Wellness

New Year Better YOU

Each new day we wake and it is essentially a reset button, a chance to start anew. And as we approach the New Year, this is truly an exciting opportunity. Each year you hear people setting New Year's resolutions, but what does that mean anyway? And… why do most people fail at their newly set promises after one short month?  

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I personally believe that the problem is two pronged. Part one is that we set resolutions or goals from our egos rather than our souls. What does that mean? When you live from the ego you do things to please others because it is somewhat expected of you. When you live from your soul you do what FEELS good to you and what brings you true joy from within. The other part is that we set goals based on what we feel society deems acceptable, and this is often in opposition to the calling of our souls. 

So, when you set your intentions to go to the gym three times a week, or to lose ten pounds, or to stop eating desserts, or to give up fried foods… these resolutions often do not last because deep down they do not satisfy your soul. You do not want to go to the gym because you want to workout, you go because ultimately you want to be loved and accepted by others and you feel that losing weight and being fit will get you that result. That is the subconscious mind at work. Therefore, the more realistic New Year's resolution would be to work on loving yourself and self acceptance. Working out may be a part of that. The same can be said about improving your eating habits, but the desire to change has to come from within yourself. 

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When setting New Year's resolutions, I would encourage you to look at them as separate goals for the year ahead rather than one big thing.  For example; set small easily attainable goals, medium size goals, and then perhaps one really big goal. Giving yourself some challenges is good because it is through the challenges that we grow, but we also want to set ourselves up to succeed. We want the new year to truly be a chance to grow into the best version of ourselves to date. You will not stop growing at the end of 2018, this is a beautiful life long journey.  It is about learning what worked in 2017 and what you could do a little better. For 2018 visualize the new things that you want to try, the exciting places you want to visit and the ways that you can contribute to make the world a tiny bit better. 

The easy part is setting intentions or goals. The hard part is following through with them. The magic happens through our actions. So once you set your intentions, find friends or mentors who will hold you accountable. Manifest your intentions by writing them down and taking action toward them each day. Another great idea that was given to me by a friend is to hang sticky note reminders to yourself on the bathroom mirror (maybe to love yourself), or on your refrigerator (to make wise decisions), and in your car (to release the road rage, and use the time in your car to relax through music or comedy or maybe just quiet reflection). Regardless, these little kind reminders to are a fantastic way to stay on track and they really do work!

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I am incredibly grateful for 2017. It was NOT my best year. In fact it was rather difficult and I am definitely ready to move forward. I know that 2018 is going to be amazing! My personal resolutions for this coming year are to eat plant based, sleep more regularly, organize my home better, waste less food, give my time serving others (volunteering), travel to new places and to grow my online business, which will include videos and yoga tutorials. Those are my BIG goals : )

  Happy New Year from my family to yours!

Happy New Year from my family to yours!

Whatever your New Year Resolution may be, remember most importantly to practice:

  1. Awareness each day: How are you feeling, check in and see how your goals are going….
  2. Acceptance: If you fall off track a day or a week do not give up! Simply start over or where you are, it is NEVER too late! Be gentle with yourself.
  3. Forgiveness: IF you fall off track, get derailed or decide to change course, forgive yourself first and foremost. You are allowed to change your mind. 

Always F.L.Y. (First Love Yourself)

It is with great gratitude, love and excitement that I wish you all a Happy New Year full of health, love, happiness and abundance. May all of your dreams come true! 

Peace & Love,

Libby

 

P.S. - Please help me raise the vibration as we close on 2017 and welcome 2018 and share your New Year's resolutions, goals & intentions for the year ahead in the comment section below. By writing them down we are putting them into motion and therefore into action. Thank you for helping me on my journey! Together as a community, I know we will soar to new heights in 2018!  

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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

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

 

 

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

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.  

  The Bean in Chicago

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.

 &nbsp;  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. &nbsp;"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,&nbsp;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!&nbsp;     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

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.

Do you Find Yourself Comfortably Numb in Daily Life?

Often times we wake up and go through the same motions each day like robots. We are so programmed and conditioned that we forget to fully wake up to the sensations of our bodies, to take conscious control over our thoughts and to truly LIVE our lives. Repeating the same things each day is not the same as living. To truly live means to take chances, to feel the ups and downs, to laugh and to cry. Because to live means to be vulnerable. To be vulnerable means to open your heart, and to do that we have to risk being hurt. But the alternative is to shrivel up and emotionally die and that is no way to live. Without growing, changing and continuing forward, stagnancy takes over and a numbness consumes us.

We are born to love. We are born to seek joy. So make time time for the ones you love. Everything else is just an excuse. Dig deep... what is it that you are really hiding from? Are you using work, alcohol, drugs, extreme workouts, seclusion, social media or sex to numb yourself? There are many ways that we mask our pain, but it's important to really live. Not to live comfortably numb. We only get so many days. Grab the ones you love. Find the passion in your heart. Take some time and do the things that set your soul aflame! THAT is what life is really about!  

It's not about the money that you make or the things that you possess when you die. All of that is actually a burden in the end. So, cherish today. Live fully in this moment and make sure that you build the blocks and lay the proper foundation for where it is that you want to go. The key is to strike a healthy balance between being HERE NOW and taking steps in the direction of your biggest dreams and aspirations. Please, I am begging you to wake up and stop feeling comfortably numb. Life is a fantastic song so let's sing it and let the music wake us up and keep us moving along in life!  

I hope this leaves you inspired to do something that you love, or say the things you have wanted to say to someone you love. It takes a lot of strength and courage to live authentically, but I promise you that it is the only TRUE way to live and feel your BEST. Not everyday will be great, but there is something wonderful in every day if you are open to the miracles that are happening around you. Go for your dreams! Feel your fire or tapas (from the Yoga Sutra) within! You are a burning beautiful person with a mission to live life to the fullest. What are you waiting for? 

Wishing you an inspiring week,

Libby

De Mystifying the Glory Behind the Alleged "New Year's Cleanse Diets," 10 Must Have Feel Good Foods and Why Fad Diet's Will Never Work

First allow me to wish you a very Happy New Year! The start of the each year is exciting because it symbolizes a fresh beginning, new chances, unlimited possibilities and a clean slate. Many people set New Years Resolutions. Very few, in fact less than 8% actually follow through with those resolutions. I personally choose to set intentions for the year ahead. Intentions are positive thoughts and actions that I intend to follow through with be it big or small. I write them down and I say them out loud.... daily! Writing my intentions and repeating them out loud daily is part of the manifestation process. What we think in our minds is likely to occur. So.... this year I set my intentions to strengthening my handstand practice, which means practicing daily with drills, strengthening and moving away from the wall. I also set my intention to practice and become more patient, to waste less food and to give more to others. Those are the immediate intentions that I have set, although I will continue to set new daily intentions, as well. 

Diet and weight loss or getting in shape & working out are HUGE on the resolution lists and gyms see a big spike in attendance during the month of January, but guess what....yep, it quickly trickles off as people do not see immediate results and get discouraged. Today I want to focus on the hype you hear about Cleansing Diets, Fasting, Juicing Cleanses, and Detox Diets! STAY AWAY FROM THEM ALL is my very best advice! You will hear conflicting advice from every corner if you seek it, but I am not a believer in fad diets or anything quick or temporary BECAUSE once you go back to your regular consumption, so too will your weight. THE ONLY WAY TO LOOSE WEIGHT AND KEEP IT OFF IS TO ADOPT A NEW WAY OF LIFE! AND.... it is not that hard. I will let you in on a secret.... you do not have to eleminate anything. In fact, it is when we dreprive ourselves of things that we crave them most! Simply modify portions, elimainate snacking (or snack on fruits & veggies), eat 3-5 small meals a day that are colorful plant based whole foods, drink a lot of water, limit or better yet eliminate processed foods and lower fats & oil consumption, as well as sugar consumption (NO MORE SODA).  

Cleanses and fasting leave you fatigued, depressed, tired, sometimes dizzy and often weak.  Sometimes you are able to achive quick weight loss, but this yo yo style dieting is not recommended as a healthy long term weight loss technique. Eating clean is the best way to minimize toxins. Add exercise when possible to maximize weight loss if that is your goal. I am happy to consult with you on a personalized at home plan. 

This book has excellent information on superfoods.

TOP TEN FOODS TO ADD TO YOUR DIET TO NATURALLY HELP DETOXIFY YOUR BODY:

1. Goji Berries: Goji Berries are one of the top ten SUPERFOODS and can be found in health food stores near you. The Gogi is known to increase stamina, strength, longevity and sexual stamina. They also boost immunity, increase alkalinity, provide liver protection and improve eyesight.  

2. Lemon Water to start each day: Lemons alkanize the body so starting the day with a glass of room temperature or warm lemon water cleanses the body and strengthens the liver.  

3.  Beets: A single serving of beets can fight cancer, reduce arthritic pain, boost brain power, as well as help you loose weight. They are very high in fiber, purify the blood, as well as cleanse the liver.

4.  Blueberries: Contain a natural sunstance that mimics aspirin, lessening the tissue damaging effects of chronic inflammation and thus easing pain. They also block bacteria in the urinary tract.  

5. Brazil Nuts: Are loaded with selenium, which is key to flushing mercury out of your body. They are also high in magnesium and maganese, which ward off migraines.

6. Cinnamon: Stops the growth of bacteria and yeast, and speeds up metabolism, which aids in weight loss. It is loaded with antioxidants and is a natural anti inflammatory. Cinnamon lowers cholesterol and blood sugar levels making it good for preventing heart disease and diabetes. 

7. Parsley: Herbs are often overlooked, but they have potent healing effects for our bodies. Parsely is high in vitamins A, C, & K, and betacarotene, which protects the liver and bladder and prevents liver and bladder infections. It also keeps our urine clean and relieves bloating.

8. Tumeric: Acts as an anti inflammatory, which relieves arthritic pain as well as other inflammations. It also has powerful antioxidants which improve brain function, lower heart disease and can help prevent and possibly even treat cancer.

9. Probiotics: These are fermented foods that contain beneficial bacteria for your stomach and digestive system. Try sourkraut, kimchi, yogurt, beet kvass or kefir and they will strengthen and protect your stomach and your colon. My friends at Fab Ferments make incredible products that you can find at Whole Foods and at Jungle Jim's in Cincinnati. And they are starting to sell nationally, but there are other brands available, as well. 

10. Wheatgrass: I saved the best for last. This is very potent and powerful. You can sometimes find small juice shots available at farmers markets. Wheatgrass contains 98 of the 102 earth elements. It will help to restore your natural alkaline balance, protect your liver, detoxify the body, increase red blood cells, lower blood pressure, cleanse your organs, stimulate metabolism and the body's enzymes by enriching the blood.  

Cocao, Aloe Vera, Bee Products, Hemp Seed are other super foods that I would recommend adding to your daily diet if possible. Every little effort you make will allow your body to move more easily.  The more you exercise, the more oxygen your body will circulate, which not only boosts brain power, but it may also reduce wrinkles! What a beautiful side affect!

This is another great book about healthy living.

Let's face it we are all going to age, but we have control over how gracefully the process occurs to some extent. It is NEVER too late to start eating better. Each meal is a chance to fuel your body.  Take baby steps. Once you feel the effects and how much better your body responds, you will no longer miss the processed foods or unhealthy choices. You will naturally begin to crave healthy foods.  Now, that's not to say you will NEVER crave a good french fry or an amazing apple pie a la mode, and that is OK! If you are living an active healthy lifestyle, then indulging and enjoying treats occasionally is absolutely no problem.  

I hope you find this helpful and that you are inspired about the new year.  Let all trys and failures go.  Let go of all the outcomes and stop comparing yourself to anyone else. Look in the mirror every morning and say "I love you!" It starts there. Make the committment to yourself to become the BEST version of yourself, because you deserve it. You are beautiful. You are divine.  You are enough.  I love you.  

Wishing you Health, Love & Happiness,

Libby

P.S. - As I entered the New Year I myself wanted to find the healthiest recipes possible. Soup is warm and comforting in the winter and this recipe was appealing so I tried it and it inspired this entire blog! I know I knocked the "detox" diet but you've gotta try this soup: 

Detox Diet – Soup Cleanse Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

6 cups water

 1 red onion – diced

3 garlic cloves – minced

5 celery stalks – chopped

6 carrots

2 heads of broccoli florets (stalks removed)

2 medium zucchini – chopped

1 cup fresh tomatoes – chopped (approx. 4 small tomatoes)

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp fresh ginger (peeled and minced)

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cayenne powder (or to taste if you don’t like spice)

1 head of kale (approx. 2 cups) – stems removed and torn into small pieces

1/4 cup fresh squeeze lemon juice

1 tsp Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar

Get the full directions at:  http://www.theeyesofaboy.com/2015/12/detox-diet-soup-cleanse-recipe.html

Please return and let us know what you think after you have tried it! You can also follow me, Libby McAvoy on Pinterest ( Mixing It Up) for more healthy recipes!  

5 Tips for Cultivating Gratitude in your Daily Life to bring Abundance

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The great poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson once said it so wisely, "cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and give thanks continuously." When we live in the present moment and are aware of our thoughts, words and actions, and practice gratitude then and only then will we truly live in the abundance of all that we desire. Being grateful is the key to a happier and healthier life. Gratitude shifts our focus into the present moment. Being appreciated and feeling connected, feeling needed and desired are deep human needs. You can practice gratitude simply by thanking someone for a job well done at work or for something that you like that they did. A simple compliment or pat on the back goes a long way. Simply acklowledge the people you come in contact with with warmth and compassion. Set your phone down in the check out lane of the grocery store or drive through, and take a moment to say "thank you."  It does not take much to practice gratitude.  You will feel better and so will those around you, improving relationships and decreasing stress!

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So here are my top 5 Suggestions for How To Practice Gratitude Daily to Create Abundance in Your Life:

1. Journal:  write down one to five things you are grateful for each and everyday this month! Some days may be simple and other days may be more complex and that is ok.  Do this without judgment of any sort. There are no wrong answers.

2. Random Acts of Kindness:  Give what you can when you can. This has a ripple effect like you cannot imagine. which raises the vibrational energy all around you bringing you love and good energy. Hold the door open for a stranger, smile, buy a hot meal for a homeless person, volunteer (giving your time is an amazing gift), pay the toll for the person behind you, donate your old coats......

3. Be grateful for what you already have. Practice the concept of needing less.

4. Know that you are ENOUGH. Practice the I AM mantra each morning when you wake up. Say I AM and then follow that with possitive affirmations such as I am enough, I am loved, I am strong, I am forgiving, I am compassionate, I am grateful, I am kind.... Then look in the mirror and say "I LOVE YOU" yes, to YOURSELF! Practice loving yourself! It is amazing how far this will go.  You must first love yourself deeply before you can love others and before others can love you. 

5. Finally, learn from your own experiences. Be aware of what shifts your energy from dark to light, from sadness to happiness... then do more of what makes you happy and THAT will bring gratitude. 

Often the people who have suffered the most trauma and hardships in life are the most grateful and for the most simple things.  So, my advice is keep it simple, stay aware, stay grateful and keep your heart wide open.  Let that love energy flow freely. Peace and love to you all this holiday season and throughout the new year!

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Much gratitude, 

Libby

 

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Tips for Combatting the Growing Obesity Epidemic and How the PHIT Act Can Help

Obesity is a gowing epidemic in the United States. According to the CDC, "Obesity related illness including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancers are the leading causes of preventable death." It is truly "sad" that this is happening in our country. Ironically S.A.D. is also the acronym for the Standard American Diet

Our government considers this to be such an enormous problem, with health care costs going through the roof, that Congress is working on a bill called the PHIT Act. The PHIT Act will provide tax incentives to encourage physical fitness by allowing you to take a tax credit of up to $1000 as an individual, or $2000 per household for fitness expenses such yoga classes and gym memberships.

Inactivity is now the 4th leading cause of death in the USA and it contributes to the number one leading cause, which is heart disease.  Exercise and meditation, combined with breathwork can significantly reduce your chances of developing heart disease. Type 2 diabetes can also be reversed with a combination of a diet rich in plant based foods and physical movement. 

Inactivity is a HUGE problem and electronic devices and video games are adding to it. Physically fit kids on the other hand have been proven to get better grades in school. Add yoga to their physical activity and you will also see an increase in focus, memory and concentration.  I would eventually love to see all schools incorporate yoga and meditation into the school day and I believe we are headed in that direction, but we are not there yet. So parents, bring your kids and teens to yoga in the evenings or on the weekends. Even consider practicing yoga together. It is a great activity for the whole family! 

Your health is one of your greatest assets! Your body is your temple. WE can be in control of our lives for the most part. It is not easy to lose large amounts of weight, but it is not as hard as you may think if you break the weight loss process down it into small attainable steps. In other words, set simple goals that you can realistically achieve, be kind and accepting to yourself along the journey and know that there is always help. I have worked with clients who struggle with their weight and they have told me how intimidating it is to join yoga classes because their bodies literally cannot fully do many of the postures. I know that is a major point of frustration and discouragement. If that sounds like you, I am here to help you lose weight and feel better about yourself. I will modify everything in your yoga practice to make it work for you. 

I would strongly suggest if you are looking to lose more than 30 pounds that we schedule a private consultation, take body measurements (the scale is not always the best indicator for weight loss) and make a plan that will work specifically for you. I can teach you modifications that you can then use in group classes. I will also help by holding you accountable (accountability is a big motivator). Commit to yourself to creating a happy, healthy and active lifestyle. You will be amazed when many of your aches and pains disappear and by the energy and the enthusiasm that will flow back into your life.  You were designed to feel good!

Health & happiness,

Libby

PS -  My monthly membership cost is $130. If the PHIT Act passes, you will be able to write off $1000 from your yoga class fees annually on your taxes as an individual, or up to $2000 for a household.  You can even use this tax credit for Teacher Training and turn it into a money making venture for yourself! Please, I urge you, reach out to your Member of Congress and say YES to the PHIT Act! If you or a loved one (children included) are overweight, see me or someone who can help you.  

 

Healing Yoga for PTSD with Libby

Many people suffer from extreme and chronic stress. Stress causes a lot of harm to our physical bodies, as well as to our mental well being. In some cases it can become post-tramatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is far more severe. People who have been through traumatic events such as combat, assault, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, an accident or a natural disaster may suffer from PTSD. Symptoms include nightmares, flashbacks, stomach aches, headaches, and many other chronic manifestations that can last for years if left untreated. PTSD also effects the people who love and care for their loved one who is suffering. 

Supported Bada Konasana opens the hips and the heart. We hold a lot of emotion in the hips.  

*Photos by Morgan McAvoy

According to the Veterans Administration, more than 8 million men, women, and children suffer from PTSD in the US in a given year. I myself suffered and did not recognize the symptoms at first. I went through a physically and emotionally traumatic event many years ago when I was violently abused by a loved one. I had undergone therapy, forgiven, found yoga and thought I had dealt with my grief. In reality I had compartmentalized and stuffed the feelings of betrayal, hurt and fear deep down within to the point where it took many years for those emotions to surface again. Through years of my personal yoga practice and helping others I was able to heal myself. I no longer feel like a victim and I am not at all ashamed to share my story. I want to help others find peace, restoration, and comfort in their own selves, as well.  

In addition to clinical treatments for PTSD via medical (i.e. prescription drugs) and psychological avenues (i.e. Cognitive Processing Therapy, EMDR), yoga is a wonderful way to calm the body and the mind through the physical practice and also to gain control through breathwork. Our breath is one thing we are always in control of, which is quite empowering and an important part of the healing process. In yoga, the parasympathetic nervous system literally slows down and by slowing the breath and the parasympathetic nervous system we literally lower heart rate, blood pressure and calm the mind.  

Seated tree pose is a great stretch for the hamstrings. All forward bends direct your awareness and attention within the self.  

The acceptance and awareness on the mat will eventually carry off the mat and into your daily life. The US Military is now using yoga to treat Veterans recovering from PTSD, and the USMC is referring local vets to Yoga Fit Boutique following a three week intensive program that they have in Chicago. Rehab programs are also using yoga to aid in recovery from drug addiction and alcohol abuse, and prisons are using it for reform.  

Yoga is a journey of the self, through the self, to the self. It is a way to dive deep inside yourself to the heart of your soul where true healing, love and forgiveness can occur. You were created to be pure joy. I have now created a class called "Healing Yoga for PTSD," which is specifically designed to restore and relax you, to tune out the chaos of the busy world and nurture yourself in a safe and accepting environment. All hands on assists and adjustments will be optional and you will have the freedom to get up and leave, or rest in child's pose if you feel overwhelmed at any point. This class will help you understand triggers and reconnect you to your mind, body and spirit.  

Supported, or restorative child's pose. Here you are supported by as many props as necessary to fully relax. You can feel free to close your eyes, or if you are more comfortable by all means feel free to leave your eyes open. This is your time to rest and release.

If you or a loved one feel that you suffer from PTSD, this is a serious condition and there are finally helpful resources available to assist you in your healing. The VA, for example, has excellent resources to get you started:  http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/index.asp

Much love & healing support,

Libby

PS - Please visit my Class Descriptions page to learn more about Healing Yoga for PTSD. I offer 20% off my rates for veterans, current military service people and first responders for any of my yoga classes. Because managing and healing from PTSD is so important, I am extending this offer to anyone suffering from PTSD who signs up for my Healing Yoga for PTSD class.

 

How to Break the Cycle of Seasonal Weight Gain

Fall is the time to pull out the cozy over sized sweaters and comfy leggings - we all do it. The problem is we also tend to hide under those comfy clothes and eat more in the colder months, which leads to inevitable weight gain. Unlike the bear who gains weight to prepare for hibernation, there is no reason why we should stay indoors and hibernate all winter. Challenge yourself to remain active like you do in the summer months by trying new activities that take in the wonder of autumn and winter.

According to Deborah Balfanz, PhD at Stanford University, "despite our worst fears, the average American really only puts on one pound during the holiday season — which doesn’t sound like much, unless you gain that extra pound year after year." Gaining a pound year after year adds up quickly.  As we get older and our metabolism slows down it makes it even harder to take off those extra pounds that slow us down and put us at higher risk for heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes.  This extra weight also has a huge bearing on how we feel about ourselves. So let's take a deeper look into the underlying factors that contribute to this cycle of seasonal weight gain and come up with tips to help us avoid it. 

Approximately 2 percent of the population suffers from a mild form of depression, which is known as seasonal affective disorder or SAD. According to the Cleveland Clinic, this is brought on by the shorter days and colder temperatures. This depression leads us to want "comfort" foods which tend to be higher in carbohydrates and fats. If you think that you suffer from this condition, it's a good idea to consult with your doctor and come up with a strategy to counter the winter blues. 

As for the rest of us, there are many reasons why we tend to eat more in autumn and in winter. These triggers tend to be more behavioral and less biological. They also revolve around our traditions and habits in the colder seasons such as eating junk food while watching football games, over indulging at holiday meals and parties, drinking more alcohol, and reducing our levels of physical activity as we spend more and more time indoors avoiding the cold outside. 

Another contributing factor is the adverse effect of stress upon our appetites.  Fall brings with it the pressures that come with the kids being back in school; juggling hectic schedules, keeping on top of their homework, rushing them to and from extracurricular activities and the added pressures at work. Life can get crazy this time of year and I get it! But... This is the perfect opportunity to break that cycle by becoming mindful of the triggers and habits that cause you to be stressed out.

Allow yourself the permission to not become so busy in the stressful sense this season. We put so much pressure on ourselves and upon our kids to be the very best and to achieve at the highest levels.  We don't have to be perfect. So allow yourself the grace to say, "I can't do it all."  This is not failure. In fact this is a gift that you give to you and your family that will make you all happier and healthier this school year.

Also give yourself and your family the permission to replace activities that you think that you "have to do" but hate, with activities that you love or have always wanted to try. Use these seasons as an opportunity to explore new sports such as hiking, cross country and downhill skiing, indoor cycling, yoga and playing in the snow. In addition, raking leaves and shoveling snow should not be viewed as dreaded chores, but as active ways to enjoy autumn and winter while getting exercise and fresh air. Putting your body into motion not only burns more calories, it also boost your energy and makes you feel great! 

Here are are five things you can do to help you not gain weight this season. Surely there are more great tips, so I would love it if you would share what works for you in the comments below: 

1. Be mindful of portion size of the meals that you eat. Overeating stretches out your stomach, which makes it harder for you to feel full over time. With a larger stomach, it then takes longer for the stretch sensors in your stomach to signal your brain that you are full. Also avoid fatty snacks that are high in carbs, sugars and high fructose corn syrup. Keep fresh fruits and raw veggies around as snacks with a small amount of nuts to go along with them. These healthy foods are packed with fiber and vitamins that will give you energy and keep you feeling full for a longer period of time.  

2. Seek the guidance of a nutritionist or a counselor to help you identify the triggers that cause you to overeat and to help you create healthy new habits. A therapist can also be a great resource if you are an emotional eater. In addition, I coach my clients in the areas of fitness and nutrition so feel free to contact me! I will help you develop a nutrition plan, increase your level of fitness and provide an important point of accountability and encouragement for you.

3. Get involved in an activity that gets you moving at least 3 times a week. As you know, yoga has done wonders for me, helping me stay fit, mindful and happy. Find a physical activity that you love and make it a regular part of your life!

4. Wear tight fitting clothes at least occasionally. This will be your reality check. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, cozy big sweaters and loose leggings hide the fact that we are gaining weight.  If your summer jeans feel overly tight in the winter, use this as motivation to shed the weight that you have recently put on.  By being mindful of your eating and adding a little exercise to your day, you will be please by how quickly you can shed that unwanted weight.

5. Create an art or home renovation project that will keep you focused and give you a positive purpose. Having a creative outlet for yourself can be a great stress reducer and keep you from the type of unhealthy snacking that we tend to do when we are bored.

While you are still feeling good from all of your summer activities, continue to practice mindful eating, reduce stress in your life and stay active this fall and winter. Set yourself up now with winning habits that will help you beat the holiday indulgences! 

Warmly, 

Libby

PS - Watch this excellent video that will change the way that you look at eating versus exercise for losing weight.  I highly recommend it!

The Power of Breath

Have you ever noticed how powerful the force of water in nature is? Your breath is similar. Now visualize a large body of water. Sometimes that water is choppy with whitecaps. Sometimes that very same water is flat and still. The water moves with the wind. When we are stressed or angry, our breath tends to be rapid and shallow and the body, as a result, becomes taxed. When we are calm, our breath is naturally slow, steady and deep. But you have the power to instantly use your breath to turn your stress or anxiety into calm.  The key is awareness! Try the following meditation. 

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Now, close your eyes for a moment. With your eyes closed, breathe in deeply through your nose and out deeply through your nose. Put your awareness into your breath as you allow the other busy thoughts in the mind to fade away. Acknowledge any thoughts that pop up, but save them for later, they can wait. Simply listen to the sound of the waves in each breath going into shore, and back out to sea. Breathe in, breathe out.  Feel your breath slow and listen as it quiets. 

 Now, with your eyes still closed, visualize that body of water. As your breath calms and quiets, that body of water will begin to still. The body of water represents your soul conciousness. Once the chaos of the external world subsides, your natural state arises like the surface of beautifully calm and crystal clear water. Small ripples represent the effects of others upon us and us upon others. But underneath is where the depth occurs. Your true authentic self is deep below the surface. It is in this calm where the breath is slow and steady, and that the body and mind can truly become one and work to be their best. Your natural state is one of calm and joy. Your natural state is divine love. It is here in this silence that the answers you seek will come. There is in essence no need to worry. Just let go. Just be.  Just breathe. 

 Breathe in, breathe out, release and let go... 

Breathe in peace, breathe out chaos.

Breathe in acceptance, breathe out judgement.

Breathe in divine love, breathe out divine love.

 You are enough. You are all you need. In times of chaos, turn to your breath. Take just a moment, listen to those waves and let that calm you. It is proven to lower your heart rate. It works and it is in your power all the time! Have an incredible start to this week!  

 

 Clarity

Clarity

Happy Monday, 

Libby

Reasons to Consider Yoga Teacher Training for the Summer of 2016

There are sooo many reason’s to consider yoga teacher training, even if you have not considered teaching! Teacher training will boost your self confidence, offers the freedom of self employment, and will challenge you mentally and physically.

What to expect from Yoga Teacher Training at Yoga Fit Boutique:

1.     We take our program seriously, however, it is Yoga and we encompass the rules of acceptance and can work with you both financially and with schedule conflicts within reason. We want our program to be accessible to everyone.

2.     Expect to grow spiritually. Yoga is not religious specific, however we do believe you will grow in many ways spiritually.

3.     Learn correct and healthy alignment for your body and then how to share that with others.

4.     Deepen your own self study, svadhyaya. The 8 limbs of Ashtanga Yoga teach you to live your yoga rather than just practice the physical aspect.  

5.     Yoga will add more meaning to your life. You will create an awareness on the mat that will eventually carry off the mat and into your daily life. This awareness will grow into cosmic consciousness allowing you to stay centered and focused in each moment free from judgement.

Our program is different from other training programs.  We will prepare you to lead multiple styles of yoga.  You will develop your verbal cues and speaking skills right from the start.  We teach not only sequencing, but also how to develop your very own sequence to teach any class at any moment to any level practitioner including modifications and the aids of props.  Our program also has a very strong business and marketing module, which will prepare you to market yourself as a teacher, private instructor or business owner. 

Register TODAY! We have several spots available for our summer session.  WE meet the last weekend of each month, beginning Friday, June 24th, 5:30-8:00pm.  For more information please visit the Teacher Training Tab on our website www.yogafitboutique.com .  ****I will honor early registration through June 12th***

Namaste,

Libby McAvoy