Keep Calm and Yoga On with Restorative Yoga

I recently attended a restorative yoga workshop and it was the BEST THING EVER!!  This class is highly recommend for anyone who likes to be relaxed, uplifted and calm.  I wish one was held every Friday night instead of one Friday a month.  There were some yoga must-haves at this class that I want to share with you.  (This post contains affiliate links.)

therapy balls

Let me just say two things about this must-have:  ouch and ahhhhh.  Okay…those have complete opposite meanings, but it totally works here.  We used them between a yoga block and our neck while laying on a mat.  I moved my head in a yes gesture and a no gesture and it massaged the knots out of my neck.  There is the ouch.  At the conclusion of the mini-massage is when the there was the ahhhhh .

yoga bolster

yoga bolster is a large, cylindrical pillow used in different poses.  In one pose we did a shoulder back bend over the bolster.  We also hung our knees over it during a relaxation pose.  I will be use it when I do the neck massage with the therapy balls so that I can relax my legs.  I have hip dysplasia and sometimes it is painful to lay my left leg flat on the floor.  Being able to hang my legs over the bolster is a much more comfortable, relaxing pose for me.

lavender eye pillow

Need I say more about this wonderful relaxation necessity.  Put this over your eyes during any meditation, relaxation pose, or when you just want to feel calm and totally relaxed.  We used them for all the restorative poses when we were on our backs.  Sooooooooo good!!!

What are your yoga must-haves?  Please let me know in the comments.  As always, I have learned so much from my readers and always love to here about your successes and resources that you love.

Book Love #2 and a Giveaway

Part of my wellness routine and overall health routine is reading and I want to spread my reading joy so I am hosting a book giveaway in addition to my reviews.  I LOVE to read…I read every night before I go to sleep.  It helps relax my mind and fall asleep.  My favorite genres are historical fiction, suspense and pretty much anything that catches my attention.  Am I the only one who often picks books by the way the cover looks?  Here are some of my current favorites:

non-fiction

Trouble Maker by Leah Remini

After seeing Leah Remini’s docu-series about her time in Scientology and her exposure of its’ problems and shortcomings, I was intrigued my the subject.  I LOVED her book…I read it in 3 days.  She is lays everything out there and I learned so much about her that I didn’t know.  If you like her and/or if you are intrigued by this secretive “religion”, it is a must read.

fiction

The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews

Mary Kay Andrews writes a lot of novels that take place in North Carolina.  I have been to the Outer Banks of NC so I am familiar with the area.  The book was about a woman who has an unhappy marriage, a teenager and an old money family that summers on one of the islands off the NC coast.  There are many highs and lows in her life plus a little romance.  It is a great summer read.

Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews

This novel by Mary Kay Andrews takes place in the Outer Banks.  It is about some friends who rent a house for the summer and the rental isn’t what they expected in many ways.  Of course, there is a summer romance and some twists and turns.  Another fun summer read.

self-help

The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein

Gabi Bernstein has written many bestselling books about spirituality.  I like this one because it gives you step-by-step directions to help you become a more spiritual person.  I recently started doing yoga and meditation so this book fits right into what I’ve been doing in my life.  It is a great resource, which supports an introspective, self-care lifestyle.

Please enter my kindle edition book giveaway

I haven’t read Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews, but I love the books I’ve read that are written by her so I’m sure to love this one too.  Please enter to win a Kindle copy of the book.  Happy Reading!!!!

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21-Day Soul Cleanse: Yes Please!

I am a huge fan of Rebekah Borucki of Bexlife.  Currently, I am doing her 21-Day Soul Cleanse and it is perfect timing.   I have added this to my meditation and self-care journey and I’m so thrilled about it.

The 21-Day Soul Cleanse covers many different self-care activities and each day the activity is short and easy to accomplish.  I love that the daily activities are varied and include meditations, tasks and journaling.  Since I am reading Bex’ book, listened to a podcast interview and have done many of her Youtube meditations, many of the activities were familiar to me. Even if you have not had any experience with Bexlife, the cleanse is so easy to follow.  She gives step-by-step instructions and includes links to all resources needed for the tasks and meditations.

Another part of the 21-Day Soul Cleanse is a 7-Day Soul Cleanse diet.  I personally don’t like to call an eating plan a diet because diets are temporary while changing eating habits is a permanent, lifelong way of living.  I’m not as dedicated to the eating plan as the Soul Cleanse, but there are definitely great recipes and healthy habits that you can adapt and adopt from it.

Rebekah is such an awesome practitioner and she is offering a special discount to my readers.  The full cost of the program is a great buy at $29 and she is offering it to you for $19.  You cannot beat that price for a great self-care resource.  I am not receiving any compensation for this post…I just really love and believe in this program and wanted to share it with others.

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