Demystifying Yoga and Why You Need to Try it.

I remember the first moment I walked into a class known as “hot yoga”.  Yes, it was hotter than hell or so I imagined.  The class was heated to around 102 degrees with about 40% humidity.  I managed to last, but honestly wondered how many people passed out, threw up or went to the bathroom and never came back.

I pondered all of those things in the space of 5 minutes.  The people were all slim, seriously.  There was a mirror on the wall in front of me and I wondered why, whyyyy, would they do that to people wearing next to nothing.  And to top it off, a man walked in wearing what seriously was the smallest erm covering ever and put his mat in front of me (More on that later if you want to click the link).

Here’s the thing.  I was brand new and it wasn’t about any of these things, but if this was my first experience, I had nothing else to compare it to.  So, for those of you who are either nodding your heads, or wondering what happened next, I will help clear some things up.

This particular studio caters to the college students.  I didn’t realize that when I signed up as it was close to me and I wanted to see what all the “fuss” was about.  The people were very serious in this class and very much unforgiving that particular day.  It is not like this everywhere and just to be clear, it is not like this in every class there.  The phrase that I later discovered “your vibe attracts your tribe” is also true for yoga studios. 

Since I was a beginner, I didn’t know what I didn’t know.  I tried it again years later at this studio and found that it still seemed not quite the right fit for me personally.  I wanted to connect with my body and my breath and I personally couldn’t do that while staring at a mirror.  It was way too distracting in this class.

I didn’t want the mirror to be my focus and I found the students body language as well as the instructors seemed to imply that if I didn’t do the pose a certain way, that I was less than somehow and the mirror was just confirmation.

The next place I tried offered Restorative Yoga Well, the few times I went I really enjoyed it…until I took a friend who couldn’t sit still at all, but that’s another story that I linked here.  You have to understand that I was mentally and physically in pain at the time, but I had come to the conclusion that it absolutely couldn’t get any worse (which was actually half right) and that to do nothing was insane (which was 100% correct).  So, the art of restoring my body back to the original factory settings appealed to me highly. 

We got to use bolsters, which are like pillows, blankets, blocks, straps and pretty much anything we had available to us at the time.  I felt very good about the process.  After a while of finding my place in this class, I finally decided to take what would become my greatest passion.

The Vinyasa “flow” Class.  What fresh hell was this my body whispered?  Why are we doing this?  My wrists said to me.  My brain said “Aww F-this.  No.  Noooo.”  But I sat on the mat with no mirror in front of me and listened as the teacher centered us.  I began to move and thought that if I needed a rest surely yoga was the place to find it, right?  Well, again.  Not all classes are created the same and they shouldn’t be.  So, in this flow, it was exactly that.  We literally flowed from pose to pose to pose, and I felt like we never stopped.

Again, my body was in the greatest pain it had ever been in at this time anyway, so I felt as if I had nothing to lose and everything to gain…if I could last.  It was literally like being on Survivor I thought.  I had to pace my thoughts so that I could make it 60 minutes.  Could I do this?

The first few weeks, were hard.  Down Dog was not my favorite.  I actually secretly despised it.  Planking.  WHY was that ever created in the first place when you could plop down on the damn mat.  Why did I want to actually hold myself up?  Why?  Anyway, all this moaning was only in my head.  At least for the most part.  I might have told my husband I wasn’t cut out for it.

Then the day happened when my wrists didn’t hurt quite as much, and in a moment of weakness I said yes to signing up for Yoga Teacher Training.  So, the truth is, I get it.  I really do.

I am not slim…I am curvy, but prefer not to put that label on my style of teaching as that’s just ridiculous.  I want to teach yoga that is truly available to every body.  Every size, shape, color or anything else you think is holding you back.  Are you in pain?  I understand.  Do you think you are too big busted?  I got you covered with modifications and ways to move those girls out-of-the-way.  Don’t want to wear yoga pants?  Fine, then wear what makes you happy…and ermm covered.

After 200 hours, and days I almost cried from the pain, I graduated from my yoga teacher training.  I couldn’t hold myself up at first.  Seriously, and had to modify by coming to my knees in down dog, one of the most used poses there seemed to be ever.  I had such poor wrists that I couldn’t side plank.  And I tried for a year to hold myself up in a pose called crow.  I want you to believe me when I say “trust the process”.  I additionally became certified in teaching yoga for arthritis and pain.  I am now a mindful coach who specializes in getting through this minute to the next, and the next and the next and learning to let go of the things that are holding you back.

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Available to you here >> Head|Heart|Health Club <<

3 Tips for Turning Pity into Self-care!

I was drawn to this post my friend shared today by a famous yoga teacher who I really admire.  She seemed to have a really cool life.  She is young, admired, in shape and really self-confident.  Or so I thought.  She gets to go on exciting trips and travel all over the world…little did I know she was homesick and going through a divorce.  She posted a photo of herself on her social media today and the first person to comment said some ugly things about her being “vulnerable” as an excuse for pity.  Wow.  Harsh.

Interestingly enough, I bet we have all been there though.  Seeing someone’s posts and wondering if they just needed a pick-me-up or were they seeking attendees for their pity party?  The truth is, we all have felt this way at some point in our lives.  We are on the brink of being really vulnerable and wondering if others care.  The flip side to this is we might stay closed off from the world because we are busy thinking we will be judged for how we feel.  The fact is, emotions are like waves.  We can no more control them than we can control the turbulent sea.  We just have to ride it out.

I say this as I am still in the clutches of my own grief on losing a beloved pet.  So I can’t control my waves of grief right now, but there are things I can do to make this time more bearable.  I can turn my pity, of which I honestly feel like I am the only one at this party, into self-care.

3 Ways to Turn Pity into Self-care:

  1. Observe your thoughts as they turn to “why me”?  I recognize that I will have moments of thinking I am the only one who has ever experienced x,y, z.  Since I know this is definitely not true, I use this as an excuse to journal my feelings and explore what is really going on here.  Did someone post a photo of the exact opposite feeling?  Quite possibly.  And what is the exact opposite feeling I want to explore right now?  Happiness.  Love.  Support.  Okay, so now let me list the ways that I feel these emotions I am trying to get to.  Who makes me feel this way or what?  It doesn’t have to be a who…as I can definitely create my own happiness with things that make me feel successful.  So then I go down that path instead.
  2. Don’t open the invitations you get…to go to the other pity parties.  This one might be hard.  So do this one as tactfully as you can, but if you are struggling, the emotions you want to surround yourself with are not going to be more struggle and pity.  Get my drift?  You really want to think about the things that are going well in your life and get back to that higher vibration that allows you to feel good about yourself.  If you can turn it into something productive, like a friend journaling session, or a walk of pity, then go for it, but set a timer.  After 3 minutes, switch and listen to the other person.  Then you must have 3 minutes of praise and success.  Because ultimately, you know that this stage will not last forever.
  3. Make a practice of talking about your joys.  Again, this one is hard.  We always want to talk about what is bothering us…or what we want to change, but feel like we can’t.  What if we talked about all the things that made use feel joy, happiness, and fulfillment in life?  Ask a trusted friend to tell you 3 good qualities about yourself if you are feeling down.  Even better, text them and tell them 3 things you love about them out of the blue.

Opportunities for growth exist as we see our pity for what it really is.  A moment of self-doubt where we don’t feel good enough.  A moment of judgement where we think we should be doing more.  A moment of envy perhaps, where we see the outside of someone’s life and look at the highlight reel.  Go deeper into what is really bothering you and what the opposite of that feeling is.  It is there that you will find your gold.

Like this?  Read more on self-confidence. <<< 

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5 Lessons I Learned from International Speaking

Wow!!  I did it.  I can now add International Speaker to a resume that I keep inside of myself.  Let me back up.  For those of you who have been following me for a while, you know I left my teaching career and through a series of steps started my own brand and business.  I never had a list of things to do before x age or anything like that.  I always thought that I would retire one day after a really LONG time of teaching and probably look twice my age.  Just true facts right there.

But my life desire was always to make a huge difference in the world we live in and especially in the field of empowering those who feel power-less

I had not traveled to Europe in 20 years.  I had NOT traveled by myself.  The steps that I took were scary and felt exciting, but caused me a week of no sleep.  The closer the date came, the more excited and scared I got.  Would they like me?  What if I mess up?  What if I cry?  <<< MOST likely scenario as I told my story.

I practiced and recorded my speech.  I got THE right outfit to make a good first impression.  I started to visualize the reaction at the end of my speech.  I was on fire.  I was going to nail it.  And then I practiced it in front of my roommate in London one night, and I fell apart.  What is happening?  I can’t cry when I speak.  I thought I was healed???  Breathe.  You are healed, but this is powerful stuff.  You can literally change someone’s life with this story.   <<< inner big girl panties are on.

5 Lessons I learned from Speaking:

  1. Everyone in the room wants you to succeed.  I knew it.  I could just look at them and tell they were all rooting for me.  It was like they had flags up with my name on them.  GO AIMEE!!!  I saw it.  It was like thoughts bubbles actually, but they were there.
  2. Be ready to go with the flow.  After a week of practicing, you guessed it, I changed it at the last-minute to reflect the feelings I was getting from the audience.  They were not ready for the other way I had planned it, but the new way that downloaded into my head while sitting there was exactly what they needed.
  3. Give value to your audience.  I know that even though I told my story, I also told them a way to handle their emotions and reflected it back to what any one person sitting there could be going through.
  4. Give them an a-ha moment.  I gave them a moment to take away forever.  I told them that even in my deepest pain, I woke up and decided to live each day with thankfulness.  I actually put one foot in front of each other in the morning and said thank you as I made my way to my bathroom mirror.  I saw all eyes on me…and maybe, just maybe a few tears.  But not from me this time.  Not from me.  I knew they were with me and I felt the love.
  5. Leave them with a take-away.  I circled around to the theme of my speech, and gave them an activity they could do daily like writing positive affirmations on the mirror in dry-erase marker.  I told them that as I was in pain, I made the plan to heal through my 4 Weeks to Wellness steps, and I developed that as a way for others to move forward from wherever they are in life.  The plan was simple and included daily action steps as well as workbooks and lots and lots of internal work.  So even if they weren’t in physical pain, I have never once met a person who did not benefit from doing some work inside.

Aimee Speaking in LondonThis is the shot from my friend in the audience…I will have a video I hope.

As I concluded, you could have heard a pin drop, and I think, just maybe, I nailed it.  The best part of this entire experience was that this was only my third speech ever since stepping into my new role.  Thank you all for your support from the bottom of my heart. 

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3 Tips for Heart-centered Living

What does it mean to be heart-centered anyway?  Well, you have heard that your heart wants one thing, but your brain wants another before.  So let’s take a moment to examine that.  The ego, or psyche sometimes thinks first and understands later.  I know that I have been guilty of that.  However, let’s suppose for a moment that you start to really focus within and you see past the surface.  It takes a while to get used to pausing without reacting or speaking first, and learning to express from your heart, but it really can be done.

As we start to move from fear-based thinking to love-based living, the world expands.  Fear tends to shrink our environment and make us less likely to step out of that comfort zone, and love, well, love helps us do amazing things.  I am not just talking about love for others though…this part is important.  You definitely need to practice self-love and forgiveness of your own faults.  It is not selfish to put self-care into place.  So many times my clients have to step into their own beauty and realize that their oxygen mask has to be put on first.  But no one can make another person do that…it is within them to see that they need to give themselves permission to be human and practice compassion for themselves.  We don’t have to be last.  It it is crucial to realize this.  As you learn this truth, everything else falls into place.

3 tips for heart-centered living:

  1. Stop and breathe.  Are you having a heart-centered reaction or are you so busy in your head that things have quickly gone from A to Z?  Take three deep breaths, and if you are at a desk, sit up straight and tall elongating your spine and square your shoulders up and then gently bring the shoulder blades down your back.  Place the hands in your lap palms facing upwards.  Practice: Apana Vayu Mudra-The Mudra of the Heart by folding your middle and ring fingers towards the palm in such a way that they touch the tip of the thumb.  Fold the index finger inward allowing it to touch the base of the thumb.  The small finger should be stretched outward.  Keep your eyes closed and hold the mudra as long as you want to.  This mudra actually improves blood circulation to your heart.
  2. Practice compassion.  As we start to focus inwards, we realize that we have to live with compassion for ourselves and others.  We are all human going about our day in similar ways all around the world.  While we live in different places, have different lifestyles, ultimately, we want the best human experience we can have on this planet and hopefully leave it a better place.  So the struggles that involve the people we interact with on a daily basis do have some effect on us.  Practice: How are you being with people?  Look to the 4 A’s.  Attention, appreciation, admiration, and affection.  Are you open to whatever it is they have to say?  Reflect on your body language as well.  Tight jaw, tense shoulders.  Relax and open up your heart. 
  3. Live with passion.  Picture what you love doing, who you love being with, what stirs up your passion and fulfills you.  Practice: Get out your journal.  Write about what you would do if you didn’t have to worry about money?   If doubt creeps in write this instead: “I am enough, worthy, and deserving of following my passion.  I am strengthened by doing the things I love to do.  I am now living my heart-centered calling.”

Remind yourself throughout the day by touching your heart, practicing the mudra or even saying “Am I living through my heart right now or my head?”  These pauses in what we act on truly do make a difference when we don’t react right away.  Continue journaling about your passion and living through the heart.  I actually use this one every night:

Plain Blue Journal

To learn more about my new journal guide as part of my 4 Weeks to Wellness program, click here.follow heart

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10 Things You Notice Near an Empath

10 Things You Notice Near an EmpathAuthor’s note:  This is not for use on other websites as it is my personal story.  ~Aimee~

I once called the insurance phone number to ask a question.  An hour later, the woman had shared her whole life story with me and I am not sure she ever answered my question, but I made her feel better.  What is an empath anyway and did I just make that up?  There are probably thousands of stories like this for me, but I want you to think about times you have interacted with someone and felt all the same feelings they have…or perhaps they have told you things you just didn’t really need to know. 

My entire life, I have felt different.  I think I have tried really hard to keep a lid on it all until the last 5 years.  Derived from the Greek “em” (in) and “pathos” (feeling), the term empathic means I am able to “feel into” others’ feelings.  At first, I thought I was just using my computer skills to really know what to post on my fan page for the blog.  I always seemed to post just the right quote for my real-life friends, and my page continued to grow that way.

After a while, people began to really identify with my story, and came to me for answers.  I continued to grow my client list in my all-natural supplement business Vitalize You because I could get to the root of what the client needed.  I learned that I felt what my client was saying to me and within a few short conversations, seriously knew what they needed to do whether it was on the phone or through messaging.  I could pick up on vibrations. 

So what does this all mean for you if you are friends with one?  I have a few tips on what you might notice.

10 Things You Notice Near an Empath:

  1. Please take what we say seriously.  If you ask us for advice, even if it sounds crazy, there is some truth in it.  We just know things and it bothers the heck out of us when you ask us for advice and don’t listen.  Sometimes things makes sense to us long before they make sense to you…and that includes “coincidences” that aren’t really a coincidence at all.
  2. Lies have no place in any conversation with us ever.  The surest way to ruin a friendship with an empath is to continue lying to them.  It’s just sad really because there is no point and it has been really painful for me personally.  I have had to look into the eyes of a close friend and see the hesitation for a split second and I literally felt the lie as it slipped over my skin.  I can’t explain it and I don’t want to.  It is one of my most uncomfortable traits to not be able to turn off.
  3. Any national tragedy is unbearable…no matter how far away.  I wrote a post after Sandy Hook Elementary School was in the news and to this day I can’t read about it.  Period.  I become the pain in a way I can’t explain to other people.  Plus, I was also a teacher.  I can’t “unfeel” so the less I know, the better.
  4. They always look tired.  I love everyone, I do.  But stop asking me why I have dark circles under my eyes.  They have been there my whole life.  Many empaths get diagnosed with chronic fatigue because they don’t know how to shield themselves properly from energy vampires.  This is a work in progress for many.
  5. Healing often becomes their way of life.  My friend called me the bridge the other night.  I was like interesting.  I am the bridge.  I see what needs to be done and I just suggest it for others.  Whether it is tests, home remedies, alternative methods, exercise, nutrition, or holistic therapy suggestions, I just see it.  It is how I approached my own care and came up with my wellness program, and it is how I have helped hundreds of others.  It is my job to bridge the gap between modern medicine and what needs to be done in your body.
  6. They might get distracted easily and daydream.  This is really true as I can feel some currents and go off on some other task.  This is one of the reasons I have to stay organized as best I can.
  7. Living a lie would be damn near impossible.  If someone asks me to do something I don’t like…I find a way to procrastinate.  However, the procrastination might just be my intuition saying you really have to tell them no.  Likewise, when someone asks me to do anything at all like “covering up for them” or “lie for them” I have a hard time holding in my anger at this type of behavior.
  8. No room for narcissism at all. I was asked to be in this group of people who were fawning all over someone.  I thought I was going to lose my shit on all of them because the guy shows how much money he has, what he drives, how many people “love” him, and it is the biggest act I have ever seen.  Things nobody has time for.  THAT.  My BS meter is way too high.
  9. The love of animals is strong within us.  Most empaths love their animals as if they are furry children and would do anything for them.  Anything.  So just know that if you don’t like our animals…we know and you won’t last long around us.
  10. Empaths need laughter daily.  We are connected to our bodies, sometimes.  Mostly, we are in our heads.  BUT you can help us by asking us to live in the moment with you.  To laugh.  To get out of the house if we are in hermit mood, because sometimes the world is too much for us to take.  We need to remember what it’s like to be connected.

I can’t say that this is your friend…or you, but if you identify with all of these things, then yes, you probably know what it’s like to be an empath.  I unfortunately mean what I say as I utter“I feel your pain.” I always appreciate my close friends understanding this of me and giving me the space to breathe and recharge.  Note: here is a follow-up on How to Protect Yourself from Negative Energy.  <<< from all the questions I get.

blessing_curseInterested in a place where you can learn to control your thoughts?  Check out the Empaths Guide here.  <<< 

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