Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Let This Serve As a Reminder: Life Isn’t All About You

Like most people, I’m going to guess that you’re probably working on trying to find some more time to yourself.

You want to find your passion and your dreams, and do what really makes you happy. You want to exercise and eat right and spend time doing what you love. You probably have a job that you enjoy (or don’t), and sometimes it drains you. Maybe you own your own business and are on-call 24/7. The clock never stops, the pressures feel heavy, and when you get a moment to breath, you just want to do what you want to do.

I do believe that you can’t be happy with anyone else until you’re happy with yourself, and that you must take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else, but I also think that sometimes we need to take a step back and stop thinking about ourselves.

In today’s busy, fast-paced world, it’s easy to get caught up in our own lives. We have so many things we want to do and see, and only so much time accomplish it all. We are almost always connected, planning our next steps, and thinking about what we want to get out life that sometimes we forget that life is supposed to get some things out of us, too.

If you're like me and are trying to find balance between what you want to do, should do, and what needs to be done, try to keep this in mind:

Photo retrieved from
http://bit.ly/159D1r8

Life comes with responsibilities. 
There are people who count on you. Whether it is your family, significant other, friends, employer, or those less fortunate, there are a lot of people who need you in this world and require some of your undivided attention. Spend your time wisely. You should always follow your heart, but be considerate of other people too.

You need to decide what kind of person you are and who you want to be.
Do you want others to be able to count on you and lean on you through tough times? How giving, patient, and thoughtful are you willing to be? Doing things for others will make you happy and feeling more fulfilled with your life. And remember, what goes around comes around.

Think about how much others do for you.
Chances are, you are not taking on this world alone. Think about what others do for you on a daily basis, including emotionally. Looking at the bigger picture, do you count on others for help when you ask? Do you feel the need to be connected to friends and family, to seek their advice and enjoy their companionship? Think about what others do for you, be thankful, and try to give back all the generosity you receive. 

It doesn't have to be a big deal.
Stopping by your friend’s birthday party when you are feeling tired does not have to be a big deal, and it could really mean a lot to your friend. Try to compromise - go for a little while and leave early. It will mean a lot to them if you make the effort. Of course, if you actually can’t go then don’t, but try to be there for your friends and family as much as you can. Things you do can make other people happier, and supporting them can go a long way.

You can draw a line in the sand, but is that line going to be on the shoreline or the boardwalk?
Yes, set boundaries. We all need to be a little selfish sometimes. But think about how far you are willing to go to help others, and extend that by just a little bit each day.

Love yourself for helping others.
Be healthy, eat right, and stay active. But don’t forget that we are all in this together. Be generous with your time, money and heart. You may never know how far acts of kindness can go or what they may mean to someone else. It is the right thing to do.

Do you struggle with finding balance in life between what you want to do and what you should do for others? I would love to hear what strategies and tips you use in your life.

Thanks for reading,

Lisa

Friday, 26 July 2013

Favorite Thing Friday: Having a Voice

I am by no means a subject matter expert on women's right. In fact, I should probably be ashamed of how little I know about the issue across the globe.

I know there are certain roles, expectations and regulations that many women have to abide to around the world, depending on where they live.

Based on the little information that I do know, it amazes me. Some days it seems surreal to think that at one point, here in Canada, women were not even allowed to vote. Still today there are many fights they have to be equal with men, and the issues around other parts of this world women face are hardly fathomable. 

But I can't even begin to explore women's rights, suffrage, and discrimination in one simple blog post.

What I want to write about today is my gratitude to all people who have fought to reach the level of equality and opportunity that women in this world have achieved thus far, and to acknowledge that changes have been made and hopefully progress continues.

I want to thank old and new role models who stood their ground and fought for what they believed in.

I want to especially thank many of the men in this world who support and respect the women in their lives, and all women in general, who they not only treat as equal but sometimes give them the extra encouragement they need to get out of their comfort zone. The men who encourage women to say what they mean, and then support them when they say it. To fight harder than anyone else to be the best at what they do - whether that be a stay at home mom or a CEO of a fortune 500 company.

I know I am lucky to be able to express my thoughts, have a voice, be myself, and live the life that I want. I know there is still a lot of inequality across the world, that things are not perfect, and that they probably never will be.

I am fortunate that I can make my own choices. I can chose what I want to wear each day that I get up in the morning and I decide what I do with my time. It really is a blessing, and every day I am thankful to live in a world where this is possible.


Enjoy your life and appreciate all things. 

Live for you. 

Some of my two favourite books that have influenced me on this subject are Princess by Jean Sasson and most recently, Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend. 

Lisa

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Why I Love Hot Yoga

On my journey to completing yoga teaching training, I’ve been trying to attend at least one hot yoga class a week. There are a couple of reasons for this that I wanted to share with you, which will hopefully encourage you to try hot yoga if you haven't already:
It’s a completely detoxifying experience
The amount your entire body sweats feels like a total cleanse. 
As soon as I’ve finished the class, I can go nowhere except for immediately home, to rip off my clothes and jump in the shower.

Your body becomes more flexible
It’s easier to move, stretch and bend safely into poses that you may not be able to do otherwise, and within just a few classes you will notice that your body has changed.
It’s more challenging
If you’ve ever been worried about yoga not being a good enough workout for you, then you haven’t tried hot yoga. In the heat, your heart rate is faster and your breathing gets heavier. It's a more intense workout. 
It’s worth the money
I’ve had a lot friends tell me that yoga is too expensive to do, and it can be. A drop in fee at some studios can be as much as $20, whereas as an average drop in fee at a gym is only about $10.
But hot yoga is not something you can do on your own or at just any gym. You need to be in a specific temperature and humidity, in a specialied studio that you can’t get at home or at just any 'ol fitness centre.
If you are planning on going to a hot yoga class for the first time, be prepared. 
There are a few things I wish someone had told me before I went to a hot yoga class for the first time, and while some of them may seem obvious, I wanted to share them with you anyway:
Bring Water
Fill up and pack the biggest water bottle you have around. It’s going to be hot, and you will be sweating out lot water.
Wash off all of your face and eye makeup
Your pores will be opened and you will be dripping sweat. To get the most health benefits for your skin and to prevent any breakouts, make sure your face is freshly cleaned. Take off all of your eye makeup too, so it doesn’t end up running down your face or into your eyes blinding you.

If possible, wear clothes that absorb and don’t show sweat
Basically, don’t wear a grey cotton tank top. You're entire body will be dripping sweat.

Take it easy
It takes practice to be able to do all the poses in the class to your fullest potential  in a room that's 31+ degrees Celsius. If you put in one hundred per cent effort without pratice or being prepared, you could end up feeling lightheaded, and it could be dangerous. 

Pace yourself and don’t overdo it the first time you go to a hot yoga class, especially at the beginning. Some classes are 90 minutes long, so start off slow and easy to conserve your energy throughout the entire class.

Thanks for reading,

Lisa

Monday, 22 July 2013

How to Face Your Fears of Being Vulnerable and Living Alone

When I moved to Calgary in 2004, I was pretty naive. I loved it though, and looking back, I think being naive was the way to make the move. No fear, no worries - just pack up your clothes and do your thing.

Over my years of living there, things did happen though, and as I got older I started to appreciate the simple things that a smaller town, such as Grande Prairie, has to offer. One of them being trust, safety, and security. 

Now, when I go shopping at Superstore, I can leave my purse in the cart and turn my back to it while I look at a Joe blouse. Being raised by a mother who is from Philadelphia and used to make us lock our car doors at red lights, I don't do that often, but I know that when I do, it is generally safe and I don't have to worry about someone snatching it. 

In 2006, when I was on my way home from a night shift at a pub I worked at in Calgary, someone followed me. I don't know what their intentions were, but this man came through my front door barrelling after me. The guy was about 40 years old, Caucasian, and wearing a suit and tie. He was missing a shoe, his tie was loose, and his face was bloody. These are details I will never forget. I will also never forget that I peed my kilt a little bit when I looked up and saw him in my house, waving his arms and grumbling drunk gibberish at me.

Thankfully, the police showed up in exactly six minutes and because he was so intoxicated, I was able to fend him off and pounce around my living room faster than he could. 

I never told my mother that happened until about five years later, and I have never been the same since. After that incident, my fear of being assaulted increased by about one hundred per cent - because guess what? I never had that fear before. 

When I moved back to Grande Prairie about two years ago, I recognized that it was a different city than it was when I moved away. It had grown in size, there were more opportunities, and more culture. Great news for a city gal. 

Until tonight. 



Kody, my amazing boyfriend, is out of town on a fishing trip. He is living the dream and staying at a fishing resort with his father, brother, and friends.

When I came home this evening, my back door was open. 

I freaked, but didn't panic. I grabbed my purse, my car keys, and backed out of the house slowly.

"OMG", I thought. "Someone is waiting in the basement to grab me and murder me."

Yes, I know that sounds dramatic. But every worst-case-scenario-horror-movie went through my mind and I felt like I needed to get out the house as fast as I could.

My neighbours hadn't seen anyone around there all day. Is it possible that I forgot to lock the door? Maybe. But I am already really paranoid and I can't believe that I would leave my door unlocked when my boyfriend is out of town (although we don't live together, we spend almost every night together). But I guess I'll never know. 

From what I could tell, nothing was missing or had been rummaged through at my house.

I'm staying a friends house tonight while I get over this incident. My boyfriend told me that tomorrow I can go to his house and bring his farm dog back to my place to help protect me while he is away (he is a German Shepard RCMP drained dog). I think having him there will help. 

But what I think I've learnt the most from this incident is that eventually, I have to face my fears. 

Yes, someone did follow me home and break into my house seven years ago. Yes, I am female, vulnerable, and don't face the same fears a man does. But what does this mean? Can I temporarily move into my friends house and crash within their safety-net every night until Kody gets home? Can I depend solely on my boyfriend to make me feel safe and protect me from intruders? No. In reality, I can't do that. So what am I going to do? 

I am going to go home tomorrow like a big girl and face my fears. I am going to bring Bari (pronounced Barry), the German Shepard RCMP trained police dog home, register and make sure to triple-check my doors every night.

You have to learn to let things go. Do what you can, but know that if something is going to happen, it is likely going to be out of your control.

If you are reading this, remember to always lock your doors. Be safe. Take precautions to protect yourself, but know that you are not alone. You have friends to call on, a higher power protecting you, and yourself to count on.

Make the right choices and take the precautions you need to protect yourself, and trust life.

Thanks for reading,

Lisa 

Friday, 19 July 2013

Favorite Thing Friday: Air Popped Popcorn

Lucky for me, popcorn is one of my favourite snacks. I would choose it over potatoe chips or pepperoni sticks any day. I eat it often - a couple of times a week - and have tried all sorts of different flavours.

I say "lucky for me" because as part of my health living journey I am trying to make healthy food choices more often, and I don't feel like I am making any sacrifices when I choose to treat myself and snack on popcorn. I've read that popcorn is naturally high in dietary fibre, low in calories and fat, and free of sugar and sodium. So not only do I enjoy it, but I don't feel too guilty when I indulge.

I've recently discovered a new way to make popcorn. I like it because not only is it a nice change from eating microwave bag popcorn, but it's the most delicious, easy and healthy way to eat popcorn. If you haven't tried it yet, you must. Anyone can make it and it only takes about 5 - 10 minutes:

Buy a bag of popcorn kernels.
You can pick these up anywhere. Try Wal-Mart or your local grocery store. A two-pound bag of kernels are only about $2. I like the brand Jolly Time because I find they pop the best, but I'm not too picky either. I'll pretty much buy any. They are all good.

Open the bag carefully and have a twist tie or bag clip handy. Nothing is worse than spilling a bag of popcorn kernels and having to push all of your appliances from off against the wall to clean to clean them up in your kitchen.

Turn your stove burner on High and add half a tablespoon of oil to a large pot.
You can use as little or as much oil as you like, but I recommend about one tablespoon. I like Crisco vegetable oil, but I know it's not the healthiest, so for the purpose of this post and my new healthy living commitments I am going to recommend using coconut oil instead. You can use coconut oil that has the natural flavour stripped from it, but it does not change the flavour very much either way.

I suggest not to use olive oil. You need to make this at a high heat and olive oil doesn't work well with that.

Also, make sure that the pot you choose is a faire size and that it has a lid. I like to use one of my favourite pots that has a clear, glass lid. It's fun to watch the kernels pop and easier to keep track of how much is being made.

Add about 1/3 of a cup of kernels or enough to cover the bottom of the pot.
The kernels will start to make a sizzling sound. Give the pot a couple of shakes to make sure all the kernels are covered in oil. As soon as it gets hot enough the kernels will start to pop. Once the popping has ceased for about 10 second intervals, turn off the burner and remove the pot.

Pour it into a bowl.
Ideally, you don't add any butter and only a little bit of salt to keep the snack healthy. Remember that the oil adds flavour too, so it should be good either way. You can, of course, add a little bit of butter if you would like to.



You have to try making this snack. It's healthier and cheaper than microwave popcorn and you feel a lot better after eating it than you do if you were to spin around a plastic bag in a radiation box for a couple of minutes.

For more information about the health benefits of popcorn, read here.

For other healthy snack options, view this PDF.

I hope you like it!

Thanks for reading,

Lisa

Thursday, 18 July 2013

How I’m Quitting Sugar and Why

I mentioned a while ago that I have Raynaud’s, and including poor circulation and joint pain, I have been experiencing some other health problems with my hands recently.

A few months ago, I started getting these red sores on my left fingers and wrist. They are not itchy and they are not contagious. They are, however, painful and embarrassing.

I have been researching and meeting with various health professionals to help identify what is causing these bumps. I have met with four different general practitioners and two specialists: a rheumatologist and a dermatologist. I’ve had blood work done and two skin biopsies, all of which I am still waiting for the results of. As a part of my health care management, I decided to see a naturopathic doctor (ND) as well.

Almost immediately, Dr. Tamsyn Freeman, ND, diagnosed me with an infection in my body that was causing these bumps on my hand. She said it was nothing serious and that’s why the physicians haven’t been able to find anything, but I needed to start making some life changes and start cleansing my body. She said that because I already have a condition (Reynauds) in my hands, that my hands are an easy target for other health concerns to arise in. When I asked her why these bumps were only happening on my left hand and nowhere else on my body, she said she thought it was because the left side of my body – which is the feminine side of my body – is experiencing high stress. I guess we'll save that diagnosis for a different blog post though...!

I thought what Dr. Freeman had to say was very interesting and that there was definitely some merit to it.

She then continued to test the overall health of my body and for various food allergies. The good news: she said I was very healthy…except for one thing, and this is where the bad news comes in: I have a very high intolerance for sugar.

It’s pretty simple to explain why this was devastating news for me: I love sugar.


When I was a child, I was obsessed with Skittles, the ultimate candy. If I was allowed, I would eat spoonfuls of white sugar. I don’t think I’ve ever had anything that has been too sweet for me. My favorite part of cake is the icing. I love freezes and slurpies. Yes, I have many cavities in my teeth, but I could never resist anything sweet. Salt - not so much, but sugar - bring it on.

The ND told me that my intolerance to sugar is so severe that I have a very high change of getting diabetes.

Not cool.

She also said that all the mercury in my mouth was causing poor circulation. Why do I have so much mercury in my mouth? Because I have had countless cavities. I’ve gone to the dentist religiously for my entire 29 years of life and can only remember one time where I didn’t have a cavity. Pretty bad hey?

After meeting with Dr. Freeman and spending about $300 on different pills and whatnot, I decided to cut sugar out of my diet. I am doing this by cutting back slowly and as best as I can.

I figure I’ve already quit the bad habits of smoking and biting my nails, so how hard can quitting sugar be, right?

Well, let me tell you.

It’s been about three months and this is where I am with it so far:

I gave up coffee
I don’t enjoy black coffee, and caffeine is bad for circulation, so I’ve cut it out altogether. The trick for me was to do it slowly, mentally prepare myself, and find delicious, natural teas to drink instead.

I still eat fruit
At the stage that I’m at with cutting out sugar, I’m not going to be too hard on myself for eating natural sugars. I make sure to always have berries on hand. I find that strawberries, blueberries and raspberries are the best.

I’ve left myself relapse
I got really sick not too long ago, and all I could drink was gingerale. It seemed like a good idea at the time, to help stomach my settle, but I definitely regretted it afterwards. By the time I had recovered I think I probably drank a total of 10 cans of gingereale. Afterwards, my body was craving sugar so terribly that at a friend’s birthday, I caved and ate ice cream cake.

What I learned from this experience was if I’m going to put sugar back into my body, then it’s harder to quit again. If I relapse there are consequences – just like when I was quitting smoking. I can’t have just one.

My friends and family support me
I told them all that I was trying to cut back, and ultimately cut out sugar. They are all very supportive and encouraging. No one looks at my funny when I politely decline dessert and they understand if I can’t step foot in a store while they run in to quickly grab something because I know there are candy bars and coolers full of ice cream.

I know I have an addiction
I’ve always had an addictive personality, but I never thought of sugar as a drug. Probably because in my years prior to this one, I was still avoiding getting into illegal drugs, managing my drinking habits to ensure I didn’t become an alcoholic, and trying tirelessly to quit tobacco. Now that I’ve grown up and have those under control, I am starting to realize that I just replaced others addictions with another – sugar. Do you think it’s possible to get addicted to carrots? Let’s hope so.

I am still waiting for the results of my skin biopsies. I should know the results soon and I am confident that with both the expertise of family doctors, physician specialists and naturopathic diagnosis and remedies that I will be able to manage my health care in more proactive way and be healthy soon.

I’ll keep you posted…

For more information about why a person should quit sugar, read here.

Thanks for reading,

Lisa

Friday, 12 July 2013

Favorite Thing Friday: Hello Summer Essence Lip Stain

**I had troubles posting this yesterday, so here it is!

Something that I didn’t include in the About Me post is that I am a bit of a lip gloss connoisseur.
I think I am actually addicted to always putting some sort of colour or moisturizer on my lips. I am always trying out new kinds, colours and flavours of lip gloss and am always - of course - looking for a good deal!

A couple of week ago while I was browsing at Shoppers Drug Mart, a bright orange lipstick container caught my eye. The $2.99 price tag might have had something to do with that, too. I mean, what can you buy for $2.99 these days? I think some packs of gum are even more expensive than that.

It was Hello Summer Lip Stain by Essence.
I’ve tried a couple of products by Essence before, and overall they’ve been pretty good compared to other producs in their price range (although I do not recommend their nail polish. As cute as their colours are, it chips fast and easy. I’ll stick to OPI or Essie thanks).

This is a nice mix between a gloss and a lipstick. It stains your lips by lightly bringing out their natural colour. While the tube is orange, it stains mine to a pretty, light pink.

This is nice because you don’t have to worry about lip liner or looking in the mirror while applying – just apply like you would a translucent gloss, press and rub your lips together, and you’re ready to go. It’s perfect for every-day wear, over top of a matte lipstick, or as a refresher throughout the evening. The colour lasts a fair bit of time, too. I would say for at least an hour.

Plus, did I mention it comes in a funky bright container and only costs $2.99?
 
Thanks for reading,

Lisa
http://awellnesswayoflife.blogspot.ca/p/these-are-few-of-my-favorite-things.html

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Slow Growing

 Be not afraid to go slowly, be afraid only to stand still - Unknown

I’ve recently fallen in love with yoga. I’m not very good at it, and I certainly can’t do any balancing poses – yet, anyway, but a teacher read the quote above at the end of a hot yoga class I attended and it helped me remember why I need to keep going.

It reminded me that no matter what challenges you face in life, you have to keep going.

Over the years you will grow as a person, and that’s a good thing.

Live your life for you, not for your parents or friends, and follow your heart.

Recognize that dreams can change - for you and for other people, too. 

 Eventually, you will get where you need to be.

Moving forward, slowly, is better than not moving at all.

Everything takes time. Practice patience.
 


Wednesday, 10 July 2013

How to Learn Patience

My Dad’s sister - my Aunt Val - is the youngest of five children. She and her husband, Jamie, now have eight of her own. Her oldest is 21 and their youngest is eight years old.

I remember one day in my early twenties, when I was visiting home from college over the holiday season, I looked at my Aunt Val during a family gathering and said:

“I don’t know how you do it Auntie Val. I don’t have the patience that you do.”

She looked at me with her kind, soft eyes, smiled a half smile, and said wisely:

“Lisa, I didn’t always have the patience I do now. Patience is something that is learned. You have to learn how to be patient.”


At the time, I looked at her blankly, blinked a couple of times, and then went upstairs to get a refill of my Christmas wine. I thought what she has said was interesting, but it was not until years later I finally started to understand what learning how to be patient truly meant.

First of all, I don’t think anyone is naturally really patient. I think some people are more impatient than others, but somewhere deep down, I think most everyone has the tendency to lose their cool.

Second of all, I don’t have any children – let alone eight. I know I still have a lot of growing and learning to do, but so far I think I’m on the right track, and am always working on it.



Photo retrieved from
http://pvedesign.blogspot.ca/2011/03/tick-tock.html

Here are some things I tell myself when I am about to lose my patience. I hope you find them helpful:

Your patience is being tested. Are you going to pass or fail?
Those moments at the drugstore, or Wal-Mart, where the line up is taking longer than you anticipated and you find yourself shifting your weight from side to side, breathing and heavy sigh and rolling your eyes, is a test of patience.

Keep breathing, start focusing on something else, and try to relax.

People have had to wait for you before
No matter how organized or strong your Type A personality is, there have been times in your life where others have had to wait for you. You probably haven’t even considered or realized all the times you’ve tested other people’s patience.

It’s going to be OK
So maybe you’ll be ten minutes late for dinner, your friend’s party, or the gym. Honestly, it’s not the end of the world. Relax. You will eventually get where you need to be, and do what you need to do.

Ultimately, life is not in our control and everything will work out, I promise.

Getting upset is not going to change anything
You can be grouchy, bitter, resentful, or anxious but the fact of the matter is, things don’t always work out as perfectly as you planned them. Shit happens. Life happens. You have to find a way to better address things that don’t include losing your patience.

Manage your emotions
We all have our choices, and you have the choice to control how you are going to react to something. I highly doubt that stomping your feet and grumbling over something is really going to change anything.

Be prepared
Expect the unexpected. If you have to be somewhere or do something, plan ahead and give yourself some flex time. This way, if something comes up, you will not be scrambling last minute to get things done, putting yourself at risk of losing your patience.

My Aunt Val and Uncle Jamie, and their children.
 
Patience is something that takes time to develop. If you make the conscious effort to be more patience during menial times (such as waiting in the lineup at Wal-Mart), you will eventually develop the strength to remain patient in even more trying situations.

Like anything else, you have to practice. Try to recognize triggers for you, and be patient with yourself. Remember that all things take time.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Favorite Thing Friday: Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oil

I've mentioned before that I have a blood and circulation disorder, called Reynauds. It's chronic and painful, and I am always looking for new ways to help manage it.

I wear gloves as often as I can and exercise regularly. I take garlic and cayenne pepper supplements on a daily basis to help keep my body warm. There are no medications I can take to help improve my disorder, and despite my efforts, I haven’t found anything that really helps warm my hands up...until recently.

I’ve started using this little, delicious gem called Cinnamon Leaf. It's an essential oil and you can get it anywhere. I bought mine from Save on Foods during my regular trip to the grocery store, and it’s not very expensive.


I add about two or three drops of Cinnamon oil to my hot drinks. A person doesn’t need very much – it’s pretty strong. A few cinnamon drops taste good when mixed with just hot water, and also tastes good in lemon, berry, and Chai tea.

Within the first week of drinking this concoction, I noticed a big difference in the circulation of my hands and feet, and in the overall warmth of my body.

While sipping on my tea, I can literally feel my hands getting warmer and loosening up. By the time I’ve finished drinking one beverage, my hands have turned colour to a nice bright red - a sign that my fingers are finally getting some blood flowing to them.

I’ve read that this happens because cinnamon helps to improve circulation by thinning a person’s blood. It is also an anti-inflammatory oil, which helps to release joint pain and stiffness - and I am a true testament to this!

Cinnamon also has many other health benefits, such as controlling blood sugar levels, and it has antibacterial properties, so it helps to fight infections, too. Of course, you can use it as an aromatherapy or to cook with, as well.

If you are ever cold, or looking to add a new, delicious, healthy twist to one of your favorite drinks, I highly suggest trying Cinnamon Leaf essential oil.

To learn more about the benefits of Cinnamon Leaf , visit http://www.organicfacts.net/organic-oils/natural-essential-oils/health-benefits-of-cinnamon-oil.html.

Thanks for reading,
Lisa

Thursday, 4 July 2013

A Beginners Guide to Yoga

Have you been thinking about going to a yoga class, but are you too nervous to try it on your own?

I’ve totally been there. I find it can be quite intimidating with all these lean people around you, twisting and bending, all the while looking elegant and beautiful.

But about three months ago, I committed myself to attending yoga classes for a while to help heal a minor back injury that I got from an intense crossfit class, and so far, the benefits of yoga have been way above my expectations.

I am happy to report that my back injury completely healed after attending about three classes a week, for two weeks. And my heart and mind had never felt so still and balanced.

For the better or the worse, I haven’t really ran a lot since that injury, but my time in a yoga studio has increased. I am in a complete Yogi phase of my life right now, and have even gone as far as to register for Yoga Teacher Training, beginning in September - I can hardly wait!



So from one beginner to another, let me share with you some tips to help cope with the intimidation of going to a yoga studio:

Leave your ego at the door
One hundred per cent. Depending on what kind of yoga you’re about to try, anything could happen. You will probably not be able to bend as deep as some others in the class, you may not fully understand what goes where, and (especially if it is a hot yoga class, although I don’t recommend that for early beginners) you may get awfully sweaty. None of this matters.

No one is going to be looking at you. For the most part, I’ve found the yoga community to be very open and non-judgmentall - in fact, that’s what yoga is about. The word yoga literally means to unite, so if someone is making you feel anything else but welcomed, just remember what the word yoga means - and you may already know more about the true practice of yoga than they do!

Introduce yourself to the teacher
I know, this probably sounds silly. Especially if you are shy like me, you are thinking "Ha, ya right, as if I’m going to do that." But force yourself to. The teacher will appreciate your honesty and will probably give you a little extra (but subtle) attention to make sure you are getting the most out of your practice.

Simply smile, introduce yourself, and let them know that you wanted to make sure they were aware that you are new to yoga and that you would appreciate any guidance before or during the class. Also mention any injuries you have that may affect you or that you have to be extra gentle with.

Wear your gym clothes
You don’t need to wear fancy yoga clothes or be decked out in an expensive Lululemon outfit. Wear clothes that you can move in and if you can, try to avoid wearing cotton because depending on the class, you might work up a sweat.

Take it for what it is
Maybe you don’t buy into mediation, or the deep breathing, or chanting - yet. Just be yourself and respectful to others in the class.

Try it at least three times before giving up, and attend different types of classes
I find my yoga experience can really depend on the style of yoga and the instructor. Do a little bit of research to determine what yoga class may best suit your personality. To learn more about different types of yoga, read here http://www.dailycupofyoga.com/2012/06/09/5-different-types-of-yoga-which-one-suits-you-the-best/.

Relax!
It's your time, it's your practice. Do what feels good and enjoy yourself! You are doing something great for yourself and your body; you should be proud.

Everyone’s practice is unique to themselves. Listen to your body and only do what it is capable of doing, to the best of its ability.


Photo retrieved from
http://yogaservices.blogspot.ca/2013/02/yoga-studio.html

Do you have any tips to share with new yogis or any questions to ask about going to your first yoga class? I would love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading - and as they say - Namaste.
Lisa

Monday, 1 July 2013

Wishing a True Friend the Very Best

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked to someone whose said when they look back at their wedding pictures, they can hardly remember their bridesmaid’s name, and that they’ve lost touch. At one point in their lives they were like sisters, and now they don’t even have each other’s phone number.  

It always makes me a little sad to hear that, but in fact, I now may be one of those bridesmaids.

Photo retrieved from http://bit.ly/14lK5hj
 
Let me clarify that being a bridesmaid is not something I take lightly. I put more effort into those friendships knowing that I was honoured to stand up for them, put faith in their marriage, and will support their relationship until the very end. I think being a bridesmaid is a privilege and something very special.

That being said, it never ceases to amaze me how many friendships come and go throughout a person’s life. None of them are less or more important than others; I believe they all provide value and serve a unique purpose, but what I’ve struggled with is understanding how a person knows who their life-long friends will be.

I do not want to be one of those people who look back at their wedding photos and can’t remember when the last time was that I talked to my bridesmaid, and that I don’t even know how to get in touch with them.

 ...ok, maybe I’m getting a little ahead of myself here. No, I’m not engaged or planning a wedding. The main reason why I am questioning friendships, true friendships and their longevity, is because I’ve recently lost touch with one of my nearest and dearest friends who I was a bridesmaid for last summer. I guess it wasn’t as recent as it has been slow and painful, but nonetheless, changes are happening and we are definitely disconnected.

Besties is what we used to call each other. We’ve known each other since we were five, and have been the closest of friends for at least the past 10 years. But as of late, she calls someone else her Bestie, and like an Ex, I feel a tang of jealously and broken hearted every time I read it on Facebook. I immediately think of how I used to be her Bestie and I never thought we would ever be anything but that.

I realize now it is naive to think like that.

I’ve had to come to accept that friendships grow, just as people and lifestyles do. Just because my friendship with my Bestie is not the same, and never will be, it doesn’t make her any less of a true friend. She really was, through all of the years we had together, the best friend I’ve ever had.

She helped me through significant times in my life which I value very much and played an important role in the development of who I am as a person. She and I laughed together countless times until our bellies hurt and had many adventures that took us places I never thought I would experience. I feel very fortunate to have had the years we did together and the memories we made.

Today, I’ve had to accept that I don’t need to understand why we are where we are now; maybe one day I will understand, but until then, I have to trust that this is all happening the way it is supposed to.

In the meantime, I am lucky to have many other great friends. The moments that I find myself dwelling on the loss of my Bestie, I have to remind myself of all the good people I have in my life and focus on them, and be grateful for the relationships I have.

Trust me when I say I do not write this with a careless heart  – phone calls, conversations, and efforts have been made to keep this relationship alive. Maybe someday we will reconnect and be as close as ever, but maybe we won’t. And I have to be ok with that. It doesn’t make anyone a bad person, it just makes things different.

As mentioned, from what I hear, this is not the first time a maid has lost touch with a bride, and like any other loss, I need to let my heart heel and be positive about it. As for choosing my own maids someday, I guess I’ll have to trust my heart and make those decisions when the time comes.