I love this quote and have it posted on my bulletin board as a not-so-subtle reminder to stop getting in my own way of going for exactly what I want.
Is it weird to post one of my blogs that has already been posted but published on another site? No? Ok good because I’m about to do it.
Last week while I was teaching yoga in St. Lucia Intention Daily published this piece that I wrote. Since I had limited internet access I wasn’t able to properly share it so … one week later … here goes!
If you’ve already read the piece, it’s still a great chance to discover a cool new site sharing beautiful and insightful writing and ideas.
I’m as happy as a Maggie doing a headstand on a beach in St. Lucia.
It’s #TreatYourselfTuesday and in honor of that I wanted to reflect on this whole idea of “loving ourselves.”
What does it really mean to you? I feel like I definitely get off the “I love myself” track sometimes, and so often because I start to care too much about the approval of others.
But when I start to let that go, things really start to shift.
I think Melody Beattie says it beautifully…
How often are we judgmental toward ourselves? We can be hard on ourselves about a great number of things. One thing we are particularly consistent at being judgmental about is our appearance. I think most everyone can relate in some capacity and what I’d like to share is how I move away from the negative self-talk.
The self-loathing includes but is not limited to hating our skin, hating the size of our feet, the fat around our belly, or the cellulite in our thighs. This applies to everyone – all shapes and sizes. To some degree, we are all familiar with negative body image, and verbally beating ourselves up.
The thing that gets me the most is that while getting lost in this verbal attack on myself, I start to feel physically ill. My body temperature rises, nausea sets in, maybe even a headache. And how often do we try to fix this with a bowl of cereal, a hershey kiss, or an extra diet soda? How often do we turn to food for comfort, as if any of this will magically make all of our imperfections disappear? Or at the very least we try to distract ourselves for the 30 seconds it takes to devour that chocolate kiss.
I have battled with this for years. However, after years of practice, I’m much better at putting my internal bullies to rest. Trust me, I know what it feels like – when your mind really goes for a ride, telling yourself things you wouldn’t DREAM of saying to anyone else. So, how do we stop it?
Let’s compare the obsessive negative self-talk result of feeling physically low to when I get a migraine. Neither one feels good and yet I am very familiar with both. With migraines I know that there are things I need to avoid such as eating tomato sauce and doing too many chatturangas in yoga. I choose to avoid these things because I know the ramifications are just terrible. The same thing happens with this negative self-talk. I will start to go down the road of putting myself down, whether it be in the swimming pool, in front of a mirror, or even out to dinner. However I know that if I stay on this road and keep bashing myself, I’m going to feel terrible both mentally AND physically. I want to avoid this result so I have trained myself to turn around and run away from the negativity. In order to do this I picture I am stopping myself in my tracks, IMMEDIATELY. Imagine you are running to catch a bus, and all of a sudden you realize you forgot your wallet at home and have to stop short immediately. What do you do? You turn around … and run in the other direction!
I remind myself of how horrible it feels to go down that path of self-criticism. In order to “turn in the other direction”, I will say positive affirmations to myself. This can feel corny and really challenging at first but, the more I do it (ex: “You are strong and stunning!” or “I am enough”) the easier it becomes. It is like training a muscle: everything shakes and hurts at first but the more you strengthen it, the more work it can do.
This may sound simple, so much so that you are thinking “it’ll never work.” And trust me, there are multiple practices I use to combat these internal bullies. But give it a try and start to train yourself out of that path of self-doubt and run toward love.
How do YOU deal with negative self-talk? Do you have any strategies you call upon? If so, I’d love to hear them! Please email, leave a comment on FB, or my blog.
Finding sweet release from holiday stress with at home yoga.
If you’ve ever found the idea of an at home yoga practice absolutely outlandish, I may have some ideas to help this seem a tad more approachable. Yoga is not just about fancy outfits, standing on your head, or even about being able to touch your toes. While all these things are very fun, yoga is more so about stepping into your yoga space, unplugging for whatever dedicated time you have set for yourself, and being present. So with that in mind, let us begin:
1. Find your yoga space. Any space where you feel comfortable will work. This can be: your bedroom, office, basement, living room… you get the picture.
2. Select 3-5 basic poses … and JUST DO THOSE POSES. Really, just start with 3-5 poses and then build on them if time allows. Give yourself a break and make this easy. These can be poses you already know or you can use YogaJournal which provides a wonderful reference: http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/finder/browse_categories. I am also available to chat via email to help you build your personalized at home practice.
3. Breathe. Whether it is uncomfortable or it feels fantastic, try to breathe as you do each pose. The more you do this, the easier it becomes and this is just one of those things with yoga (and with many things in life) that it does require practice, practice, practice. While you may see small shifts and changes, the big changes do not occur overnight… as much as I sometimes wish they would! I promise, the end results of long-term dedication will be well worth it.
4. Set a timer for 5, 10, 15 minutes and commit to practicing for that amount of time. I would bet money that the timer will go off and you will be ready to keep going with your practice.
As you embark on your at home yoga practice I leave you with one final tip, especially as we weave our way through the stresses of the holiday season: Imagine that you could take each and every thing that is causing you stress and put it in a box. Close that box, set it aside, and don’t open it up again until after your yoga practice. While your problems may not go away, this just might allow for a subtle shift in perspective.
My dear friend and colleague, Sophie Herbert Slater, and I went on a hike in Trout Brook Preserve about a month ago where she pitched to me this brilliant idea she had been brewing for months: a Life Balance Jumpstart program that would allow clients to work with one-on-one with us as yoga teachers and wellness coaches.
We are beyond excited that we are finally ready to launch Life Balance Jumpstart and invite you to sign up with us. (For the moment this is limited to those residing in the Fairfield County area.)
What does this entail? You can visit our website for the full details but to get an idea…
Life Balance Jumpstart is an intensive 5-week program designed to help YOU feel and be your best. Our mission as experienced wellness coaches and yoga teachers is to share invaluable tools that will not only help you establish greater life balance now and in the future, but also assist you in navigating life with more grace, confidence, curiosity, and resilience. Our passion is helping our clients feel balanced, nurtured, and connected with their sense of purpose. From here, so much is possible.
Sign up before January 15 and save 10%! Email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions and to get started on your wellness make-over.
My mother gave me a card to read the night before Ironman Lake Placid. Inside to the card, she gave me this poem, Salutation to the Dawn, which remains on my bulletin board as a reminder to make each day as fulfilling as it can be. Needless to say it was probably the perfect thing to read pre-Ironman!
Look to this day!
For it is life, the very life of life,
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence:
The bliss of growth,
The glory of action,
The splendor of beauty,
For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow only a vision,
But today well lived makes every yesterday
a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore, to this day!
Such is the salutation of the dawn.
I am a little ashamed to write about this. Just as I am ashamed to admit every time I have a migraine. Here goes a post that’s not going to be very pretty, as I am writing it in the middle of what is turning into a 2 day migraine (let’s hope it stays that way.) It feels like a knife is wielding it’s way into my head on and off, on and off, throughout the day and sometimes it’s just on-on-on-on-on for a long time. Relentless pain with no relief. My brain is on fire. And then I get the nausea, vision auras, and if I’m really lucky, vomiting. I apologize if that grosses you out but it’s the truth.
The only relief I find is covering my entire head in ice packs (or my trusty migra-cap – thanks Mom!) or when I’m lucky enough to have someone squeeze my hand really hard to create enough pressure and pain so as to distract me from the pain in my head. I have had the occasional meditation class or session give me relief, either partial or absolute, and I know this is something I should turn to more often.
Instead what I will more often do is allow myself to enter the cycle of doom: a migraine starts coming on, I debate whether or not to take the uber-powerful prescription I have or do I ride it out, hoping it won’t last too long or be too painful? I then begin to identify WHY this particular migraine is setting in: stress from work, something I ate, bad karma. Seriously, all of that goes through my head and I play the blame game with myself, inevitably feeling immense guilt and stress not only for bringing this pain upon myself but also for how it might affect my actual life. Missing out on work, dinner with friends, being completely zonked when I teach a client even though it is quite evident to them that something is wrong. Words don’t come as easily and I don’t balance as well as I normally do in the balancing poses.
This particular migraine, while taxing, has been different. I am trying my darndest to stay positive. I did not cancel a thing and showed up for work at the office for as long as I could stand the fluorescent lights. These migraines give me a taste of what it might be like to have depression because I feel despondent, powerless, and unable to do some of the things I love most. Focusing on building my business with a migraine? Forget about it. Heck it’s hard to even read a chapter in a book.
For the people who know me, you also know that I get migraines, mostly because there is a good probability that I have had to cancel our plans at some point in time. Migraines make me dizzy, nauseas, throw up, unable to think coherently, depressed, down in the dumps, tearful, and worst of all – fearful. I am fearful that they will be a part of my life forever and that they might stop me from accomplishing goals that I set for myself. I realize this was a big reason why completing an Ironman was so huge for me.
So now what? Well now I do what I can to prevent more migraines (long story for another post, for sure) but I also have to accept and make friends with the migraines. When a migraine comes on, I literally see it as my biggest enemy, I give it a personality, it freaking HATES my guts and wants to ruin my life. There has to be another way around it. A way of laughing at the migraines. Like the time that I got out of jury duty because of the fact that I got migraines that lasted up to 72 hours. I swear to God that this was not intentional and I was only answering the questionnaire with 100% honesty when they asked about medical conditions. Now that is actually kind of funny.
I would have to say that another positive that I see from them is forced time for introspection and reflection. While it might be painful, it forces me to rest, eat well, meditate while at the same time I want to disengage from email, Facebook, my iPhone… I feel numb to all of that and alive to my thoughts and emotions, wild as they may be. I’m thinking I should pay more attention to these migraines and what they bring up.