Mother’s Day is a beautiful day – but we need to remember those that are not celebrating, rather hurting.
My grandmother passed away in November, and she lived right down the street from my mom. They spent every day together. She helped raise me and all of her grandchildren while my mom and her sister were working. She was my daughters best friend when I was in the hospital on my deathbed. This was our first Mother’s Day without her.
When I had my daughter, I had a very rare condition and was living in a small town. I’m a city girl but my ex husband moved us to a college town and I was shook. There were few doctors, and once negligence was conducted no doctor would touch me. I was given 3 days to live after going septic and having my uterus sewn to my colon. In a final attempt to save my life I was flown back to Dallas and the only way for me to survive was an emergency hysterectomy, 3 months after the birth of my first child. I will never have a chance to conceive again because I have no womb.
So while I celebrate and thank the Lord, I still weep knowing I am barren.
Many women don’t get the chance to have a child, suffer from infertility, or like myself have had to tragically undergo a hysterectomy for reasons such as PCOS, ovarian cancer, and other female health concerns.
Where ever you are, whatever your circumstances, prayer is on my mind and heavy on my heart. There is always hope and miracles DO happen. To the Angel baby mamas, Happy Mother’s Day to you. You’re still a mother and you will meet again. I love you all. Happy Mother’s Day
(A photo from after I had my emergency hysterectomy – malpractice that cost my uterus)
Now let’s get started! I think I did my part on the “baby blog” introducing myself, that I’m finally ready to hit the ground running with you all! So, first things first, I would like to give some of my personal learned advice:
• Before anything – you need a place to practice. Whether you choose a home room/gym or even a small area to convert into your yoga space, OR you choose a studio to practice in (or both), you need to figure out where you’ll be setting up. Gyms are great because if you have questions about different things you’ll need – you have all the answers. However, I’ve bought the same mats and yoga towels for a mere fraction of the price on Amazon and even places like Ross, $5 Below, etc. if you have them in your area. And for almost all of the items I haven’t noticed a difference even if they aren’t the same exact brand. However, some studios let you rent a mat, but if you’re attending often that adds up too. If you’re just trying it out for the first time – DON’T invest, just rent at least if it’s your first class.
If you’re choosing your home, there’s an investment which we don’t all have the luxury to do. I didn’t. So I started with a mat, a towel, (both from Amazon), and practiced on my back porch. I didn’t have a room to convert. I’ve also heard of people in my many groups talk about practicing in their garages (which I do that as well). (Tip: people who practice hot yoga can use a heater in their garage and I’ve heard it works really well minus the humidity part – hence why yoga is so costly to customers…not just a space and tools, but heat out the wazoo (you think your electricity bill is high!), plus such high humidity, showers, amenities…it’s expensive. So customers pay the price but it’s worth it if you want in studio practice which is what I (most people) start with. You can always transition or do both! Also, for a meditation or small yoga space, it doesn’t have to be a big room, I just want to emphasize that. You can really choose anywhere including the park as well! Just get started it’s not like you’re in a contract! Upgrade as you go.
Now that you have your space, here are some amazing tips along the way to further your practice, but as a starter you don’t need much. I say, don’t get ahead of yourself. You can always add more later. Maybe that’s the frugal mom in me, but hey, your checkbook (that shows my age doesn’t it?) will thank you!
• Whether it is Hot Yoga, Restorative Yoga, or just simply beautifully meditating — water is a must. Fact: 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. A big reason for this is because when the feeling of “thirst” begins, you’ve already become dehydrated. Your cells need it, your body needs it. It flushes toxins out of your body. If you are working out, it is going to help repair worn muscles so that they heal quicker = less soreness.
• You will definitely need some gear. Now, you can just start with a simple yoga mat as I said (I’m repeating some of the above here and adding on), and if you’re planning to do Hot Yoga, a non-slip towel is a must (I’ll post a how to on what is a real non slip towel because some claim not slip, but you want it to have a specific grip on top of your mat). Not only is hot yoga…hot…it is around 60-65% humidity. So slipping and sliding on a mat while trying to stay focused and give it your all is just not happening. Those are the first two. Absolutely must haves. As you progress OR as a beginner to aid you getting into poses, holding them without injury, and transitioning from assisted to full expression, there are so many great tools.
• One for starters that is the first go-to would be a yoga block. This can do just about anything. You can place it underneath areas to prop you up, you can use it to lean on in postures that you cannot hold, you can even do workouts alone with them, such as side to side upward crunches. You can also hold the block with your feet while laying, feet a few inches above the floor, and move the legs vertical – grab the block by reaching, now lower the legs and arms but don’t touch the floor (I’ll post a how-to). Killer abs right there! Blocks are #1 PROP to start.
• Bolsters – you can use bolsters which are similar to pillows to aid you in positions, sit on, and they’re great for prenatal yoga. You can do a lot of postures and get a lot of relief from postures by adding a bolster (same pose, different benefits). This is used a lot in Hatha and restorative. I’m a hot yoga girl so bolsters aren’t top of my list but a lot of people prefer traditional yoga which would mean bolsters could be a LOVE for you.
• Yoga straps – (I LOVE THESE) – wonderful for flexibility. You can hang them over the door knob, you can wrap them around the feet and pull one leg, you can do a ton of things for strength and flexibility with yoga straps and there are different forms and variations for different achievements.
• For Yin, restorative, slower type meditation blankets are great.
• Chairs are so cool! They aid you into poses but they also allow you to do poses you can’t do on a regular flat surface (floor) on your mat.
• Oils – at the end of each class (since I primarily do hot yoga I use a cold towel) but any temperature will do, with some essential oils, place it over the face and just lie there in savasana. Soak in your hard work, be proud of yourself, rest, and be grateful for the day ahead. (My personal favorites are Lavender, Lemongrass, Frankincense. You can get them through MLM but I get mine at a health food store. But really you can even get them at Target or on Amazon.
• Extra towel for the face/body sweat. MUST.
• Yoga Wheel – I have Yoga Buddy’s yoga wheel and with back pain I am in heaven. I don’t just use it for yoga, I get it out throughout the day and open up my vertebrae. So simple but so rewarding. You can also do poses on it or balance on it – a lot harder than it looks! I’ll be doing a WHOLE post simply on the wheel because I’m OBSESSED.
• Other great tools (but not as essential) include salt lamps, diffusers, playlists, sandbags, sound healing (such as gongs), and bars. Lastly for class you have to have a mirror (unless you’re outside). That IS essential for in-studio yoga practice.
This was just some baby tips, and I’ll do posts on them, where to find them, great brands, what to look for, etc. but I wanted to start easy. So — stay tuned!
As I’m still in my beginning baby blog stages, I’m hoping you learn more about me before I get into the good stuff (even though this post is the BEST stuff). I am a Christian Yogi, and there’s a very common misconception that Christianity and Yoga do not mix. In fact it’s a common misconception that they are polar opposites and I’m here to tell you that is false.
Although the poses (asanas) in yoga are meant to aid you physically, they are very much also meant to connect you to God. Now, that’s where it gets tricky. There are gods, goddesses, it is rooted in Buddha teachings which I’m not here to disagree with, but the question is – WHAT GOD are we talking about?
The choice is yours. For me – I strongly believe in one God, Jesus of Nazareth. I am a Bible based yoga if you will. For others, their God may be their money. It may be of a different religion and I’m not here to bash that. But as I introduce you to myself, there is no better day to post on Christian Based Yoga, or at least my belief system and my God whom I connect with while practicing.
In Yoga Teacher Training, we learn many things that go against my belief system, because we have to have a foundation as to why yoga is different than other physical practices. It integrates physical practice with mindfulness, connection to the one you serve, and so forth. But it was founded many years ago, one thing that stuck with me about the poses and the practice and art of yoga is that people were unaware of God. They didn’t understand nature. They didn’t understand things like storms, droughts, natural disasters and they wanted to make peace with “who” was doing this. You have to take your mind back in time, far from the knowledge we have now, forget religion. I’ll save the rest of that origin for another day. And … for the record – I am FAITH based, BIBLE based, and I don’t succumb to a religion or pastor or anything other than what is written.
One more thing – I have 3 Bachelor’s degrees and it made no sense to my family (also hardcore believers) why I would spend thousands on yoga school to take an immense pay-cut. It also was uneasy to them because they believed yoga to be of another religion, postures, asanas representing forms of worshipping other Gods. His word says there shall be no other God, and it frightened them that I was swaying from my belief system.
Is it true that is questionable whether it is okay for Christians to practice yoga? Yes! I’ve walked into many studios that were about spiritual downloads (again another topic), and tarot and leading spirits in. Let me say I’ve swayed from my belief system before and I very much believe (declare) we live in a spiritual realm. I have let unwelcome spirits in, and it’s a scary place to be. I’ve walked right out of those places.
Did you know, however, that the postures are actually found throughout scripture! God created us to be spiritual beings, with a body to help facilitate connection with Him. These postures actually BRING us closer to prayer and closer to thoughts and feelings directly to our prayer life. In yoga, we can use this gracefully to move, facilitate, breathe, speak with God, our Creator.
Let’s get a little deep… but to be honest these below are only the tip of the iceberg with very little commentary and one of many verses attached.
• Standing – Mark 11:25 “…and when you stand praying…” Can we not worship standing, praising? Can we not show God honor by standing to worship and pray? (Mountain Pose, Warrior)
• Kneeling – all throughout scripture. Do many of us not kneel as we pray? Kneeling is humility in form. (Hero, childs pose)
• Sitting – 2 Samuel 7:18 “Then King David went and sat before the Lord” or how about the last supper? Fact: the actual first yoga pose was sitting. When we sit we are still with God, to meditate, pray, speak to Him, and this goes with many of the other bullets I have listed, which are VERY minute. (Lotus, simple seated, bound ankle)
• Extending Arms -Exodus 9:29 “…I will spread out my arms in prayer to the Lord…” (Moses). what a way to demonstrate our gratitude for the glory bestowed upon us! I know in church (and I will add this here, again, I’m Bible based even though I did grow up Baptist AND Catholic, I believe the Bible and I am not of denomination. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being of one, that’s just my preference. Back to the point, when we extend our arms, we may be opening them to acceptance of His gifts, giving praise, receiving. (Tree)
• Bow – Genesis 24:26-27 “Then the man bowed down and worshipped the Lord…” I don’t think there’s really much to say about bowing and praying. It’s another act of humility, and it is all throughout scripture. We bow because we honor, and physically acknowledge that we aren’t on the same playing field. In fact we are servants, not even worthy to look up to God. (Bow (duh), humble warrior, forward fold)).
• Laying – Job 1:20-21 “…the he fell to the ground in worship.” (Job) – we lie down in many emotions and pour out our struggles, because He cares. Another act of humility. Also – Be still and know. Be. Still. (Childs pose, puppy pose, prostrate, savasana)
• Glancing Up – Psalm 121 “I lift my eyes up to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker, of heaven and Earth.” So many passages throughout the Bible – he also wants us to look up to Him in PRAISE. Again, we aren’t on a level playing field but we ARE showing a physical act of worship and invitation from the Lord to show such gratitude of His mercy. (Pretty much all poses!)
•Free Movement – Psalm 149:3 “Let them praise His name with dancing and make music to Him with trimbrel and harp.” He wants us to be happy! He wants us to dance! We were not created to be idle. It is joyful and freeing. (In yoga, flows are “dancing”)
•Wrestling – Genesis 32:24 “So Jacob was left alone and a man wrestled with him til daybreak…” (some believe this man to be God, because the the verse continues to say “…I will not let you go until you bless me.” I can’t personally think of whom else that could be that would be worthy of being blessed. How many times have we wrestled with God? How many times were our ways better than His in our minds? His ways are not ours but we will wrestle for much longer than Jacob did until we finally BLESS HIM!
•Meditation – Genesis 24:63 “He went out to the field one evening to meditate.” It boggles my mind how people believe meditation is not the same as prayer, or being alone with God. It is EXACTLY the same thing. The issue is the verbiage. The issue is that we have a breakdown that meditation is … something else. Meditation is throughout the Bible so much that I’d have to do a 5-day lesson without break to even go there! Mind. Body. Spirit.
So my friends, remember on this day and every day – Connect to breath, sync body and mind, be with Him in stillness/mindfulness, and meditate on HIM and His blessings.
Before I move any further – What a beautiful day to talk to you all and share the star of this show, the reason why I’m not just the Bomb Yoga’er 🙂 – My daughter, Miss Bree Noelle.
I am the proud Mommy of a fabulously fierce and precious three-nager and even though I’m broke on band-aids, one thing is for sure…I AM BEYOND BLESSED. Regardless of our traumatic birth story, we survived, and we are here to walk hand in hand sharing that story, helping others thrive, and showing compassion and love…because that’s what we’re all about.
When Bree isn’t yoga-ing, with Mama, she loves to do all the things I did as a kid. She’s a TomBoy at heart, and loves frogs, lizards, and even just got her new fish, Tutu De Frio….I’ll let that one sink in. Thats what she names every new animal. Isn’t it funny kids make up the funniest names and stick with it? Mine was “The Flying Vantist.” So, it’s quite fair to say the apple does NOT fall far from the tree.
We love to go hiking, playparks, trampoline parks, THE park, and she can even go to the movie now! Side note: Tom & Jerry – not for 3 year olds. We did see Raya and the Last Dragon, and it was great but if you’ve got a threenager, it is a bit scary. We were so blessed to see the last showing of The Secret Life of Pets 2 and that was a hit. (As you see I’ll give some recommendations here and there, some for mommin’ some for everyday life, fashion, fitness, health, you get it…)
I am a single mom and have been for her entire life; when life throws you punches like it did with my birth story and all that snowballed afterwards, it’s a true test of how strong your marriage is. Nothing worth keeping is easy. Unfortunately things didn’t pan out the way we liked even though we did actually have a white picket fence, (and I have some help for NPD/abuse victims in the future), but at least we have US.
I’d like to take a minute for a time out and get down to one of my favorite poses, if not my favorite: Camel Pose or Utrasana. In this photo I was captured naturally going back into it and it made for a really breathtaking photo, because there’s more than just first glance. If you think about it, seeing this photo you may subconsciously feel warmth, peace, happiness, gratitude, all the things behind the lens and what we really desire. All the things that yoga is meant to bring to our lives. Joy, love, warmth, I hope this photo captured it rather than just a pose. At least for me it did.
Now let’s get into the nitty gritty of Utrasana, Camel Pose from a beginner standpoint. Camel pose isn’t a pose you want to start your first day. You work into in, and then one day you are there. I cannot stress enough that with poses (or ‘asanas’), you reap benefits no matter where you’re at. You’ll hear me repeat this on other poses because what we do is what our body allows in that moment, and THEN comes full expression. I’m not even in full expression here as I have one arm up as I was going back. Below I will post a photo of full expression.
Camel pose is a huge “heart opener.” Not just literal. It’s also worded as a chest opener – well absolutely! I don’t think I needed words to say that – the picture does that for me. But this pose isn’t just a fun looking pose. The benefits are endless and the reason I absolutely love this pose and do it constantly, for the first years of my practice this was the ONE. Now I have many, but this remains top 3. As I’ve stated I have severe chronic back pain – I have a titanium disc in my neck with full discectomy (which failed), and I have herniations, spondylosthesis, disc degeneration, herniations that are near my spinal cord at every level (cervical, thoracic, and lumbar), and I’ll stop with the main guy which is scoliosis, diagnosed at age 5. To this day I wear a device that also pulls my shoulders open similar to this pose. So, if you suffer from back pain, here’s your homework. Start now! Let’s get you into full expression. Even if this is the only pose you’ll ever do and yoga isn’t your thing. Think of it as physical therapy.
Where was I? Okay – so camel is my love and has been for a long time. I remember one class, and they forgot to do camel. That was like 7 years ago. And I still remember it!!!
Camel pose is THE pose if you have back issues, or you have poor posture. This is the opposite of slumping all day so when you get to full expression your body is going to literally adore you and you will feel something I can’t describe (and that’s just the physical aspect).
Not only does this pose open the whole front of the body and strengthens the spine, it actually reaps so many other benefits that would surprise you. To name a few, it stretches:
Thorax (Space between your neck and abdomen, including rib cavity, breastbone)
I want to stop and mention the importance of the thorax – as stated it is the space between throat and abdomen. One you have a mental picture – let me expand. This included the above areas mentioned, the chest, but it is highly important to know it contains the chief organs of circulation and breath/respiratory. You feel it, but you don’t really think about it until you think about it. Ya know? In all seriousness, it’s great for asthmatics (self), and people with other respiratory disorders such as COPD, and…COVID-19. In fact I take CEU’s at least three times a week, and we do a LOT of Zoom conferencing on post (and pre – let’s get strengthened to better stave it off if God forbid it is contracted), but A LOT of Covid-19 care and recovery.
Regardless, camel pose will have a lot of other posts but since I just took this photo 2 days ago I wanted to post now, even though I haven’t gotten into poses/asanas and benefits, or anatomy and physiology. I hope if you were brought here it is because you need light, you have back pain and need this guidance, or maybe you just needed to start your day with a photo that is more than a physical body and exudes light and love. That’s what I’m about.
First off, I want to let everyone know – the common theory that Mondays suck = DEBUNKED. Monday’s don’t suck. But I remember when I thought they did. In fact, that notion began every Sunday around 6pm, having panic attacks that soon I’d be back at my day job in medical billing/coding, that I HATED. However, there really didn’t seem a way out. Remember I’m getting ancient and back then (lol…ok like a decade ago), there weren’t so many avenues of getting out of the rat race unless you were born already out or struck the lotto.
Regardless, I’m here to tell you, starting today, repeat after me, Monday’s do not suck, Monday’s do not suck, Monday’s do not suck…
Before I get in depth I’m still in the baby stages of this blog so I want to start from the ground up so my posts become more and more content that you can read as you go and come back to the beginning if you’re feeling a little lost. This blog is for everyone – beginner to guru to just someone interested in a good read. No matter where you’re at, you’ll get SOMETHING out of it. Even if it’s just removing that mind controlled thinking of “Monday’s suck.” (If you’re a yogi and need a mantra for the day – there ya go!)
The coolest thing about yoga is that it is unique from any other practice in that it is mind – body – soul. It’s not just a workout, it actually doesn’t have to be physical at all. You can get on your mat and literally do nothing, do everything, do some, or even stay off your mat and do yoga in your head. Yes, you can practice yoga in your head. So there’s another one for today – Meditation Monday!
In yoga, the first and foremost thing I have every student do is to create an intention for their practice. I remember THE ENTIRETY of my yoga practice before I became a registered yoga teacher, I never did that. I went because it helped me with my ailments, back pain, energy level, and mood (and so much more). But even though I was told to set an intention, I never did. I didn’t know how to, and I didn’t even really know what that meant.
Setting an intention is integral for your practice. It can be a goal, something you wish to achieve, a desire, anything you wish. But you have to mentally set this and stick to it throughout your practice and even your day, week…until it isn’t just an intention. It’s a habit.
There are 3 things that are the hardest about yoga. #1 is simply just showing up. It takes a million times more effort to show up to a class than it does to participate in it. However, I’ve never shown up and regret it. Not once. #2 is shutting off your mind. We live in an age where we have 24 hours in a day and need 72 at the least; thoughts are racking our mind of our to-do’s, don’t do, comparisons (big NO-NO), and for even one hour we can’t just make our brain be quiet. Too bad! You have to. If you want the benefits of the practice you have to drown out all of the clutter and nonsense from the days before and ahead and simply be in that moment. There will come a time when it becomes second nature you don’t even hear the instructor anymore. #3 Comparison – of course if you show up to a class and you’re new, you’re going to be compelled to see all the other people who have been practicing for years and it’s going to probably sway you a bit. If it doesn’t sway you, it probably will at the least make you start to compare yourself. STOP. If they went as a novice to something you are an expert at, the tables would be turned. They’re not looking at you. Don’t look at them! And another thing I realized is that you probably will also (at least I did) forget about all the other beginners in there with you. So don’t be intimidated. You. Will. Get. There.
Take breaks when you need. Repeat your mantras. Stay silent during class and in your overloaded hard drive noggin. Calm your mind. If you need something to focus on – focus on your BREATH.
This practice is YOURS and it is sacred. Honor your body, honor your mind, and honor your soul. Until next time, NAMASTE my friends.
Hey Yogis, Parents, and HUMANS! Isn’t it a great time to be present and alive? I am a yoga mompreneur of a threenager. After practicing yoga in-studio, I decided to plunge in and get my yoga journey REALLY started. So, I became a yoga practitioner through the Yoga Alliance. What most people don’t realize is people advertise as yogis, gurus, coaches, and they don’t have the tools behind it. Why? Because yoga school is EXPENSIVE and the salary is LOW. I have my Bachelor’s in Social Sciences, Community Studies, and Humanities and I worked in healthcare for over 10 years making way more than a yoga teacher, they say in yoga, don’t quit your day job! But I say don’t quit your daydream. And for years it has been taunting me to take this to the next level so here I am. Money is nothing if you aren’t doing what you love!
So what also really makes my story unique is I’ve integrated it into being a better parent, living a healthy lifestyle, practicing a healthy mindset, and just loving more outside of the limits within ME. Yoga isn’t selfish. So buckle up whether you’re at the coffee shop or on your mat and let’s get started!
I’ve been wanting to blog before blogging was a thing, before Instagram was a thing (if that doesn’t tell you my age…). But I never really had the PUSH to go for it, because back then it wasn’t easily accessible and I had no idea where to start. Now, after I became registered with the highest of yoga alliances (well, the Yoga Alliance, or YA), and many sleepless nights of dying to do this, here I am. Now let’s go!
This is JUST an intro, of the basics for my blog rather than just a journal…
Journaling is great but when you think about sharing your knowledge with others, expanding with others, connection, and simple things you’ve learned over the years, in my opinion, you need a blog. We all know the cliché, but I’ll say it anyway, sharing is caring!
Now I want to be clear on something also; there are a LOT of types of yoga. And when I say that I don’t mean just physically. I am referring more to the internal form and yoga can get a bad rap. For instance, it’s origin. People may or maybe not think you’re worshipping the gods of another culture. And I’m not here to judge. But I am here to expand on what I do, and what I don’t do. As for you – I hope regardless what you read leads you to what is best for YOU!
I’m an extroverted introvert, I know, it’s also chichè, but this is a great way to connect with other yogis/yoginis/gurus/practitioners, parents, entrepreneurs, and bloggers of all types! I look forward just as much to LEARNING as I do to teaching.
You’ll see my girl bug, Bree the the teenager on here. You’ll see fashion I just can’t pass up but to share since I have a platform. But, I will try my best to keep focus on yoga, parenting, this crazy thing called life; but you will read some posts you also may not expect (divorce, abuse, misconduct, addiction, yin and yang because I want to be AUTHENTIC and my life is so far from perfect no matter how far I stray), so I encourage you to stay for a while!
Lastly, I want to emphasize I’m not here to push my way of exercising, lifestyle, parenting, etc. Throw out the age-ism. Throw out the divide in our countries (PS – I may not appear, but I am indigenous/Native). A true yoga practitioner understands that regardless of the type of yoga, it’s not just physical. We honor one another, love one another, and accept one another into our tribe as our own regardless of our likes and differences. NAMASTE my friends!
H I hope you’ve made it thus far, and I’ve piqued your interest. I’m trying not to go crazy with the ideas that keep me up at 2 am for the past decade or you will be lost like nobody’s business. But during this journey I hope I learn BUT my purpose here is to be a light and a servant (May I highly suggest reading The Five Love Languages). My gain is not selfish or greedy. I hope to bring that perseverance, knowledge, service to each and every one of you.
Lastly I’ll be posting free tutorials and zoom classes once I get the hang of this! Again, let’s serve.