be good to yourself.

be good to yourself, that’s what it’s all about.

  • This was something I said during the final savasana of the 4th or so yoga class I’d ever taught (Monday night :).  I saw it pop up 2 days later on my facebook feed, who had taken that class.  so i reply…

    • Elisa Jennifer Lipton hee love it! thanks again for coming the other night

    • and she says… i guess i should have quoted you here…..thanks for the words of encouragement and helping us balance during this tough month..

      and i say…

      ha no quote necessary, i’m flattered!! yoga and the above type of thinking is getting me through this last leg too ūüôā

      It’s true.  Yoga + positive thinking+ taking care and being nice to myself has made all the difference in how I felt this time last year (trudging thru the mud, pretty confused, wanting to be “anywhere but here”) to now (feeling pretty solid in my decisions, pretty happy with how i’m spending time and making decisions, back to doing cartwheels and handstands in any open space…ya know…)  The above has changed my whole experience in the past year, and I’ve really grown a lot.  
      And now, to get this positive feedback, to realize that my words are helping people, wow.  It was just something that came out of my mouth, not pre-planned or anything.  I’m just so happy.  exuberant.  I love this.

      be nice to yourself.  if you are nice to yourself first, you’re probably a heck of a lot nicer and less judgmental of others, too.

      om.  ūüôā

treinte y cinco dias hasta…(35 days until…)

35 day countdown!

and it’s already bikini, flipflops, short shorts weather back home in California (yes, in January…this is NOT normal, the weather is so laughing at me right now). ¬†It’s about 25 degrees as a high in seoul, about 4 or 5 as a low. ¬†

I’m forcing myself to not be lazy, get outside, get fresh air…bundle up and take walks…teaching yoga as a nice warming flow rather than a slowish class…of course, in the vain fear that my body will turn to mush within the next 5 weeks and I will, heaven forbid,¬†disappoint¬†my 50 or so swimsuits, surfboard, and eternal springtime California wardrobe waiting in storage, that all have patiently waited for me the past year. ¬†Past year! It’s been a year, holy crap. ¬†

Seoul, it’s been fun, it’ll be bittersweet…but I must bid you adeiu shortly. ¬†

Dad wrote: 
there is a special ticket, for a special seat, on a special plane, waiting to take you home.

Sunday morning inspiration

“Happiness 10” list:
do PLAY,
have passion(s),
take care of your health,
do work you like/love,
do good (feel good),
maintain focus,
push yourself,
serve the less fortunate,
have fresh ideas,
persist in finding happy and goodness.

“Life is full of setbacks. Success is determined by how you handle setbacks”
“Friends are more important than money”
“Breath deeply and appreciate the moment.  Living in the moment could be the meaning of life”
-Lululemon bag.

teaching my first yoga class!

So out of all the shit talking I do on Seoul (being landlocked, freezing temps, too fast-paced life for me, unhealthy and excessive habits of the culture,¬†over crowdedness…), I have to admit, rather REALIZE, that this place has really offered me some amazing¬†opportunities¬†I wouldn’t have accomplished in the States, or had the confidence to realize in the States at such point in my life……

On top of meeting some lifelong amigas, learning to teach kids, and really get strong/be forced to stand on my own two feet, I just completed a yoga teacher’s training course here in Seoul. ¬†A friend had sent me an ad from a studio needing teachers a few months ago…and it just so happens that the position started immediately after my training completed. ¬†So now I’ve got a job teaching yoga 3 nights per week~What a way to spend my last 6 weeks in the ROK…teaching something I’m passionate about. ¬†And further, what synchronicity to have occur. ¬†

So last night was the first class. ¬†I was soooooo nervous for the hour or so before class. ¬†I showed up to the studio to a packed class of about 25 people! ¬†I’d prepared an hour long balancing flow on a cheat sheet, starting off in child’s pose, then coming into Surya Namaskar A then some variations on Surya Namaskar B. So much¬†adrenaline¬†was¬†pumping¬†through me that I never got tired, and I hope my many sun salutes weren’t too hard on the class. ¬†We flowed down to a relaxing hip opening floor sequence, with some twists. ¬†I’d borrowed some sequencing here and there from my favorite teachers back home (who I’ve been able to keep up with through the magic of streaming yoga videos on the web), but tried to be creative as I could with the sequence. ¬†Most of the time, I didn’t even end up using the cheat sheet…and just let the yoga flow. ¬†I acted confident, therefore felt more confident…though of course the nervousness was still present. ¬†It felt sooooo good to see all my students (my students!) resting in savasana at the end. ¬†It felt even better when students said, “thank you” as they left class. ¬†I can’t wait to teach again tomorrow ūüôā

teaching the kiddos some yoga moves!

my cooking…a food post…homesick for the USA…culture shock…

okay, it’s cold…i’m spending lots of time indoors during this sub-zero South Korean wintertime…and i feel like blogging my thoughts…a lot…this week.

i lost interest in tofu about 2 months ago.

gone are the days i was able to enjoy a meal of tofu and veggies for less than $3 in korea. ¬†i’d rather starve at this point.

i’m not a big fan of kimchi at the moment (i’m convinced it rots ur pearly whites), and¬†i don’t even see white rice (so i’ve been trained not to eat ‘white empty calories’ from an early age). ¬†it’s like it’s invisible to me.

sushi, my favorite food since i was 6 years old, has no appeal anymore (and i haven’t even touched the stuff since california, but i think korea’s proximity to japan may have something to do with it).

i just went to thailand for 11 days, and only ate thai food once.  the rest of the time i ordered salads with fresh veg, fruit, and cheese.

indian food is suddenly a craving like never before. maybe it’s the cold weather.

peanut butter, celery, apples, and other fruit has been a mainstay dinner lately.

i’ve spent $12 on feta just this week. ¬†and i’m not talking a big block, but 2 measly jars of the stuff soaked in oil (ill post a pic one of these days).

and no, i’m not pregnant. ¬†(this is the year of single-ness, remember?)

but i just now came to the realization that i can’t /forgot how to cook.

the only thing i make well (these days) is
1) runny eggs, sometimes adding in fresh veg and salt.  sometimes a little curry seasoning or cinnamon if im feeling really wild.
2) salads.  chopped up lettuce + fresh/dried fruit + canned beans + canned tuna/chicken (used to add sauteed or plain tofu).  avocado will be my long lost friend in california.  t-6weeks till avocado and reasonably priced feta!

everything else is a mishmosh of crap.  or one vegetable, such as the kabocha squash, that steams really well.

i don’t know how to grill.

i haven’t used an oven in a year…how do you make cookies again?

i’ve never used a food processor.

maybe this is the apartment with no windows + 1 electric hotplate talking. ¬†but man, i don’t know if i remember how to cook. ¬†i think i used to enjoy that. ¬†once upon a time. ¬†i did make pumpkin pies, i do make a mean cranberry sauce, i have made a mean salmon, medium rare. ¬†what has happened?!

maybe i should put “cooking classes” on the to do list for california lady of leisure time.
that is, if i can find the time since i’ll be maximizing the outdoor time like no other! ¬†homegirl is in serious need of vitamin d….

connection continued…

and after sleeping on what i’d written in my previous post…i have to say, i could never have survived this past year without the support of my family and friends back home.  emails, skypes, feedback on the blog and pics n posts on facebook.  man, oh man.  if anything, i feel even more connected than when i left, and have a whole new and greater appreciation for you guys.  ‚̧

care package from stacey and rick…music and a sunset card!  ‚̧
care packages from mommy and grandmother jean
my lil tree sent from grandmother jean from denver…candle and big box from mom in oxnard shores ‚̧


during my trip to thailand, i read something that i think’ll change me forever…thought id post it here so that a) i could share it with whoever happens to read, and 2) as a reminder to myself. ¬†i used to think my (extremely) independent streak was my strength; now it’s becoming more and more clear that it is, in fact, my weakness (at least sometimes). ¬†connection trumps independence. ¬†inter-dependence (not codependence!) is where it’s at. ¬†it’s becoming more and more clear to me that you can’t do it all by yourself, nor are we meant to. ¬†

¬†it was in dr. weil’s book “8 weeks to optimum health”…he’s a famous integrative¬†MD, and it was in the library at sanctuary’s wellness center. ¬†i was just taking a flip through while i sipped on tea and swung in a hammock, and one chapter was on connection. ¬†to paraphrase:

“you can eat all the broccoli and salmon you want, take your omega 3’s and b vitamins, walk and do your breathing¬†exercises¬†everyday, but without connection, you cannot be a healthy person“. ¬†

detox rocks

so during my vacay on koh phangan, which was 11 days total (including 2 days of travel), i partook (is that a word?)  in a 3 day detox/fast program.  

i’d never attempted anything like this before, as i’m more of the “eat every 2-3 hours” type rather than fast…and, as a lot of you know, i’ve had my “food issues”.  getting over it, but man, i’m scarred from a doctor telling me, when i was 9 years old,

“elisa, you have high cholesterol and need to lose 14 pounds”.  

that was when my interest in health and nutrition was sparked, which at times has turned into an unhealthy obsession, which was further pushed over the edge during my modeling years, when at one point i was too scared to eat even tomatoes because of the carbohydrate content.  i swear i was living off sugar free jell-o, diet sodas, and low carb yogurts…fake chemicals galore.  anyways, i’m a ton better now.   eating way more of a balanced diet…not perfect, but really good.  i’m always going to be interested in health as it’s my passion, and i enjoy eating whole foods like veggies, fruits, fish, chicken, steak, legumes, grains.  i’ve relaxed a lot and realized everything is good in moderation including cheese, wine, chocolate, cheesecake! just no more fake chemicals ever again!

anyways, along with the better diet thing comes the mental thing…you know, accepting yourself, loving yourself stuff you hear about.  after smashing my scale last summer, i’ve definitely made huge strides towards having a healthy relationship with food and being happy with my body.  so i feel stronger and more positive about food instead of anxious like i used to be.  good stuff.

to get to the point, i felt strong enough to do a short detox program that i’ve heard soooo many good things about.  and it came at the perfect time as we’d all been overindulging at bit during the holidays…leaving me feeling groggy, foggy, unhealthy, unmotivated…toxic.

enjoying coconut juice during the detox (yup, those are “allowed”) from the lovely lil hut at bamboo huts restaurant

i won’t describe the nitty gritty details…but let’s just say after 3 days of high fiber psyllium and clay shakes, fresh juices, vegetable broth, lots of coconut juice, 3 colon hydrotherapy sessions (ya…), 3 amazing spa treatments, 3 yoga classes, i felt like someone had pushed my “reset” button! (during the fast i’ll admit i was one grumpy elisa).  I took the rest of my vacation to enjoy the amazing food on the island, swim, have more massages, take more yoga classes, take walks through the jungle, and get to know some of the amazing people surrounding me (i met some amazing fellow fasters staying in the “detox” dorm with me).  a big bonus was, of course, the higher energy post-fast, which I credit towards an enhanced ability to absorb nutrients by the intestine (this is still going a week later in Korea, a highly increased awareness and appreciation of my food, AND having the rare opportunity to be sensitive enough when reintroducing food to discover what substances do/don’t agree with my system.  dairy:  just fine; pineapple and mango: a little rough on my tummy ūüôā  i have a whole new opinion on detox/fasting and it’s way more positive than before, when all i’d relate it to is “food issues”…it’s way beyond food, like i said before, i liken it to a “reset button”!

fresh salmon a few days post-fast…i was craving this like mad–love how in tune i felt with my body like never before…

the “salad from heaven”: feta, dates, cashews, apples.  this was breakfast a couple days post-fast and def serves as inspiration for a well rounded salad to make at home!

~sunrise and shine!~

okay, today was a better day than yesterday (whew).  got a lot more shut eye last night, took myself out to a proper meal at the new organic salad/breads place that i found in the basement of shinsegae dept store (called Daylesford Organic, an English import), and made some positive actions like starting to pack my summer clothes into a suitcase to ship home.  i guess it’s reverse culture/city shock coming back from such a dream-like place like thai islands.

i’m noticing myself having tons more patience w/ the kids, just relaxing with them really…not taking anything too seriously.  the korean school pushes us to make them study, but come on, they are 3 and 4, really…come on.  the poor kiddos only have one week for vacations, hardly enough time to process all the info theyve been learning like phonics and math.  so during my afterschool storytelling class today, with eight 3 and 4 year olds, i did a whole 1/2 hour of yoga.  yup, led the little ones thru surya namaskar A (sun salutation A), complete with wagging tails (toes pointed in the air), downward facing barking doggies, cats and cows saying meow and moo, had them sit in hero pose and do lion’s breath (open mouth, proceed to stick out tongue, and make loud noise while breathing out…lions breath), and we ended with happy baby.  let me tell you we were all laughing, some kids so loud i had to shush them down so we could keep going without getting caught!  after the impromptu sequence, naturally, all 8 fell into savasana without me even telling them.  what little yogis.  then it was snacktime and we did some coloring.  and that was my afterschool class today…full of joy and laughter (shhh dont tell the school…)

student o’ life

just wrote this in an email and thought it travel bloggable:
“everytime i go away [from korea] i realize how much i fucking hate this place.  [because the longer i’m here, the more i forget/go into denial/shop my pain away at the underground markets]
you know, the friends have really made it good (i suppose that is anywhere).  
thailand was amazing.  finally got to breathe again.  took about 5 days before “elisa” came know, the person capable of a conversation, the person who actually likes other people.  
for 5 days i wasn’t alive yet, it was “leave me alone, let me be quiet with my book/ipod “elisa”…which SUCKS because there was a really good new years party that i missed out on.  dancing and a big fire.  i slept instead.   what a waste.  but for the next couple days it was a good time and made up for it.    
every time i go on these trips i realize something profound…usually something youve already told me, but i couldnt embody it till now.  this time, i realized i need to be a student for a while.  stop trying to be the teacher.  be a student of life.  listen.  so thats what 2011 is going to be about.  being a student of life, being open.  and the second i started doing that, magical things started happening…like an older couple invited me to join their speedboat back to the mainland before my flight so i wouldnt have to take the crowded ferry from the crowded port (a blessing), i learned a tibetan yoga sequence from another older woman in my dorm, and made a lifelong friend.  amazing.”
so here’s to 2011: year of learning.  elisa as student.  elisa listening.  

how to put it to use, since by profession, right now, i am a teacher?!

*so i’m a preschool teacher for 2 more months; what can i learn from the kids?

*i’ve signed up to teach yoga 3x a week for a month (subbing while another teacher is away)…what can i learn from these students?  learn to observe others doing yoga?  learn patience?  learn to cater to different levels?
hmmmm… got anything to teach me?