As I slipped my sandals back on and walked out into the chilly November air to my car I felt the most relaxed, I’ve ever felt. The bun on the top of my head had toppled over to the left side and that strands of hair where sticking out everywhere.
But I didn’t care.
I walked slowly, like a zombie, because I didn’t want to move too fast and not feel this sense of calm anymore. I sat in my car for a few minutes, unable to move. I needed to soak in it a little more.
Sitting there, I literally had no thoughts. My brain had finally calmed down and for the first time, was completely silent.
I didn’t have to actively focus on my breath or remind myself to not think. I was just, calm.
“What happened to you?” my boyfriend asked I walked through the front door with my disheveled hair.
“I’m chill” I replied as I breezed on by him.
For the reminder of the day, I stayed relaxed, but it was wearing off as time went by.
Once I realized this, I picked up my phone and looked for the next available hot yoga session.
For me, I’ve discovered that since hot yoga makes me feel so good, it’s important that I schedule it into my routine. During this hard time I’m facing, it’s important that I make healthy decisions on how to stay mentally and physically strong during this period. And hot yoga is just the thing I need.
With my bare feet I took my first step onto the wooden floor. The smell of moist cedar and a warm humid air filled my lungs surrounding my body.
The room was dimly lit with white led candles flickering along the walls of the room. The instructor’s mat was in the front center of the class.
Other students were spread out along their mats to the left and right of the room, leaving one big open gap right in the middle. As I unrolled my mat into this empty space in the middle of the room I found myself to be glad that at least I made it in time.
I sat cross legged on my mat and began to do some neck stretches and focusing on my breath. I was here.
And there was nothing left for me to think about.
I felt my shoulders relax the more breathes I took.
I reminded myself to drop the ego and enjoy this.
The universe was telling me to be here…and for the first time since walking in through that door, I finally felt calm.
The class started. Calming music played while we slowly moved and held our different poses. The instructor walked amidst the students with reassuring affirmations that we were “beautiful and strong”.
“Surrender to the pose.”
“Just let it go and breathe.”
“Holding the pose and being still is just as important as the movement.”
Throughout my time in class I didn’t once feel like I was about to “die” from the heat.
Honestly, there were times I felt uncomfortable but then other times I felt comforted by it. Like a warm blanket in the middle of the night switching between hot and cold.
And when it was uncomfortable, it still wasn’t unbearable. In fact, it was a good challenge.
I found this yoga practice to be a metaphor for everything I’m going through and for life in general.
There are easy and challenging poses. During the more challenging and intense poses, a part of me wanted to give up and fall back into the beginning pose. Like, when you’re having a rough day and you really want to just go crawl in bed and let the day pass you by.
But I toughed it out and stayed with the pose. Thanks to the helpful guiding words of the instructor I was able to quiet the mind and breathe through it. The more I relaxed and let go, the more I would find myself being able to go deeper into the stretch.
It’s a testament for how strong you really are, physically and mentally.
It was a beautiful experience.
Another turning point was when I was standing in a side bend. My right leg was bent and was holding the majority of my body weight.
I could feel the strength in me.
I felt my right foot firmly planted on the warm ground. And as the instructor said, “the earth is here to always hold you. No matter what, she always has you.” I felt for the first time, that I was grounded. I got it. I got what it meant to actually feel grounded. I breathed it out and finally let go.
The class ended in shavasana pose, where you lie on the ground with your palm facing up for a few minutes.
The instructor came to each of us separately and put a cool wet washcloth along our necks and then over our eyes. “You’re strong and you’re beautiful. Welcome back.” He whispered in my ear.
While I have good moments and tough moments all within a day, I’ve relied heavily on just trusting my instincts and focusing on my breaths at moments of frustration. But, a few weeks ago I discovered a healthy outlet that is so beneficial if you’re going through some hard times.
Here’s the first part out of three, of my story about Hot Yoga…
On a cloudy Sunday morning I was at home, in my office, sitting crosslegged on the floor. Earbuds in, listening to a 45 minute guided meditation about how to connect with my spirit guides.
I felt like I was completely hypnotized. My imagination ran wild and I envisioned three spirit guides plus a coyote.
Okay, I know that this might make me sound crazy. Trust me, a few years ago I would’ve thought this would be all nonsense or a really active imagination.
But after months of practicing mediation I hit this weird place where I could feel myself going deeper and not overthinking things. So, when this happened, (even though I know it might sounds crazy,) I decided e to accept it and take it for what I feel it was.
When I came out of the mediation, I immediately had one of the strongest urges to go to a hot yoga class.
Hot yoga is something that I’ve always heard of, always wanted to try…but was always hesitant about.
I would hear people say, “It feels like you’re going to DIE! But then afterwards….you’ll love it!”
The part, “feels like you’re going to DIE” is the part that made me hesitate to commit to a class. I didn’t want to be that sweaty girl who ran out of the class because I couldn’t handle the heat.
Years before, I had been to a few yoga classes. I know, it’s a chill environment but I’ve never been in a situation where I would feel like I would die.
So, I’ve always been curious…but honestly never felt I would actually do it….until this day.
As I was still sitting on the floor of my office, and the urge to go to hot yoga entered my brain. The vision of the road side sign of “$5 Yoga Class! Sunday Morning!” popped into my head. I saw this sign about 2 weeks ago, as we were leaving the neighborhood pizza joint.
“It was nearby…maybe they still have that $5 class going on!” I thought as I picked up my phone to google it.
Cooper Moon Yoga Studio appeared in the search results. I clicked on it, went to the calendar and the $5 class was over.
But… low and behold a hot yoga class was starting in 20 minutes!
I didn’t give myself time to talk my way out of it. I didn’t care about the price, I didn’t care about what it would be like. Instead, I just cared on making the class on time.
I frantically dug around my dresser drawers for workout clothes to put on. I grabbed my old and worn orange yoga mat from my office, slipped on my sandals and went out the door.
5 minutes later, I was in the parking lot, with my car idling. My anxiety was beginning to rise to the surface. My heart was loudly pounding, vibrating throughout my chest and beating in my ears.
I had 10 minutes. So I decided to spend one of those minutes calming my body down.
I relaxed my shoulders and breathed.
In and out.
I tried to not think about anything other than the feeling in my chest and making it slow down. After the minute, I was still felt anxious…but not as bad as before.
“Don’t think about it. Just do it.” I thought to myself as I pulled myself up out of my car. “Just breathe and relax” I thought again as I walked towards the front door of Cooper Moon Yoga Studio.
You know you might have a huge anxiety problem, when you have to calm yourself down to walk into a yoga studio, right?
Behind the counter,stood a smiling woman and a smooth skinned square jawline man, who looked like he was the yoga instructor. After pleasant greetings, I found myself admittedly blurting out, “I haven’t been to a yoga in years!”
They welcomed me back and Tina, the woman behind the cash register (who I would later find out was the owner) gave me a towel and explained to cover my mat with it, so I don’t slide from the sweat dripping.
And with that, I put my shoes up on the shelf next to the yoga room, slid open the heavy wooden door to the hot room and stepped in.
A few weeks back, I watched a movie on Netflix called, Game Changers. It’s a documentary about how supreme athletes have become game changers due to eating a plant based diet, making them stronger and healthier than ever.
The term, “Game Changers” doesn’t just apply to their performance but also changing the game at how we think about consuming protein.
Wait! Don’t turn away!
This isn’t a post trying to make a food argument or trying to persuade anyone of anything. All I’m saying in this post….is that I’m going to try this and I would love it if you would join me.
Here’s the plan:
Eat an all plant based diet…for 4 weeks.
Take a before and after picture.
Take a before and after body measurements and/or weight
Experiment and get excited for new food and recipes!
Don’t be too hard on yourself and stay positive.
Let’s see what happens.
I Need Your Support
I need you to join me. Yep! This isn’t a want…it’s a need.
This is all easier said than done.
Right now, I’m in the planning stage, so it feels exciting! But God knows, by day three…day 23 or maybe hours into this experiment…I’m going to have a break down and I’ll need support.
This is where we can be there in this together.
By leaving comments on my posts or by following each other on Instagram, we can support one another.
I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’m going to need a lot of support and accountability for this one.
One of my biggest take aways from watching Game Changers was that you don’t need to eat a lot of protein in order to gain strong muscles.
I mean, if you watch this movie…you’ll see athletes of all types eating this way. Even big muscular crazy strong men!
Now, I’m not wanting to look like a body builder…but I’m just curious. What would happen if I ate a plant based diet for 4 weeks?
So with the New Year’s almost here….why not start this on January 2nd? (You know, you have to use the 1st as a recovery day)
So, if you want to come along for the ride, please subscribe and comment below.
Let’s see what happens when you eat a plant based diet for 4 weeks!
Growing up we were taught that our IQ score would determine how intelligent we are. The higher the IQ the more successful we would be in life.
However, there is more to intelligence than the intellectual level. In fact, most successful leaders, such as billionaire Warren Buffet does not have a higher IQ than the rest of us. Instead he shows a tremendous amount of emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence, (EI) is the ability to control and express our emotions in a clear and well thought out manner, while also having the ability to recognize emotions in others.
Individuals who have high levels of emotional intelligence are good listeners who show empathy to others. They are a person that others seek out for support or advice due to their compassion and open mind. Due to having their emotions under control they are also adaptable to change and able to express themselves clearly.
Now, we may be asking, how do we improve our emotional intelligence?
The best method out there is to practice mindful meditation.
Mindful meditation is being aware and staying in the present
moment. In other words, let go of the past and stop thinking about the future.
Just simply enjoy and pay attention to this present moment we are in.
According to John Darwin from the Centre for Mindful Life Enhancement, “Regular practice of mindfulness meditation can enhance our ability to understand our own emotions” By calming the mind through meditation, our ability increases to recognize our own emotions.
As we begin to become aware of our emotions, we are able to recognize
and control them under intense or upsetting situations. This allows us to think
deeply upon our actions and words before subconsciously blurting them out.
This is one of the main reasons why highly emotional
intelligent people are more successful in the workplace and build more meaningful
and beneficial relationships with others.
The best part is that we can practice mindful mediation any
time and any place.
Mindful meditation doesn’t require any special instructions.
Find a comfortable pose in a quiet space and choose any
amount of time.
Relax the body, (including facial muscles) and close the
eyes. It may be helpful to play calm music or concentrate on the breath, as a
tool for staying in the present moment.
Think of daily mediation practice as important as preparing
for a meeting or test.
This daily practice will lead to a higher level of emotional
intelligence, which only increases our ability to find success and happiness in
Forming any new habit can be hard to stick to. The first week you may be revved up and hitting all your goals but shortly after this you may find yourself hitting a wall. The motivation wears out its welcome and find yourself going back to your old ways.
Forming any new habit can be hard to stick to. The first
week you may be revved up and hitting all your goals but shortly after this you
may find yourself hitting a wall. The
motivation wears out its welcome and find yourself going back to your old ways.
This seems especially true when it comes to working out.
Working out can be one of the top activities where you can
find an excuse to get out of it. The excuses of not having enough time, not
feeling like it, having an injury or headache, and so on. The only real reason
why these excuses are coming up is because you allow it. If you really want to
form a new habit you have to ignore the excuses in your head and just do it.
(Just like the tennis shoe!)
In order to create a new habit of working out, here are some suggestions that hopefully will help you out.
Tips for Creating a Lasting Habit
The first thing is to get real with yourself and set
realistic goals that you know you can do. You don’t want to set your goal so
high that it’s impossible to reach. It’s not fun and motivating to not reach a
goal. Instead, make it a goal you know you will be able to easily handle.
In other words, if you haven’t been to the gym in over a year, what makes you think you can realistically show up there 5 days a week? Take it down a notch! Try to do about 3 times a week and if you show up on more days, then considered it a bonus and reward yourself for the bonus days! Shit, set your goal for 2 days but go 3 days and really reward yourself for doing that 3rd day!
Which, this is a great transition to get to the fun part of setting up new habits. The rewards!
Our brains are wired to repeat actions that bring us
pleasure and to avoid actions that we don’t necessary like to do. That’s how every single human on this planet
behaves. There’s no denying it, there’s no changing it. This is just how we
are. So for that reason you need to find out what you can do to trick your
brain into thinking that working out is a pleasurable experience.
In order to do this….you need to reward yourself. And don’t be stingy about it! In the beginning plan a reward for yourself for every week you accomplish your work out goals.
Some people like to create a calendar and mark off the days they did their workouts, with fun stickers. This allows you to visually track you getting closer to your goals and it makes them happy to see it. Once the week is over, now give yourself the reward.
Types of Rewards
This is the most important factor make your reward a non-food related item. And as the weeks keep growing,
make the reward better.
So for example, for the first week reward yourself with a manicure or pedicure. Or hell, even just buy a new nail polish color that you love. The second week, reward yourself with a new water bottle or cup. Third week, get a new workout shirt. And the fourth week, treat yourself to a massage! I mean, if you did a month straight, that’s amazing!!! Reward yourself and keep it coming!
After this first month, start it all over again for the next month. Over time, going to the gym and working out will become easier to do and at some point it will just become a habit. You’ll no longer think of excuses but instead find yourself easily heading to the gym, without much thought about it.
Make Your New Habit Fun
It’s also a good idea to do exercises that you love to do.
Make it as pleasurable as you can. So, join a Zumba class if that makes you
happy. Or a boxing class. Or walk on the treadmill if that’s your thing! In the
beginning as your growing the habit, don’t worry about following a routine or
doing a work out you “think” you should be doing. Instead do workouts that
bring you the most joy and then reward yourself for it!