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If you have known me less than 9 years, you only know me as the person I am today.   I owe this transformation to yoga.  If you have known me longer than 9 years it may be difficult to believe I have changed.  I am still me, I’m just a much better version of me.  A more heightened awareness of my faults and shortcomings of being human.  In yoga we say, awareness is the first step.  The first step to making a change.  

For those of you that haven’t known me long wouldn’t know I was always a glass half-empty, grass is always greener on the other side kind of girl.  When you are hardwired that way and surrounded by others that are the same way, it becomes all you know.  Have you ever heard “you are an average of the top 5 people you surround yourself with”? You can’t change the people around you, but you can change the people you are around.

Through teaching yoga, I have had the opportunity to share my experiences with many amazing individuals that are seeking this same mindset.  

Lets back up to when I first began Yoga Teacher Training (YTT). At first, I was seeking the physical aspect of yoga. I began practicing at home with DVD’s I borrowed from the public library.  I wouldn’t even purchase one because I wasn’t ready to commit to that level yet.  I would get up in the morning when the house was still asleep and follow along with the video.  I later joined a gym that offered a class that was a combination of yoga, Pilates and Thai Chi. And then later joined another gym that had full on 60 minute yoga classes.  I immediately noticed that no matter what was happening in my life before I entered that room seemed small and insignificant after.  Even just doing the videos at home I felt like I could breathe better, and I had more patience with my kids.  However, I still thought I wanted to become a yoga teacher because I thought it would be great to get paid to workout.  I thought I would get paid to stay in shape and look great doing it.  Instead what I found was my way home, my way back to myself; and I can help you find your way home too.

Here is how you start…..

1. be aware of your faults and shortcomings, push your ego aside.  

2. Begin to notice if the people around you are lifting you up or bringing you down and clean house. 

3. Every time a negative thought comes into your head, say, “NO! That’s not true, that’s not going to happen” And replace it with a positive outcome, I am healthy and safe, my family is healthy and safe, etc.  (you would never invite a thief into your home, so why would you allow thoughts that steal your joy to make themselves at home in your mind?) 

4. Start a focus on gratitude, grab a journal or notebook and everyday write down 3 things you are grateful for.  Make it specific to the day and choose 3 different things each day.  “Gratitude is a powerful catalyst to happiness, it’s the spark that lights a fire of joy in your soul.” ~Amy Collette 

5. From here I want you to begin to love yourself exactly as you are.  Not when you lose weight, not when you get Botox or a tummy tuck! NOW!!! “If tomorrow, women woke up and decided they really liked their bodies, just think how many industries would go out of business” ~Dr. Gail Dines 

Stop picking your body apart like it’s a piece of meat at the butcher shop.  These thighs are too thick, these breasts are too big or too small. Oh these shoulders are too wide.  This butt is too flabby.  

Your body is your home, it’s where you live.  Give it thanks and gratitude for all it does for you.  Maybe you’re a mom and you grew life inside you, be grateful for that not every women will have that opportunity.  If you can walk and breathe on your own, be grateful for that not everyone can.  Maybe you have small breasts but a great butt, maybe you have the opposite.  Choose to be grateful.  Maybe you have amazing hair or a beautiful smile.  Maybe you have a great singing voice, maybe you have some really unique talent.

Have you noticed how none of these steps include a physical asana (poses) yoga practice.  Yoga is so much larger than just doing the poses.  As a matter of fact the physical practice is only considered 1/8 of yoga. Even though I began YTT to get paid to workout, I found what I truly needed was to love me as me.  I no longer bleach or color my hair, I don’t get my nails done.  I have never had eye lash extensions or Botox. I removed my breast implants and I can honestly say I have never loved myself more. I eat healthy because I like the way my body feels when I nourish it.  I don’t obsess about workouts or the number on the scale, to be honest we haven’t owned a scale in 20 years. I also am not saying there anything wrong with doing these things, I have just found myself to feel more free and authentic without them.  I have a young daughter and she is absolutely perfect just how she is!! I never want her to feel she has to change her physical appearance to feel beautiful. And I don’t want you to feel that either. 

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful.  I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14