Tonight while at yoga we were chatting before class started. One of the women mentioned a yoga class downtown that is all in the nude...yep, the birthday suit. I was pretty shocked, obviously, at first. Then my mind began to wander about all the different poses and doing them naked. First I was thinking Downward Dog...yikes, the person behind you would definitely see what you had for lunch. Then Half Moon Pose came into my mind. Then Child's Pose, Triangle, Warrior 3....This is where I had to stop my mind and think of spiders. Make it go away...make it go away!!!
So this made me wonder what kind of element that all this nakedness adds to your yoga practice. So of course, I had to Google it.
Tip for You: I don't recommend searching this on your computer at work...you will most likely get walked out the door immediately. But I went there... and let me tell you, there is A LOT of information, videos, pictures, etc to peruse if you are into this sort of thing.
After a few deep breaths and trying to un-see some of things I just saw, I found a page that actually hosts naked yoga retreats. Looks to be for men only. I stumbled upon their Q&A page and here is what I found as to the "why" of doing yoga in the nude: "We love doing yoga naked because it offers both freedom of movement and freedom within. Clothes bind, especially during yoga. They become uncomfortable, sweaty, and downright unpleasant. We take the clothes out of the equation! After removing our clothes, we are left with something pure, something that is natural. We champion acceptance of oneself and others. We become balanced."
While this all sounds great, I actually like my yoga clothes and don't find them unpleasant at all. As a matter of fact, I sometimes wear my yoga pants all darn day. That speaks huge volumes to the comfort level I have in them. And nothing that I wear "binds" either. I wear a supportive sports bra and some sort of cute tank top. I feel quite nice in it, especially now that it is getting colder. I also leave each class feeling incredibly balanced and feel great acceptance toward myself.
But hey, who am I to judge? I bet you really get to know people on a much deeper and spiritual level when sharing a practice with them in the buff. I say go for it if you are into all that.
For me, I will stick with my comfy yoga gear and keep my clothes in "the equation."
Parting note: I didn't include a picture with this blog post. I am sure you are most likely okay with that!
I started drinking coffee in college during all-night study sessions cramming for tests. We would all meet at Denny's where we paid about $2 and could drink as much of this caffeinated goodness that our stomachs could hold. I remember going to class the following morning with major shakes and it's a wonder I ever graduated! The best part of those times was hanging with my friends "studying" and doing way more chatting and coffee drinking than anything. We actually made it fun and looking back, I feel sorry for the waiters that had our table that we would occupy for hours on end with only enough money to pay for the essentials...coffee.
After graduation, I began working at Dell Computers which was my first "real" corporate job. And it wasn't just 9-5, it could sometimes be 7am to 7pm. It was crazy those first few years as the company grew and I was making plenty of money to make up for all the extra hours worked. However, I was tired ALL THE TIME! Then Dell had a fabulous idea...they put a STARBUCKS in our building. It was just a short flight of stairs down to all the coffee, cream and sugar that your heart could desire. And this is when the real habit began.
I would stop at 7-Eleven on the way to work for a huge cup of their coffee and finish it within the first hour of my day. When the mid-morning crash started, I would get a coffee from downstairs at the office. And of course, the afternoon crash was even worse so I would head down again to grab another cup to tide me over until it was time to go home. And I did this every single day. I worked there for ten years and we had our "coffee" groups that would go down and grab our cups together while discussing whatever was happening that day: who's underwear was showing, who came in late, who came back from lunch looking like they got high in the parking lot... and other real important manager stuff. It became a habit. A real habit that was not ever going to break.
I look back to that time in my life and I remember dealing with major stomach issues almost daily, including horrific heart burn and acid reflux, among other icky ailments. It makes sense now: I was eating junky food and fueling myself with caffeinated beverages through each day so I could wake up and do it all over again.
About a year and a half ago I went to a doctor that ran the food sensitivities test on me. I had no idea what to expect when the tests came back, but for some reason, I was shocked at the results. There at the very tippy top of my list of the "foods" I was most sensitive was COFFEE! How was this possible? I loved coffee, it helped me wake up every day. It helped me, not hurt me. I owned two Keurig machines, just in case the unfathomable happened and one didn't work. I was ordering at least $100 a month on those little k-cups. Coffee was my #1 offender and causing many of my issues...I just couldn't grasp this information.
As I drove home and thought more about it, it did start to make sense. I was starting each morning with a hot beverage that didn't work with my system. And it was down-hill from there. I decided it was worth a shot to quit coffee after seeing the results on paper.
That was the last day I drank coffee. Just like that; I quit cold turkey. I felt I had to in order to save my digestive system. and so began my search for alternatives. At the beginning, I would have hot tea instead and I still enjoy hot herbal tea at least once a day. The changes after eliminating coffee were almost immediate...besides that blaring headache that came from the withdrawals. Luckily those went away after a few days.
So for me and my body, coffee wasn't working. I missed it greatly at the beginning but now that I have been coffee-free for over a year, I don't even really think about it anymore.
I tell my clients that are heavy coffee drinkers with any sort of stomach issues to slowly begin weaning off of it. I recommend cutting it down by 1/4 a day. So they will have a cup in the morning and instead of the second, I urge them to have a big glass of water. Many people that drink coffee all day are pretty dehydrated. And for those that don't want to give it up for good (which is fine if your stomach tolerates it), I recommend buying a high quality, organic coffee to enjoy. One of my favorite teas that fill that dark roasted coffee need is Dandy Blend. It is incredible and can be a great way to wean yourself down from any coffee habit. It tastes like coffee but is actually a tea and it is gluten free.
So if you are experiencing any kind of heart burn, acid reflux or other digestive issues, I would recommend cutting out the coffee and see how you feel. You might be shocked, as I was, at how much better I feel without it!
This article originally appeared on Mind, Body, Green Saturday November 2, 2013: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-11462/why-im-excited-to-turn-40.html
In a little over a month, I will officially hit the big 4-0! So many people
dread these major birthdays, but I am actually looking forward to what the next decade holds for me. There are so many reasons why I am embracing this new chapter in my life and actually looking forward to my 40’s.
1. I am more confident in myself.
When I was younger, I had confidence in my abilities, but it was lost somewhere around the time I had my daughter at the age of 28. My career path was amazing and I had so much potential to really be successful. Then I had my
daughter and it seemed I could barely stay awake at work and she was sick all the time. I lost my focus and my confidence at that point. Now that I'm turning 40, I feel I have it back and I can tackle the world with my four decades of
2. I am more financially responsible.
I am actually saving for retirement and feel more secure in the money department than I have in the past. I don’t spend frivolously and am working to pay down my credit card debt. As you get older, you actually see the light at the end of the tunnel and I want to make sure I am financially able to retire by the age of 60.
3. I found the right partner that I know will be by my side the rest of my life.
I got married at the early age of 23 and didn’t really know what I wanted out of life, much less a marriage. That lasted only five years and I have held out for Mr. Right and finally found him after nine years of looking. It's so exciting and comforting to know that I get to have my best friend with me through all of life’s ups and downs. With this kind of support and love, I know we can make it through whatever life throws our way.
4. I am finally getting enough sleep.
My daughter is now in 6th grade and sleeps all night long without having to get up for feedings and diaper changes. She is old enough to make her own breakfast and get ready for school by herself and I no longer have to lug around car seats and diaper bags. Now I can enjoy spending time with her and have real conversations. I truly enjoy having her friends over and still feel young enough to hang out with them but old enough to offer advice on how to manage being a pre-teen.
I can still remember my own slumber parties, discovering boys, school dances and everything else that comes with that age. I love getting to guide my daughter through this stage in her life.
5. I am old enough to finally get that tattoo that I never could decide on.
In my earlier years, I wasn’t passionate about anything enough to permanently ink something on my body. I am so glad I waited and didn’t make a bad decision that required months of laser removal. Two weeks ago I finally allowed myself permission to get my first tattoo and I love it! I got the words “Just Breathe” on my right foot so when I am in yoga class it's there as a constant reminder. I know this is something that I won’t regret a few years down the road.
6. I feel healthier than ever before. In college and as a new mom, I ate like crap.
At the time I didn’t realize it, but now, I know I was eating horrible foods that were just making me feel worse. Now I know how to prepare a healthy meal for my family and am learning to eat and experiment with new foods all the time. I am so happy to enter my 40s with the knowledge of what foods make me look and feel the best.
7. I decided last year to go back to school to study nutrition.
Going to college at 18, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life or my career. I would have majored in General Studies because I was so undecided, but alas, they wouldn’t let me. I finally chose to major in Journalism which I am now thankful for. I'll never regret getting a college education, but going back to school at the age of 40 is completely different. I
get excited to learn more each week and don’t stress about the tests. I can finally focus on topics that I am passionate about.
8. I don’t feel the need to go to bars in order to have a social life.
I can spend my time and money on things that are much healthier for me than drinking until 2am. I used to feel like I was missing out if I didn’t go to every happy hour with friends from work. Now, I know I am much more content spending time with my family in healthier ways. I enjoy every day by waking up early instead of sleeping off a hang-over until noon on the weekends.
9. I finally feel like I have my life in order.
I have hopes and dreams and can see a future. I have great things to look forward to. Prior to this stage, I was just making it through one day at a time. Now I'm actually planning a few years down the road, which has never happened before.
10. I am truly blessed to have amazing friends from my childhood that are all entering this new decade along with me.
When we get together, we definitely don’t act 40. We laugh and joke like we did as kids. It’s as though nothing has changed in the past 20 years, and for that, I am entirely grateful.
Anyone else about to hit a major birthday? I recommend looking at the blessings you have, the experience you have gained and moving into the next years with hope and happiness!
This article as originally appeared on Mind, Body, Green November 1, 2013.
By now we all know that October was National Breast Cancer Awareness month. This means that for a month, everyone wears pink and buys “pink” products to support awareness. But aren’t we already aware of breast cancer? I don’t need pink products thrown in my face all month to make me more “aware.” If anything, it really bothers me. What infuriates me is seeing what companies do to market their products, all in the name of "awareness."
This was blatantly obvious recently as I paid for a salad at my local café. There was a basket full of brown cookies with pink things in them.
“What kind of cookie is that?” I said.
The lady told me that they were chocolate cookies with pink M&M’s to raise awareness for breast cancer.
Really? Are you kidding me? Since when did a cookie serve as awareness for anything besides Type II diabetes?
She asked if I wanted to buy one and I politely declined. Why would I buy a cookie just to add to their bottom line? There was no note saying where the proceeds would go and she had no idea. So in reality, this was just a way
to sell more cookies.
There is actually a term for this kind of marketing: Pinkwashing. Wikipedia describes pinkwashing as “the promotion of consumer goods and services using the pink ribbon that represents support for breast cancer-related charities.”
Sure, this sounds great in theory, but how many of these goods and services are actually sending their money to any charity? That’s really the question and there's no real way to know the answer when it comes to smaller companies.
When researching, I found that the Susan G. Komen foundation receives over $55 million, (YES MILLION), a year from corporate partnerships that sell their products and make a donation. The real issue here is that some of these
products are harmful for anyone who is healthy, much less someone going through any kind of cancer treatment. If you're buying beauty products or perfumes, you can bet that they most likely contain cancer-causing ingredients. If the product contains “fragrance” then it’s a sure bet it is not safe. If it has ingredients that you cannot pronounce, it most likely is harmful to use.
Does anyone remember KFC and their “Buckets for a Cure?” They sold their chicken in pink buckets and the proceeds went to Komen. This marketing strategy actually made $4.2 million for Komen, which is the largest single contribution in the organization's history.
Has anyone looked into what is in that bucket of chicken? It's filled with harmful ingredients known to cause obesity, which plays a role in inflammation, diabetes and cancer, among other diseases. I am sad for all the families who ate that bucket of chicken thinking they were doing something good for “the cure.”
It seems like every product in the store this month has a “pink” version. This is great if the money is actually going somewhere useful. But how do you know? Some reputable stores will give you full details. Some won’t. My advice?
Just be cautious buying something that you don’t need only because it's pink.
Many larger companies claim that they will donate a certain percentage of sales to a specific charity. However, many of these companies put a cap on their donations and don’t mention it. So if the cap is lower, the majority of the sales go right back to that company instead of any reputable charity that is actually helping those battling breast cancer.
Perhaps my dislike of this month is for more personal reasons. My mom died in 2009 at the age of 61 of breast cancer. It was devastating for me. Prior to that, we participated in the Walk for the Cure and I remember her proudly standing with a huge smile on her face in the “Survivor Photo” as well as receiving a pink rose at the finish line of the walk. Those are great memories and I am thankful to the Komen group for organizing. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to do any kind of walk like that since she passed away. It's just too emotional for me.
So let’s focus on prevention and helping those who are already diagnosed. Let’s see what can be done to help the families as they go through this horrendous disease. But please don’t ask me to buy junk food to raise awareness. I’m already aware.
My mission as a Certified Health Coach is to make the world a happier, healthier place, one person, one meal at a time, with love and gratitude. I work to inspire others to live a life of prevention and overall wellness!