It’s taken me almost exactly 18 days since my little one has come home to finally be able to have a moment and write this post (having a sleeping baby is like a ticking time bomb---so I’ll type here as fast as I can). I guess I didn’t anticipate how much WORK it would be to take care of another human.
I’ve really kept to myself these past few months while going through such a personal time. I’ve been absent from the studio and missing our community of strong and powerful women. Strong and powerful, we really are. I had the “healthiest” pregnancy. I followed all the “rules”--I didn’t eat tuna, didn’t drink and even tried to stick to an all natural, organic and healthy diet. I exercised and taught class regularly, I listened to my body. On April 12th I went into labor at 29 weeks and delivered my daughter Clara. She weighed three pounds exactly.
My delivery experience is a blur. I know I had about 15 nurses and doctors in the room waiting to take Clara up to the NICU. They let me see her, They let Dad cut the cord, but just like that they stole her from me. People think that the NICU is just a place where babies grow, but these babies are strong little fighters. They are poked, prodded, transfused with blood and tested left, right and center.
I never thought that all in an instant I could experience so much love and so much pain. These past two months have been an emotional rollercoaster. Leaving the hospital without your baby is a parent’s worst nightmare. On June 12th, we proudly (finally!) brought her home.
These past few weeks have brought me so many emotions. I think it’s important to acknowledge what we go through as women. I don’t consider myself a “feminist” but I want to start a conversation--not to boast, to complain, but simply to support each other. I think that in our society today we don’t have enough hard conversations. Giving birth is like dying in some ways, you see the world so differently, your mind, body and spirit change. They change, they just do. You give up some part of yourself, some part of your identity that you cannot ever imagine would be gone until it is. Waking up every two hours for feedings that take an hour, getting shit on (literally) and constantly being covered in vomit is just one small aspect of it. You recognize that being a mom is hard. It’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do. There is no room to be selfish anymore, and that’s perfectly ok but it’s a sacrifice you have to come to terms with. I’ve been spending these last two months thinking about what I want in my life, what advice I would give my daughter, what really matters. I’d tell her to be honest, always--even if it risks hurting someone or something. I’d tell her to gracefully speak her mind even if she doesn’t agree with something. I’d tell her to be loyal to the people who love her the most. I’d tell her to give 100%, 100% of the time and to always do her best.
For someone who is always thinking ten steps ahead, I shudder at the fact that I sat idle for so long. My daughter is a miracle in so many ways--she has taught me to slow down--something I don’t do well with. I feel like my pregnancy gave me the opportunity to sit back and observe the world around me. The ongoings of other businesses, their practices and the trends in fitness and spiritualism. What I see is a trendy facade of how spiritualism will make your life better---“Eat this organic kale smoothie and then do a meditation and your problems will go away”, “Dance under the stars and tattoo your foot and you’ll find happiness”, “Don’t judge your practice or your peers while watching that practice judge other practices and their peers”.
I have to admit, I’ve been guilty of it too, and since opening Mind Body Barre 6 years ago we’ve certainly rode the wave of trendy workouts & fad-like spiritual ideas but always try to stay true to what we believe. Here is what I’ve learned-- happiness, solitude and spiritualism does not come in a package you can add to your shopping cart. It’s not a “method” you can buy, or a book you can read. It comes from YOU being willing to do the work. It means you are ready to let go of anger, resentment, fear and address issues straight on--but to really let them go. I urge you to find your own practice in your own way, not by something that looks pretty on paper or shiny in the store.
So back to my conversation, I want to talk about what is challenging and I want to be raw and honest about it. I want to talk about how no one tells you that your vagina will tear open when you push a baby out (yep said it). I want to talk about how you spent the night crying because your finances are fucked up. I want to talk about how your family member is very sick and you spend your days and nights caring for them. I want to talk about all of it, I want to support you, and I want to come together as a community and find solutions for each other. I want to get back to giving back and I’m ready to take full charge, full speed ahead and to let go of the ideas that makes things seem impossible.
I feel something shifting, and I know you do too. Just wait for it, just wait.
Last week I brought my students into savasana at the end of a wonderful class and I was
overcome with emotion. The room was abuzz with this beautiful calm and as the room full of gorgeous souls settled into their final resting pose, I took them all in. I scanned the room with
tears in my eyes and I inhaled all of the energy that we had created in that hour. These
moments are precious and they remind me how sacred my job is. For an hour, 20 or so people
show up in front of me on their mats and they have certain expectations of how they want that
hour to go. Let’s face it, it takes a lot to carve out an hour for yourself and to take yourself away
from email inboxes, social media, life’s dramas and most importantly the chatter in your mind.
Holding space as an instructor isn’t always easy. Most days I walk into the studio with the same
BS swirling around in my head as everyone else and it isn’t always something you can easily
shut down. The beautiful thing about my job is that those days where I doubt my ability to pull it
together and teach a decent class are usually the days that I get the most out of it. Those are
the times when I leave the studio feeling lighter than when I started and grateful for a job where
I leave feeling better than when I arrived.
If you think about it, what we do as instructors is an intimidating business. We have to get up in
front of a room and put on a damn good performance day after day- some days that
performance is seamless. I’ll be busting out one liners left and right, keeping class light and fun,
my playlist is on point and even my hair looks good but then there are days where you just have
to be honest with yourself and your clients. I recently stood in front of the room getting ready to
teach a barre class and I had had a particularly rough start to the day and I just said to the room
full of people- “I’m just going to pretend that I have my shit together today.” It was honest and
raw and frankly, it was all that I had. And you know what? There were many people in the room
nodding along. I was met with compassion and understanding. I’m human too, ya know? During
teacher trainings, I always drive home the fact that being present and authentic is the key to
being a great instructor. Who would I be to stand up there that day and say “Goooood morning
world!! I am soooooo happy today!!”. People can smell that nonsense from a mile away. Luckily
I was able to put my real life drama aside and teach that class without falling into a heap of tears
on the floor but I knew that in order to create space for them, I had to be honest about how I
was meeting them that day.
I completely understand everyone’s high standards for attending a class and the results they
hope to achieve. If you’re like me then you want more than just a physical workout; I want to
have an experience. I want to leave the studio feeling centered and grounded and maybe even
having learned something new about myself in the process. I want the instructor to hold space
for me, to really see me, to feed off of the energy that the students are giving them and to share
it with us in return. It takes an educator holding space for their crew, a person who
acknowledges that the people in front of them are walking in the door with all kinds of noise
swirling around in their heads, with worries, with fears, doubts and insecurities and it’s that
person’s job to give the student a space to release that when and if they feel ready.
I am continuing to learn every day how to create a space of compassion. Our students and
clientele show up on their mats each day with their own set of challenges and obstacles. Who
knows, maybe them taking a one hour class is the most they’ve done for themselves in days,
weeks, months or longer. Our job is to fill that hour with joy, love and respect (and maybe an
added bonus of a great workout with an amazing playlist). Sometimes as educators, it can be
easy to get lost in the movement- coming up with a syllabus for class, the perfect song to pair
with an exercise, what jokes or tidbits we’ll share with the room but at the end of the day what’s
most important is to allow yourself to be seen, to meet the room with warmth and kindness and
to hold sacred space.
GF, DF, Paleo, GMO, DTF? What the heck does this all mean?! I find myself asking this a lot. Life is already hard enough so why make it more difficult when it comes to food? We can’t control everything but we can control how we fuel our bodies. Here are my three must have foods that keep me healthy and strong:
1. Golden Ratio Protein Powder – I have this every morning for breakfast and feel refueled for the rest of the day! It’s gluten free, dairy free, and was created by BUTI Founder, Bizzie Gold. Anything BUTI makes you feel like a sexy tribal goddess and this shake is no different. My hair has magically grown super fast (rare for curls) and it has actually become thicker, which I didn’t think was possible! I add bananas to the vanilla flavor because they are full of fiber, antioxidants, and nutrients. I look forward to waking up just so I can “drink the juice”.
2. Almond Butter - I switched over from peanut butter to almond butter a few months ago and I feel much less bloated. Almond butter and an apple is my go to snack. I’m obsessed (ALL DAY.EVERYDAY). I love Crunchy Barney Butter. It keeps me full/satisfied for hours! That is key for me. I love to eat and think about food 99% of the day so if I can focus on anything other than food for just a little bit, I’m a happy camper. I’m a firm believer that if you don't recognize the ingredients, you shouldn't eat it.
3. Chicken, Chicken, and more Chicken – This is my absolute favorite way to get protein! I’m talking grilled, baked, roasted, chicken sausage, and my new love AKA GF nuggets and chicken meatballs. Make sure to ask me for the recipes! With chicken, you can add anything and it will taste delish! I am gluten free and it’s F-ing hard but it’s been such a healthy journey for me. Not being able to eat gluten has really opened my eyes to label reading. I've realized that I don't crave bread and pasta anymore! If there's dessert and it’s not GF, I’ll survive…hardly. Although, if you’re craving a treat, Twist Bakery in Millis is where it’s at. I keep Kind Bars or RXBAR in my purse, car, or boyfriend’s pocket incase of emergencies. Because my diet is limited, my body has completely transformed (with the help of barre too). I’ve never felt better and I finally don’t focus on the scale. I’ve discovered you are what you eat BUT you’ve got to live your life to the fullest. Balance is EVERYTHING.
As I sit here at my desk trying to come up with a clever way to begin this post, my mind is racing from one place to another. Do I want to be witty? Serious? Intellectual? We all have moments like this. All day, every day. Whether it's keeping up with that constant to-do list in your mind or the dreaded "what if" scenarios we love to torture ourselves with, there is a constant hum of activity going on in those beautiful skulls of ours! But what if we wanted to slow it down? What if we want to take a moment to just EXIST?
As important as it is for us to "get stuff done," it is equally important for us to take some time each day, even if it's just 5 minutes, to clear our minds and just BE in the moment with none of that other noise distracting us. Easier said than done, amiright?! Well, I can help you there! Here are some very do-able tips for quieting your mind and finding peace in your everyday life!
1) Enjoy the Outdoors - A really great way to get out of your own head is to get outside! Connecting in with the earth is a very grounding exercise that I do each and every day. Even when it's cold, snowing, raining, etc. I am sure to get outside for at least 10 minutes everyday. Leave your phone inside, or put it on silent and keep it in your pocket (in case of emergency). Even if you just sit on your patio, or in your yard, just allow yourself to be outside. Maybe take your shoes off and dig your feet into the ground to further connect with the earth. Imagine yourself growing roots through your feet and grounding into the earth and feel the chaos in your mind leaving your body through those roots. This exercise is really beautiful and only takes a few minutes. My personal favorite thing to do is take my dog for a walk. While I walk her, I breathe deeply and fill my lungs with the fresh air. As I exhale, I simply allow myself to let go of anything I don't need anymore. It's not a conscious release, I just allow my breath to be deep and cleansing. The outdoors have always been sacred to me, and always makes me feel more at ease during times of mental turmoil!
2) Move the Energy - Another way to bring peace to your mind is to get the energy moving in your body! Oftentimes, our minds are racing because we have a lot of energy built up in our bodies that's buzzing around. The only way to release it is to move it around and let it out! If you're crunched for time, take a 10 minute walk, or stretch for 10 minutes! It's just enough to get the energy moving around your body, and it's quick! Everyone has 10 minutes - you deserve to give yourself at least that each day!! I work a desk job Monday-Friday, and I can feel when the energy is building up in my hips. They start to feel tight, and I start to get antsy. And when we get antsy, that's when our minds start to race and create noise. When this happens, I'll get up from my desk and walk around the building (outside, so bringing tip #1 back into the mix). I take long strides to open up my hips, and swing my arms a little more than usual to get the blood flowing through my shoulders. This always works to quiet my mind, and also helps me to re-focus so I can work more efficiently throughout the rest of the day! Most importantly though, is to dedicate 3-5 days a week to a longer workout. This can be anything from gentle yoga to running. Whatever makes YOU feel good. Everybody is different. I used to be an avid runner, and running helped me clear my mind and I always felt better after going for a run. While I still love running, I definitely now prefer Buti® yoga or vinyasa yoga. I feel more connected spiritually, I sweat which, for me, is a physical manifestation of emotional release, and during the hour or so that I'm there, I think about NOTHING other than the class. Whatever gives you that feeling of complete mental clarity - do more of that!!
3) Flip the Script - Not only do our thoughts race throughout the day, but a lot of times we find ourselves in self deprecating thought processes. You find yourself sitting there, thinking about all of the things, qualities, relationships you wish you had. You beat yourself up over being "not smart enough," "too fat," "too skinny," whatever it is that plagues your mind. We have all been there, and once you go to those thoughts, it's sometimes hard to get yourself out. BUT - it's not impossible! When you start to find yourself thinking doubtful thoughts, flip the script! The more you practice this, the easier it will become to identify when you're going to "that place," and the quicker you will be able to turn it around. Instead of focusing on all the goals you have yet to acheive, or the things you wish you had, be PROUD of yourself for everything you have already acheived! Be GRATEFUL for everything that you already have! In each day there is always something to be thankful for. And this doesn't mean you always have to be happy and cheerful. We all have bad days. Unfortunately, we're not unicorns...we're only human and bad days are inevitable and NORMAL. But you can be thankful for your beating heart, even if that's the only thing you feel thankful for that day. One practice you could try to "flip the script" would be to journal. Each day, write down 3 good things that happened, or 3 things you're extra grateful for. That practice in itself will allow you to change your perspective, and you'll find yourself focusing more on the positives, and dwelling far less on the negatives.
I hope that these tips help you! I know that getting outside, moving my body, and changing my perspective have been incredibly helpful for me, and have enhanced my day to day life as a chronic over-thinker. You'll be amazed what messages come through for you when you aren't trying so hard to think! As Baba Ram Dass says, "the quieter you become, the more you can hear."
If there is one thing I have a lot of experience with, it’s burning the midnight oil. Whether it was grad school, work, worry, or now the joys of being a new parent (what is sleep, anyway?), I have had my fair share of near sleepless nights.
I hope that your lack of shut-eye is because you had a fun night out with friends, some awesome date that kept you out until 4 in the morning, or pillow talk with the love of your life. But of course some nights we might find ourselves tossing and turning with anxiety, or sweating about making a deadline.
Whatever it is keeping you from getting your shut-eye, here are 3 quick tips for the next time you find yourself feeling less than well rested:
When I began the yoga teacher training journey just a couple of months ago, I never could’ve anticipated the transformations that would come from my experience. The first night of training, I walked in feeling guarded and reserved and by the end of the night, I was raw and vulnerable and stayed open to the experience both inside and outside of the studio ever since. After learning about the pillars of Baptiste Yoga- drishti, breath, foundation, heat and flow, it became clear to me that the parallels of life both on and off the mat cannot be denied. Creating a sacred space on my mat, in my breath and my postures has been such a guiding force during the biggest and most beautiful upheaval of my life and has kept me centered and grounded throughout.
During one of our first nights of training, we began to discuss vulnerability and how it does or doesn’t appear for us in our lives and in yoga. We allowed ourselves to be exposed by sharing insights of our hearts to perfect strangers. There were tears, there was laughter and most importantly, we were beginning to breakdown and allow ourselves to be seen. It was in these moments that I first acknowledged that there was a problem in my marriage. Not just a little crack in the foundation but fourteen years of denial and shame beginning to pour out of me with a short conversation with two people I had just met. I remember going home that night not knowing how to express myself and in my heart acknowledging completely what I had known for a long time- that I could no longer accept the life I had grown complacent in. I began the act of truly seeing what was in front of me. I began to allow my drishti, which I had not allowed to shift over the years, to start to explore and wander a bit, to allow the gaze to play and notice. I started to see that the life I had accepted as “good enough” was no longer going to cut it.
On paper and to people on the outside looking in, my life looked joyful, simple and easy but once I allowed my heart to become open, I realized that my life appeared that way because I had created the illusion that it was such. All of the aspects of a happy home looked like they were in place- a house by the beach, a beautiful dog, handsome husband, cheerful Instagram photos and Facebook posts but lying under the surface was years of financial instability, worry and fear, struggles with infertility, arguments about how to pay the bills, and loads of resentment. There were years of broken promises, of begging and pleading for someone to meet me in the middle, nagging and prodding for simple tasks to be accomplished and feeling like I was carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. My drishti had been focused on the wrong point and attention naturally followed to that space and got stuck.
Now that I’ve had space to find my breath, space to come back home to myself, I see that this illusion has been crumbling for a long time, I just hadn’t woken up to it just yet. Through the tools of my yoga training, opening my chakras, releasing and allowing, I was able to see my life for what it is. During this time, I met someone. I didn’t plan it or know I wanted it or needed it but it happened nonetheless. I looked at this beautiful human and my immediate reaction was that I had known him before, that we had walked through another life together and that we were meant to be together and create a life and family with one another. I knew immediately in that moment that I deserved and would have a life full of joy, adventure and pure love and I knew that I could never, ever go back to the life I had led before. In that moment, breath was all I had to stay composed and grounded.
Over the past couple of months, I feel that I’ve lived a lifetime. It’s been weeks of sadness, of deep change and most importantly profound happiness, appreciation, gratitude and endless amounts of joy. I have walked away from a life that I had convinced myself I was supposed to remain in and have started to create my own foundation. I have started a new life with a partner that meets me in the middle, that I feel supported and protected by, that I feel sees me for who I am which I now know is someone that I think is beautiful, strong and caring. I now see that life has endless possibilities and that it’s not only possible to start over again but that it can be the best decision you’ll ever make. Oddly enough, since leaving my home, my beloved pet, my husband and 90% of my belongings behind, I have never felt more rooted in my foundation, secure in who I am and sure footed on my path.
I don’t believe that the yoga training happened by coincidence just as I don’t believe that new love entered my love by chance. Prior to joining that incredible group of yogis, I know that I was closed off, that I was scared to allow and that I was numbing myself to pain and in the process numbing myself to joy. I have started to let the walls crumble, to allow heat to build and I have accepted the fact that I deserve to be happy.
So now it’s time to find my flow both on and off the mat. As I venture out into the world of teaching and holding space for my yoga students and as I travel down the path of my new life, I will always hold these moments of knowledge from my training close to my heart. I will remember to keep my drishti focused yet playful, to allow my breath to be full and meaningful, my foundation to be strong and secure, heat to warm my heart and soul and to release resistance and find my flow.
So, you’re a new mom or maybe you are about to become a new mom, either way one thing on your mind is what happened to my body?! or what is my body going to look like after this?! Pregnancy certainly takes a toll on your body, and my one piece of advice for women who are trying to get pregnant, or who are currently pregnant, is to stay as active as possible for as long as possible during your pregnancy. It just simply makes it easier for you, in a lot of ways in the end. It’s hard to believe I’m sitting here today the sleep deprived, full-time working, and “Is that a booger on my pants?” mother of a 6 month old, time flies. I can honestly say there is no “quick fix” or one right way, however, here are some tips for getting fit AF as a new mom.
I will preface these tips by saying this is NOT a workout or nutrition plan and that becoming fit AF as a new mom is just as much about your mental health as it is your physical.
1. Set Realistic Goals I am a big list person. With that being said, even before I had my son I had a Pinterest board titled “Postpartum” filled with girdles and workouts, along with a list of goals I felt I would be able to achieve in those first few months with a newborn. Shortly after having my son… I threw that list in the garbage. My expectations were not realistic and being a first time mom I honestly didn’t know what to expect. Those first 6 weeks are crucial for your body to rest and recover. You just experienced the workout of your life, give yourself a break! Now after that 6 weeks is a whole different story. After being cleared by your doctor, it’s time to set some goals. BE REALISTIC. Make it a goal to take a walk 4 times a week, while your baby is napping do a short (quiet) interval workout, come up with easy/healthy meals etc. Focus on feeling better in your body, not the number on the scale and again, I repeat: be realistic!
2. EAT! I know this sounds obvious, but eating is one of those things that can quickly be pushed aside after having a baby. There were quite a few days early on where I was eating only fruit snacks and granola bars (I do not recommend this) and ordering out becomes VERY expensive. If you can, prep frozen meals ahead of time, and ALWAYS accept family and friends offers to bring you food. Sitting down and eating a meal is not only good for your body, but also your mind. Take the time to actually sit down and eat a meal or two each day. It’s important, especially if you are sitting down with your spouse. As your little one grows, make it a priority to meal plan for the week and even do some prep on the weekend, even if that means your babe is strapped in their carrier while you cook!
3. SLEEP! This is probably the most difficult task of all. Sleep is so important, and anyone who has survived the first month or so knows that operating on little to no sleep is almost impossible, yet somehow you manage it. I wish I had taken the advice to nap when he napped or even to give my husband more responsibility with night feedings. Sure, I wasn’t actually going to work those first three months, but what I was doing at home was like working three full time jobs. With that being said, sleep whenever you can. Invite people over to hold your kid just so you can sleep. You need it.
4. Take Time for Yourself This was another hard one for me. I just wanted to be with my baby ALL the time. You need to take time for yourself, I can’t even tell you how amazing it felt to put on real clothes, do my hair and go get a coffee BY MYSELF! Walking through Target felt like I was on a Caribbean cruise. It’s the little things that make you feel like yourself again. Go get a pedicure, get a new outfit and hey, maybe even some new workout gear! Talk to your significant other about making time for you to work out a few times a week. Set up a schedule so that everyone is on the same page and arguments don’t happen. If you need an hour or two to yourself three times a week then take it! Everyone will be happier if you do.
5. Acknowledge Your Accomplishments Give yourself a pat on the back. You carried a baby in your belly for 9 (pretty much 10) months. You brought that beautiful baby into this world. You have been nurturing and caring for them since the day you found out you were pregnant. Now you need some nurturing. Remind yourself of how strong, beautiful, smart and sexy you are! Tell yourself every morning and every night if you need to. LOVE YOUR BODY. One thing I learned from pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum is that as a mom I have a new respect for my body and all that it is capable of. I have learned that some days are harder than others, but at the end of the day I wouldn’t change a single second. When I’m feeling like I haven’t worked out enough, or I’m not skinny enough, or I’m not strong enough I quickly remind myself of the fact that I am a mother, that I am doing my best. I am enough and so are you.
Maybe this post isn’t what you expected when you read the title, but the point is: being fit AF as a new mom really isn’t about the physical workout. It’s about fully accepting yourself in your new identity and in your new body, because no matter how much you work out your body will remain changed, and that is a beautiful thing. Get it girl!
5 Ways to Not Lose your Mind this Holiday Season
Let’s face it- the holidays can bring tremendous amounts of joy. They can be filled with merriment, good cheer, laughter and great cocktails but they can also be chock full of stress, familial discourse, depleted bank accounts and hangovers. So how do you stay sane and spiritually grounded during a time of year that can be filled with exhaustion and anxiety? I can’t claim to have all of the answers but I can share with you some tips that have helped me along the path to Holiday Enlightenment.
1)Just Say No. This slogan is not just for drugs, my friends. Declining invitations during the holidays can help keep you afloat. It’s so easy for us to succumb to the pressures of holiday parties and yankee swaps but at a certain point you just have to say NO. I used to be the gal who would try and squeeze in multiple social gatherings, parties and events all in one day and realized over time that it left little room for enjoyment. I was always staring at the clock, anticipating the next event and in turn, I was never allowing myself to be fully present. What’s the point of taking time to spend with your loved ones if you don’t truly enjoy it while it’s happening? Take my advice...really think about which events will bring joy and meaning and commit to those and for everything else- just say no. Don’t make excuses. Just say “no thanks”.
2)Make a budget. This may sound like weird spiritual advice but it’s an important one. So many times, we lose sight of the meaning of the holidays by going bananas with shopping. The holidays become more about getting our loved ones the latest and greatest gifts and seeking out the best Black Friday deals than it is about creating lasting memories and taking time to appreciate our blessings. Creating a budget (and actually sticking to it) can be such a useful tool to stay centered. In the Yoga Sutras, they speak a lot to the act of non-attachment and even go so far as to say that gifts are a way of creating guilt and unevenness in relationships. Once you’re the recipient of a material gift, there is subconscious pressure to reciprocate and sometimes that can bring unbalance to our dynamics. How about instead of exchanging gifts you ask your girlfriends to go out to dinner or get a massage or think about discussing with family members ahead of time what you’d like to do about exchanging gifts? Try attaching a dollar amount to your gift giving by suggesting you all spend X amount of dollars, that way there are no hard feelings if someone spent more than the other. Side note- what the hell is the point of exchanging gift cards? Why not just each keep the $50 and do what you’d like with it? But I digress…
3)Do You. I hear so many people talking about how they don’t have time for themselves during the holidays and trust me, I get it. However, if there was ever a time to make yourself a priority, it’s over the holiday season. Do the things that bring grounding and centering. Take a yoga class, spend five minutes of your morning in quiet meditation, go for a walk with your pup, call a friend for a glass of wine, read a book...do you. It’s not selfish or greedy to take a few minutes to bring yourself back home.
4)SEX. Just making sure you were still paying attention. You know, being present and all that. But hey, while we’re at it, why not stay warm this winter?
5)Pass the eggnog and let go of the guilt. We all start to feel it this time of year- maybe your pants seem a bit tighter because of the office baked goods and the endless amounts of sweets given as gifts. I encourage you to enjoy yourself, find balance and moderation and let go of the guilt and shame associated with pleasure. I mean, sure, eating an entire fruitcake and washing it down with a liter of vodka is cause for concern but gathering with friends and family and indulging a little is part of the fun. Don’t allow yourself to go down the path of giving into cravings mindlessly but also don’t be afraid to let your hair down, enjoy a glass of wine, honor your body and enjoy the freaking ride!
About Our Blog Contributer
Written by: Angela Beyer, Read her bio here
I’ve been feeling these words stirring up inside me for a really long time. I’ve been sitting back, and waiting with baited breath to speak up and express what others might not dare to say, “I call BULLSHIT.”
When Mind Body Barre opened almost six years ago, I envisioned a place where people came to express themselves in a deeply open, nurturing and exhilarating manner. I dreamed of a place where women and men could feel exposed and vulnerable for the first time, able to explore the deeper parts of themselves without judgement or fear.
As a young girl, I dreamed of being a teacher, a writer, an entertainer, a speaker. Feeling off track from my passions yet wanting to help the world, I enrolled in a University where I got my Psychology degree. For so many of you who know my story--I went to work in the corporate world shortly after and quickly discovered it was not what I had expected. Ironically today, I fuse my love of teaching, writing, entertaining, speaking and helping others into my practice in a way that encompasses who I am.
Many people often tell me how much they admire the strength and determination that it must have took to open three studios, run these businesses and do “all that I do”. I want to tell you that it’s “really no big deal”, that it’s “really easy”, that “anyone can do it”. I do, I want to tell you that but I won’t and here’s why: I’ve spent a really long time discovering who I am, and working toward being comfortable with that, in fact, I’m still working on it.
When I was about 22/23 years old, I thought I had it all figured out. I had just graduated college, began working and felt like I was entering a chapter of my life that would help to define who was. I had no doubt already overcome obstacles that held me back (I’ll save this for the book haha); I was able to reflect on how I was responsible and contributed to my circumstances through my own lack of appreciation, dignity, self respect and self worth. And I thought I was comfortable with who I was, but I was still figuring that all out . And the truth is, I still am. We all are.
At that age, I remember receiving advice from elders that I trusted and respected, yet when they’d tell me not to rush through life I’d get so frustrated and confused about why they just didn’t understand. All I was trying to do was to get somewhere, ahead. I’d like to go back in time and smack my young, naive and insecure self.
I wish I had been more gracious and willing to let others see me fail. I was so headstrong and passionate. There’s such an interesting parallel to this in the studio. I see so many students who don’t try because they fear what the outcome might be; failure.
To the student who’s too afraid to try a yoga class because you’re not flexible, you probably need it in order to get more flexible. And if you’re intimidated by sanskrit words or curious postures, it’s all just a bunch of bullshit. Yoga is a practice of combining the body and mind. Yoga is not expensive leggings, thin bodies and bendy beauties. Yoga is me when I wake up completely out of sorts and I can let it go on my mat. And it’s fucking hard.
To the women who’s looking to “lose that fat right there”, you don’t need to lose the fat- you need to alter your state of consciousness. I wish I were kidding but I’ve seen so many beautiful, strong and competent women who do not understand why they cannot lose weight and it’s mostly because they cannot accept themselves; because they don’t know how to love themselves.
Fear makes us do interesting things. It makes us think we are doing things for the right reasons. It hold us back from saying what we really mean. It traps us into believing in a consciousness that is sub par to who we are really meant to be. It makes us headstrong and judging. It suffocates us into being afraid of where we are in life.
In a world of saturated fitness studios, angel card readers, MLM companies, healers, life coaches and spiritual “gurus” it can be easy to view these professions and feel connected and drawn to the purpose of helping others--but I call bullshit. Not everyone can actually do it but everyone can at least be honest about why they're trying do it. In some ways, we all try at some point to be something we are not. We quickly discover it's not who we are and move on the next "thing". If it’s your calling, step through the shadow parts of yourself and be willing to expose them to the world. If it's not sticking, ask yourself why?
Two days ago (the day before the election) I was scrolling through my newsfeed and saw a “pantsuit flashmob” in honor of our girl Hill (I just feel like she’d be totally cool with me calling her that?) Maybe I was just overly hormonal, but I started to uncontrollably sob. When I tell you the body is always communicating, I mean it. I didn’t realize that this one moment would be so exhilarating and freeing for me to understand that I was being drawn into a consciousness that was part of something bigger happening around me. That I still ultimately am connected to this big great and daunting task that lies ahead. I have to admit. I’m fucking tired. I’m just tired and I have moments where I feel like I can’t possibly help another human, another individual nor give another ounce of who I am. But then all in that one moment I felt completely connected to every individual on earth. I felt every string of love, compassion, anger, hate, solitude, grief, and even overwhelming joy for every being on this planet. It was the most overwhelming sense of emotion I think I have ever had and it felt other worldly in my body. It’s like I was just able to see people for who they really are, for just a moment and it’s made me realize, I call bullshit. We are all living in fear. In some way, we are all suffering. We are all part of this problem and we can all be part of the solution, but we HAVE to be willing. If we are not willing, we cannot change.
I used to pride myself on a little saying that was coined at MBB years ago, “If it no longer serves you, let it go”. I find truth in this statement but I also find flaws. If it challenges you, you need it, if you feel averse to it, it’s your calling and there is medicine in it for you. There’s medicine in every obstacle, in every flaw and every break in your path--but only you can fix it. I can’t fix it for you, your astrologer can’t, your personal trainer can’t, your meditation guru or holistic doctor can’t. Only you can. It’s time to look in the mirror. And that’s why I call bullshit.
-No Bullshit Artist, Ando
I’ve been wanting to sit down and write this post for weeks now but life has seemingly got in the way. Of course the intention was to send this out with our 5 year anniversary email but I was probably off cleaning a toilet in some studio, manhandling a piece of furniture or subbing a class with day old underwear. It’s a miracle if I can brush my hair (side note: I recently had a birthday party to attend and my husband watched as I meticulously and painstakingly applied foundation and mascara, combed and curled my hair while complaining the whole time, “I don’t know how women do this.”) Working ladies, I commend you for doing this every damn day, I don’t know how you put pants on, yet alone apply a full face of makeup. Throw kids into the mix and I can’t even...Moms--you are unsung superheroes that deserve a freaking medal for holding your shit together. Girl Power.
People say to me all the time, “I don’t know how you do it, run three businesses with all you have going on?” Usually I brush it off and say thank you but the truth is, I don’t do it alone and it’s important that you know that. Allow me to explain.
For those who don’t know our story, it’s important that you do. A about six years ago right before I had the idea to start this crazy venture, I was sitting at a desk job miserable in my life. I had overdosed on one too many unhealthy relationships, I was feeling stuck financially-living paycheck to paycheck and emotionally I was all over the place. I remember calling my mom ugly crying every morning on the way to work because my body would physically revolt. Today I couldn’t be more thankful for the shitty relationship, the “okay” job and the fact that I could barely buy groceries because they pushed me to explore the deeper parts of myself.
I started to teaching fitness classes at a local dance studio to help keep my mind (and body) moving. This is where it’s important that you understand that the universe is mysterious and brings very important people into our lives even when we don’t know just how much they will play a key role in our life. That local dance studio happened to be owned by Ms. Angela Beyer, our now Lead Instructor/Master Trainer. Little did I know that 5 years later she would play such a key role in the success of our studios.
As my classes grew at the studio, it was one of the only things that brought me joy during such a tumultuous time in my life. I decided I had nothing to lose and opened our first studio in a sweet little town called Rehoboth. It’s also important that you know I had no idea what I was doing, like at all. Life has a funny way of helping you create what you want, even if you don’t know what you want. As ridiculous as this is going to sound, there were no business plans--only the ones felt deeply inside my being.
Over the next two years I began to see the magic that surrounds us IF WE CHOOSE to rise to the occasion of stepping into one’s own power. I’ve seen an environment of carefully cultivated women express and empower themselves physically, emotionally, mentally and most important spiritually. I’ve met incredible people with stories that need to be shared. Your story is never too boring, too crazy, too unthinkable to be told--you are a brilliant piece of the universe’s creation and your experiences are worth sharing. I’ve been fascinated by countless women who continue to inspire me every single day.
So, if we make it look easy and or glamorous it’s important that you know it’s mostly smoke and mirrors and there are countless players in our game that keep the show running even when things get rough.
To my mom, I am forever grateful of how you raised Kayla and I. Without your knowledge and encouragement we wouldn’t be where we are today. You’ve inspired me to live my life into the unknown and appreciate the gifts and magick of the universe.
To my sister Kayla, my biz partner in crime-you mean the absolute world to me (and you drive me insane too haha) but I couldn’t imagine MBB without you. Thank you for helping me keep it all together when I can’t get my head out of my ass. Your badassery is unrivaled and you are an essential piece of our puzzle and better half of MBB. Your gifts and talents shine loud and hard. I can’t wait to see where they lead you.
To my Dad, I’m so much like you it scares me (and mom too haha) but I am grateful that I somehow got your “go-get-em”. Thank you for sharing your genes with me.
To my husband Shawn, you are an absolute rock in my life and I am so grateful for your support and encouragement. Thank you for understanding my late nights and for being the cook. Thank you for being my on call handyman and psychologist.
To Ms. Angela Beyer, thank you for leading our team of instructors with compassion, kindness and the firmness we all need from time to time. Thank you for giving my silly little barre class a chance.
To Ms. Chantelle Davis-Gray, our marketing guru extraordinaire. Thank you for texting me even when I don’t text you back, whether it’s to check on me and make sure I’m alive or if I need to smarten up and complete a marketing email by its due date. You help keep me on my toes. I’m so proud of all you have accomplished with your Coaching Business and your leap of faith from corporate to freedom.
To Ms. Katrina Idreos, watching you grow as an instructor has been such a beautiful experience for Kayla and I. I am SO proud of you and look forward to your continued success at MBB.
To all my ladies having babies, Tania, Kaci, Kendalyn, Chelsea, Jenny, Meaghan & Jacquie (don’t drink the water around here guys) Thank you for teaching until you are about to literally pop. You inspire us to be healthy mind, body & spirit while you cultivate life inside of you. You ladies are much appreciated and we can’t wait to meet your little ones.
To our entire staff: You are the heartbeat of our studios. Your enthusiasm, dedication, willingness to learn and be open is what makes Mind Body Barre the place that it has become. I am forever grateful for all that you do for us. Watching you live with passion, integrity and excitement for your teaching while deepening your spiritual practice is an absolute honor.
To every single person that may have gone unmentioned, to all the women who inspire me in their fitness studio ventures (Tanya, Julia, Jenny --there are so many of us I want to name you all) to the Patriots Cheerleaders Coach Ms. Tracy Sormanti for teaching me that being on time is late, To the POUND HQ for believing in us as Master Pros, Tony D. for helping a cute little Staples girl make an effing kick ass logo, and to Inspired Technology for letting me call you when there is a problem (guys I don’t recommend trying to install your own sound equipment--I have had sleepless nights over this). To BUTI Yoga for opening our eyes to the world of Yoga and inspiring us into the practice. To Betty & Kevan and everyone at STIL Yoga, thank you for your mentorship.
And lastly, to all of our clients: THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for choosing us. Thank you for your support and for the community you have created within each of our studios. Thank you for your compassion and kindness to each and every one of our instructors and to one another. Thank you for knowing that Kayla and I are crazy enough to run through class in an ice-cream truck or show up wearing sombreros with margaritas and you just go with it. Your sense of humor and openness has allowed us to share in all the gifts you have created in our space.
I can’t believe it’s been 5 years. As we continue to grow, evolve and expand I don’t know what the future will hold but I do know that it was important that you know we didn’t do it alone.
So Much Love,
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