Yoga

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!  

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.

    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

 

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.  

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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!  

 

Open Your Heart to Tap into Endless Energy

We have an endless supply of energy that is constantly regenerating within us. This source energy is at our core center, the heart, and is always available.  It has been called many things in many cultures including Shakti in Yoga, and Chi in Chinese medicine. Some consider it closely linked to the Chakras if you have studied those, but we will save that for a different conversation. 

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We are busy people. We live in a world where busy is overly glorified. Every thought we create expells great energy. Each thought you remember takes a great amount of your energy. Controlling your thoughts, holding your thoughts... it is no wonder we are tired and drained. However, if we tap into our source energy, we have the power within to regenerate and restore ourselves. We have our own battery source, if you will, to recharge!  

The Key in fact is simple. Open your heart! You are only limited by your own choices. Open your heart and open your mind and your energy will flow free and limitless. The most important part of your life is your energy, your prana. Depression is a blockage of energy. When we clear that space by CHOOSING to be positive, the energy is free to flow. Obstacles are mearly an opportunity for growth. We have the power to spin any negative into a positive. If we CHOOSE to open that energy channel, open up that flow, amazing results will come. Constantly open up, grow, spiral upward and feel the energy grow from within! Suddenly you will attract an abundance of all your desires as a result of this energy. This is The Law of Attraction.  

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Happy Friday Everyone! Sending you all great energy as it is bubbling out from me and I cannot contain it so I am sharing the love with all of you!

Dreamily,

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!  

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 do a Headstand: 6 Steps to a Safe Headstand Using a Solid Foundation to Achieve Your Goals

It's a brand new week so it is the perfect time to set new goals. Make a list of easy ones that you would like to accomplish today. Next, make another list of slightly bigger goals you would like to accomplish this week. Finally, write down several really, really big dreams! If you believe they will happen and work toward them, you will likely achieve your goals!

The first step is getting started, and honestly that is usually the hardest part. Building a firm foundation is key. In relationships that foundation might include honesty, respect, communication and many other joint things of importance. For financial goals and manifesting abundance, it may involve a solid education, connections in your field of interest, and many hours of dedication and perseverance. In yoga, a firm foundation requires a regular disciplined practice. Through this regular practice you build the strength and flexibility allowing you to advance. You create awareness on the mat that then carries off the mat and into your daily life. And all of these experiences affect your practice! After all, the body and mind are deeply connected. 

Today I will show you the basic foundations for learning how to do a safe and sturdy headstand. This method will allow you to graduate into the full inversion as you feel ready; letting go of your fears and building your core strength. It is very important to use your core and to listen to your body! If you feel too much pressure on your neck, come immediately out of the posuture!  

Here are the 6 steps for safely doing a headstand:

1. Start in downward dog position. Drop to your forearms and interlace your fingers around your head. Bring your big toes together, then walk your toes in toward your elbows. Stay here and breathe to build strength and get used to having your head below your heart, OR move to step 2. 

2. Lift one leg at a time using your core strength. Keep your knees bent and legs close to your body coming into egg position. Feel free to do this with your back close to a wall and your mat doubled under your head and arms.  

3. Once both knees are up you are in control. You can slowly lift one leg at a time all the way up, or if this is enough for you at this moment, simply come back down.  

4. Keeping your knees bent as you raise your legs allows your center of gravity to stay low. So, if you feel wobbly, simply lower your legs and come safely back down.

5. Go slowly. Take your time. Press into your forearms to relieve pressure on the neck. Eventually, you will have the strength to press all the way up so that your head leaves the ground.

Photography by Morgan McAvoy

6. Finally, you can lift all the way up and achieve a full headstand. To come down safely and in control you want to practice coming back into that egg position. Remember, listen to your body. This is not the place for the ego to be involved. Safety is a priority.  

Practicing headstands has many benefits including: stress relief, increased focus, improved digestion, increased shoulder and arm strength, decreased fluid build up and retention in the legs, ankles, and feet, and increased core strength. Headstands also stimulate the lymphatic system. Not to mention they are fun and bring out your inner child!

It is so important to remember to have fun in life and continue to grow and accomplish new things! We are NEVER too old. Age is simply a number. What is important is how we feel. So get to it! Set your personal goals and make them happen. Feel the energy rise as your dreams start to come true! 

My personal short term goals this week are to: 

1. Finish organizing my studio space at home.

2. Make and deliver treats to families I know who are struggling.  

3. Clean and put away all of my laundry (dirty secret revealed! I tend to throw clothes on top of my dresser instead of actually opening the drawers).  

My longterm goals are to: 

1. Make an instructional video and DVD.

2. Plan and implement yoga retreats.  

3. Grow the audience for this blog and website by offering high quality content.

Feel free to comment and share your goals! I would love to hear from you. Remember, these are the starting points. If you do not accomplish them today or this week, forgive yourself and add it to your goals for the following day or week. Practice full acceptance of yourself and know that all is coming!

Simply believe!  

Libby

PS - Make sure to sign up for my NEWSLETTER.  If you do it through the pop-up window on my website, you will automatically be given access to my new and highly informative article called, "Top 10 Reasons to Practice Yoga." This inspiring guide also has links to additional articles that go deeper into each subject. Email me if you are already signed up for my newsletter and I will send you the password and instructions to access these tips.  You will also receive the password in my next newsletter that I am currently writing.  Thanks so much for your support and interest!

 

The Rocket Gets You There Faster, Says Bobby Weir of the Grateful Dead

Lakeside photos by Tim Bonn of B&B Productions

Rocket Yoga was formulated when Larry Schultz was traveling with the renown rock band, the Grateful Dead. Traditionally, Ashtanga Yoga was taught in a very set sequence where most people would never reach the more advanced arm balances and inversions. Well, Bobby Weir wanted to try the "fun stuff" because he knew the arm balances and inversions looked fun and gratifying. So Larry spent many nights in his room formulating a safe sequence for how to introduce practitioners of all levels, including new beginners to these more advanced postures. He came up with Bottle Rocket, Rocket 1, Rocket 2, and Rocket 3.  

Rocket incorporates a lot of core strengthening.  

Each of the sequences begins with sun salutations A & B which creates a deep heat from within the body. Following the sun salutations is a specific standing series, split series (a key component to the practice), seated series and finishing series. Each posture prepares you for the next building a beautiful balance of both strength and flexibility!  

When Larry formulated the series, he asked Bobby what they should name it and without hesitation Bobby said, "The Rocket." Larry smiled, nodded his head up and down and replied, "I like it, but... WHY?" Bobby laughed a little and said, "because it gets you there faster." It was a very true statement! Between each of the seated postures is some core strengthening and there are always a couple of dolphin poses, which also build core and shoulder strength preparing you for the arm balances and inversions. Within a year of regular disciplined Rocket Yoga practice 5-6 days a week, I was able to do the full splits. Now, I am not able to do them everyday, sometimes if I have not practiced I am immediately more stiff, but at least I know I am capable. The arm balances and inversions are incredibly fun and eventually those turn into your  transitions from one pose to the next flowing with grace. 

I LOVE LOVE LOVE teaching the Rocket practice!!! I Love to see people break the barrier of their fears and conquer things they did not believe were possible. Being upside down is truly terrifying for many people. But we take this very slowly and build up to it safely. You get used to being inverted in high dolphin, you can use the wall and other props, and by all means listen to your body! In the splits series we hold each of the three splits 6-10 breaths allowing the body to slowly sink into its natural stopping point. Each practice may take you a little deeper. Most importantly we practice self acceptance knowing that wherever we are is exactly where we are meant to be. Yoga is a journey. We practice to improve. Many many people will reach full splits in time. For some, it takes longer. For some, based on bone composition, it simply will not be possible, but those folks can still enjoy the practice!  

So hop aboard the Rocket Ship and prepare to take your body places you never thought possible. Take your mind to new levels and ultimately connect the body and mind through the practice creating the best version of yourself!  

I am more than happy to lead privates, semi privates, group and corporate classes! If you have any questions at all please let me know.   

Namaste,

Libby McAvoy

PS - I want to give a big shout-out and thank you to Amber Espelage!  Under her excellent teaching and guidance I became 100 hr certified to teach Rocket Yoga.

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. 

image.jpg

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