Tag Archives: love

Finding Peace

At the moment, my life feels turned upside down. A few stressors have been my dad’s death and getting sick. Not only am I suffering from TMJ, but I also have polyps on my vocal cords and am having difficulty speaking.

I miss my dad tremendously and when I want to talk or cry, I can’t because it hurts my throat. Now not talking wouldn’t be so bad if my whole life- my job and identify- didn’t revolve around being able to speak. I can’t coach or teach, and I’m scared to do permanent damage and not get my voice back. So I’ve been feeling a huge range of emotions, from sadness and depression to anger and rage to despondency and helplessness. On top of my personal challenges, I don’t dare turn on on the TV because the chaos, greed, death, and destruction on the news makes me feel worse and more hopeless.

However, I believe (or at least am trying to) that we can transform our challenging situations into one of inner and outer peace. Everyday we wake up, we have a choice. A choice to feel hope, peace, happiness, and look for the good in the world, rather than choosing to feel sad, depressed, etc…

When things happen and issues or challenges become revealed, we have an opportunity to face them and then to choose another path. No more gloom and doom. This could be the sign we’ve been waiting for to make changes in our life for the better. Or in my case maybe a reminder to slow down and allow myself to take a break for a while rather than always going and pushing myself.  We need to begin to understand that the outer chaos we experience merely represents our mental state.  So if we can calm & quiet what’s happening inside, then what’s happening outside will quiet too and hopefully we can find some peace.

Being able to keep the peace can be hard.  I have a very hard time when things don’t go according to my plan. If you’re like me, when situations arise, I want to “fix” it immediately. I’ll spend sleepless nights trying to figure out what to do. Now certain things, like my dad dieing is unfixable and will take time for me to heal emotionally. Not being able to speak can’t just be fixed right away either, and will take time to physically heal. These unpredictable circumstances happen on the regular and are beyond our control; so we need to come up with ways to help ourselves when we feel off balance or out of control.

So how can we do this? These ideas may help:

Thoughts have power:

Begin to visualize good things. When you’re feeling chaotic, try to calm the mind, think good thoughts, and envision the outcome you’d like to see. Start imagining yourself happy, healthy, safe, and loved. Hold onto those good vibes.

Words have power:

Train your subconscious brain to have a different belief system. Wishful thinking doesn’t help, but repeated helpful affirmations or mantras do. Mantras when repeated many times throughout the day start to become your inner truth and will help change your subconscious mind.

Some examples of my favorite mantras include: I am enough, It’s a great day to be alive, & you are the sky, everything else is the weather.  Always remember, words have power.

Feelings have power:

In order for us to transcend our situation and create more peace in our lives, we have got to feel it and the best way to do that is have faith. Having faith means that everything will be ok.  

To have faith, we must believe with conviction that everything will be okay, even if we can’t currently see exactly how.

Action is power:

Keep your eyes and heart focused on how you can add value to the world each day.

Think about your life’s purpose, why are you here?  Think about the gift you have to offer the world. In moments of chaos, remember your purpose and stick with it. What you do is part of you, so trust it, it’s who and what you are. When I know I have helped someone for the better and contributed value to the world each day, I feel centered, grounded, and at ease. Action is power.

Meditate for 10 to 20 Minutes per day:

Meditating can be done is so many ways. I highly recommend guided meditations to start. But even sitting in nature or focusing on peace or doing deep breathing helps ground you tremendously so that you feel calmer and less stressed, which in turn has a positive effect on those around you. Meditation can be powerful. Checkout a previous blog of mine to learn more: http://yogaswole.com/meditation/

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Making Friends in Yoga

Over the years, I have discovered that yogis make some of the best friends. From my studio in Boston, to my own studio now, and the ones I’ve worked in and visited along the way; I have met so many incredible people & have built many lasting friendships. Yoga is a truly great place to meet and connect with people.

Yogis of all ages and backgrounds are often united in their love of yoga and a common desire to be friendly both on and off the mat. I’ve been able to deepen friendships through the transformative experience that was my teacher training, numerous classes I’ve taught and attended, workshops, as well as community gatherings and potlucks.

With yoga as the glue, I have found that that the things we have in common are far greater than those things that set us apart. So yoga studios are a great place for meeting people and building friendships.

Yoga for the individual:

Yoga is about self discovery. It’s a wonderful way to become more in tune with your mind and body so you can find your true self.  Yoga helps eliminate suffering, stress, and negativity in our lives. During a yoga class, you’re challenged to bring your attention inward and connect with yourself on a deeper level.

With an open mind and willingness that’s cultivated in class, we can work on ourselves and begin to strip away the negativity. When we let our guard down like this, we not only begin to explore a deeper connection to ourselves, but also a deeper connection to others.

Yoga for the group:

While yoga is very individual, it is also very collaborative. Yoga helps create union with one another and a sense of togetherness. Through collective breath and movement in class, yoga helps create bonds with the people around you like none other.

Once class is over, there’s this overall feeling of oneness, connection, and collaborative energy.  There’s this beautiful window of opportunity to make introductions, mingle, and foster a deeper connection and potential friendships to those around you.

Next time you’re in class:

Spark up a conversation with your yogi neighbors in class, introduce yourself to the teacher, talk to people after class, whatever it may be, break out of your shell, be brave, allow yourself to be vulnerable and open. We are all connected and if nothing else, one thing we know we have in common, is our love for yoga and our dedication to our practice. There is always space in our lives for new positive people. Take a chance, say hi.

 

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Thank You To My Family & Friends

I wanted to dedicate this week’s blog to you; my family and friends. If you’re a new reader to my blog, you may not be aware that last weekend, my husband and I opened our very first business, a yoga studio- Empower Yoga.  I have been talking about starting this business for over two years and now my dreams have finally come to fruition.  I have so much to be grateful for in my life, particularly for all of the wonderful people in it; who have been a part of my journey, helping me get to this point. This letter/blog is for you! Continue reading Thank You To My Family & Friends

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Cultivating Gratitude

What are you grateful for? Have you thought about it? Do you show gratitude in your daily life?

At times, I often feel that we take so much for granted and forget about all the good that is present in our lives. Instead, we think about all the things our lives are lacking. However, when we stop and look around, this life is pretty amazing and we have so much to be grateful for.

In an effort to remind myself and others of all the things we should be grateful for, I’ve decided to dedicate this week’s blog to the idea of gratitude! Enjoy 🙂 Continue reading Cultivating Gratitude

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Keep a Contented Heart

happiness-projectA couple years ago my husband and I read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  I recently revisited this book because I’ve begun to find myself needing a few reminders about what happiness means and how to find happiness in our life, especially when things become difficult for us.  

So I decided to pull the book back out and revisit the chapter, November. Keep a Contented Heart is the heading for this chapter.  I started reading and thinking about this idea. What does “keep a contented heart” mean? Well literally, according to the dictionary, “contented” refers to happy and at ease, and “heart” is the organ that pumps our blood and is also the central or innermost part of something.  So having a contented heart means to be happy at your core.  Would you say that you have a contented heart right now? My immediate answer is no, but after some more thought, I would answer yes and I am sure you might too.  At first, keeping a contented heart can feel like a giant task, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact I think it can be easily attainable.

I think one of the most important things that leads to happiness is attitude; which Gretchen writes about in the chapter.  I believe attitude speaks volumes about how to achieve a contented heart.  If you can master a good attitude about whatever comes your way, good or bad, it can go a very long way to building your happiness level. I work daily on keeping and maintaining a positive attitude about life, even when I feel derailed or when life gets hard.  I awake each day with the mantra, “It’s a great day to be alive” and work hard to live up to that mantra by trying to achieve greatness each day.

And when I refer to greatness, I do not mean having power or wealth.  To me, having greatness can mean something a little different every day. It can include setting small, attainable goals that I set for myself.

For example:

attempting a new arm balance

running a faster mile

PRing my deadlift

complimenting someone

acknowledging someone’s hard work

It can also mean having the courage to stand up to injustice and the ability to help and be kind to all (i.e. people, animals, the environment).

For example:

being a vegan or vegetarian

not polluting our environment

offering support to someone who needs it

being a voice to the voiceless

As a former learning consultant and now yoga teacher and studio owner, I have spent my career caring for and teaching others. I believe in the importance of helping, supporting, and being kind to all beings and share that belief with my students through my words and actions.  I try to not take anything for granted and appreciate the small gifts in life.  This positive attitude, will, and desire to live a good, strong, and kind life has helped me to work towards achieving a contented heart.  I believe that it is important to be grateful for the things we have, tell the people in our lives that we care about them, and do something each day that will challenge us and help to make us better, because we never know if this day will be our last. Live it up!

November after all is the month that contains Thanksgiving, and it is a great time to work on having a contented heart. It’s a month that focuses on gratitude, thankfulness, and counting blessings both big and small. What better time to work on this?  There is no time like the present!

What can you do today to help you have more of a contented heart tomorrow?

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Always Growing & Always Changing

KM YOGABefore I became a yogi and exercise fanatic, I was many things. It took me many years of exploration and soul searching to figure out who I was and what I wanted to do with my life.  While I don’t believe we ever really stop learning, as I’ve gotten older I have become much more in-tune with my feelings, needs, wants and desires.  I have learned to love myself and work hard everyday to never doubt, never hate, and never criticize who I am.  We all make mistakes and I try to learn from mine with compassion and love.   Continue reading Always Growing & Always Changing

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Block Party

Why yoga blocks can enhance your yoga poses:

block crowDid you ever try using blocks for yoga? If not, you should consider incorporating them into your yoga routine.  Blocks can be extremely useful to your yoga practice. They can help provide length, stability, and comfort, but can also create a challenge and are a great way to enhance your practice.

Blocks can help you progress into the more challenging variations of certain yoga poses, helping you build better strength and balance, and allowing your body to get into a more effective shape of the posture.

Yoga blocks provide: Flexibility, Strength, Support, & Balance

block pyramidAs you work to increase balance and flexibility in your practice, yoga blocks are a great tool. Yoga blocks allow you to safely move into poses so that you are aligned, open, and feeling good.block triangle When your are having a hard time performing some poses, for example half moon pose, warrior pose, pyramid, or triangle; the blocks can serve as a supporting tool that you can place your hand(s) on to help bring the floor to you, allowing for added length to your arms and getting full extension in the pose. Choose the block height based on your flexibility. Note that you may choose a different height each time you get on your mat.

Yoga blocks can also provide support. Blocks can support your head and neck during lying positions or support your weight during sitting and standing positions. In a lying position, place the block under your neck to avoid straining your neck or spine. In seated positions, try sitting on a block; either cross legged or legs behind you as in hero’s pose for example. Sitting on a block is a great way to alleviate any tension or discomfort on your knees. When in a standing pose, for an extra challenge or degree of difficulty, try standing on the block (i.e. maybe in tree pose or warrior III) and see how it feels, this is a great way to work your balance and your core.


butt on blockAdditionally, since yoga blocks can help support weight, they can also maintain balance. This is helpful during standing, squatting, as well as sitting positions. Blocks will help you find your center of gravity so you can maintain your balance and hold a position longer, feeling more open and aligned.block bridge 2

So next time you’re in class, rather than worrying about how the blocks will make you look, think about how they will make you feel!

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What I learned on my trip to Disney World…

Last dans family picweekend I went to Disney World with my husband’s family. We went to celebrate my in-laws 50th Wedding Anniversary. While Disney World is not really my thing; I don’t like rides, I get unfortable in big crowds, don’t do well waiting in lines, and I do not like the heat and humidity…I still had a great time and I learned a few things along the way. Continue reading What I learned on my trip to Disney World…

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Explore. Dream. Discover.

compass 2“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~Mark Twain

At times, I can get uncomfortable with the idea of having uncertainty in any area or aspect of my life. I am an over scheduler (to a fault, I have a hard time saying no) and a planner.  I plan my schedule rigidly to the minute- how long I’ll sleep, when I’ll workout, work, hang with friends, spend time with family etc… I’ve got a schedule lined up for the next few days, weeks, and even months.

I like to have control and I enjoy having things a certain way so I know what to expect. For example, I know that on Monday I am going to wake up walk the dogs, run, go to crossfit, yoga, work, test, teach, have dinner go to bed…. Then it’s back to square one on Tuesday. I feel comfortable knowing what to expect. So when I lose this control it can result in discomfort, anxiety, and sometimes fear. However, I’ve discovered recently that it’s ok to have uncertainty in life and it actually can be kind of fun!!

Having quit my job this fall/winter to open a yoga studio (that hasn’t opened yet, but I’m still working on), I began freaking out… “what was I going to do for work while I waited for my plans to fall into place?”.  I got anxious, wondering to myself “what the hell was I going to do with my life?”,  I tried not to freak out and began to have faith that it would all workout and that the universe would guide me to where I was supposed to be. I discovered that uncertainty sometimes forces us to explore aspects in life we never even knew existed and that’s what makes uncertainty and change so beautiful. Having done so, I started encountering numerous opportunities, found new jobs, met new people, etc.. that I would never have, if my plans weren’t altered or  if I had stayed inside my comfort zone.

So while I still believe that planning is important and having goals are good too, it’s also ok to take a leap of faith, jump and see where you land.  Trust that something will be there to catch you.   So when you hit bumps in the road and need to alter your plan, just go with it. Think of it as a new adventure and see where the road leads!!

live and loveRight now, I could not be happier!!  Change and uncertainty are crucial in the process of creating the type of life we want to live and the people we want to be. I’ve tried to open my eyes and embrace not having everything figured out all the time.  So if you think of the future and you don’t see any clear picture, rather than get stressed or anxious, think of it as a blank canvas with endless opportunities to fill it with color. Maybe wake up one morning with no plans and just paint as you go, creating your own beautiful masterpiece.

Just like in the quote above by Mark Twain- explore life, discover new things, go after your dreams; accept change and uncertainty and begin to explore the unknown.

Good Luck & Have FUN!!

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