Total Soulful Journey

New Year Better YOU

Each new day we wake and it is essentially a reset button, a chance to start anew. And as we approach the New Year, this is truly an exciting opportunity. Each year you hear people setting New Year's resolutions, but what does that mean anyway? And… why do most people fail at their newly set promises after one short month?  

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I personally believe that the problem is two pronged. Part one is that we set resolutions or goals from our egos rather than our souls. What does that mean? When you live from the ego you do things to please others because it is somewhat expected of you. When you live from your soul you do what FEELS good to you and what brings you true joy from within. The other part is that we set goals based on what we feel society deems acceptable, and this is often in opposition to the calling of our souls. 

So, when you set your intentions to go to the gym three times a week, or to lose ten pounds, or to stop eating desserts, or to give up fried foods… these resolutions often do not last because deep down they do not satisfy your soul. You do not want to go to the gym because you want to workout, you go because ultimately you want to be loved and accepted by others and you feel that losing weight and being fit will get you that result. That is the subconscious mind at work. Therefore, the more realistic New Year's resolution would be to work on loving yourself and self acceptance. Working out may be a part of that. The same can be said about improving your eating habits, but the desire to change has to come from within yourself. 

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When setting New Year's resolutions, I would encourage you to look at them as separate goals for the year ahead rather than one big thing.  For example; set small easily attainable goals, medium size goals, and then perhaps one really big goal. Giving yourself some challenges is good because it is through the challenges that we grow, but we also want to set ourselves up to succeed. We want the new year to truly be a chance to grow into the best version of ourselves to date. You will not stop growing at the end of 2018, this is a beautiful life long journey.  It is about learning what worked in 2017 and what you could do a little better. For 2018 visualize the new things that you want to try, the exciting places you want to visit and the ways that you can contribute to make the world a tiny bit better. 

The easy part is setting intentions or goals. The hard part is following through with them. The magic happens through our actions. So once you set your intentions, find friends or mentors who will hold you accountable. Manifest your intentions by writing them down and taking action toward them each day. Another great idea that was given to me by a friend is to hang sticky note reminders to yourself on the bathroom mirror (maybe to love yourself), or on your refrigerator (to make wise decisions), and in your car (to release the road rage, and use the time in your car to relax through music or comedy or maybe just quiet reflection). Regardless, these little kind reminders to are a fantastic way to stay on track and they really do work!

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I am incredibly grateful for 2017. It was NOT my best year. In fact it was rather difficult and I am definitely ready to move forward. I know that 2018 is going to be amazing! My personal resolutions for this coming year are to eat plant based, sleep more regularly, organize my home better, waste less food, give my time serving others (volunteering), travel to new places and to grow my online business, which will include videos and yoga tutorials. Those are my BIG goals : )

Happy New Year from my family to yours!

Happy New Year from my family to yours!

Whatever your New Year Resolution may be, remember most importantly to practice:

  1. Awareness each day: How are you feeling, check in and see how your goals are going….
  2. Acceptance: If you fall off track a day or a week do not give up! Simply start over or where you are, it is NEVER too late! Be gentle with yourself.
  3. Forgiveness: IF you fall off track, get derailed or decide to change course, forgive yourself first and foremost. You are allowed to change your mind. 

Always F.L.Y. (First Love Yourself)

It is with great gratitude, love and excitement that I wish you all a Happy New Year full of health, love, happiness and abundance. May all of your dreams come true! 

Peace & Love,

Libby

 

P.S. - Please help me raise the vibration as we close on 2017 and welcome 2018 and share your New Year's resolutions, goals & intentions for the year ahead in the comment section below. By writing them down we are putting them into motion and therefore into action. Thank you for helping me on my journey! Together as a community, I know we will soar to new heights in 2018!  

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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. 

A Dog Gone Good Life

Do you ever come home at the end of the day and your house just feels lonely? Do you miss having a special someone around? A dog makes the perfect best friend. They are always excited to see you, they never talk back, and they are as loyal as it gets. Some dogs are easier to house train and train in general, depending on the breed and how old the dog is when you adopt it, but the process itself can be a fun bonding time as well! 

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Do your research when considering a dog. Choose the one that fits your lifestyle and activity level.  Some dogs shed more than others, some require less maintenance and some are even hypoallergenic. Each dog, much like humans, has a unique personality. Visit the dog before deciding and be sure it is a good fit. Please commit to trying to keep this beautiful new companion and give it its FUR-ever home. Do not choose a dog based on the cuteness in a movie, for example there was a demand for Dalmatians after 101 Dalmatians, but that is not the dog for everyone. Do your research and avoid the hassle and sadness of returning a newly adopted dog when you suddenly realize that it does not have the right temperament for you. Also be sure that the dog is suitable for your kids and the other animals in your household if that is in your plan…

This is Luna, another one of my wonderful rescues. She is always happy to be with me on a hike, a drive, boating, or just laying around. Luna is an absolute great companion!

This is Luna, another one of my wonderful rescues. She is always happy to be with me on a hike, a drive, boating, or just laying around. Luna is an absolute great companion!

In addition, make sure that you stop at the pet store and get a few chew toys to avoid the loss of your favorite shoes and treasured belongings. Dogs love to chew on things and they are very content when they know what is theirs. Also try to give them a special space, perhaps a dog bed or a crate, in the room you most often hang out in where they feel a part of your family's life, but can comfortably retreat to while you are eating, watching tv and when the doorbell rings. In our house we named the dog bed “spot” and at first tethered our new dog to a leash in his “spot" with lots of treats and toys so he associated it as being a good place for him. Now he willingly goes there… at least sometimes, but he is still a puppy and training takes time. Just remember that YOU are the alpha.  

This is Tucker's "SPOT" as the trainer recommended and it has worked very well for us. He is happy there and we now have peace while we eat and when we answer the door.   

This is Tucker's "SPOT" as the trainer recommended and it has worked very well for us. He is happy there and we now have peace while we eat and when we answer the door.  

Your dog will provide you with great companionship. He or she will even hold you accountable for going on regular walks or runs, give you lots of snuggle time and will always be willing to protect you, yes even the little guys will do their best.

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Consider adopting a dog from the shelter. Mixed breed dogs need homes and are some of the very most grateful dogs that you can imagine. I have rescued many dogs and I can tell you they have all been very well trained, easy going, loyal and loving.

This is Bubba, the best Pitt we have ever owned. Morgan rescued Bubba a year ago and they bonded immediately. Bubba was incredibly gentle and responsive. He was smart and craved love. Unfortunately, he did bite a neighbor and we HAD to do the responsible thing and put Bubba down. It was one of the hardest things we have gone through as a family and Bubba will forever be missed and fondly remembered. WE had him cremated, just as you would a family member, so that we could keep him with us forever. We will never understand what happened that day, but we forgive him and love him anyway. 

This is Bubba, the best Pitt we have ever owned. Morgan rescued Bubba a year ago and they bonded immediately. Bubba was incredibly gentle and responsive. He was smart and craved love. Unfortunately, he did bite a neighbor and we HAD to do the responsible thing and put Bubba down. It was one of the hardest things we have gone through as a family and Bubba will forever be missed and fondly remembered. WE had him cremated, just as you would a family member, so that we could keep him with us forever. We will never understand what happened that day, but we forgive him and love him anyway. 

I now own my first full bred Bernese Mountain Dog and he is truly special in his own right. But, all dogs earn a special place in our hearts. They try so hard to earn our love when really maybe it should be the other way around? Maybe if humans were more like dogs the world would be a more loving, accepting and better place! 

Playfully Your Pet Lover,

Libby

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Thank you Bubba for a year of joy that will last a lifetime....

 

P.S. - Dogs are usually discounted for adoption for the holidays, so now is a great time to adopt a pet. It will be the gift that will continue to give love for many years to come! If you have any questions about adopting a dog, please feel free to reach out and message me! I would be happy to help!

Give Love for a REAL Holiday Treat

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The holidays can be joyous, but they can also be the cause of tremendous stress. This holiday season, put a little soul into your step. Too much time is spent shopping, fighting the crowds and suddenly our stress levels go up. There is a lot of pressure behind gift giving. Your kids want things that are often more than you can afford and yet you hate to disappoint them. In some instances we overextend our budgets, which creates unnecessary stress and resentment all for the latest toy or gaming system that will be quickly forgotten and replaced with a new version within months. We start buying things for people without putting much thought into it just for the sake of crossing it off our to do lists. It almost feels obligatory to give "Aunt Suzy" a gift, so we send a coffee cake. But maybe Suzy is on a diet or does not even want to eat the cake. Now she feels stressed because you sent a cake that she feels that she needs to eat out of guilt. Why do we do this? What is it all about? 

The real meaning behind this holiday is the miracle that a baby was born. It is indeed a birthday celebration, but the materialism and commercialism have gotten blown so far out of proportion that rather than it bringing us joy, they often cause us stress. Did we get the right thing? Will "Aunt Suzy" like it?  

We also blow through the opening of Christmas presents and then often face a period of feeling let down, after which leads to self pity…. Wondering why your loved one did not get you the gift that really would have meant a lot to you, or that one thing that you really wanted... Please, take a moment to pause and reflect this holiday season. Really think about the difference between giving from obligation and giving from your heart. When we give from a place of pure love and give only with purpose, the gift will always be well received.  It will be a gift of love and joy! 

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Consider surrendering from the attachment to things. The idea that less is more is very fulfilling.  When I find the perfect gift for someone that I know is just sooo exciting, it does not matter to me if it is just a three dollar pair of socks or a major gift. It is all about the true JOY of giving without a single thought of what I may or may not get in return.

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The older I get, the less I want and need.  I realize that things do not bring lasting happiness. What really brings me joy are the people I am surrounded with and the wonderful memories that we make together. It truly is more about who is around the tree than what is under the tree. Our worth is not based on THINGS, it is based on memories, love and gratitude.

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So, pause and slow down. Breathe deeply and think of the people who have absolutely nothing this Christmas. Perhaps the best gift of all is giving your time to help out at a shelter, or donating a warm coat to someone in need? Teach your children to appreciate the lights, the meals and the special times that we spend together. Appreciate the little things rather than always wanting more. This is not only a Christmas sentiment, but something that matters all year round. Practice gratitude for what you do have and for your love. It is also ok to change your holiday traditions. We often get stuck in our ways of celebrating, but as our children grow up, consider allowing your traditions to evolve. The truth is that the holiday atmosphere changes as our children grow into young adults and presents naturally become less of a focus. So take the pressure off of yourself and go back to enjoying life.

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Accept what is in each moment, be aware of your surroundings, as well as your words and actions.  Practice kindness and spread holiday cheer. After all, as long as you are on the “NICE” list… you have nothing to fret about.  

Do not get your tinsel in a tangle.  Enjoy the holiday season!  Winter is a time of restoration for our bodies and our souls before emerging stronger in the spring. Rest, enjoy a good book or good music, pull out some board games and enjoy what you have rather than wanting more. 

Peace & Joy,

Libby

P.S. - Also remember and hold space for the people whose hearts ache more than normal during the holidays. It can be an emotionally painful and sometimes lonely time. Consider reaching out and including friends and neighbors in your family celebrations throughout the season. Remember the saying, "it takes a village," well it truly does and tis the season to give, but the gift of love, not things. 

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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

Just Breathe, A Simple Tool to Reduce Stress

At birth, the very first thing you do is gasp for your first breath. Your breath is your life force and energy flowing throughout your body. Being mindful of our “in breath” and our “out breath” connects the body and the mind. When we feel stressed, angry or anxious, our breath tends to be rapid and shallow depriving us of sufficient oxygen. This is when we need to practice THE PAUSE, and direct our attention to our breath.

In the 8 Limbs of Yoga as described in the Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali, Pranayama or breath life force is described as a tool to help us reach a higher level of concentration and connection with the self. There are many styles of breath work and in India, for example, people take classes specifically for breath work because it is highly regarded as part of their health and vitality. I use Ujaii Breathing in my yoga classes and many times I incorporate other techniques. 

“For breath is life and if you breathe well, you will live long on earth.” Sanskrit Proverb

This style of breathing will increase the heat in your body, which helps create flexibility in your yoga and other athletic practices, but you can use Ujaii breath anytime. Breathe in deeply through your nose and then breathe out deeply through your nose. Continue breathing in through the nose and out through the nose simply observing the effects. That is all there is to it. It is one of the simpler breathing techniques. You can add a slight pause after your inhale and after your exhale if you want to take it a little further into breath retention. 

By practicing Ujaii Breathing where we inhale through the nose deeply and exhale through the nose deeply, we are able to slow and deepen the breath. This calms the parasympathetic nervous system and thus relieves stress and improves our mood. As the holiday season approaches, use this breathing technique to relieve stress and tension. 

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Draw awareness into your breath and into your body language when you are stressed, anxious, nervous or angry, and then when you are happy, relaxed and at ease. Notice how you hold your hands, your posture, your shoulders and your breath. When we are relaxed our breath tends to be fuller and deeper, which oxygenates our blood and our brains, lowers blood pressure, and stabilizes our bodies. 

Your breath allows you to pause and respond rather than react. Your breath is your gift of life. It gives you the path to mindfulness. Your breath connects your body, mind and soul. You are in control of your breath even when you are in control of nothing else in this life. 

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Breathe in, breathe out, all is here, all is now, all is well….

Mindfully yours,

Libby

P.S. - Breathwork has long been known to reduce stress and improve the quality of life. Dr. Andrew Weil has proven many breathing techniques that you can learn at this link:  https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/balanced-living/meditation-inspiration/the-art-and-science-of-breathing/

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A Single's Guide to Holiday Survival

Whether you have been single a long time or recently suffered a break up the holidays can be a very difficult and even traumatic time. All the cheery music may make you turn your radio off for a bit even. I get it. But, I have a few tips that will help you make this holiday season better!  

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1. Pick and choose which events you go to. In other words it is ok to decline invitations if you are not feeling up to being “on” or if you know it’s an event your ex is likely to attend. However, try not to isolate and go completely into a turtle shell.  

 

2. Choose a few new traditions this year. Allow yourself to do something for yourself that will give your holidays new meaning and give you a sense of purpose like volunteering at a soup kitchen or a toy drive! This will allow you to step away from your own grief and feel grateful for what you do have.  

 

3. Connect with nature. Even if you live somewhere cold please bundle up and get outside. Trust me on this- I don’t like cold weather, but the lesson nature teaches us is that everything is temporary. Appreciate the seasons, appreciate the holidays, find the spirit within you that is very much alive. Soon enough the next season will come.

 

4. Practice my yoga philosophy of awareness, acceptance and forgiveness. Be aware of how you are feeling, what you are eating and drinking, how you are sleeping, how you are speaking, and then accept how you are feeling. Find a song that makes you feel good. Turn it up loud and dance. Laugh, cry, whatever you need to do to set your spirit free! Then forgive your past and forgive yourself. Everything will be ok. Your future is bright. 

 

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The holidays are a time time of celebration. That is hard to accept when you are going through a hard time. If this is your first year alone it may seem unbearable. Please, breathe. Try to find a friend or family member to spend the holiday with. Maybe go to a movie or watch a movie that can serve as a distraction. The first year is always the hardest.  

 

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The key when going through changes in relationships is to also accept changes in celebrations of holidays. Be respectful of one another in attendance of parties ( possibly coordinate who will attend what). If you are close with your ex’s family give space during the break up and let them know you would like to maintain a relationship if possible after things settle down. If the breakup is new around the holidays it is fine to send an email explaining to friends and family that you are no longer together but you are not ready to talk about it yet. This way you can comfortably attend the parties without awkward conversations that may end in tears.  

 

I hope your holidays get back in back in full swing soon. May you be blessed with love, hope, peace, and cheer.  

 

Believe,

Libby

 

Ps... consider getting a pet for yourself. They will hold you accountable and provide unconditional love 😉 

 

 

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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!  

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