Giving it a Rest

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Today I took a sick day.  Yep.  Those of you who know me personally are probably doing a double-take right about now.  This is not something the old me did.  Ever.  Yes I was physically sick during the night and I do feel under the weather today, but the old me would have sucked it up and gone to work anyway.  Only a fever would have normally stopped me in my tracks.  But in the spirit of practicing what I preach, of honoring one’s body, loving her (or him) and truly listening to what she (or he) has to say, today I’m giving it a rest.  Today my body is tired.  I mean really, truly tired.  All the way deep into my bones tired.  So instead of pushing myself beyond my limits and doing what I think people would expect of me, I’m just resting (and writing to you, because I just couldn’t help it).  I took a bath with epsom salts and lavender essential oil, did some gentle yoga and, despite physically feeling like I’ve been run over by a truck, mentally I feel fantastic.  Blissed out.  Between snoozes on the couch my subconscious is giving me high fives for doing exactly what my body wanted.  Finally.  Better late than never right?

Do you ever give it a rest?  It is so hard to do these days.  We are always on the go, getting things done, checking off our endless To-Do lists, wishing there were more hours in a day.  Some of us (and I’m including myself in this one) work insane hours.  We stare at computers all day and at TVs or our phones at night.  Our body never truly gets a chance to shut down until we turn off the light at night, which always seems to be later than we originally intended (or at least that’s normally the case in my house).  Then we wake up after probably not enough sleep and then do it all over again.  No wonder so many people today have sleep and anxiety issues.  We’re so wired up from our lives that our body doesn’t remember how to just let go.

Our lives today put the body under an enormous amount of stress.  As I mentioned in my post on perfectionism, we try so hard to be the best we can be and to achieve the life we have always dreamed of.  Stress is a normal reaction for our bodies that originally existed to protect us (aka “a lion is running at you, run away, run away!”).  This “fight or flight” response kept us alive way back when we lived among the creatures of the wild.  Our bodies really haven’t evolved much since those days, so today when something evokes that response, say at work, your body doesn’t know the difference between your deadline and a lion.  It will react the same way.  And if the body isn’t given the chance to go back to a state of balance, or homeostasis, then it will slowly burn out over time.

Now let’s take a close look at the “fight or flight” response.  When our bodies go into panic mode, our sympathetic nervous system is activated and the brain triggers the adrenal glands to secrete hormones like cortisol and epinephrine (adrenaline).  These hormones help to give you that extra boost of energy you need to outrun the lion.  Once you are safe, the parasympathetic nervous system kicks in and starts to calm you down.  But for many of us today there is always another lion following the first, another deadline, another thing to get done, another responsibility piled on our shoulders.  There is so much to do that our poor adrenals just can’t handle it all.  This, in a nutshell, is how you develop adrenal fatigue.  Does this sound like you?  I don’t know about you but I’m nodding my head.  That is exactly what happened to me.

So back to giving it a rest.  Our bodies need rest.  Desperately.  When we sleep our internal organs rest and recover, tissues are repaired, muscle growth occurs, and hormones are released that regulate our appetite control, stress, growth, and metabolism. Yep, you heard it right.  Do you feel like you’re always hungry or just never get full?  Have uncontrollable cravings?  Maybe think about how much sleep you’re getting…  Leptin, our satiety hormone, is significantly reduced when we are sleep deprived.  And when we sleep, our adrenal glands get a chance to rest too before they go on to fight another day with you.

Next time you are feeling bone tired maybe your body is trying to tell you something.  Maybe try giving it a rest.  You don’t have to take a day off of work for this like I did.  Maybe one Sunday clear your schedule, put your To-Do list away and just rest.  Sleep in, run a bath, do some gentle exercises, watch movies all day.  Do whatever your body wants to do.  Sunday did used to be considered “the day of rest” after all.  Seems to me that, back then, we had it right all along.

Peace, love and rest,

The Yogi~Foodie

Letter to My 18 Year-old Self

I have heard that writing a letter to your past self is a good way to release any emotions or regrets you may have about your past.  I sometimes have a hard time letting go of the path I took in my past.  I think “well if I had done this, then ______ would be different now” or “what if I had done ______?”.  But the truth is, we can’t dwell on the past.  It is done.  Over.  And everything we chose and did has made us into the people we are today.  So the best way to get over it is to release the thoughts and emotions and move on.  This was a great exercise for me and I recommend it for any of you who struggle with these same feelings.

Loveliest Anna~

the superheroinesHello love.  Congratulations on finishing high school!  That is such a great accomplishment, one of the many milestones you will achieve, so I hope you are proud of yourself.  I know high school wasn’t the greatest at times and going to three of them in four years sucked, but you have some great memories to remember and friends that you will know for many years.  Keep ‘em close because they are good ones.

So I have some advice for ya.  I know, I know, you are probably rolling your eyes in a very “teenage-ish” fashion at the moment because you think you have the answers to life all figured out.  I hate to break it to you love but you don’t.  Hec, I don’t either.  There is a big world out there away from home and it’s important to remember who you are and where you come from because it’s easy to get caught up in the craziness and get swept away.  Now I don’t mean to scare you.  The world may be big, but it is also full of possibilities, adventures, new things to try and new people to meet.  Life can be a truly amazing and wonderful experience if you allow it to be.  You will have a lot of decisions to make over the next few years.  But don’t let it pressure you.  You don’t have to get it all right the first time.  Plus, life isn’t about getting it all completely right, it’s about living.  To help you with those decisions and the life ahead I’ve made a list of my Top 5 Keys to Living a Fulfilling and Wholehearted Life:

  1. Don’t worry too much about what other people think.  Be yourself, rock to your own rhythm, strut your own stuff, believe your own beliefs.  The ones who don’t agree with you or don’t love and appreciate you for the person you are are not worth your time.  Don’t feel like you have to act a certain way or be a certain type of girl just for a guy.  If a guy doesn’t love you for you, kick him to the curb.  You are worth the world, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
  2. Dream.  Dream big.  There isn’t anything that you cannot do if you if put your mind and heart behind it.  And failure?  Don’t be afraid of it and don’t let it guide your decisions.  Every single successful person out there has failed at least once.  It’s how we learn, how we become the people we are meant to be.  “Perfect” doesn’t exist so don’t waste your time and energy trying to be a “perfect” version of yourself.  And do what you love.  If you do it will never feel like a job.  And believe me, jobs can be pretty miserable sometimes.  Do not pick a career because it is what you think you should do or what you think is expected of you.  And most of all, do not pick a career because of money.  If you do what you love and live a life in tune with your true self, money will figure itself out.  Speaking of…
  3. Be true to yourself.  If you live a life that is true to who you are at your core, deep in your soul, your intentions and desires will manifest exactly when they are meant to.  You simply have to believe it with every cell of your being.  Things will work out, don’t be discouraged.  Sometimes things won’t go your way and you may go through times when life seems really freaking hard.  Don’t lose hope and faith that things will get better again.  Everything we experience in life makes us into the people we are meant to be, even the hard stuff.  So go with the flow.  It’s always darkest before the dawn.
  4. Don’t be so worried about how you look or how much you weigh.  Our society puts a lot of importance on looks, which is completely ridiculous.  Don’t waste your time wishing you looked like a model in a fashion magazine.  You know how much make-up and air brushing goes into those pictures?  Focus on how you feel, not the size of your clothes.  If you feel happy and are your healthiest self, then it won’t matter.  If you eat food that is fresh and nourishing to the body and soul, you won’t have to count calories or run 5 miles to burn it off.  And it’s okay to celebrate occasionally.  A cupcake won’t kill you (or add 5 pounds to your bum).
  5. Work hard, but also don’t forget to have fun.  You were raised to work hard and try your best and that’s great, but don’t let it take over your life.  Don’t let the work crowd out the fun.  Life is meant to be lived, whether that is through travel and adventure, art, a night out with friends, a night in with a movie, or a delicious meal whipped up from scratch.  There will be times when a little more work is needed than you’d probably like, but don’t let that be all of the time.  Make room for play in your life and set boundaries at work.  Turn off your phone occasionally, shut down the technology, get out in nature and just play.  Life’s too short to be sitting at a desk day in and day out.

You may not understand some of these items now, but if you believe them and stick to them, I promise they will do nothing but good for you in your life.  The emotion surrounding all of these is love.  Love of self, love of life, love of the journey, love of those you hold dear.  If you hold love in your heart, it will come right back to you with abundance.  The world is your oyster my dear, so go out and live, love and make yourself proud.

Hugs, kisses and best of wishes,

Your future 30 year-old self

Upcoming Holistic Health from Home FREE Teleclass

Have you ever experienced feelings of sadness or anxiousness? Do you find yourself feeling stressed about even the smallest things on a regular basis? Are you just stuck in a rut and don’t know where to turn? If you answered yes to any of these questions then go no further!

2015-03-18 16.01.42I am so excited to announce the first FREE teleclass in the monthly Holistic Health from Home teleseries. I am teaming up with fellow holistic health coach Laura LaBeau from Soulfully Fed to bring you tools, tips, tricks and information each month on various health and wellness topics through an engaging and fun teleclass! And you can participate all from the comfort of your own home. Sessions will be held on the first Saturday of every month at 10am EST/8am MST. Our first class will be held on April 4th!

In April’s teleclass, we will explore the topics of sadness and stress and natural ways to combat these issues to get you feeling more positive and alive.

So what’s in it for you? Along with our love, support and words of wisdom, in this FREE teleclass you will:

  1. Identify the main drivers of sadness and stress and how to get to the bottom of how you feel and why
  2. Explore ways to change your inner dialogue towards one of love and positivity
  3. Discover the mind-body connection and the importance of embracing your true self
  4. Learn how nutrition, healthy living and essential oils can be instrumental in your emotional and physical healing.

Sign up for this FREE teleclass by emailing holistichealthfromhome@gmail.com today!

Once registered, we will provide further information regarding the call.

We look forward to speaking with you!

In health,

Anna & Laura

Want to get to know us better? Check out our websites below!

Anna Young: www.annalyoung.com

Laura LaBeau: www.lauralabeau.com

Perfectionism

“Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life.  Research shows that perfectionism hampers success.  In fact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis.”  ~Brene Brown, author, The Gifts of Imperfection

Perfectionism.  It’s a term we hear about so much these days.  As a society we are all trying to do better, be better, climb the professional ladder, be the most successful, prettiest, skinniest, fittest, [insert common cultural desire here].  We steamroll through our days, work our tails off, eat at our desks and in our cars, and down coffee when we are tired.  Though I have not been in the public school system in some time, I hear that the grades and test scores needed to get into the best colleges have only gotten higher, the environment more competitive.  And the age that girls start to worry about their weight and how they look keeps getting younger and younger.  We, my friends, have been bitten by the perfectionist bug and we’ve got it bad.

And we wonder why we are having a health crisis in our nation…  When people are busy, sleep, eating healthy, exercising and cultivating relationships with others fall to the wayside.  All of these things are so important to our physical and emotional health.  They help to counteract the stress of daily life and create a feeling of connection, love and fulfillment.  As humans, we need to connect with others, love others.  We are hard wired this way and it’s how we’ve survived as a species for so long.  When we ignore these needs for the sake of living a “perfect” life, we invite in the possibility of a host of various issues ranging from the physical (sickness, chronic illness) to the emotional (depression, anxiety, sadness).  And when these issues arise, we find a pill that will make it go away and go back to our lives without ever really finding out the reason behind why we are feeling this way.

I believe that the image of the ideal American life has become distorted and unhealthy.  We grow up imagining the perfect marriage, cookie cutter house, a job that pays the bills and then some.  We are told to do our best and equate hard work and success with happiness.  We pour millions into the health, beauty and fitness industries to try to look and feel our best.  We become competitive with those around us, focus on people, couples or colleagues who “seem to have it all” and start to desire what they have.  But in reality there is no perfect house, perfect marriage or perfect job.  It’s like the Wizard of Oz who hides behind the curtain trying to show others how high and mighty he is when, in reality, he is just like us.

I know perfection.  We have had a relationship for many, many years.  A tumultuous relationship and now one I am trying to get rid of.  Over the years I have been victim of every thought, action and emotion I described above.  I still struggle with it every day.  I was raised to work hard and do my best.  Now I don’t think that’s a bad thing, but somewhere along the way my mind linked working hard with success and happiness.  I truly thought that I to enter corporate America and work my little bum off in order to reach this dream I had in my head of the ideal life.  And work hard I did.  Many times I put the job in front of my own happiness because I thought that it was what I needed to do.  I ran mile upon mile and counted every calorie, thinking that if I looked a certain way my prince charming would come and sweep me off of my feet.  As a result, I developed an unhealthy relationship with food and an unhealthy body image.  I just kept going and going, not really taking the time to really think about what I was doing and where I was going with my life.

Then one day my body said “enough already” and I got sick.  You don’t develop thyroid disease, adrenal fatigue and hormonal imbalances overnight.  They develop from years of stressing the body, working it beyond its means without properly taking care of it.  And I considered myself a pretty healthy person at the time.  But I am thankful for this wake-up call and since then have really re-evaluated my life.  Yes I am still in corporate America, but I am also pursuing my passion for health and wellness by starting my own health coaching business, maintaining a daily yoga and meditation practice, writing this blog and working hard to eat as healthy as I can.  And someday I will take what I’ve experienced as an accountant and become a full time health coach and yoga instructor, helping others to find their way to happy and healthy.

I am sure all of you have heard stories of individuals who got very sick and, as a result, turned around their lives and found true happiness.  Those are wonderful stories, but I don’t think we should have to wait until that wake-up call to turn around our lives.  We deserve more than that.  So I encourage you to take some time and look inside, really think about what makes you tick, what brings you the purest form of joy imaginable.  What topics fire you up and inspire you?  What would you absolutely love to wake up and do every morning?  If it is your current job and circumstances then bravo, that is awesome.  But for a lot of us this is not the case.  Maybe you do love working at a desk for 60+ hours a week, maybe you love to travel and write, maybe you love to help others.  Everyone is different.  The key is to move past the “should” thoughts and focus more on the “what do I want” thoughts.  Change isn’t going to happen overnight and can be downright scary, but if you aren’t happy where you currently are, don’t wait until you body says “enough already.”  What do you really, truly have to lose?  I know this is a morbid thought, but at the end of your life when you are thinking back on your days, how do you want to feel?  Do you want to feel regret for what you should have done or do you want to feel happy and content, like you really, truly lived?

So let’s all work to stop being so perfect, stop judging your neighbor and coveting what they have, stop worrying so much about what others think of you and instead pursue what your heart really desires.  When you find this place of happiness, contentment and fulfillment, it will shine through.  When it gets hard, know that you are not alone and that when you reach your destination, it will totally be worth it.  If you need some help along the way, that’s what I am here for.  I specialize in helping individuals during this journey, during the scary life changes.  I’m here to be your guide, your friend, your steadfast cheerleader to help you navigate the twists and turns and come out on the other side your happiest, healthiest, most vibrant self.  It is possible and you deserve nothing less.

Interested in learning more about what I do and maybe working with me?  Please check out my newly launched website – www.annalyoung.com.

Peace, love and happiness,

The Yogi~ Foodie

Anna’s Essential Oils 101

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Have you heard of essential oils and want to learn a little bit more?  Interested in exploring new, holistic ways to improve your health and vitality?  Well today is your lucky day!  This Saturday I am hosting an hour long event on Facebook discussing all things essential oils.  The basics, how they can help you, how they have helped me, and so much more.  And you can participate from the comfort of your own couch!  So grab your favorite morning beverage (I won’t judge if it’s a mimosa…), get comfy, log in and bring your questions!

Details:

  • When:  Saturday, March 14th at 10 AM EST
  • Where:  Facebook – register to attend here
  • How:  Boot up your computer, log into Facebook, bring any questions you may have and get ready to learn!
  • Why:  Because essential oils are awesome (and see below)

I have spoken quite a few times on this blog about my health and the strides I have made since being diagnosed with thyroid disease, adrenal fatigue and hormonal imbalances 3 or so years ago.  I turned my health around the natural way through food, love and a devotion to yoga.  But I am not yet at the end of my journey.  Scratch that, health is not a destination, it is a journey in and of itself.  Essential oils is another tool on my path that is helping me to become my happiest, healthiest self.

I’d love to share what I’ve learned about essential oils and discuss how they may help you too.  If you want to learn more about doTERRA oils prior to Saturday’s session, please check out my doTERRA website here.  If you have any particular questions you’d like addressed during the event, please comment below!

Hope to chat with you this Saturday!

Peace, love and essential oils,

The Yogi~Foodie

The Acid – Alkaline Balance

Remember back in high school chemistry when you tested the pH of stuff using litmus paper?  For me, the term pH brings forth flashbacks of unattractive googles that left marks on my face after class. Teenage angst aside, the concept of pH is pretty important. If you’ve been around the health food movement long enough, chances are you have heard about acidity and alkaline properties of foods and the importance of a healthy pH balance in the body. It is commonly believed that achieving balance in the body’s pH is key in the process of healing from disease.

So what is pH again? The term pH stands for power of hydrogen and is a scale from 1 to 14. Items that are less than a 7 are considered to be acidic, whereas items over 7 are considered alkaline. The body’s ideal pH is slightly alkaline, 7.30 to 7.45. (Who knew high school chemistry could come in so handy later in life?)

Due to our lifestyle, many Americans today are too acidic.  When the body is too acidic it is more likely to carry extra weight, have skin problems and develop inflammatory-related illnesses.  Common diseases and disorders associated with an acidic condition in the body include, but are not limited to, osteoporosis, gout, cancer, migraines, constipation, morning sickness, allergies, diabetes and obesity.  Acidity affects all areas of the body, from our digestive system to our nervous system:

  • Digestive system: indigestion, nausea, bloating, gastric reflux
  • Circulatory system: inflammation in arteries, which causes heart disease
  • Immune system: increased growth in harmful bacteria
  • Respiratory system: oxygen does not flow as easily to cells in the body, leaving them starving and not able to perform as they are supposed to in order to keep the body healthy
  • Skeletal system: accumulation of acid deposits in joints and wrists, damaging cartilage and increasing risk of arthritis
  • Skin and muscles: rashes and acne, disrupts breakdown of glucose and oxygen into energy leading to poor performance of our muscles
  • Nervous system: feeling of physical, mental and emotional weakness
  • Reproductive system: may lead to infertility

Below is a handy dandy chart of common acidic foods:

Acidic Foods

Now I love coffee, chocolate and wine like the rest of you guys, so before you freak out and think you can never eat them again, take a deep breath and remember that it is all about balance. Yeah, we can eat some of the acidic stuff, but let’s just counteract that with a load of yummy foods on the alkaline side of the scale. Foods on the other side of 7 help to regulate weight, promote longevity, aid in digestion, are immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory. You can probably guess already that alkaline foods are real foods. Those grown in nature and minimally processed (if at all). No fake or added things here. Below are some common alkaline foods:

Alkaline Foods.001

Reflect a little about where your food falls on the pH scale. Are you maybe a little too acidic? Do you feel pretty balanced? If you are more on the acidic side think about how you can add more of the alkaline foods above into your lifestyle. I recommend starting first with water. Regular filtered tap water has a pH of 7, right smack dab in the middle. Add some lemon (lemon essential oil is perfect for this), lime or berries to that puppy and you get some alkaline influence! Second, take a look at your plate when you eat. If you imagine it as a pie chart, at least half of it should be filled with fruits and vegetables. The more the better in my opinion! The remainder of your plate is for whole grains, protein and healthy fats. Meat or pasta should not be the centerpiece of your meal.

For a more complete list of acidic and alkaline foods, check out this website here.

Peace, love and alkaline living,

The Yogi~Foodie

Pumpkin Mashed Cauliflower

2015-02-22 17.48.31My most recent creation is inspired by a recipe my mother makes often, with just a little twist. It is a great, healthy alternative to mashed potatoes and includes pumpkin to boot! I prescribe to the belief that pumpkin should be consumed year-round, not just in the fall. Adding pumpkin to recipes is a great way to add a little sweetness without all of the added sugar. There is enough of that already in a lot of what we eat today! Additionally, I have replaced the butter with coconut oil, which is so good for you.

Let’s break down the health benefits in this delicious goodness:

  1. Cauliflower: Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable and is in the same family as cabbage, kale, collards and broccoli (all really healthy veggies!). It is a great source of antioxidants, including vitamin C, manganese, carotenoids (such as beta-carotene), and phytonutrients. It also contains vitamin K and omega-3, two anti-inflammatory nutrients, and is a good source of protein, phosphorus and potassium. There are many studies that link cauliflower to cancer prevention, particularly with respect to bladder cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer and ovarian cancer. Most people eat the florets of the cauliflower, but the stem and leaves are edible too (throw ‘em all in, no wasting!). The cauliflower you will most commonly see at your local market is white, though it can also be light green, yellow or purple.
  1. Pumpkin: I have touted the benefits of pumpkin before in the recipe for my Pumpkin Granola, but there are so many of them that it doesn’t hurt to share them again! Pumpkin is high in vitamin A, which aids in vision, and, like cauliflower, is rich in cartenoids such as beta-carotene. It is high in fiber, potassium (more than a banana!) and vitamin C and low in calories. You can get all of these benefits from canned pumpkin so we can eat it year-round (wahoo!).
  1. Coconut Oil: This puppy is a staple in my kitchen, as I’ve mentioned before in My Five Go-To Ingredients post. I commonly use it as an alternative to butter on toast and in this recipe and always put a dollop in my morning smoothies to add creaminess and flavor. It is a high heat oil so is safe to use when sautéing on the stove (low heat oils such as olive oil burn when cooked at high temperatures and break down into a carcinogen). Coconut oil helps boost HDL (good) and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. It contains lauric acid, which helps to prevent various heart problems like high blood pressure, and its antimicrobial properties can help fight off bacteria and fungi. It aids in digestion and the absorption of vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
  1. Lemon: This fruit is high in vitamin C and vitamin B and, due to its high limonene content, it is a powerful antioxidant that can help ward off free radicals. Known for its therapeutic properties, lemon helps to strengthen the immune system, cleanse the stomach, and soothe an irritated throat and supports respiratory function.

The recipe below makes about 3-4 servings. I use a Sistema microwave steamer to steam the cauliflower and a high-powered food processor to whip it all up.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • ½ cup canned pumpkin
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice or 1 drop of lemon essential oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

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Five Simple Steps:

  1. Unwrap and wash the head of cauliflower. Cut it up into 2-3 in. pieces and steam in a microwave or stovetop steamer for about 5 minutes or until tender (but not too tender so that it is limp).
  2. Place steamed cauliflower in food processor (be careful of the steam from your steamer as it will be hot!).
  3. Add pumpkin, lemon juice and coconut oil to food processor.
  4. Blend until smooth. You may have to stop it a few times and wipe the sides so all cauliflower chunks get evenly blended.
  5. Season with salt and pepper as desired.

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Enjoy!

Peace, love and veggies

The Yogi~Foodie

Movement and Music

“We’re the fire, from the sun. We’re the light when the day is done. We are the brave, the chosen ones. We’re the diamonds, diamonds. Rising about the dust.”

Do you ever get the overwhelming need to just move? To walk, run, dance, clean, sing, jump, or [insert your favorite thing here]? I have always loved movement and music. As a child I was always on the move, whether it was outside running around, in the dance studio, on the soccer field or in my room rocking out to Ace of Base (yes, I did that). You rarely saw me camped out in front of a TV. Movement of any kind made me feel alive and strong. It still does today. It makes me feel like I can conquer the world. And music is the perfect complement. I love how it can elicit emotions from deep inside and take me back into the past through memories.

Earlier today I was cleaning and doing normal Sunday morning chores with music on in the background and suddenly I was filled with this indescribable need to get on my yoga mat and flow. I didn’t even want to take a class through the online service I use (Yoga Download for those who are curious). I wanted to flow to my music, the tunes that inspire me most these days, and just go. Dance to my own rhythm. And dance I did. Boy did it feel amazing. Time just stopped and I was in my own little bubble. And now I am in a place to complete love, acceptance, peace and contentment.

“This is my heartbeat song and I’m gonna play it. Been so long I forgot how to turn it up up up up all night long. Oh up up all night long.”

Recently I have recommitted myself to my yoga practice. I did it for multiple reasons. I’ll be honest and say that I want to get stronger, challenge myself and get better. I want to try the advanced poses and someday maybe master them. I was rewarded today when I stuck my first handstand for five whole seconds. If only you could have seen the grin that was on my face and the tears that filled my eyes with happiness… My goal over the next year or two is to take a yoga teacher certification course and I know the work I do now will only better prepare me for that. But most importantly, I returned to my yoga practice for me. For my soul.

The past five months have been very hard for me. For various reasons I turned away from my true self and started focusing too much on what I thought others wanted. I grappled with the overwhelming need to be “perfect.” I have always equated perfection with being loved so I began thinking that if I found the perfect job, looked a certain way, that I would get what I always wanted. I was lost. Lost in a self-imposed prison of criticism, judgment and not feeling like I was ever good enough. My worst fears (being alone and feeling unloved) played in my head over and over again. But instead of turning to yoga to bring me back out of it, I turned to what a lot of us turn to when we are feeling this way, food. Not only did it not help, it made matters worse. Whatever appreciation and love I had for my body before then pretty much flew out the window. Who’s going to ever love me now if I look like this? I was on this endless roller coaster that just never stopped. Sound familiar to anyone? We all have our own versions of the roller coaster.

“Have you ever fed a lover with just one hand? Closed your eyes and just trusted, just trusted? Have you ever thrown a fistful of glitter in the air? Have you ever looked fear in the face and said, “I just don’t care.”?

Yoga has helped me get off that roller coaster. It makes me feel worthy again. Worthy of happiness, joy, love and everything else in between. That I am good enough exactly the way that I am. It makes me feel like everything will be okay, even if it is just Tucker and I cuddled up in bed at night. It makes me believe that, one day, I will make my dreams a reality if I just believe in myself and stay committed to putting myself out there. That one day maybe somebody will love me for me. I saw a post on social media recently asking to finish the phrase “yoga is _________”. I immediately commented on the thread and typed home. Yoga is home.

Now I’m not writing this to encourage everyone to go out and get a yoga mat and sign up for a class at your nearest gym or yoga studio. I am writing this to encourage you to find the type of movement that brings you back home. What you can turn to in order to come back to yourself. To inspire you, make you smile, make you cry. Our bodies crave movement. It gets our blood pumping, stimulates our minds (this whole post played out in my head the entire time I was doing my flow) and the breathing that accompanies movement brings fresh oxygen to our cells and organs. If yoga isn’t for you, I encourage you to find the movement your body craves. You might be thinking “how on earth do I figure that out?” It might take a little bit of practice, but try a little bit every day to put aside the “I need to do [insert chore/obligation here]” and ask yourself “what does my body want do to?” Maybe it really wants to clean, or cook, or color. Do this over and over again and someday the inspiration will just hit you, like it did for me today.

“We are beautiful no matter what they say. Words can’t bring us down, no, no. We are beautiful in every single way. Yes, words can’t bring us down, oh no. So don’t you bring me down today.”

I’m sharing the playlist I was inspired to create today and that I listened to while I was on my mat. If you enjoy music, I hope it inspires you in some way. If you like it, pass along the inspiration to those you love.  Check it out in the link below:

Movement / Flow / Love

Peace, love and music,

The Yogi~Foodie