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.

Golf – A Challenge Worth Taking

I have been on vacation in South Carolina this week.  The weather has been absolutely perfect and I love just relaxing on the beach.  My husband and son always golf, which is fine with me because then I don’t have to worry about them complaining about being bored on the beach.  This year, however, I felt like I wanted to give golf a try because I had a little FOMO (fear of missing out) going on.

My husband and son were taking a lesson so I asked my husband to sign me up too.  Why not??  As the day of the lesson came closer, I wanted to cancel it.  I thought my time would be better spent on the beach. Cancellation fees would probably apply so I bit the bullet and went to the lesson.  I am really glad that I did.  My instructor Ali was awesome; she was very supportive, down-to-Earth, and easy going.  She gave me a lot of great tips and I felt really good about myself when I left the lesson.  The Steve Dresser Golf Academy is one of the best in the Myrtle Beach area.  My husband and son also learned a lot in their advanced lessons and club fittings.

At home, I had been to the driving range a total of ONE time before my lesson.  I had taken other lessons years and years ago.  The thought of actually playing a round of golf scared me.  I didn’t think I had enough skill to get out there.  Well, I decided that there was no time like the present to give it a try.  I am in one of the most popular golf locations in the US and there are golfers of all levels getting out there every day.

 

There is a par 3 course, Tupelo Bay, which is not far from the condo we are staying in.  My husband said it was only 9 holes and I wouldn’t need to hit it very far, being that it was a par 3.  Again, I figured we’re here in one of the largest golf meccas so no time like the present to give it a try.  Since the par 3 was just “mini golf on steroids”, we decided to do the executive course, which was a par 3 and 4 course.  Nerves set in as we pulled up to the first hole, but when I saw others who hit the ball like me, I felt a lot better.  I didn’t do great, but I hit the ball and I have my first round 9 holes under my belt.  I, again, felt pretty good about myself walking off that course.

Golf is on the television all the time at my house.  I have been to PGA tournaments.  I hear my husband and son say how much you need to practice and how aggravating it can be.  So why do I want to get into this aggravating yet fulfilling hobby?  It is something we can do as a family and I can go out with friends who golf.  When I posted that I was taking a lesson on Facebook, a friend commented that she was in a beginner league at home and why don’t I join?  I told her ABSOLUTELY.  She said it was a lot of fun and a lot of laughs.  I may not improve my game, but fun and laughing are good for the soul.

So next step is getting some gear and just getting out there and doing it.  I am proud of myself because I am taking on a challenge of learning something completely new to me.  I have been writing a lot lately about my yoga journey and mindfulness, and this post may seem out of place.  However, I feel that taking on this challenge and being present in the moment of just concentrating on hitting the ball is just another way to be mindful.  Not letting every day worries and cares get in the way of my present purpose.

What is a challenge that you have taken on that has become a success for 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

Healthy Dessert: A Love Story

Let’s cut to the chase…have you tried Halo Top ice cream?  If you haven’t, what are you waiting for?  I had heard about this delectable, healthy dessert, but had never tried it.  I bought a pint last weekend and I am OBSESSED.

What makes Halo Top healthy???  See below direct from the Halo Top website.

HOW WE SWEETEN THE DEAL

so where’s the sugar?

In short, we use organic stevia. Stevia is a plant native to Paraguay that’s been used to sweeten foods and beverages for more than 200 years. And, because it’s so tasty, we use it as a sugar replacement. We also use Erythritol, which though it has a rather scientific-sounding name, is actually another all-natural sweetener found in fruits like pears and grapes. Though it’s technically a sugar alcohol, it’s unlike the others because erythritol doesn’t affect blood glucose or cause bloating.

This product is also a great source of protein…24 grams per pint for all flavors.  These are the nutrition facts from the mint chocolate chip flavor.

Flavors include vanilla bean, chocolate, lemon cake, mint chip, pistachio – all 240 calories per pint; strawberry, chocolate mocha chip, birthday cake, sea salt caramel, oatmeal cookie, chocolate almond crunch, black cherry – all 280 calories per pint; peanut butter cup, cookies and cream, s’mores – all 320 calories per pint; chocolate chip cookie dough, red velvet – both 360 calories per pint.

I have tried mint chip, birthday cake, and oatmeal cookie…LOVE them all.  The name of each flavor perfectly describes the taste and cannot wait to try the others.  I was also excited to try cookies and cream, but was disappointed.  It tasted NOTHING like cookies and cream:(

I am receiving no compensation or products for this post.  I reached out to the company and they said that there are occasional coupons if you sign up for their newsletter on their website.  You can all find giveaways on their Facebook page.

Healthy Dessert: A Love Stor Click To Tweet

The ONLY drawback that I found was that when I ate a whole pint of mint chip at one sitting (which is less calories than 1 cup of some full fat ice creams), I had some stomach distress.  I can be sensitive to milk protein so getting ALL that protein at once didn’t work for my digestion.  I then ate 1/2 of the container the next time I bought it and I was fine.  Just wanted everyone to know about that in case you too have milk protein sensitivity.

 

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.