The End?

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I began writing athayoganusasanam in January of 2011. I was brimming with excitement and inspiration. I had only been practicing Ashtanga for a few months and I was madly in love! I had recently moved back to my hometown with my new boyfriend. We lived in a beautiful (free!) apartment, a block away from the yoga shala. We had a tiny garden and were walking distance from just about everything we needed. My family lived close by and life was simple and easy. I didn’t have enough work at first and so I started this little blog. It kept me busy and was a wonderful outlet for creativity and for self-reflection.

I had so much to share. I felt deeply compelled to write all the time…about my love of cooking, my travels, my life, my new career in the healing arts, and of course most of all, about yoga – my practice and my teaching of it.

In the course of these three full-to-bursting years, Lila blog has chronicled the span of my early 20s into my late 20s. From a boyfriend, to a fiance to a husband. From teaching eight yoga classes a week down to only one. From a massage therapist to a florist with a huge wedding at the center of it all. From finding a teacher to losing him. From injuring myself to healing myself. From one home in Charlottesville to another in Denver, with two epic trips to India in between, plus countless weeks and weekends gallavanting all around this big old country. And that’s just the start of it!

Over these years, I have been surprised and thrilled by all the friendly support and enthusiastic readership. I’ve picked up a few blog sponsors along the way and contributed my writing to other venues as well. I also have occasionally received harsh criticisms and snarky comments, but that’s the internet, eh?

But let me be honest with you, dear readers, for months now this blog has felt like a heavy ball and chain dragging behind me. I only feel the spark of inspiration to write once every few weeks, if that. And even if I have an idea (like the nine pieces unfinished in my “drafts”), I don’t have the mental energy or time at the end of the workday to actually express my thoughts eloquently. Sigh…

I feel guilty that I don’t write as regularly as I used to and that my pieces are often lacking in pizazz. I also feel bad that the amount of yoga-related content has decreased so much. Although I never intended this to be a blog solely about yoga, it was always the topic that drew in the most readers. I am still an Ashtangi and a Kundalini yogini through and through, but my interest in writing (and reading for that matter) on yoga has diminished to nil.

More than anything, I dislike the amount of time (much of it wasted) that I spend in front of this screen and how it consumes hours that could be much better spent outside, playing with my husband, my friends, and my dog.

Writing a blog has altered the way I experience my daily life in a way that makes me a bit queasy. Instead of processing an emotional challenge brought to light by my yoga practice, or being present enjoying a fun afternoon in the mountains, or cooking spontaneously with vegetable peels thrown pell-mell all over my kitchen counter, I funnel my experiences visually and mentally through the lens of this blog and through social media. I ponder, “Should I try to write down this recipe for a post?”… “Maybe I should have Thad photograph me doing this?”…”How could I write about this personal difficulty without over-sharing too much.”… “What about my practice is inspiring/challenging right now and how can I turn this into something blog-worthy?”…. and on and on.

I want to live my life instead of blog about it. I want to just get on my mat every day and move through my practice without having to force it into being some profound teaching/learning experience. I want to spend my evenings sharing quality time with my loved ones instead of staring at a blank screen wondering what to write or how to attract more readers. I’m interested in being, living, creating, instead of documenting, analyzing and branding.

There are many wonderful bloggers out there, bloggers with so much more to share that I have right now. It’s a huge lovely interweb-world of fancy videos and sleek web design and I’m simply not up for it. Chalk it up to insecurity, but I’ve often doubted myself in this whole game of blogging. See, I am not a health coach, or a master healer, or registered nutritionist or “life coach”, I am not a celebri-yogi or a gifted photographer. I am simply a young woman on a journey.

We only have so much we can give and everything has its season. I guess you could say that I’m experiencing a predicament that all women face…I’m learning (with many bumps along the way) how to find balance in my home-work-family life. I’m discovering that difficult choices must be made in order to stay healthy and happy – questions regarding what to hold on to, what to nourish, what to simply put up with and what to release.

Managing a household, working five days a week, grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking healthy meals every day, caring for a pet, loving and supporting my husband while he is in school full-time, nurturing friendships and creative pursuits, writing this blog, dreaming up a new business to launch this year, all on top of a daily hour and a half yoga practice….well, it’s a lot to juggle!

Somedays this balancing act is harder than others, but I know, in my heart of hearts, that I will not/can not disregard my own self-care or sacrifice the activities that bring me joy in my attempts to “do it all”. And so, with this acknowledgement, I’ve had to make a choice about what can stay and what has to go.

After much deliberation and reflection, I am announcing today the closing of Lila blog. I write “The End” with a question mark because I know that nothing is permanent and I certainly do not know what the future will bring. But for now, I will not be writing any more on this platform. I plan to keep the site active online so that past posts are available for readers. The Facebook and Twitter accounts for Lila will be shut down in a few days.

I am not disappearing from the internet all together though. You can still find me on Instagram and on Pinterest. And who knows? Maybe I’ll be back at it again on Lila in a six months or a year. Or perhaps I’ll start a new blog with a whole new focus, maybe something more oriented in my field of business, floral design and styling.

But today, my dear readers, I bid adieu and offer my sincerest gratitude to you and to my gracious sponsors.

Thank you for your readership, your comments, your emails, your friendship and your presence.

The only thing that has kept this little bloggy going for so long has been you.

With oh so much love and many blessings,

Frances

 

 

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Delivery, Please.

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It’s a bit odd and yet heart-sweetening to realize that you know someone that well and yet you are not bored.

When the rush-hour phone call to the cheap Asian delivery is ordered with an automatic knowing. Of course that’s what he wants. No need to think. Sesame tofu please. No egg right? No fish sauce please. I’ll pay cash at the door, as you run that yellow light.

Be it that, or Indian. Saag Paneer, no doubt. Chana masala, if we’re feeling spicy.

Sushi? Tempura rolls are a must. And there must never be the thought of shortage. We should have to beg the other to take that last piece, that’s how full one is after sharing sushi with my husband.

Pizza. Yes, always pizza. Banana peppers, olives, extra cheese. No more than two toppings unless the sky is falling down. Even though I question it every time, I know this is how he likes it, no if’s, and’s or but’s. Sounds blah to me, but it ain’t my pizza.

Speaking to a friend in passing about relationships I shared how I once stayed with a boy three years too long simply because I never spent more than a week at once by his side. Distance breeds overly optimistic perceptions of the reality of love.

Romance abounds, but with it, delusions and foolish desires of the possibility of change, even of the changeless.

Real love is sitting on the couch, exhausted and hungry. It is going to the bank and sorting laundry. It is distributing duties according to strengths and needs. It is the search for that one small but spot-on gift each birthday, each Christmas year after year, without becoming complacent or predictable. Real love is not either of these things, even when it appears routine.

True love is coming to grips with those opinions which you simply do not share, oh well. It is accepting one another’s weaknesses and sticky points, without thinking less of the person.

It is encouraging growth and sharing passions. It is deep-sea diving into the heart and finding that gem, the one that glinted in the sun first igniting a spark, years ago.

Real love is holding one another close, remembering that whispered “I love you” each night as you drift asleep.

And never ever forgetting it.

 

 

Link Love: Thoughts and Things

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Happy Wednesday friends!

Here are a few links you might enjoy browsing if you need a little break from the old grind…..

Guruji on yoga as therapy via Eddie Stern.

Fun vocabulary quiz - I love words.

One of the dreamier inspiration shoots I’ve seen in a while. Those flowers!! Swoon…

I want these for succulents – sweetly old fashioned, love the juxtaposition with the spiky dessert plants.

So inspiring – two floral designers on opposite coasts doing weekly all local designs.

Digging these funky yoga clothes. Nice break from the typical Lulu look.

This curry sounds tasty. I definitely need some new food inspiration right now.

I think I might need this dress in grey, if only because it shares a name with my dog.

Have you seen DG’s Second Series yoga dvd yet? Here’s the preview. 

 

What inspiring/entertaining you these days? 

Love and Blessings,

Frances

 

PS – Don’t forget to follow me on INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST. xo

 

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Radio Silence

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Please excuse my silence through the end of the week. I’ll be in a land of sun and sand and no wifi. Most people might think that sounds lovely, but I would take the plugged-in arctic chill any day over this.

I’m off on an adventure, one that I’ve dreaded, feared, lost sleep and meals over for many many months…but the time has come, ready or not.

I’m off to battle demons, inner and outer, with hopes to find victory, peace and forward momentum at the end.

I’ve got my girly armor on… new dress, new hair, pink toenails and I’ve been front loading lots of yoga and exercise to keep my head sane(ish).

Into the fray!

I’ll be back next week my friends.

Love Frances

 

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Resolutions – Why? Why Not?

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Well hello everyone, it’s a “new year.”

That means the vast majority of people have been making and breaking new year’s resolutions…to lose weight, eat less sugar, exercise more, be more financially responsible, be more organized, yada yada, you know the deal.

Some of these folks might actually follow through and succeed with these goals, but many will not. Perhaps they will feel really down on themselves for having “failed.” Maybe they will keep trying, or maybe simply toss the whole idea all together and resort back to old habits, hoping for better luck next year.

Personally, I’ve never made a big deal around new year’s eve or resolutions. In years past, I went to big concerts and would wake up the next day, hungover, ready for breakfast not powerful life changes. Even then, I hated the whole countdown-to-midnight-kiss thing. Too corny for my taste.

In recent years, I’ve fallen asleep long before midnight, enjoying the extra downtime with my sweetie before the holidays ended.

This year, as we were falling asleep I asked Thaddeus if he had any resolutions for the new year. He glibly responded in typical fashion something like, “new year’s resolutions are silly, there’s nothing that makes tomorrow “new” other than a man-made construction of a calendar and, in all honesty, I am quite content with my life and have very little I would like to change.” To which I responded, in typical fashion, “That’s nice, but don’t you have goals and hopes for your life? Aren’t there certain things you want to spend more time doing? How can you possibly not want to grow and change?”

So we chatted for a bit and both came up with a few goals and thoughts, although we never expressed these outright as “resolutions.”

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Happy New Year!

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Happy 2014 my dear Lila readers!

I hope your new year is filled with joy and grace. May 2014 bring you opportunities for growth, wisdom and creativity. May your friendships deepen, your relationships and careers flourish. May you experience radiant health, good fortune, and beautiful love. May you have the courage and strength to follow your dreams and live with passion and devotion.

ANGELcup

I wish you all the best!

Love and Blessings,

Frances

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Top 13 Posts Of 2013

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Another year is drawing to a close. I am so grateful for your continued support and readership. Lila has grown and shifted over this year, just as I have. Even though I’m not posting as regularly as I once was, new readers are finding their way here and that is an exciting thing for me.

As I review the many posts from 2013, these are the top 13 that sparked commentary and heightened readership in no particular order….

 

1. This Is Why I Practice Yoga

2. Why I LOVE/HATE Pure Barre

3. Kitchari: Healthy and Nourishing Cleansing

4. Why Mysore Style Practice Is So Darn Special

5. Meditation For Prosperity and Abundance

6. I’d Rather Be Bad At Ashtanga Than Good At Something Else

7. On (Not) Losing Weight For My Wedding

8. My Magic Scar-Removing Oil Blend

9. Let’s Talk Yoga Clothes

10. Yoga Is Dangerous

11. Love Letter To My Leotard

12. How To Get Up In The AM Yogi-Style

13. Roller Coaster Of Love: Ashtanga Style

 

I hope you enjoy perusing these posts and I look forward to sharing more thoughts, reflections and photographs with you in the new year.

With Gratitude and Love,

Frances

 

 

image of me via Adonye Jaja

Those Damn Vrittis: Maneuvering On The Mat In Times Of Mental Chaos

Occasionally I forget that the whole purpose of yoga is to control the mind  – “citta-vritti-nirodha” – until I’m faced with a mind that is out of control.

This past week in practice, I caught myself a few times spacing out/psyching myself out in a pose for so long that I forgot what I was doing. You know in Ashtanga you typically only hold an asana for the length of 5 breaths. This doesn’t provide a whole lot of time for the mind to wander. The conjunction of the breath, movement, bandha and drishti lends itself to a full absorption of attention. But not always.

For no legitimate or provoked reason at the start of this week my mind was whirling with fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of catastrophe, fear of possible bodily harm, fear of the passing of time.

I’ve spoken with other Ashtangis about facing fear on the mat in regards to poses themselves – the fear that arises in deep and challenging backbends for example, or the fear that you will fall on your head, that your back will snap, that your arms won’t hold you, etc., But there are other fears we face in practice that have squat diddly to do with the physical shapes and movements.

These are the fears in the mind, the types that muddle thoughts, shorten breath and whisk you away from the here and now. How does one move past these? How does one brush aside scary visions or worst-case scenario monologues that start overtaking the head and the heart?

Personally what I’m learning, ever so slowly and stubbornly, is the importance of just keeping at it. Sometimes when I’m fraught with emotion in practice, I really want to stop and give up. I want to curl into a little ball and go deeper inside my thoughts, shutting the world out. I want to cease moving and simply lie there, self-absorbed, floating away with my jumbled breathless mind-stuff.

To keep moving is the hardest thing to do…but that movement is powerful. The process of adhering to the rhythm and the pattern of the practice has the ability to move you mentally. The dynamism of the series and the will to keep going burns through the vrittis. By continually bringing one’s attention back to the breath, back to the bandhas and the drishti and back to the flow of in and out, up and down, there is the opportunity to cut through the swirling of the mind’s chaos.

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Fifteen Joyful Ways To Celebrate The Holiday Season

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Yesterday as I left the flower shop with silver glitter all over my face, it hit me – Christmas is two weeks away! It’s time to get a little festive.

Some of my friends know me to be a bit of a Scrooge. But this is not entirely true, because, in fact, there are parts of the Christmas season that I really do love.

First off, I adore winter. I love the sparkly snow and the chilly weather. I would take a powdery mountain over a Caribbean beach any day. I am quite fond of wintery foods, hot tea, and feather down jackets. I also love the whole concept of “comfort and joy” and the generosity of spirit that can be especially present this time of year.

What I don’t love is the abundant tackiness, the over-commercialization of the holiday and the incessant bad Christmas music every darn place you go, but really, who actually likes all that? Not many of us, if I had to guess.

In honor of the upcoming holiday, whether you’re a Christian or a Hare Krishna, here are a few ideas for fun, festive and wholesome ways to celebrate the season:

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Giving Thanks

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Gratitude is a beautiful practice. It opens the heart, connects people and creates a more accepting and receptive energy that is palpable even on a physical level.

Acknowledging our blessings and giving thanks is something we can do everyday all year long, but there is something special about having a holiday as a collective reminder of this.

My husband and I moved to Denver at Thanksgiving of last year. It has been such a full and vibrant year, replete with challenges, learning opportunities, adjustments and newness.

As I reflect upon this time, I am filled with gratitude and a touch of awe.

For all the friends who offered such loving kindness as we moved away from one town and settled into another one, I give thanks.

For my dearest Thaddeus whose humor, tenderness and sensitivity carries me through my days, I am most grateful. I am constantly learning greater awareness and skills of balance, communication, grace and devotion from you. Our marriage is my greatest teacher. 

I give thanks for my little pup Artemis for her delicious snuggles and her love of play. She helps me to cultivate patience and spend a little more time in the sunshine each day.

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Links: Pretty + Interesting

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Let’s take a quick pause to acknowledge just how amazing the internet is.

Sometimes I feel like looking at my computer is a waste of time, but honestly, I receive so much inspiration, humor, connection and education from my web perusals. It’s a pretty incredible resource. I received my first email address when I was in elementary school, so I don’t really remember much of life before the web, but I have witnessed real evolution in it as a medium for communicating art, style, design and information.

Here are a few links of things I’ve loved recently….from silly pretty stuff to more serious thought-provoking issues:

As a bookworm myself, I adore these book cover tees.

This powerful essay on patriotism, service and injustice in our military and our country is challenging but very important.

I love the design of this blog on health, wellness, beauty and life. It’s so peaceful.

Smitten by this 1950’s vintage wedding dress.

Seriously coveting this handmade ikat purse.

These incredible portraits of dying cultures are so arresting. I would love to see this book.

Slouchy (and affordable) cashmere tunics - yes please!

I had so much fun styling and modeling this week for an industrial wedding inspiration shoot. I can’t wait to share the photos with you. For now, check out our inspiration board for it.

I think the whole notion of something “changing the way you live your life” is way overused these days, but that said, I found many of these quotes on writing, love, dreaming, truth and gratitude to be very beautiful and affirming.

I found this article and slideshow to be quite fascinating. I’m always intrigued by what we fetishize as a culture, particularly in the realm of design and lifestyle.

For all you Second Series practitioners out there, this is rather illuminating.

Joy Thigpen is my idol these days in the world of flowers, weddings and style. So much ethereal, raw, swoon-worthy prettiness…

This piece by my friend’s mother on worry, changing thought patterns and the small victories of a consistent practice is a must-read for all my fellow worriers out there.

 

Enjoy these links my dear readers.

Love Frances

 

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