OOOH I get it! Rise and Energize!

stubborn about your goals

Did you know the average person should consume around 1,700 calories a day? If you own a pedometer, a fit-bit, or anything that tracks your daily steps or counts calories burned, the ‘average’ person will notice that throughout the day, even when at rest, you will still manage to burn enough calories to bump your intake. Backing up just a bit, when I talk calories, I’m certainly not talking about empty calories (Cheetos, doritos cookies and cake), which provide the body with zero sustainable energy… I’m talking healthy protein and nutrient dense food-type calories… ok!

Me on the other hand, being the special scientific (complete mess) of a human being that I am (at least metabolism-wise), my caloric intake will vary from the “average person.”

So for fun, let’s pretend for a moment that my body worked like the ‘average’ person’s body. Let’s pretend that I burned calories efficiently and my body regulated blood sugar levels in stride. My current age, combined with my current weight, coupled with my physical activity level (5-7 days a week), would demand that I consume somewhere between 2,000 to 2,200 calories per day. However, because my body burns 30% or 300 calories less a day than the average person, I’m reduced to around 1,800 calories per day.

This seems like a lot of calories, especially when you are eating all of the right things. Eating all of the right foods takes practice, it takes practice as to what, it takes practice in figuring out the ‘when’ because you don’t want to find yourself at a 1000 calorie deficit at 8 O’clock at night and then shoveling your face full of food just to make up for lost time. So one of the obvious and very difficult pieces for me was eating before my workouts.

I have somewhat recently started doing this. MIND BLOWN, right?? Wrong. I know this is a “duh” subject, and being that I am a personal trainer myself, I fully understand the benefits and importance of this concept. However, with my body I have constantly struggled with it and it has taken me literally years to figure out what was going to work for me specifically. This (FINALLY I feel it!) helps to maximize my performance during my workouts and even helps to sustain my energy levels even after. So what to eat before you exercise?

I’ve tried toast and peanut butter (prior to my nut allergy days); I’ve tried eating bananas, half of a banana, turkey, chicken, etc., you name it, I’ve tried it. It’s certainly been an uphill battle. So much so that I was actually beginning to doubt the whole theory on eating before exercise. Experimenting with what would and wouldn’t upset my stomach, what wasn’t too heavy for plyometric exercises, and what was going to sustain me until I got to eat again. Then one day… I figured it out. Sayyyy whatttttt???

My preferred combination as of late has been my Isagenix Vegan protein shakes (berry flavor). Over the last 12 months, I’ve had at least one shake every day before my workouts.

I like to sweat early in the morning and I don’t like to wake up any earlier than I absolutely have to. This means I’m usually driving while gulping down the goodness and even then ingesting a shake so close to my workout has not only given me additional energy, but I have yet to experience cramping or an uneasy stomach during. This was a big deal for me.

If a shake isn’t your thing, I recently discovered Eat The Bear! Yea! Two options, for me!
‘Eat the Bear’ is a pre-workout powdered formula (ETB Uncaged 5.0) created JUST for pre workouts (among other things)! Not only do I love ‘Eat the Bear’ because of their name, and the message they stand behind, but the nutrients ETB packs their products with.

‘Eat the Bear’ or ETB is gluten free, dairy free, and sugar free. They pride themselves in all products containing only natural, pure ingredients, and this is exactly why it has me so giddy! ETB has literally zero calories, but offers all of the nutrients necessary to provide your body with the energy required for high intensity workouts. If you need more you can add ETB to protein; they also offer a great whey protein option, and if you’re vegan or dairy sensitive, you can find an alternative protein that works best for you.

My body is picky, sensitive and otherwise irritable, so I must be very careful regarding what I eat and drink. Although you may think you don’t have to worry about your diet as much, make sure you give yourself what you need and when you need it in order to function properly and ongoing.

As a fitness instructor and personal trainer, I am constantly moving; crashing mid-client or mid workout is simply not an option. So yes, do yourself a favor and eat or drink something PRIOR to your workout and make sure you get something in your system (protein) following it. You’ll be blown away by the results and all this talk about “exercise giving you energy,” won’t seem like such bull anymore.

Kill it!

For more on either of my pre workout meal or supplement preferences, simply follow these links below:

To search my favorite ‘Eat the Bear’ Products:
http://www.etbfit.com/product/uncaged-5-0-pre-workout-formula-powder/

To learn more about them and where they got their name and what they stand for:
http://www.etbfit.com/about-etb-fit/

To search my favorite Isagenix products:
www.kileybeal.isagenix.com

I LOVE FOOD! And other things… ☺

Thank you for always reading! If you ever have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask.
love yourself

Breathe. Connect…. OR whatever…

It is so interesting/ Intriguing/frustrating to me how disconnected from my body I am at the moment. As a yoga instructor that sounds completely asinine, but the fact of the matter is, is that I just am. When I lay still and quiet where my body relaxes entirely, where I give permission for it and allow it to. I soak up the moments of stillness; I can relax every piece of me. But that is in my nature that is easy for me to do. It is the asana, the movement, the motion in which I am disconnected. I tell my body “I don’t want to do it.” Or “I can’t do it.” And It responds meeting all negative expectations I have given it. Perhaps that is a connectedness in a disconnected way. But instead of asking my body to do something, I simply force it.

Handstands. Something I want so badly, but it’s just not something I can fake or force. It isn’t a pose anyone can fake or force. It is a connection with oneself that allows for the handstand to happen. I have a million excuses and probably a lot of valid excuses as to why I cannot seem to make it happen. It’s all on my hands. My shoulders, my arms, my back, but mostly it is the ridiculousness of my psoas. I am reminded that I need to connect with my core to make it happen, but when my shoulders are supported, it isn’t my core that is my problem, it is my shoulders, my arms, my neck, my wrists.

Like any pose in yoga, like yoga in general, it is not a practice or workout which you can fake. It is over time in which one achieves a posture, a place of stillness, a place of steadiness and ease. These things don’t come easily. But taking the time to connect with oneself is key. Any pose. I want to hop in to an arm balance without warming up. OK! I can do that. (NO. I should not do that!) I have so many terrible habits, all of which do nothing but harm my body. “I want to look like that.” “why can’t my body do that?” It’s because my practice suffers and it is because my anatomy is just a little bit different than the next guy or girl. From that place comes acceptance. Why would I want to waste so much energy on the thoughts of being anyone else other than myself? That does absolutely zero for me, my body, my self esteem, my confidence. Feeding it negative thoughts day in and day out is going to stunt its growth.

Yoga is a mental, emotional, mind, body, and spiritual connection. And I am too busy wishing my body was something that it isn’t. My new goal is to work on loving my body, giving it grace and space to grow and be everything it is meant to be. Just like any child, growth is stunted without support and encouragement. I suppose this will be a constant work in progress, but as my trainer says “Be committed to consistency.” And that’s exactly what I shall do. Day 1.
Be the best you. I’ll be the best me.

A Book, a bkr, and a seashell

I have to be honest, my long drawn out spaces of silence have gotten pretty lengthy! I apologize. But at the same time, when I have nothing to share (or too much too share), I don’t want to force myself to share it. Ya ya ya, I don’t know the perfect etiquette for owning a blog, but I do know! That one of my favorite people, (who can write like a pro published author) looks at blogs as a white persons privilege. You know. We can do whatever we want, have whatever we want, acquire a following of who we want.

I on the other hand, just don’t care if you want to read my notes of goodness or not. I am just writing to write.

I spent a solid 2 hours today in therapy. Yea. That’s fun. I go really quite sporadically. My yoga therapist is amazing and she annoys me to no end (all in good). I’ve shared with my best friends, as well as my therapist (which I love the fact that I have a therapist and a blog, because now I have decided I want you to refer to me as Carrie from Sex in the City.) ANYWAY, I let them all know that I avoid her (said therapist), because it’s easier that way. Who REALLY wants to sit there and talk about all the shitty aspects of their personality and their life. That’s humiliating and self loathing.

I”ll tell you what though, one of my very best friends on the entire planet of Earth, just spent 3 weeks with me reminding me day, after day, after day, that there is no person more deserving of my own love, than me. So what do I do with that information? I decide to enroll in therapy.

OK that’s a slight exaggeration; I raised my hand and volunteered myself for therapy late last year. I didn’t realize how out of my comfort zone I would be shoved, but I was definitely shoved there.
After spending 2 hours of being shoved today, I left exhausted and sweating and ready for a nap because mentally, I was shot. We chanted, we used breath work, we talked about crap I don’t really want to talk about, she even made me hold plank. Within 5 minutes she told me, (And I quote this really loosely) “well. I’ve learned a lot here. One. You don’t know how to listen to yourself. It took exactly twice for you to surrender in that pose. You keep going. And even though you are allergic to dogs and your feet are itchy, you went ahead and dealt with it anyway when you could have taken a blanket or a yoga mat.” Well just to let you know. As a yoga instructor. This made me feel like a pretty … unfit, unaware teacher. She kept putting me in plank and I wanted to scream. I literally felt like I wanted to break down and cry. Sure I can do a 6+++ minute plank. But when you add the mental piece to a warm room and a freaking plank, I was ready for a straight up break down.

Sweaty with defeat, I rested my knees and cried uncle. She sat there looking at me with wonder. I was expecting a bootcamp instructor to tell me to get back down and give me 20, but instead she shared with me her observations. In turn I surrendered with a sigh of relief.

So I came home to a note from my best friend, a sea shell, a good book, my glass bkr bottle from the Spirit Bar, and a text from my therapist asking me kindly, “I’d like to see you more regularly if you can.” My reply was “I can, but I don’t want to.”

So here I am. Diving deep in to me. I like to pretend I’m perfect, because it’s easier that way. The reality is that I’m far from it and I’m OK with that. I’d just like my butt to be a little perkier and we’d have it all. HA! But, seriously though. I’m a work in progress, so if there are gaps of weeks or months between my blog posts, it’s because I’m not perfect. It’s because I don’t want to bore you with nonsense. It’s because I’m working on me.

I had a friend ask me what personal projects I was currently working on, I responded with “me. Just being the best me I can be.” He laughed, told me that wasn’t very specific, but he liked it. I can only control me. So that’s what I shall do. I can only give until I am empty, so I plan on keeping myself full, so I can fill those around me up without hesitation.

I love my people. I love my life. It’s time to be light and airy again, that’s where I like to be. Laugh people. Laugh!

And thank you for reading.

-Carrie Bradshaw

Patience

……I have none.

believeinmagic
Seriously though. Just as my blog stated at the beginning of the year, my resolution was to simply rest. I’m the high energy, high intensity, go until I die- kind of girl. I love a great workout. My body was BEGGING me for a break, and a break is exactly what it got.

I took 4.5 weeks of rest. From any sort of workout. I went on some walks and taught my yoga classes, but for the most part, I rested. This is a BIG deal for me, and if you are as in to feeling good and exercising, you understand, just ONE rest day can feel like the end of it all.

So this past week I finally got back in to it, I started with a 4 mile walk and then followed that up with a 2 mile run the next day. No big deal, since 4 miles is my natural go-to, distance, 2 would be a perfect “ease in to it” distance. YEAAAAA.
Like I said to my husband, “I was in a lot better shape when I was in shape.” I was SUCKING wind. Like mouth breathing.

I am impatient. I think this is where we fall off the wagon for our weight loss and workout goals. We, as Americans, expect instant gratification. I worked out THIs hard today, I’m THIS sore, and I expect to be down 5 pounds already. When the scale doesn’t move, we lose motivation. Patience. Patience is key.

This past week:
Saturday: 4 mile walk with one 12 lb dumbbell, 2 of those miles I kicked a soccer ball we had found along the way.
Sunday: 2 mile wind sucking, loud breathing, i had to stop and walk for a second- run. OK this may also be a result from the simple fact that I saw another runner about a quarter mile ahead of me and my goal was to catch her. Once I caught her, I couldn’t just slow down, I had to keep running, or so my ego said, at that same pace. So I did. My first run of two miles was at an average of a 7:51 minute/mile pace. I was dying.
Monday: 2 mile run, just because it sucked yesterday, doesn’t mean it’s going to get easier if I avoid it.
Tuesday: My long day, I teach 5 classes and was able to sneak in a few workouts along the way.
Wednesday: 2 Mile run, it was still hard, but it was getting easier.
Thursday: 1 Hour of hot yoga with my class
Friday: My frist day back at Orange Theory Fitness, and I was pretty certain I was going to die. But again, I enjoy near death workouts.. but I have to say, I couldn’t/CANNOT wait for that workout to feel doable again.
Saturday: Bootcamp/ Tough Mudder Training (crazy obstacle course training) at EastMark Community, followed by a 2 mile run.. THIS RUN, was the BEST run. All the way through at an easy 8:45 pace and no wind sucking at all. YAY!!
Sunday: I met my sweet Jody at OTF for my second beat down. I made it! I ran the entire time and I was absolutely shocked and pleasantly surprised at the difference from today compared to Friday. I was able to jog the entire time, recover, and hang. THANK GOD FOR JODY.
godnewnumber
So the key here! LISTEN to what your body needs. It’s ok to give yourself a break, and even if you are coming off of a year or more of a break, it’s always going to be hard at the beginning. This is where you breathe in, exhale, dig in and keep going. Because the pain is worth it. It’s always worth it.

Believe in yourself, it will be well worth it.
OTFweek1
SO for you! Here is a little workout you can do within the comfort of your own home:

20 Jumping Jacks
20 Push-Ups
20 Squats
20 Lunges (YES. each side)
20 Dips ( You can use a chair or bench for this exercise- Keep your back as close to the chair or bench as you can, lower yourself all the way down, press up)
20 Mt. Climbers
20 Bicep Curls (If you don’t own dumbbells, you can grab a milk jug, or anything that may be easy to hang on to, that won’t break and will provide you with a decent amount of weight.)
20 FULL sit ups

Repeat this cycle 3 times. Adjust the reps as you see fit.

Get it team! I hope your Valentines Day was full of love. <3 puppycookie

mevdayselflove

Be.YOU.tee.full.

just beBecause I’m everything you thought you wanted, yet nothing that you’d hoped I’d be.

Acceptance.
noun
1. the act of taking or receiving something offered.
2. favorable reception; approval; favor.
3. the act of assenting or believing: acceptance of a theory.
4. the fact or state of being accepted or acceptable.

Right. Acceptance. Accepting what is in this very moment. Who we are, what we are, where we are in any given moment. Something we as a culture probbbbbably fail at most of the time. Maybe we accomplish this exceptionally well during the delicious moments of life, but during the not so great? Probably not. We become the most incredible escape artists to ever exist. Daydreaming, looking to the future, reaching for the past, anything to escape the now.

There are a multitude of experiences, which create this thing we call ‘life.’ There are moments where we doubt ourselves, where we wallow in sadness, grief or perhaps even guilt. We all have this thing called the bullshit button (yep- I made that up) where sometimes we just find ourselves comparing ourselves and our lives to those around us. We aren’t good enough or maybe we feel better than.

Typically when we are feeling REALLY great, we find empathy towards everyone and anyone because well, frankly we are on top of the world and no one can knock us down and we have a lot to give in those moments. So why can’t we live in the shit as whole-heartedly as we do when we are on top of it all? Because we are always seeking the great. The warm fuzzies. And when we don’t have that, we want to run away from all of negative situations, moments, conversations of discomfort, those moments our tummies are in knots due of fear, anger, fear, probably fear, or just plain disapproval of our current status, situations and/or overall unhappiness.

I read this quote, it was a great quote. One I needed at that very moment, “if you’re looking for a sign, this is it.” Kind of thing.. (that wasn’t it, but that’s the quote that came to mind when I found this particular quote…)

“You will always be too much of something for someone: too big, too loud, too soft, too edgy. If you round out your edges, you lose your edge.”

Apologize for mistakes. Apologize for unintentionally hurting someone—profusely. But don’t apologize for being who you are.” – Danielle Laporte

I spoke with a good friend of mine from yoga teacher training today, when I asked him how he enjoyed the third module of ytt, he replied with an enthusiastic- (and I quote this loosely) “I loved it, I thought it was great. It’s where everything really came together for me with my practice and emotionally and spiritually, it’s where I really had this amazing experience of self-enlightenment. I also think that happened for me because I wasn’t tied to any expectations. I didn’t know what was to come and I was open to everything. …”

Yea. What IF we experienced life with this same mindset. Without expectation, being open to what IS and letting go of the ‘what-IF’s.’ I’ve really tried to live in that mindset. I’ve also really realized that whatever outcome or circumstances come as a result to situations or scenarios, are completely well deserved,or earned, both good and bad. I’ve done PLENTY of my fair share of CRAP to myself, to those around me, usually my best friends or closest people to me, because they are typically the ones who get the raw end of the deal. Have I always loved the outcome or results of my behavior or reactions in certain situations? Absolutely not. I’m not perfect and I’m certainly not trying to spit shine my rusty imperfections, but I’ll tell you what.. I’m okay with dealing with whatever the outcome may be. I have to give myself a little pep talk in the moment, but I get over it. Might as well meet and greet the shit head on and get through it, then to run away and live in fear of it sneaking up again at a later point. Living in fear of what could be or what outcome could have been, leaves us empty and refilled with stress and anxiety and crap that eventually leads to break down and disease.

Learning to live, to sit, to be in the moment. To breathe in whole-heartedly all of the straight bullshit that accompanies the beauty of our every day lives. We grow from that stuff. The good and the ugly.

So lament a bit. “Roll In it..” There are no mistakes. Ever. Be where you are. Acceptance.

eat like no one is watching

For the Love of Sleep

sleepy conversation
How often are you able to crawl in to bed at night and fall asleep without a problem? Your mind relaxes the moment your head hits the pillow and bam, you’re out cold, right?

For a lot of you, that may be the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever heard and yet the biggest wish you have ever had for yourself; fall asleep soundly without tossing and turning. Sure, we all have a night here and there where our mind runs wild with things we have to do tomorrow, or things we forgot to do today, people we forgot to call, and things we are afraid to forget in the morning. A gaggle of stress lurking in your body, your mind and ultimately targeting your nervous system. Then we start stressing about the fact that we aren’t going to get buy 5 hours of sleep, 4 hours, 3, 2…
Sleep deprivation can be caused by stress and in turn lack of sleep can actually create stress on our bodies. It sounds a lot like the chicken and the egg, I’m not really sure which came first, but it’s an ongoing cycle until we break it. So let’s do that!

Here is my secret and biggest tip; do YOGA. Make it habit. I have had so many students come up to me and tell me that they just had the best night sleep after their yoga class they attended earlier in the day.

Wondering if there is a way to get the benefits of yoga without having to attend classes or pay for a membership at a studio you can’t afford?

Here are a few of my favorite poses to help calm the mind, and relax the body.

Inhale the awesome, exhale the crap

3-Part Breath or Complete breath:

To begin lets focus on our breath. It is the one thing that keeps us walking around, waking up every morning, and sleeping every night. It sustains us. It sustains our movement, it sustains our emotional stability, it sustains our mental state. It is something we take for granted because without even thinking about it, it’s happening. It has our back. It’s on autopilot because we are constantly over stimulated by the outside world. All of this affects our nervous system. To allow your nervous system a moment to release, let’s breathe.

Whether you are lying down or seated, get comfortable. Begin by taking a really deep breath in through your nose, so big you feel yourself sit taller, or lay longer and then exhale through your mouth and feel yourself relax, feel your shoulders relax down your back away from your ears. Begin to breath in through your nose and back out through your nose. Continue doing so and just allow your breath to deepen on it’s own.

-Breathe in through your nose; breathe out through your nose.
-Inhale in to your belly; let your belly completely fill. Exhale, release your breath back out through your nose, actively press your bellybutton back toward your spine.
-Repeat.
-As your breath grows, allow your belly to fill, allow your lungs to fill, exhale from your lungs, your belly.
-Repeat until it grows even longer, and continue doing so. Try to maintain this breath throughout all of the following poses.

Supine Twist or Supta Matsyendrasana:

-Lay on your back. Pull your knees in to your chest and then release your arms open like a ‘T.’ Leave your knees to hover over your hips or chest.
-Allow both of your knees to fall to your right. Try to keep both of your shoulder blades planted on your mat.
-Intensity: To make this a little more intense, you can take your gaze to your left. For less intensity take your gaze to the sky or let your gaze fall to your right.
-Remain here for a couple of minutes before repeating this twist on the other side.

Benefits of Supine Twists
-Twists are great for detoxification. Think of your internal organs as a sponge and you are ringing them out. I love twists and when I teach or practice I try to incorporate at LEAST one twist in to the class.
-Help alleviate stress and tension being held throughout the spine
-Aids in digestion also.
-Stretch the glutes and stretches and releases the spine.
-Opens tight shoulders
-Quiets and calms the mind
sleepsupineTwist

Seated Forward Fold or Paschimottanasana

I love forward folds because they allow you to connect with yourself, when you fold into yourself all that can be found is you. Letting go of the outside world, all of the external distractions, it’s just you.

Begin Seated with your legs extended long in front of you. Flex through your feet.
Reach your arms up above your head, think of yourself reaching toward the sky, get long.
-Leading with your heart and maintaining a flat back, begin to fold forward from your hips (not your low back) reaching toward your feet. Let your hands fall wherever. If they only extend as far as your shinbones; rest your hands on to your shins, that’s perfect.
-Come back to your three-part breath; stay here for 30 seconds or for 5 breaths. Then come up and out of your fold and exhale, release back in to it for another 5 breaths. You can repeat this for up to 5 minutes, or work your way up to a static 5-minute hold.
sleepblogforwardfold

***If seated is uncomfortable, you can take this pose standing: Standing Forward Fold or Uttanasana***
-Begin standing slowly fold forward, allowing your hands as well as the crown of your head to reach toward your mat, or the floor. Your gaze should be at your shins. -Feel free to allow your knees to bend slightly.
-To come out of this pose, slowly come up half way allowing the blood to rush from the top of your head, and then the rest of the way.
sleepblogstandingforwardfold2

Benefits of a forward fold:
-Stretches the hamstrings and strengthens and lengthens the spine.
-Massages the digestive organs
-Relieves digestive problems (ie: constipation)
-Stimulates the nervous systems
-Relaxes the mind and enhances your ability to focus

Childs Pose or Balasana

This is a very well-liked resting pose. Again it allows you to really connect with yourself, coming inside and allowing your focus to be on nothing but yourself and your breath.

-Begin in table-top position, walk your knees really wide and bring your big toes together.
-Press your hips back toward your heels
-Release your forehead to your mat
-Extend your arms out in front of you, or wrap them back around your sides toward your heels.
-Breathe

Benefits of Balasana:

-Stretches and releases tension throughout the back, shoulders and chest
-Alleviates stress and anxiety
-Stretches the hips, thighs and ankles
-Calms the mind and relaxes the body
-Normalizes circulation throughout the body

sleepblogbalasana

sleepblogbalasana2

Supine Butterfly Pose or Supta Baddha Konasana

This is one of my favorite poses. You can use this with or without supportive props. The point of this is to be as comfortable as possible, so prop yourself with blankets wherever and whenever needed.

-Begin lying on your back with your knees bent.
-Place the souls of your feet together and allow your knees to splay open.
-You can prop your knees by rolling blankets or towels up and placing them beneath each leg, or you can use pillows if you feel strain in your legs, hips or knees.
-You can rest your arms by your side, you can rest them on your belly, or you can take your arms above your head interlacing your fingers or taking opposite hands and grabbing opposite fore arms or elbows. This gives a little extra love to your shoulders.
-Come back to your breath.

Benefits of Supine Butterfly
-Grounding
-Calms Anxiety
-Reduces stress
-Soothes and comforts the nervous system, mind, and body
-Improves focus
-Reduces tension
-Relieves headaches

When you find yourself in an uncomfortable pose, change it or breathe through it. Please try to notice the difference between discomfort and pain. Never force yourself to sit through pain.

sleepblogsuptabaddhakonasana

sleepblogsuptabaddhakon

Legs Up the Wall or Viparita Karani

All you’ll need is you and a wall (maybe a towel or two and a blanket depending on preference). The easiest way to get in to this position is to sit next to the wall, as you lay back, sweep your legs up the wall so your booty should be as close to the wall as you can get it (within 6 inches or so). This will vary, if you have tight hamstrings; feel free to slide back a bit.
-If you have back pain, feel free to use blankets or towels to support you by resting them beneath your low back.
-Strain in your neck, roll a small towel and slide it underneath your neck.
-Rest your arms by your side or out to the side like a T. If it is more comfortable to rest them on your belly, feel free.
The point of this pose is to reverse the process of the blood flow.

Benefits of Viparita Karani:
-Regulates blood flow and helps those with high or low blood pressure.
-Improves digestion
-Relieves mild backache
-Provides headache relief even for migraines
-Alleviates stress and calms anxiety
-Relieves symptoms of insomnia and mild depression
-Stretches the back of the neck as well as the hamstrings and even into the calf muscles.
-This in turn can help restore tired feet or legs
-This is great for the reproductive organs for both men and women, including alleviating menstrual cramps.
-Can help with arthritis

I hope these poses help you find that sound nights rest you have been longing for. To help you find a little extra comfort, follow this link for your perfect bedroom addition. https://casper.com/mattresses)
All my love and gratitude, sweet dreams.

For any questions or comments, leave them here or feel free to email me.

Restful Resolutions

character

The beginning of the new year brings new year resolutions, new goal setting practices, new intentions, a new year, a new YOU. Yada yada yada.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about creating new intentions and working toward new goals. What I’m NOT about is creating unrealistic expectations for oneself, so much so we believe we can’t adjust our resolution or intention or goal and as a result we give up on it all together. One where we build a box and decide to drop our resolutions inside of it; “I must lose 15 pounds, no if’s, and’s or but’s about it.” I think more of us would be willing to set new goals and intentions if we allowed ourselves to change and mold them as we see fit. Maybe 5-10 pounds while building muscle is more realistic for some, rather than just losing weight.

Life changes, we change, our goals change. Usually when we feel like we have a solid plan laid out, we go for it. When things seem to be running smoothly and suddenly a wrench gets thrown in the mix, we are all thrown off, as a result, we end up giving up. Just tweak it a little bit, get back on the horse and one day at a time begin to chip away at it.

On the flip side, do yourself a favor and don’t underestimate yourself. Don’t sit there and say “this year I’m going to journal one time.” Just so you are comforted in knowing that you have 365 days to fit that one entry in. Go big, but set yourself up for success.

Unlike most people, my new years resolution is to allow myself to rest and recover. We ran through 2014 as if it were a marathon and at the very end, the last two weeks, we sprinted through the finish line, leaving me absolutely exhausted.

So this year! I’m switching it up, while the gyms are packed solid with new year resolution holders, I am on the couch. With My protein shake, a pillow and three seasons of Bob’s Burgers. It’s early enough to give myself 4 weeks off from rest, by the end of that little stint, I’ll have new goals, I’ll feel renewed and the hustle and bustle of the gym will die down a bit. Instead of listening to the world drill into my head “a better body, better me.” I’m Listen to what my body is begging me for. For once. 🙂

So my sight is set on my diet, on my eye lids, on my breath, on me. We’ll see what we come up with. For now.

Be YOU. Do what YOU need, what is your body asking for? What makes your internal fire burn, or are you burnt out? Think about it. We all need some “me time.” And I’m super excited for this 4 week hiatus from chaotic, high intensity, even low intensity workouts.

Let’s get it!

Happy New Year All!

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Inhale the Holidays! Happy 2015!

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I find myself writing about gratitude, a lot. Maybe because I am grateful, maybe because there are plenty of times I find myself complaining when there is nothing to complain about.

Really, there is no reason for me to be grumpy. There is no reason for me to complain about feeling crappy. Chances are I did all to myself, I probably ate the wrong things, I didn’t give myself enough rest last night and the reality is, is that I probably just need a nap.

This has been one of the harder Christmas seasons for our family. That’s ok, because everyone has difficult holiday seasons. This just happens to be ours, (along with a lot of other people.) It’s also the end of the year when we begin to reflect upon our accomplishments, the not so great things, the awesome, the not so awesome. We think about everything and we compare where we are currently to where we were at the beginning of the year.

We beat ourselves up over the resolutions, goals and expectations we set for ourselves at the beginning of the year and then didn’t meet. We haven’t accomplished ENOUGH, our goals were not fulfilled, we gained 10 pounds and didn’t lose an ounce, we are lazy, we didn’t workout longer than 3 days of the very first week of the new year and we just aren’t good at life.

HA! Sure we get comfortable, we get a little stagnant, we find the things we love, we shy away from the things we don’t. I suppose this is why I love yoga so much, because we find ourselves in positions or poses that don’t feel comfortable. They are out of our comfort zone, but the longer we sit and lament, the more our body adjusts in search of finding a certain level of comfort, or a way to just ‘get through it.’ And then we are reminded… nothing is ever permanent. Nothing. Think about that for a second.

We are always moving forward, time does not stand still, we eventually come out of that situation, that pose and suddenly it’s fine. You may remember that particular feeling you experienced while enduring the pain, the discomfort, the circumstances, or just sitting in that pose, OR, more likely, you may forget it completely. The point is, is that you made it through that pose, you made it through that moment, you made it through your bad day, the tough time, the stressful deadlines, the terrible jobs, the trying relationships and with every moment of difficulty comes growth, we become stronger, internally and externally. Don’t think too hard about it because it may be minuet, it may be huge. Don’t discount any of it. Don’t beat yourself up about LIFE because you didn’t end up on the cover of US Weekly magazine or success hasn’t found you, or you still have $2 to your name and you are 62 years old. Focus on your today, focus on the people you interact with, focus on what you are doing in this moment, not the next, get out of what happened an hour ago and just keep moving forward.

No one is going to make it out of this life ALIVE, so fuck shit up and get dirty. No one expects you to be perfect. No one IS perfect. We rely on facebook to falsify and glorify our lives, but let me tell you. Life isn’t always glorious, and you know that, we all know that. So eat some freaking chocolate and sob yourself to sleep every now and again and be happy with that.

Be who you are, where you are, and stop worrying about the external accomplishments, the gold medals, the shiney bs that we like to show off to everyone. Be a little more real, show someone how much they mean to you by just giving some of your time, some of your love, some of your heart.

Christmas is not about the materialistic items, it isn’t. There is absolutely nothing on my Christmas list this year. I’ll give you a list of things that I would like. But not a single one of them are necessary and I will survive every day from now until death without them. Those things are just things and temporarily fulfilling.

A sweet friend of mine asked me what I would do if I had just one week left to live. I didn’t have to think longer than 2 seconds before I had it all figured out.

-First I would divorce my husband, because I would be preparing to acquire a lot of debt.
-Second I would fly every single one of my very favorite people..(this includes my husband.. my debt free husband). I have a lot of them, but they would all be coming with me (Hence the debt), to Bora Bora, Maldives, or somewhere really difficult to get to, but the most beautiful in the world.
-Third, we would all be staying in a few bungalows sitting on stilts over the most beautiful water.
-Fourth, that’s it, We would all be together, in the most beautiful place on earth, and all I want to do is laugh and be with them.
OH. And I’ll probably be naked, but that’s because- who cares.

It’s the people who hold a special place in my heart, who have built my heart, who have shown me what true love is, who have given me a taste of what life is and how it is meant to be lived, it is because of them my world moves. I may not be successful at a lot of things; I may not have a job that reflects my degree in any way, shape or form. My paychecks may be tiny, by my world, my heart, It’s all-full. Like the fullest of full. I am the richest yoga instructor in the world. ☺

So, I Focus on them. They are the reason for the season, LOVE is the reason for the season. LOVE IS EVERYTHING. LOVE just simply is.

Happy Holidays everyone. I hope you find peace and happiness in the space and place that you are right now. Because there is a very good reason for it.

Enjoy it. Good, bad, ugly. BREATHE and know, this too shall pass.

Yogic 3 Part Breath: With a multitude of benefits, this easy to do, everyone can do it because you are living and oxygen sucking human beings.. Take a minute, while you are driving, while you are typing, while you are day dreaming. Breathe, This will help alleviate stress and anxiety, realax. Relax. Relax.
-Inhale in through your nose, fill your belly, and exhale out of your nose. Repeat, and then begin to fill your belly, your lungs and beyond. Just sit with it for awhile. Let your body relax with every exhale, let go of the busy in your mind, and let yourself be where you are. You are always exactly where you should be. Always.

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Live. Love. Loss.

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swan fam

when you awakenLife is such a funny thing. You live, you grow, you meet people who will shape you, make you, bend and break you. At some point those people fade, they come and go, you gain friends, you lose, and eventually there comes a time of permanence. Life and Death. It’s just so funny to me.

I grew up truly believing my heart would literally explode without my family, if I had to suffer the loss of any one of them, stemming from my grandparents on, there would be absolutely no way life could or would be able to continue, at least happily. I dreamed and prayed and prayed that both of my grandmas and both of my grandpas would be present for my high school graduation and for my wedding day. These were big events that I had set as eventual goals, not “what if’s” but “when these days happen, i must have them all present.” The thought of reaching and accomplishing either without them made me nauseated.

As I grew up, I realized how absolutely lucky I was to have them. I was extra lucky because throughout high school I was always using written notes to excuse my sister and myself from school, and my grandparents all probably died about 5 times over throughout the course of 3 years. (I always prayed and apologized to God, but you know.. he understood I hated math class and PE-for the simple fact that I had to be sweaty and disgusting for the last hour of the day.)
Yet, Here I am at the age of 29 and I’m just now having to handle any sort of loss. Yoga and life in general have helped create a shift in my thought process, but I am thankful that loss waited on me to grow and realize that life wasn’t really over. There was no indefinite permanence to exist, only here in the physical world. I have come to realize that I will probably have them around me more after they are gone then while they are here. So I am OK with the plan that has been created.

No, it’s never easy to say good bye, it’s never something you WANT or wish to happen. It is simply acceptance and allowing life to be as it is without trying to figure out the why. Our society is so focused and fixated on that little word. There must be an explanation as to why them? Why not me? Why Now? Why This way? We have religion, we have our own belief systems to get us through the difficult times because it helps us cope. The reality is, is that you can wallow in it and choose sadness for eternity, or you can mourn the loss, cry, and celebrate their life as they lived it. No matter the cause of death, no matter how horrific or how peaceful, it is all as it should be. Always.

So embrace the beauty of what is, be happy for memories and enjoy those who are around you now, because those are truly the things they will want you to remember when their soul parts from their physical shell. I Have always felt honored to meet new people, to meet the parents and grandparents of my friends because these are the people who have made my friends into the people I have come to love.

Tonight I am feeling grateful, I am feeling loved, and I am feeling honored to have some of the most incredible people in my life. I treasure each of you beyond measure. So whether I speak with you every day or not, see you often or not, the point is moot because my heart is beyond happy, please know that I keep a special place in my heart for each of you, and perhaps make space for those who are to come and for those who have come and gone in your past because hatred and anger, love and happiness, either way these people made an impact on you one way or another. Gratitude is the key here. Use it, live in it. Thank you for shaping me Grandma and Grandpa x2, mom and dad, all of my aunts and uncles and cousins. And to my friends who I just love more than life. Thank you 🙂
Live. Love. Be.

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Switchin’ it up.

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So I did it.

After switching up my workout routine and increasing the intensity by .. a ton, my sweet vegan diet was just not cutting it. Let me start by saying, I truly believe that if you want to save the planet, go vegan. If it was easy to maintain such a diet along with my workouts, I absolutely would, and I have tried.

As you know I’ve been contemplating the reintroduction of eggs in to my diet for a little while. And after noticing a significant increase in calories burned, I also noticed that I was constantly hungry, which is great, except when vegan, the majority of foods available are high in both carbohydrates and fat content.

Yes both carbs and fats are extremely critical for a well balanced diet and a happy body, but those are much easier to obtain as opposed to protein, which is hard to come by in the vegan world.

After a few weeks of this I finally sat down and spoke with one of my trainers and he said to me, “well. We need to find you something that is really high in protein and low in both carbs and fat, and when you find that magical ‘thing,’ let me know.” That was pretty much all I needed to hear to know a change was necessary. It was also that I would not be able to maintain, nor would I achieve the results I was so hopeful for without supplementing my body with what it was begging me for.

So JUST this week I added in a pure, UNdenatured, 99% lactose free, natural whey protein. Just one scoop is 18 grams of protein with 1.5 grams of fat and 2 grams of carbs. BAM.

By just adding this one scoop to my daily food log, I started losing weight like magic. And no, I don’t mean like 10 pounds, but I mean 3 pounds in only 3 days. I don’t expect this to be the norm, I know my body is just eating up exactly what it needs because it has been pretty deprived for so many months. I’m just patiently awaiting my body to balance out so I will know what the next step will be.

I also decided to add eggs back in to my diet. I’m not sure if I am ready for that yet… so stand by. One thing at a time…

The moral of the story, in order to stand by my diet and beliefs to the best of my ability while feeding my body the appropriate balance of macro nutrients. A little tweak here and there won’t kill you and I don’t have to give in to eating meat (a sentence I never ever thought I’d ever write).

I used to be a full blown carnivore, but the way it made me feel was never clean, light or healthy.

So a scoop of protein to my normal meal replacement shakes, I feel good. My body is happy, it recovers quickly, and with PCOS any good change is amazing. I can’t tell you how happy I feel right here right now.

I will do a better job of updating more regularly, and with this fitness/nutrition challenge, I’ll be sharing more results on what is working for me and what isn’t. For those with PCOS, you understand the frustrations that accompany it, there is never one sure thing that will work for all of us, so it’s about researching and paying attention to your body as you change things little by little. riseandenergizeheader

For any information on what I”m doing and changes that I have made in my diet and exercise routine, feel free to ask or email me and I would be happy to share!

Happy Sunday Eve!