Pursuing a Dream

Life has been good great lately. Sure, I have has some emotional trials over the past few months, but lately things really seem to be falling into place.

I have always been a person to encourage others to follow their heart and pursue their dreams. This time around, I am going to follow a dream of mine… enhancing my yoga practice.

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I have become very passionate about the practice over the past few years.

It has played a beneficial role in my recovery from my… struggles, and continues to be a huge part of my daily life.

I am attending Yoga Lifestyle and Teacher Training at the Red Lotus Yoga Studio in Rochester Hills. One of the application requirements was to submit an essay to give the instructor an idea of who I am and why we want to participate in the program.

I wanted to share mine here 🙂  *Note: some of the content was taken from previous blog entries*

I see my life as a journey. A journey towards health, genuine happiness and living each day to my fullest potential. In life, difficulties are inevitable. Like most people,  I have had my fair share of ups and downs. Although no one likes to admit weaknesses, I believe that acknowledging and committing to overcome personal hardships shows strength and courage.

I started writing my essay with the intention of being discrete about how my passion for yoga truly came to be. Initially, I was going to wait to open up and share my story. However, as I read the words over and over again, I realized that I have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. One of my favorite quotes I recently came across, speaks to me on so many levels. It reads, “I am thankful for my struggle, because without it I wouldn’t have stumbled across my strength”.

Over the years, I have struggled on and off with disordered eating and over exercising. I have worked with some amazing people, and it goes without saying that I would not be where I am today if it were not for their patience and support. As valuable as those people were to my recovery, I believe that my journey back to health and happiness was strongly impacted by something in addition to them… yoga.

In the midst of my difficulties, I was looking for a way to reconnect with myself and find serenity in my life. That was when I was reacquainted with yoga. I practiced occasionally in the past, but it was not until 2012 that I experienced its power for the first time. After a few consistent sessions with an influential teacher, yoga became so much more to me than just a form of exercise and stress relief. I quickly fell in love with the practice and its countless benefits.

Yoga gave me a new and different perspective on many things. When I began practicing, I was introduced to a sense of awareness between my mind, body and spirit that I had never experienced before. This valuable introduction (which was long overdue) not only made me more mindful, but also helped me get a better understanding of what I want out of my life.

Practicing yoga makes me appreciate being in the present moment, and continues to teach me the value of patience and persistence. I have learned that discomfort, both on and off the mat, is temporary if you seek your edge and do not give up.  Although it is not always easy, being mindful has helped me to use my past difficulties as learning experiences and opportunities to grow. Yoga has given me a new sense of assurance in myself, both physically and mentally. This confidence pushes me every day to be the strongest version of myself possible.

Yoga has become a part of my regular routine and is now a huge part of my life. When I learned about the opportunity to take my practice to a new and higher level through the Red Lotus Yoga Lifestyle and Teacher Training program, I felt called to do so. I am ready to advance my own practice and understanding of the yoga lifestyle, and further incorporate it into my daily life.

Vulnerability opens the door to compassion and supportiveness between people. My most influential teachers have been those who are not afraid to open up, show their own vulnerability and share their experiences with their students. Everyone has a story, and there is something beautiful about embracing that. My ultimate goal upon completing this program is to introduce the life-changing benefits of the yoga practice with people by teaching my own classes. I want to share my experiences, in hopes of inspiring and helping others who may have gone through similar struggles as myself. I have found yoga to be one of the best things that I can do for my mind, body and overall wellbeing, and it would be an honor to be able to share that.

 

Om

 Namaste

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Lent – Commitment & Changes

This past Wednesday (Ash Wednesday) kicked off the 2014 Lenten Season. Since (most) Christians know what this spiritual season represents, I am not going to go into exactly what it all entails.

When a lot of people think of Lent, they think of having to “give up” something they love until Easter Sunday. I have to be honest, each year I try to give something up… each year I usually end up forgetting about it 😦 I know, I know, that sounds bad… and I actually feel guilty writing that!)

Over the past two years, I have grown immensely in my faith… So this Lenten season, I am going to fully commit myself to not only giving something up, but also making a few personal changes to better my life.

ITEM TO GIVE UP
Gum… Yes that sounds goofy, but believe it or not, giving up gum is going to be difficult for me. Chewing gum is a weird “go-to” habit I have… whether it be after a meal, wanting fresh breath, if I am feeling anxious or bored, if I want to avoid over-eating/drinking, etc. I find myself resorting to it.

I have noticed how much gum I chew, and I realized it’s time to ditch it from my daily routine! So, I am going to give it up for Lent. I’m hoping that after Lent I am going to realize that chewing gum isn’t really anything exciting and just nix the habit all together.

*Disclaimer… I am allowing myself to have mints/mouthwash lol. No one likes coffee breath*

THINGS TO CHANGE
As I mentioned in my last post, I have had a lot of changes in my life over the course of the past several months. Despite the excitement, joy and fun that have come along with these changes, there has been a lot of stress involved as well. I have been thinking a lot over the past couple weeks about some personal adjustments that need to be made in my life, to make me the happiest, healthiest person that I can be. These changes are not something that can be done once, and everything will be perfect… I am talking about LIFESTYLE CHANGES!

Simple Change #1: Break the routine (again)
Some of the challenges I have dealt with over the past several years (I believe) have made me prone to become a creature of habit. I easily get comfortable, and just settle with what I am used to…whether it be good or bad for my well-being.

It is so easy to get stuck in your day-to-day routine. Every day I can pretty much pinpoint what I am going to do at different times during the day. From waking up, projects at work, meals, after work activities, going to bed…It gets old after awhile. Starting now, I am going to challenge myself to work on being open to new ideas, trying new things, going to new places, broadening my horizons. This is a lifestyle change that I am going to carry on beyond Lent. Obviously I understand that my life is not going to be filled with adventures every day… but even little things like trying a new recipe, taking the puppies on a new route for our walks, is a good place to start.

Think about: what minor changes can you make in your life that will make you a happier, healthier person? Is there something you would like to give up…a habit, an attitude, a certain “comfort zone”? Or is there something you would like to add back in to your life to make it more fulfilling?

20 Ways to LOVE Your Body!

Happy 2014! A new year brings new experiences and new opportunities. Regardless of your past, and what you may have been through, allow yourself the chance to make some changes in your life.

I found this list “TWENTY WAYS TO LOVE YOUR BODY”, and thought that it was a great reminder of how important it is to take care of yourself… both physically and emotionally. I highly recommend going through these twenty points, and asking yourself what you are going to do to be the healthiest, happiest person that you can be!

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Twenty Ways To Love Your Body

  1. Think of your body as the vehicle to your dreams.  Honor it.  Respect it.  Fuel it.
  2. Create a list of all the things your body lets you do.  Read it and add to it often.
  3. Become aware of what your body can do each day.  Remember it is the instrument of your life, not just an ornament.
  4. Create a list of people you admire:  people who have contributed to your life, your community, or the world.  Consider whether their appearance was important to their success and accomplishments.
  5. Walk with your head held high, supported by pride and confidence in yourself as a person.
  6. Don’t let your weight or shape keep you from activities that you enjoy.
  7. Wear comfortable clothes that you like, that express your personal style, and that feel good to your body.
  8. Count your blessings, not your blemishes.
  9. Think about all the things you could accomplish with the time and energy you currently spend worrying about your body and appearance.  Try one!
  10. Be your body’s friend and supporter, not its enemy.
  11. Consider this:  your skin replaces itself once a month, your stomach lining every five days, your liver every six weeks, and your skeleton every three months.  Your body is extraordinary—begin to respect and appreciate it.
  12. Every morning when you wake up, thank your body for resting and rejuvenating itself so you can enjoy the day.
  13. Every evening when you go to bed, tell your body how much you appreciate what it has allowed you to do throughout the day.
  14. Find a method of exercise that you enjoy and do it regularly. Don’t exercise to lose weight or to fight your body. Do it to make your body healthy and strong and because it makes you feel good.  Exercise for the Three F’s: Fun, Fitness, and Friendship.
  15. Think back to a time in your life when you felt good about your body.  Loving your body means you get to feel like that again, even in this body, at this age.
  16. Keep a list of 10 positive things about yourself—without mentioning your appearance.  Add to it daily!
  17. Put a sign on each of your mirrors saying, “I’m beautiful inside and out.”
  18. Search for the beauty in the world and in yourself.
  19. Consider that, “Life is too short to waste my time hating my body this way.”
  20. Eat when you are hungry.  Rest when you are tired.  Surround yourself with people that remind you of your inner strength and beauty.

Compiled By: Margo Maine, PhD
Source: NEDA Website