Bedtime Routine

One of my goals for January is to get on an eventing routine. Being on a routine to wind down at the end of the day can aid in falling asleep quicker and having deeper sleep throughout the night. So I thought I’d share with you my evening routine attempt for this month.

  1. Tidy Room: It’s hard for me to go to sleep with a messy room. Plus one of my habit tracker items this month is cleaning my room. I also light a candle at this point.
  2. Technology: It’s common knowledge that screens are the worst thing for sleep. But being a Catholic millennial, it’s hard to let them go. But it must be done. So I set my alarm, turn my phone to sleep mode, and plug in my twelve devices on the other side of the room.
  3. Bathroom Time: I wish I could be disciplined enough to take a nightly bath, my aunt does that. But instead, I brush my teeth, wash my face, and take a shower. I wash my hair twice per week. If I do, I will also blow dry my hair. I also put on one of my favorite products right now, Pacifica’s Wakeup Beautiful night cream.
  4. Coconut Oil: I like to put coconut oil on my feet and cover them with socks. My feet are so soft when I do this. I also put it on my hair ends and finger nails. Coconut oil is basically the best thing for a beauty routine.
  5. Prayer Journal: It’s super important to reflect on the day. I write down what I’m grateful to God for and where I struggled. I find both are necessary I really like to write this in my bible binder.
  6. Planner: I inevitably come up with a million things that I’ll need to remember the next day. So I have my bullet journal and blog binder with my desk ready for notes.
  7. Reading and Tea: I make myself a cup of chamomile tea with a squeeze of lemon, and sometimes a bit of honey or agave. I curl up in my chair next to my candle, with my tea, and a spiritual book. I don’t read novels before bed because they tend to keep me awake, even after putting the book down. If I read a spiritual book, it gives me something to contemplate while I’m trying to fall asleep. Right now I’m reading the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis.
  8. Yoga: When I have a lot of time I like to do yin style yoga. In this style, I get into a position and stay there for a long time. In class, it’s between three and five minutes. Doing it at home, I stay in the position for as long as I can. If I don’t have a lot of time, I’ll do a quicker bedtime routine. Before I forget, I do this by candlelight only. It helps me relax and get into sleep mode.
  9. Finishing Touches: The last things I do are pretty simple and quick. I’ll turn on my fan because sleeping in a cool room helps one get to sleep. It also has a nice hum which helps down out some of the noise in the house. I’m a really light sleeper, so I need this. I also turn on my essential oils diffuser. I’ve been loving lavender and orange lately, but I change it up every so often. I also fluff up my pillow because let’s face it, a comfy pillow is a must! The last thing I do is blow out my candle. Then it’s time to crawl into bed.

My goal is to be in bed by ten, sometimes that happens, sometimes it doesn’t. What is your bedtime routine? If you enjoyed this post, please consider commenting, subscribing, sharing on social media, and making a contribution to my Patreon.

Casper_wintersleep_v02

Thank you, and have a SPARKLY day!

Christian Yogi

For the past year or so I have been on a journey of health and fitness. I looked at myself in the mirror one day and realized I was not treating my body with the level of respect it deserves, being a masterpiece of the Father, temple of the Holy Spirit, and worth the Son’s death on a cross. So I began watching what I eat and going to the gym regularly. I have definitely seen some improvements, and I think at the end of time, when I have to give my accounting for what I have done with God’s resources, I hope he finds me a good steward of my body. But this post isn’t really about my entire fitness story, it is about a relatively new aspect of my fitness journey: yoga. I know you are probably thinking, “Can Catholics do yoga?” Well I haven’t read anything that says no, I’ve checked the Scriptures, Catechism, and Vatican writings. I haven’t found anything that says a Catholic cannot do yoga. What I have found is a quote from Pope Francis saying that yoga, among other things, does not lead us to God. My question for that statement is, does my morning commute lead me to God?

It is my opinion, that you get what you put into things. If I spend my morning commute praying a Rosary, contemplating that days readings, or doing an examination of conscience, then I have just baptized my morning commute. I’ve turned it from something dead and uneventful, and turned it into a spiritual expression and devotion to God. In the same way, yoga practiced without Christ in one’s heart, is a waste of an hour. I use the word baptize purposefully. We are all dead to sin before we are baptized. But by God’s grace we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and then are able to draw into deeper relationship with our Father in Heaven. Does that mean we were not touched by God before we were baptized? No, all things in existence only exist because God allows it to. God is omnipotent and omnipresent, EVERYTHING is touched by God. We just have to find him.

That is a Catholic practice, finding God in all people and circumstances. Jesus tells us to love our neighbor and the Church teaches the way we do that is by seeing that our neighbor is also made in the image of God. The Church is against the death penalty no matter how heinous the crime, because who are we to deny someone the opportunity of repentance and reconciliation? Because of this, I baptize my yoga practice. Where Buddhist yogis use “om” as a mantra, being the sound that started the universe, I have “Jesus, I trust in you,” the words of St. Faustina. Where Hindu yogis meditate to clear their mind, I meditate to drill down on the great m
ysteries of our faith like the incarnation.

I never want to avoid something because someone says it isn’t from God, I’d rather find God in it. I love Harry Potter, sorcery is strongly against all Christian teachings. Yet I watch it because I find my Lord in a young man willing to sacrifice himself for the good of his friends. Rather than locking ourselves in our beautiful stained-glass towers, maybe we should see what other people are doing and show them how Christ has been trying to touch them through it. God is everywhere, including yoga, we just have to find him.

Gym vs. Studio Yoga

For about a month now, I have been going to yoga several times per week at my local yoga studio.  I love it! It has done amazing things for my mind and body. I think yoga is such a beautiful practice and experience in self-aceptance. When I first started yoga, I was surprised to see it was like a real workout. Many believe yoga to be just a bunch of stretching, but in the studio, my heart gets pumping, I sweat, and I can feel my muscles working. One of the guys at work says yoga is for girls, men shouldn’t do yoga. After the hot yoga class I took, I think yoga is for the strong; and girls are strong. There have always been men in the classes I have taken. The sweat and grunt their way through the difficult poses and work very hard. I certainly admire their commitment to a craft that silly people, like the guy I work with, think is emasculating. Studio yoga can be used as a substitute for the gym. Depending on the class, you can experience: cardio, ab workouts, strength training, and increased flexibility. Not to mention the flood of endorphins you get in the brain after a good workout. My favorite part about the studio yoga is the attention to detail in the atmosphere: electronic candles, smooth music, steam and humidity to achieve a detoxify sweat. Plus the amazing cool washcloths with essential oils to calm us while in corpse pose after a killer workout.

On Sunday, I went to a yoga class, with different friend from work, at her gym. It was nice to get together and do something fun outside of the office. For this class, we were in a gym that definitely serves many purposes. The first thing I noticed was that we wore shoes studio. There are no shoes allowed on the yoga floor in a studio, but because this room served multiple functions, we took our shoes off once we set up our mats. There were punching bags in the way of the side mirrors; this wasn’t a huge deal, but they did get in the way of me checking my form. The music was really cool, it reminded my of History’s Vikings. I don’t know the types of instruments used, but I certainly enjoyed it. Yoga uses the Sanskrit language, which I am not fluent in–duh. So when I do yoga at home, I tend to choose yoga videos or apps that use the English translation of the poses. Example: cat-cow or Marjaryasana-Bitilasana, downward dog or Adho Mukha Svanasana, corpse pose or Savasana. Studio yoga uses both the Sanskrit and the English translations while the gym class pretty much only used the English. I liked this a little better because I didn’t have to constantly be looking around or at the instructor about what we were doing. In studio yoga, the teacher demonstrates some moves but also does a lot of walking around to offer “hands-on assist.” I love this hands-on approach because I want to make sure I have the right form in order to reduce injury and expand my practice. Gym yoga didn’t do that, the instructor was at the front of the class exclusively, going through the motions with us. It isn’t my preference, but I know a lot of people would really like that. The type of yoga was similar to a yin yoga in that you get into poses and you stay for awhile, there wasn’t a lot of 1 movement to 1 breath like in more intense yoga practices. It wasn’t exactly yin yoga either, we weren’t in each pose for like 3 minutes. I would say this yoga experience wasn’t not a workout substitute, it was a nice add on to whatever else you are doing on your fitness journey. My final thought was on the demographics of the class. I’m sure this is dependent about the time of day and what day it was, but there was only one man there, that I think was gay. All the rest were women, young women. I would say all of us were between our 20s-30s. At studio yoga, there are only ladies and young ladies, middle aged ladies, young men, and middle aged men. I’ve never seen old men at yoga, I think the oldest I’ve seen was probably in his 50s. The point is, I can see where the guy at work gets the idea of yoga being for girls, if he only sees people doing yoga at the gym.

I think both experiences are fine. Like with anything in life, you need to know what your goals and abilities are. Obviously, it is easier to get to yoga if you are already at the gym. It is cheaper to go to yoga if you already have a gym membership. That’s actually a really important point to make: studio yoga is not cheap. You are defiantly paying for all the cool perks like cool washcloths with essential oils, hairspray in the bathroom, and a fireplace in the waiting area. I would recommend if you are new to yoga, to check out your gym’s classes and eventually move on to studio yoga, if you would like to really expand a yoga practice.

I hope you enjoyed this post, in the comments below let me know your thoughts on the different types of yoga you have experienced. Have a sparkly day!