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Category Archives: Spiritual Health

Free Yoga isn’t only on Youtube

I try to go to the Yoga class at my gym, but they changed the time of my favorite instructor’s class and it unfortunately does not fit my schedule.  I decided to watch yoga videos at home to keep up the practice on my own time.  I’m comfortable practicing yoga on my own because A. I’ve had some yoga class experience where I’m confident in my form and B. No one is there watching me fall over repeatedly.  I’m also on a strict budget, so I perused through the multitude of free yoga videos online and found the best instructor for me.

yasmin

Yasmin Yoga: Basics 1: Breathing & Alignment is a full one hour video that can be found for free on Hulu.  I’ve only practiced this one video and cannot wait to complete the other videos in the series.  All in all there are 5 one-hour episodes available for free on Hulu and the Yasmin Yoga Website has free downloads of guided meditation and other instructional videos.  Yasmin Yoga is based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

The Yasmin Yoga: Basics 1: Breathing & Alignment video is very relaxed without being super cheesy.  The well instructed verbal commands voiced over the yoga practice performed on screen keep you from fumbling from the tv/computer screen to your own body.  Yasmin’s fluid instruction is fairly slow with clear and concise movements that are also modified for all levels.  It’s helpful if you have a folded blanket and yoga blocks if needed, which is unfortunately not explained before the workout begins.  I would recommend this film for beginners, or anyone who wishes to focus more on their posture and breathing.

*If you are attempting to practice Yoga for the first time, please attend a class by a certified instructor to learn the basic forms to avoid injury.  I am not a certified yoga instructor and practice yoga casually.  Please listen to your body!*

USEFUL LINKS:

Yasmin Yoga Hulu Channel
Yasmin Yoga Website
Yasmin Yoga Free Downloads
Yasmin Yoga Facebook
Yasmin Yoga Youtube Channel

Furthermore, if you ever thought about joining Hulu for $7.99 per month, you can get 2 weeks FREE with no obligation to continue your subscription by using this referral link.  It’s as easy to cancel as it is to sign up!

#100happydays

Those who know me are well aware that I adore social media and try my best to use it’s power for good and not evil.  I’ve been hearing bits and pieces of something called #100happydays from friends, but surprisingly there has been no mention of Chachi.

To complete this self awareness challenge you must sign up, then post a photo via your choice of social media of something that represents “happiness” to you for 100 days straight.  All the while making sure to use #100happydays to organize your images.  This was not created to brag, it was created to inspire. I’m on board with that!

The website shares that people successfully completing the challenge claimed to:

 – Start noticing what makes them happy every day;
 – Be in a better mood every day;
 – Start receiving more compliments from other people;
 – Realize how lucky they are to have the life they have;
 – Become more optimistic;
 – Fall in love during the challenge.

 

Today I decided to take on the challenge because:

1. I love taking photos

2. I love sharing on social media

3. I love any reason to focus on happiness

I challenge you all to join me on this journey and sign up for your own #100happydays.  Once the challenge is successfully completed you will get a little 100 page book for free of all your images. Don’t skip a day!

Here is my first #100happydays image.  It’s a post card from a former student worker who is now serving in the Peace Corps teaching in a small fishing village in Cambodia.  She wrote to thank me for my letter of recommendation which helped her get accepted into the program.  My heart swelled with pride when I read it.

cambodiapostcard

Please follow me on Instagram if you want to learn what makes me happy every day! I will gladly follow you back!

Thoughts on Addiction.

I have a pretty serious addiction.  It may be arguable but it’s actually in the Top 10 Most Common Addictions in America.

I find myself constantly thinking about one of the things that gives me a high, which is food.  Whether I’m happy, sad, complacent, or bored, I’m always thinking about my next “fix”.   Moreover, it’s usually unhealthy sugar or carbo loaded food that I know is poison to my body and will make me feel physically and mentally horrible afterwards.  It may also be an urge to eat any food (healthy or not) and feel that extremely full where it’s almost painful food coma, also known as overeating.  Both of these acts to be followed by shame and disgust.  I also find in trying to control my addiction to food, I tend to fill my “need hole” with a behavioral addiction in the form of exercise or shopping.. The only downfall is that exercise is work, shopping can cost too much money, and eating food is cheap & easy.  I am the type of person that likes cheap & easy!

So why do I still feel this urge to eat such horrible foods when it’s been proven from experience and SCIENCE that eating healthier not only makes you feel better but live longer?  Is it the taboo?  Is it depression?  Or is it addiction?

It’s a constant cycle no matter what your drug of choice.

I recently read a short article about how impulsive personalities are linked to food addiction, stating that while their “study shows that impulsive behavior was not necessarily associated with obesity, impulsive behaviors can lead to food addiction.”  It made me wonder if I have this type of personality or if I have an addictive personality, or if all of them are rolled up into one!  In doing some self analyzing I concluded that I just might have an impulsive personality but I struggle to contain it in accordance with social norms.  I do things that make me feel good, even if it may be defined as “unhealthy”, as long as it does seem to be hurting another person.  I’m not stealing from or attacking people because of my addiction.  This is how I justify my actions.  But in doing this I fail to take into account myself, and how my demise may effect those who love and care about me.  This is something I’ve been trying to figure out in therapy for the past year.  Addicts don’t realize how their decisions effect other people emotionally, because the need of getting that next high is too powerful.  So we see addiction as selfish and stupid.  This is why the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman struck a cord with me as people ridiculed him for overdosing on heroin while he had 3 children and a lucrative career.  I may not have an illegal drug addiction or an alcohol addiction, but food is my drug of choice.  And food is available almost anywhere and at any age so I don’t have to walk into a dark alleyway to buy a loaf of delicious crispy Italian bread for $50.

I strangely identified with this tragedy, which I thought was crazy since I’ve never been around any sort of illegal drug activity in my life.  Then I read that a study suggests “in some people’s brains high calorie foods can elicit cravings and trigger responses similar to those caused by addictive drugs,” and I felt compassion and sadness that his addiction got the best of him.  It must be great that some of those who spoke out angrily against Mr. Hoffman don’t have an addiction, good for you!  But for those of us who constantly have that feeling of needing something we know may kill us or make us unhealthy, whether now or over time, it’s not as simple as “he just didn’t care about anyone but himself.” It is more than that.  Addiction is a complex disease that changes brain chemistry in the user.

Addiction also comes in many forms aside from illegal substances & food, including the internet/technology, caffeine, pornography, sex, prescription drugs, gambling,  smoking, alcohol, video games, hoarding and yes even shopping!  The list does not stop there either.  There is that fine line between having a healthy relationship with these things and having a problem, and personally I feel no one should be judged for how their addiction controls them. Addiction may be difficult for those who don’t understand, I get that, I just hope people can find compassion in themselves for those who may not be as strong or as disciplined as they are.  I’m constantly wrestling with my addictions and though I feel I’m in a much better place than previous years, I will always struggle with unhealthy impulses.

All I can do is try to live better each day, work on being emotionally stronger, and ask for help.

Never be afraid to ask for help.  Please take time to read this compelling article by actor Russel Brand about his own struggle with addiction.  No words can describe the thoughtfulness and rawness of his words.

Is This Thing On?

HelloHello It’s time I crawl out from under my offline rock and get back into the blogging hemisphere.  I have much appreciation for those who continue to blog through the valleys of life, and I hope one day to be able to get to that point without turning into an Eeyore type personality.

Now it’s time to brace yourself and read a list of things I’ve learned over the past 6 months.  The bottom line is when someone you unconditionally love takes advantage of your kindness and betrays your trust, I found there are ways to move forward.

1. Trust.

  • Trust yourself.  Trust your instincts.  If you don’t have tangible evidence or proof but something going on in your relationship or your world in general doesn’t feel right, trust in your emotional intelligence. Hopefully you can distinguish control or abandonment issues from gut feelings. Sometimes I can’t until it’s too late and hindsight has become 20/20. But damnit, I am a smart woman. I am determined to trust myself more from this point on.

2. Know.

  • Know that you are stronger than you may think. Know that if you are not happy, you deserve better.  Know that your happiness should come before anyone elses and if someone is directly effecting your own mental health you must not ignore it or sweep it under the rug no matter how often the other person refuses to confront the issue. I do not mean to say you should be a selfish douchenozzle and fail to empathize with others.  I have learned that you won’t be able to get that warm and fuzzy feeling that comes with helping others if you aren’t taking care of your own emotional, physical, and spiritual well being.  It’s been a battle for me, and after 35 years I’ve realized I need to stop preaching and start believing.

3. Feel & Deal.

  • Feel the good, the bad, and the ugly and don’t put a time limit on it .  Years ago a good friend told me that you need to feel the hurt someone inflicted upon you so you never forget how that particular person effected you. I am someone who gives everyone the benefit of the doubt, so this is advice I personally take with a grain of salt as every situation is different.  But I often refer to those words when a person leads me into a gut wrenching wave of hurt. I’m also a type of person who wants to deal with any negative situation fast and furious because my rational side is saying MOVE ON, don’t be a Debbie Downer, while my sensitive side is clearly not listening.  If you are feeling great one day it’s completely understandable to not feel so great the next day.  I’ve had to hear that a few times from my loving friends over the past few months after I showed much frustration over my roller coaster emotions.  I repeat, there is no magic time limit! Ride the emotional wave, call on others for support, and the people who truly care about you will never make you feel like you cannot reach out to them or that your feelings aren’t justified.  If you must be an island but cannot find emotional ease, look to yourself to figure out why you try to do it all on your own instead of leaning on someone, whether it be a professional, family member, clergy, or friend.
  • Deal with the crappy negative emotions now so you can move to the beautiful and positive emotions later. Be patient.  I’m not a patient person when it comes to myself, so this is especially difficult for me to accept.  Deal with it so you can eventually put it behind you and possibly turn your trunks of baggage into a few carry on bags.

4. Cleanse.

  • Cleanse your life of emotional vampires.  There are 5 types of emotional vampires:  Narcissistic, Victim, Controller, Constant talker, and Drama Queen.  I may sound like a drama queen myself, but I recently cleansed my life of a couple of huge emotional vampires.  These types of people are the worst kind of abusers because most don’t see any harm in their actions and there is no physical scarring. There is plenty of psychological damage that can be done though if you are not self aware, careful, and trusting of your own instincts.

5. Forgive.

  • Forgiveness is an act for yourself, not others.  In some cases it’s your “self” that you must learn to forgive!  In all the research I’ve done over the past month in trying to understand if I’ve forgiven a specific person, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no timeline.  If you feel that you’ve forgiven someone but still get angered at the thought of what happened, you probably have not truly forgiven them and that’s ok!  Forgiveness does not make their actions any less excusable and it does not make you a bad person if you are unable to forgive! There may be specific things you deem unforgivable but true forgiveness cannot be forced. Be genuine with your forgiveness. Find it in your heart to forgive somebody for making a poor decision, or find it in your soul to forgive yourself for making a mistake (during this past relationship I made the mistake of letting my health and goals fall by the wayside, failing to put myself first, which I plan to write about in a future post). You will then find yourself free of any hold the person had on you. Afterwards, you can truly begin to move on.

6. Love.

  • Love yourself, love others, keep loving even after your heart has been smashed into a million pieces.  Love those who appreciate, support, comfort, educate, respect , and are kind.  I’ll never stop loving and falling in love.  It can get quite exhausting after being taken advantage of more than once, but I believe in Karma and in the power of positive thinking.  There are many degrees of love and I think everyone deserves love and happiness, even the emotional vampires.  I’ve learned to be a little more selective to whom I give my love but I will not give up on it’s amazing power. Sometimes you come across a bad seed in a world full of good ones, but don’t let them sour your spirit.

7. Learn.

  • Take your experience and learn from how it all unfolded.  My goal is to take negative heart crushing experiences and grow from every single detail without ending up a bitter old lonely cat lady or changing my trusting and gregarious nature.  I’ve come across the paths of people with many more years on this earth who have a delusional version of reality and truth and may never learn from their mistakes.  On the one hand it makes me sad, on the other hand it’s really none of my concern and I can continue to lead a fulfilling life without their skewed influence. A life I love, and a life I’ll only live once (since I’m unfortunately not a cat) so I might as well make it a happy and healthy life.

love-quotes_3638-3

Hump Day Humor (for tech geeks)

humpday for geeks

Just Breathe.

Just a quick post to remind you all to breathe.

In my weekly Yoga classes, we do a little breath control which really showed me how shallow my breaths are on a regular basis.  I love taking a deep controlled breath and feeling that stretch in my ribs and core muscles.  Paying attention to proper breathing benefits not only your body and fitness journey but also your emotional health.  Taking steady and relaxed breaths soothes the soul and enlightens your state of mind.  It is a true form of meditation.  A chaotic breath can denote a chaotic mind.  You can do breath control at work, at home, outside, at the gym.   Just make sure if you feel light headed to take a break!

Take 5 minutes and just breathe.  Take a mini vacation from every day stressors.  Everyone has time for that.

breath

RESOURCES:

What Are the Benefits of Breath Control Yoga

Yoga Breathing Exercises – Pranayama

MP3 Meditation Club: Click Here!

 

Focus on the Good.

With the horrible events over the past days in Boston, I find myself struggling between wanting to focus on learning more about the animals that terrorized that great city in order to find out ‘why,’ versus bringing sole focus on the good of mankind and the percentage of Americans who are not out to purposefully kill people.  I think I’ll choose the latter.  I hate giving the terrorist douchnozzles what they want:  Attention.  I feel the social media response has been wonderful by focusing on appreciating the first responders and victims of this tragedy and not losing faith in humanity, while still recognizing the magnitude of such horrible events.

positive1

patton

humanity

Sticking with the theme of focusing on the good, I’ve taken my anger and sadness regarding the Boston events and have been going to the gym.  Sounds shallow right?  Everyone has their way of dealing with tragedy, and right now mine is to focus my energy on something positive: Myself.  The way you choose to focus positively on yourself may be quite different from mine.  Mine just happens to be my health, energy, and self-confidence.

The more I read and think about the bombings, the sadder and angrier I get, which is surely what the terrorists want.  So I choose to be positive.  I choose to turn this negative energy into something good.  (I also chose to send help to the victims of the Boston Marathon Bombing via boston.com.  I chose to donate all I could afford to The One Fund Boston, but there are many other ways to send your assistance.  Please be sure not to get scammed with your online donation!)

Please don’t take this post as “I’m dedicating this workout to Boston” as this dude below did.  I appreciate anyone bringing their thoughts and prayers to the city, but this guy seems to be a bit of an attention whore.   That is not my intent and I will not be lifting my shirt up for the interwebs anytime soon.

workoutboston

I simply want to take this post as a chance to remind myself and others that there are bigger things going on in the world, so negatively focusing on yourself and your imperfections is a huge waste of your time and energy.  This is especially relevant with such a prevalent tragedy currently going on.  We should feel like life is something to appreciate every day, but not all of us do.  I know I don’t.  But today,  I actually enjoyed checking out my legs and glutes in the mirror when I put on my jeans.  They are not slim and slender, but they are strong and shapely, and that is a blessing.  Being healthy and alive is something to be recognized and appreciated.   With each breath I took in Yoga class the other night, I recognized the fact that I could in fact do just that…breath.

Take the time to focus on the good.  Appreciate what a wonderful parent, child, friend, partner, etc. you are to those who love you.  Recognize how well you treat your mind/body/soul.  High five yourself for reorganizing your finances or passing that exam or eating healthy today.  Take 10 minutes to meditate and clear your mind.  If you truly don’t feel there is any good or positive in your life, start with yourself.

Be good to yourself.

Be good to others.

The rest will follow.

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