It’s live: living in the moment

2f2990c3f9bb359010ba2caf95fab3c2 The alarm went off at 5:05 a.m. “Hot yoga or more time in my warm, cozy bed?” That was the question at this early hour. I didn’t get to bed as early as I had planned. Who am I kidding, I never do. At least it was before midnight. After the alarm’s sound and a couple of snooze hits, I tossed and thought about skipping my morning mat time with the rest of the early bird yogis at Barefoot Studio. “Nah, get up. You won’t regret it. Come on!,” said my inner voice.

I’m glad I went, of course. Nothing like a good sweat and power flow to start the day as the sun rises. Instructor Marcus always prefaces the class with how the music might tie in to the practice. Today it was all live music. Whenever your mind starts wandering, imagine you’re at whatever live show is playing, he said. Get lost in that moment like you would at a show as the band ignites whistles, applause and “woohoos” among the crowd.

We get so busy living in our heads and wherever our bouncy thoughts take us. We obsess over the past, how we might have done things differently, or jump ahead to the future and how much we want something not yet attained. We forget about the present moment. I was reminded today to enjoy the very moment I’m breathing and honor all the moments that led me here to the now.

It’s a new day, a new month. Lots of moments to live. Enjoy.

Note to self: I give you permission.

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A segment on entrepreneurship happened to be on the air today while I was driving along. This part hit me … the “crazy” doesn’t begin with the idea. It begins after you give yourself permission to follow your dreams and in the midst of the doing part. The biggest hurdle we all face is that mass between our ears – our head and the debilitating thoughts that stop us in our tracks. The timing of this radio interview couldn’t have come at a better time. The same theme was touched on during a meeting I attended this week.

“Give yourself permission.” I love that statement. So many of us grow up with the idea that it’s best to follow the status quo. We don’t know any differently. Go to college, get a good job, save what you can, retire. I followed that path, and I as a full-time writer, I enjoy what I do. Living paycheck to paycheck, though, I needed a change. And I realized I couldn’t wait for that raise or “perfect” job that would offer me more money. I had to make it happen. I’m giving myself permission to acknowledge what’s been brewing inside for a long time – my passion for health & wellness and the desire to share it with others. I realized this opportunity is the vehicle that will allow me to pursue other dreams, such as the publishing company that I licensed two years ago.

The other night I met with my Arbonne team in the comfort of one of our Regional Vice President’s home. I became an independent consultant in April to share the pure, safe and beneficial products. Friends and family were asking me about the nutritional supplements I had been using on the clean-eating challenge, so I figured I might as well sign up and be compensated for my recommendations and enjoy a healthy discount. The business plan looked intriguing, but my fears set in. “Oh, that’s good for other people. Sure, she did it, but I don’t think it’s for me. What will people think of me? What if it doesn’t work? I don’t like selling things. I don’t like standing in front of people.”

I still face those fears daily, but my belief in what I’m doing and sharing keeps me going. After signing up in April, I simply kept talking about my favorite products or would recommend something relative to casual conversation. I’ve been honest. I’ve been real. And guess what? I just promoted to the next level – District Manager! I was recognized at the meeting and also asked to give my “Why”.

IMG_7109The five ladies pictured with me above have inspired and supported my journey soooo very much in their special ways. I’m so grateful for their friendships and belief in me. My mom (camera-shy mom) is my biggest cheerleader. She wants this venture for me so badly and does whatever she can to help.

As I reflect on the past four years since my divorce (which left me with a lot of debt to take on), I realize I had been missing four major needs: choice, freedom, connection and flow. All four of those things are back in my life since discovering Arbonne. I feel and look better. I have more confidence. I’m learning new things every day about myself and the world of health & wellness. I’ve made new friends and work with women who support me. We believe in each other and praise each others’ successes. My life is flowing more naturally, and I’m feeling more grounded in all facets because I’m sharing my light with others. Fear of rejection used to have a leading role in my life. I have faced rejection a lot over the past six months. But  the “yeses” and connections with people who I never dreamed would see the value in what I’ve taken on far outweigh those rejections.

I have no idea where the journey is leading. But, as I know to be true in yoga, the unknown is a beautiful thing. Each time you step on the mat, you never know what you’ll learn, see and experience. As long as I continue fueling my health & wellness interest, I can’t go wrong. Same goes for you. Thoughts and over-thinking are what kill our dreams. Do what you love and I believe your individual life’s journey will present itself just how it’s meant to be.

My yoga moment

A few weeks ago, YogaGlo – an online yoga service for at-home practice – asked for stories sharing “aha” yoga moments. The Facebook call to action also said you could mention your yoga studio and they would share that link as well. I love my hometown yoga studio and thought, “why not?” Maybe inspire someone and give some love to Barefoot Studio – a win-win.

I submitted my story and had forgotten about it until this morning. I get notifications from YogaGlo when they update on Facebook. I liked the quote on the photo they shared: “The beauty of yoga is you never fail. You do what you can in that given moment. Nothing more, nothing less.” Then I realized that was my quote! They shared my lil story. (They did misspell my last name, but oh well.)

I was having a bad morning. This added some spring back in my step. Only, I’m strapped to my computer pretty much all day, so I’ll have to get springy and do some celebratory yoga later 🙂

Clarity of mind & body

From the time we enter this world, women are inundated with images – on TV, in the movies, in magazines – of what the ideal female body should look like. We hear our moms talk about dieting and see them trying the latest exercise trend. Then we get older, our bodies start changing, we start having the thoughts “am I fat? will this make me fat?” and we become each other’s worst critics. Nearly every women’s magazine has some sort of weight loss tip on its cover. We compare ourselves to supermodels, celebrities and athletes. We obsessively count calories, even if where those calories come from isn’t a priority. We judge people by how big they are on the outside rather than how delightful they may be on the inside.

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I’ve seen those dear to me suffer from eating disorders. I’ve had my own self-deprecating thoughts about my body. I’m guilty of exercising to compensate for an indulgence, eating a Nutri-grain bar and apple for lunch in junior high because I was afraid of becoming overweight, and frankly, just being too hard on myself as I tried to live up to societal standards.

For about two months now, I’m proud to say I haven’t had many (if at all) self-deprecating thoughts about my body. I haven’t felt the need to over-exercise to compensate for my diet. I haven’t found myself comparing my body to ones I know aren’t realistically attainable for me. I’m tall with long limbs. I can’t help genetics. I run but don’t win every race. I practice yoga but am limited in my twisting, back-bending and flexibility. I stand tall because I can. I keep practicing running and yoga because I can. I may never be the fastest or you may never see my picture on a yoga site displaying some advanced pose. That’s okay.

What you will see is someone comfortable in the freedom she has from making eating & exercise choices right for her. People do the 28-day clean eating challenge for different reasons. I entered the journey because I physically wasn’t feeling good. I was tired of my stomach hurting, feeling gut heavy and bloated after I ate. I was tired of that awful crash feeling when I became hungry.

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When I first was into the clean eating challenge, a dear friend expressed concern about it leading to an eating disorder. A valid, solid point, she made. I can see how following an eating plan might lead down that unhealthy slippery slope. I keep that in mind constantly and check in with myself to make sure whatever choice I’m making is for the right reason and not some superficial, shallow standard.

Fad diets and those that use harmful chemicals in their products and food make me crazy. They don’t address real health issues. They appeal to women’s insecurities about being skinny. They condone the unhealthy culture that teaches it doesn’t matter what you put in your body. All that matters is whether it will make you thin. For a time, maybe. Who cares about long-term health?

There has been a lot of talk recently about gluten – it’s a made-up problem, it’s just a trend, there’s no scientific evidence that such a thing as gluten intolerance exists … celiac’s disease, yes, but gluten intolerance, no. Gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley & rye and lots of other items, is one of the substances you eliminate during the 28-day challenge that I support. Along with dairy, soy, whey and artificial sweeteners. These substances have been known to slow digestion and elimination as well as contribute to other uncomfortable bodily situations. I’m not claiming to be an expert. All I can tell you is by eliminating those things, I was able to restore my digestive functions, my scalp & skin conditions improved, groggy feelings disappeared, bloating after eating became non-existent and I noticed my thought process became clearer as well as my writing (which is a plus since that’s what I get paid to do for a living!). And best of all, because of the support + suggested recipes I received, I NEVER felt deprived. Food actually tasted better. I still follow the eating plan for the most part, and when I do have processed food, it doesn’t even taste good to me anymore.

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If you’re considering the challenge for weight loss, I share my mom’s story. My mom, who has become overweight for her small 5’4″ frame, recently completed the challenge. She lost 9 pounds over the four weeks. She called me yesterday happily surprised that she was down another 6 pounds, which means that during the week after the challenge was over she lost that additional weight. Mom is smart. She’s a math professor by trade and is an avid reader of all things. One area she keeps up with is the medical and health world. She pointed out she knows she will continue to lose weight because she eliminated toxins during the 28 days. And when you eliminate toxins, inflammation, excess weight and fat can dissipate.

In case this is your first time tuning in, the 28-day clean eating/detox program I tout uses Arbonne pure, safe & beneficial products + support from Arbonne real, genuine people like me ;). The Arbonne program is in line with Dr. Oz’s clean detox program.

Several friends have expressed something like this to me over the years: “I just don’t understand. I’ve been exercising and eating healthy. I just can’t lose weight.” I share with them and you the 411 on weight loss:

How and when weight loss occurs varies for each person. Everyone comes into the detox with a different level of toxicity, a different genetic history, and different hormonal patterns. For many, the body will not begin to reduce inflammation and release extra weight until it has found balance through the cleansing process. 

Excess weight is often a result of consuming foods that do not work for the body, resulting in poor digestion and toxic overload. Detox helps the body re-balance itself and help repair the damage done by years of poor habits. When you lose weight without doing this important foundational work, the weight loss typically doesn’t last. It also doesn’t bring about the increased vitality, that in the end is what we really want.

How you feel is a more accurate measure of success. Instead of numbers on the scale, focus on your energy level, sleep patterns, digestion, elimination, mood and clarity of thought. And that’s what it’s all about.

I have found I love inspiring others to find their gut bliss, happy place. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you’re interested or have more questions about this life-changing challenge. As one of my “bootcampers” said, “The stewing is a lot harder than the doing.”

Happy living!

 

Levitating

Now that I’ve got this planning for dinner/cooking thing down (well, at least better than I did a month ago 😉 ), I am getting back to my regular yoga/exercise schedule.

I hadn’t been to From the Ground Up – a Tuesday night workshop-style class that focus on arm balances and inversions – since before the Arbonne 28-day cleaning/detox challenge. Busy work schedule + giving more thought to my dinners than ever resulted in some sacrifices.

I was debating run or yoga this evening. I had hoped to do both, but ran out of time – no pun intended.

I had one of those AHA! moments in yoga and am glad I opted for the mat instead of the pavement. The west studio is so peaceful. Located just a little way outside the city hustle surrounded by horses and fields, it’s a nice retreat from everyday life.

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David, the instructor, asked us what we wanted to work on. Someone said crow pose. I was thinking the same thing and eagerly nodded. I also suggested hurdler’s pose. Looks something like this:

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We warmed up our wrists with some stretching/rolling/bending exercises, then our core and our legs. We worked on crow probably about 15 times, each at our own pace. The neat thing about this class is unlike a vinyasa class where you keep moving and then maybe lead up to an arm balance toward the end, this class nearly spends the entire hour on the chosen pose. After holding crow longer than I ever have (yay!), David talked us through the steps toward hurdler’s pose.

I felt fearful and embarrassed for even bringing it up, worried that I’d fall on my face. All day I’ve kept at heart a photo Breezy (yoga studio owner and Arbonne leader) tagged me in earlier in the day.

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Do something every day that scares you. This was it. I pointed my toes to help strengthen my legs and booty as much as possible, kept my shoulders closed, my elbows in like you would in chataranga, my tummy muscles tight – all while breathing! After a few, okay maybe six, tries, I was suspended in the air! “Way to go, champ,” is what I heard on my second successful try, which was on the OTHER side. Sometimes I’m able to get into a pose on one side but not so much on the other. Bodies are funny like that. Tonight I was balanced, strong and ready. Ready to face my fear of looking funny, falling or failing. The beauty of yoga is you never fail. You do what you do in that given moment. Nothing more, nothing less. The important thing is “whatever you did, you did it,” as Breezy always says.

Next time, I’ll have to catch this pose on camera for proof.

Namaste 🙂

Another day

Today is one of those days. The kind where you want to roll the covers back over your head. I fell asleep last night without setting my alarm for my workout class that’s become a Wednesday morning tradition. When I woke up with the sun beaming through my windows, I knew I had missed the beat. Usually, on these days, I wake when the sun is barely peeping. I look forward to this class every week.

One of my best childhood friends had a stroke the other day. She lives far away, and that’s been heavy on my mind. She’s active and healthy. Why?

I haven’t been able to go to yoga this week. Boy do I need it!

This week is the busier week of the month at work because it’s press week. It’s been especially more difficult to juggle things in the midst of the detox.

Silver linings:

My mom cooked my detox-friendly meal tonight. I shopped for the ingredients during lunch and brought them to her. It was really nice to have the meal already prepared when I got home. I’m a lucky daughter.

My gym didn’t dock me for missing the class (it’s one of those places you have to pre-register) and I can use the credit another day.

I’m very grateful for all the support and encouraging words I’ve received regarding this clean eating challenge and blog. Thank you, new followers for clicking that “follow” button 🙂

I’m fueling my body with delicious food that doesn’t make my belly ache or leave me feeling heavy.

The days are longer and the extra sunshine is much needed on off days like today.

I have the physical ability to practice yoga, challenge myself in tough workouts or enjoy the springtime air on a walk.

Just writing this makes me realize it’s just a day. I’m in this right and perfect place at this right and perfect time. If I didn’t have contrast, I wouldn’t realize how nice things can be.

Outside the mat

I love when I’m able to make what’s become one my favorite yoga classes. From the Ground Up teaches us that before you can go into handstand, crow or any other type of inversion, you have to first get in touch with the basics. I mean really get in touch through breathing and the core connection, or “belly” as we often say. It all begins with the basic movements of sun salutation, emphasizing closed shoulders, hands grounded and active, engaged bellies.

It’s been amazingly challenging and fun! I felt like I was a kid playing in gym class tonight. Only with a lot more integrity and concentration on that ever-so-important exhale accompanied with that belly power that guides the rest of your body’s movements.

Yay for heart-opening, eye-opening and powerful practices that really make you think and do outside the usual comforts of your mat.

Namaste 🙂