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Happiness

Emotional Wellbeing, Finding Strength, Fitness, Happiness, Health, Inspiration, Meditation, Mindset, Nature, Spirituality, Uncategorized, Wellness, Wisdom

Tearful Yoga

The room was completely dark except for the illuminated “Exit” sign.  As I lay on the floor in a supine position, sweat streamed down the side of my face, arms and legs. Toxins and stress drained from every pore.  It had been fifty-eight minutes of the most strenuous stretching, balancing, and hard-core strength exercises a body can tolerate, but as I lay in my own pool of sweat, I felt elated.  Yep.  Elated.

The instructor, Michael, taught an intense power yoga class which included traditional yoga postures combined with a series of faster paced moves which called for a bit of mental gymnastics.  When a difficult pose ended, another began. There was very little rest. When we were instructed to hold a challenging balance that required muscular strength and stretching limbs and torsos beyond what was once imaginable, my mind played its usual tricks:  leave now and go get a cappuccino…why are you working so hard on a Sunday when you could have slept in and read the paper….there’s a woman at least ten years older than you bending like a pretzel…..c’mon…you can do this, etc…

At times, there was no music, just the sound of the instructor’s voice encouraging us to go deeper into the pose, or take just another “sip” of breath. Serious and seasoned yogis use a diaphragmatic breathing technique that’s supposed to bring attention back to one’s breath, maintaining calm and focus amidst chaos. The mind continually races, however, with thoughts of “I should have worn the black tank top….what am I having for lunch….to…I bet I’ll lose three pounds of sweat from this class…”

While there are many different kinds of yoga, including Hatha, Vinyasa, power, gentle, and everything in between, yoga has evolved from thousands of years ago. Today, yoga is a culture of its own. There are people who do (it) and people who don’t.  You either fall into one category or the other.  There’s little flexibility because many gurus are so serious about their craft. Although I’ve been in the fitness industry for more than thirty-five years as a choreographer, program developer and instructor, I often feel as though I’m out of my league when I attend a yoga class.  It’s a feeling akin to sports fanatics.  You either like to watch games or you don’t.

The yoga culture extends to manners and clothing, as well.  Be prepared to speak in a whispered voice and be cognizant of your space when entering a yoga studio. Smiles are given freely and often, except when walking on someone else’s mat or (gasp!) when a cell phone buzzes. Anger is simply not welcome.

Stretch pants previously reserved for the gym and only the gym are now seen on both hockey moms and dads in and out of yoga studios and worn as a statement; “I can do the splits and I eat kale.”

The lights dimmed with just a hint of radiance from the gorgeous chandelier above me and the music became so loud I couldn’t hear myself or the person inches away from me breathe, or fart, although I’m quite certain that happened to at least one of us during the hour.  It felt like a nightclub scene, but without any alcohol or pick-up lines.

The instructor never demonstrated any moves, and as an intermediate yogi, I was unfamiliar with the sanskrit terminology, so I cheated by looking at those nearby including my son, Rocco, who is currently attending yoga teacher training.  Not realizing we would have to remember sequences, I simply played “follow-the-leader” as I mimicked those around me in the shadows of the dimly-lit room.

At the end of the class, when it was so dark I could only see the ‘Exit’ sign, we laid on our sweaty yoga mats, exhausted and exhilarated at the same time. It was quiet, with only a faint sound of deep, relaxing sighs.

Then, with the first sound of the piano notes, it started.  I felt a tightening in my throat, and heavier, more intense breathing.The music blasted, but this time with a more peaceful, poetic combination of Gaelic, New Age and classical sounds that both calmed and comforted me.  The volume of the music grew along with its intensity to levels that I felt in my bones. Suddenly, a persuasive, emotional wave took over me and within seconds, tears filled my eyes and streamed down my cheeks.

I began to weep.

Salty tears of elation mixed with my hard-earned sweat.

And it felt so good.

Feeling blessed to be healthy! #4minutes2happy #yoga #healthyliving #fitness #exercise

Feeling blessed to be healthy! #4minutes2happy #yoga #healthyliving #fitness #exercise

Happiness, Mindset, Success

4 Steps To Set Yourself Up For Success

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Here are 4 steps to set yourself up for success this week!

  1. Get rid of cookies, chips, sodas and any junk food in the house. If it’s there, it’s a temptation. Set yourself up for success by eliminating food triggers.
  1. Make exercise a habit.  Taking care of your health means putting yourself first…not after the kids, work and your spouse.  FIRST!  Now, I realize that’s super tough, especially with young children that constantly need you, deadlines at work, or household chores that cannot be put off any longer.  But when you have sick days – when you have a cold or flu – you are forced to take a break.  Schedule at least three times a week when you can focus on YOU and any type of exercise you can fit into your busy schedule, whether it’s walking, swimming, biking or taking a fitness class.  The more you exercise, the less sick days you have, the more you want to eat better and the healthier you’ll be! Getting your heart rate up releases “feel good” hormones in your body, so you’ll be happier too!  Set yourself up for success by scheduling a workout at least three times a week.

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Emotional Wellbeing, Finding Strength, Happiness, Mindset

Who Ultimately Wins An Argument?

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I planned my attack.

In my mind I had it all mapped out: How exactly I would respond to the person who had said something hurtful and humiliating.

I knew what I was going to say. After all, I rehearsed it in my mind for hours. No, days.

We were at a gathering where a dozen or so people were laughing, telling stories and feeling elated about the camaraderie of old friends and new.  No one else knew that what this so-called friend had said in a joke brought up old wounds in me.

The offender knew.  I’m sure of it.  Although, I don’t think that they intentionally wanted to hurt my feelings.

Regardless, the words they said cut like daggers into my soul. It felt as though Mike Tyson punched me where I had already been black and blue.

So I waited.

And waited…for an apology that never came.

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Happiness, Inspiration, Mindset

How to Be Unstoppable

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Think back to a time when you were a kid…when you didn’t look in the mirror, there was no social media, and when you were obsessed with playtime. When we were young and allowed our imaginations to soar, we were unstoppable. Over the holidays, I was playing with my grand-kids. Within moments after seeing them with plastic light sabers I asked, “Can I play?”  They all yelled an enthusiastic “yes!”.  Suddenly I was Princess Leia and we were running away from the Storm Troopers.  I didn’t ask questions, I followed their lead. We were in a make-believe world of our own, running and playing. We were unstoppable. We knew the ending because we invented the scenario. Of course, we won! Continue Reading

Fitness, Happiness, Health, Inspiration, Mindset

Try Something New

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Many of us make a New Year’s resolution to be happier and healthier.  Sadly, however, most of us never reach our goals.  Why?  How can we stack the odds in our favor?

The University of Scranton determined that only 77% of people who make resolutions are still going strong a week into the new year.  And after six months, the percentage drops to forty.  Bad habits sneak back into our lives within days of having grandiose ideas about how the next twelve months will be different.

Here are a few tips and tricks to lose weight, get in shape and be happier: Continue Reading

Happiness, Inspiration, Mindset

Taking Risks

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This week I launched my book, “4 Minutes a Day, Rock ’n Roll Your Way to HAPPY” on Amazon.com.  It was a risky venture for me to put my heart and soul, my inner-most thoughts and ideas on paper for the world to read, but I am glad I took the gamble that it would be well received. My goal has always been to help others be happier and healthier by telling my story and sharing the tips and tricks to get in shape that I’ve learned throughout my thirty-three years as a fitness instructor. But it hasn’t been without conflict.

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Happiness, Inspiration, Mindset

Smile More

Smile. It will either warm their hearts or piss them off. Either way you win! —Author Unknown

guitar_pic_whitebackgroundWhen I was working at a radio station in Detroit as the traffic reporter, a coworker seemed to snarl at me whenever we crossed paths. One day, I finally asked her if I’d done anything to upset her. “I just have a problem with people who walk around smiling for no reason,” she said.

Well, I have good reason to smile. I’m truly grateful for my blessings and choose to be happy more than I’m sad. It’s what I want out of life. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all walked around smiling and content?

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Happiness, Wisdom

Carte Blanche & 87

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I celebrated another birthday this week. This makes fifty-three so far and I ain’t done yet!  On the actual anniversary of my birth, one of the gifts my husband “gave” me was that I had carte blanche – we could do whatever I wanted. I got control of the channel changer AND the thermostat!  Hallelujah!

Carte blanche means the unconditional power to do as we please, or the permission to do something the way we want to, i.e., having control of the channel changer. Many of us typically put the needs and desires of others before our own. Now, there are times in our lives when situations demand our immediate and diligent attention.  New parents have to be on strict schedules of changing diapers and feeding. Those who have school-aged children have the challenge of juggling work and family. Taking care of ill or elderly friends can be overwhelming time consuming. And in relationships, compromise is crucial. At times, we just don’t have carte blanche.

How did this all start?

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