A Balanced Life Through Yoga

Non-Attachment Is The Way To Freedom

As we practice awareness we move into a state of acceptance. In this state of acceptance we learn to let go of outcomes or attachment to what will be, and instead we learn to observe or simply witness free from judgement. Live in the now with what is and simplify life.

When you free yourself from attachment, you are able to live a happy life. You no longer feel stuck or “married” to a specific ending. Feeling stuck or trapped is a very negative feeling and most of the time, sadly, we do it to ourselves. 

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Attachment is really about fear, ego and dependency. When we are living with attachments, whether it is to things, to people or whatever, we are living in a negative place.

WE aspire to live a positive life. To raise the vibration we need to live from a place of love. Love allows us endless possibilities free from attachment, guilt, shame and fear… Love allows us to grow into our best selves and into oneness with the universe free from all attachment, which is a state of ultimate enlightenment.

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In Ashtanga Yoga we practice the 8 limbs of yoga. Part of the 8 limbs are the Yamas & Niyamas.  The 5th Yama is Aparigraha, which means non- attachment or non possessiveness. This means to not be attached to outcomes, to not take more than you need and to not live with jealousy in regard to yourself and the world around you.  

The Sanskrit word, Parinamavada, is the teaching that everything is in a constant state of flux.  Everything changes and when we embrace this, just as we embrace the trees losing their leaves in the fall and the flowers blooming in spring, we know that life is cyclical. When we let go of outcomes and accept what is, we embrace our freedom.  

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APARIGRAHA! Shout it out loud and embrace the concept of non-attachment! Let go and feel the resulting freedom. There is nothing to worry about and nothing to fear. Stay in the present moment. Allow what may come to come and let go of what no longer serves your higher purpose. Do not take more than you need. Do not eat more than you need. Apply this concept to every aspect of your life.

Attachment holds us back because we do not want to accept change and yet change is inevitable. Change is transformation and growth. Take love for example. Many people cling to the person who they love out of the fear of losing them, which can create a self fulfilling prophecy. Instead, embrace the concept of setting that person free. If you truly love that person free from attachment and they love you, they will want to stay. Placing restrictions will make them feel trapped and imprisoned, which takes us back to that negative cycle which no one enjoys. So, give love, give away all that you can and it will all come back to you! That is a key to the Law of Attraction! 

Peacefully,

Libby

P.S. - Yoga is so much more than a physical practice on the mat. It is the journey of the self through the self to the self. Please check out my new website www.TOTALSOULFULJOURNEY.COM for more helpful articles and grow with us in a like minded community of positive people. We are launching this website next week and I am so excited for you to see it!

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

My family enjoying leftovers the day after Thanksgiving.

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

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

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

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

Peace, Love and Light to you all,

Libby

 

Just Breathe, A Simple Tool to Reduce Stress

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mindfully yours,

Libby

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

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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!  

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

What is Your Favorite Flower?

I Believe it is in nature that we best come to know ourselves. So plant the seeds of what you love and watch the world around you grow.  

Living on the edge. Take chances. Lake Cumberland, Ky   Do your daily yoga practice and progress is sure to follow.  You do not need to be able to do the full splits to practice yoga.  The important part is to start where you are.  Practice full acceptance, trust the journey, and most importantly have fun with it!

Living on the edge. Take chances. Lake Cumberland, Ky  

Do your daily yoga practice and progress is sure to follow.  You do not need to be able to do the full splits to practice yoga.  The important part is to start where you are.  Practice full acceptance, trust the journey, and most importantly have fun with it!

Sometimes we need to kick off our shoes and plant our feet right into the earth. Really feel grounded and one with nature. Quiet the mind and leave behind the chaos of the external world. It is in these moments when we connect body, mind and soul. We feel whole. That is when our beauty shines. So live your authentic life. Blossom into your own unique being.  

Please comment below on your favorite flower.  

Please comment below on your favorite flower.  

Namaste Beautiful Friends, 

Libby

ps- I love all wild flowers  

A Balanced Life Through Yoga

Balance in life is so important. Work hard, but play hard too.  Pets are a big part of my life.  I love their unconditional love, innocence, and playfulness.  But, with pets comes chaos! I have 3 rescue dogs, 4 cats (2 indoor, 2 outdoor), and 6 hens.  Add two children to that and life gets crazy but I would not want it any other way.  

Libby & Cats

Yes, sometimes my house is a mess, ok, a down right disaster.  But…it can all be cleaned with a little time and effort, and happy memories are being created. 

This is where yoga comes in.  Yoga has taught me that in times of chaos, we just need to pause and breathe to become more responsive and less reactive.  So what does that mean anyway? Well, when a lot is happening in life, do you ever fly off the handle and over react to something small?  I used to too.  Since living my yoga I am more centered and calm and less reactive.  

Life is so good.  Trust the process, let go of judgements, and practice full acceptance.  Love the life you live and live the life you love!

Hope to see you on the mat soonies!

Libby McAvoy