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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Aside

Who is your “teacher”?

I regularly attend a Vinyasa yoga class on Wednesday nights. Each week, there is a point at the beginning of class where we set an intention to focus on throughout the practice. This intention can be anything that we choose, whether it be patience, love, strength, happiness, etc.

Last night, we were asked to think about a “teacher” that is highly influential in our life. This teacher could be human, animal, nature, spiritual, literally anything in the world that somehow shapes the person that we are.

The point of picking this teacher, was to imagine that they were there, with us through the duration of our practice. They were there to give us confidence, feed us strength and encourage us to try our best. WearetheSame

I really enjoyed this exercise. There are so many times throughout the day (and I am sure others can relate) that I am hard on myself…too hard. I easily overlook the hard work that I do, and unintentionally focus on the things that bother me. I let these “bothers” outweigh everything else, and that easily sets the tone for how I am feeling. Having my “teacher” of choice there with me throughout the practice to remind me of the ways that I am trying my best and working hard, brought an unexpected feeling of gratitude towards myself.

Although this “teacher” brought me a sense of comfort while on the mat, it also made me think about how we live in a world where we are always seeking approval and acceptance from other people. I have come to realize that we should not need to always seek validation from others, in order to know that we are trying our personal best. YOU are the best person to validate YOUR own actions.   

If I can live each day, giving 110% at everything I do, I cannot be disappointed with any outcome that I may face. Everyone has their struggles, everyone has good days and bad days… the thing that I am working on, is realizing that regardless what each day may bring, I am blessed to be able to experience it.

Namaste ❤ 

WearetheSame


This post was written as a few months ago, and I just found it sitting in my “draft” folder (oops!!). I made a few changes/updates to be more relevant for today!
 Can you tell I have been learning a lot on my mat, which can be applied to the world outside of the yoga studio?!

Here we go again…

I feel a lump in my throat and a knot in my stomach, after some of the conversations that I have had over the past couple weeks.

I have been confronted a few times from my family and others, about my appearance, and concern with my health. As much as I know they care, and have good intentions with these “talks” sometimes I feel that more harm than good is done for me emotionally. Don’t get me wrong, I see and understand the concerns… but I don’t think it is always realized the impact that these words and confrontations can have on me.

I am an emotional person. I dwell on things, and let them linger and really bother me. Writing is a nice outlet for me, but it still does not resolve the fact that my feelings were hurt and I cant seem to let it go. What makes it difficult, is when I can be having a perfectly happy day, and one little comment of conversation puts a HUGE damper on everything. I can’t pretend to brush it off and smile all the time.

It is time for me to be honest with myself.

In 2012, I sought treatment for my struggles after I hit “rock bottom”. This time around, I refuse to let myself get there. Yes, I have been through a lot of life changes over the past several months, but that does not give me good reason to stop taking care of myself.

I have so much to be thankful for…. I have a new home, an amazing boyfriend (who I see a beautiful future with), a loving family, wonderful friends, strong faith, etc. etc. I feel like these blessings have been hindered by some of the hardships that I have been facing.

I am happy with my life. Yes, I may have slipped, but things have settled down and I have been making a conscious effort to enjoy each and every day.

CURRENT SITUATION:
In all honesty, I do not have the same thoughts and struggles towards food that I have had in the past. Yes, I maintain a healthy diet, but I am not afraid to splurge and treat myself once in awhile when the opportunity presents itself. I still have some hesitation when it comes to random snacking (which is crazy, because everyone should allow themselves the opportunity to enjoy a good snack).

I think now, the main thing that I worry about is exercise. I feel like I need to do something physical every day, and when I don’t exercise, I get somewhat anxious. I have been trying to spend less time going to the gym to lift weights, and more time enjoying yoga (Not go on off topic, but yoga has helped me so much throughout all of this…more on that topic later), walking my puppies to the park, or just enjoying a different hobby. What I want, is to find a healthy balance in my life. I would love to focus my time on yoga and meditation, and finding harmony between my mind and body.

Admitting a weakness is hard for me. But seeing the people I love and care about worry (about me), is even harder. I don’t like feeling vulnerable to this. Every single thing in my life is so wonderful, and it sickens me that I still have to think about this at times. I swore to myself a year ago that I would never go back to the place where I was in my past… I am not there, but I need to really work on keeping myself away (FAR AWAY) from there too.

I am going to reach out to find someone to talk to, outside of my family, friends and social circle. Having a neutral “third party” to vent/talk to has helped me in the past, and I have no doubt that it will help me again.

Let the journey to health and happiness continue…

❤

You are where you are or ever will be is up to you. You are where you are today because that is where you have chosen to be. You are always free to choose your actions, or inactions, and your life today is the sum total of your choices, good and bad. If you want your future to be different, you have to make better choices.
—Brian Tracy

 

Living in the Present Moment

I LOVE yoga. I love the beauty of the practice, I love the serenity in the meditation, I just love everything about it! Anyone who practices, knows that there are a couple of things that are highly emphasized…

1. The Breath
2. Being present in the moment

There is something to be said about the feeling of “being truly present in the moment”. In today’s world, people always seem to be preoccupied with “WHAT’S NEXT?!” in their lives. Whether it be projects at work, things going on at home, never ending to-do lists, etc. people easily lose sight of what is happening at the current moment in order to be more focused on what’s to come… I am [VERY] guilty of this too.

I often find myself thinking about the future (future meaning any time beyond right now, haha). If I am getting ready for work, I am thinking about my evening plans. If I am relaxing at home at night, I am thinking about the weekend. I think about the summer during the winter months, I think about my life in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 years from now… you get the point.

What I am beginning to wonder is WHY? What is the rush to get to “WHAT’S NEXT” in life?
Call it goofy, corny, clichĂ©, whatever… but I am starting to realize that being more focused, and present in the moment may really change my outlook on things. Life is so short, and all of this time spent thinking about what is going to happen in the future is time wasted on what is happening right NOW.

I am blessed in so many ways, and I hate to admit it, but I think these everyday blessings are often overlooked because I am too focused on what is going to happen next. Although my daily tasks might not be all that exciting, I need to start looking at the simple pleasures that come along with my routine and enjoying each and every day for what it is.

I am thankful for…

  • Finding my true faith and having a wholesome relationship with God
  • Being blessed to have Joe in my life to love
  • Rescuing two healthy, happy puppies and knowing that we are giving them a great life
  • My wonderful, loving family and great friends
  • My career with PTI
  • My healthy body, that allows me to enjoy life and can help me accomplish any goals/dreams
  • Owning my own house
  • Etc….

Taking a moment to sit back and realize how much I have to be thankful for, makes me realize that there is no rush to get into the “next best thing”.  Whether it be enjoying a walk with my puppies, my commute to work, my “homemade” dinners with Joe, visiting with my loved ones, etc. I am going to make a conscious effort to take each day and look at the beauty in whatever it is that I am doing.
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(Please note, I understand that it is important to plan and think about the future. I am simply suggesting that it is equally important to look at the life you are currently living, and enjoying it to its full potential. You don’t want to miss the great things going on around you right now!)

Yoga and Recovery.

“There are a lot of positives that come out of recovery. Once you reconnect with your body and your own thoughts, everything around you begins to feel right again.”

I have mentioned the significance of my amazing support team, throughout the ups and downs of my recovery. It goes without saying, that I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for them and their patience. As valuable as my team was to me, I strongly believe that my journey back to health was also strongly impacted by something in addition to them…

Initially, during weight restoration, I was very limited in regards to the amount of physical activity I was allowed to do –Which was very frustrating considering the fact that I am an active person who loves fitness and being on the go. *Disclaimer: one thing I did not give up was my morning walks with Riley. Those walks were therapeutic for me, and good for her!

About three months into a positive weight gaining trend, my dietitian and I began discussing ways to incorporate healthy activity back in to my life. As much as I would have loved to go for runs, or hit the gym a few times a week, it was important to start gradually, and then incorporate more activity as I continued to progress in my recovery. We both agreed that yoga would be a good place to start.

yogaStudies show that meditation and deep breathing (relaxation) can reduce stress and enhance wellness in people’s lives.

I quickly fell in love with the practice. Not only did it relax my chaotic thoughts, it also introduced a sense of awareness between my mind and my body. It gave me the opportunity to focus on my breathing and concentrate on the slow, structured movements of my body. Being present in the moment gave keen awareness to how I felt right then and there. Every time I would get on to the mat, I made sure that the time was dedicated to me, and only me.

Finding a [new] passion for practicing yoga introduced me to the importance of a strong mind/body relationship. It taught me the value of patience and persistence, and how most discomfort is temporary, if you do not give up.  After several months of practice, I noticed increased strength in my muscles and overall stamina. I also noticed that the poses I initially struggled with became easier.

Yoga has become part of my life. I continue to practice regularly, by attending classes and practicing at home. I plan to continue learning more about the practice, in hopes of some day being able to teach my own classes. I have found Yoga to be one of the best things I can do for my mind, my body and my overall well-being.

Namaste.