Give Love for a REAL Holiday Treat

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The holidays can be joyous, but they can also be the cause of tremendous stress. This holiday season, put a little soul into your step. Too much time is spent shopping, fighting the crowds and suddenly our stress levels go up. There is a lot of pressure behind gift giving. Your kids want things that are often more than you can afford and yet you hate to disappoint them. In some instances we overextend our budgets, which creates unnecessary stress and resentment all for the latest toy or gaming system that will be quickly forgotten and replaced with a new version within months. We start buying things for people without putting much thought into it just for the sake of crossing it off our to do lists. It almost feels obligatory to give "Aunt Suzy" a gift, so we send a coffee cake. But maybe Suzy is on a diet or does not even want to eat the cake. Now she feels stressed because you sent a cake that she feels that she needs to eat out of guilt. Why do we do this? What is it all about? 

The real meaning behind this holiday is the miracle that a baby was born. It is indeed a birthday celebration, but the materialism and commercialism have gotten blown so far out of proportion that rather than it bringing us joy, they often cause us stress. Did we get the right thing? Will "Aunt Suzy" like it?  

We also blow through the opening of Christmas presents and then often face a period of feeling let down, after which leads to self pity…. Wondering why your loved one did not get you the gift that really would have meant a lot to you, or that one thing that you really wanted... Please, take a moment to pause and reflect this holiday season. Really think about the difference between giving from obligation and giving from your heart. When we give from a place of pure love and give only with purpose, the gift will always be well received.  It will be a gift of love and joy! 

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Consider surrendering from the attachment to things. The idea that less is more is very fulfilling.  When I find the perfect gift for someone that I know is just sooo exciting, it does not matter to me if it is just a three dollar pair of socks or a major gift. It is all about the true JOY of giving without a single thought of what I may or may not get in return.

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The older I get, the less I want and need.  I realize that things do not bring lasting happiness. What really brings me joy are the people I am surrounded with and the wonderful memories that we make together. It truly is more about who is around the tree than what is under the tree. Our worth is not based on THINGS, it is based on memories, love and gratitude.

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So, pause and slow down. Breathe deeply and think of the people who have absolutely nothing this Christmas. Perhaps the best gift of all is giving your time to help out at a shelter, or donating a warm coat to someone in need? Teach your children to appreciate the lights, the meals and the special times that we spend together. Appreciate the little things rather than always wanting more. This is not only a Christmas sentiment, but something that matters all year round. Practice gratitude for what you do have and for your love. It is also ok to change your holiday traditions. We often get stuck in our ways of celebrating, but as our children grow up, consider allowing your traditions to evolve. The truth is that the holiday atmosphere changes as our children grow into young adults and presents naturally become less of a focus. So take the pressure off of yourself and go back to enjoying life.

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Accept what is in each moment, be aware of your surroundings, as well as your words and actions.  Practice kindness and spread holiday cheer. After all, as long as you are on the “NICE” list… you have nothing to fret about.  

Do not get your tinsel in a tangle.  Enjoy the holiday season!  Winter is a time of restoration for our bodies and our souls before emerging stronger in the spring. Rest, enjoy a good book or good music, pull out some board games and enjoy what you have rather than wanting more. 

Peace & Joy,

Libby

P.S. - Also remember and hold space for the people whose hearts ache more than normal during the holidays. It can be an emotionally painful and sometimes lonely time. Consider reaching out and including friends and neighbors in your family celebrations throughout the season. Remember the saying, "it takes a village," well it truly does and tis the season to give, but the gift of love, not things. 

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Love takes Courage and a Box of Kleenex

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Have you ever been addicted to something? Have you ever suffered extreme loss? What about fears? Do you fear anything so much that it haunts you or shuts you down? There is a song on the radio that made me realize that love is just as powerful as any drug out there (watch the video below). Music is powerful. It can trigger memories, feelings and instincts. Love, however, takes you to your highest high and also your lowest low. You put your faith and trust in your significant other and sometimes with no warning you are left alone. This causes feelings of abandonment and insecurity. It causes us to close down and a little piece of us dies. Losing a loved one in a relationship is a huge cause of stress, whether it is a long term relationship or a marriage. You share memories, laughter, and intimacy with that person. Those memories are triggered for a long time to come and unfortunately cannot be turned off easily, which makes it difficult to move forward and to love again. But surrenduring to what is and knowing when to walk away is key! It allows you to open the door for what may be. 

Now, lets talk about the ego. It is extremely important to keep the ego in check when going through difficult times during a breakup. We go through every range of emotions from sadness to anger and everything in between. But, compassion is critical. Compassion is your desire to alleviate the suffering of others, or your feeling of sympathy toward others. In the case of a breakup, compassion toward your Ex can be difficult, but when we set the ego aside and realize why we loved that person to begin with it is a little easier. Try to maintain compassion. In the end you will feel better for it. Positivity attracts positivity. Your heart will heal faster as a result. Remember, always forgive and rise above. Holding grudges only hurts you more in the end.

 

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So, grab a spoon and a pint of ice cream. Binge watch your favorite Netflix shows for a day and then get outside and go for a hike. Reconnect with the things you love to do. Stay plugged into your friends and family. This might be hard if you shared mutual friends, but make the effort. If need be have open communication with your Ex about how and when you will see friends so that you do not awkwardly show up at the same place at the same time. Respect each other as you move on. Sometimes zero communication, at least for a brief period, is easier. Other times treating each other as business partners helps the transition. You will find what works best. Please just watch what you say because although words can be forgiven, they cannot be forgotten and it is easy to say things we do not mean when our emotions are elevated. 

You WILL be ok despite the fact that you don’t feel like it at the moment. Everything feels better when you are in love. Do not close down to the possibility of loving again. When we hit rock bottom, we bounce back up and sometimes twice as high, meaning we end up with a better ending. You are the author and the architect of your life. So, write a new chapter. Add new characters. Try new things. Remember, you have a purpose and you are worth it. Keep moving forward and don’t lose your way. All of our roadblocks, bumps and bruises make us stronger, build our character, and give depth to our soul. They help give meaning to our lives and help us to better understand others, which help us to connect. 

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F.L.Y. First love yourself. Spend some time alone. Prepare yourself for your next true love by fully loving yourself. Make as many self improvements as you can. Be very honest about what went wrong in your previous relationship ~ sometimes we can improve and sometimes we cannot, but it is always good to be aware. Accept the situation, forgive yourself and your EX, and when you are ready move forward with excitement and full compassion. The heart is resilient and will love again. It is the ego that will hold you back.

With love and acceptance,

Libby

Are you Stuffed? No worries, No guilt, No Shame!

My family enjoying leftovers the day after Thanksgiving.

Are you amongst the majority of us who ate far to much and indulged in rich foods, desserts and probably a beverage too many over the last couple days? And to think… the holiday parties are only getting started! Do not worry. Seriously, it is ok to indulge and feast every now and then. There is no shame in enjoying a delicious meal. No need to starve yourself for the next week. In fact, that will never work. Balance and moderation are key. Forgive yourself and move on just like anything else in life. Practice awareness of how you are feeling. Then, as you eat leftovers and attend parties moving into the season, practice awareness with portion control and choices of what you are eating.  

For now, the damage is done, so to speak. Accept it and enjoy it. Get outside this weekend and get moving. Once you take control of your body you will feel better. Maybe you put up holiday lights, go for a hike, rake leaves and if you are lucky enough to be somewhere with snow maybe you go skiing… the possibilities are endless. As long as you are having fun, then exercise becomes easy and the guilt melts away. 

Hold yourself accountable. Start a journal this holiday season. Write down what you eat at each event. Record how you feel that night. Then, write how you feel the next day. Be sure to include any movement you are getting and how you feel with that. This will help track your progress both positive and negative. Know that it is OK to sometimes admit that we are not perfect. We strive for progress NOT perfection. Perfection is no fun anyway, lol.  

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Enjoy yourself! Life is too short not to. But, set yourself up for success. The holidays do not need to weigh you down, quite literally, but instead should inspire you to become the very best version of yourself. With each sparkling light you see this season, let that be a reminder of the light within you.  Put religion aside and see the beauty of your spiritual commonality. We are really all the same. We strive to be accepted, to be loved, to be needed and appreciated, to be happy, to be free, to be joyful and abundant. So, all differences aside, be you, eat what you want, exercise, and shine bright for all to see. 

Peace, Love and Light to you all,

Libby

 

Just Breathe, A Simple Tool to Reduce Stress

At birth, the very first thing you do is gasp for your first breath. Your breath is your life force and energy flowing throughout your body. Being mindful of our “in breath” and our “out breath” connects the body and the mind. When we feel stressed, angry or anxious, our breath tends to be rapid and shallow depriving us of sufficient oxygen. This is when we need to practice THE PAUSE, and direct our attention to our breath.

In the 8 Limbs of Yoga as described in the Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali, Pranayama or breath life force is described as a tool to help us reach a higher level of concentration and connection with the self. There are many styles of breath work and in India, for example, people take classes specifically for breath work because it is highly regarded as part of their health and vitality. I use Ujaii Breathing in my yoga classes and many times I incorporate other techniques. 

“For breath is life and if you breathe well, you will live long on earth.” Sanskrit Proverb

This style of breathing will increase the heat in your body, which helps create flexibility in your yoga and other athletic practices, but you can use Ujaii breath anytime. Breathe in deeply through your nose and then breathe out deeply through your nose. Continue breathing in through the nose and out through the nose simply observing the effects. That is all there is to it. It is one of the simpler breathing techniques. You can add a slight pause after your inhale and after your exhale if you want to take it a little further into breath retention. 

By practicing Ujaii Breathing where we inhale through the nose deeply and exhale through the nose deeply, we are able to slow and deepen the breath. This calms the parasympathetic nervous system and thus relieves stress and improves our mood. As the holiday season approaches, use this breathing technique to relieve stress and tension. 

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Draw awareness into your breath and into your body language when you are stressed, anxious, nervous or angry, and then when you are happy, relaxed and at ease. Notice how you hold your hands, your posture, your shoulders and your breath. When we are relaxed our breath tends to be fuller and deeper, which oxygenates our blood and our brains, lowers blood pressure, and stabilizes our bodies. 

Your breath allows you to pause and respond rather than react. Your breath is your gift of life. It gives you the path to mindfulness. Your breath connects your body, mind and soul. You are in control of your breath even when you are in control of nothing else in this life. 

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Breathe in, breathe out, all is here, all is now, all is well….

Mindfully yours,

Libby

P.S. - Breathwork has long been known to reduce stress and improve the quality of life. Dr. Andrew Weil has proven many breathing techniques that you can learn at this link:  https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/balanced-living/meditation-inspiration/the-art-and-science-of-breathing/

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A Single's Guide to Holiday Survival

Whether you have been single a long time or recently suffered a break up the holidays can be a very difficult and even traumatic time. All the cheery music may make you turn your radio off for a bit even. I get it. But, I have a few tips that will help you make this holiday season better!  

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1. Pick and choose which events you go to. In other words it is ok to decline invitations if you are not feeling up to being “on” or if you know it’s an event your ex is likely to attend. However, try not to isolate and go completely into a turtle shell.  

 

2. Choose a few new traditions this year. Allow yourself to do something for yourself that will give your holidays new meaning and give you a sense of purpose like volunteering at a soup kitchen or a toy drive! This will allow you to step away from your own grief and feel grateful for what you do have.  

 

3. Connect with nature. Even if you live somewhere cold please bundle up and get outside. Trust me on this- I don’t like cold weather, but the lesson nature teaches us is that everything is temporary. Appreciate the seasons, appreciate the holidays, find the spirit within you that is very much alive. Soon enough the next season will come.

 

4. Practice my yoga philosophy of awareness, acceptance and forgiveness. Be aware of how you are feeling, what you are eating and drinking, how you are sleeping, how you are speaking, and then accept how you are feeling. Find a song that makes you feel good. Turn it up loud and dance. Laugh, cry, whatever you need to do to set your spirit free! Then forgive your past and forgive yourself. Everything will be ok. Your future is bright. 

 

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The holidays are a time time of celebration. That is hard to accept when you are going through a hard time. If this is your first year alone it may seem unbearable. Please, breathe. Try to find a friend or family member to spend the holiday with. Maybe go to a movie or watch a movie that can serve as a distraction. The first year is always the hardest.  

 

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The key when going through changes in relationships is to also accept changes in celebrations of holidays. Be respectful of one another in attendance of parties ( possibly coordinate who will attend what). If you are close with your ex’s family give space during the break up and let them know you would like to maintain a relationship if possible after things settle down. If the breakup is new around the holidays it is fine to send an email explaining to friends and family that you are no longer together but you are not ready to talk about it yet. This way you can comfortably attend the parties without awkward conversations that may end in tears.  

 

I hope your holidays get back in back in full swing soon. May you be blessed with love, hope, peace, and cheer.  

 

Believe,

Libby

 

Ps... consider getting a pet for yourself. They will hold you accountable and provide unconditional love 😉 

 

 

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A Little Morning Sunshine Can Change the Direction of Your Day

Whether it is a sunny day or a cloudy day, choose to create your own sunshine through positive thoughts. With your eyes closed before you are even fully awake in the morning, imagine the most beautiful sunny day that you can remember and just take a few breaths. Allow that warmth to fill your body.

Positive thoughts first thing in the morning lead to a positive day. Before you even get out of bed in the morning practice gratitude. Think of a person and close your eyes and think of things that person does that you are grateful for. Perhaps even consider keeping a collage of pictures near your bed of people near and dear, and pets that you are grateful for. Each day you can hold someone new in mind. Then, take a minute to stretch and practice gratitude for yourself. Taking these steps first thing in the morning sets the tone for your day. When you are faced with frustrating obstacles like a traffic jam or a long shopping line throughout your day, use that time to practice gratitude. Hold space again for someone or something that you are particularly grateful for. Allow a smile to span your beautiful face.  Open your eyes and look around. This will shift your energy from a negative state to a positive state of being.  

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our busy worlds that we forget to take notice of the lives around us. Practicing gratitude helps us reconnect and grounds us.  Once we reconnect we are able to realize how good it feels to be alive. 

Get out into nature. Wonder at the trees. Take notice of the colors, the layers of the flower petals, the different chirps of the bird singing, the size of the acorns this season. Practice gratitude for all that mother nature provides for us. 

Then look at the people around you. Take notice of who smiles and who is busy looking at their phone, who looks sad or angry. You see, every day may not be great, but there is something great in every day when our eyes, or more importantly our hearts and souls are open to seeing it. When we live with eyes wide open and hearts wide open and practice gratitude, doors open and abundance is there for us because that is the Law of Attraction. Begin your day this way and direct your thoughts in the direction of your goals. Good things will come to you. 

Keep it simple.  Keep it positive.  Keep it clean. Keep it loving. 

Shine on,

Libby

PS, This is a particularly wonderful time of year to start your gratitude practice as we approach Thanksgiving. Maybe consider starting a gratitude jar where each family member can contribute one thing each day that they are grateful for another person and sign your name. Fold it up and put it in the jar. Then on thanksgiving, before or after dinner, take time as a family to read each gratitude note out loud.  Watch the energy rise as you all learn new things you are grateful for about each other. You can also do this other times of the year. 

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I am sooo grateful this season for each day, for each person I share my life with, and for each breath. I am grateful for laughter, for love, and for the seasons of change. 

Demystifying Sun Salutations

Yes sun worshiping is real and it is actually very logical, as well as being an ancient practice. In yoga you hear about Sun Salutations, or the Sankrit term, Surya Namaskar. Surya is sun. Nama means to bow to or adore. We stand at the front of our mat with our hands together at our hearts center in the same position as we typically start and end our practice with namaste mudra, which translates into the divine light in me honors and sees the divine light within you. So, as we move through the Sun Salutations we take our arms up toward the heavens and then we bow forward turning our awareness inward and committing to our health and to our higher awareness. With each movement we aspire to gain wisdom and knowledge and to become the best versions of ourselves. It really is a prayer in motion.

Sun Salutation A, Surya Namaskra A

Sun Salutation A, Surya Namaskra A

There are 12 postures within a Sun Salutation, which is also symbolic because there are 12 Sanskrit terms for the word sun. Moving through these 12 postures in consecutive sequence in repetition warms & energizes the  body. Sun Salutations engage the core, stretch the hamstrings and loosen the shoulders. They improve circulation, massage internal organs and promote overall health. So you can use sun salutations as an excellent warm up, or start to your yoga or workout session. Or when you are short on time and energy, it can be used as your minimum daily go to for giving you a total body workout. 

Sun Salutations can be beautifully adapted for your personal needs and can even be done from a chair.  When practiced at a slower pace they provide a calming grounding effect, and when practiced at a faster pace they provide a good cardiovascular workout and can provide weight loss. 

Why start the day day with Sun Salutations? Yoga was developed over 5000 years ago by ancient Sages in India who believed each part of the body was linked to some part of the natural world. The solar plexus (located behind the belly button) is said to be connected to the sun and associated with our emotional well being and intuition. We practice Sun Salutations first thing in the morning to clear our minds, gain calmness for the day ahead and to heighten our intuition. 

Then move on to Sun Salutations B to create more heat continuing with 3-5 B's

Then move on to Sun Salutations B to create more heat continuing with 3-5 B's

Lets face it, we all love a little sunshine. It feels good and makes us happy. The sun grows our fruits, vegetables and flowers. It also creates light, and as we know that light helps us conquer our fears, so salute the sun. Practice Sun Salutations each day and feel yourself growing stronger, your light illuminating brighter and the warmth glowing within you. Make time for this important practice every single day. It only takes 15-20 minutes to do a proper 3-5 Sun Salutations A and Sun Salutations B sequence and you will greatly appreciate the many benefits that you will discover through this practice. 

Sun Salutation A:

Inhale taking your arms up

Exhale bowing forward

inhale halfway up straight spine

exhale hands to earth, step back to plank and lower yoga push up

inhale upward dog

exhale downward dog (hold 3-5 breaths)

       ~work to get your heals toward the earth 

       ~relax your ears between your arms

        ~let all the busy thoughts of the day and week go as you breathe in through your nose & out through your nose

Inhale look to your thumbs

Exhale to the front of the mat 

Repeat 3 to 5 times

Sun Salutation B:

Inhale sweep arms down and up as you come into chair pose 

Exhale forward fold straightening legs

Inhale halfway up, look to horizon

Exhale hands to earth and hop back to Chaturanga (yoga push up)

Inhale heart to the sky

Exhale hips up and back to down dog 

Inhale right foot to right thumb, Warrior One

Exhale Down Dog

Inhale Left Foot to Left Thumb, Warrior One

Exhale Down Dog stay here and re connect with your breath

Relax your neck & shoulders

Consider scissoring your heels, pressing one heel at a time to the earth and lifting the opposite heel

Inhale look to your thumbs

exhale hop to the front of your mat

Repeat 3-5 times

Wishing you all an inspiring start to your week!

Shine On,

Libby

P.S. If you have questions about how to get started in your practice, how to modify postures or if you would like personal, private or corporate lessons, please contact me via email: libby@yogafitboutique.com. I would be happy to travel and I always love to connect. Namaste!  

5 Tips to Reduce Stress When Waves of Stress Knock You Down

Many times life throws us unexpected curve balls. And sometimes it can feel unbearable and overwhelming. I would love to say that yoga and meditation should be your go to fix for stress relief, but the reality is that when a crisis strikes there are times when the situation is so cumbersome that we barely have time to eat and sleep, let alone practice. So, what can you do?

Well, in my personal life I have experienced one of these waves of grief this week where I felt like I was going to go down at times. Fortunately I am still here so I would like to share with you not only how I am surviving, but also how I am thriving.

My dad has survived three kinds of cancers for years and was doing well until a little over a month ago when he was diagnosed with a rare debilitating lung disease, which is causing his one lung to scar gradually and his breathing to become more difficult. As hard as it is to watch a man who I love so dearly struggle, I can handle this knowing that he is 87 years old and has lived a full life. But then in the last month a waterfall of other problems have ensued. The father of my children was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease that less than .06% of people suffer from and is still not getting relief. And now my mom, who has always been healthy as an Ox and the caregiver of the family, suddenly started having trouble recalling what she wanted to say and began losing some muscle control on the right side of her body. This led to multiple trips to doctors and hospitals for many tests. The days have slipped by as I helped my parents deal with this crisis where I have not had time to step onto my mat. My house was a disaster and I was exhausted, but I realized I was doing what really matters. I was spending time with my parents, delivering home cooked meals that I knew appealed to them, attending doctors visits and being present. Family will always come first to me. This is really my living yoga and sometimes we have to step away from the mat to realize this.

My brother, my sister and I are working lovingly together to help find answers to get to the bottom of my mom's health issues. Our coming together has brought us closer as a family and that is the gift that is coming out of this difficult time. My mom will see a neurologist next week. Meanwhile I am taking a day to PAUSE and catch up on life.

So, here are my Top Five Tips for Relieving Overwhelming Stress:

    1. Make lists! Separate your to do lists into priority categories so that you absolutely know what must get done each day, what is not so urgent, and what can be eliminated.

    2. Ask for help! Especially in a time of need never hesitate to let friends and family help. It makes them feel good and it lifts a weight from your shoulders, too!

    3. Seek counsel. Please do not hesitate to go to counseling or therapy, especially in heavy times. If time is short, often therapists will do a phone session.

    4. DO NOT ISOLATE. Surround yourself with those who love you when you go through difficult times. They will help carry your burdens, help you laugh and help you see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    5. Take it one day at a time. Stay present, stay positive and always hope for the best. There is tremendous power in positivity!

I hope that these tips will bring you comfort in your times of high stress. Also, remember that we can slow our stress response by regulating our breathing. So, practice nice deep slow inhalations and nice deep slow exhalations. Breathe in love, breathe out love. 

Peace, Light and Love,

Libby

P.S. - Stress is a huge cause of health problems. Please try to manage your stress before it takes a toll on your health. We cannot avoid stress, but how we respond to it is really the key to living a Total Soulful Journey of Health & Wellness! <3

 

 

Nothing is What You Think it Is....

Is life really a grand illusion? Perhaps that is why we are fascinated with magic tricks? Nothing is really what we think it is. Nothing is what you expect. Expectations are really the root of so much heartache. Why is it that we put so much emphasis on external factors? We wear masks to protect others from who we really are. We post photos that make us look as if we live a grand or fun filled life all the time when in reality most of us struggle to keep our heads above water with busy schedules, hectic lifestyles and tight budgets. 

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What is it that is really important to you? What would bring you peace of mind? Just contemplate those two things for a moment. And then ask yourself, What really IS peace of mind?

I would like you to consider peace of mind really being ultimate enlightenment. Isn't that what we all strive for? Isn't it a place of happiness where worries, struggles and fears fade away? Perhaps it is different for each of us? I do not pretend to hold all the answers, but I do believe that it makes sense to think that when we arrive at a place where we accept and are happy with ourselves, we can then accept everyone as equals around us. Through acceptance we then discover ultimate happiness.

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So start loving yourself.  Work through anything you are holding onto from your past. Forgive and  honor yourself, and work toward this ultimate goal. Believe me when I tell you it IS attainable and YOU are worth it. Life is a journey of awareness and mindfulness. Be kind and gentle with yourself and with others. If you need help, it is ok to seek counsel and read self help books, for knowledge is power when put into action.

As you begin this work week be mindful to practice acceptance and observe how much happier you start to feel as a result.

Wishing you a wonderful week,

Libby 

What the World Needs Now is Love Sweet Love; 3 Ways to Combat Violence using Yogic Philosophy

There is so much tragedy in this world. The sad truth is we are not guaranteed tomorrow. However, it is important to step out of fear and darkness and live the life we love each and every day. Go after your dreams, tell the people you love that you appreciate them, and say the things that matter. Horrific incidents, such as the massacre in Las Vegas are reminders to Live the Life we Love EVERYDAY. We have to try to find something positive in everything bad or we run the risk of feeling helpless and depressed. As we send healing prayers and hold the families who are grieving today and in the coming days, weeks and months in our hearts, it is important to use this time to rise up and come together as a community.

Terrible events like this mass shooting, as well as any obstacle I come across in my personal life, remind me to return back to my personal Yoga Philosophy.  There are three main principles that I live and breathe by that have helped me get through countless difficult times including; my physical and verbal abuse, recovering from PTSD, counseling and supporting others, helping my parents go through physical set backs, nurturing my own children and the ups and downs of my daily life. The following three principles when followed will truly lead you to a better place; one of growth,  lightness, clarity, strength, compassion, and most importantly a place of universal oneness.

  1. Awareness - It begins with the physical practice on the mat and carries into daily life. Be aware of your words, actions and feelings. Then be aware of those around you.
  2. Acceptance - Accept yourself exactly where you are in each moment. You do not have to be perfect, you just have to show up and try your best. Strive for progress. And then accept those around you where they are, as well. Let go of expectations.
  3. Forgivenesses - Forgive yourself for any mistakes you make along the way. Consider those mistakes a way to learn and grow. Forgive those around you. Holding grudges and shaming people causes resentment and negativity.

Above all practice self love. First Love Yourself (F.L.Y.) then love all others. Once we realize we are all in this together, the feelings of separation, anxiety, hatred and violence vanish and unity takes their place. Once we get to this place of ONENESS, life is beautiful.  

Of course, in times of mass shootings the subject of mental illness arises as we search for a reason for how and why a human being could take so many innocent lives. And then, of course, there are issues of gun control that feed our fears and cause more division among us. The truth is we will never have all the answers, but let's avoid circular arguments that make us feel self righteous and realize that such acts of hate most often, at their roots, result from an absence of love and other stigmas that make a person feel an overwhelming sense of darkness.  

When someone in our family suffers from cancer or another disease, we wrap our arms around them, bring them meals and nurture them with tender loving care. But when someone we know is diagnosed with a serious Mental Illness, our discomfort and shame often hold us back from helping and comforting them because of the negative stigma associated with a serious mental health issue. That person then isolates and disconnects from society. When they withdraw, their perception of reality becomes even more distorted. These stigmas around mental health issues create even more damage in the long run and contribute to the downward spiral of the person who needs love, support and treatment from mental health providers. Mental health is not a topic that we can afford to sweep under the rug and out of sight. It should be talked about and treated like any disease. 

In my research I discovered some startling statistics that I would like to share with you about mental health. 1 in 5 American adults have a mental health condition - thats over 40 MILLION Americans. Mental Health problems among our youth are also on the rise. In 2011 8.5% were depressed and in 2014 that number rose to 11.1%. What is even more startling is that 80% of those youth were either insufficiently treated or not treated at all. Compound this with the media’s negative attention on horrific situations such as these mass killings, and the people who need help tend to shy away and hide rather than coming into the light to seek help. 

It is not wrong to view mental illness as a disease, but to assume it is hopeless and to associate it with shame only worsens the situation. The last thing we want to do is make the person feel so desperate and void of love, connection, emotion and empathy that they become compelled to murder. Also, people who play video games while isolated, often disassociate the feelings of human connection with real life people. This process of desensitization can carry over to real life violence when one’s sense of reality becomes completely blurred. 

Ultimately we need to turn these tragic events into a time to reflect on love. It is a reminder that what the world needs now more than ever is Love Sweet Love.  What we ALL need is love sweet love. Don’t allow yourself to get caught in the negative energy of this sad occasion. Instead hold the lives of the people lost up with the honor that they deserve. They were special people. They each had a story. They each had a dream. Unfortunately, for reasons that we will never understand, their lives ended too soon and abruptly. May peace be with their families and friends.  

There are many things in life we cannot understand. It is important, however, that we simply keep going. Pray and believe that better days are coming. Continue to give love. Understand that it is ok to feel every emotion and it is also ok to not know and not to understand why this happened. 

Fall reminds us that life is ever changing. Take a moment this season to reflect on what really matters to you. Use this time to set your intention for how you can become the best version of yourself. Live the life you love TODAY, tell the people you love that you love them! Just as the trees shed their leaves, think about a few things you might need to let go of in order to make room for improvements in your life. You were created to be a joyful and successful being. Connect with friends and family. Avoid isolation and reach for the stars!  If you feel that you might suffer from a mental illness, do not feel alone for there is hope and help for you.

Remember that light always overcomes darkness, just as love overcomes evil. When we love ourselves we are able to love others. So I ask you especially in these times of darkness to dig deep, plant your roots of compassion and shine your love light. Show the world that peace and love will conquer evil and that love is really all that we need. 

Love and Light,

Libby

 

P.S. ~ If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, suicidal thoughts or PTSD, there are people who can help you. Witnessing a horrible event like the concert shooting in Las Vegas can trigger symptoms for months to come. If you were at this concert or have friends and family who were there, please practice awareness, acceptance and forgiveness. Be gentle and loving with yourselves. I am sending you healing vibes and much love.

• Click here for PTSD Hotline & Crisis Phone Numbers

F.L.Y. - Put your Oxygen Mask On First

You were born with a distinct and unique purpose. You have a gift and a story to share with the world. For some of us that purpose seems more obvious while others may search a long time wondering what their purpose is. Many of us are given labels and titles, put into boxes, and programmed to think small from a young age, which makes it very difficult to find our authentic voices. We put on "masks" to escape the shame and the fear that has been cast upon us. To find our true selves we must follow our passion and do the things we love, come into the light and remove "the masks." Replace fears and insecurities with courage and self-love to propel us toward our greatest dreams. This is the journey of the self, to the best version of yourself. It starts with awareness, acceptance, self-love and forgiveness. Be authentically YOU. Appreciate YOU. Accept YOU. LOVE YOU! Until you do you cannot fully love or be loved, and you cannot accomplish your full potential. 

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You were born to live a joyful life. Again, you have a purpose! You are capable of achieving all of your dreams. Commit to taking baby steps toward those dreams each day. Trust the journey. Stay in the moment and always believe. Just show up for yourself each day and do your personal best.  

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I am humbled and honored to have been recently sponsored by Avon. They have asked me to facilitate a series of yoga events for up to 200 people in each session. I was ecstatic as these would be my largest events to date. This is one of my dreams coming to fruition, traveling and leading yoga events. However, this also scared me to death. I have what it takes to deliver, but I knew that I would have to push past my comfort zone and face my anxiety head on or I could never reach my full potential. I had to push forward to grow so that I can eventually manifest my ultimate dreams. 

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Last Saturday I taught a class for a large group of beautiful ladies and gentlemen at an Avon conference in Columbus, Ohio. As I walked into the room literally trembling, I flashed back to my first yoga class and how scared I was THAT day as a student and remembered that each person in the room might have the very same insecurities, which put my fear back into perspective. As I was introduced I looked out and connected immediately with the smiles. That was all I needed. I knew it was all ok and I knew in that moment that my job was to put them at ease and suddenly everything was calm and clear. My purpose was clear. My intentions were clear. My heart was clear and full of love to give. I want to ultimately lead events with upwards of 2000 people so I might as well start with 200, right? Heck YES! 

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I called them up to the stage for a team building exercise. Many, not all, bravely participated. I saw a little girl still seated shyly at her table. I quietly encouraged her to join the group and I was thrilled when she courageously did (imagine what that decision to step out of her comfort zone might do for her future confidence?)! The smiles on their faces as they opened their hearts and leaned back while closing their eyes and trusting one another, balancing in tree pose, was absolutely heart warming. I will never forget that day. Each of those people on stage have a unique story. Each have a dream. I now have the privilege of knowing them and I am so thrilled to have been in their lives even if only for a day.  I love it when I see people step out of their comfort zones and try something new. I love when I step out of my OWN comfort zone. It is flat out exhilarating! When was the last time you tried something new? Do you remember that feeling of accomplishment? It feels AMAZING! By stepping out we connected, which also gives us greater strength. I have found my purpose, and I am still growing. I am incredibly grateful for every challenge in my life, as well as every reward. 

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Avon is just such a wonderful company.  Let me just tell you for those who are unaware, they are the at the forefront in the fight against Breast Cancer and Domestic Violence (click on the green linked words to learn more). They do a ton of work for Women Empowerment and are constantly giving back to the community. It is truly an honor to work with them. I just want to say, "thank you" to Avon personally for helping me to reach my goals and get closer to my big big dreams. It feels so amazing to partner with a company in alignment with my personal mission and intentions in life. 

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When Karin Laseke, who is the District Sales Manager for Avon in Cincinnati, interviewed me to work with the company, she asked me about my personal story and what my BIG DREAM is. This really meant a lot to me and she said they believe EVERYONE has a story to tell. My yoga guru, Amber, used to say something very similar which was, "dream big Libby, dream really really big!” So, I shared with Karin that my personal vision is to travel and facilitate yoga retreats, workshops, and teacher trainings to make enough money to build a yoga retreat center, which will include a cottage on a farm. There will be a vegetable garden leading up to the cottage and then a family room, a yoga studio and a kitchen. Upstairs there will be a couple bedrooms and bathrooms. This will be a place where women and children can come and stay if they need to escape from a domestic violence situation. They can work in the garden in exchange for food so that they do not feel as if they are taking handouts. Yoga classes will also be available to the public. I have experienced physical, verbal and emotional abuse so this dream is near and dear to my heart. I have also recovered from PTSD through yoga and meditation. I want to empower women to become their best selves and know that they do not have to be a victim.  

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The airlines say to put your oxygen mask on first and it’s true. You cannot help others until you help yourself. First Love Yourself (F.L.Y). Show the universe what you desire and watch it conspire to make all your dreams come true! Share the good and the bad. The thing that hurts you or scares you the most might just be your greatest asset to share with the world. The world needs YOU to show up. Be your authentic self, everyone else is taken. Live the life you love and love the life you live. I am so incredibly excited for you and I can feel the energy spiraling upward already! It’s time to step out, live your dreams and become who you were born to be!

Lovingly,

Libby

P.S. - If you are suffering from PTSD or domestic violence there are organizations that can help you. Please do not suffer in silence. Get the support that you deserve!  The following links can help you get started toward a better life:

Help for PTSD

Help for domestic violence

Oh Powerful Wizard of Oz

Follow the yellow brick road, follow the yellow brick road... Those words may sound very familiar to you. Well, Toto, we aren't in Kansas anymore. The Wizard of Oz is a beautul story about connections and about finding your purpose and true path in life. As Dorothy discovered along her journey, the answers we seek are in us all along, but having supportive friends makes our lives a little easier and gives us the courage to perservere.  

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It feels good to plug into collective energy. Remember, we ARE energetic beings, so, when we share our energy with other people, it gains momentum and spirals upward. There is power in numbers so to speak. This is why being a member on a sports team is so exhilarating. It creates a feeling of acceptance and a sense of appreciation. Team spirit is powerful. This applies not only to sports, but to any group that cooperates for a common cause such as family, a work community, or a group of friends.  When you realize you are a part of something much bigger than yourself, that is when the magic happens.  

When you feel connected, you feel a sense of purpose. You then wake up with a great drive and determination. This gives your life meaning and you are less likely to focus on unimportant things that once caused stress. With a strong support network you also have people who share your burdens so that in difficult times you are no longer isolated and alone. People who consider themselves part of a network or a community tend to be healthier overall and are able to better cope with stress and difficult situations. 

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There are five Blue Zones in the world where people are proven to live well over the ripe old age of 100 free from disease. Scientists are saying that air quality, nutrition, and social connections have a strong correlation with this remarkable life span and may in fact, in combination with a positive attitude, be able to alter our own DNA. Yes, waking up with purpose and feeling connected is THAT important!

People come and go like waves in our lives. Some stay only short amounts of time and teach us what we need to know and others stay longer, but each one adds an important lesson. The most valuable people bring out the very best in us. They allow our spirits to shine and that synergy (shared energy) is irreplacable.  

The last two years I have experienced the power of community first hand by having the privilege of volunteering my time to lead the Sycamore Community School Lady Aviator Water Polo Team in a once a week Yoga cross training session. Not only is it amazing for them to build core strength, open their shoulders and work flexibility and agility, but it gives me the distinct honor of getting to know these amazing young ladies.  If I can teach them to pause and breathe, it might mean the difference between making a goal or a penalty shot under pressure in a game. If I can teach them to lean on each other and support one another and practice compassion, then I feel like I have added greatly not only to their skills as a team, but to their life assets. I hope the awareness and acceptance that I instill on that mat carries off the mat and into daily life for each of these Ladies. That is what the journey is about for all of us; it is the journey of the self. 

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These ladies are absolute sharks in the water with determination and teamwork that is off the charts impressive, but out of the water I watch as they support other teams with unbelieveable sportsmanship and class. They are kind, respectful and compassionate. I am so incredibly honored and proud to be even a tiny tiny part of their experience. It is thrilling to me! I cannot even imagine how it must feel to be them! They are having a great season and every game has been incredibly intense. If you have never been to a water polo game, I highly recommend it. It is super fun to watch, albeit absolutely exhausting and not for the faint of heart. 

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So, follow the golden road to your own destiny knowing that it is within you all along (there is no almighty Wizard behind the curtain). You will also gain strength by surrounding yourself with a supportive community and by adding to that collective yourself. Get involved. Go find your true purpose and passion. Don't make it complicated. It is just something you enjoy. Add your passion and talents to a greater collective energy and watch that momentum build. You will have victories that you never imagined possible. You are capable of so much more than you even know. Just take the challenges that life offers. You have the power to weather the storms in your life, just as Dorothy survived the tornado that launched her on her journey to self discovery. 

In Victory of Light,

Libby  

As I watched the girls rest, giggling in the hammocks, I knew I was a part of something big. I felt my purpose and my heart welled with gratitude. I have never been so happy to be able to give my time to something. To be a part of something so powerful. It may seem small to some of you reading this, but in that moment, that energy that filled me, well.... it is still within me.... I encourage you to get involved. Find your tribe. Find your purpose! All that means is find a group of people that want you around and that involves doing something you absolutely love, even if only for one hour a week. Believe me when I tell you it is worth it! 

As I watched the girls rest, giggling in the hammocks, I knew I was a part of something big. I felt my purpose and my heart welled with gratitude. I have never been so happy to be able to give my time to something. To be a part of something so powerful. It may seem small to some of you reading this, but in that moment, that energy that filled me, well.... it is still within me.... I encourage you to get involved. Find your tribe. Find your purpose! All that means is find a group of people that want you around and that involves doing something you absolutely love, even if only for one hour a week. Believe me when I tell you it is worth it! 

Reflection

We talk so much about being present and staying in the moment, and yes it is important, but it is also meaningful to reflect from time to time on your past... what worked and did not work. The truth is we learn a great deal from our mistakes as long as we do not repeat them.  

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The Bean in Chicago

Sometimes we just need a break from our daily routine. We tend to be creatures of habit who get  "stuck." When we are able to take time off, or if we are fortunate enough to get away for a few days, it allows us time to reset. Experiencing new things, new places and gaining new insights provides us with the inspiration that we need to move forward. We then become more present, more productive and more happy when we return.

  My Dad, with whom I am extremely close, has recently suffered a health set back. He is nearly 87 years old and the thought of not having him here with me on earth is a big hard rock to swallow and yet I know eventually it will come and he will go on to a more beautiful place. My sweet momma gave me the best gift in the world by encouraging me to get away for a long weekend and go unite with friends in Chicago, indulge in great food and enjoy myself.  "He is not going anywhere this week," she said with confidence as she sent me off for a much needed trip of rest and relaxation! Moms always know best! So off I went. The hard part, as a mom myself, was to pull away from life, from my children, from my parents and from my responsibilities and to enjoy this time free from guilt! It did not take me long, however, a few bites into a delicious pecan pie, a glass of Cabernet, a few great meals and a ton of walking around that delightful city of Chicago and I truly began to feel refreshed and inspired! Thanks to taking time out from my daily routines, I am sooo ready to move forward into bigger and better things. Vacation is great, but the best part is the renewed energy upon returing home!    When we take a break break from life, even if it is a "staycation," we are able to tap into power of the mind and redirect into a positive mindset that will catipult us in the direction of our goals and dreams rather than keeping us stuck and weighed down.

My Dad, with whom I am extremely close, has recently suffered a health setback. He is nearly 87 years old and the thought of not having him here with me on earth is a big hard rock to swallow, and yet I know eventually it will come and he will go on to a more beautiful place. Yet, worrying about him has been stressful to say the least.

My sweet momma last week gave me the best gift in the world by encouraging me to get away for a long weekend and to go unite with friends in Chicago, to indulge in great food and to enjoy myself.  "He is not going anywhere this week," she said with confidence as she sent me off for a much needed trip of rest and relaxation. Moms always know best! So off I went. The hard part as a mom myself was to pull away from life, from my children, from my parents and from my responsibilities, and to enjoy this time free from guilt!

It did not take me long, however... a few bites into a delicious pecan pie, a glass of Cabernet, a few great meals and a ton of walking around the delightful city of Chicago and I truly began to feel refreshed and inspired!

Thanks to taking time out from my daily routines, I am sooo ready to move forward into bigger and better things. Vacation is great, but the best part is the renewed energy upon returing home! 

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When we take a break from life, even if it is a "staycation," we are able to tap into the power of the mind and redirect it into a positive mindset that will catapult us in the direction of our goals and dreams rather than keeping us stuck and weighed down. So consider taking a day or two to reflect, to connect and to rejuvenate. Love and accept yourself exactly where you are in life. Set goals for where you want to go, and then each day take baby steps toward those goals until you arrive. 

Remember, life is a great journey. Just like every road trip you take, you will encounter construction zones. You are the engineer of your life both in body and in mind, always improving, always  "under construction." Just remind yourself to keep it joyful and to chill out! Everything you feel is OK! You are a beautiful being.  

Happy Travels Peaceful Friends, 

Libby

 

We Have All Been a Little Lost in Life...

We all have an idea, a road map if you will, of what we think our lives should look like long term.  As it turns out we are in control of very little in our lives, and sometimes major things happen causing trauma, depression, and even PTSD. An unexpected crisis can throw us way off course, leaving us feeling lost and frozen with fear because we no longer know which way to go. It is especially important during uncertain times like this to forge forward, or risk getting stuck in the pain, the fear and the negative energy that overwhelms us when we're feeling down. This is also the time to trust the journey, putting one foot in front of the other each day to create a new and hopeful path going forward.  

When trauma happens, we are often tempted to turn toward potentially destructive behaviors such as addictions, self isolation and recklessness, which can push us deeper into a downward spiral of dispair. Whether you lose an arm, lose a job, or lose a loved one, there are constructive ways to get your life back on track by creating an upward spiral of positive energy. For example, getting up early to exercise and start the day with determination gives you positive momentum and those feel good endorphins. In addition, find something, even if it is small to be grateful for each day. When we are in a state of gratitude, it's much easier to feel better about life. Allow yourself the grace to take baby steps toward the door to happiness and the path toward healing the trauma that derailed your original journey. Be compassionate toward yourself starting with acceptance and forgiveness, then go back to our roots of awareness, in order to grasp control of your feelings and reactions to those feelings. Change is the very nature of life. Once we have the tools of awareness, acceptance and forgiveness, we are able to deal with the traumas that arise in life, or past traumas that reoccur. Most importantly look yourself in the mirror and say, "I love you" every day!

We are writing the books of our lives. Each day we are faced with many choices, some more difficult than others. When trauma is involved every decision and choice can become monumental. Connecting with friends and family and avoiding isolation is critical in healing. Do what it takes to find happiness as long as it is healthy and takes you on an upward spiral.  

For me, the recent trauma of putting our very beloved dog down really knocked me off my tracks. The first day, honestly, I screamed and cried. The second day I did not want to get out of bed, but I KNEW I HAD TO PULL OUT OF THIS DOWNWARD SPIRAL, so I thought to myself what can I do? What will bring me happiness? And.... the answer was a puppy. This might be extreme for some people, but it was exactly what my family and I needed, and Tucker, the love nugget, is bringing us much love and joy.  

For others they might find comfort in eating healthy homecooked meals, connecting with past friends, volunteering, watching a comedy show, simply laughing, going on a nature walk, or joining a yoga class. Just take time and brainstorm positive solutions that will fuel good energy. Numbing the pain is simply prolonging the pain and will ultimately cause more suffering for us and for our loved ones. In fact, there is something called secondary PTSD. This happens when family members are traumatized by being around a loved one who isolates and pushes them away (among other things) as a way to cope with their own PTSD.  Secondary PTSD can tear families apart and destroy lives if we do not rewrite our books with happy endings.  

Sadness is a part of life. It is unavoidable and it also helps us appreciate our happy days. This is really the Principle of Polarity; which is to say everything has opposites. All things can be transformed with the power of your mind. Hate can be transformed into love. Sadness can be transformed into happiness. Even an empty bank account can be transformed into a full bank account. It also ties nicely into the Law of Attraction, which is to say the power of your thinking attracts the outcome of what you recieve. So when we wake each day with positive determination, even with baby steps, we set into motion that law of attraction to bring goodness into our lives and put us back on track on our journey toward well being. 

Sending all those who are suffering and hurting healing and loving vibes. Life is hard sometimes. Let's all pull together and make some lemonade out of the lemons we are dealt. It IS going to be OK!

Much Love,

Libby

 

P.S. - For those of you who feel paralyzed by severe trauma, depression or PTSD, there are additional resources available to help you through your journey.  You are never alone!

Recommended books:

Overcoming Trauma Through Yoga - Reclaiming Your Body - by David Emerson and Elizabeth Hopper, PhD.

Daring Greatly - By Brene Brown.

Untethered Soul - by Michael Singer

Additional Resources:

PTSD Hotline - mentalhelp.net

Now Mental Health - nowmentalhealth.com

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Are You Working for the Weekend, or Living the Life You Love Every Day?

The phrase TGIF is commonly used to celebrate the beginning of the weekend where we drown our sorrows of the week and party until Monday when we fall back into the dreaded routine of the daily work grind. Sound familiar? This is not living! Wake up friends! Step off the hamster wheel and start to truly enjoy every day, not just the magic of  Fridays!  

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It is important to find simple pleasures and live with a grateful heart. The majority of our life takes place Monday through Friday so let's enjoy that time. Consider a job doing something that you love! And if that is not possible, schedule activities with friends and family during the week that allow you to truly connect and enjoy sharing positive energy. Try not to have these activities be anything draining. For example, if you are constantly running kids to athletic practices, schedule a night where they carpool and you do something relaxing and fun! Take it easy on yourself.  

I go back to my principal roots - practice AWARENESS: know when your stress levels are rising and take a break! Practice ACCEPTANCE: allow yourself to have fun and quiet time during the week. Practice FORGIVENESS: forgive yourself for working so much, or for whatever you need to personally forgive... this is a constant journey.  

Life is meant to be lived. Sometimes it is only through devastating events like death or divorce that we realize the things we missed out on. Please, do not wait until it is too late. Treasure each moment each day! You are so worth it! Honor your inner child at every age!

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Time is precious!  You can always make money, but you can never get time back. And remember that happiness is an inside job, In other words, it's an emotion that we chose to express. So make time and space to do things that truly make you happy! 

Wishing you an inspiring life and hoping that this inspiration carries you into a week that you look forward to living! Be it through music, food or a bouquet of flowers, simple little things each day can make a big difference. Live, love, laugh EVERY DAY like it was Friday!  

 

Live the Life you Love, Love the Life you Live,  

Libby

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What do Your Dreams Mean?

Dreams have always intrigued me in a mystical magical way. Sometimes they are an escape from reality to a beautiful place with people you do not recognize. Other times they are aweful nightmares and you do not wish to close your eyes again. Why do we dream such things?  

Well, we sleep about 1/3 of our life and we dream roughly two hours out of each night. Some people recall their dreams vividly, some people recall only portions of their dreams and some people do not recall dreaming at all. It's ok if you do not remember your dreams. I often don't myself. Nothing is wrong with that. Sometimes we simply sleep so well that we do not remember. And sometimes our sleep is too interrupted.  

For those of you who recall your dreams and are curious what they mean, keep reading! If you have recurring dreams, start to journal them. Try to remember how you felt in your dream, and what was going on in your day prior to that sleep...

5 Common Dreams and What they may really Mean 

1. Dreaming that you are partially naked in public: 

This is a very common dream which is often a sign of vulnerability or shame. It can also reveal a fear of being exposed.  

2. Dreaming that your falling: 

This may be a call from your subconscious to make some changes in your life. Perhaps you are concerned about the direction that something is going and often this is associated with depression. 

3. Teeth falling out: 

This has nothing to do with whether you brush enough and floss properly. This is a signal that perhaps you spoke too harshly, gossiped, and need to speak less and listen more. 

4.  Being chased:

Examine if you are trying to avoid something or someone in life. Perhaps something requires your attention? 

5. Sex: 

This can be a literal sexual outlet, or it can also symbolize intimate connection with yourself or others.  

Dreams are a way for our conscious minds to connect with the subconscious. They usually have a message for us. So just deepen your awareness without putting too much thought and any judgement into it, and see if you get to know yourself a little better through your dreams! 

I recently had a very unique dream that I would like to share with you. It was unlike any dream I have ever had. I dreamt that I was kneeling on a dock on a dark night with the sky lit by the moon. I put my hand down into the dark, but calm water. I had no fear. I wished that a dolphin would come to me. Sure enough I saw a fin coming. Again, zero fear of it being anything but a dolphin. The dolphin came straight to my hand and then out of the water enough to hold itself cheek to cheek with me. We turned our eyes toward each other and both were smiling. The connection was extraordinary. Then the dolphin swam a minute before returning to look at me face to face. We smiled and laughed together as tears streamed down my face. Then the dolphin slowly went back into the water and I woke up.

When I woke I felt as if everything had changed. It was like the weight of the world had been lifted, as if that dolphin was my spirit guide releasing all my past troubles and worries and giving me the love and encouragement that I needed. The dream was a sign like an omen. It was my soul, as well as the Universe, speaking to me and telling me that now is the time for me to put my life dream into action. 

During the past year I have been researching and preparing notes to write a book. This has been a dream of mine for sometime and now the Universe is ready to make it happen. My dolphin dream represented the clarity and certainty I needed to forge forward in full motion with a new found confidence. Since this dream I have felt so inspired and full of life! I am happy to share with you that I am currently working on writing my first book that will address how to live a Total Soulful Journey and Reduce the Stress in your Life!  

The biggest message I want to convey goes back to awareness. Be aware of what your dreams are trying to tell you. They might be a sign to slow down and change something, OR perhaps a sign to forge forward with your day dreams that are now speaking to you through your soul at night. Ideas and dreams are wonderful, but without putting them into motion it is the biggest wasted commodity we have, unused creative energy. So dream big! Put your intentions into action and watch how fast they come to life. There are signs and miracles all around us and dreams are just one area of  insight. When we are aware we are able to see more clearly. 

You know the saying, "Dreams Really do Come True".... I believe in this power now in more ways than one.  

Sweet Dreams,

Libby 

P.S. - Please feel free to share (in the comment section) your recent dreams, or what your BIG DREAM is in life to begin the action of making it happen. And check out the video below to learn how to interpret and remember dreams from an inspirational speaker who I truly enjoy. 

 

 

All Of The Answers You Seek Are Within YOU....

Have you spent your life wishing you could ask someone a question, needing closure, feeling abandonment, fearing something...... or just wondering what your true purpose in life might be? We face many different questions every single day! Our minds are very complex tools. But truth be told,  all the answers you seek actually lie within yourself. Yes, YOU and you alone have the power to unlock all of the answers you could ever need to know.  

It all begins with awareness. For me it began with a growing awareness on my yoga mat that then carried off the mat and into my daily life. That awareness evolved into a deeper consciousness. After you develop awareness, the next step is acceptance. Accepting yourself as you are and practicing full self love. Until you fully love and forgive yourself of any flaws you cannot truly accept love from others nor are you available to fully receive love.

Developing the following practices leads one to higher levels of consciousness and clarity:

• Self awareness 

• Acceptance of yourself

• Self love

• Acceptance of others

• Letting go of judgement

• Releasing ego

• Daily gratitude

These can be a difficult steps because the ego jumps in and gets in the way. The ego has a place and is there to protect us, but we need to be aware of how it tries to influence us to keep it in check. Finally, there is the step of practicing being grateful for all that we have in daily life and living a life of grace. When we reach this spot suddenly all of the drama fades away and clarity arises.  

Listening to your voice within, your intuition, is your best guide. Your intuitive voice is there to protect you, to lead you in the right direction, to keep you on the upward spiral. When something feels wrong, most likely IT IS. Listen to your gut. Know your worth. You were born with a purpose. You may not know the purpose yet, but if you listen to your intuition it will lead you in the right direction and the answers you seek will come. The universe will show you your path. Trust the journey. Have faith and patience. Keep your heart open and live with love, passion and a firm belief that all of your dreams will come true. YOU ARE WORTHY, YOU ARE SPECIAL, YOU ARE LOVED, YOU ARE JOY, YOU ARE LIGHT! Say positive affirmations to yourself if you feel a little low or lost. And write down your goals each day. Never give up. All is coming!

Namaste,

Libby

P.S. - If you want to learn more about awareness, acceptance, gratitude and empowerment, join me on my yoga retreat in beautiful Costa Rica this coming October.  Click here to learn more.

5 Reasons for a Yoga Retreat in the Mountains

*This Retreat is No Longer Available.  Join Libby in Costa Rica in October for Her Next Available Retreat. Details are on the Home Page or at Trip Tribe.

Join me for my next yoga retreat from Wednesday, July 12th to Sunday, July 16th...

Awaken the master within you for all of the answers that you seek and already have at my next yoga retreat! Often times we get so bogged down with stress and anxiety that it becomes hard to trust our intuition and to see clearly. A short getaway, especially one that eases stress and clears the mind, can be the perfect solution that allows for great healing through mindfulness and awakening. This retreat we will cultivate awareness through movement and acceptance on the mat that will carry off the mat and into your daily life. This gift of higher consciousness and relaxation will help you respond to life rather than react, giving you tools to make better decisions, to have better relationships, to improved your health and reduce stress.

This wonderful retreat will be hosted at the Elohee Center, which is located on over 200 gorgeous acres of forested land nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia, just 2 hours north of Atlanta. The named Elohee is a Cherokee word that means earth place. This center was founded by Andy and Carolyn Bralley in 2010 when their daughter Eve was battling refractory Hodgkin lymphoma as a place of healing for her. This beautiful land inspires self exploration, growth and mind body healing. 

In addition to Yoga and Meditation, I will encourage journaling to help you to manifest your goals and intentions. When we write our desires down, we begin to manifest and put them into action. We will talk a lot about how to bring light and inspiration into your daily lives as you awaken your heart center and learn to live with true intention and confidence, and aspire to become the best vesion of yourself. That is the true purpose of this retreat.

You will also have the opportunity to join me on optional hiking excursions, becoming one with nature while calming the mind. You can participate in painting workshops that will encourage creativity and letting go.... to free your mind!  This retreat center offers additional luxury massages, as well as other yoga and cooking classes to enhance your experience! 

So if you are not already convinced to register, here are my top 5 reasons for you to participate in this yoga retreat in the mountains:

1. To let go of what no longer serves you (including stress).

2. To build confidence in yourself and in your yoga practice.

3. To inspire and awaken your inner teacher.

4. To connect with like minded people and feel accepted.

5. To move forward toward your dreams.   

My purpose here is to AWAKEN what is already within you, to show you what you are truly capable of achieving, to remind you of your amazing beauty that is sometimes forgotten. We all get stuck from time to time. Allow me to help you get unstuck. I invite you to join me on this wonderful journey that will elevate you to a new level in many aspects of your life, including family, work, creativity, focus and self esteem.  

Register by March 11th for the early bird pricing and save 10%. I selected this location specifically for its incredible value and its accessibility from so many locations. I love to meet people from around the world and share my passion for yoga and wellness, so all are welcome!!

Peace & light,

Libby

P.S. - You can choose to a share a room or to have your own. Trip Tribe will try to pair you with someone compatible and it may enhance your experience if you choose to share a room. Connecting with one another as we are learning and growing together will truly create a special retreat filled with friendship and amazing energy! I cannot wait to share this with you!

This yoga retreat is organized by Trip Tribe!

Imagine your creative side in full bloom! 

Imagine your creative side in full bloom! 

Would You Save a Life if You Could?

Most of you know me as a yoga instructor, but that is simply one aspect of my life. I invite you to  come along on my journey and get to know me better. And I would like to get to know you, as well.  I am a mother of two children and a daughter. Ten years ago, my dad, Bob Shively, was diagnosed with Myeloma, which is a cancer of the blood and bones. The "C" word is super scary, especially when in relation to yourself or a loved one. My father's diagnoses came as a shock. They gave him only a coulple years to live at best. The doctors said to expect his bones to deteriorate and that the only available treatment was pain management.  

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Well, let me tell you a little more about me. I am extremely close with my whole family. We have always been very supportive and loving. I am super sensative and also empathetic. When my dad was diagnosed, it felt like my world shattered as I am sure many of you can relate. I felt so helpless. All I could do was to pray and pray for a way to help him. Low and behold the very next day in the mail there was a flyer for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society who offer a variety of fundraising events in honor of or in memory of anyone you know who has suffered from a blood or bone cancer of any type. I knew at that very moment I was up for the biggest challenge of my life! I quickly conspired and got my best friend, Katherine Shrout, to agree to "walk" a full 26.2 mile marathon with me in Honolulu, Hawaii!  We had a fundraising minimum to reach in exchange for our airfare and room for four nights, which was bonus motivation. So.... we thought who can't walk 26 miles? We've got this! Hahaha.... many laughs and many long training hours later we quickly started running more and more realizing how time consuming it was. Needless to say we BOTH finished the marathon. I love you Kat for pushing the limits with me, for standing by my side through tough challenges (including three broken bones in my foot) and for helping to save lives!

This year my daughter, Morgan, asked me to join the Team in Training Hike Yosemite Event on June 10th. Morgan is quickly becoming my new best friend as she grows up and becomes her own unique person. I am so proud of who she is and I love the way she makes me laugh. Her positive spirit will grace the world for years to come. But anyway, I realized that it being the ten year anniversary of my marathon that this is just perfect timining to celebrate my dad's life and the fact that he has truly beat all the odds. Ten years ago there was no treatment for his cancer besides pain management. Today, there are finally options that are available thanks to the research that was made possible by people like you who donate money to fight these diseases.

When Morgan and I decided to do the walk, the universe sent me another sign. My high school friend, Susan reached out to me. Her nephew, Paul Wilson, was in the hospital fighting for his life with leukemia. Susan asked if I would be willing to go to Children's Hospital to do some yoga with him just to change up his routine and relieve his boredom. I was honored. I realized this year I will hike and participate in this event not only in honor of my dad, but also to help find a cure for Paul's leukemia.  My goal is to use my able healthy body to give hope to these courageous people of all ages who are suffering and holding on with every ounce of dignity just to smile for their families. Cancer knows no age and no boundaries. It robs us of precious time, life and memories.  

If we have our health, we are truly blessed. Let this remind us to be grateful each and everyday. To hug the ones we love. To prioritize what is TRULY important. AND.... I invite you here and now to become a part of this quest to end cancer! I invite you to be a part of my team to help save the lives of those who are suffering! The money I raise goes to research, family support and patient care. I have seen results from the money that I raised ten years ago at the Honolulu Marathon. I am forever grateful and I will continue to pay it forward by doing all I possibly can when I can to advance cancer research for all of us.  

Sometimes it takes a villiage...but together we can move mountains!

All is possible!

In full gratitude,

Libby

P.S. - If you would like to support our team, you can learn more and donate at: http://pages.teamintraining.org/vtnt/Yosemit17/LMcAvoy

Morgan and my team name for this event is, "Not so Main Stream."

Or you too can register to participate in the Team in Training Hike Yosemite event at: http://www.teamintraining.org/events/hike-yosemite

Travel to Seek Answers Rather than Escape Reality

People travel for many reasons. I travel because it expands my mind and soothes my soul. It excites me to learn of new foods, cultures, history, topography and to see the amazing beauty the world has to offer!  

View before the tram ride down San Jacinto

View before the tram ride down San Jacinto

I recently visited my parents, who are wintering in Palm Springs, and while I was there I had a moment of awakening. I often spend time hiking or walking when I vacation. This trip I spent A LOT of time hiking. On my hikes I was exceptionally taken by the beauty around me. It dawned on my how fortunate I am to get to see so many places. I wondered, for a brief moment, how many people never leave the state in which they were born? And then I wondered if they are lucky enough to travel outside of their state, have they ever seen another country???? Our country, the United States of America is so vast and so beautiful. I have driven across it and seen the wide open wheat farms, the snow capped Rocky Mountains, many corn and soy farms, long straight highways and then the switchbacks - the Million Dollar Highway takes the cake for switchbacks! 

Family time in Palm Springs

I find inspiration in the beauty  and in how quickly the landscape can change! On this particular trip to Palm Springs, my daughter and I decided to take the tram up to Mt San Jacinto to hike! I should preface this by telling you that Los Angeles was having MAJOR floods and the mountains in Palm Springs had recieved significant snow. We dressed appropriately and were ready for extreme conditions, but when we saw people in line with sleds and snowboards we started to question ourselves with laughter and the anticipation of young children on Christmas Eve....

Sledding fun

Sledding fun

As we waited in line we read the brochure and decided we MIGHT need to rent snowshoes at the top! Well, in order to hike to the summit of Mt. San Jacinto (5 miles each direction), you need a permit from the ranger. So we proudly walked through the beautiful winter wonderland and past the merry sledders to the Rangers Station. I was properly dressed in hiking boots, however, Morgan was donning her cowgirl boots, which just makes this story all the better! The ranger says, "What can I do for ya ladies?" I replied, "I just need a permit for hiking." To which he had the gull to say, "And where do you think you girls are going in those cowgirl boots? No way are you getting a permit!" Well, if you know a couple things about me.... I am a Taurus, which means I am a little bull headed and when I decide I am going to do something look out Baby.... So I sweetly said, "Oh yes we are going to rent snowshoes. We just stopped to get our permit and a map first so if you could just tell me the way that would be great!" I couldn't believe it but it actually worked! He said, "Ok... if you rent the snowshoes, I will grant you the permit, BUT NO WAY are you going to the top! Turn around at the Mountain Lion sign. After that the trail gets very hard to follow being covered in snow and you girls could get lost." I asked how much snow there actually was and was blown away! There was four feet of fresh snow and ten FEET of snow in total. Morgan and I headed out on our adventure and it was one of the most amazing hikes I have ever completed. For full disclosure, and I apologize to you Mr Ranger, we went slightly past the Mountain Lion sign!!! However, once we could no longer safely follow a trail we turned around! We were only about 1.5 miles from the peak, but safety is paramount. Especially in those conditions! 

The sun was so bright and beautiful we even peeled layers of clothing, but check out the snow shoes!!!!! And... Morgan's cowgirl boots 😂

The sun was so bright and beautiful we even peeled layers of clothing, but check out the snow shoes!!!!! And... Morgan's cowgirl boots 😂

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A few days later we were in Joshua Tree surrounded by beautiful mysterious magical trees, interesting rock formations and a huge variety of cacti. Stunning in its own way!

Joshua Tree Cacti Garden

Joshua Tree Cacti Garden

Blooming cacti... beauty everywhere

Blooming cacti... beauty everywhere

It wouldn't be a yoga blog without ONE yoga pose! 

It wouldn't be a yoga blog without ONE yoga pose! 

This is a Joshua Tree

This is a Joshua Tree

From Joshua Tree we drove Phoenix Arizona, stayed with good friends and hiked Camel Back Mountain. A completely different experience once again. Humbled by the boulders and steep elevation, we were still determined to reach the top. Though exhausted, we pushed through our fatigue and were rewarded with spectacular views the city below and the surrounding mountains! Although it was considered an "expert" hike, it was so wonderful to see people of ALL ages enjoying it!  

Echo Trail Head at Camelback. The hardest climbs bring the greatest rewards! 

Echo Trail Head at Camelback. The hardest climbs bring the greatest rewards! 

One amazing thing I observed everywhere we visited on this trip was how friendly and generally upbeat people were. Maybe it was the sunshine or the beautiful surroundings... but I was reminded of what a beautiful country I live in and what beautiful people are all around. It is up to us to see the beauty.  

Yoga Fit Boutique

If you do not get the chance to travel, simply look at photos online and educate yourself with what exists outside of your box. Open your mind. Dream really big. Expand your reality! That is what travel does for me! These days it is possible to see these beautiful places online right from your own home with an open mind and your imagination!

Happy travels,

Libby 

 

P.S. - Please comment on your personal travel experiences; places you recommend, places you dream of someday seeing..... the more we share together, the more we learn and the more we raise the energy! The Universe WILL RESPOND!