The OM Blog

Wellness Defined or will it be redefined Post Corona?

The wonderful world of wellness has become about a 4 trillion dollar industry globally and experienced significant increase between the years 2015-2017.  What exactly defines wellness?  Well in terms of what is included in the wellness industry, you can find healthy eating, nutrition, weight loss, mind body, fitness tourism (retreats), preventative and personalized medicine, traditional and complimentary medicine, spa economy, and thermal/mineral springs.

So here we are in the midst of the corona virus and how can we redefine living WELL through this, rather than waiting for it to pass and maybe giving up and turning to not so healthy food, alcohol, and binge watching netflix? (Even though we were asked to rather than go out?)  This is not to say I do not love me a reese’s cup, a stiff drink, or Love is Blind from time to time.   I think one can live well and enjoy celebrations and indulgences.  Again, only each peep on an individual level knows when they are in the green.  And often times, if one doesn’t and one keeps trucking along full speed ahead – they will live life in a very empty way.

To me, living well means feeling overall in alignment and at peace with myself, my faith, my home, my planet, my closest relationships, my job or purpose, and my finances.  When I feel like these elements are in the green – then I feel pretty good.  But when something gets rocked – I don’t feel so well.  After many years of practicing yoga and breath work, I have become very in tune with when my body/mind/soul are in the green and when I have off days and if the off days become too OFF-ten (haha get it?) – then I know it is time to explore what area is being depleted and how to get some support.  However, I am not always so good at asking for support so to me it becomes easier to spend money outside to “fix” something and now most of those services are not available so we are left to again redefine and maybe simplify “wellness” and I think that is a fabulous thing to do during this time.

So – here are some tips to living WELL during a crisis such as this:

  1. Let your body sleep until it is ready to awake.  Yes, Yes, I know we have jobs. I get it.  But if you are not working a late shift right now and you have the extra time minus a commute – let your body wake you up.  We are human beings that at one point in time were very connected to nature/insert higher power if your beliefs warrant).  Collectively we have gotten a little away from this way of living (Enter book Mark Manson the world is f*ed).  Great read.  Highly recommend.  When you let your body sleep until it is ready to arise you allow your body the time it needs to rid itself and heal itself and fully repair.  Your parasympathetic nervous system will thank you greatly.  And for those of you that are financially motivated – this costs you nothing.  Expenses reduced.
  2. Have some sort of morning ritual to start your day.  I love a little bit of reading and a bit of yoga or pilates or movement of some sort to fully feel my body and begin each day appreciating it’s ability to help me move through my day with both strength and ease.  If you have physical limitations, you still have your breath and that is uber powerful.  There are so many online yoga classes and fitness classes available – this is an amazing time to get to try new things and new teachers while taking care of yourself.   If you can’t afford it – there are plenty of FREE classes available on youtube and other places.
  3. Create some sort of routine for the weekdays and weekend.  During this time I have heard many say the days are blurring together.  If you know that eventually you are going to re enter a workforce, you do not want to lose that sense of having a routine.  Now if you have children – they help keep you on a schedule.  If you don’t, create one with some consistency for M-F and then on the weekend – it’s the weekend.  We personally have created that Friday is take out night and we support a local restaurant picking a different one each week and it is something we all look forward to after a week of routine.  We also keep regular bedtimes for the week days and maybe stay up  a wee bit longer on the weekend.
  4.  Spend time outside.  Fresh air does a body good.  Most of us know this but can get wrapped up again in a fast paced life forgetting that we haven’t really enjoyed a slow walk or a breath of fresh air in quite some time.  Ayurvedically we are coming out of the winter months of hibernation and renewal and heading towards spring – rebirth.  Soak up some sun and learn to dance in the rain.
  5. Put the phones away and connect to the humans in your life.  This is a great time for families to really build solid foundations rooted in their traditions, their love, and their light.  Have long dinners without the phones or play games or create art or decorate a portion of the house together or have a planned movie night.  Get creative with this.  These are your people, your ride or dies – do you really know them or have you been on a non stop wheel for the past few years?
  6. NOURISH yourself well.  There are now no distractions from the outside.  Get curious with your habits.  Were you one of those people that hoarded food and if so, what kind? Take a look at your cupboards.  Look in the mirror and ask yourself honestly, have I been feeding myself well and can I use this time to get back to eating more naturally if I steered a little bit away from? Now, food is a challenging one to cover in one bullet point but I am sure I’ll have some more posts on this for later.  Just know that what you put in your body as an impact on your overall wellness as well as the thoughts you have surrounding yourself and your relationship to food.  So make this a conscious love affair with nourishing yourself well.
  7. Be Kind to yourself and others.  I look at this time as one that will cause a lot of us to purge emotional baggage at random times and learn a lot about our core selves.  Be kind during the process.  Part of becoming well, is sitting with your not so well parts and with your past pain that you may have pushed through.  Grieve. Cry.  Sit with it.  It’s time.  And when emotions arise – notice how you speak to your inner child and how you maybe do not honor your pain.   This could amaze you and change the way you not only talk and treat yourself but how you may treat and talk to and about other humans.  We are experiencing this as one.  We have an impact on one another.  We have the ability to unite in love.

Transition into Spring

I am beyond ready for the season shift and saying buh-bye to winter. Whilst I love winter for a variety of reasons (Christmas trees, vacation, gift giving, being thankful, spending more time with loved ones by warm cozy fires, finding incredible wrapping paper to make someone’s gift that much more special, etc) – this one has been a bit intense. With the Australian fires, Kobe Bryant passing, and the Coronavirus – I am ready to celebrate the end of winter like the Swiss do with a big parade, floats, confetti, candy for kids, and strong liquor. And I barely drink alcohol.

So as we shift into the season of renewed hope and there is a good bit of clearing and cleansing to do – our yoga practice may find some shifts as well. So it is important to take care of ourselves, nourish our bodies, and listen to our inner guides. I recently came across this list of 15 Scientific reasons Spring is the most delightful season (mentalfloss.com) and I wanted to share those reasons with you (I added a little something something behind each reason as to what I thought of when I read each one). It sorta confirmed for me some of why I am excited to shift into Spring. The wintertime can be tough for a lot of people and in the yoga world – we talk about connectedness and how we are all connected by the seasons and by the Earth and her beauty and her changes.

1) Temps are moderate – Did you know peeps are most comfy at 72 degrees F? You don’t have to wear as many layers, do as much laundry, or worry about being caught without your mittens on, on a really blustery day.

2) There is more daylight. Who doesn’t like the light?

3) The birds return. Chirp Chirp

4) There are baby animals everywhere – new birth, new love, new light

5) You are safer. I had no idea there was a 27% drop in robberies in the spring

6) You can go outside. Not to say you can’t go outside in the winter but again percentage wise we spend more time in heated areas in the winter. (most of us)
Except Olaf.

7) It makes you more creative – I love to create. The creative juices make me feel most alive.

8) The leaves come back – again, new growth and beauty

9) Growing Plants absorb carbon dioxide – Fresh oxygen!

10) It’s easy to find fresh produce – the fresher, the more nutrients to our beings

11) Flowers are in bloom – Lady Bird wanted to plant more flowers in Washington because she knew what new flowers did for people.

“Ugliness is so grim,” Lady Bird Johnson once said. “A little beauty, something that is lovely, I think, can help create harmony which will lessen tensions.”  (Smart Lady!)

12) You can take your exercise outdoors – Double WIN!

13) You don’t have to worry about dry air – Nobody likes crusty boogers

14) You can open your windows – welcome nature into our homes! the outside world and inner world come together

15) You can get your vitamins naturally – shine your face to the sun

 

pexels-photo-414181
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Gratitude

Gratitude

Recently at Easton Yoga – the theme we have been talking about in class is Gratitude.  There is so much to be said about the feeling of gratitude, especially around this time of year.  In planning my classes, I have found over 31 health benefits to a gratitude practice to convince those who may be a bit skeptical, as well as numerous research to support the changes to the brain when one practices continuously.  It is not a quick fix that transforms you overnight.  It is just like your yoga practice – it needs to be maintained or it gets lost in the shuffle.

Now some would argue that it’s easy to be grateful when you have a roof over your head or your bills paid whilst others are struggling and then someone else could argue it’s easy to be grateful when you don’t have a family member dying, etc etc.  Perception of one’s life, one’s problems, and one’s “richness” is so very individual and that is why we continuously learn from each other.  We add perspective to each other as long as we are willing to explore and connect and let our guards down.   If you are alive & reading this – you have something to be grateful for and something to share.  And the more you focus on that small seed, whatever it may be, there is more that can come from that.

For me, this practice of gratitude came to a head the second I was told at 31 that I had colon cancer.  I remember specifically as if it was yesterday standing in front of my bathroom mirror and looking at myself differently for the first time.  I used to look in that mirror and say things like “I wish I was prettier” or “I wish my thighs were a little slimmer” or “I have a huge zit – to pop or not to pop- that is the question?”.  My mind automatically went to what I needed to fix, improve, change, or modify in order to feel good or so I thought.  After the diagnosis, I looked in that mirror more out of contemplation like hum, I wonder if I will lose my eyelashes because I really do like them.  And as I started to stare at myself – my mind thought about my incredible family and friends and the good times not the bad, and all that I have gotten to do in those 31 years and my inner world shifted to one of light. My life wasn’t so bad.  I didn’t want my life to be over.

I wasn’t done yet.  And as I went inward – things on the outside had less significance to my health and to my well-being.

Fast forward to my healing process which yoga was a HUGE part of – I remember after having Kira taking her out on the back porch each morning and saying “this is the day the Lord has made- let us rejoice and be glad”.  I cherished those morning moments like little pennies I was collecting in a piggy bank, or little photos for my memory wheel of life.  As you build a gratitude practice, you find small moments of joy admist all the craziness and stress that life can sometimes be.  And the more you practice doing this – the more mindful you become.  When stress hits, you are able to take that pause, fill up again on what fuels you, and continue your life in a more manageable way.  You stop blaming or shaming those around you and maybe start having some difficult conversations at times but realizing that’s okay.  The days that it feels like nothing works, nothing can turn your mood around, you are stuck – I find that it’s still okay to have the occasional pity party and the disappointment and to honor the grieving process because it is part of life or part of being human.

So as we approach this holiday – some already have feelings of angst towards seeing family members, hurt feelings, lack of money to buy presents, crowds, not wanting to be around everyone joyful when they don’t feel joyful….Know that you don’t have to be joyful – but if you show up to these gatherings with some crumb of gratitude and openness – I wonder if your experience can be a little bit different this year.  A little bit more magical.  Because you are here.  You are alive. You are a part of something bigger and that is quite magical.

And if you need ideas – start with a yoga class! Challenge yourself during that class to be thankful for the arms that hold you, the feet that support you, the movement of your spine, the engagement of your core, the way your breath and body can dance together beautifully if/when you find those moments where you are able to let go.

 

thank you heart text
Photo by Řaj Vaishnaw on Pexels.com

How the Bachelorette made me think of Yoga

So….I never thought I would find a correlation between yoga and the Bachelorette but I also never thought I would have had cancer either or that I would have moved to and lived in Switzerland or that I would love a book called “The World is Fuc*ed…a book of hope” so much that the author is on my list of peeps I would want to do brunch with before I died if given the chance.  I just haven’t figured out where yet….

So here is where this correlation started…

I was watching the episode of the fantasy suites where Luke basically tells Hannah B that if she has slept with any of the other guys, it’s his time to exit because he was saving himself (born-again) for his future wife.   Well, this opened up a can of worms about faith, religion, masculinity, slut shaming, women, sex, their bodies, double standards, judgement, pride and a host of other human issues that are at play in the everyday world. Now since I began teaching yoga, I have come across some people that don’t do yoga and those that actually can’t stand yoga or people that do it.  And I often wondered why and sometimes I think it did trace back to origin and exposure and sometimes faith based beliefs and sometimes – money.  I think some people actually believe if you do yoga and more of the population does – the future will become that of India financially and the buildings will be dilapidated and the people smelly and too many of them.  I myself never thought I would be questioned about my faith or any negative impact on society because I wanted to teach yoga–But I was.  And I had to keep reminding myself that this was between me and my heart and my God.  Who was anyone else to judge? And if they were judging – were the intentions selfish or out of love or out of control?   Did they want me to pick a side?  Did I have to?  I try in all situations to see all sides as everyone has a point of view.     In these moments, I tried so hard to channel Pema Chodrun and have some compassion and tell myself these people just haven’t been exposed, they don’t mean to be ignorant, etc etc etc.  But then, anytime I try to suppress my voice- my fifth chakra gets blocked and it doesn’t feel right.  And my fifth chakra can regulate hormones as well so then my thighs get bigger and that is not good for anyone in my perimeter –  so I feel like I am compelled to use my talents to speak about this to whomever will listen or read.  Which is a bit freaking scary and a bit off putting and trust me I wish I hadn’t been gifted this sometimes but here it goes.

Much like Luke and Hannah B – I was raised with religion.  I was raised to believe in God and I still do.  I have fond memories of going to church with my family and how I felt when I was in church and singing and praying and being reminded of all the blessings that I have even when things go wrong.  I also struggled with body images, eating disorders, and binge drinking.  I read a book many years later that actually said all of these issues were HIGHLY COMMON amongst middle class white catholic women in the US in the 90s.  Does this ring a bell for anyone???  When I got cancer in my 30s  and started to do yoga and change my diet and focus on self care and myself for the first time – I felt AMAZING and as I felt more amazing inside, this resonated outside.  I did better both at work and in my relationships.  Who doesn’t want that for a society? More mindful people who want to work to be the best version of themselves they can? Now yoga does make me want to use less.  Less alcohol, less food, less product.  My practice is better when I don’t overeat or over drink. I treat my body like a vessel and what moves the vessel and commands the oars is my breath not worldly possessions or money.   It is simply breath and my ability to be grateful with the simple stuff.  If you use this time to connect to a higher power – awesome – God def plays a role in my practice.  But if you use the time to connect to you because you don’t believe in a higher power – I think the practice still has powerful effects on mindfulness and living in the present and keeping the body nice and limber as we age. Because who likes to live in a past that has passed or have anxiety over what the future shall hold?   So I stay very rooted in this.  Sometimes my self doubt especially after having Kira crept back in because I felt judged on whether I worked or didn’t work, whether I breast fed or bottle fed, whether I put my daughter in the international or local school, whether I taught yoga or went back to corporate -it was endless.  And then another light bulb reminded me that the only person who needed to be at peace with who Becky was was Becky and her beliefs and my beliefs and inner core haven’t faltered. This was a personal relationship and I wish I had had the “balls” to simply tell some people to SEE their way out.  But I didn’t in certain moments, I was living and being me and I didn’t want to be judged or put in a box.

So now I am back to taking a bit more me time to let it out, and heal parts of me that got blocked again with human emotions that I couldn’t find in me a way to express or the TIME TO FEEL THEM so that I could heal them.  I have started going to class again regularly in a studio where they offer a variety of yoga – both power and grace, both yin and yang, both elements.  It is breath based movement that at the end of each class – I lay there on the mat thankful for my body, for the practice, for my life, for the ground that supports me, and I feel more at peace and more align with LOVE.  It’s almost like a good glass cleaner to the specs of my life.  I have taken time to move our stuff, find a home for everything, get rid of things we no longer use and make sure our home base is something we are proud to come home to and kept orderly.  Not perfect.  Not without clutter or life.  Filled with spirit.

Love is the basis of our core and it is the basis to help heal mankind and the planet right now and create a better place for our children and their children.   When I look back to the people that loved me when I was sick, that helped me to heal – it was black, white, rich, poor, catholic, jewish, atheist, long time friends, strangers, doctors, nurses, reiki practitioners, massage therapists, juice shops, dogs, a dolphin in Grand Cayman, the list could go.  There was no divide.  And the result was amazing, it was divine.  Putting up walls through religion, through race, through sex, through culture, through country, through social class,  doesn’t help.  Pigeon holing people or trying to figure them out based on one belief – won’t help you get to know them or their story.  Because each story is unique with winds and curves and none of us know how someone else’s story will end.

So back to the bachelorette – I absolutely adore the show – I feel like each season it brings up social issues that are current.   And I love yoga because it taught me what it feels like to love my body, to accept my patterning, and to navigate through the ickiness and continue to accept, grow, repair, love, breathe, and live….mindfully and more alive.  Luke & Hannah B both have faith but their perceptions of how faith played out in their lives were very different.  What they struggled with and their demons were different.  What they were good at was different.  I don’t believe in any religion or constitution that feels better when a woman is less empowered than a man and thank you Hannah B for moving the rose stand up when he wouldn’t take no for an answer.  Props to you for taking back the floor from a man or any human that wanted to judge and make decisions for your body and your life – sound familiar?   It was clear he didn’t see the parts of you that were divine – your ability to show a vulnerable side, your ability to want despite the show being a show to be as real as you could, understanding human flaw in that, your ability to show such compassion when you let someone go – I saw it.  I saw your light and your love.  And I think he was scur’d.

So props to Hannah B, to Chris Harrison, and to ABC!  Namaste & God Bless!

4BEA13A7-9382-4BAD-9677-60574E6CBBC2

Back in the US of A

Stan and I decided to return back to the US and I am continuing my yoga teaching journey here where it all began.  Today I subbed at Easton Yoga and it was amazing to be back in the green room doing what I love.  There are most definitely parts of leaving Switzerland that are really hard to say goodbye to – the people, the Moo cows, the chocolate & cheese, the rolling picturesque landscapes, the lake, the list could go on.  And yet, there is also so much to be happily reunited with here – happy reunions with long time friends, fourth of July and summer holidays, having a yard where Higgens and Kira can roam free, the infinite different brands of nut butters and funky beers that line the aisles at the grocery store….again the list could go on.  I feel blessed to have experienced both places and in my yoga journey, it also taught me so much about rooting and staying rooted when life changes, and the freedom that resides inside me when I let go of fear and step forward.

This month’s theme (which I do love themes) at EY is freedom and liberation.  Kira and I have been living without our furniture for about two and half weeks now, some of that in Switzerland and then last week we arrived here.  Coming back, I was sorting through some old pictures and books in our house and came across this book that was the inspiration for today’s class.  I flipped open “Teaching Yoga” by Mark Stephens and the very first paragraph spoke so true to why I fell in love with yoga and how moving my body mindfully with the breath brings this freedom and peace inside that is nice to come back to.  The paragraph reads:

“Yoga has been such an amazing teacher in my life.  What was at first a “workout” and a challenge from a friend who thought it would “kick my butt” became a ritual that led me to a path of understanding more about myself.  It guided me to honor my body and my soul in a way that I had never done before.  I learned what it meant to listen to my movement in concert with my breath.  It would bring up things that led me to become aware of myself at a profound level.  Before yoga, I was always moving too fast and feeling pushed to achieve, reach a goal, and win (I was a downhill racer as a kid).  Then came yoga, and I was led into a place where breath and movement informed me who I became everyday.  It was not a physical movement that evoked self-judgement and criticism; to the contrary, it was a gentler lover of self.  I learned through yoga asana that the body is a map to the soul and that my body speaks a language that is designed for me to hear and learn from.  Everyone’s body and practice are different in the sense that the language that the body speaks is entirely different from one person to the next, but the template is the same.”

So I encouraged each student to take the next 90 minutes to learn about their unique template, and work to find their meaning of freedom in each pose and see how many different definitions of freedom they could find.

I have noticed in my own practice and in my life and in the many changes from cancer, to healing, to pregnancy, to motherhood, to living abroad, to career change, how my practice and my body shift all the time.  So if I slow down and connect to the breath and stay present with each moment I notice that freedom comes in different forms.  I encouraged the students that in some postures, they may struggle with finding the freedom to breathe.  Especially with heart openers, this space can get clouded with grief and doubt and pain that cobwebs form.  In others, they may feel completely at ease and free and want to stay in them for a while, they feel safe and at home.  In others, they may feel like they want to find more freedom to explore or go deeper into a pose than they normally go or have ever gone before – example maybe someone is afraid to flip upside down but curious.   Freeing yourself of the fear of possibly of potentially falling.  And yet, in others, one may struggle to free themselves and give themselves the ability to come out of a pose when the breath becomes compromised.  The ability to go gentler and do less.  How often are we encouraged to “do less”?  Often times, we “push through” which at times, can be necessary in life off the mat, but finding that love and that freedom and acceptance within thy self can be one of the most beautiful parts to completely loving ones self.  It gives one the freedom to disregard their fear of judgment or not being good enough if Sally next to you is going deeper or looks more advanced.  Because what truly matters on the journey to loving yourself is understanding your template and freeing the patterning of the past, so that you can live in the present.  Breathe full.  Live full. Be Free.

E16F79B8-686C-4D3E-809D-CC1C31AC6B04Happy Fourth!

 

Spring Clean(s)ing

Spring Clean(s)ing

 

To Cleanse or not to cleanse? This is the question.

I have heard many mixed reviews on whether cleansing is good for you or not.  I have even been in conversations where certain parties get heated about the juicing/cleansing “fad”.  I personally believe cleansing is a great way to take care of yourself, your health, and your long-term relationship & appreciation with food, eating, and nourishing ones self.  I also believe there are ways to cleanse safely and maximize the benefits.   So since spring is upon us and a perfect time to cleanse – I decided to write a blog post with some tips as well as an interview with my friend & fit mum of 2 young ones, who has just completed a three-day juice cleanse.  I think cleansing has incredible benefits on one’s flexibility and yoga practice as well:)

Let’s start with 6 tips that I suggest from having tried different fasts over the years:

  1. Fasting is something that is best to ease into and out of.  This way you keep the positive outweighing the negative benefits.  For example, if you binge the week before and the week after a cleanse, you haven’t really netted out in the positive, except maybe tested your mental limits, strength, and relationships to those around you.  But physically for your body you have shocked it one way and then back the other.  No long-term benefits here and no cultivation of small changes that lead to bigger changes overtime.  More like an experiencing of both extremes.  If you are going to do one, prepare yourself and your cupboards the week before.  Limit your caffeine and processed foods so that your symptoms can be less harsh and you can still live your daily life.  The same for going off the cleanse, ease back into things and use the gained energy and rejuvenation that your body received to focus on a better overall healthy balanced diet and exercise plan going forward.
  2. Make a list of a daily non-food reward idea for the end of each day.  Need ideas? Hot bath with a lush bath bomb, an exfoliating scrub, a self massage, a good book, deep breathing, a walk in nature, tea with a really good gal pal or (male pal), a scroll through Pinterest planning an amazing recipe for post cleanse, a new top.  What’s on your list?
  3. Drink plenty of water and make sure if you are doing a juice cleanse – the juices include a good bit of veggie with a lesser bit of fruit.  Drink the juices at intervals throughout the day.  Some do morning, noon, and night.  Some cleanses include drinking a juice every couple hours.  Again, the ultimate goal is for an increased intake of nutrient dense veggies and fruits directly to the blood stream allowing the digestive system a little more time to focus on detoxing and removing what it doesn’t need so that it can maximize clean out.  It is sort of like cleaning out your wardrobe.  You have things left in the closet or the colon that may have been there a while but your body hasn’t used and its time to expel them.  Increase fluids and reduce bringing in more food for a short time and the net gain is positive.  Not to mention there is a sense of accomplishment at the end of a cleanse.
  4. Eat the rainbow.  Taste the rainbow.   We can tend to have certain foods we like more than others but in a balanced diet we try to get a bit of everything.  So in a juice cleanse, purchase a wide colorful array of fresh veggies and fruits to ensure you get some of everything.  Also, when you drink the juices, slow down and savor them.  Wake up your taste buds, clean them, get your olfactory senses working again.  Often times our lives become so busy we don’t even know what we are eating or how often.  A cleanse is a time to slow things down, be mindful, and recharge.  Why not make it colorful and appealing to the eye?
  5. Exercise.   Now, everyone is different but for the average individual on a fast I would recommend light exercise.  The reason is again we are focusing on cleaning out and if your body is repairing after an intense training, this takes away from what it can do with the detox.  It is overworked.  To be strategic, I would suggest light to moderate exercise unless you have a burst of energy then by all means – take your tush on a run.
  6. Plan a way to deal with emotions that come with a cleanse.  Once you remove meal prep and eating, you free up time in your life.  I believe while the body cleanses it not only removes debris we don’t need it removes some stuff stuck in the emotional body.  Recommendations for ways to deal with what comes up – journal,phone a friend, meditate, pray.  Have a friend on standby who can help you or EVEN BETTER do the cleanse with you.  Cleanses were a part of a lot of religious practices and some religions said it was not custom to tell people you are cleansing, it was just something you kept to yourself.  My theory is cleansing is/was a part of a lot of religions because it does have an emotional, spiritual, and physical healing on the body – it keeps your vessel clean.  Whether you need help or not – I leave that up to you.  We are human.  I think it’s adorable when couples cleanse together and I think it’s bonding.  Just like having a beer together.

Now, just incase you are still a little leary of what fasting can do and if it’s right for you….I decided to interview my friend and fellow mum who has just completed a three day juice fast.  Read on and find out what this busy mummy of two has to say on the topic of fasting.

Interview

Q:  Have you cleansed before or can you describe your previous views/experiences with cleansing?

A:  No, I have not cleansed before.  I did eat very little at one point in my early 20s in an effort to be thin and at the time I was very thin.  Now, my goals are more nutrient/vitality related instead of fitting into a certain size or shape, as well as wanting to be a good role model for my children and wanting them to have a healthy relationship with food and make good choices.

Q:  Why or how did doing the cleanse come about?

A:  It was a suggestion from my personal trainer, Henlu Van der Westhuizen, Co-founder and owner of HHH Health Retreats and owner/Personal Trainer at henlupt.com, to help expedite some weight loss.

Q:  Did you set any goals you wanted to achieve by completing the cleanse?

A:  To feel lighter, more energized, to lose a bit of weight, boost immunity in between seasons, and to focus and dedicate more time towards my self-care as I tend to put this last at times and the rest of my family first.

Q:  Did you do any pre-prep before the cleanse?

A:  I didn’t intentionally decide to make any changes prior, but maybe subconsciously I did notice the week before I consumed less read meat, less coffee, alcohol really isn’t a part of my diet regularly, and I had increased my intake of cruciferous vegetables per the DNA Fit test also recommended by my trainer, Henlu Van der Westhuizen.  I didn’t want the fast to be a complete shock to my system and hoped it would lesson any uncomfy symptoms.

Q:  Can you describe each of the days and what you remember in terms of how you were feeling and how the day went?

A:  Sure.  Day 1 – The juices started at 7 am and there were 8 juices to drink every 2 hours each day. The morning ones were delicious – tropical and fruity – reminded me of a beach holiday beverage.  The afternoon consisted of 3 pretty kale dense dark green sludgy ones that were very fibrous and harder to get down and still pretend I was at the beach. They were more work. The evening one included some pineapple and I was back again in my tropical vacation in my head.  I had no headache but my husband who did the cleanse with me, suffered a horrible headache the first day.  By the afternoon I was incredibly hungry so I ate crudités with the children.  By the evening I was very tired and less patient with the children.  I did notice that whilst my body was tired, I wasn’t anxious or as stressed in my mind.   It was more of a tired calm. I think it was a good decision to have planned a big day out with the kids before so they were happy to be home and chill, which made it easier to cleanse because I had to watch the clock and make sure I was drinking my next numbered juice every 2 hours. This part was fun to get the children involved because it involved colors and numbers and I added stickers upon every juice that mommy completed.  One of the hardest parts was still having to prepare, smell, cook, and even help encourage the children to eat their meals and be around food.  My husband had to leave the kitchen area when meal time arrived.  He could not be around any solid food knowing he could not partake.  I went to bed early and had a great nights sleep.  Day 2 – I woke up early, made sure I had 2 juices in before attending Henlu’s Saturday bootcamp at the Herti Stadium in Zug.  I was low on energy and in survival mode during the session. I did notice my body felt lighter when I ran, especially in my legs and that after the workout – I didn’t really want to socialize or talk.  Luckily it was sunny out, so in the afternoon I encouraged our family to go for a walk to help my husband’s still banging headache.   By the end of Day 2, I had a renewed sense of confidence that I was going to finish this and it was a going to be a good thing.  Day 3 – I woke up feeling light, bright, and positive.  I noticed my skin was glowing so I didn’t really feel the need to cover my face in make up. We had a kid’s birthday party in the afternoon and we decided rather than break the fast early – to trudge onward and the renewed sense of energy and how I felt helped me to do this. My husband still felt miserable and couldn’t wait for it to be over.  I noticed more mental clarity along with the lighter feeling, I was more mindful with my interactions with the children and even thought to myself I would like to maybe attempt a 5 day one next time.  Again, the sunshine helped.  My husband slept great this night and I had some trouble with my youngest waking up.

Q:  What was the first thing you and your husband ate the next morning?

A: My husband awoke at 6:20 and let me know right away that he was going to go eat the overnight oats we had prepared the night before as he was hangry (hungry meets angry), sometimes a volatile state for a marriage.  He was so ready to eat and be done with the cleanse and back on to solid foods.  I had a small bowl of the same thing before another training session with Henlu and ate it slowly, savored it, and was content also to be back in the world of eating solid foods, with a renewed energy and sense of completion.  I also had some warm lemon water as I wanted to keep encouraging any toxins that had been drawn up to exit.

Q:  Would you do it again?

A:  Yes, I don’t think I could do it once a month per Henlu’s recommendation but I would definitely do it again. My husband probably would not. Unless maybe encouraged by me.  I do think the next week we both ate healthier and smaller portions so while we haven’t completely defined our health goals, I feel like we both ultimately got something positive out of this and are moving in the right direction of keeping self care a priority both as we age and as we parent.

Q:  Any advice for other people who may want to try a cleanse but are apprehensive?

A: My advice especially to moms of little ones who think they can’t do it and it would be too hard is that you can.  The juices are already made for you, really colorful, most of them tasty and you can get the kids involved.   The ordering process was easy, the cost was reasonable.  I had time to think about some things and noticed I felt more at peace with myself, my current life, and my relationships, despite its busy-ness.  As a mom, I am often in survival mode getting everything done for everyone else and wanting everything to be in order—during the cleanse,   I felt like I got off the hamster wheel for a few days and was able to reset.  The sleep I got at night felt different, like it was totally dedicated to rest and restore sleep as my digestive system was on a complete vacation.  Not to mention, that sense of achievement, accomplishment, and vigor after completing a challenge.  It was a well deserved WIN-WIN.

Now for those of you who would like more information on the juice cleanse, you can check out press bar on instagram or the web.  And I couldn’t dare end this article without a picture of the rainbow!

Happy Spring Cleansing!

E0847F5E-BDBA-4C9D-B943-CBBFC9EC85CE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2018 Reflections

Around this time of year, I tend to get a bit reflective and nostalgic.  I reflect back on the year past and also look ahead towards the new one. I adore this time of year.  All the lights, all of the gift giving, helping those less fortunate, parties, time off, the ground covered in white fluffy stuff, baking cookies – all of those things are truly my jam.   It is truly magical & special.  Sometimes, it can be stressful and I can overdo but usually my eyes are called back to some twinkly lights, or Kira’s reaction to snow, or someone hands me a christmas cookie shaped like Santa and I smile.  I have fond memories growing up of spending time in upstate NY with my extended family all gathered in the basement of my grandmother’s house with a pool table, homemade christmas cookies, board games, and lots of just hanging out.  When she passed, this tradition evolved and became something at my mom’s house in Virginia with my siblings which evolved to siblings + spouses and then evolved to siblings + spouses + children.  And then…we moved to Switzerland.  This year especially, Christmas will be a bit different.  It’ll be my immediate family (Stan, Kira, Higgens, and I) and I am excited to celebrate our growth through this move and how connected as a family we have become.  I am so grateful for my friends and my students here (who are also my teachers).   I love teaching and I love sharing something that has changed me in a positive light.  With each class, I gain more confidence in my teaching and when I can look back on that larger book of experience, I am content.

A piece of me is also missing something.  Yet, I know my family is in my heart and I was lucky to have some time with my family the beginning of December, in yet another magical place – Disney.   So whilst things are “different” this year – that ability to be whole and content inside, is something that can always be tapped into and my practice helps remind me of my core and my center where peace/acceptance resides.   And, it also helps that there is FaceTime and I can see their faces.

Whether you are with family or alone, at times we all fall out of balance.  If you are surrounded by family 24/7 this holiday season, then you may crave some peace and if you are alone then you may crave some hustle & bustle.  I truly believe we need a bit of both.  And yoga teaches that.  We need the “can do” and we need the “let go”.  We need the “faster harder” and we need the “softer gentler”.  We need the moments of strength, we need moments of grace.  And the BEST thing is when we allow ourselves to experience the full spectrum of both and rather than judge, let us feel what we are feeling in that very moment even if the time isn’t opportune, and see where we can bring balance to the body, peace to our mind,  love to our hearts, and freedom to our breath.

Wishing you a wonderful, blessed, & magical holiday season.

XOXO, (<—I love Gossip Girl!)

Yoga Girl

snowman and drum decor
Photo by Acharaporn Kamornboonyarush on Pexels.com

SPRING HAS SPRUNG

Hi Yogis!

 

REMINDER: There will be no class this upcoming Friday, March 23rd and we will be on break until the first class back, which will be Monday, April 9th at 10am! Email me to reserve your spot for Monday’s class.

 

Now….during break I have been thinking about some pointers I could give on building a daily practice so we are ready to bounce into SPRING! Spring is a time of renewal and rebirth and therefore “Spring” cleaning and cleansing are things our bodies naturally tend to want to do this time of year. Our body is flushing out toxins everyday keeping us healthy and strong and as we age, so anything we can do to support the spring cleaning of our bodies after a long winter – I am in full encouragement of.

 

  • Breathing! – If you do nothing else over break, try taking a few (3) minutes each morning and evening to do some alternate nostril breathing. Make sure you create the space and time to do this alone and in silence. So often we wake up out of bed answering the phone or making breakfast and have no time to connect with our core. Alternate nostril breathing is a very balancing breath that leads you back to your center and keeps you calm, grounded, and in tune with what you need as you move about your day.
  • For those of you who would like a quick spring detox routine that balances both strength and grace – I have researched and found this 12 stepper you can try. It is from a book called “Holistic Yoga Flow: The Path of Practice”. You will begin in child’s pose for a few breaths thinking about what you want to get out of the upcoming spring as we turn back towards the light. Lighter days, lighter jackets, more sun. Then rise to all fours, tuck toes and back into downward dog. From down dog, come into low lunge, then high lunge, then prayer twist. Do on both sides. From back into down dog, then do twisted triangle into twisted half moon, also on both sides. Lots of twisting to wring out the digestive organs from a winter of maybe heavier food and some hibernating. Then come into forearm plank and hold. I am revising a little of the flow here. Then come onto your belly and into bow pose. Next is a seated twist into a seated forward fold. Almost done! Lastly, come into a supported shoulder stand with a block underneath the sacrum. Then, rest in final resting pose or a seated spring meditation. Feel the effects of your internal spring cleaning as you set some intentions for loving YOU.
  • As for FOOD – now is a great time to do a spring detox. Email me if you would like some help on types of cleansing etc. If cleansing doesn’t fit you right now – make small steps. Sometimes a small step forward is a big one for instance, drinking more WATER. Turn more towards natural whole foods and less processed food. As you tune into your breath (step #1) you will be naturally guided to make better decisions on what you put on your plate and in your mouth. It’s a beautiful journey.

 

Much LOVE & HAPPY EASTER!

Becky

pexels-photo-372173.jpeg

 

Ego Trap

So recently I have been finding my Instagram feed full of pictures of beautiful scenery, yoga poses, healthy food, cute children, and inspirational quotes.  All of these things sing to my heart.  My mind and eyes like this, it’s like food for my vision and my soul.  Last weekend I was drawn to this particular one about the ego trap and I think the ego can definitely affect one from having a true yoga experience so it is a good reminder to notice it when it comes up, and draw back to the breathe and center.  Here’s the original post:

egotrap

So this week in class, we are going to focus on with each exhalation, exhaling out judgement. Judgment of ourselves and of others.  Too often we can get caught up in thinking we know what is right in every moment and in every situation and it clouds the humanness, uniqueness, and deep healthy relationships that can unfold if we take the ego out of situations. Often times, I see students or myself struggle in a pose and it is almost as if you can see the steam coming from their internal dialogue of thinking they “should” be able to do something or feeling inferior because they can’t.  What I love about yoga is the diversity of poses and that each day and each body is so vastly different.  If we can put the ego aside and learn to love that about it, it becomes an entirely different journey to the yogi.

The sweet spot in a pose and the cusp from which one can grow and get deeper, is often found when we are able to let go of judgement and criticism.  It is just you and your breath and your being.  When we listen and honor the breath and our current capability without judgement…..This leads to more freedom on the mat, more self love, and move love for the fellow yogis in the room.  And like most of what we do on the mat, it can transcend into what we take out into the world.  Those poses you can’t do may help humble you and those you master can help build confidence to try some of the other ones and challenge yourself.  It’s a balance.  And the true yoga is found when you let go of the ego, let go of perfection,  and you tune into the subtle vibrations of the breath and it’s movement inside the channels of the body.  This will guide you when to push and pull, when to be strong and vulnerable, when to allow yourself to experience all the colors of the rainbow.

So this week, let’s inhale NEW CLEAN FRESH oxygen and exhale any judgement of ourselves or others.

See you on the mat!

Best,
Becky