Love, Yoga

Yin, Yang and Love

Over the past 6 months – I’ve been working so, so much. I didn’t realize it because 40+ hours a week was normal for me in the corporate world. I also added in my RYT 500 training which is also pretty time-consuming because.. why not? I thought I could handle it. I’m incredibly passionate about what I’m doing – I now manage a thriving yoga & fitness program for adults with special needs. My days are filled with love, teaching, and helping these wonderful adults learn about their bodies and how to take care of them. It’s easy to throw yourself in and allow yourself to be stretched thin, especially in a new job where you are trying to prove yourself. I was moving in full Yang energy

Although I am professional and friendly when I need to be, I’m also deeply sensitive and introverted. I keep a lot of things to myself, and I sometimes get anxious interacting with people. Sometimes this causes me to put a lot of unnecessary pressure on myself in regards to my work. What I didn’t take into account, is what that does to your body when you are in a physical profession vs. sitting in a cubicle.  The success in my program kept me running, and I was adding a lot of intense cardio & weightlifting classes to my schedule while I was slowly & unknowingly draining my tank to E again. Straying away from my yoga under self-imposed pressure to please. So how did I allow myself to fall into this cycle of workaholic energy again? Stress.. plain and simple. I haven’t been sure if i was going to write about this, but I feel like it’s blocking my writing.. so I’m going to share it. I need to address my elephant.

My mom was in Canada with my sister. I was a little bummed because I couldn’t swing the trip with them, things just didn’t line up. But maybe things are meant to be. My mom called me that something was wrong, and asked me to go to check on my grandmother. She was texting the family in a group chat essentially saying that she felt deeply depressed but that no one understood her. She had a beautiful and loving soul, but my grandma has a history of mental health issues, as well as a list of other health issues including liver, kidney etc. It wasn’t always that way but after two gastric bypass surgeries she still struggled to loose weight, battling depression and food addiction for years. It slowly wore her down in kidney stones and other health declines. Hopping from illness to illness while she was prescribed into a full on opiod addiction. I highly object to certain practices in the traditional medical community. I’m not sure what the proper answer is but more doctors need training in nutrition and disease prevention. Insurance needs to support alternative and preventative forms of healing to reduce long term costs. A pill is not always the solution to the ailment. Had my grandmother lived in another state or country – I sometimes imagine her fate could have been much different if she had access to a more nurturing and genuine system of treatment.

I went to check on her – and she was barely coherent in bed. She eventually started to wake up, and I could tell that something wasn’t right with her. She was telling me about all the pain she had been in, and I asked her why she was texting mom, and expressed that she was worrying everyone. I asked her about her medicine, and if she was taking it properly. She told me she was taking double of what the Doctor prescribed her and when she handed me the bottle I noticed there were far less pills then there should have been. I told her I couldn’t let her have them if she wasn’t going to take them properly… She flipped. Started screaming and pulled my hair until we were face to face. Her voice screeched out from the top of her lungs. The drugs in her had dulled her personality and let out a desperate and panic-stricken pained woman. I took her hands off me. I was in shock.. then she went in her bedside drawer and pulled out the gun.”Give me my pills, or I’ll shoot you” she screamed. I froze. I calmly set down the pills, then backed out of the room.

It’s strange to mourn the loss of someone while they are still alive. What made it harder was the heartache this caused my mother. The instinct of a mother  is to protect her children and my mom was heartbroken and stricken with guilt, sadness and anger – guilt that was never hers to hold. For me, I knew the prescription Opiod medication had changed her mind and her body. I did my best to find peace with this, but it was hard. While I understood why it had happened (her pain and addiction) I just, didn’t know what to do. I decided eventually, that I could do nothing. So I partially mourned the strange loss all the while carrying this deep pain in my heart chakra. I threw myself deeply into working and pushing. The more I accomplished the more lifted I felt, but it was all extrinsic. I was losing weight, and my abs were finally showing. My classes were full, and I thought I was happy, but I was always a little tired. I thought I could manage and I kept going.

Eventually, I collapsed. Right in the middle of a restaurant from malnutrition. I was working so hard I was burning more than my body had in it. I had to be taken to the ER – You think that I would have slowed down after that? No, I kept going – thought I would just focus on adding more meals and stop forgetting to eat. All the while ignoring the pain in my heart chakra. Knowing it was there, but doing nothing.

Eventually the pain in my shoulder became so bad I couldn’t sleep. I finally got the MRI. I had an over-training injury.. Strained Rotator cuff and was in a sling for 5 weeks. I’m still healing now as I write this. I’ve got about 4 weeks of physical therapy left. I wouldn’t back off – so my body forced me. I finally scaled back. I had a lot of time to think about what direction I was heading in, what shifts I needed to take in life, and what I want the rest of my life to look like. I was working toward healing my own heart, using my knowledge of yoga and healing… and also my body using rest and adequate self-care. Finding that the love I needed was right in my heart, an abundant source If I could only slow down and feel it. I was also so lucky to have support around me during this difficult time. In my heart I was learning forgiveness, fostering gentleness, slowing down and learning to love my body. I started to focus on my meditation as I healed. I started to melt in to this yin feminine energy that was dying to be expressed. In my heart, I’m not the firm, aggressive all business character I’ve forced myself to be. I lead with love… creativity, calm gentle energy. I want to spread healing and peace in my yoga and life practice. I found this space and new vibration of love and forgiveness and light within myself and this is where I will strive to stay.

Six months after the incident I got the call. My grandma was dying and I had to make the decision if I was going to go see her off. After she had pointed a gun to me, no apologies. When I heard the news, In my heart, I had already forgiven. I knew it was time to support my mom. I expected her not to be conscious or awake when I went to see her – and at first, that’s how it was. I walked in with my mom – she was in tears, gently talking to her,  but eventually she opened her eyes. She heard my mother say my name and she suddenly had an awareness about her. She had waited for me. She coughed and coughed through the oxygen mask. Then she looked me straight in the eyes – and said “I love you, I love you, I love you.” Those are her words that I will hold dear. Everything else wasn’t serving me anymore, any attachment, any anger, and even the sadness… I feel it, acknowledge it, allow it be and I let it go. I chose love and forgiveness – and I’m glad. It feels so good and opened the door to healing for my heart.

I fought against this for a long time, but I’ve come to accept and embrace this loving myself fully. I love myself enough to set boundaries, take rest, and heal my mind and spirit. I love those around me enough to know I cannot help them unless I follow the truth in my heart and live with life and love and abundance. Yoga teaches you to let go friends, and to love is also to let go. Yin and Yang.

Namaste

 

Love, Yoga

Winter Updates from The Tiniest Warrior & Simple Abundance

Today, I’m enjoying the good fortune of having a morning off and a bit of time to write. My cat and husky are squashed on to the couch with me. Warm, soft…. fuzzy. I’ve even got a warm cup of tea. To top it all off, just finished eating a delicious healthy breakfast someone special cooked for me;) Simple Abundance, I’m a lucky gal.

Technology, facebook, smartphones, TV…. Something about all of the messages that are pushed towards me in ads, posts, and current events do not make my brain feel good.  They trick me into feeling like what I have is not enough. Why, when I have a closet full of clothes, does a commercial make me want to run to target or JC Penny and buy more? The happy faces, smiles.. upbeat music, cool clothes – It’s all so alluring. I think “I’ve got to have it!”

Then I pause, “what do I really want?”  The clothes……. or to be that happy smiling person? Many of us live in literal abundance, our basic needs are met fully. Why are many of us still so negative and unhappy? I urge you.. ask yourself these questions and take ownership of the answer.

We have the ability to be that smiling happy person, dancing, carefree and thankful for the lives we lead, and what we wake up to every day. A friend lent me a book recently called Simple Abundance, a daily reading book. One page each day of inspiration and reminders that happiness is found in simple things. Why not start your morning by taking a moment to acknowledging the good around you. Imagine a life where you cultivate gratitude – Each day feels like a gift, each action you take is giving love back to your source.

Wishing you all a happy holiday, and sending a little reminder that you are enough! Below are some of the shots of some really sweet moments I’ve had over the last few months… Appreciating the mess and love that is my little life.

 

 

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“We are not going to change the whole world, but we can change ourselves and feel free as birds. We can be serene even in the midst of calamities and, by our serenity, make others more tranquil. Serenity is contagious. If we smile at someone, he or she will smile back. And a smile costs nothing. We should plague everyone with joy. If we are to die in a minute, why not die happily, laughing?”

“Don’t depend on something that comes from outside. Outside things are never going to make you happy.”

Feel free to keep reading, if you’d like a little update on where I am at. This next part covers my recent career shifts! My heart has been open and receptive to good things lately.. I feel like I’ve spent months training my focus on doing good, and am always appreciative when more good floods back my way. I’m looking for opportunities every day. My soul is training my brain 🙂 Even in the face of some really intense family drama that I’ve been through recently; I’m able to find that light by reminding myself to turn inward and accept the love that flows to me in other ways. Reminding my self to rest is a challenge.. as always! But you better believe that I do it. If I want to live a long stress-free life and have happy relationships… I’ve got no choice but to make time to chill 😉

Big news! I’ve started a new Job last month as a Fitness Coordinator for a really exciting non-profit organization about 25 or so Hours a week. I’m currently teaching Yoga, Dance Fitness, Walk/Run, Circuit and Healthy Cooking Classes to high functioning adults with disabilities.

At the studio I’m currently teaching 3-4 Classes a week of Gentle Relaxation, Flow, and Power so please feel free to check out the downtown yoga calendar if you’d like to come visit me. Gentle Relaxation is such a great place to start if you are new to yoga and a great place to come back to if you are a seasoned yogi and find you need healing and time to tune in with the body.

I’m teaching a weekly private class for children with ASD at their school and love sharing the gift of yoga with children. We have SO much fun, and though it takes practice to learn coping skills – Yoga and breathing are such valuable tools to add to a child’s toolbelt.

I feel very blessed that I’ve been given the opportunity to pursue Healthy Living as a career and I will always continue to strive to give my best and most authentic self to my students as well.  I’m still doing a bit of henna on the side and homemade art and gifts for the holidays. I love to have busy hands. An indian quote – “God” in the mind, work in the hand.

Thanks for Reading! Peace ❤

 

Love, Yoga

Sending a little love

I’ve been so blessed to have a lot of great things going on.it can be hard to keep up with writing when you’ve got this drive to just go and be immersed in something you’re passionate about. 

Either way I wanted to share this little quote from Swami Satchinandana. Hope that you all have a beautiful week and remember to take a little extra time for some self-care.

Health, Yoga

Malabar, FL – Yoga for Adults with Disabilities

One of the cool things about our community is that there are so many yoga teachers with the intention of helping those around them feel good.  Like most writers, I am trying to find fun and meaningful things that I can share with you. I joined a local yogi group on Facebook asked what I should write about next. I was so grateful to receive a lot of wonderful responses!

Through the post, I had the pleasure of getting connected with Gray Dix – RYT 200 Yoga Teacher at Mel O Yoga over in Palm Bay. Gray Shared with me that he taught a Yoga class for the Easter Seals for adults with disabilities, and after speaking back and forth with him for a bit, it was decided that I would come and observe his class! It is a beautiful thing, how life seems to fall into place when you approach it with an open heart and mind.

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I made my way over to the little Mel-O studio behind Zumba Studio 321. Gray and I started to chat about our backgrounds, how we came to yoga, and how we both came to teach. We had a bit more in common then I might have originally thought! We both fostered a deep love of the benefits of yoga after going through a divorce. Flash forward a few years for both of us, here we are happily partnered with each our own new life adventure buddies. Very cool stuff! Gray has studied under or read of many of the same teachers as I have in my RYT 200, and It was brilliant to exchange a few stories with his abundant and fun-loving energy. I accompanied Gray for a walk over to the Easter Seals location which was a short walk up the block from Melo to check in, and then we head back to the studio to finish setting up before all of the students arrive.


As we walked, Gray began to tell me how he came to teach this class. Gray teaches a gentle class on Friday’s that accepts food donation as payment, and this is where he met Lisa, who is the coordinator over at the Easter Seal location in Palm Bay. After attending a few of his classes, she asked if the studio would like to work with the organization. It was a match made in heaven. He began to tell me a little about each of his students, their personalities as he had worked with them, and also some of the benefits some of the students had experienced on and off of the mat. With a few months of practice, Many of the students have seen measurable improvements. Some students found improvement in communication, articulating words more often when they were generally non-verbal in the past. Many see improvements in terms of mobility. After practicing for some time, some of the students found improvements standing, dressing and also while using the bathroom, and more daily activities! So cool.


Shortly after the students chose their seats and we began class. Gray lovingly remembers where each student likes to sit and what their favorite props and mats are. We flowed through postures with laughs, time for breath, and some lovely asanas to open up the back, legs, arms, chest, and neck!

This was a  welcome reminder to me to be sure to connect with and accommodate my students. He taught with such genuine care, offering comforting touches to the room and sending positivity and affirmation to all students before relaxation. Focusing on lesson plans, music, location, and lighting are all important, but it is so key to remember why we are here! Yoga teachers out there, learn your student’s names the best you can, ask them about previous injury or sensitivities in the body, and modify wherever you can to make sequences accessible for your students.


There is nothing better than a genuine connection with your students. The relationship and community that yoga brings, is one of my favorite parts of being a teacher.

It was a beautiful thing to see the smiles and sighs of relaxation that Gray helped his students to find. Students with disabilities can really benefit from yoga! Here are a few of the postures that we went through, and some of the modification that was offered if you have someone with special needs at home that might like to stretch and breath with you!

  • Seated Twist

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  • Forward Fold

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  • Standing Cresent moon

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  • “Fabulous” Pose
  • Self Hugs
  • Knee to Chest
  • Supine twist
  • Cats & Cows (Moo’s and Mew’s)
  • and.. my very favorite – Dying Bug – grab on to your Raid! (Fun transition to Dead Bug Pose!)

Thank you Gray! for this very important class that you provide to our community. 


Namaste Friends! Feel free to comment below on thoughts or pass this article along if you would like for others to learn more about the cool things going on to give support to our community through yoga.

 

 

 

Health, Love, Yoga

Yoga can Help you to Connect with your Body and Regulate Stress

Hey there,

I’ve been a bit behind in my blogging – but don’t worry! I’m still here. I know that this is a good waterway for me to send out my little positive vibes. I sometimes imagine them like little paper sailboats. They may not always get to everyone, and they may not always go far, but – I think they end up going where they need to.

Something cool about Yoga is even if you do the simplest poses, and really! I mean that. Forward Folds, and butterflycresent moon, reclined pigeon. (check out all the variations

Try them all at home, just a little bit every day and you may notice that you start to learn how to listen more closely to what your body. I’m talking about really keying in. When something hurts (like standing or sitting uncomfortably for too long), when you are tired (trying to finish something, and getting nowhere), when you are hungry, when you ought to just breath (feeling anxious or panicked), and when you really need to just blow off a little steam and clear your head. Physical discomfort and a lack of oxygen can have a really profound effect on your emotions and perception.

Problems materialized out of thin air for me because my mind was so clouded. I still get caught sometimes. Often, the real issue is that I need more rest, nourishment, or a bit of alone time to clear my mind. Had I not been practicing yoga, I may not have listened to my body, I could have easily blamed someone else for my emotional discomfort, and then I would have had a meltdown or gotten angry. There are so many distractions in life. We are straight up ignoring our bodies in favor of… whatever – Phones, TV, Work, Kids, all types of things. Some important and some not. The real point is – You HAVE to take care of yourself first if you want to get anything done, and if you want it to go well.

The anxiety that comes with trying to “make it” in our society and the complete disregard for self-care is …… appalling in some workplaces and societal circles. Life does not have to be this way. In my experience striving for balance only makes my path smooth. Balance your busy and your rest – your yin and your yang.  There are still turns, but there can be an ebb and flow, and it’s up to us to take the time to practice making those adjustments.

  • Are you really angry at your significant other because of something that THEY did that affected you? 
  • Are you really mad at the guy in traffic, the thing your boss said, the shoe your dog chewed, the person in front of you at the grocery store, your mom, your dad, your best friend? OR are you missing something? nourishing food? rest? Time for self-care? etc?

Things to think about, no? No reason for guilt and obligation if you are doing your best to care for yourself first without harming others, and then graciously assisting those around you. As a Yogi, raised Christian, I grew up hearing – Your body is a temple. I think there is something to that. Your body is your house! Your spirit is living in this body and your mind. It is your spirit’s job to take steps to care for your body and your mind. When it forgets, your body will feel that your life is in turmoil! Things will feel cloudy. Life will be exhausting.

Yoga, even simple poses – help me practice regulating my emotions. I listen for the signs, then take notice. Listen to your bodies, heal your emotions. I know that’s not 100% of everything – But I KNOW that it is one of the things that helps. Thanks for reading. If you like this – Please share my blog, or send me some feedback! Comment, email – I’d love to hear from you.

Namaste!

 

 

 

Yoga

Nadi Shodhana Pranyama – Alternate Nostril Breathing

Hi! Wishing you all well!

I’m settling into my new life and really enjoying the way I am feeling as I’ve increased the amount of Yoga that I am teaching in the community (Brevard County.) Life seems to make a bit more sense when you can say you are pursuing what you want to do in life… your “personal legend.”

As I am still human, stress still exists! Being a yogi does not make you exempt. I recently got a question from a friend (I used to babysit her sweet kids! who are getting so big!) about what types of yoga postures you can do to manage stress when you are recovering from a surgery. I had to think for a moment – as the standard yoga class can be tough, depending on what sort of modifications you may need to do to make sure you are not putting to much pressure on areas that are healing. Then, Ah! Breathing came to mind.

I wanted to make sure that I answered the question thoroughly, so I’ve decided to write this post. I’m going to talk a bit about Pranayama (Breathing Techniques)

Pranayama

“Pranayama is an in-depth science for expanding and channeling the life force, prana. “Pranayama” comes from two Sanskrit words: “prana”, meaning the fundamental life force, and “yama” meaning to control. Pranayama is, therefore channeling or controlling the life force.” – http://yougoyoga.net/pranayama.html

Pranayama includes various types of breathing techniques which can help to manage stress. Today, I’d like to talk about one particular type “Nadi Shodhana” (Alternate Nostril Breathing), How it can help, and how to do it!

Benefits of Nadi Shodhana:

  • Reduce stress by physically lowering your blood pressure. It activates the parasympathetic nervous system, enabling you to slow your heart rate and calm the breath and racing thoughts.
  • Helps to Strengthen your lungs and respiratory system. This helps you to absorb more oxygen to enrich your body and your brain.
  • Improves fine motor coordination and concentration. This allows you to feel more grounded and mindful. Present in the current moment instead of getting lost in racing thoughts. When you are able to focus on what you are doing in the current moment, stress can be reduced.

Positive benefits to the heart, lungs, and mind! Stress can be physical! The mind and body, aren’t as separate of two things as some might lead you to believe.

Nadi Shodhana Practice:

  1. Find a comfortable seated position. Soften your shoulders and your breath, beginning to allow the mind and body to settle. Place your left hand gently on your lap or your left knee.
  2. With your right hand place your thumb gently onto your right nostril and place your ring finger gently onto your left nostril. The two fingers in-between can rest on your forehead, or wherever feels most comfortable to you.
  3. Begin by gently closing your right nostril (using your right thumb) and inhale slowly through your left nostril.
  4. Then switch, closing your left nostril (using your ring finger) and release your right. Exhale through your right nostril.
  5. Pause
  6. Inhale back through your right nostril (the same you just exhaled through).
  7. Then switch back, closing your right nostril (using your thumb) and release your left. Exhale through your left nostril.
Here is a video I recommend, if the text is a bit confusing.
What is your favorite type of breathing technique? Do you have any questions? Comment below!
Love, Yoga

Sometimes adjustments feel good!

 

“What you need to know is this: Before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream. That’s the point at which most people give up. It’s the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one ‘dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon’

“Every search begins with beginners luck. And every search ends with the victor’s being severely tested.” 

“The boy remembered an old proverb from his country. It said that the darkest hour of the night came just before the dawn.”

 – The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

As promised, I’m documenting a major life milestone of mine with this post. But first, a little back story.

When I started this blog, I wasn’t really sure what direction I was taking with it. I just knew I needed to get some things out, to see if anyone felt the same way I did. I was having a really tough time documenting my thoughts , but I knew that writing was a good way to look at the progress I’d made and my shifting views about the world. Just like you can find inspiration in a before and after fitness photo, I knew this could help me along in life. I tried two or three different notebooks – thinking each one with a different style or size would motivate me more.  I even tried grid diary app, which was cool, but I didn’t end up keeping up with that either. I thought maybe with some mission or some sense of obligation I would keep at it with a blog. I’m proud to say I’ve kept up with it for five months now. Here’s a link to my very first post if you’re curious later. It was the beginning of some big shifts for me……

That brings me here today – writing this post. I’ve quit my full-time job working 8:30-5:30 as a Tech Support Manager to work part-time so that I can find balance and pursue yoga. I want to practice more yoga, study the yogi lifestyle, and teach as often as I am able to. The positive changes that I’ve seen in my life and my way of thinking about my place in the world feel good, and I want to share them with others. I feel it’s my purpose in life to share light with others. The happiest and most fulfilling moments that I can recall in my life, are those when I am giving support and uplifting others who then feel better for it OR working deeply in my art. Singing as teenager in church up on stage making the people happy, training those who needed help in all of the jobs that I’ve ever had, making gifts and art for others. Giving love to those who need it and bringing beauty into my surroundings.

My life is too short, and I’ve spent a lot of time putting my energy toward things that didn’t make me happy or fulfilled. What is the real cost of living this way? If I help someone find yoga, who might benefit from it – maybe I can help be a part of their journey to find the tools to heal their own heart, loosen their stress, release tension and pain in their body, breath better, and live a more balanced and calm existence.

Maybe I can watch them find space where before there was clutter. Maybe I can encourage them on a bad day, or help lift them up.

I don’t know that I’m capable of doing that in a 8:30-5:30 setting, or at least not where I was.  I came home most days drained and exhausted. I just… wasn’t happy. It didn’t feel good. If there are any lessons you take with you off the mat – Know that if something doesn’t feel good it’s okay to make adjustments. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! Now, I’m not saying quit your job tomorrow.. I’m saying, allow yourself to explore opportunities to make a shift. I’m hoping with this change, I’ll be able to shine more often. I want to build peaceful relationships with those around me and become more at balance with the Soul of the World.  I don’t want to fight against my inner nature just to confine myself to expectations of the American Work Culture focused only on financial growth. I will make enough to live, save, and be strategic – and I will pursue being a yogi the rest of the time.

If I need to, I’m sure I can go back. The money hungry are still out there, and I’m sure they will want to eat up my time and abilities if this part of my journey was not meant to last forever.

But that’s the beauty of life, isn’t it? It’s all about the journey, not the destination.

Namaste.