Why the path to health and wellness is just like driving a car

“To believe in something and not to live it is dishonest.” Gandhi

If you stop driving the car it will crash –

This is the problem many of us face when we are confronted with challenges. We feel like the easiest way to end where we are headed is to stop driving. Instead, we must realize that without a guide our car does not know where to go. If you want your car to change directions you must tell it. You must take control and guide the car where you want it to go. The car cannot take you there by itself. So, when you are faced with obstacles, challenges, or you are headed the wrong way down the road take control.

Turn the car around, take a right, take a left, make a U-turn. Whatever needs to be done, it must be done by you. There is not a passenger in the car who can control the driver’s seat. Only the driver has control over the gas, the brake, the steering wheel and the ignition. While passengers in the car might help direct you, you must decide which turn to make because ultimately they cannot make that turn for you. You must do it yourself. Do not stop driving your car because you do not want to crash. Realize that we cannot jump out of our car for a new one. We simply must guide the car we have.

If you speed to the new path ahead you will lose control –

            The reason I refer to this change as a journey is that it cannot be done too quickly. The path to success, the path to health, the path to wellness is not short and there is a speed limit. This speed limit is designed to protect you, just like the speed limit on the road. It gives you the power to observe your surroundings and the ability to remain controlled. When you ignore that speed limit and test your car’s ability to go faster one of two things will happen. If you are lucky you will be stopped by someone who is looking out for you. Alternatively, you might lose control.

When we lose control, we tend to fall off the path we are on. You may feel the urge to speed things up sometimes but your body cannot handle it. You must listen to the needs of your body and you must act for what is optimal, not just what is possible. Do not overexert yourself or under nourish your body. Do not speed up the process to weight loss by starving your body or feeding it caffeine pills. Additionally, do not speed up the journey to happiness by resorting to bandages like drugs, alcohol, and material things.

On this path, I am often reminded of a quote –

Happiness is like a butterfly

 If you inch towards the path ahead you will never reach it –

            Now, let’s be honest with ourselves on this path. While it is true that you cannot take things too quickly you must not excuse yourself from acting. If you act too slowly on this journey you will never reach your destination. If you put things off until tomorrow and then tomorrow becomes next week and next week becomes January you start to lose sight of the destination ahead. Then that destination seems unreachable.

Denial is a challenge you must overcome. We tend to deny to ourselves when we are making the wrong choices. If we are not denying the choices we are making excuses for them. It might be true that today you cannot run one mile, but maybe you can walk it. It might be true that today you cannot do a headstand but you can rest in downward dog. You can even practice getting there.

Be honest with yourself. Do you want to make a change? Do you want to find your true self? Then you must take steps.

“If you can’t fly then run. If you can’t run then walk. If you can’t walk then crawl. But whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” Martin Luther King Jr.

Stop on the path to reflect on what your car needs – fuel, oil change, a new battery 

            The final thing to keep in mind on this journey is that your car needs fuel to run, an oil change to function, and a battery to sustain. Your body is like this too. Every week sit down and journal about how your week was. Did you feel exhausted or energized? Did you feel tight or flexible? Did you suffer an injury or gain a strength?

When you are feeling exhausted make sure you are taking in the right nutrients. Do you get enough B12 and Vitamin D3? Are you eating enough protein? Are you eating too much sugar? What is your bedtime and how much sleep are you getting? (A fit bit charge 2 will track your sleep for you – it has changed my life). If you are feeling exhausted or a lack of energy often make sure you approach a doctor for your best advice. We are all so different – some cars need regular gas but others need premium. Make sure you are feeding your car the fuel it needs.

When you feel tight listen to your body. Stretch that area but don’t over stretch. For tight hamstrings try a rag doll pose – for 2 to 5 minutes. For a tight chest get a bolster – sit the bolster at the base of your spine – lay back on the bolster and open your arms out in a T position. Sit here and breathe deeply – in through the nose to fill the lungs out through

For tight hamstrings try a rag doll pose – for 2 to 5 minutes.

For a tight chest get a bolster – sit the bolster at the base of your spine – lay back on the bolster and open your arms out in a T position. Sit here and breathe deeply – in through the nose to fill the lungs out through the mouth to exhale. Also, try bridge pose – this pose is my favorite! It opens your chest, neck, spine, and stomach.

For tight shoulders – lean up against a wall with your forearms on the wall – drop your head. Use a strap or a towel if you need to for this pose – reach one elbow up by your ear and drop one elbow down to your side – now reach behind to your back and see if you can grasp your hands together.

All of our bodies are different. A pose in yoga that is beneficial for me might be hurting you. Modify. Use props like a bolster or a yoga block. A breakfast smoothie might be perfect for me but it might be too sweet for you. Modify. Take the time to reflect on what you need. Your car will run longer if you give it fuel before it breaks down, you change the oil before it runs dry, and you replace the battery before it goes dead.

 

Shanti Shanti Shanti

 

My Breakfast Smoothie

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I start almost every morning with a breakfast smoothie. I pack it full of greens, fruits, and natural supplements. Below is the recipe I use! Just to note, for the first 3 weeks I did my smoothie I added no fruits to it at all because I wanted to stay really low on sugar. You can try this if you want, but you don’t have to.

TIP: I like to buy all of my ingredients fresh and then I freeze them myself. I don’t buy prepackaged frozen fruits and veggies but I like for my smoothies to be ice cold so I do freeze them once I get home.

2 heaping handfuls of Organic Spinach/Mixed Greens 

1/2 of a banana 

1 small handful of frozen mango cubes 

1 small handful of blueberries (sometimes I will add a few raspberries or blackberries if I have them on hand) 

1 scoop of Bulletproof Collagen Protein  link here

1 scoop of Organic or Paleo Protein link to organic protein

1 scoop of Green Superfood (watch for which one you choose as they come in flavors and varieties) link here

1 Tbsp of Sun Potion Tocos (great for skin and digestion) link here

1 tsp of Ashwagandha Powder (great for stress and anxiety) link here 

1 scoop of Spirulina Powder (G.O.A.T) link here

1 cup of Almond Milk (I like the unsweetened original flavor – you can also sub this for organic coconut milk which is a little thicker and creamier) 

Other ingredients I throw in from time to time – turmeric, cayenne pepper, and bee pollen

I use the Ninja Blender for my smoothies. I got a great deal on it at Costco for only $69.99 and Amazon often runs deals on blenders. The Ninja is my go to blender because I like my smoothie to be finely grated.

TIP: I like to drink my smoothies out of mason jars and stainless steel straws! Not just because it is so pretty but because the BPA in plastics can be really harmful to your body. Also, plastic is an obvious threat to our environment when it is not disposed of properly, recycle if you are using a lot of plastic! Also, the mason jar is super convenient to pack all of your ingredients into ahead of time. It makes the smoothie process quick and easy for those mornings you are in a rush. You can find mason jars at Walmart and target for cheap (I have the big and the small ones). You can find stainless steel straws for cheap on smile.amazon.com

 

** MORE RECIPES TO COME – my favorite snack smoothie, my all time favorite dinner recipe, my daily lunch, alternate breakfast ideas. I will provide the time schedule for when I eat these too!

 

The Path to Success – It is this.

“ When the mind is still the beauty of the Self is seen reflected in it.”

When I started writing this blog I had a feeling that people would somehow mistake my new path as a less successful one. I would be too focused on happiness and spirituality to be truly dedicated to the same hard work. For some odd reason, people tend to correlate a yogi or a present lifestyle with that of laziness or a total loss of grit. Really this lifestyle can put you in tune with your passions so you are more dedicated than ever. In fact, yoga teaches the yogi to overcome the obstacles of laziness (Alysya) and the lack of mental disposition for work (Styana).

When we think about success we picture hard work, focus, and commitment to a result. That means a commitment only to that result, whatever it takes. We tend to conflate success with stress and therefore make stress a normal part of success. In addition, we are surrounded by people who are working towards the same success so we are in a pool of stressful but successful people. In law school, they warn that if you are going to be hanging out with law students all the time to find something other than law school to talk about it! Probably to avoid this trend of incessant complaining, judgment, and criticism – we call venting. Instead of removing the negative people, things, and thoughts from our life we vent about them. When I did this, I felt better but then I felt guilty or overwhelmed. When I complained, I could not stop complaining!!! But, it was ok because everyone else was doing it. This made me so negative and stressed out that I actually started losing motivation. I didn’t want to be successful anymore if this was success.

So, maybe the key to success is not the idea we have in our head. I believe that if I had stayed true to myself, listened to my soul, and was present with my body I would have had the same success. Had I stayed true to this path I might have felt better and the success may have resonated inside of me. Instead, I lost my balance. I dedicated my focus solely to work and my goal solely to perfection.

You can be successful but also be healthy, well, and present. The reason so many of us are conflicted about this idea is that we tend to achieve our success before we dedicate ourselves to a path of health and wellness. We wait until we are drowning at the other end of the pool to jump out of the water and put our feet on the ground. It often takes the feeling of being down to decide to get up. It is very systematic and accepted in this society to have a reactive instead of a proactive approach. Instead of being present and aware of your problems you put them to the side and respond to them when they get bad enough. This only causes your problems to pile up and you feel out of control.

Imagine the success, the feeling you would have if you were always in control. In yoga, this is why we have grounding poses like chair. You need to feel the sensation that you are grounded to this earth. At the same time, however, you are reaching up – you are balanced. When you are grounded you feel balance and clarity. You stop worrying about being focused on something because you are present with yourself and your work. It changes your life from being a life of habit to a life of intent. A life of intent has even more potential for success.

So, what do you want to be successful in? Choose it – start now – be present with your mind, body, and soul and you can achieve your dream! You don’t have to hit the ground to reach for the sky. You just need balance.

***Keep in mind, that your train of thoughts, your complaining, your venting is no one else’s fault. The people you complain with or vent to might be some of your best friends and dearest companions. As a friend, they are responding to you and probably think they are making things better. Also, as a friend, they feel they can trust in you to complain back and have you respond. This change is about you! It is about you becoming aware of your negativity and your complaining and removing it. Whether that is removing people, things, thoughts, or ideas do it. But, do not blame other people for your own loss of self. In fact, your change to a more positive and more present you might help change others. You might find that your relationships with these people who are actually a lot like you become better.***

 

Shanti Shanti Shanti

Peace Peace Peace

 

Victoria

Playing Hide and Seek with Yourself

“The impurities of the mind are washed off in adoration. The impurities of the intellect or reason are burned off in the Study of the Self.” B.K.S. Iyengar 

           I think most of us have played this game of hide and go seek in our lives. We lose ourselves to be right for someone, to be right for something, or simply because we want or need to be someone else. We hide our true self to be someone else. The problem is this inhibits our path to becoming our greatest self. Every one of us has a unique greatness inside that should never be hidden or covered up. We tend to hide our true selves when we feel that we won’t be accepted, we won’t fit in, we won’t look the way we are expected to look, or we won’t be loved. The way we choose to hide is to cover up in material brands, follow people we want to be, drink heavily, eat too much, binge watch tv, and judge others who are “better”, “worse”, “weird”, etc. This path is a lot like walking from one of end a pool to the other.

In the beginning, you’re excited – you just stepped in, the water is refreshing and you’re getting a little taste of how it feels! This is the part of the path when you are just beginning to become someone else. It feels exciting and even refreshing.

The further you go you begin to feel submerged, but you are still in control. You still feel good. This is when you start to collect a few new material things, hang out with new people you want to be like, and change your thoughts. Alternatively, maybe you start to stay in more – you find more shows to watch to keep you distracted or lost in a world of reality television seeking to be beautiful, thin, rich, famous.

When the water hits your stomach is when it feels really cold! At this part of your path, you are really submerged you are over half way there – your focus is only on being someone else, on collecting more material things, judging other people. You fear expression of your real thoughts or feelings so you adjust them to the “right” or the “comfortable” thoughts and feelings. Your mind and your soul are lost from your true self. Cold and negative. This phase might not be cast on to other people, you may even project happiness and positivity but inside you are lost from true happiness. You are so worried about other people and things or maybe you are worried that it is too late to go back. You are too far gone, too overweight, too anxious, too depressed.

Finally, you reach the other end of the pool and you are totally submerged, drowning in the water. It’s no longer cold though because you are used to it. This is the end of the path – this is when you lost yourself. At this point on the path, you don’t even realize you’re someone else. You are consumed with negative thoughts, other people, having things, and being someone else.

NOT TO WORRY– make the choice to swim to the surface, walk out of that pool, and seek yourself on higher ground. The path to your true self is much longer than the path from one end of the pool to the other. On this path, you will encounter day & night, beautiful things & terrible things, love & loss, fear & freedom. I think this is why so many of us don’t take this path. It is longer, it can be harder, and it requires so much more of our mind, body, and soul. On this path, we jump off of the band wagon,  put our feet on the ground, and walk our own journey!

We need this path if we want to truly be happy and truly be our self. The end of this journey is worth the risk of taking it – even if your just beginning. Begin with me. Hop off that band wagon your hiding on, put your feet on the ground and go seek your true self. We need you.

I found myself drowning at the end of law school. I was at the bottom of the pool searching for my last breath of air. I had become the ultimate law school student and future lawyer but not the one I started out as. I had the new clothes, the professional purses, the heels, and the presence (confident and strong). What I didn’t have anymore was my vision, my spirit, and my self.  During this time, the only thing I remained true to was the self I was to my boyfriend. He brings out the truest happiness in me and when I was with him I was able to catch a breath of fresh air. Maybe this is why I survived so long in the deep end. But, when anxiety took over I could not even focus on that. I was too tired and too on edge. I had to find the strength to pull myself out of that pool and put my feet on the ground. The most ironic part is that finally telling my boyfriend about my anxiety and that I did not feel like myself gave me that strength. I jumped out of that water and started on my path to health and wellness. I will guide you through each step and the experience in the following posts to come.

masks poem

 

Inspiration link – https://eatfeelfresh.com/

 

Welcome to the Journey

When I started my path to health and wellness I got a lot of texts and calls from friends asking for smoothie recipes, products, books, and so much more. To be honest, I didn’t want to tell. Not because I wanted to keep all the good foods, natural products, and things I was learning about to myself instead I thought it was so important to take the journey yourself. I spent so much time researching, reading blogs, listening to podcasts, going to yoga and I thought that experience was so important and individualized. Then I realized, maybe I could be a part of your journey. I might be that blog you read or that person you message for advice. If I am I am humbled to be a part of that experience and I am excited to share!

Let’s start with a little story of why I am writing this blog that may resonate with some of you. Approaching graduation from law school I began suffering from anxiety and panic attacks. I was frustrated, overwhelmed, sad, happy, excited, and scared all at the same time. At first, I was looking for the reasons why I would be anxious. I was incredibly successful in law school and I landed a dream job. I have a family who is amazing, a boyfriend who loves me, and the cutest pets ever! So why? What was most frustrating about this process was my lack of an answer. If I didn’t have an answer then certainly other people weren’t going to have an answer to why “I” was having anxiety. So of course, I didn’t tell anyone. I didn’t want to come off as a complainer, weak, or as a hypochondriac – so I put on my big girl pants and decided I would deal with it myself. I had suffered from anxiety and panic attacks at the start of college for different, but known reasons so I knew the process and I knew I could handle it! Right?

You know where that got me? I was coming home from work early, sleeping in the middle of the afternoon, giving up on social things, buying things to make me feel better. After weeks of this process, I realized this couldn’t work. I was about to begin studying for the bar, my boyfriend thought I lost interest in our relationship, and my body hated me. So finally, I told my mom, I told my boyfriend, and I told my best friend. Guess what – NONE OF THEM thought I was a complainer, weak, or a hypochondriac. In fact, they all came to my side and helped me find some answers for why I was feeling this way.

My life for two years of law school was non-stop, I always had to be ready and prepared for the next thing. I was so concerned about looking professional, being professional, and proving myself. In fact, my motto was “fake it til you make it.” AKA – don’t be yourself, be what you need to be until you get to where you are supposed to be. Great idea, right?

On top of all this, I lost my grandmother in October of my 3L year. Words will never describe her importance to my life and the woman I am today. I grieved that loss, but I don’t know that I accepted that loss. Instead, I stayed busy and I stayed distracted. I was in the process of looking for houses, moving, and planning out my budget for the entire summer! I had an academic reputation to uphold, a lifestyle to uphold, and a job to search for. During this time, I was never present in the moment. I was always worried and thinking about the next thing. I was in a constant state of worry about my future instead of being present in the positive moments. Nothing about my last year of law school really sunk in. So, when it all came to an end in May it was like it didn’t even happen. I hated this feeling.

When I finally got this off my chest I was no longer hiding the secret – I have anxiety! First off, what is the big deal and second how could I treat this problem if I was hiding it from others and denying it to myself? This is when my journey began. I started looking into the causes for anxiety and panic attacks and understanding why my body was having these symptoms. When I understood why I understood how I could control these symptoms and the steps I needed to take to start treating my body better. This blog is a description of my path back to health and wellness. Most importantly, it’s a guide to show you that being healthy isn’t hell and being wealthy is truly about being well.