Intention

Intentions. We all have them. Good ones, bad ones and sometimes we don’t even really acknowledge what our intention is right away. I never really thought about intentions until I was told to in yoga class. “Close your eyes, take a moment to set your intention for your practice.”  I also never knew how powerful this moment was until I really started to set intentions for my practice. I remember the first time I really felt an effect from it. I was in a class where the teacher told us to set our intention, generally the cue is to set it for someone who needs extra energy, even if that person is you. This time the teacher told us to set our intention towards someone that we thought negatively about, or someone we were mad at. In the 2 seconds I had to process that, I thought, “this is interesting.” I did it though. I set my intention for someone who was constantly on my mind, but not in a positive way. Someone who often made me upset. I set my energy towards that person in class, I was surprised by the results. After sixty minutes of sun A’s, sun B’s, standing, balancing, twisting, inverting and stretching I found myself completely light in my final savasana.

What I thought was sweat dripping down my face were tears. I was letting go. I felt so light and not angry at this person anymore. I felt content. It was the most amazing feeling. I kept with this trend my next few practices and each time I felt lighter and lighter, I let go more and more. I repeat, It was the most amazing feeling. I started to focus on my intentions more after this.

Not only did I set my intentions with greater focus, but I started making every movement with intention too. I started actually using my breath to guide my practice. The connection with intention became a big part of my practice. I had already completed sculpt teacher training, and my intention going into that training was to teach. I found after sculpt training I had a deeper connection with my practice, not necessarily ready to teach, but I loved what I was discovering about myself. This is when I had my moment of actually setting an intention in my class. It made me hungry for more self discovery, I finally saw the power of my yoga practice, not just the physical side of it. That is when I stepped into 200 hour power teacher training. This time my intention was different. I went into power training to learn more about the practice itself, more about who I am in this world and just maybe I would come out a teacher, but teaching was not my intent going in this time.

This training was emotional. It stirred up a lot of past feelings that have been burrowed for so long. Training allowed me to connect with other people that had similar pain, it allowed me/us to let go and be free of the past. We were able to make a connection with the present and move forward with intent.

I have now been teaching for just over a year and I am about to dive into another 200 hour teacher training. This time for hot yoga. My intention is much different this time. It is inevitable that I will continue to have self discovery in this training, but I also want to soak up every ounce of information I can on postures and the connection to our body and how the posture influences change or detoxification for our body.  Coming into this training as a teacher and knowing the classroom environment will give me a much different perspective this time. My goal is to fully immerse myself in training and utilize my vinyasa teacher voice to make my hot teacher voice come through earlier than it did in past training.

Power teacher training changed my life. It changed my perspective on many aspects of life and has allowed me to grow spiritually, emotionally and physically. Throwing yourself into something challenging, something that you may even fear is how you allow yourself to grow. Going in with an intention gives you a guide of what your objective is. It may change slightly, but it keeps you on track and gives you purpose. Find your intention. Move forward with intent. Do all with intention.

When life gives you a {__________}, how will you use it?

11 years ago I was given a yoga mat. It came from my mother. I decided to take one of her yoga classes she taught. Yoga was just starting to become a fitness go to, and I was a mere 17 years old, just trying something my mom was doing.  My mom has been in the fitness world for over 30 years, so as much as she thinks I don’t, I look at her for guidance with health and nutrition.  I remember my first class, I remember my first downward dog, I remember feeling so weak. My mind raced, it was not still, it was not calm. It had plans, events, thoughts, worries, pain, happiness, all rolling through at once. I couldn’t stop it. I wasn’t breathing, I was judging. How was that lady next to me (twice my age) holding this dang downward dog. I wanted to collapse, I wanted to run out. I didn’t like yoga.

But, I kept going. It got better. I could hold longer. I realized I wasn’t breathing. I noticed I was holding on too much in my upper body. I wasn’t using my bodies strength equally. I wasn’t using my core. I remember the first time I had a quiet mind in yoga. It was the first time I really felt the benefit of the practice, it was the first time I let go of the judgement that surrounded me.

I took a long break from yoga once I went to college. My mom continued to teach. I would make it to classes every so often, but it wasn’t part of my routine. I was too busy and didn’t think it was important enough to keep in my life. I kept lifting, playing hockey and I added running to my workout routine.  Running started to become a bigger part of my routine. It started with friend asking me to do a 5k, then a 10k, before I knew it I was running several half marathons and 10 miles races. My body was starting to feel it, and it needed something more, something different from all the running. My friend suggested yoga, so I decided to join her. This was just over two years ago, and I sit here today with just under a year of teaching experience. Walking into the yoga studio 2 years ago, once again grabbing my mat has made a world of a difference in my life. I have transformed personally in so many ways. I have grown into my own skin. I have decided to use my mat as my “getaway” and also as a tool to evolve into a teacher of the practice.

Life hands us many things. We all use what we are given differently. I chose to take my practice deeper and it has given me a new perspective in life. I have spoken with many people that want to try yoga, but there is a tiny bit of fear keeping them from the studio. I encourage you to eliminate that fear, step into a studio, challenge your fear. Maybe it’s not yoga for you. Maybe it is school or a new job, or maybe just a life goal you have set. When life hands you {_______},  how you will use it?

 

Content through Him

For years I have been in the search to become whole. I will admit that I look strong on the outside, I may even come off strong when you speak with me about my past, but when it comes down to it I am still in pain with things of the past. I have always been in search of finding the pieces to fill the voids I feel, but always come up feeling empty. I have been afraid to admit it and quite frankly I have been afraid to give in to God as so many have suggested.

Finally a little less than a year ago, I gave in. It has been hard to fully allow God into my life, as a matter of fact I can say He still isn’t fully a part of me. But what is important is that I am letting him become the number one in my life. For years I have been afraid to go to church. I feared people would judge or criticize, and ya know some have. When it comes down to it I have had to do what is best for me. My approach on things has changed because I think of God first, plus I look to him for answers to decisions I can’t quite make on my own.  He is starting to fill the void in my life and I am ever so gracious for it.

The hardest part for me has been walking into Church alone. It’s kind of like going to a movie alone, I feel like people will look at me funny. But actually it has made me feel like a stronger person. I made the leap this year to live on my own, completely, no roommates. I am finding such an immense amount of independence from it as well as a feeling of being content with myself, a feeling I have never fully felt before.  I thought I would feel alone, but really the alone time has been so good for me. I am embracing every moment and finding joy in my quiet time. I even find that I try to spend some of this time with God. I read about him, and how he works in my life. I found taking time to read no matter what it is that I am reading has been much more fulfilling to me than the time in the past I spent watching TV. I am on my my way to feeling less empty. I still find times that I hurt inside from my past, but I am using God’s power and my own yoga practice as a way to steer quickly away from those feelings. Each day is a continued blessing, I am happy I am on this journey. I’m living in the present time, embracing every moment and taking life one step at a time.

Be Happy

My friend shared this great link on her facebook. It really speaks loudly to how you can be happy or even become happier. So many of these things I have recently changed thanks to the presence of my yoga practice.  Follow the link and enjoy:    http://www.marcandangel.com/2013/07/02/11-habits-you-need-to-give-up-to-be-happy/

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that your happiness and growth is more important than it.  Do something every day that stretches your comfort zone and helps you face what you fear.”

 

I just got my butt kicked!! Boxing anyone?? Plus check out a new recipe below!

For the last two years I have been working on my yoga practice. I love the intensity of the vinyasa, hot and sculpt classes I take, not to mention I love the heat. Recently I have noticed boxing studios have been popping up everywhere. I have always wanted to box, mostly because I think i’m tough, but also because for as long as I can remember we have had a punching bag in my parents garage and I never really knew how to use it.

First off, I have learned in some yoga sculpt classes I have taken that I am not the most coordinated when it comes to punching/boxing. This is surprising as I was in tae kwon do through my younger years (Green belt, blue stripe….hold your applause please) so you would think I would find some sort of punching/kicking coordination, so not true!!! In order to find some coordination I have decided that I really want to seek out boxing and kickboxing classes because I love the cardio aspect and how something so simple (yea simple, ha) can increase your heart rate and burn some major calories.

I decided to peel myself out of bed at 5am and made myself go to the 6am boxing class. It was intense, sweaty, I swear it felt 3 hours long, but in just one short hour I can admit I just might be addicted to throwing on some gloves and punching the bag. Finally I might really get some use out of the one in my parents garage. So my challenge is to go do something different this week, something you’ve always wanted to do but you have let every excuse stop you. You might just find a new hobby.

On a yummy note…..

Sunday night I decided to get creative with the fresh basil I had from the farmers market. I originally got it to put in spaghetti and because it just smelled so good. I decided to make my own pesto with it.

I’ll admit it tastes way better than any store bought pesto I have had and it was SO simple to make!

Recipe

Handful of Almonds

2 cups Fresh Basil

3 medium sized garlic cloves

1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and Pepper to taste

I used my ninja blender to make my pesto. First I put the almonds in and blended them until they were completely chopped, but not a paste. Then I added the basil leaves. This is when it started to look like pesto. I added in the garlic and blended a little more. Then I slowly added in the olive oil. I added half at first, blended, then added the other half. Last I added the Parmesan cheese. That was it. I did add a very small amount of salt and pepper. I think you could go with or without it.

To accompany the pesto I made some noodles (Market Pantry(Target) – gluten free) and added grilled shrimp!

A tasty and healthy dinner!!! Yum!

Self

In teacher training I learned a lot about Self discovery, that’s right Self, not self. Capital S means a connection with your true being, really understanding and knowing your true Self. I have had many Self moments lately. Last weekend I taught a free class at the St. Paul Union Depot to an amazing amount of new and seasoned yogis. It was an incredible experience to say the least (an experience I was honored to have, and experience where I was able to connect with my Self).

I had a woman come up to me after class and she told me the last time she was at the depot she was a little girl and she was with her mother who had since passed away. She remembered being there shopping with her mom. She began to tear up a little and said that during class she felt her mothers presence with her. It was a feeling of comfort and being in the moment that she had never felt on her mat until that exact moment. As an instructor it was a great story to hear and I was more than honored she shared it with me.

I have had many of my own moments over the last couple months. They have allowed me to let go and find my Self. With that I am starting to make many changes, one being my blog. I will still be writing, but my focus will be changing slightly. My goal is to bring the everyday things that create happiness in my life to my blog, in hopes it will send a new idea, challenge or happiness into your life. The big addition will be food! Yes, I love food. I think this is a hidden talent of mine that I don’t share nearly enough. So stay tuned for fun recipes that I usually just randomly throw together, and yes they randomly taste amazing!

xoxo

C

Be Still

Stop…… Just for a moment.

How difficult was that for you? How often are you just still? It’s not the easiest thing to do, but it can be the most powerful feeling.

This is how I end my classes. I tell my yoga students “be still just for a moment, give your body and your mind one minute of quiet, of silence, of stillness.” This can be really hard to do. I can tell which students are truly there in stillness and others that fight the quiet. To be still is completely rewarding for your body. It helps you recover, giving every muscle a little break. It also helps to give you that restart we often need in our chaotic lives.

I have noticed many teachers say this to their students. I am sure I picked it up from my training or my peers at some point because really it’s the most refreshing feeling that you have when you come out of that stillness.

I encourage you to find stillness with in your own body. Give yourself at least one minute, whether it is at the end of a workout or just sitting at your desk. Encourage yourself to be still. Let it help you to let go, to be refreshed.

Tattoo

2 Corinthians 12:9 My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.


Why this tattoo? This is what it means to me: 

I will begin by crediting Miss Lindsey Wells. Over a year ago I received a text message from her that simply said “2 Corinthians 12:9, I just read it and you came to my mind.”  I read her text and quickly went to the internet to find out what 2 Corinthians 12:9 could be. I read it several times trying to make sense of it. 

I was just re-opening my relationship again with God and as usual I needed more explanation to help me understand what the bible was telling me. So I googled “What does 2 Corinthians 12:9 mean” This is what I found: It means that the grace of God is all that is needed by any person. It alone saves a person from the consequences of their sins. It alone provides the abundant life for each believer. The person does not ever need to do anything except accept the gift of God’s grace.

This definition sunk in right away. It spoke to the emptiness I was feeling and the need for something in my life that I wasn’t able to find. It made me realize that finding my relationship with God was the right step to make. That He could fill that empty space, the feeling of loneliness, temptation, sin, He could fill that hole in my heart. Powerful feeling. 

What I had been missing was Him. Not a relationship with friends, family or a significant other. My emptiness was the lack of accepting God in my life. By opening up and letting Him in I can allow myself to be saved from the loneliness, I can be given power through my weakness by letting Him guide me.

Shortly after I started looking at this verse I stepped back into church. My friend Laura invited me to Eagle Brook Church. I had heard so much about EBC, but I had never attended. My first service I was hooked! I continued to go back with Laura and finally I began going on my own if she couldn’t make it. The series in January “Losing our Buts” was so powerful. Every week they talked about topics that 100% spoke right to me. They even followed suit with 2 Corinthians 12:9 and the feeling this gave me. Wow. I was just amazed at the power I felt after leaving services. I actually left many services and I would get in my car and cry because I was so overcome by happiness and grace. 

February 16th, shortly after the “Losing our Buts” series I was off to Hawaii for 2 weeks. Life was going so well I was feeling so blessed with my new relationship with God and my opportunity to spend so much time on vacation. On the way to the airport my mom handed me a devotional book and told me to read today’s passage: 

Feb 16

Fitting Right…….”Do not spoil these quiet hours by wishing them away, waiting impatiently to be active again.” I was about to spend 9 hours on a plane (not including airport/layover time).  But what hit me most about the passage of the day was the bible verse they refer to, 2 Corinthians 12:9. Yes right there, on the day I leave to Hawaii I see this same bible verse that has made such a presence in my life recently.  Little did I know how much I would need God during my trip.   

Halfway through my trip I found out a friend back home died. I was 4,000 miles from home grieving his loss and finding myself to be very weak. I needed the strength of God to help me answer the questions of “why?” and to help me figure out how to get through the pain and heartbreak I was feeling. It was His power that helped me through. It is his power today that is still helping me take each step and realize the power that is behind His words that can help me live this life I have been given. 

This is why I got the tattoo. This verse reminds me that when I am feeling weak I can turn to God and I can let him help me through it. His grace is enough. 

I know I got pretty deep (and long winded) on what this tattoo means to me. But for those of you who were curious, here it is! 

The link below is one of my favorite messages from EBC during their “Losing our buts” series.  Check it out! 
http://eaglebrookchurch.com/media-resources/weekend-messages/i-just-cant-stop/