The joys of having a baby is more than anyone can ever describe, and as a mom of three, myself, I have found that unless you consciously choose to incorporate your little yogis into your practice, we often then choose not to practice at all. And for others, the choice is to practice (exercise) without that little ball of joy nearby or incorporated into that very important part of your life.
Yoga is a huge part of my life and my family’s life. From day one my kids became my little yogi buddies and walking buddies, they did (and still do) everything I do. Because to me, my mindset was my kids were going to be a part of my life, a part of my practice, and a part of my studio, I wanted them to know no different. Some parents want their kids to learn a certain prayer or family tradition, I wanted my kids to learn to live a holistic-yogic lifestyle from early on.
Like many, exercise to me is important, but a mindful practice where it is a part of your lifestyle is even more important.
Here are some examples: We all go for a walk (dogs, kids, and husband) and we talk about why fresh air is important and how Mother Earth loves that we enjoy her and that we don’t litter (we usually are on a quest to pick it all up) and why that isn’t a good choice. I have taught my kids how to breathe and how they can use their breath to help them in stressful situations. I have a yoga room and my children adore spending time there, we take turns using my reformer, weights, and yoga mat, we teach each other poses, bounce on the bosu and I explain how bouncing is healthy for the lymphatic system and stretching is good for your muscles and mind, and building strength will help you get big and strong like your Momma and Papa.
For some in today’s society, the parents may be healthy but they keep that to themselves, for many, eating salad and lean chicken at dinner, but then feeding the rest of the family greasy foods. Or going out for a hike or tending the garden but leaving the kids inside watching T.V. At my house if I want to practice yoga (while my kids are awake) or go for a walk it’s either with them or nothing. And more important than me staying physically fit, is for them to see me take care of myself in all I do and incorporate them into it; so as they get older it’s no different than brushing their teeth, reading books, and taking a bath. To them, it is simply how things have always been, and these skills are skills that can and should be taught by the parents.
Now sure my little yogis crawl all over me in plank and slide down my back in Downward Dog, and that at times gets to be a little much, but that won’t be forever and yoga to me is more than exercise it’s tapping into the inner self and connecting, isn’t it for you?
What you say matters. Words matter. You matter. And in a culture full of broken language, continuous slang, emoji’s, and texting, the art of words is slowly being forgotten.
The world is like it has never been before. Our knowledge base, our insights, our technology is all on the up and up; but what is on the down and out, is our language, our words, which tell our brains what to think and how to see the world.
Words hold vibrations and considering we are all made up of energy, what level of frequencies do you want to surround yourself with?
You may be what you eat, but you are what you say.
Mantras & Affirmations
For thousands of years, ancient eastern cultures have seen and acted on the power of words and vibration through chanting and mantra. Much like an affirmation the pitch, tone and combine words hold a very powerful energy and vibration when said correctly and continuously, changing the brain and your outlook on life.
What is a mantra? “A mantra can be a single syllable such as “ram”, a number of syllables, or a whole verse. One of the most often used definitions of a mantra is something that protects the person who has received it. It is not something we can find in a book or buy it somewhere.” (The Heart of Yoga, T.K.V. Desikachar)
Mantras have been and still are used to help people break bad habits and at the same time create new ones. They are often given by a teacher to a student for a specific reason and to achieve a specific result. A mantra is used to do penance and show forgiveness. Mantras are used across cultures and often used today as we know them as prayers, songs, and affirmations.
Affirmations are positive words or phrases that are used to affirm something. Internally they offer support and encouragement to the one possessing the affirmation.
Words Carry Energy through language and vibrations
Like mantras, affirmations reaffirm the power words hold, the power of the vibration they possess. And when you speak with broken language and do not speak clearly are not able to attract that energy, and are putting out a completely different energy. In a Sanskrit mantra, one wrongly spoken syllable you could go from speaking something positive and inviting to something horrible or silly. Mantras ask the mind to dance with them, getting the mind all caught up in its harmony that soon the mind forgets what it was so wrapped up in and at the same time has transformed it’s thought patterns to a higher vibration.
Considering our brains are wired to prefer the negative, using a powerfully positive affirmation can help one align with their desires, hopes, and dreams. Or simply see life as a great experience, rather than a horrible one.
When we speak in slang, fragments, and slurs we diminish the power of words, we torque the energetic vibration of what we speak, write, and say. And although it may sound cool or be much quicker to text and write, the consequences are fragmented, and I think we can all agree that our world’s current state and this current generation is in major need of a realignment and a re-connection with life itself.
Affirmations are powerful attraction statements, often used with the starting phrase “I AM”. In stating such a phrase at the beginning of the affirmation you are saying to the Universe that this is what YOU ARE. And when you say, do or visualize something repeatedly, it becomes you and you become it.
I used mantra and affirmations during my recovery and continue to use them today, especially as I continue to get to the bottom of old mindsets and negative belief patterns that are not only unhealthy for me but for others and are often what is keeping me from abundance in my life.
Repetitive, Negative Self-talk is Unhealthy
Jole Osteen said, “What follows the “I am” will always come looking for you…. Many times, we are using the power of ‘I am’ against us.” What are you looking to create in your life? You get a free preview of that creation by discovering your current “I am” beliefs”.
How often do we all say things that solidify our future, outlook and what we attract?
I am always rushed
I am so tired
I am always broke
I am a dummy
I am stupid
I am fat
I am no good
I am under qualified
I am never going to make it
I am always last
I am I am I am…
And I can pretty much guarantee that those people will most likely never receive what they have already told the universe and their brains that they shouldn’t EVER have.
Kristen Butler with the Power of Positivity has talked about the I AM transformations.
Because here’s the thing, ‘I am’ will always come looking for you, it’s like a magnet so what are you attracting? Is it what you want to attract? And are you willing to make a change in something as small as what you say? What if just changing that could change your entire life?
Let’s play a game.
I am always broke………. becomes………. I AM always full of abundance
I am a dummy………. becomes………. I AM smart and intelligent
I am fat………. becomes………. I AM fit
I am never good enough………. becomes………. I AM good enough
I am under qualified………. becomes………. I AM highly qualified
I am never going to make it………. becomes………. I AM going to make it, I have what it takes
I am always last………. becomes………. I AM exactly where I need to be
The power of affirmations is vital to the success and well-being of all people personally and professionally! And it is because of this and my own personal experiences with affirmations and transformational mindset that I created the powerful course series: Monumental Clarity. In this series, I created a powerful opportunity for those truly ready and willing to make changes they can reap the benefits and go take action.
Clearing Mental Clutter is a rapid result mini-course that propels those participating in a new way of looking at life, and living life and speaking about life. Clearing Mental Clutter is designed for those looking to break bad habits and set new ones. Those that are sick and tired of being sick and tired of feeling like nothing goes their way and who realize that a big part of making a change is that they must look at themselves first.
Clearing Mental Clutter is designed for those who like me have struggled with a negative self-image, lack in their personal and professional lives, and despite all the right efforts still, are lacking. Those that are ready to live happily, whole, and healthy, breath, body, and belief (mindset) every single day.
The affirmations I use in these courses are designed to help you get to the heart of the issues keeping you from all you desire, as one builds into the next.
I used to fight affirmations because my brain was so tied up in negativity and self-loathing mindset that I wouldn’t allow myself to even mentally say such words because I didn’t want me to succeed.
But here’s the thing, you should want it FIRST for anything to change. And affirmations cost you NOTHING, not a penny, just the willingness to make a small change in what you say and how you say it.
How to create powerful positive affirmations
1. Use the I AM statement
Use the “I AM” statement at the beginning of your affirmation to claim what you say and attract that to your life.
2. Use words that are positive and are specific
Think about where you struggle and what you need to work on and then use a positive phrase to help you in that area.
3. Say it, write it, read it!
The more you use, see, and say your affirmation, the more powerful it is. Who cares if someone thinks you are silly? They won’t be thinking that when you reap what you have sown here with your positive I AM affirmation now, will they?
4. Catch yourself.
When you catch yourself thinking or saying those negative affirmations, STOP yourself immediately and out loud say “cancel, cancel, cancel” and then repeat your positive “I AM” statement. Don’t allow your brain to absorb those hurtful words even for a second.
5. Once you start, don’t stop.
If you suffered a back injury, you shouldn’t stop the exercises to strengthen your back just because it finally feels better-right? The same goes for your new play on words. Keep up with your I AM statements and slowly work to change how you think, speak, and command to the world around you.
If you are ready to clear the cobwebs in that head of yours and take a real first step towards everything you desire and everything that is waiting for you. Let’s do it together, I can help! LET’S TRANSFORM TOGETHER.
I AM READY CLICK HERE!
Beginners Core: How to do Pelvic Tilts.
What if reducing back pain, increasing core awareness, and strength. Reducing hip pain and aiding the natural curves in your spine “were” easy to do?
It has been brought to my attention on more than one occasion that we as a society often overlook the power of simplicity. Is it that we are lead to believe that if something isn’t complicated? Or expensive or taught at a fancy center that it cannot truly be helpful?
I occasionally have students mention that they are off to PT for this or that. Only to find that what they are being told to do are the very things they are learning in my classes. And the therapists are amazed at their sense of awareness and ability. Now, this is not to toot my own horn. But rather push my point that sometimes we don’t realize the power of something until we step away from it.
And the same goes for simple movements.
Have back pain? Who doesn’t?
Struggling with your, ahem, pelvic floor? You’re not alone.
What if there was something you could be doing right now to help those areas improve?
Would you be O.K. with the notion that the approach was simple, elementary, small and lacks a fancy name and does not end in a complicated arm balance? Would that be O.K.?
Sometimes to truly take a step forward, we do in-fact have to take a step back, and that is where pelvic tilts come in.
Not in the sense that we are losing ground or less than, but rather that we are in deep need to create a deeper sense of awareness and understanding of our body and how it moves.
Pelvic tilts truly are one of my most favorite moves, and I often think of it as a secret weapon! This small movement packs a powerful punch! That it simultaneously free your lower back release your hip flexors. In addition, pelvic tilts improve core function and awareness and ungulates your entire spine.
I know what you are thinking now, “where can you sign me up” for learning how to do pelvic tilts??
Except as a yoga and movement teacher for over fifteen years now I have learned that one: I was practicing pelvic tilting all wrong. And two: I see many following in my similar footsteps.
Let’s fix that!
There are tons of benefits to pelvic tilting and it SHOULD be an exercise that everyone does regularly. Because you can do it in just about any plane of motion and position.
If you need a list of reasons WHY pelvic tilts are not just good for you, but necessary!
What are the benefits of Pelvic Tilts?
- * Pelvic tilts create a sense of awareness of the pelvic floor muscles
- *Pelvic tilts release sacral (SI joint) pain
- *Pelvic tilts release the femur, tailbone, sacrum connection for more mobility and motility
- *Pelvic tilts help one access and tone the lower abdomen muscles
- *Pelvic tilts release lower back
- *Pelvic tilts liberate the entire spine
- *Pelvic tilts loosen tightness hanging on the shoulders
- *Pelvic tilts release tightness of the inner hips and inner pelvic attachments
- *Pelvic tilts tone the pelvic floor and core muscles
- *Pelvic tilts activate the glutes/buttocks
- *Pelvic tilts increase awareness of the hip-spine relationship
- *Pelvic tilts assist in a deeper breathing and better lung use
- *Pelvic tilts enhance your body’s natural alignment and curvature
- *Pelvic tilts assist your lumbo-pelvic relationship to sit in neutral with less pain and restriction
- *Pelvic tilts improve posture
- *Pelvic tilts help you look taller and leaner
- *Pelvic tilts teach you how to wear your core on the inside of the body rather than the outside
- *Pelvic tilts release the lateral side body
- *Pelvic tilts stretch the abdominal walls from sitting all-day
- *Pelvic tilts release the fascial netting of the lower body and spine.
By now you are wondering how do you effectively and properly practice pelvic tilts?
How To Do Pelvic Tilts:
- Pick your position. You can practice pelvic tilting lying down, standing in a slight chair pose, sitting, or even prone. I think supine is the simplest way to practice and the floor gives you good feedback as to what you are doing for starters.
- Lying down with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, make sure your heels are not too close to your sit bones, when they are too close it inhibits the range of motion for pelvic tilting.
- Find your breath, a deep breath in through your nose and out through your nose to settle into your body.
- Keep your body relaxed for now, INHALE and work to arch your lower back away from the floor, like there was a pin poking you. Do not lift your hips off the ground. Go as far as you can comfortably and keep stretching until your inhale is complete.
- Pause for a moment.
- Now EXHALE and glide your lower back into the floor, WITHOUT squeezing your buttocks together or lifting your hips up off the floor while pelvic tilting.
- Now repeat again drawing a deeper sense of awareness to the movement, between what moves and what doesn’t.
- After a few rounds, on the exhales work to draw awareness and attention to your anal sphincter, with the exhale on the posterior tilt (when you tip back into the floor) work to contract that part of the pelvic floor. Notice what else wants to contract, more than likely trying to do the job for this part of your pelvic floor, especially if you have never used it before.
- Inhale release the anal sphincter. You will notice if you contracted when you proceed to release. Do this several rounds.
- Now mentally move forward on your pelvic floor and work to contract the vaginal passageway or for men the soft tissue behind the scrotum. For many, this will be more difficult, especially if there was trauma (like giving birth) the nerves and tissues may not be connecting back with the brain properly.
- Repeat the process of EXHALE contract and tip back, and INHALE release and tip forward. This will feel more internal. Think about contracting while in cold water, or for men like flexing an erection, women engaging during intercourse. (I see potential practice opportunities to engage your pelvic floor here).
- Now finally move even more forward on the pelvic floor and think about where your pubic bone is and work to contract the lower front belly and pelvic floor on the exhales. This will feel more like pulling inward on the belly, but this time it’s triggered by the pelvic floor not the navel. Think of the action of cutting off the flow of urine or holding when you have to go to the bathroom. Good news, those two actions ask you to use your pelvic floor muscles.
- Repeat tilting trying to engage each of these three areas, all individually, and all together. Notice what is easier and what takes more work.
A few other tips about pelvic tilts:
As you become more comfortable with the movement, especially while lying down. Consider adding in the arms to the movement. INHALE and arch the back, release the pelvic floor, AND reach your arms overhead! STRETCH. Exhale and return back to the floor and contract the pelvic floor.
By incorporating the arms in you get more of a full spinal interaction. Plus, the hip flexors and lower back get even more limelight. Notice when reaching if one arm hits the floor and the other does not. This can easily become a tool for not only teaching pelvic floor activation and releasing the lower back. Which can also assist spinal and fascial assessment as well.
Here’s to happy pelvic tilts!
P.S. Not sure where the heck your pelvic floor is??? >>> CLICK HERE. <<<
And learn about it NOW!
PPS Here is a great video I shot of an entire series of pelvic tilting, core integration, and full spinal release! Because everyone needs a visual!
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>CLICK HERE <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
When is the last time you truly felt like you could see clearly and speak up in your own unique truth?
When was the last time you spoke up without questioning who you would offend or wondering how others would react, only then to find yourself editing your own truth down?
I just want to say that until recently, I was there. Every single day, I was there.
I spent most of my life feeling like everything I thought was wrong and that I deserved to be on the bottom. Finally, a few years ago, I started putting the pieces of my puzzle together. I was taught these beliefs, both verbally and non-verbally throughout my life. This was a huge eye-opener for me and the start of a huge change in my life.
Yoga has helped me a great deal with developing insight. With insight, you are able to see things differently. You are able to step back and practice compassion and at the same time still practice standing in your truth. Insight can be a tool to help you make changes in your life, but having insight doesn’t mean you are perfect and it surely doesn’t mean you never make mistakes (And I’m talking from experience, here).
I am constantly learning about life, and where before I was a bystander in my life, now I get to be fully integrated into it. I would often tell my husband how much I admired his abilities to tell it like it is, and not care. He would often reply back “I do care, just not about everyone’s BS.” I have my own issues. I don’t need to hear about everyone else’s. He always says that when you are upfront right away about things, there are fewer issues later. Being honest is important.
So how do you develop insight and your own voice? Here is what I’ve learned:
- Learn to focus on your breathing. Breathing keeps you in the present moment and helps you slow down. If you are not breathing, then internally you are putting yourself in a position of anxiety and stress. It can be difficult to think straight and truly feel. So in those moments of truth and honesty, in those moments of both giving and receiving information, slow down to breathe more and talk less. This will help you feel and evaluate what you are going to say before you say it.
- Think before you talk (or write), get quiet and ask yourself, why am I going to say/write this? Who will it help, is it truthful and honest? I can’t count the number of times I write a comment on social media, type a reply to a video, email or go to post something myself only to delete it. When I reread and reflect, I feel in my gut it’s not worth it and I’d be doing it for the wrong reasons. There are times to speak up and times to shut up.
- Privately practice getting honest with yourself, talk aloud to yourself, and practice speaking your truth (or writing your truth). In the beginning, it may not be pretty, but as you gain better insight skills you will be able to tame and mold it. I have written countless blog posts, only to never publish them in fear someone might not agree, or might get angry or take it personally- this is no way to live.
- Surround yourself with people that inspire you to be better, people that you want to aspire to be like. Remember, you become your company. Be in good company of people who have mastered the art of insight and speaking up. Learn from them, even ask them questions. Doing this has offered me some of the greatest insights and self-reflection.
- Speak up with safe people. Speak up with people who you trust. Maybe even share what you are working on. Make sure it is a judgement-free zone.
- Practice not having the last say. This is a hard one for many (I was horrible with this). Sometimes speaking up means you say nothing and let things go. This has been a great practice of developing personal strength and insight as to why I feel the need to fix or have the last say. What matters truly is what you think of yourself. And what I have discovered is that my need to have the last say was a direct response to feeling like I was never heard. (Try practicing #1 to help you practice #6)
- Start to sit with the uncomfortable feelings after you speak your truth and let the feelings just be there. Those feelings don’t last forever, but they do stick around if you continually avoid them. Being uncomfortable is a huge part of growth and a huge part of change. I see it a lot: people deflecting change by blaming others or giving excuses for what they are not willing to address and take action on themselves. I have both been the target and have targeted others due to a lack of skills and insight; the only reason I see this now is because I was the queen of this for many years. If you are a yogi I would encourage you to consider a slower practice to help you learn to sit with the feelings more and feel them and let them pass.
- Observe your body language, and tone of voice. Parenting is a great example. If you parent from across the room you can pretty much expect your child to never listen or take you seriously. Just as important, if you ask your child to do something or listen to you and you are requesting them to do so while scrolling on your smart phone – do you think they will take you seriously? If you don’t give them complete attention why should others do the same to you? There are a million angles to take on this. Feeling inferior? Try sitting up tall, or uncrossing your arms and legs to help you receive better. Make eye contact when you talk and use inflections in your voice to stress importance in the conversation. These are all things I use in my personal life and when I teach, to help students stay tuned in.
No matter where you are in your life there is always room for growth and insight. I see now what I could not see before, that those who develop a sense of self, a voice and a truth are the ones who receive what life has to offer more fully, because the goodness that is waiting for them knows where to go and is then well received.
Be well my friends.
Enjoy this post? Leave a comment below and share with your friends! Namaste.
5 Setps to Take Back Ownership Over Your Life
The start of life is out of our control. No one gets to choose who their parents are, what year they are born, or where they grow up. However, those things don’t have to dictate how your story unfolds. YOU determine who you are and what your story is going to be.
OWN YOUR ACTIONS
Have you ever blamed the people or things around you when something wasn’t working out the way you wanted it to? Well, I’m 100% certain that we have all been there and done that at some point in our lives. I’m certainly not ashamed to say that I was that person for a long time. Instead of taking responsibility for my actions, I deflected and pushed the blame onto others and what was around me. I didn’t own who I was and what I did. It was easier that way.
Taking ownership is a powerful thing. Owning your actions and choices gives you the freedom to take charge of your own happiness. You are in control. When you blame others, you give away your power.
“Life doesn’t happen TO you. It happens BECAUSE of you.”
THE TIME IS NOW
As I continue to take ownership of my life and my choices, I want to welcome you to do the same. Stop blaming and start taking action. It doesn’t have to be significant. You don’t need to quit your job or leave your family-unless that is something you feel deep down you need to do. But stop waiting. Stop pointing your finger out at everyone else. Stop believing you have no say in what happens in your life.
Like Colin O’Brady (33), the first man to walk across Antarctica, it begins with a thought. Then a small step in the right direction and then having the mental strength to continue no matter what-step by step as you head towards your destination. Like Colin, we focus on that next step and not be overwhelmed by what lies ahead.
Here are 5 steps you can immediately put into practice to help take back and keep ownership over your life:
1. Get Quiet Every Single Day
Every day find time to get quite: no phone, no distractions, just you, your feelings, thoughts, and insights. Listen to what your mind and body are saying. Observe yourself. What do you notice? Getting quiet is a powerful practice, and many overlook it merely because it doesn’t feel like action. But this is where action steps evolve. (Check out how Hope gets quiet HERE)
2. Stop Blaming Other People and Things
When you blame others, you give away your power. Blaming is a self-protection mechanism. In my life experiences, we do so as a means not to have to face the truth we know. We may be feeling overwhelmed. We don’t or don’t know who to ask for the help we need. Or, like me, we were never taught how to take responsibility for our actions confidently. Stop blaming and ask yourself how I can take responsibility for this? Now that is an empowering statement.
3. Get Up and Move
We, humans, are designed to move. We are not a lion building up reserves by sleeping and resting 16-20 hours a day to run 50 mph, then to catch our prey. Research shows that sitting a lot is dangerous to our health. And even short bursts of movement: 1-minute here, 5-minutes there can be a big difference in your well-being here. Exercise can lead to greater self-control, and for me, it leads to me feeling better about myself, making me make better life choices.
4. Approach the Situation and Decide to Learn Something
When we step into a conversation or experience with ego, we lose the leverage to learn. You don’t need to be the smartest person in the room all the time. And as Tony Robbins says, the second you are the most intelligent person in the room, you are in the wrong room. If you approach each opportunity with the mantra: “what can I learn from this”? You will shift from keeping yourself stuck and protected, to openness to grow.
5. Learn How to Say No
When we say “yes” to everyone else and everything else, we are saying no to ourselves. Now I am not saying if your child needs help with math and you want to Netflix and Chill, you should say no. But there are countless times throughout the day where we are saying “yes” out of habit. We don’t want to do it or shouldn’t do it, but we do. And then we pay the price. To not create overwhelm, start with simple things like I did. Saying no to the couch with my husband and yes to going for a walk-then R&R time with him. Saying no to adding a yoga class to the schedule just because someone is asking when I knew if I said yes, it would be too much. Do a quick daily self-reflection and take inventory to where you are saying “yes” and “no” and ask yourself if the scale is off.
YOU ARE IN CONTROL
It is a freeing feeling to be in charge of your life, and in my case, it was because that was not something I had experienced prior. It is vital to my wellness that every single day I like myself; that I love myself every single day. And when I don’t, I know the scales are off. And when I don’t, things need to change.