When Yoga Can’t Fix Everything

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“A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.” -Aesop

We all have heard it, “Yoga is the cure-all for any and everything.” I will be the first to admit, that yoga does indeed help with a lot. It helps with stress, posture, improves cognitive function, helps with sleep, makes you aware of your body, and so on and so forth. It isn’t just the postures, but the mind set that is created while partaking in the practice. However… no one system is perfect. Every individual is different, and sometimes yoga just doesn’t cut it.

I am not bashing yoga in any way, but from my own personal experience, sometimes an hour on that mat just does not make me calm, cool, and collected. Sometimes I feel worse off after a class than I did before. I have to be aware of my body and how I feel, not let my emotions get in the way of my postures and use them as fuel to move through it, and all that breath work stirs up hidden emotions and issues I have been holding onto. Have you ever seen someone cry in the middle of class while doing certain poses? I have and I have also been that person. I have fallen apart on the mat all due to anxiety, fear, hate, pain, and sadness.

The best way to put it is I am like a glass window, people read me really well with what is going on in my head and I am not one to hide my emotions very well at all. Granted, it takes a lot for me to have a full on meltdown or cry in public, but none-the-less, my face tells all. So, what happens when the anxiety monster comes creeping in and I am trying to bang out even a few minutes of practice? Sometimes, nothing…and I can let it go. Other times, I turn into a giant mess and just curl up in a ball mid practice. I guess it is a part of life and we all have something to work on, but lately it has been awful. It is harder for me to pay attention to my body and stay focused for a full practice than it is for me to go for a long walk…so I go for a walk.

It is not that I am ignoring my practice, but actually listening to what my body needs and wants. Some days, I want to do a deep asana practice with lots of bends and folds, other days I only want to go slow and do a few easy postures, and other days I just don’t fool with it at all and just try to do something else that is good for me. Yes, the emotions are still there and I try my best to deal with them, but I do think it is rather foolish for someone to think that yoga is the ONLY thing that can help out. I have met people in the past who have scoffed at my outlook and said, “You should practice more, you aren’t serious, you’re missing something, why would you say such a thing?” Truth is, my practice might indeed be deeper than theirs for that reason, but I am not one to judge. We all have our own path in life, so I am just going to do what feels right for me and let the haters sip on that hater-aid.

So, what is your body telling you? Namaste.

Love Actually

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       “Distance is just a test to see how far love can travel…”

Love, it is a funny thing. It comes when you least expect it and it stays when you need it most. Love is the meeting of two souls, fully accepting the dark and the light within each other bound by the courage to grow through struggle into bliss. It is more than just a word or material things…love is, well… multifaceted, delightfully complicated yet simple, and above all it is wonderful. You know that moment when someone is trying to tell you something, but you don’t know what it is? Where you think you aren’t going to ever be able to have that certain thing you have been looking for so you just give up and say fuck it? Then all of a sudden it just…well happens? That basically describes this whole situation, at least basically.

I have had a rough time in the dating world. Unlike most of the population that is focused on external things and not much for rocking the boat, I on the other hand have a more old fashioned way of seeing things…with a dash of a modern twist, of course. I love deeply, I think deeply (and often), I feel deeply, and I have a more grand understanding of what is going on around me than most of the people I have come into contact with. I do understand that having a brain, plus being relatively attractive does make me a bit intimidating. I have scared the shit out of many men, I have made many a man mad, and I also have caused many a man to turn into a beast and make a total ass of himself (not on purpose, mind you). I hate to say it, but I kinda gave up on love for that very reason…almost. Not completely, but I was rather fed up, to say the least.

How did it happen? Well, it goes a little something like this… I received a message from someone who was in town for furniture market and wanted to hang out. Needless to say, I bit for a moment, but decided maybe it wasn’t a good idea to get involved with someone who wasn’t going to be around for very long. So, I went about my business as usual. Then, one fine day while I was working a very handsome man decided to show up to the store. I admired his ensemble and thought he looked rather dashing in his “where’s waldo” like hat. Once I got a good look at him though, I realized i had seen this man before…but not in person. I watched as he looked about puzzled through the store, occasionally giving me glances with the same thought I had rolling around in my head. “Who are you and why do I know you?” He walked up to the register and I was blunt and said, “Are you here for furniture market?”

He replyed, “Yes, I am.” “Are you a photographer?” “Yessss…I am.” he said puzzled. “I think you messaged me.” “Yes, I think I did…” “Hi….my name is Michelle and it’s nice to meet you.” I waved my hand in a slow circle. “Hi, my name is Jeffery and it’s nice to meet you.” We both laugh a little bit at the situation, make idle chitchat about kombucha, and then said we should talk more. then he left. Needless to say, I was a bit taken aback at the randomness and highly unlikely situation that just occurred in the past 10 minutes. I received a message a little bit later saying, “Well, now that we have met in person, would you like to hang out tomorrow?” Of course I said yes…and so we met for crepes the next day.

I wore my hair curly and donned my favorite sweater-dress that had a fox on it, along with cowgirl boots because I just got off of work. He just being off work as well wore a very nice red plaid aztecy button down and jeans. We talked over a vegan crepe. He had coffee and I had Le Croix. We decided to take my car to head to the “big city” of Winston and I took the back roads. I showed him around a few of my favorite spots, grabbed a cup of coffee that was a bit too hot so I made it into ice coffee, then settled on having drinks at a few of my favorite bars. He let me try his scotch while I had an old fashioned. We talked the night away, laughed and shared stories. Later a girl came by and he bought me a rose, which he said were his favorite. We kissed…and in that very moment I knew this was different than anything I had ever experienced in my entire life. I had fireworks, my heart lit up like a Christmas tree, and I felt a warmth that I had never imagined was possible. Everything just stopped…and the rest is history.

We have been talking ever since and even though we don’t live very close, the passion is still there. We message, talk on the phone, send random e-mails and pictures of what we are doing, share songs that we think the other would like, and even watch movies together (at the same time at least). If distance makes the heart grow fonder, I will go ahead and say that is a damn true statement. I honestly cannot wait to see him again and the feeling is mutual. I don’t know where this road is going to lead me, but I am going to go with it because I feel like there is some higher forces in the cosmos at work here. Love is an amazing thing and I am glad it happened over kombucha in a small town during furniture market with a one in a billion chance. My dreams are leading me there, so lets see how it goes. Namaste.

Embracing Uncertainty

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“I know nothing with certainty, but the site of the stars makes me dream.” –Van Gogh

As I mentioned in my last post, I am planning on moving to New York. For me, this is a huge step because I have never lived anywhere else other than the small town of Winston-Salem. Granted, I have traveled a lot and I get asked all the time why I am still here. But you know what? I am ready for this…mostly. I still have a lot to plan and have to hammer out all the details in the process. The good news is I have the support emotionally to be able to do this. I think the biggest challenge for me is…well, myself.

We all do it, we hold ourselves back. Sometimes more often than others. Why? It is the whole, “I have no idea what is going to happen, so I am just going to play it safe and keep all my I’s dotted and T’s crossed.” This whole year has basically turned my view point on its head. From changing jobs, meeting new people, new relationships, traveling like crazy, the way I eat, and deciding what to do with myself I basically have no other choice but to let go and embrace the unknown. I can’t play it safe anymore, I just cannot do it. I am meant for greener pastures and have the ability to do whatever I choose to do. I don’t care what anyone else has to say, I have to believe it for myself. So, I am making it a point to actually do that.

When you embrace what scares you the most, then you have no choice but to surrender and let go. For me, it is embracing failure. If I don’t try, then I don’t fail, but in the end I did fail because I never tried at all. I want to be a yoga instructor and guru. I want to help people though the ancient practice of Yoga and Ayurveda. I want to travel the world doing what I love and I can and will do it, dammit. If your dreams don’t scare you, then they are not big enough…or so the saying goes. So, if I fail to do that then that is perfectly okay. I am sure that something better will arise if it does not happen, but I am going after my dreams regardless.

So, ask yourself, what scares you the most and why? What are you holding yourself back from? Make it a point to recognize it, accept that it is fear, and then take the steps to let it go. After all, most fears are not based in reality and it is pointless to hold onto them. Namaste.

 

Reevaluation

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“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”
― Gautama Buddha, Sayings Of Buddha

Well, that was a bit of a hiatus, to say the least. Hi all, I am back. Life got the better of me for a little while and because of that, I really couldn’t bring myself to blog. I did, however, write quite a bit. It just was more for myself and my own musings so I could figure out where I was. In that time I have found a steady job (go me!) at a local health food store called The Only Earth in High Point, North Carolina as well as had my figure modeling take off. I have painted, traveled, done lots of photography, learned lots of different recipes, dated a few people, and met some really interesting individuals along the way.

I also have decided to undertake my yoga teacher certification and am trying to plan my Exodus of North Carolina to greener (or more concrete) pastures of New York City. Yep, that is right… This small town girl is going to make it in the Big Apple. Why? Well, I have a few reasons. One of them being that it has been calling my name since I visited back in September of 2012. As soon as I was on the bridge and started walking on the streets, I knew I was home. The rush, the liveliness, the smells, the people, just all of it. I HAD to go back.

Another reason is because every single person I have come into contact with has asked me why the hell I was here and why haven’t I gone somewhere else. “You are too smart, pretty, cultured, amazing, [insert other reason/complement here] to be here. What in God’s name is holding you back?!?!?!” Needless to say, I really haven’t had an excuse except fear. Fear of failing, fear of the unknown, fear of making a mistake, and most of all the fear of disappointment. I have known for a very long time that, yes, I don’t really fit in around here. But, instead of just wallowing in the uncertainty, I am just going to put on my big girl britches and do it.

My final reason is because…well the opportunity has arrived, more or less. You know when you really want something, but you never think you are going to get it, so you just avoid it? Then the Universe just smacks you upside the face and goes, “HEY! YOU! This is what you want so have at it. You’re welcome.” Then you just stand there a bit flabbergasted and then you run with it because you know deep down you CAN and WILL make it happen? Yeah, that kinda happened. I am going to leave that one there for now and explain later in more detail because one blog post will not do it justice.

So, that is where I am at in life. Am I scared? Maybe a little bit. Will I let my fears get in the way of things? Hell no! I am probably the happiest I have been in a very long time because frankly, I am going after what I want. That being said, I am trying to revamp said blog, so if you see some changes ascetically, then that is why. Stay tuned, I will be writing more often now that I actually have my head screwed on properly. Namaste!

Inner Wisdom

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“He listened yet more intently to what was within him, to the past, to see whether that voice of memory truly foretelling the future would not speak to him again, revealing the present to him as well as the past.”
― Stefan Zweig, Journey Into the Past

Meditation is hard. It’s an honest fact of life that when you try and sit still for however long, your mind will wander about and then you have to constantly remind yourself to come back to the breath and inner peace instead of following your thought patterns that you have created. There, I said it. I am human and sometimes when I sit on a cushion or I am in shavasana my mind will go in a million different directions and I am just beyond frazzled. They say that is when we need to practice the most. If you have time, then practice for 10 minutes. If you don’t have time, then practice for an hour. Or so they say…

Lately, I have taken to listening to my body and see what it really needs instead of forcing it into something. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I do need a good kick in the tush to do my meditation or yoga practice. As of right now though, looking within to what I need is helping me tremendously. Sometimes I will practice for over an hour, sometimes for 10 minutes, and sometimes I just will go with the flow of what I need and do short spurts.  Everyday is always something new and we are forever changing. Because of that, sometimes our practice needs to change and we should be more fluid.

We all need to go inside ourselves and see what we truly need to nourish our souls because the answers are never outside, but always within. Why? Because we are all connected to everyone and everything on this planet. Why do you think we have such similar DNA to chimps, dandelions, and other things? We are all made of the same stuff. We feel we should look outside of ourselves for answers, that we need guidance or approval of others.  The things is we don’t NEED it in the original sense. More so, it is a good indicator or reminder that we are on the right path so we are able to realize something within ourselves. Our egos trick us into thinking we know nothing, when in reality, we know a lot more than we give ourselves credit for. We just need to go within.

So, instead of beating yourself up because your meditation practice, yoga practice, or whatnot is not how it normally is, just relax. ask your body what it needs and you’ll be able to figure it out and better practice being present. Namaste.

Breakfast of Champions

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I went to a cafe that advertised breakfast anytime, so I ordered French Toast during the Rennaisance.” –Stephen Write

As we all know, breakfast is really good for you. It wakes you up, breaks the hunger from when you are sleeping (thus breaking the fast), and it boosts your metabolism. But what is a vegan suppose to do at breakfast? Most breakfast foods now a days are not vegan friendly. Sure, you could get the vegan bacon that tastes like cardboard or the sausage that resembles a hockey puck (I have had good versions but most are sub par, mind you) or even do a tofu scramble which is a poor substitute for eggs. But what about soup?

Tons of Asian countries have vegan friendly breakfast options that most people are not familiar with. A few of my top favorites are Congee, a rice porridge from china; Nabe; a Japanese breakfast soup; Miso, another Japanese soup; and Golden Milk; a thick Indian drink. There are plenty of others, but what I have been doing lately for breakfast is just making a quick vegan veggie soup in the morning. Sometimes even in the microwave if I don’t have much time in the morning. All you need is some hot water, a miso packet or vegan bullion cube, a few greens and mushrooms or veggies of choice and BAM! Breakfast is served. It’s warm, healthy, and easy.

If you want something crunchy or toothsome then make a piece or 2 of toast from some local bread. I really like Jewish Rye because it has a lower glycemic index and it also has lots of flavor. Plus it tastes really good when you dip it in the broth. Maybe it’s just me, but I always feel better when I have something warm for breakfast and it makes me feel alive again. So, next time you don’t know what to make in the mornings, try some soup along with your morning cup of coffee or tea. Namaste

Creating Space

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“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built.”-Rumi

Hello all, I have returned. I took a hiatus from blogging for a bit to recollect my thoughts and get in touch with a few of my emotions I have needed to work on. Sometimes that is all we can do is allow ourselves to have space. We often try to either A) attack whatever our issues are head on without understanding them first, B) ignore said issues and hope they just magically disappear or fix themselves, C) blame our issues on others or try and shove them off onto other people, or D) a mixture of all three and then become extremely confused and/ or angry. I would have to say I was doing all three depending on what it was.

Breaking patterns is never easy. Understanding thought tunnels, triggers, and patterns you have created within yourself is sometimes difficult, but it does not need to be painful. With my shift that I have had this year and all the new things I have done to start this new journey, I have encountered a TON of things I had thought I had dealt with. That is where I discovered that I had done “All of the above”. The self-depreciating monster has decided to show its  ugly head in waves and I have let fear, anger, and sadness take root in things that have nothing to do with reality. This has been going on for awhile and well…I’m working on it.

Also with those discoveries, I have become more spiritual because I am starting to unravel this cocoon of fear and chaos that I have created for myself. We are all responsible for our own issues, how we deal with them, create them, and end them. So, I am  taking responsibility for those things and moving forward. No more shoving them off on other people. No more blaming others for my problems. No more ignoring them. I will sit, contemplate, and then take a course of action and allow myself to feel and be loved. I do deserve this, its just sometimes you need someone to remind you of that.

So, to help out with this I have come up with a game plan. I’ll spell it out over the next couple of blog posts with points I am working on. Yes, Blogging on the regular is one of those points as well as yoga, meditation and some fasting/cleansing. It will all work out in the end. For now though I will continue my day of hibernating and work on my game plan. Namaste.