Mindfulness

Tis' the Season to BELIEVE

Do you BELIEVE? This is a common question that is asked to children this time of year and it most often refers to their belief in Santa Claus. But the magic is really so much deeper and more important than that. It is also about believing in the magic of all things being possible. For children at Christmas, it is the hope that they might get a gift that would otherwise never be possible.   

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I want to shift to reality now and ask you to pause and reflect on the word, BELIEVE…. What does it mean to you as an adult? Not just this holiday season, but anytime that you see this beautiful word. What does it personally say to you? Please take a minute to think about it and even consider writing a few thoughts down on paper. 

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This is one of my very favorite words. It symbolizes magic and hope. At Christmas it is the hope that magic and faith will be restored for children and that peace will be brought to the world in a quiet gentle way. But, it is really so much bigger than that! There are miracles occurring around you every minute of every day, however, we are all too often too busy and unaware of them. Believe, believe in the magic within yourself! That my friends is the greatest gift of all! You have all that you need within yourself! You have all of the answers and all of the magic, the light, the love, the faith already. Sometimes your light is dimmed a bit and sometimes it is extinguished all together,  and yet that one word BELIEVE is there as a reminder to never ever give up. It is never to late to reignite your fire within, to start over, to rewrite your ending and believe in the magic of your life. Believe in miracles, because they really DO exist!

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 Great things are coming in 2018! So take one more moment to reflect upon 2017, to give thanks for all of the good memories that you made and to set your intentions for the things that you would like to accomplish in 2018. It is good to set some small goals and some bigger goals. Set yourself up for success, but also give yourself some challenges to work toward. You are capable of more than you may know. It is through the challenges of life that we grow and become the best versions of ourselves. 

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 So if you have a BELIEVE sign out for he holidays, consider keeping it up throughout this winter. And if you do not, that’s ok, but when you see this word stop and pause and let it serve as a reminder of all of the magic and the possibilities that could be coming your way.  

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Tis the season to BELIEVE. Believe in the power of love, believe in the magic within, believe in creating the life you love, believe in yourself, believe in acceptance, believe in endless possibilities, believe in happiness, believe in forgiveness, believe in peace, believe, believe, believe…… 

Faith and Hope,

Libby

Over the Rhine, Cincinnati.    Watch the music video below and notice the same inspiration happening all over the world.  It is these tiny miracles that bring us together, unite us, and raise the vibration.  Believe in UNITY. 

Over the Rhine, Cincinnati.  

Watch the music video below and notice the same inspiration happening all over the world.  It is these tiny miracles that bring us together, unite us, and raise the vibration.  Believe in UNITY. 

 P.S. - If your light has gone out or you see someone whose has, reach out. WE all need to practice awareness and give love when we can to help people who are feeling hopeless, and ask for love when we need a little light ourselves. Sometimes in our culture it is hard to ask for help. It can make us feel too vulnerable, but it is also natural to feel depleted from time to time. We are all in this together.  If you feel like you have no one to fill your cup, a yoga studio is always an accepting place where you will feel very positive energy. Never give up. 

Love takes Courage and a Box of Kleenex

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Have you ever been addicted to something? Have you ever suffered extreme loss? What about fears? Do you fear anything so much that it haunts you or shuts you down? There is a song on the radio that made me realize that love is just as powerful as any drug out there (watch the video below). Music is powerful. It can trigger memories, feelings and instincts. Love, however, takes you to your highest high and also your lowest low. You put your faith and trust in your significant other and sometimes with no warning you are left alone. This causes feelings of abandonment and insecurity. It causes us to close down and a little piece of us dies. Losing a loved one in a relationship is a huge cause of stress, whether it is a long term relationship or a marriage. You share memories, laughter, and intimacy with that person. Those memories are triggered for a long time to come and unfortunately cannot be turned off easily, which makes it difficult to move forward and to love again. But surrenduring to what is and knowing when to walk away is key! It allows you to open the door for what may be. 

Now, lets talk about the ego. It is extremely important to keep the ego in check when going through difficult times during a breakup. We go through every range of emotions from sadness to anger and everything in between. But, compassion is critical. Compassion is your desire to alleviate the suffering of others, or your feeling of sympathy toward others. In the case of a breakup, compassion toward your Ex can be difficult, but when we set the ego aside and realize why we loved that person to begin with it is a little easier. Try to maintain compassion. In the end you will feel better for it. Positivity attracts positivity. Your heart will heal faster as a result. Remember, always forgive and rise above. Holding grudges only hurts you more in the end.

 

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So, grab a spoon and a pint of ice cream. Binge watch your favorite Netflix shows for a day and then get outside and go for a hike. Reconnect with the things you love to do. Stay plugged into your friends and family. This might be hard if you shared mutual friends, but make the effort. If need be have open communication with your Ex about how and when you will see friends so that you do not awkwardly show up at the same place at the same time. Respect each other as you move on. Sometimes zero communication, at least for a brief period, is easier. Other times treating each other as business partners helps the transition. You will find what works best. Please just watch what you say because although words can be forgiven, they cannot be forgotten and it is easy to say things we do not mean when our emotions are elevated. 

You WILL be ok despite the fact that you don’t feel like it at the moment. Everything feels better when you are in love. Do not close down to the possibility of loving again. When we hit rock bottom, we bounce back up and sometimes twice as high, meaning we end up with a better ending. You are the author and the architect of your life. So, write a new chapter. Add new characters. Try new things. Remember, you have a purpose and you are worth it. Keep moving forward and don’t lose your way. All of our roadblocks, bumps and bruises make us stronger, build our character, and give depth to our soul. They help give meaning to our lives and help us to better understand others, which help us to connect. 

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F.L.Y. First love yourself. Spend some time alone. Prepare yourself for your next true love by fully loving yourself. Make as many self improvements as you can. Be very honest about what went wrong in your previous relationship ~ sometimes we can improve and sometimes we cannot, but it is always good to be aware. Accept the situation, forgive yourself and your EX, and when you are ready move forward with excitement and full compassion. The heart is resilient and will love again. It is the ego that will hold you back.

With love and acceptance,

Libby

A Little Morning Sunshine Can Change the Direction of Your Day

Whether it is a sunny day or a cloudy day, choose to create your own sunshine through positive thoughts. With your eyes closed before you are even fully awake in the morning, imagine the most beautiful sunny day that you can remember and just take a few breaths. Allow that warmth to fill your body.

Positive thoughts first thing in the morning lead to a positive day. Before you even get out of bed in the morning practice gratitude. Think of a person and close your eyes and think of things that person does that you are grateful for. Perhaps even consider keeping a collage of pictures near your bed of people near and dear, and pets that you are grateful for. Each day you can hold someone new in mind. Then, take a minute to stretch and practice gratitude for yourself. Taking these steps first thing in the morning sets the tone for your day. When you are faced with frustrating obstacles like a traffic jam or a long shopping line throughout your day, use that time to practice gratitude. Hold space again for someone or something that you are particularly grateful for. Allow a smile to span your beautiful face.  Open your eyes and look around. This will shift your energy from a negative state to a positive state of being.  

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our busy worlds that we forget to take notice of the lives around us. Practicing gratitude helps us reconnect and grounds us.  Once we reconnect we are able to realize how good it feels to be alive. 

Get out into nature. Wonder at the trees. Take notice of the colors, the layers of the flower petals, the different chirps of the bird singing, the size of the acorns this season. Practice gratitude for all that mother nature provides for us. 

Then look at the people around you. Take notice of who smiles and who is busy looking at their phone, who looks sad or angry. You see, every day may not be great, but there is something great in every day when our eyes, or more importantly our hearts and souls are open to seeing it. When we live with eyes wide open and hearts wide open and practice gratitude, doors open and abundance is there for us because that is the Law of Attraction. Begin your day this way and direct your thoughts in the direction of your goals. Good things will come to you. 

Keep it simple.  Keep it positive.  Keep it clean. Keep it loving. 

Shine on,

Libby

PS, This is a particularly wonderful time of year to start your gratitude practice as we approach Thanksgiving. Maybe consider starting a gratitude jar where each family member can contribute one thing each day that they are grateful for another person and sign your name. Fold it up and put it in the jar. Then on thanksgiving, before or after dinner, take time as a family to read each gratitude note out loud.  Watch the energy rise as you all learn new things you are grateful for about each other. You can also do this other times of the year. 

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I am sooo grateful this season for each day, for each person I share my life with, and for each breath. I am grateful for laughter, for love, and for the seasons of change. 

Demystifying Sun Salutations

Yes sun worshiping is real and it is actually very logical, as well as being an ancient practice. In yoga you hear about Sun Salutations, or the Sankrit term, Surya Namaskar. Surya is sun. Nama means to bow to or adore. We stand at the front of our mat with our hands together at our hearts center in the same position as we typically start and end our practice with namaste mudra, which translates into the divine light in me honors and sees the divine light within you. So, as we move through the Sun Salutations we take our arms up toward the heavens and then we bow forward turning our awareness inward and committing to our health and to our higher awareness. With each movement we aspire to gain wisdom and knowledge and to become the best versions of ourselves. It really is a prayer in motion.

Sun Salutation A, Surya Namaskra A

Sun Salutation A, Surya Namaskra A

There are 12 postures within a Sun Salutation, which is also symbolic because there are 12 Sanskrit terms for the word sun. Moving through these 12 postures in consecutive sequence in repetition warms & energizes the  body. Sun Salutations engage the core, stretch the hamstrings and loosen the shoulders. They improve circulation, massage internal organs and promote overall health. So you can use sun salutations as an excellent warm up, or start to your yoga or workout session. Or when you are short on time and energy, it can be used as your minimum daily go to for giving you a total body workout. 

Sun Salutations can be beautifully adapted for your personal needs and can even be done from a chair.  When practiced at a slower pace they provide a calming grounding effect, and when practiced at a faster pace they provide a good cardiovascular workout and can provide weight loss. 

Why start the day day with Sun Salutations? Yoga was developed over 5000 years ago by ancient Sages in India who believed each part of the body was linked to some part of the natural world. The solar plexus (located behind the belly button) is said to be connected to the sun and associated with our emotional well being and intuition. We practice Sun Salutations first thing in the morning to clear our minds, gain calmness for the day ahead and to heighten our intuition. 

Then move on to Sun Salutations B to create more heat continuing with 3-5 B's

Then move on to Sun Salutations B to create more heat continuing with 3-5 B's

Lets face it, we all love a little sunshine. It feels good and makes us happy. The sun grows our fruits, vegetables and flowers. It also creates light, and as we know that light helps us conquer our fears, so salute the sun. Practice Sun Salutations each day and feel yourself growing stronger, your light illuminating brighter and the warmth glowing within you. Make time for this important practice every single day. It only takes 15-20 minutes to do a proper 3-5 Sun Salutations A and Sun Salutations B sequence and you will greatly appreciate the many benefits that you will discover through this practice. 

Sun Salutation A:

Inhale taking your arms up

Exhale bowing forward

inhale halfway up straight spine

exhale hands to earth, step back to plank and lower yoga push up

inhale upward dog

exhale downward dog (hold 3-5 breaths)

       ~work to get your heals toward the earth 

       ~relax your ears between your arms

        ~let all the busy thoughts of the day and week go as you breathe in through your nose & out through your nose

Inhale look to your thumbs

Exhale to the front of the mat 

Repeat 3 to 5 times

Sun Salutation B:

Inhale sweep arms down and up as you come into chair pose 

Exhale forward fold straightening legs

Inhale halfway up, look to horizon

Exhale hands to earth and hop back to Chaturanga (yoga push up)

Inhale heart to the sky

Exhale hips up and back to down dog 

Inhale right foot to right thumb, Warrior One

Exhale Down Dog

Inhale Left Foot to Left Thumb, Warrior One

Exhale Down Dog stay here and re connect with your breath

Relax your neck & shoulders

Consider scissoring your heels, pressing one heel at a time to the earth and lifting the opposite heel

Inhale look to your thumbs

exhale hop to the front of your mat

Repeat 3-5 times

Wishing you all an inspiring start to your week!

Shine On,

Libby

P.S. If you have questions about how to get started in your practice, how to modify postures or if you would like personal, private or corporate lessons, please contact me via email: libby@yogafitboutique.com. I would be happy to travel and I always love to connect. Namaste!  

What the World Needs Now is Love Sweet Love; 3 Ways to Combat Violence using Yogic Philosophy

There is so much tragedy in this world. The sad truth is we are not guaranteed tomorrow. However, it is important to step out of fear and darkness and live the life we love each and every day. Go after your dreams, tell the people you love that you appreciate them, and say the things that matter. Horrific incidents, such as the massacre in Las Vegas are reminders to Live the Life we Love EVERYDAY. We have to try to find something positive in everything bad or we run the risk of feeling helpless and depressed. As we send healing prayers and hold the families who are grieving today and in the coming days, weeks and months in our hearts, it is important to use this time to rise up and come together as a community.

Terrible events like this mass shooting, as well as any obstacle I come across in my personal life, remind me to return back to my personal Yoga Philosophy.  There are three main principles that I live and breathe by that have helped me get through countless difficult times including; my physical and verbal abuse, recovering from PTSD, counseling and supporting others, helping my parents go through physical set backs, nurturing my own children and the ups and downs of my daily life. The following three principles when followed will truly lead you to a better place; one of growth,  lightness, clarity, strength, compassion, and most importantly a place of universal oneness.

  1. Awareness - It begins with the physical practice on the mat and carries into daily life. Be aware of your words, actions and feelings. Then be aware of those around you.
  2. Acceptance - Accept yourself exactly where you are in each moment. You do not have to be perfect, you just have to show up and try your best. Strive for progress. And then accept those around you where they are, as well. Let go of expectations.
  3. Forgivenesses - Forgive yourself for any mistakes you make along the way. Consider those mistakes a way to learn and grow. Forgive those around you. Holding grudges and shaming people causes resentment and negativity.

Above all practice self love. First Love Yourself (F.L.Y.) then love all others. Once we realize we are all in this together, the feelings of separation, anxiety, hatred and violence vanish and unity takes their place. Once we get to this place of ONENESS, life is beautiful.  

Of course, in times of mass shootings the subject of mental illness arises as we search for a reason for how and why a human being could take so many innocent lives. And then, of course, there are issues of gun control that feed our fears and cause more division among us. The truth is we will never have all the answers, but let's avoid circular arguments that make us feel self righteous and realize that such acts of hate most often, at their roots, result from an absence of love and other stigmas that make a person feel an overwhelming sense of darkness.  

When someone in our family suffers from cancer or another disease, we wrap our arms around them, bring them meals and nurture them with tender loving care. But when someone we know is diagnosed with a serious Mental Illness, our discomfort and shame often hold us back from helping and comforting them because of the negative stigma associated with a serious mental health issue. That person then isolates and disconnects from society. When they withdraw, their perception of reality becomes even more distorted. These stigmas around mental health issues create even more damage in the long run and contribute to the downward spiral of the person who needs love, support and treatment from mental health providers. Mental health is not a topic that we can afford to sweep under the rug and out of sight. It should be talked about and treated like any disease. 

In my research I discovered some startling statistics that I would like to share with you about mental health. 1 in 5 American adults have a mental health condition - thats over 40 MILLION Americans. Mental Health problems among our youth are also on the rise. In 2011 8.5% were depressed and in 2014 that number rose to 11.1%. What is even more startling is that 80% of those youth were either insufficiently treated or not treated at all. Compound this with the media’s negative attention on horrific situations such as these mass killings, and the people who need help tend to shy away and hide rather than coming into the light to seek help. 

It is not wrong to view mental illness as a disease, but to assume it is hopeless and to associate it with shame only worsens the situation. The last thing we want to do is make the person feel so desperate and void of love, connection, emotion and empathy that they become compelled to murder. Also, people who play video games while isolated, often disassociate the feelings of human connection with real life people. This process of desensitization can carry over to real life violence when one’s sense of reality becomes completely blurred. 

Ultimately we need to turn these tragic events into a time to reflect on love. It is a reminder that what the world needs now more than ever is Love Sweet Love.  What we ALL need is love sweet love. Don’t allow yourself to get caught in the negative energy of this sad occasion. Instead hold the lives of the people lost up with the honor that they deserve. They were special people. They each had a story. They each had a dream. Unfortunately, for reasons that we will never understand, their lives ended too soon and abruptly. May peace be with their families and friends.  

There are many things in life we cannot understand. It is important, however, that we simply keep going. Pray and believe that better days are coming. Continue to give love. Understand that it is ok to feel every emotion and it is also ok to not know and not to understand why this happened. 

Fall reminds us that life is ever changing. Take a moment this season to reflect on what really matters to you. Use this time to set your intention for how you can become the best version of yourself. Live the life you love TODAY, tell the people you love that you love them! Just as the trees shed their leaves, think about a few things you might need to let go of in order to make room for improvements in your life. You were created to be a joyful and successful being. Connect with friends and family. Avoid isolation and reach for the stars!  If you feel that you might suffer from a mental illness, do not feel alone for there is hope and help for you.

Remember that light always overcomes darkness, just as love overcomes evil. When we love ourselves we are able to love others. So I ask you especially in these times of darkness to dig deep, plant your roots of compassion and shine your love light. Show the world that peace and love will conquer evil and that love is really all that we need. 

Love and Light,

Libby

 

P.S. ~ If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, suicidal thoughts or PTSD, there are people who can help you. Witnessing a horrible event like the concert shooting in Las Vegas can trigger symptoms for months to come. If you were at this concert or have friends and family who were there, please practice awareness, acceptance and forgiveness. Be gentle and loving with yourselves. I am sending you healing vibes and much love.

• Click here for PTSD Hotline & Crisis Phone Numbers

F.L.Y. - Put your Oxygen Mask On First

You were born with a distinct and unique purpose. You have a gift and a story to share with the world. For some of us that purpose seems more obvious while others may search a long time wondering what their purpose is. Many of us are given labels and titles, put into boxes, and programmed to think small from a young age, which makes it very difficult to find our authentic voices. We put on "masks" to escape the shame and the fear that has been cast upon us. To find our true selves we must follow our passion and do the things we love, come into the light and remove "the masks." Replace fears and insecurities with courage and self-love to propel us toward our greatest dreams. This is the journey of the self, to the best version of yourself. It starts with awareness, acceptance, self-love and forgiveness. Be authentically YOU. Appreciate YOU. Accept YOU. LOVE YOU! Until you do you cannot fully love or be loved, and you cannot accomplish your full potential. 

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You were born to live a joyful life. Again, you have a purpose! You are capable of achieving all of your dreams. Commit to taking baby steps toward those dreams each day. Trust the journey. Stay in the moment and always believe. Just show up for yourself each day and do your personal best.  

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I am humbled and honored to have been recently sponsored by Avon. They have asked me to facilitate a series of yoga events for up to 200 people in each session. I was ecstatic as these would be my largest events to date. This is one of my dreams coming to fruition, traveling and leading yoga events. However, this also scared me to death. I have what it takes to deliver, but I knew that I would have to push past my comfort zone and face my anxiety head on or I could never reach my full potential. I had to push forward to grow so that I can eventually manifest my ultimate dreams. 

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Last Saturday I taught a class for a large group of beautiful ladies and gentlemen at an Avon conference in Columbus, Ohio. As I walked into the room literally trembling, I flashed back to my first yoga class and how scared I was THAT day as a student and remembered that each person in the room might have the very same insecurities, which put my fear back into perspective. As I was introduced I looked out and connected immediately with the smiles. That was all I needed. I knew it was all ok and I knew in that moment that my job was to put them at ease and suddenly everything was calm and clear. My purpose was clear. My intentions were clear. My heart was clear and full of love to give. I want to ultimately lead events with upwards of 2000 people so I might as well start with 200, right? Heck YES! 

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I called them up to the stage for a team building exercise. Many, not all, bravely participated. I saw a little girl still seated shyly at her table. I quietly encouraged her to join the group and I was thrilled when she courageously did (imagine what that decision to step out of her comfort zone might do for her future confidence?)! The smiles on their faces as they opened their hearts and leaned back while closing their eyes and trusting one another, balancing in tree pose, was absolutely heart warming. I will never forget that day. Each of those people on stage have a unique story. Each have a dream. I now have the privilege of knowing them and I am so thrilled to have been in their lives even if only for a day.  I love it when I see people step out of their comfort zones and try something new. I love when I step out of my OWN comfort zone. It is flat out exhilarating! When was the last time you tried something new? Do you remember that feeling of accomplishment? It feels AMAZING! By stepping out we connected, which also gives us greater strength. I have found my purpose, and I am still growing. I am incredibly grateful for every challenge in my life, as well as every reward. 

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Avon is just such a wonderful company.  Let me just tell you for those who are unaware, they are the at the forefront in the fight against Breast Cancer and Domestic Violence (click on the green linked words to learn more). They do a ton of work for Women Empowerment and are constantly giving back to the community. It is truly an honor to work with them. I just want to say, "thank you" to Avon personally for helping me to reach my goals and get closer to my big big dreams. It feels so amazing to partner with a company in alignment with my personal mission and intentions in life. 

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When Karin Laseke, who is the District Sales Manager for Avon in Cincinnati, interviewed me to work with the company, she asked me about my personal story and what my BIG DREAM is. This really meant a lot to me and she said they believe EVERYONE has a story to tell. My yoga guru, Amber, used to say something very similar which was, "dream big Libby, dream really really big!” So, I shared with Karin that my personal vision is to travel and facilitate yoga retreats, workshops, and teacher trainings to make enough money to build a yoga retreat center, which will include a cottage on a farm. There will be a vegetable garden leading up to the cottage and then a family room, a yoga studio and a kitchen. Upstairs there will be a couple bedrooms and bathrooms. This will be a place where women and children can come and stay if they need to escape from a domestic violence situation. They can work in the garden in exchange for food so that they do not feel as if they are taking handouts. Yoga classes will also be available to the public. I have experienced physical, verbal and emotional abuse so this dream is near and dear to my heart. I have also recovered from PTSD through yoga and meditation. I want to empower women to become their best selves and know that they do not have to be a victim.  

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The airlines say to put your oxygen mask on first and it’s true. You cannot help others until you help yourself. First Love Yourself (F.L.Y). Show the universe what you desire and watch it conspire to make all your dreams come true! Share the good and the bad. The thing that hurts you or scares you the most might just be your greatest asset to share with the world. The world needs YOU to show up. Be your authentic self, everyone else is taken. Live the life you love and love the life you live. I am so incredibly excited for you and I can feel the energy spiraling upward already! It’s time to step out, live your dreams and become who you were born to be!

Lovingly,

Libby

P.S. - If you are suffering from PTSD or domestic violence there are organizations that can help you. Please do not suffer in silence. Get the support that you deserve!  The following links can help you get started toward a better life:

Help for PTSD

Help for domestic violence