3 Fabulous Meditation Resources for Beginners

Along with my current yoga journey, I have taken corresponding steps on a fabulous meditation journey.  To me, it makes sense because I feel yoga and meditation go together, hand-in-hand.  I have dabbled in meditation over the years, but never really connected with it.  Since I started my yoga journey, I feel more connected to meditation.  The following resources have elevated my journeys to another level.

Calm app

I have had this app for quite a while, but didn’t use it often.  I was listening to a meditation podcast and wanted a little variety so I took another look at the Calm app.  Since starting both of my journeys, I have felt more of a connection when I revisited this app.  I also changed my screen to the ocean, which has a corresponding crashing waves sound and it is perfect.  You can get quite a few free options in the app and there is also a subscription if you want even more of a selection.

Bexlife

I just found this website and Youtube channel and I love it.  Some voices are much more calming and focusing than others and I really like Bex’ voice. She has a very easy going meditation process.  She offers many resources on her website as well as her Youtube channel.

Truth and Dare

Allie from The Journey Junkie and her soul sister Carly have a podcast called Truth and Dare…which stands for speak your truth and dare to change.  I have really been enjoying the podcast so I signed up for the email subscription from their podcast website.  The email I received today had the link to a guided meditation.  It is only one they have so far, but I’m hoping they add more.  Nevertheless, it is a great yoga and meditation resource.


What are your go-to, must have meditation resources?  I’d love to hear from you…I’ve gotten so many great resources from my readers.  One of my readers told me about Allie’s Facebook group, which connected me to all her other great resources.  I love the wonderful bloggers and readers I have met…it’s such an uplifting community.

 

That Yoga Journey? It Continues

That yoga journey…yeah the one I’ve written about several times on my blog…well it continues!!!  Every week I have learned something new about this wonderful body and soul exercise.  I am still a beginner, but I want to share the things I have learned in hopes that it helps other beginner or advanced yogis.

journey junkie

I continue to LOVE Yoga With Adriene…it has become my go-to and I can’t wait to do it each day.  A new find is The Journey Junkie, which is another great yoga website that has helpful Youtube yoga videos.  While Yoga with Adriene is very easy going and less structured…Allie from The Journey Junkie is a little more structured and a smidge more serious.  Each yoga instructor is a bit different, but they are both awesome in their own ways:)

As is the case with YWT, I learned about TJJ from a reader’s comment on my blog.  My blog readers have become my best resource!!!  The Journey Junkie has an awesome Facebook group called Live Your Journey.  You can join the group and get great daily inspiration, support and yoga education. It is such a positive, uplifting FB community.

yoga wheel

My newest tidbit of yoga news is the yoga wheel.  I learned about this prop from Live Your Journey and TJJ.  I haven’t purchased one yet, but have been researching them online.  If you haven’t heard of a yoga wheel, which I hadn’t heard of before last week, Allie has a great post on how to use them in your yoga practice.

photo from Amazon.com

mat spray

Finally, it you have or will be purchasing a yoga mat, you’ll definitely want to keep it clean and fresh smelling.  I do most of my yoga at home, but if you go to a yoga studio, you will be placing your mat on the floor where others have put their mats.  This means dirt, germs, and probably other yuck:(  I made this mat spray and I LOVE it.  It is all natural, smells wonderful and kills germs.  Give it a try…I use it for my yoga mat and my gym bag.

I hope that you are enjoying my yoga journey series as much as I am enjoying the actual journey.  The more I learn, the more I want to discover about yoga.  Finally, keep those comments and resources coming.

**this post contains an affiliate link**

Healthy Body AND Soul

I just changed the header on my blog because I felt like my former header didn’t totally embrace my new focus on a healthy body and soul.   My blog has always been a place of happiness and support for myself and others.  I have recently started a yoga and meditation journey and wanted the blog to convey that added dimension.  So my tag line used to be “happiness, wellness, fitness, nutrition”  and now it is “all things that keep your body and soul healthy, happy, mindful and fit”.  I like the new tagline much better.

I am a bit disappointed that the text is not as bright and readable as the original graphic:(  It still conveys the message that I want to get across with the inclusion of my actual happy place…the beach.  Also, I think that the posts and information written should be the most important aspect of the blog and nice graphics are just the sprinkles and cherry on top.

As for including posts about a healthy soul,  I have been reading some great books on mindfulness and spirituality.  Organized religion is not my jam.  It hasn’t been for a very long time.  I have nothing against anyone who feels a strong bond to organized religion, it just isn’t for me. Spirituality comes in many different wrappers; it isn’t exclusively a belief and worship of God.  I believe that there is a higher power, but I think of it as a positive energy, including guardian angels.  That is my personal belief.

I have read several books by Gabby Bernstein.  I like her books because she basically says that you can call “it” whatever you believe in…God, spirit, guide, energy, etc.  No label is the RIGHT label, it’s whatever you believe.  I love that because everyone does have their own belief system and no one should be telling you that your belief is right or wrong.

Another recent read was You Are a Bad Ass  by Jen Sincero.  Another great book, which also speaks of being spiritual without putting a label on who, what or where you worship.  I grew up going to church every Sunday and always thought it was so strange when my friends did not.  Now that I am older, I have come to the realization that you don’t need to attend a service in a building on Sunday to be spiritual or to be a good person.  I feel it is much more important to be a thoughtful, caring, supportive, loving person.  Sitting in a pew doesn’t write you a ticket to heaven.

So, that is the new and improved My Happier Place blog.  I will be writing a post on the Gabby Bernstein book I am reading, Spirit Junkie, in the near future.  It takes awhile to read her books because she gives you meditations, journal writing and deep thinking exercises to do.  It is definitely worth the time and effort.

What is your go-to mindfulness, good for the soul practice??  I’d love to hear from you.

My A-HA Moment: A Chain Reaction

I’ve been working on some personal issues lately.  I had some huge losses in my life as a teenager, which I am realizing now have followed me into middle adulthood.   As I work through them, I have had some realizations and A-HA moments all over the place.  I will start with a first A-HA moment that have led to a chain reaction of others.

First of all, the loss that I experienced as a teenager was the loss of my parents within a five month span.  I can remember as a child that I always worried that my parents might die and that worse case scenario actually came true.  Now I realize that I immediately go to the worse case scenario when issues arise in my life because at the one time, the worse case scenario DID come true.  So that is my starting point.

I have issues with my supervisor.  In my head, I go to the worse case scenario because of my history.  I have nothing to prove that some of the things I assume from her actions are true, but I still go THERE…to the worse case scenario.  Okay…so I understand why I go to that extreme now what do I do?  Here is where the other A-HAs have come into play.

a-ha moment #1

I bought a book several months ago The Universe Has Your Back by Gabby Bernstein (affiliate link).  I was cleaning out a shelf….putting some books on half.com and I came across that book.  Since I just finished another self-care book, I thought I’d start reading my find.  The introduction of the book talked about “freedom from fear so you can return to peace”.  Reference was made to the fact that even though we want to feel better and improve ourselves, we are stuck in our patterns of negativity because it is what we know and we don’t want to venture out into the unknown.   Truth!!!  My interpretation of this is LET IT GO.

a-ha moment #2

I have numerous podcasts that I subscribe to and have started to listen to them during my commute, which I haven’t done in months.  I subscribe to The Model Health Show with Shawn Stevenson.  There are about 60 episodes in my queue…yikes.  I decided to listen to the oldest episode in the queue from February 2016…Mind Over Medicine with Dr. Lissa Rankin.  She talks about how she was a traditional medical doctor and felt like she was drowning in the managed medical world.  Her schedule went from meeting with 25 patients a day to 40, which gave her 7-1/2 minutes with each patient.

She quit and decided to go into a more naturopathic practice where she could meet with each patient for an hour.  Dr. Rankin said she wasn’t even prescribing medicine, but just listening to patients because she had the time and they were healing!!!!  The process of her listening put the patients into a relaxation response which improved the healing process.  Another truth…having the relaxation response makes us feel better.  My interpretation of this…again…LET IT GO.

a-ha moment #3

While perusing my podcasts, I looked for a mediation podcast and found Meditation Minis with Chel Hamilton.  I LOVE this podcast.  I’ve wanted to incorporate meditation into my wellness repertoire for a long time and this was just what I needed.  I chose episode 9:  Meditation to Let Worries and Stress Drift Away.  This guided meditation talked about thinking of all your worries as a balloon that you let just drift away…truth #3.  My interpretation of this…you guessed it…LET IT GO.

So I guess I’m going to make like Elsa/Anna and LET IT GO!!!  I felt like all these messages from the universe were synchronized to point me in the right direction towards healing myself.  What are your go-to, self-healing resources??  I’d love to hear about your successes.

My Continuing Yoga Journey

I recently wrote a post on the start of my yoga journey.  It’s been a couple weeks so I wanted to give an update since I’ve taken several more steps on my journey.  I hope this inspires others who are have been hesitant to try yoga to take the first steps on their journey.

Online Resources

First of all, one of my awesome readers mentioned that she did yoga with a Youtuber named Adriene.  I love when readers leave suggestions in the comments because it is helpful to me and I like to leave comments that are helpful to others.  It’s such a great community.  I gave Yoga with Adriene a look and now I am OBSESSED!!!  I feel like she is my new best friend…lol.

She is uplifting and chill.  I love her calm voice and playful nature.  The speed is just right…I can’t say enough about her awesomeness!!!  I am a kindergarten teacher and I have my students do yoga every day in class and I have incorporated some of Adriene’s shorter classes in our day.

Yoga Props

I have the tightest hips and IT bands on Earth.  My hip issues are the cause of said tightness.  I ordered some yoga blocks (affiliate link) which help support my legs in certain poses because I don’t have as much flexibility in those poses.  They are a life saver.

Modifications

Yes, as I’ve said above, I need to modify some of the poses.  This is partly due to my hip issues and tightness AND partly because I’ve just started the yoga journey.  I know that once I become more familiar with the poses and strengthen and stretch the muscles, it will become easier.  I found some wonderful resources for modifications.

courtesy of Yoga Journal website

My FAVORITE active wear retailer Athleta has a blog where I found a great post with wonderful visuals and suggestions.   When I googled yoga modifications, I found some great images from Yoga Journal.  They were exactly what I was looking for and it was easier to find them in Google images than their actual website.  The Yoga Journal website has a plethora of information on yoga and is a great overall resource.

I will continue to update my journey here.  Most of all if you have any more suggestions or ideas, please keep them coming.  As a result of your comments, I have learned so much from my readers and love the community we have.  Thank you. Namaste.

Book Love #1

I love to read…yes…it’s Book Love.  Anyone who wants to relax while keeping their brain engaged should take up leisure reading…it’s part of my wellness routine.  I know that a lot of people say that they don’t have the time, but it is just such a great hobby and use of brain power.  I read EVERY night before going to sleep.  It’s hard for me  to wind down without my nightly read.   I am always looking for good books to read and I love to find little gems that aren’t always on the best seller list.

#1 – The Ladies room by Carolyn Brown

This book was a special on Amazon and the blurb that was written about it was intriguing so I picked it up.  It is a story of unrequited love after a loveless marriage.  It can be a little predictable, but it is a sweet story and I really enjoyed it.  It’s one of the books that when you finish it, you wish there was a follow-up book to continue the story because you want to know what happens with the characters.

#2 – The Dead Key by d. m. pulley

Another Amazon special…what drew me to this book was the preview that stated the book flashed backward and forward between the past and present.  That aspect of the book was engrossing.  As you read each flash forward or back, you couldn’t wait to see how it affected the opposite time period.  I love historical fiction and this gives you the best of historical fiction with a current suspense novel.

#3 – The 7th Canon by robert dugoni

If you love thrillers and suspense, Robert Dugoni is the author for you.  I read My Sister’s Grave several years ago and loved it so when I saw that he had other novels, I had to add this to my must-read list.  This one takes place in San Francisco and has many twists and turns that you won’t see coming.

#4 – Blown by Lauren halstead burroughs

After watching the Scientology documentary by actress Leah Remini, I was fascinated by the Scientology movement.  I couldn’t believe the stories she and other former members told of this religion/cult.  Blown is a novel which tells the story of a girl/woman’s life in Scientology.  It is a novel so it is fictitious, but after seeing the documentary, I know that the things in the novel could have actually happened.

#5 – The Good Lawyer by thomas benigno

I love legal thrillers and Thomas Benigno is legal thriller royalty.  I have read several of his books and liked all of them.  His stories are a little more gritty than a John Grisham book and I like it that way.

What is your current favorite leisure reading book?

**book photos from Amazon and Goodreads.

***Ebay partner affiliate links included

5 Mantras I Have Learned from author Jen Sincero

I just finished reading YOU ARE A BAD ASS by Jen Sincero.  It’s subtitle is “How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life”.  I have read a lot about personal mantras and You Are a Bad Ass is a book in which I have found daily mantras in order to start doubting my greatness and start living an awesome life.

Mantra #1

“This is about believing, even when things are at their most uncertain or absolute crappiest, that there is a bright shiny flipside within your reach.”  (Sincero, 2013, p.34)

When we are in our darkest moments, it can be very hard to believe that we will ever drag ourselves out and be positive again.  Hence, my first mantra should  be…There is ALWAYS a shiny flipside.

Mantra #2

“It never ceases to amaze me the precious time we spend chasing the squirrels around our brains,…dissecting the lives of idiots, when we are sitting in the middle of a full-blown miracle that is happening right here, right now.”  (Sincero, 2013, p.36)

I am so guilty of this, especially with the onslaught of posts on our Facebook feed each day.  I have unfollowed a lot of “friends” because they made me feel jealous or out of shape or wishing I had more money.  STOP!!!  Those people’s lives are not important and comparison to them is ridiculous.  I feel so much better now and I am working on being more present in what is what is happening to me right now.  “Comparison is the fastest way to take all the fun out of life.” (Sincero, 2013, p.61) is an especially relevant mantra.

Mantra #3

“Holding on to my bad feelings about this is doing nothing but harming me, and everyone else, preventing me from enjoying my life fully.  I am an awesome person. I choose to enjoy life.  I choose to let this go.”  (Sincero, 2013, p. 62)

Just like the song in Frozen…Let it go!!  Let it go!!! Festering on something that is happening just saps your energy, makes you grumpy and unhappy and, hence, makes those around you uncomfortable.  You ARE a good person and I AM a good person, therefore, a suitable mantra probably should be…Let it go and enjoy life!

Mantra #4

“Do not fall prey to the false belief that by forgiving someone you’re letting them off the hook.  Because when you forgive someone you let yourself off the hook.”  (Sincero, 2013, p.123)

I know that this is absolutely true and it is the best thing that I can do for myself.  Holding on to negative energy can make you sick, stressed out, unhappy, lethargic…in addition to other ailments.  As I am typing this, I just had a huge A-HA moment.  It says to forgive, but it doesn’t say you have to forget about what happened.  This is definitely something that I struggle with. I know that the resentment I feel isn’t good for my soul.  Consequently, I can forgive, but I will not forget.  As a result, a fitting mantra is…Let yourself off the hook.

Mantra #5

“Set honest goals that are just outside your comfort zone and build from there.”  (Sincero, 2013, p.238)  I LOVE this.  Don’t make these HUGE, hard to attain goals.  Move forward in small increments and you will reach those goals and feel a sense of success.  Finally, a mantra for this quote should be…Go just outside your comfort zone.

In conclusion, no compensation or products have been exchanged for this post.  I enjoyed this book and wanted to share it with others since it was helpful to me.  What books are you reading that have given you an A-HA moment?  I’d love to hear from you.

Here is author Jen Sincero letting it go and enjoying life:)

My Yoga Journey

I have wanted start a yoga journey for quite awhile.  I took some yoga classes years ago and never went back to it due to, now realizing in hindsight, I wasn’t quite ready for the full journey.  It will be good for my body and soul, therefore, I have decided to dip my toe into the yoga pool. I cannot remember many of the poses so I feel that I am a beginning beginner.

One of the reasons that I haven’t been to a yoga class in forever is because I will feel embarrassment.  What if EVERYONE in the class knows all the poses hence I am the only one who doesn’t know them?  When I give it a second thought, however, I know that most yogis want to spread their love and knowledge of yoga so I shouldn’t be embarrassed.  If any group can be understanding of a beginner, it would be this group.

When I look for local classes, I have seen some beginning beginner classes, but they don’t fit into my schedule.  I want to start this journey NOW so I decided to do some research and take the first step.  Much needed information and supplies are a click or stretch away.  As a result of said research, I discovered some wonderful realities.

EVERY JOURNEY STARTS WITH THE FIRST STEP.

What do I need to start this wonderful journey?

Versatile clothes?  Yes!

Informational books?  Yes!

For the mind:  True Yoga: Practicing with the Yoga Sutras for Happiness & Spiritual Fulfillment

For the body:  Mindfulness Yoga

Especially relevant…helpful videos?  Yes!

Do Yoga With Me

My Yoga Journey Click To Tweet

Okay…no more excuses and full speed ahead.

Finally, I would love to know any resources that you cannot live without in regards to yoga.  Please tell me about any music you listen to,  essential oils you use, videos you follow…I want to hear about all your yoga non-negotiables.  A yoga journey update will be forthcoming.  Namaste.

OOTD: Affordable Fitness Style

I LOVE new workout clothes.  There is so much fun fitness style out there now and I get motivated to do my workouts when I have a new fitness OOTD.  Many brands of workout clothes are quite expensive and not worth their price.  There are also brands that are cheap, and there is a reason why they cheap…they just don’t last.  I have found some quality workout clothes that look great and don’t break the bank.

SNEAKERS

My absolute favorite brand of sneakers is Asics.  They fit my foot the best and are great quality.  There are so many great styles and colors to choose from.  Almost all of my sneakers have come from the Asics website.  They have an unbelievable clearance section with a great range of sizes.  I wear an 11 or 11-1/2 women’s sneaker and they always have my size in stock. Most noteworthy, free shipping and returns.

LEGGINGS/TIGHTS and SPORTS BRAS

Athleta is my absolute favorite place to get leggings.  The quality is fabulous.  There is a huge selection of prints, colors, thicknesses, lengths and sizes.  I have an Athleta store near me and they always have items on their clearance rack.  If you have a GAP, Old Navy, Banana Republic or Athleta charge card, you can earn reward points for purchases.  The reward points accumulate into $5 credits that you can use at any of that family of stores.  If you find something on the clearance rack AND, in addition, use the credits you earn, you can get quite a deal.  I recently found the cutest sports bra on the sale rack, too.  The website also has a sale section, but sometimes there isn’t a huge selection of sizes.  You can also find plus and petite sizes on the website.

** Side note: C9 leggings/tights from Target were voted #1 by Good Housekeeping for durability, quality and fit.

SPORTS BRAS

If you want a no-nonsense, supportive, long-lasting sports bra, you should go to Old Navy.   In addition, I love that they have removable padding….key feature.  They have gotten cuter styles recently, but a lot of the cuter styles have low support.  I have had some of these bras for several years and they have held up very well.  I have no complaints whatsoever.  Furthermore, you can also use those reward credits for these purchases.

TANKS

I recently went shopping at the GAP and I love the GapFit section.  The fabric that the tanks are made of is so soft and hangs well on the body…not too clingy, not too loose.  LOVE them.  Again, hit that clearance rack and got some tanks for a STEAL.  I will definitely be visiting that clearance rack when I need, or WANT, some new tanks.  Reward credits can be use here too.

Most of all, I hope you found some useful finds in this post.  I am so happy to share fabulous finds with others and  I’d love to hear about your go-to workout wear brands…brick and mortar locations OR online merchandisers.

Finally, here is an Athleta link for $20 off $100 if you want to receive an even bigger discount.  ***affiliate link***