Yoga for the Bigger Body + Home Practice

I’ve seen the looks when I mention to people that I practice yoga regularly. I’ve felt the surge of insecurity as I walk into a class by myself. I get it, when you think of “yoga” you don’t think of someone with a bigger body. But, guess what? Yoga is for every body.

Yoga is, quite literally, the only form of movement and exercise that feeds not only my muscles but also my soul. An hour practice is about breathing, listening to your body, and making room to do more. It’s not about pushing, or grunting, or doing the best in the room. Yoga is about finding your edge and getting comfortable there, inhaling to find length, and exhaling to see if you go deeper. Your edge is your business.

Does a bigger body make some poses more difficult? Absolutely.

Part of the yoga experience is to find the modification that fits your body, if you can’t hold yourself in plank, drop your knees – you’re still working your core.

Yoga is about awareness, listening, and honoring as you move. That has nothing to do with the shape or size of my body. Some of my favorite poses are:

Warrior I, Warrior II, Tree, Mountain, Cat/Cows, Balancing TableDownward Dog, Triangle, Spinal Twists with arms in T, Forward Folds, Sun Salutation Series, Goddess, Chair Pose (& with a twist), and Extended Side Angle. Well…and, of course Savasana.

img_2835Typically, my yoga practice happens outside of my home. I take free classes at work as part of a community program, and have a membership at a local studio. I’m spoiled by our free classes at work, our instructor is amazing and very flexible with her classes. When she walks into a room, she takes a scan and can throw together an amazing practice on a whim that works for everyone. Sometimes, when I go to other classes, I find that the set flow doesn’t work for me. It’s no one’s fault, it’s just less predicable. So, I’ve started practicing more at home. Here are some of my tips for creating a successful home practice.

Where Matters. Where you practice at home matters a great deal. You need a space that is relatively quiet, has enough room for you to spread your arms wide + put your legs in the air. If you can, find a spot without carpeting. Yoga poses are significantly harder on a mat that is on top of carpeting.

Create a calming atmosphere. I turn on just enough light to be able to see, put some essential oils in my diffuser, and put on my Hippie Shit + Yoga playlist. If you need to, close yourself off, Bruno and Winnie are notorious for thinking me sitting on the floor is an invitation to play.

Guided or No? Decide if you’ll practice with a video or guide. Sometimes I need someone to tell me what to do, how to do it, or to push me further. Some days, I just want to feel it out for myself. Yoga with Adrienne is a great resource for people that are looking for something specific. I really enjoyed her Yoga for Sciatica when I was struggle with getting moving again after injuring my back.

Release Expectations. Take a second before you start, close your eyes, and release your expectations. You’re not a yoga superstar, that’s cool. You’re just a human, at home, taking care of your mind, body, and soul. Own it, and just enjoy. If your dogs/kids/husband/neighbor/mother/imaginary friend come bursting in during the middle of warrior I, just smile and keep moving. Life happens.

Warm Up, Yoga, Savasana. Don’t skip your warm up and savasana. Your body needs to build up to your poses and cool down after working hard. Just because you’re at home and it feels weird to be laying on the floor doesn’t mean you skip cooling down, take a minute or two for savasana. Slowly come out of your practice, thank yourself for coming to the mat. Say “namaste” out loud. Be grateful you showed up.

Big, small, curvy, straight, tall, short, love handles, strong…whoever you are, there’s yoga for you. You might just have to create it for yourself.

Namaste, friends.

The love and light in me honors the love and light in you.

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2019 Goal Setting Series: Me.

I am a self proclaimed “pseudo hippie”. I believe in the universe, light, energy, and other witchy type of things. BUT I am also a logical person that doubts my own hippie ways. It’s a constant push and pull, but there’s no denying that as I sat down to write this post the universe was setting me up for success.

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I was scrolling Instagram stories just to clear my mind and my favorite hippies had a livevideo from last night that popped up – this supplied me with an hour of company as I type, gorgeous crystals to peek at, and good energy.

I pulled an affirmation card from the Louise Hay “How to Love Yourself” card deck that read: “With every breath I take, I’m getting healthier and healthier.” the back says: “My body is a mirror of my inner thoughts and beliefs. I nourish it with good food and healthy exercise.”

That, my friends, is not a coincidence. That is the universe setting up my soul to sit and write. I’m grateful for that opening.

——

While going through my PowerSheets prep work, I kept coming back to, well, me. Which, I know sounds not-so-profound and expected, but it was eye opening for me. It was one of the first times in my life that I made the connection between my health and the functioning of my body with the rest of my life. My health, both mental and physical must come first in order for the rest to come into place. In order for me to work on my home, community, career, creativity, and marriage goals, I MUST work on my mind, body, and soul. The ultimate form of self-care.

The big picture: I am living in a way that prioritizes my physical health and mental wellness.

This matters, because: nothing else matters if my body cannot function properly.

Some Action Steps: Maintain gluten-free lifestyle, read “Womancode” by Alisa Vitti to better understand hormones, moving daily, daily water intake tracking, meditation, yoga, social media detoxing, journaling, rest, grocery shopping, meal prepping, trying new exercise routines and classes, daily reflection, vitamins, regular check-ins with my primary care physicians.

When prompted to think about what success will look like after a year of focusing on this aspect of my life, I wasn’t thinking about how, inevitably, I will physically LOOK different. I keep thinking about how I will feel different, lighter in a sense that I will no longer be carrying around the metaphorical weight that being unhealthy places on you. The mental burden of living that life is heavy, and that weight is harder to live with than the physical one.

I look forward to that clarity that will come with physical and mental health.

—> For more in my goal setting series, go to the original post here.

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How to Survive the Comparison and Hustle Trap

I’m not sure when it happened, but sometime in the last couple of years there has been an influx of pro-hustle boss babes circulating the internet and social media. These babes are passionate, loud, and charismatic. While that energy can be encouraging, especially when you’re losing motivation for your dreams, it can also be toxic. The idea that, in order to be successful, a 24/7 hustle is required, can be poisonous to your mental health (and your productivity). Guess what, most of us will not be rich and famous for our passion projects. But listen to me now:

THAT DOES NOT MEAN YOU SHOULD STOP DOING WHAT YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT!

The highlight reel that is social media does not provide you with the insight of the struggles of those that have managed in order to turn their passions into a reality. Social media cons you into thinking that everyone has figured it out except for you. Here’s another truth bomb for you, those perfect social media feeds…they are fake. They are made up. The people that are successful are working hard, in their yoga pants, with pimple cream covering up their acne, while the laundry piles up behind them. It’s not pretty, but pretty is what engages people on social media. DO NOT compare yourself to the highlight reel.

You are an independent, strong, gifted, and passionate individual. Honor that by:

Taking a break. As much as I love my Rachel Hollis and Jenna Kutcher, there comes a point where you  just need to stop listening to outside sources. It’s really okay if you don’t wake up at 4AM just so you can be productive in the morning. IT IS OKAY TO SLEEP. As a matter of fact, it’s imperative that you sleep. The beauty of Instagram is that you can “mute” anyone you feel like you need to take a break from. It’s 30 days where you don’t see their posts, just long enough to maybe miss their spunk and energy.

Putting yourself first. It’s okay to have 18 hour work days, shit, sometimes it’s fun to have that much focus on something you love to do, but GIRL, take care of yourself. Eat good foods, sleep when you need sleep, get up and move around, and allow your brain to rest. One of my 2019 goals is to take time to reflect and recharge everyday. No screens allowed. But yoga, meditation, journaling, reading, or pampering are encouraged. Every. Damn. Day.

Be grateful. Start your day with an attitude of gratitude, track the things that you’re grateful for in a place that you can peek at throughout the day. Each month, I use the notes pages of my planner to track 100 things I’m grateful for. Some days I write one thing, and some days I write 30 things. It doesn’t matter what’s going on in life, there is always something to be grateful for. When you need a little mood recharge, take a look at your gratitude list. Soak in the gratitude.

Using your gifts. You are blessed with many gifts, use them. There will always be someone that is better, richer, more famous – that does not impact how blessed you are. Use your skills and passion for your own wellbeing, or share them with others, but don’t, under any circumstances, hide them because someone else out there is also gifted. There’s enough room for both of you.

Encourage Others. Share the reality of your life with others. Instead of contributing to the hustle and comparison trap, help keep others out of it. If you’re struggling, be open about it, celebrate your progress and your challenges. People will be encouraged by your willingness to be transparent. Genuine engagement far exceeds fake social media profiles.

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