3 Things To Help Stay Positive

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t know about you, but for me, staying positive in these challenging times is difficult. It is the combination of political unrest, violence, hatred, deadly virus, masks, a new school schedule.  And we could add a few more things to that list as it pertains to our personnel life. Ugh! Take a deep breath. So, what are you doing to keep a healthy frame of mind midst the chaos?

Here are a few things that help me:

  1. Practice Thought Awareness: I try to be mindful of the thoughts that are running through my head, which are a lot all the time. I’m sure you can relate. For the most part if you can be aware of what you’re thinking, you’ll know when you in the negative zone. The important part is to release judgement. Allow yourself to think whatever you need to, note it, then let it go, just like that. I know it sounds simplistic and not in a good way. However, know that each thought releases a chemical composition. If you’re holding on to negative thoughts that negativity is building up in your body, affecting your overall health and wellbeing. Ask yourself, is it worth it? When your in the negative zone nothing is right. so be mindful or your thoughts.
  2. Pamper yourself:  Make time to give your body love and attention. What thing does not thrive with a little love and attention? Plants, pets, a house, a child, etc. Our bodies are no different. I love to give myself a mani/pedi. I take time in the shower to soften my feet with a pumice rock. Then afterwards I turn on a fun romantic comedy as I finish working on my toes and fingers. I follow the with a nice foot massage using Burt Bee’s hand salve. The next day I feel like a million bucks. There is something to sending time giving your body love and attention that soothes the soul, perhaps it’s because your body is the scared temple for your soul? Connecting with yourself through grooming will always brighten my mood.
  3. Get Rest: We’ve all had those days. You’ve had enough and it’s only seven o’clock. You’re mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted and life looks bleak. When we’re exhausted its difficult to see any good in anything. Trust me I’ve been there. When you’re feeling like this, it is not the time to ponder the future or make major decisions, its time to go to bed! People underestimate the negative impact of not getting proper rest. It taints everything you do, think and say and not in a positive way. Next time you have one of those days, do what I do. I make the decision that I am done for the day. First thing I do is turn off my phone I am officially offline, and I leave it in downstairs to charge. I disconnect from electronical devices. I get myself ready for bed. A hot shower is always a good way to calm the nervous system and soothe the spirit. I get into bed and read something inspirational and uplifting. I always have uplifting material on my nightstand that I can easily get to. Reading inspiring text, even if it’s a book of quotes, infuses the spirit with hope.

One of my favorite quotes, because its true is “Self-care is our divine responsibility”. If you’re having a day when everything and everyone is pissing you off, then maybe it’s time to turn inward and take care of yourself. We cannot control what happens to us, however we can control how we respond.

I wish I could tell you that once you do self-care things once or twice, it lasts forever but it doesn’t. Self-care is a vigilant constant. A practice everyday even when you don’t  feel like it. There are days I am better at it than others. One thing I know for sure, on those days I make a conscious effort to take care of my self, I am more even keeled, happier and my outlook on life is more positive.

 

3 Life Lessons From Your Mat

I always tell my students that all our life lessons can be found on our mat. I’ve been practicing yoga for over twenty years and I know this to be true. It sounds very simplistic; however, truth is not complicated.

Lessons #1: Be Present

When you come to your mat, that rectangle (or circle) is your space. It is an area where you can focus on your Self. As a teacher I help bring your attention to your breath, your body, your energy and your Being. When you become aware and connected to different aspects of your Self, you are present. One of the most important cues I give is to notice without judgement. In order to be present, you must release your attachment to judging thoughts. You must learn to simple notice.

Daily Life:  Next time you are in a crowded place or an overwhelming situation, practice being present. Use your awareness to simple notice without judgement. You may discover that the situation is not worth your energy. It adds up to having more energy to give to positive situations in your life.

Lesson #2: Just Breathe

Exhale, Inhale is the phrase I use most. I start all my classes with breathing. I have a few breathing techniques I like to work with throughout the class.  Breathing helps to focus the mind, calm the nervous system and brings large amounts of oxygen into our body.

Daily Life: Next time you are stress out, exhale, inhale!  Take five to ten deep breathes, using your favorite technique. It will calm you down. It’s one of reasons people are instructed to breathe into a bag during a panic attack.  If you feeling overwhelmed, breathing will help you focus on the task at hand. Lastly bringing in lots of oxygen will help you with endurance, especially if you must work those extra couple of hours to get the job done! Just breathe!

Lesson #3: Let Go

This is perhaps the hardest part of the practice for many. Letting go of ego, letting go of tension, letting go of limiting thoughts. I like to give people permission to listen to their body and work at their level. I remind them it is not a competition, not even with your Self.  We let go of limiting thoughts like should or could and replace them with kindness and gratitude. Savasana is a great time to let go, however for many it is difficult to relax and rest. Sometime it is associate with lack of productivity and self-worth. Our mat helps us understand the we must recharge our bodies in order to be productive.

Daily life: Let go of the competition with others and with your Self. Give yourself permission to listen to your body and your state of being. Treat your body with loving kindness and become aware of limiting thoughts that start with should of, could of. Replace them with positive thoughts of gratitude. Even the hardest trials are opportunities for personal growth and wisdom.  Letting go creates space for more worthwhile endeavors. Remember, we are worthy simply because we exist.

Embracing Wellness!

When I look back at all the professions I have been in, there is one common thread: helping people feel good about themselves.

It started with my cosmetology license, continued with a degree in fashion design and then fitness and yoga. It started with the exterior (appearance) and gradually made its way inward (spiritual). I realize it reflects most people’s journey of discovery.

My journey has spanned thirty-five years, and as its unfolded, one thing is clear: mind, body and spirit are integrally connected. You can be fit as a pro, dressed in the lasts garb, and coiffed to the nines, if your inner state is not well…you are not well.

Thich Nhat Hanh tells this parable: “…a man sees a man on a horse rushing by, riding hurriedly. He asks where are you going? The man answers, I don’t know ask the horse!” I’ve spent the better part of my life on that horse and I am not alone.  Many of us hurry through life mindlessly, not exactly sure why or where we are going or what our purpose is.

The mind-body-spirit triangle creates a guide we can use for overall health and well-being. Well-being is defined as the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy. It’s simple and yet there are many areas that are essential in creating this balanced wholeness, as illustrated in the seven dimensions of wellness wheel.

Soon our name company name will change from Be Inspired Fitness and Yoga to Be Inspired Wellness and Yoga. After completing my advanced training program, having an integrated approach our my classes, workshops, retreats, and personal sessions is important.  It is the only approach that will create whole-person wellness and personal balance.

Suddenly helping people feel good about themselves takes on a whole new meaning!

A State of Perfect Happiness

I was introduced to SUP Yoga almost ten years ago. I’d always wanted to learn to surf and the SUP board seemed like a calmer introduction to working with a board. I was immediately hooked. We bought our first board five years ago and we haven’t looked back. Since then I have been practicing yoga and different types of fitness exercises on the board.

There’s nothing like cursing on the lake on a warm summer day, with the calm, cool beauty of the lake. I like to play with various yoga poses. Some work really well, while others I think should be easy, are surprisingly hard. I love a good challenge. It’s so inspiring.

There are so many poses that are so cool on the board. You get all kinds of amazing perspectives. And let’s not forget the transitions! Moving from one pose to another can be challenging too, especially standing poses. You have to move S L O W and really focus.

The whole time you can feel your core engaged as your body continuously finds the right balance. It’s so fluid. After an exploratory flow, I like to experiment with core strengthening exercises.  If I need to cool down, I’ll scoop up palms full of water and throw it on me, or jump in for a quick dip.

The best part is savasana. I paddle my way to the center of the lake, get into corpse pose, close my eyes, let go and JUST FLOAT. I allow myself to go with the flow, holding on to nothing (no thing). I can feel the warmth of the sun on my skin while listening to the sounds of nature as I gently float along. It is pure nirvana-a state of perfect happiness.

What’s your summer nirvana?  I’d love to know…

It Starts with Each One of Us

Recently I was having a conversation with a friend about the current state of affairs. She lamented that even with the great injustice of racism, the looting that came after was inexcusable. I agreed.
She said  “…we haven’t had a Gandhi or Martin Luther King in so long.” I could tell in her voice the anguish of not having a savoir, a living model of non-violence, to protest injustice in a peaceful way.
Years ago when I started my yoga journey, the school I attend had these words on the wall “Heal Yourself, Heal the World”.  I struggled to understand its meaning, but they stayed with me. Periodically I would reflect back on them, researching, trying to understand its deeper meaning.
Fast forward to my current training, after years of teaching and studying I have come to fully understand its meaning.
Our teacher, on the second to last day of our class, addressed the violence that had recently taken place prior to our meeting. She shared her feelings and ended with this realization “…that it starts with each one of us.”  In other words, we are responsible for our own spiritual development and personal growth. On the last day, Dr. Dugliss, the creator of Heart-Based Meditation concluded with  “…as we raise our own vibration, we raise the vibration of the world”, thus heal yourself, heal the world. 
 The essence of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jesus and Buddha is present in all of us. Our guru lives within as Ram Dass discovered. It takes discipline to practice non-violence. In yoga, Ahimsa is one of the Yamas, in the eight-limbs of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra. Yama is the limb of self-restraints, and Ahimsa is the practice of nonviolence. It is inspired by the premise that all living beings have the spark of the divine spiritual energy; therefore, to hurt another being is to hurt oneself. It includes not only physical violence, but hurtful thoughts, deeds, actions and words. We are more powerful than we understand. 
 I recently listened to Gandhi’s autobiography “My Experiments with Truth”. It was one of the most amazing and inspirational stories I have ever listened to. His every thought, word, deed and action was guided by Ahimsa. Even in those times that his life depended on it. Many may think “yeah and see where it got him, he was gunned down.” His accomplishments were unprecedented, he inspired the whole world and still to this day his work is revered.  As the example of my friend​s’​ lament “we have not had a Gandhi in a long time” shows us. The concept of Ahimsa is not exclusive to yogic spiritual principles, it has also been an important part of Christianity and Buddhism.
 It’s easy to feel helpless and overwhelmed by the state of the world at any given time. However we can do our part by making sure we’re doing the necessary internal (spiritual) work, so our thoughts, our actions, and our deeds are not contributing to the mayhem that negativity and violence create​s​.
Let us be co-creators of the world we would like to live in. Gandhi said “be the change you want to see“, it’s the same as heal yourself, heal the world. And it is never too late to start.