Q&A with Amy McDonald

by Mia Cobb

It is my absolute pleasure to share this question and answer session with my friend (since age 4) and all round amazing woman, Amy McDonald, about her exciting initiative, i {heart} my daily practice.

Q: What is i {heart} my daily practice and how did it begin?

I {heart} my daily practice is an online community where we support each other to develop and maintain our own nourishing self care routines that we LOVE! It’s open and free for anyone who knows that taking care of themselves is imperative for taking care of others (and who still sometimes has trouble DOING that!)

The idea was born from so many of my yoga students telling me they wanted a daily yoga practice but had trouble starting one (or sticking to one) alone. Our i {heart} community has grown to include all forms of self care, including how we eat, exercise, show up in our relationships, parent… you name it!

I heart my daily practice sunQ: What makes up the i {heart} my daily practice world?

We are an online community first and foremost. That includes our biannual telesummit, our website and blog at www.iheartmydailypractice.com), facebook page and e-zine. We also run live events, including our Bali retreat coming up in October.

Unlike ‘normal’ retreats, in our retreats we help participants find their perfect daily practice, encourage and support them in developing it, and then record it so they can stick to it when they get home. We also have a follow-up community on Facebook to cheer each other on as we reintegrate into ‘normal’ life. (It’s kind of easy to do yoga once a day in tropical paradise when the kids are with their grandparents and someone else is cooking the meals. It’s what happens when you get home that is the really interesting part!)

Q: Your online summit is underway right now, what can people expect to gain from it?

Love and support! Too often people think ‘Oh, I’d love a daily practice, but I’ve got too much/not enough (insert whatever!)’ Totally normal! That’s why in our summit we’ve chosen 18 incredible special guests to say, ‘Hey, sister, you’re amazing already, you deserve to be good to yourself, it’s TOTALLY OK when you slip up, and here’s some ways to help yourself be a little more gentle on yourself!’

We’ve put together a little summit recap for all the working mamas reading this. We’ve chosen our three most inspirational mama wellness warrior women guests from the summit. Your lovely Champagne Cartel readers just need to click on this link, sit back and enjoy!

I heart my daily practice be true to ourselvesQ: How can a daily practice help? Won’t adding something to my day just make it all harder?

Our definition of a daily practice is anything that you do mindfully that nourishes you and lets you show up more authentically in the world. It doesn’t have to be an hour of yoga or half an hour of meditation or nothing but green smoothies for a week! In fact, as our summit mamas say, sometimes it’s just five minutes to sip herbal tea before the kids get up, or taking five deep breaths before responding to a sticky situation, or even cleaning your kitchen counter (as the amazing Indigo Bacal explains in her interview!).

Your daily practice will support you to be your best self. Your daily practice is a gift to yourself and also to others. Your daily practice will radically change your life. (But your daily practice doesn’t have to BE radical!)

Q: What’s your daily practice?

At this stage in my life, I live alone and have quite a few hours before I head off to work each morning. Because I’m an early riser, my practice is quite lengthy. You can listen to it here. I guess I want to make clear that it has been very different through other stages of my life. While I’ve been travelling or when I was co-parenting, it was vastly different. Again, the idea of flexibility and gentleness is imperative as we craft our practices. So is recognising that what is right for me won’t be right for someone else. And what is right for me now, may not be later.

Q: Everyone has days where we struggle to achieve even the basics. (I’ll raise my hand to say hair brushing – shit, sometimes even showering – is something I consider optional!) Feeling guilty about not achieving these things doesn’t seem helpful or productive. What do you suggest to avoid beating ourselves up about these perceived ‘failings’?

Eek! This is the classic, right? Firstly, let’s make sure that acceptance is priority number one. Secondly, let’s understand (deeply) that our body is full to bursting with wisdom and we need to listen to her. Forget ‘shoulds’ and go with what you really need. For loads of us, that means meeting the needs of others as a priority. But remember the adage that you can’t support others unless you support yourself. And at the heart of it, we all understand that already.

In summary: chuck guilt. It doesn’t serve us or those we love.

Q: What have been the most satisfying or exciting moments for you on the i {heart} my daily practice journey so far?

Wow, this is such a great question.

I think what has been the most satisfying so far has been hearing from women in our community that have already made really important (and really manageable) steps. Getting up 15 minutes earlier to journal. Accepting help when its offered. Really recognising the importance of self care as a foundation of ‘other’ care. I {heart} my daily practice is a pretty incredible honour. Everyone who is involved has given me so much.

Looking ahead, I am so excited about our Bali retreat (and our fun Bali Retreat video competition!) Holding space for a week so women can admire and spread their daily practice wings is going to be a huge blessing.

Written By

Carolyn is the editorial director of Champagne Cartel and a freelance writer. In her spare time she is a long-distance runner, peanut butter enthusiast, and single mum to three incredible humans.

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