the thing about yoga…

I’ve been back in America for almost three months….the thing about America is the choices, the options, the access to everything. In Macedonia I had a mirror and youtube, in south Florida I have anxiety about which studio to go to.

Studio 1 – deerfield beach – super fancy and cute, with a political and judgmental teacher…hmmmm the thing about yoga is that its the anti politic, the anti judgement zone. Obviously this studio wasn’t for me. I did Raja yoga where I basically just laid in a warm room for an hour and a half waiting for it to be over.

Studio 2 – west palm beach – not fancy, not even really nice. But the teacher, oh my god, so good! I thought you know what this is it, this is where i need to be. The teacher was even telling me about her pet chickens! Right up my alley. the class went at a nice pace, not crowded at all, sometimes i was even the only student…that is if the teacher showed up. I payed the groupon for the month, twice the teacher was a no show, and there wasn’t enough classes for me to get there before or after work…the thing about yoga is that if I want to become a true yogi and eventually start teacher training, I will need to practice everyday…if the teacher is a no show, its obviously not for me.

Studio 3 – lake worth – fancy and adorable. This studio felt like the girliest place on the planet, a picture on pinterest of perfect. It smelled like essential oils, the women were sweet and friendly. the teachers were pretty and gentle…the thing about yoga in my perfect world is that its difficult. I do need to get better at meditation, and focus, and the gentle aspects of yoga. However I have found that my meditation generally is while I am in a pose, while Im focusing on nothing but that moment. This yoga studio is expensive and beautiful and truly a magical sanctuary, but I need a little more bad ass in my practice.

Studio 4 –  Bikam bitches – yesterday I went to old faithful, a Bikram studio i found in west palm. I drove up to the studio which is an old church…yeah I know so freaking weird. But I knew what to expect from Bikram, I know the poses I know the heat, I know the length of time. I have been doing hot yoga on my own for a long time, I haven’t attended an actual class in years…The thing about Yoga is that its it can surprise you. I was fairly confident going into this class, and to be honest I wasn’t expecting to get dizzy from the heat, to have to sit out a few poses because the heat was excruciating. Now heres the thing about hot yoga, I feel like a warrior when I finish a class. I feel like I have just accomplished something so huge, and so phenomenal for myself, something that takes real strength and will power to get through the class.

So far I’m four studios deep, Ive learned different styles of yoga, different styles of teaching. My latest goal is to attend Bikram for 2 weeks straight, see how accustomed to the heat I become and see if thats my spot…if not well the thing about Yoga is that there is always another studio out there to try.

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Model Behavior

Going along with my obsession with all things celebrity, comes the media driven world of what my body should look like…this has lead to emulating “model behavior.” Ive been through all of the phases that it takes to look, and feel like a model. Wait hold the “look” Im about 4 inches too short and not nearly pretty enough, but I tried to walk to the walk (off the catwalk). The below five rules are what i lived by for a great deal of my 20’s.

  1. starve – you must starve there is no other way
  2. excessively exercise – everyday multiple times
  3. smoke – cigarettes seem to come with this territory
  4. coffee / diet coke (what thats not a meal you say?)
  5. when you show up anywhere always say “oh i just ate thanks though”

Now I’m 32…and to be perfectly honest still struggle HARD with what my body needs to look like. The media has murdered my self esteem, and brainwashed me into what is beautiful. Just this morning i weighed in, giving myself a month goal of how much weight i need to lose, and no its not a healthy 2 pounds a week.

I no longer smoke, drink diet coke, or say “i just ate” when i show up places. I don’t have the same eating disorder that i struggled with in my 20’s, however, same as the majority of women, i have an unhealthy relationship with food, and with body image. While it has gotten better as Ive gotten older, it doesn’t fully go away, its more of an internal fight for freedom from the images in my head. So as the quest for inner peace continues into this 32nd year of my life  I guess that I can be thankful that I have grown away from the five rules of my 20’s and gone into different rules for my 30’s, much less restrictive, they are healthier, and contain food!

  1. eat clean (no alcohol, sweets, bread, or pasta)
  2. exercise everyday

I don’t emulate model behavior anymore, and can see that I have improved. its important to see growth and to remind yourself that while maybe it will be a struggle for your whole life, it gets easier…it all gets easier, and maybe give yourself a break.

 

saying goodbye to celebs

Full disclosure – Im a huge fan of celebrity culture. I love perez hilton, the dailymail, and E! I know more about Madonna’s custody battle than I do about my cousins. I know more about Katy Perrys relationship status than I do about my grandmothers health…and I don’t even LIKE Katy Perry, I do like my grandmother!

My quest to grow and be better at being me, has taken to to this point…I have quit and I have quit cold turkey. Oh christ ok I’m lying, I have one loophole, I didn’t shut off my Eonline notifications on my phone, I only get an alert when something really big happens, AND I do not open the page. For two weeks I haven’t been on ANY gossip sites, read ANY celebrity news or looked at any paparazzi photos…this my dear friends is GROWTH.

After two weeks how do I untimely feel you ask? Well, I feel a little out of touch with my make believe friends, I feel a little lonely without them, I definitely have at least an hour or two of time on my hands to look up say cute puppies online instead of “stars they’re just like us!” ugh i feel dumb just admitting that.

Ultimately after 2 weeks I don’t truly miss any of them, and I will visit the important ones at the theater instead of caught off guard at the beach. I’m proud of this decision, and am really happy that I’m following through with it.

31 a year in review

As my birthday approaches I’m looking back on the past year…this one was one for the books. It was hard…there weren’t a lot of easy moments of 31, not a lot went right, not a lot went my way…that being said I’m certainly starting 32 out with a bang. A focus on myself, a shaky focus to be honest, but a growing and developing one. I don’t want to look at the last year and point out all that was wrong, I want to look forward to 32 and make sure I do all that is in my power to make it right. I want to continue to work on myself mentally, learning how to be still, how to meditate and how to give myself a break. I want to learn how to really love myself this year. In order to do that, I have to treat myself well. I get anxiety just reading what I’m writing…sometimes we don’t realize just how hard we are on ourselves until we try to be kind internally.

Thats my goal for my 32nd year, be kind..to others, and learn how to be kind to myself.

I QUIT…now what?

I finally did it, after months and months of debating and back and forth i finally had the courage to walk into my bosses office and resign. That was three weeks ago…I gave a two week notice and have spent the last five days blissfully unemployed…ok i need to work on the bliss. There is an unemployment glow, and like the pregnancy glow it wears off…and it wears off fast. My glow is gone, this doesn’t mean that I’m regretting my decision in any way at all, but i need to focus, I need routine…and I need to get it together.

Yesterday was spent literally horizontal, the only vertical time spent was to and from the kitchen to refill my already full stomach. The pain, and disgust I felt at myself throughout the entire day was awful. I was sad…I hit my unemployment low.

Well thank god thats over! Now there is nowhere to go but UP! Never one to dwell on a low, as I stuffed my face yesterday, I was coming up with a game plan on how I was going to wake up the next day and press reset. Sometimes in our lowest moments we find what we need. For me this is yoga. My game plan is to wake up each morning, have coffee and practice yoga. This focuses me for the day, it brings me peace and it keeps me calm. Also I developed a list in order not to live life on the couch watching awful tv (Modern Family excluded obviously).

  1. exercise everyday – be it yoga, hiking, running etc. every single day I need to do something active. I need confidence, and to rebuild my self-esteem, the only way i have ever been able to feel truly satisfied within myself has been through regular exercise and clean eating.
  2. Blog everyday – I need to write something down, and have something worth writing about each and every day.
  3. Read yoga inspired material everyday – my ultimate goal is to become a certified yoga instructor, everyday whether it is a magazine article, a book, or a yoga pant review, I need to stay focused on my goal and realize daily why I want to pursue it.
  4. Cook or bake something everyday – I love being in the kitchen, it makes me feel productive and happy. I love having my husband come home, walking in the door and immediately feeling excited because he smells something yummy cooking. It takes time, research, patience and ingredients to cook…It takes love to make recipes well, and lets face it everyone wins.
  5. Leave the house everyday – this i have to improve on…i am a home body…and someone who is always happy to be with friends, but generally needs to be dragged out of the house to do it. I need to get better.

so I quit…now lets get started.

Mantra

I am strong, confident, beautiful, kind and ultimately at peace within myself.

Today a colleague of mine told me that I had lost a lot of weight. This validation made me straighten up in my chair and feel good about myself. But at the same time it deflated me a bit. I know how I look and feel, I shouldn’t need validation from anyone else to perk myself up. Compliments are so nice, and great to hear, but should not change what we know to be true. I should not sit up taller because a guy in the next office noticed my body. I should stand tall always because I notice my body, and I notice what is beautiful and what is inherently good from within.

I look too much for others approval and validation of my looks, actions and towards others to determine my mood. I will change this starting right now. Walking back to my office up the four flights of stairs, green tea in hands I created my very first Mantra.

Repeat it with me (follow with an OM if you wish!)

I am strong confident, beautiful, kind, and ultimately at peace within myself.

Authenticity

I think that in the current environment of social media, over stimulation and instant gratification we lose our own authenticity. When we think for a moment “I want that” and within the next 30 seconds it’s ordered, and in the mail the fleeing moments of real want are generally lost on us.

When I moved to Macedonia two years ago I was a normal American girl. I got new outfits for every occasion, I “needed” something new every weekend to go out, I saw something online and I ordered it immediately. It was all so instant that when it arrived I found that I generally had forgotten that I had ordered it in the first place, and upon opening the package I wasn’t brimming with excitement and anticipation. It was more “normal” than special. This all had become a way of life for me as I grew up.

It came to an abrupt stop upon entering Macedonia. My new home is a small country, the population doesn’t even reach 2 million. The postal system is like all other government institutions here, complete crap. Buildings and personnel are older than the software they use, break time is more important than customers, and doors are locked for hours on end so employees can smoke, drink coffee and complain about how much better life was in Yugoslavia. During my first year here, this drove me MAD! I couldn’t pay a bill online, get said bills delivered correctly to my mailbox or order from my regular “go to” websites from America. I was in an intense Victorias secret, Nordstrom, Amazon and Ugg withdrawal period. To add insult to my need for retail injury the mall and shops around Skopje didn’t satisfy my “needs.” The clothing in general over here is way overpriced, and the catch to that is that its poor quality! How is something going to look crappy but be expensive??! Oh the depression! Why ME? How do people live like this?!

Let us fast forward a bit to the present day. In the past year I can tell you every item of clothing I have purchased, this being because it is less than 10 items. I say this with such pride that its hard to contain. Being out of the instant gratification, need for more, wasteful life I used to lead has changed me significantly. What I need, what I appreciate, rely on and consume are so different. I don’t buy something new because it’s Friday, I buy something new because something old has worn out, and I need to replace it. I have no desire for a new dress for a birthday party, unless I will wear it to work, and to multiple other types of events. I don’t waste much anymore, and when I am wasteful I am mindful of how to change that behavior in my future, and waste less. This is not to say I look like a girl from “little house on the Prairie” and I’m sitting in my pilgrim dress churning butter, I am still stylish, and on trend just with combinations that I make with what I already have.

As I continue to embark on this journey of “less,” I become more authentic to my own true being. I am so many things, but none of it is defined by material possessions or new outfits. Being placed in an area where it is simply not an option to buy buy buy, allowed me the the time to reflect on why I buy, on what its useful for, on do I really need this? When I really need it, I can always find a way to get it, but 9 out of 10 times that I think I REALLY need something, I wait a week or two and honestly forget all about it. The changes that adapting to this aspect of life in Macedonia is 100% positive. I am no longer the “ideal consumer” that I once was. This was not a conscious choice or change, it was an adaptation of my surroundings. Had I not lived in Macedonia I don’t know that I ever would have embarked on this type of journey, or realized the excess I lived in, or even desired less. Had I not moved to Macedonia I don’t believe I would have tried to get to know myself better, or to understand my true wants and needs.

It’s amazing how “less” has made me authentically so much more.