wellness

Do Hard Things!

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You have to do hard things to be happy in life. And doing the hard things is a skill to be honed.  At the basic level, it’s the ability to overcome distractions and get the right things done, even if you don't want to in that moment.  Doing hard things is a sacrifice and one that may not offer immediate satisfaction. However, you need to trust that those hard things are going to help get you where you want to be.  And in order to excel, live your dreams and be your best, you need to do the things no one else is willing to do. The things others can’t do for you. The things that make you question how much longer you can hold on and push forward. That's when you know you're on the right path. If your dreams don't frighten, they arent big enough.  

When I wanted to open a yoga studio, everyone thought I was crazy. They asked, how are you going to pull that off? Do you have enough money? Why leave a good and stable job in education, a pension? But I didn't care what other people said, I new what was right for me and trusted that the Universe had my back.  

Was opening a business easy? Absolutely not. Was it scary at times? Definitely. It's hard to quit a job and move forward into the unknown. I spent 2 years in limbo wondering what the hell had I done. However, I was able to figure it out, because if there is a will there's a way. Things weren't and still aren't perfect, I have challenges like anyone else, but I embrace each challenge in stride and continue on my path, unwilling to give up or back down. The hard things are what lead you to where you are meant to be, you just have to be willing to take the risk, have patience, and faith that it will all work out.

Those hard things in life are what define us.  Taking the risk and doing hard things is the difference between existing and living… between knowing our path and walking our path. It's the difference between an average life and the living the life of our dreams, filled with success and happiness.

Most people avoid the hard things, they procrastinate, make excuses or pretend like they somehow don’t apply to their life or situation. However, the truth is that ordinary people can achieve immense success and happiness if they are willing to step out of their comfort zones and do the hard things that others don’t have the courage, drive or determination to do.

I dare you to stop sitting back and watching your life happen and take control.  Start doing those hard things TODAY. I guarantee, you will be amazed at how strong and remarkable you really are and just how amazing your life can be.

Change is in the Air

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Have you noticed that constant change is the one sure thing in life? Yet, so many of us fear and resist change. Have you ever wondered why we are so afraid of change? What can we do to embrace it?

Just as the seasons change and the leaves change color, every cell in our bodies change.  We grow up, grow old, grow apart… Change is all around us. So why haven’t we gotten used to it by now.

Spring is a reminder of change- it’s about rebirth, renewal, and regrowth. Since change is inevitable, why not take the opportunity to embrace it.  Maybe if we can better understand that, than we can accept changes more easily as they take place.

I’ll be the first to admit that change is hard for me. I am very type A. I like plans, routines, consistency… so when changes occur, they throw me off and I have difficulty managing.

Over the years, I have spent a lot of time trying to get better at embracing changes; not dwelling or hanging on, but letting go.  This idea continues to show up on my mat and in my teaching recently, as I have gone through some pretty major changes.

For me, yoga has been a tremendous gift.  Practicing for over a decade has helped me to continue to cope with some major changes and hardships in my life. Yoga has taught me some valuable lessons of embracing change. Every time I get on my mat, something new arrives- I observe it, accept it and work with it. It may be a physical discomfort from holding a challenging pose, or maybe it’s finally mastering a pose I’ve been working on. Whatever it is, I remember to breathe and embraces the feelings and sensations that come along with the changes I am noticing.

Through my yoga practice, I’ve noticed that the more I try to resist change, the more it persists. This happens because we’re putting too much emphasis and energy on the things we should be getting rid of; instead of the things that are trying to manifest in our lives. When we dwell, the thing we need the least stays around longer and takes up a more substantial part of our life, until we allow ourselves to let whatever it is go and move on.

When we embrace change, whether in our body, life, work or relationships, we allow the energy to flow on its own accord. Even if it creates some discomfort in our lives for the time being, the sooner we accept it, the sooner it shall pass.  When we get rid of things that are weighing us down, when we release negative energy and toxins in our lives that hold us back, we can start to open ourselves up for all that the universe has to offer us and better embrace the path we are on. We don't’ always see what is ahead of us because we are being blocked, but when we let go amazing things can happen and new doors will begin to open.

No one ever said life was easy and sometimes you have to take the good with the bad. Well, let’s not dwell in the bad. Let’s keep moving forward. When looking in the rearview mirror of life, watch the past drift away and move forward with open eyes and an open heart to all that the future holds.  

If you have a regular yoga practice, or even if you just started, you too can enjoy enjoy some of the valuable lessons that yoga has to offer.

Hope to see you on your mat soon!

Namaste.

 

5 Reasons To Check Out Empower Yoga

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If you're new to yoga or you've been practicing for many years, welcome home.

Our studio provides a space where students can connect, learn, support, hold one another accountable, and celebrate each other. It’s a place you can call home.

Here are just a few of the things that make Empower Yoga so special!

Community vibe-

I think that one of the most important things Empower Yoga has to offer is it’s community. Community defined simply is a place for gathering. But Empower Yoga is more than that. It’s a place where hearts can connect, where people can come share their passion for yoga, where positive interactions can take place and where relationships can develop.

At Empower Yoga everyone works together to support, encourage, and nurture one another. From sharing the big moments, falling out of poses, laughing, joking, etc. we all know that "we're in this together."

A place to learn-

Empower Yoga is a great place to grow your practice. Each student has an opportunity to move deeper into their practice both mentally and physically.  Through our focus on alignment, adjustments, and meaningful meditations, students can can gain great insight from our experienced teachers.

While each teacher comes from a different background or experience, we all share our love of teaching. With each teacher’s special talents, gifts, & unique teaching style, tremendous growth and development can take place.

Accountability-

Empower Yoga offers accountability and camaraderie in sticking with goals. For example, our January Challenge- 21 yoga classes in 31 days!

Where transformation occurs-

A community of yogis creates a powerful energy in the room.  When the lights are dim, and the music is playing, a transition to an intimate encounter within yourself takes place.  It’s easy to turn off the noise in your head, responsibilities, and instead focusing on your breath and well being while experiencing an elated state of gratitude.

We learn, we grow, we breathe, & we become!

The little things make Empower Yoga-

The staff takes the time to learn people’s names, the teachers “mix it up” in their routines so no two classes or playlists are exactly alike, and the studio is always nice and clean. Plus we give out cool eucalyptus towels at the end of class!

We hope you’ll come visit us soon. We know you won't be disappointed.

Nurture Yourself

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Are you feeling a little tired and rundown? Then it is time to take a day out of your busy schedule to nurture yourself and show yourself a little self love. It’s good for the mind body, and soul.  So turn off your cell phone, cancel your plans, and make some time for the most important person in your world – YOU.

A day for YOU:

Steps to having a great day!

  1. When you get up, start your day with a big smile and thank the Universe for the gift of another day, another chance and new opportunities. Then start your day with a little mediation or mindful breathing- slowly inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.  Imagine your breath nourishing and renewing your body. Let go of stuck energy and anything that isn’t serving you and then imagine all the toxins leaving your body.

  2. Opt away from coffee and instead squeeze some lemon in a mug of hot water.  This further helps you to eliminate toxins in your body and gives your skin a healthy glow.

  3. Now either roll out your yoga mat (visit Empower Yoga), go for a run (or walk) outdoors, or go for a swim. This is your moment to connect with your breath and your mind. Exercise is a great way to clear the mind and gives you energy.

  4. After your morning exercise enjoy a delicious smoothie. I love going to my favorite juice place (Tico’s Juice Bar) for one or I’ll make one at home. I like to add greens (kale or spinach), banana, pb, chia seeds, hemp seed, and coconut water to my smoothies and then blend it all up!! Yum!

  5. Take a bath, maybe add some bubbles, light some candles, and/or relax with a good book. Enjoy the simple pleasure of just being in the moment.

  6. Dress in comfy clothes and plan a leisurely walk in the park. When there, maybe stop to journal on a bench (start a new gratitude journal)  or just stop to look around and appreciate all the beauty that surrounds you.  

  7. Lunchtime make yourself a nourishing salad that will feed your mind, body and soul. My personal favorite is spinach or baby kale; avocado, baby tomatoes, cucumbers, and some grilled chicken with a little oil and balsamic vinegar.

  8. Spend the afternoon in self love. Burn your favorite essential oils, play some of your favorite tunes, and set your creative inspiration free. Maybe create a vision board, setting some goals for yourself, create a bucket list, or just start to declutter an area of your home you’ve been putting off. Get rid of what you don’t need and make room for good things to come.

  9. In the evening, enjoy a delicious meal- maybe some hearty soup. After, unwind with a cup tea (my favorite is raspberry) and climb into bed.

  10. Before you fall asleep, revisit your new gratitude journal and write down three things that you are grateful for. Close your eyes, take a mindful breath, and get lost in your dreams.

 

Keep the Past in the Past

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It’s time to let go of your past.  

I've had many sleepless nights. Nights when I was so worried about something that had happened and that I let it dictate my future. We’ve all been there at some point. You're not alone.

Whether it’s something small (i.e saying something you wish you hadn't) or something big (i.e a divorce, death, job loss), harping on negative experiences is painful and can cause so much unneeded stress and anxiety.   

We need to not dwell on the past and think about something more positive.  Here are some ways to help:

1. Learn from the past and move on.

Not all experiences we have will be good. However there is something to be learned from them all.  Take time to reflect on your experiences and use them as a tool for self reflection so that you can learn and grow but don't dwell on them.  Dwelling to much on things keeps the negativity around.  

2. Express yourself.

It’s good to talk about your feelings. Don’t keep them bottled up inside.  Whether it’s talking to the individual who has harmed you (or who you harmed), venting to a friend or writing it down, expressing your feelings can assist you in sorting out what, if anything, needs to be done to move on.

3. Accept Responsibility for your actions.

Sometimes when things happen, we don’t always accept responsibility for our actions. We get defensive, and we want to play the victim.  The problem is, blaming others harbors anger and prevents you from moving forward. Accept responsibility for what happened and move on.

4. Focus on the present.

One of the best ways to let go of your past is to embrace the present. Instead of reliving the past, keep yourself active and enjoy the current moment.

Be mindful- enjoy time with people you love and doing the things you love (i.e. going to dinner, running, taking a yoga class, having coffee with friends, etc.).  Accept that negative feelings are a part of life, but you can choose to look at the positive and make your own happiness.

5. Disconnect for a while.

Allow yourself to take some time away so that you can clear your head. Maybe meditate, find a quiet spot to read, head to the beach (my favorite place to disconnect). When you return, you’ll have a better perspective on the past and look more positive towards the future..

6. Let go of negative people in your life.

Are there people in your life who are bringing you down? Are they preventing you from moving forward?  Move away from these people to find more positive people who will empower you. Meet people at your gym, yoga studio, running group, etc.

7. Practice forgiveness of both yourself and others.

We’re all human and we make mistakes. Forgiveness is essential to spiritual growth.  If you’ve been hurt by someone, harboring feelings of anger or animosity just perpetuates the problem and continues to make you angry, forgive and move on.  While you’re at it, forgive yourself too.  Its ok to make mistakes, as long as you're learning from them, cut yourself some slack.

8. Make new memories.

Start making new, positive memories to replace those negative memories from your past. Spend your time with the people you love, and doing the things that bring you happiness and peace.  

 

Here's to living in the NOW!!

 

Break Up With Your Poor Body Image!

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Most of us are not very kind to ourselves, myself included. When we look into the mirror we hate what we see. We think things like - I am fat, I’ve got a big head, big butt, small breasts, big breasts, too many curves, not enough curves etc… whatever it may be, we always find something wrong.  However, coming face-to-face with ourselves and confronting these negative beliefs can be one of the most difficult things, yet one of the most critical steps in our journey to true self-awareness and self-love.

Negative beliefs and feelings about ourselves can be really persistent. Often these ideas have been deeply ingrained into our psyche since childhood. As a result, we think these things or say things to ourselves without even realizing it.   We also may not  understand how these negative thought patterns are affecting us, our relationships and our life.  However, now is the time for these negative thoughts to end. We need to acknowledge these old beliefs, bringing awareness to them so that we can let go of all the negative thought patterns that hold us down. By letting go of them for good, we can begin to love and accept ourselves more and help ourselves move on.

We need to stop fixating and focusing on what it is about our bodies that we don’t like and begin to find things we do like, so we can begin to feel more confident in our skin.

The more time we spend being negative about our body image, the more all of our thoughts turn to the negative. Some believe that focusing on their flaws will help motivate them to make changes to their lives, but often it doesn’t.  Motivation comes from compassion and gratitude. Critical and negative thoughts stress and depress us, making motivation to change harder. So the more positive you are with your body, the better you will feel emotionally and physically.

I have struggled with body image and eating disorders from a very early age, and to this day I still feel insecure at times. However, I have gotten much better and have begun to embrace my body and let my poor body image go and you can too.

Here are some ways to help you improve your body image and confidence.

  • In order to overcome negative body image – forget about what society portrays as “normal” or “attractive” and do what is right for you, your life and your body type. Do you often compare yourself to the men and women you see in magazines? Remember, those people/celebrities are not “average” people. Celebrities have an entire team of people who make sure they eat right, exercise and take care of their skin and hair just so they can look better on camera. In many cases they are even photoshopped.

  • Don’t be mean to yourself or anyone else. What you think about others are often the same thoughts you use when you judge yourself. Stop looking to compare yourself to others or put someone down to make yourself feel better. The more you do that, the more your preoccupation about your looks and can reach very unhealthy levels.

  • Forget about a diet. It's all about healthy choices and moderation. People who constantly diet have a higher risk of developing eating disorders and are more likely to binge eat which will then cause a domino effect of physical and mental health issues (i.e. depression & anxiety). Plus, most people cannot sustain a diet so they’ll gain back the weight they lost or gain more. Eating right, regular exercise and sleeping are your weight control keys to success!

  • Instead of spending so much time obsessing over your outer self/appearance, consider focusing your attention on other things… how smart you are, the talents you have, hobbies etc… You have a lot to offer the world.  

  • Know and accept your body. Maybe you inherited your mother’s hips or your father’s broad shoulders. Our genetics play a huge role in our unique body type. Everyone is different. Learning to love and accept our bodies and let go of things we cannot change, is the first step in working with our particular body size and shape.

  • If you’re overweight or out of shape and want to take up yoga, running, biking, build more lean muscle mass, etc... know that progress takes time. So set reasonable and realistic goals for yourself and remember healthy weight loss is considered by experts to be one pound per week. So over the course of a year, you can lose more than 50 pounds! Losing weight the healthy way increases your chances of keeping it off for good!

  • Celebrate you. Love yourself, respect yourself and appreciate all the wonderful things about you. This will help to make you more confident, increase your self-esteem and make you more attractive to others. Remember, you are more than a number on the scale. You are not defined by how many inches your waist is, your clothing size, or  whether or not you have six-pack abs. You are unique and special, embrace it. Be your biggest fan!

Remember that your body is the only body you’ll ever have. It’s the one body you were given and it does so much for you each day. It allows you to live, love, help others and make a difference in the world. Begin today by treating your body with a little more respect!