Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Yoga and Christianity

So many times I have heard the question raised "Is Yoga Christian" or something along those lines. At the heart of this question is fear - if I try yoga, am I defying God's will or giving the devil a foot hold in my life, my heart? I don't believe that to be the case. I do believe that as a Christian, yoga is a perfectly safe practice. I am a Christian - this is the first and foremost of the defining roles I play. A Christian, mom, wife, friend, daughter, sibling, teacher, yogi. Yes a yogi, I teach yoga as well as practice yoga. I am good at yoga - God has blessed me with a gift of leadership to help others (and myself) live a more healthful life through quieting the mind, breathing deeply, withdrawing from the outside world, honoring the body and listening to the guidance of the Holy Spirit that lives within. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God. You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. We honor our bodies, which simply means we listen to and respect ourselves. If we feel tired we take rest, if we feel pain we take care, if we feel strong we challenge ourselves. This is not contradictory to anything we learn as Christians. Matthew 6:24-27 No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate one and love the other, or you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You can not serve God and money. Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink: or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air: they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet our heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can anyone of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? We take time to withdraw from the outside world and turn focus inward. Our daily lives are full of activity, stress, distractions - it is so easy to get caught up in it all. It is so necessary to press the pause button, let go of the things we are holding on to tightly and just be present in a quiet moment without worry. Jesus took time away from the masses, moments of introspection and reflection. 2 Timothy 1:7 For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self control. We quiet the mind of the endless loop of thoughts that drown out the gentle whisper of the Holy Spirit. In all things, all places we choose Who and what influence the words from our mouths, actions from our hands and feet as well as the thoughts in our minds and hearts. Joshua 24:15 But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Goal setting and Gameplans

We want to make changes, reach new heights, break old habits, plow through a bucket list... It all starts with a step by step plan. One of the biggest pitfalls we can face is being unsure of where or how to get started - so we find any and every excuse not to. The first and best thing we can do for ourselves is allow room for imperfection. Make it clear from the get go that it is okay to have a bad day, a weak moment, a setback. If we can bounce back from setbacks and not beat ourselves up over shortcomings we can stay positive and committed to the gameplan we have set. Here are some more ideas for success with 2015 goals. 1. Write down your goal - no matter how big or small, personal or professional, silly or stoic - we are more likely to accomplish what we set out to do if we take the time to write it down. Be clear, detailed and timely with the goal. 2. Find reasons, get rid of excuses - a million excuses will pop up each day, you only need to hold onto to the one REASON and let the excuses fall by the wayside. 3. Tap in to a community of like minded people - these are the folks who are going to cheer you on even when you may self doubt, they will be truthful and supportive, they will look at your goal and ask how they can help. 4. Identify your limiting areas and ask for help when you need it - what may come naturally to you may be a struggle for another and vice versa, if you struggle in an area look for someone who can lend expertise. 5. Celebrate - once you have reached a goal take a moment to acknowledge your accomplishment, enjoy your success. Celebrate! Our goals say a lot about who we are, where we come from and where we are going. Take the time to follow these steps and you will begin to see your goals becoming your reality and your dreams coming true.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Be present for every moment, take pressure off the perfect ones.

At the beginning of every session we start by clearing the mind of unneccessary thoughts - the ones that do not serve us well, they get played over and over with no resolve, cause stress and negativity; let that all go... Breathe in and feel light traveling into all your spaces, breathe out and let go of darkness, breathe in an and take stock of your physical being, breathe out feel yourself relax deeper, breathe in and be at peace with your emotional, spiritual, physical self, breathe out become settled in this place at this time - nothing else matters. It sets us up for a wonderful experience, all things come together and we are focused, connected, in tune with ourselves and the universe. Why do we wait for a designated time to allow this to happen? Why is this peace reserved for only an hour of our day? Shouldn't we want this all the time, every hour, every breath? YES! But we don't. We move through daily life rushing from one task to the next, allowing our minds to play back an endless loop of 'to-dos', stress and negativity. Never fully appreciating one moment from the next, arriving at our next stop before we fully realize we left the last one. It is easy to get caught up in the mindless activities of living - home, work, meals, commute can all become routine. We find ourselves looking forward to the next big thing on the horizon - a party, a trip, a date night...and we build it up for perfection. We go through the motions of daily life anticipating that big thing and allowing all the little things to pass us by. Life is not meant to be lived waiting for the perfect moments, the big things - it is comprised of the imperfect moments and all the little things that make us who we are. These are the things that count, these are the moments we live for - the hugs heading out to the school bus, the sighs over muddy paw prints, the laughter over a cup of tea. Big things come once in a while, let not the little things slip past. At the end of every session we close by once again quieting the mind, noting the small shifts in who we are now from when we began and we appreciate those shifts. Many clients tell me how nice it would be if they could feel this way every day and I let them know the good news - You can! You don't need me to make this happen. You simply need to take a moment, take a breath and be present. Next time the alarm goes off in the morning, before jumping out of bed and into the day - take a moment. Breathe into every space of your body, wake it all up, feel more alive with each breath in and more grounded, preparing for your day with each breath out. Don't let that moment pass you by. Next time you find yourself aggravated in line at the coffee shop, grocery store, traffic, wherever - take a moment. Breathe in and feel light, breath out and let go, breath in peace for yourself, breathe out peace to everyone around you. Next time things don't go perfectly - take a moment. Breathe in all the wonderful blessings in your life, breathe out frustration at the current situation, breathe in grace and kindness, breathe out unmet expectations. The more we practice presence in every moment the more we notice perfection in every moment. Sure, I love big things when they come along; but I live for the little things that are completely unscripted, unplanned, and chaotice that make life worth living and full of love.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Welcome winter and chase away the chills

Winter Chills and Blues It is that time of year again - days are shorter and colder...keep warm. Time and again I find myself playing the same old record over and over - Folks come in with shrugged shoulders, stiff necks, sore bodies...because when we are cold our natural tendency is to curl up, bundle up, tighten up and try to shrug off the chills. This usually leads to still feeling chilly and adding extra aches on top. Our bodies have a beautiful way to fight off the cold - and it doesn't include burying yourself under a mountain of blankets! Move - Take a few moments to stretch and then get moving. You build heat from within, aches and stiffness will melt away and before you know it you will have forgotten all about how cold you were. Breathe - deeply and through the nose to help hold on to that heat. Your nose has an amazing system in place to filter and warm air as it enters your body, it also helps to hold heat in as you exhale. Soak up the sun - find the sun while it is shining and bathe in it. Sure it may still be dark when you roll out of bed in the morning and dark again before the day's activities are through, but there is still sun time to be found. Even a 10 minute sun break can have a huge impact on your day, enjoy those stolen moments by spreading your arms wide all the way out to your fingers, smile up at the sun and feel it's warmth smiling back on you. Exercise, diet and sun time all release hormones and neurotransmitters in the brain that have a positive effect on your mood. If you find yourself suffering with winter blues let's find a solution to get you through the season. Join us for a drop in class, hunt up some new recipes that celebrate the change of season, explore outdoor activities. Harmony Health provides full service fitness, life and nutrition coaching, contact us for our current schedule and more information on how you can get started today to live better tomorrow!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Holiday food, fun and forgiveness

One of the biggest challenges we face is holiday food and fun - especially if you are just starting out on a weight loss journey and lifestyle changes have not become a part of your lifestyle just yet. Fortunately for us, the biggest success we find during the holidays is forgiveness. Whether you have recently implemented healthier food and exercise into your life or have been on this path for years. Take a moment to prepare and set yourself up for a great weekend, it can make a huge difference in how you feel come Sunday evening. As the old saying goes - "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"! Give yourself permission to enjoy in moderation. Realize that during a holiday weekend, such as the 4th of July, there will be temptation and opportunity to stray from your path. If we allow ourselves to indulge a little in traditional BBQ fare then we will be less likely to deny, deny, deny and finally binge, binge, binge. Ramp up your exercise routine. Make time to go for a run, bike ride, fitness class, whatever it might be and get your metabolism working for you. The great thing about exercise - once you get the fire burning it will keep burning for you even after you have finished working out. Best option: make fitness a family and friend activity such as a playing ball, swimming, walking, etc. We are way more likely to be active when we enjoy it and when we have buddies with us. Stay hydrated! This is so very important - we are out in the sun, drink in the hand, food on the plate, water in the pool/ocean/lake... make sure to drink plenty of water too. Alcohol and caffeine dehydrate you, so although you may be drinking plenty, your body is not getting as much water as it needs. Heat and sun cause us to perspire, again losing water. So be sure to drink plenty of water to replace what you are losing and keep your body hydrated and healthy. Forgive yourself! The next best step. If you slip up over the weekend, recover quickly. The more time we spend dwelling on what we did wrong is less time we spend focusing on what to do right. So you drank too much, ate too much, didn't work out for 4 days... we can get back on track and the sooner the better. Start by drinking plenty of water and adding back in your healthy food items. Make time to begin working out again, and if you have to - start small and slow. Our minds are powerful, be sure that the power of your mind is positive, encouraging and uplifting. Our bodies are adaptable, a slip up is not the end of the road, simply an opportunity to begin again. Every day we start anew, yesterday is over and done with - move on.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Love who you are, where you are

Ahhh, it has been a long time since I have been here. Life gets busy and sometimes if you don't pay attention life gets away from you. I have come back to my love of helping people get well. Guiding people on their journey to better health, stronger bodies, quieter minds and happier lives. It is what I do best and what I love most. Since I have been gone I have also grown in many ways: I have added more tools to my bag - knowledge is power and I love to learn! I have spent a lot of time these past 2 years working as a health advocate for the community. Working closely with a team of doctors, therapists and support staff was a great adventure. I gained so much and now have more to give because of it. I have removed some unnecessary items from my life - stuff has a way of piling up! Self inventory is always a great practice that I get a lot out of. Meditating on items, people and patterns, how they affect me - good or bad and deciding if they are something to hold on to or let go of. All things in life have a season, knowing when a season has changed is important. I have grown in my faith in God - and this has made all the difference! Searching for answers is a never ending process, there will always be new questions to ask. Knowing that all things come back to the same beginning helps me to trust even when I don't yet have the answers. Trusting that all things work together for my good. This all helps me to be a more effective advocate for the people in my life, whether they be personal or professional relationships. In every interaction there is always an exchange of energy - we bring one another up or down. Our focus should be reaching out to build up those we see struggling just as equally as we reach out for support and guidance when we struggle ourselves. Life is meant to be lived in love - this does not mean that trials will not pass our way. It means that love will overcome trials if we allow it to. Love yourself - who you are, where you are. Love one another - in all things. It is not always easy but it is always worth it.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Yoga for Weight Loss

Oh so many times I will have a student come into class and their main objective is to lose weight and their first question is: How many calories will I burn in this class? A tough question to start off with and possibly disapointing when the answer is revealed. Americans are great marketers and for an individual who is trying to lose weight and relatively new to exercise, fitness and nutrition they are looking for a big number like the advertsied 600-1900 calories in Zumba, spin, step aerobics etc. So when my answer is 150-600 depending on the intensity, duration and style of Yoga it becomes less worth it to them.
What Yoga does offer that is an exceptional tool in weight loss is self awareness, presence of mind and body, and mindfulness. A great part of Yoga is learning to cultivate a breath that fills and sustains our being mind, body and spirit this is step 1. Step 2 is a quiet - mind once we transform our breath we can begin to quiet our mind and bring greater focus to our physical, mental and spiritual being without all the everyday thoughts and outside world interferring. Step 3 allows us to realize the detailing of our body and get in touch with all our inner workings. When we combine these 3 elements Yoga becomes a powerful tool for weight loss - or whatever your goal is: stress relief, gratitude and contentment, balance, flexibilty, strength both physically and mentally/emotionally.
Finding a Yoga class that offers more than just physical movement but incorporates community, breathwork and mindfulness is a great first step to any health seeking journey. Don't be shy to get to know your teacher and fellow students. Yogis are a pretty great population of people and we love to support and encourage one another. That is an invaluable key to any journey.
All the best,