I know this sounds like a bit of a yogi-rant, of course I'm going to say this as someone who practices yoga, right? But I'm serious...I've always worked out, since I was a young teenager. But there's something very, very special and different about yoga. I've practiced for around five years now, and I still feel as though I am only just beginning to discover the benefits of the journey.

It has helped me to connect with my body and my environment so much. It's a tune-up. It's something that I've found actually does have the power to completely turn my day around. When I'm having a "bad" day, I drop everything and retreat to the mat.

By this point, it's becoming common knowledge that movement brings with it a plethora of benefits for both the mind and the body, easing symptoms of anxiety and depression, and allowing our muscles to stretch, relax, and build us into the strongest, healthiest versions of ourselves.

My personal experience with yoga specifically, this unity of breath and movement, has proven itself to be something that has the capacity to turn my entire day around. When I feel off, I turn to yoga, and from what I've experienced, it resets my day. I feel better, refreshed. I can think with far better clarity. I feel connected with the environment around me, and deeply immersed in my own body and it's needs. It drives me to eat clean and healthy, to fill my cup, to cultivate and express gratitude, and to accomplish with grace and compassion.

Yoga merits more blog posts - it's an expansive topic. But for now, I just wanted to give it a shoutout, express gratitude and love for how well it has served me, and leave a few resources below if you're looking to give it a try yourself, or simply deepen your practice.

I am grateful to yoga for giving me an opportunity to let go, to pause and to set aside anything and everything that may be cluttering my mind. I am grateful for the chance to simply breathe, Society pushes "do" while yoga contradicts this with what I deeply believe to be a vital spiritual principle: "be."

I am thankful that each day is a gentle and welcoming opportunity to learn how to be. Because no matter how much I "do"...what I accomplish is not who I am. Who I am is not the author of The Blood Race. Who I am is not the filmmaker. Who I am is not an entrepreneur. These are all wonderful things...but they are just that: things. Not who we are. Not definitions.

Oh, we have something so powerful inside of us...we haven't even scratched the surface yet!! But I am so thankful for tools that allow us to seek and find...and yoga is one of those tools for me.

My favorite yoga channel:

Other helpful yoga channels:

My current go-to yoga flows:

Videos I've made on yoga:

What about you? Do you practice yoga? Are you thinking about giving it a try? How does your own, personal movement practice help you mind, body, and spirit? Please comment below and tell me about your journey, I would love to hear. 🙏💛🌿

stay stoked,

unplugging...and finding true connection

If you've followed me anywhere for any length of time, you've most likely heard me say (at least once) that I firmly believe that what we do with every other area of our lives directly affects how creative (and how happy) we will be.

I could go on and on about this, recommending books and videos to supplement this idea I've only quickly mentioned here, but I'll try to get right to the point: happiness comes first. With anything. With creating, with life, with careers, and relationships. Every time we try to look for fulfillment from these things themselves, we turn up empty-handed. We can't find fulfillment in those things alone. Fulfillment comes from within and that is where we truly find happiness.

Now as to how we do this exactly - finding happiness and fulfillment within our beings - I am not an authority, but I am a student. My wildly scribbled field notes suggest that gratitude has a lot to do with it. (I'll list a couple of videos at the bottom of this post, which I highly recommend you watch after reading for more on this concept.)

Finding gratitude...for me, I have to quiet down. I have to unplug from what noise there may be in my life - noise like the beeps and pings of phones and computers, social media, or tv. These are distractions; "hey look at me!" that's all they have to say, and yet, how much value have these things sincerely added to our lives?

My phone lives in my satchel, charged and turned off, ready to be used in case I need to get in touch with family when I go out. My laptop is set-up not to receive any distracting notifications during the day. I have no social media apps, and update social media mindfully through a planner, checking up on friends through messages and emails instead of scrolling through a cluttered feed.

Certainly not trying to "toot my own horn" here, I am just trying to make a point: we live in a world that wants YOUR WORLD, your personal world, to be a cluttered one by default. We have to choose clarity and quiet with robust intention.

I believe that it's within that quiet, that absence of clutter and noise that we find peace and stillness: what is real. What connects us to gratitude - what I mean is simply being quiet and open enough to even notice how much we have to be grateful for. Including that breath you just took.

For me, this helpful process does not end with unplugging, just as stopping a bad habit doesn't automatically start us on a new, good habit. I can't just unplug from something without actively connecting to something else.

Yesterday I was thinking about this as I trekked through the woods; quiet footsteps beneath canopies of sunlit birches and pines. It was so quiet out least, we call it quiet. What we mean is, all of our noises aren't there: the clicks and beeps. Really, the forest is teeming with a chorus that my words can hardly contain here: the chirrup of crickets, the twitter of the cardinals, wrens, and chickadees, the hushed trickling of a mountain stream tumbling into a pond cupped in the palm of the valley below. The wind whispering "shhhhh" to our minds, our hearts.

I stood beside a cluster of conifers, touching their soft branches with my fingertips, standing there in silence for a moment. I could actually feel their presence - the space they took up, the energy they emulated. It was incredible.

Everything has a presence, nature is filled with it. And I've found that being out in it connects me not only to the earth, but to something much deeper and more profound in myself. Something I want to explore more, and become more aligned with.

I don't like to try to pin down these feelings and experiences in words, but I think that it's all an invitation - a declaration that there is so much more here than we realized. That so much is waiting to be explored inside of us. That there is something so real lying just below the surface of all the noise and clutter we've created. Just like plunging into a quiet mountain lake - everything silences to stillness...serenity. And it invites us to truly listen.

I hope you had a chance to get out into nature this weekend, my friend. And if not, I hope you'll enjoy the video offerings below that delve into some of these topics a little more. May they offer you a breath of fresh air today!

On gratitude:

On unplugging & getting into nature:

Do you enjoy unplugging and getting out into nature? Where do you feel most at home in nature? What speaks to you? I would love to hear about your personal practice and experiences below if you would like to share. 🙏💛🌿

stay stoked,