Yoga Cincinnati

How to Overcome Your Greatest Fear

What do you fear? Do you fear dying? Many people do. Fear is not real. It is dreamed up by the ego and our overly active minds. Some people even say that FEAR stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. When you look at it this way, you may realize that the only thing that we have to fear is fear itself. When you have the courage to push past your fears, to face them head on and live with a heart of love and good intentions you will feel wonderful and find the abundance that you deserve. 

I know because I lived most of my life trapped by fear. There is nothing worse than feeling trapped. I was SUCH a fraidy cat starting at a young age even though nothing truly bad ever even happened to me with the exception the one time that my sister played a trick on me. She once hid under my bed when I was roughly seven making scratching sounds as she talked in a scary voice. My doberman growled and I remember being so frozen in fear that I could not even yell for my parents. When I finally gather the courage to run to my parents for help, "sweet little" Mandy (my big sister) quickly snuck back to her bed where she pretended to be sleeping. That is my earliest memory of fear. All a hoax, you see. There was nothing to fear at all. Our minds will play terrible tricks on us if we allow them to do so.

The mind is powerful. It must be trained just like any muscle in the body. We must think positively and tell ourselves what we are truly capable of overcoming. We must also practice awareness to determine what is real and what is and an illusion. 

When your are quaking in your boots, be aware of what is really behind your fear. Awareness helps us to stand strong.

When your are quaking in your boots, be aware of what is really behind your fear. Awareness helps us to stand strong.

Later in life I wanted to attend yoga classes. I had done yoga before and knew how much I enjoyed it, however, having the courage to start taking yoga classes again was not as easy as I thought it would be. I would drive into the parking lot and if it appeared to be full I would literally drive away paralyzed in fear that the class was indeed full. I somehow felt that I did not belong and that I did not know what I was doing. My self esteem was so low and I was not even aware that this was the reason for the fear that was holding me back.

You see, that is where it all begins. Improvement begins with awareness. Once I was aware of what was holding me back I grabbed a friend and eventually pushed through my fear. I not only went to classes on my own, but I also completed yoga teacher training and opened my own studio. I have since led over 3000 classes and two teacher training sessions to train other instructors. I travel and lead corporate yoga, workshops and retreats, as well. Recently while working with the Avon Corporation, I had to push through yet another set of fears; the fear of being hooked up to a wireless microphone and telling my story in front of hundreds of people and then teaching to a diverse group people (some in chairs and some on mats). After the first few seconds on stage and seeing all of the smiling faces looking back at me, I knew that I was not only Ok, I was actually living my dream. 

Endurance events teach us how to push on and gain mental strength. I learned this running the Honolulu Marathon. 

Endurance events teach us how to push on and gain mental strength. I learned this running the Honolulu Marathon. 

Life is a journey not a marathon. It is about taking baby steps to know and love ourselves, and to grow into the best versions of ourselves. We may hit many bumps in the road, but those obstacles are there to teach us and to help us grow. We learn through our mistakes and challenges. What is important is to first be aware so that we can change what we do not like. Change, after all,  is what helps us to grow. Next, we have to practice acceptance free from judgement. Finally we have to forgive, first ourselves and then all of those who have wronged us in life so that we can move forward toward our greatest destiny.

Sometimes it is the biggest obstacles that propel us forward and unlock us from the fear that holds us back. Last week I was given the opportunity to audition for TEDx Cincinnati. Giving a TED talk is a life dream of mine. I applied last year and did not get in. This year I was ready. I was still shaking in my boots with fear, but I knew I had to stand up and use my voice to awaken, inspire and empower others who have not found their voices yet. When you believe so deeply in your mission, nothing can hold you back. So I am super proud of myself for pushing through my fear.

Auditioning to speak at TEDx Cincinnati.

Auditioning to speak at TEDx Cincinnati.

One hundred and fifty people auditioned and only twenty of us were given the chance to give a 2.5 minute audition. I prayed that I would go first so that I could listen to other presenters and enjoy what they were offering, but of course I was number 16. I tried so hard to listen to the other presenters as their speeches were gripping and inspiring, but I my mind was focused on trying to remember my own speech and I was so incredibly nervous. I was simply trying not to cry. We lined up in front of the stage after the intermission. I listened intently to a speech or two and then everything was blurry as I reread my written speech to myself. I carried my papers nervously to the stage. As soon as I stood under the lights and said my first sentence I felt an odd calm. A divine presence came over me and it was as if the universe was naturally speaking through me. What I had originally dreaded I was truly enjoying. I was offering my heart and my soul to the world. In telling my story I was freeing myself from fear. More importantly I felt that if my words touched and inspired just one other person in the audience, the whole process that brought me to that stage and all of the terrible anxiety that I faced that evening would all be worthwhile. 

Soaring over the Colorado Rocky Mountains

Soaring over the Colorado Rocky Mountains

Each time that we climb to the peak of a mountain it feels exhilarating. The balance, however, is that every high is followed by a low. The valleys in life are there to help us to appreciate the highs. This appreciation gives us more momentum and courage to move forward toward the higher mountains that we may face in the future. I now know, that the TEDx audition was just a start for me. I know that my purpose is to help spread conscious awareness through my yoga philosophy of awareness, acceptance, and forgiveness so that others can overcome the intimidating obstacles in their lives. All things are possible when we believe and let go of the fears that hold us back from achieving our true greatness. 

Gratefully & Courageously Yours,

Libby Shively McAvoy

P.S. - If you enjoyed this article, then please check out my latest post on my other blog about the importance of "acceptance" at TotalSoulfulJourney.com

 

 

The Rocket Gets You There Faster, Says Bobby Weir of the Grateful Dead

Lakeside photos by Tim Bonn of B&B Productions

Rocket Yoga was formulated when Larry Schultz was traveling with the renown rock band, the Grateful Dead. Traditionally, Ashtanga Yoga was taught in a very set sequence where most people would never reach the more advanced arm balances and inversions. Well, Bobby Weir wanted to try the "fun stuff" because he knew the arm balances and inversions looked fun and gratifying. So Larry spent many nights in his room formulating a safe sequence for how to introduce practitioners of all levels, including new beginners to these more advanced postures. He came up with Bottle Rocket, Rocket 1, Rocket 2, and Rocket 3.  

Rocket incorporates a lot of core strengthening.  

Each of the sequences begins with sun salutations A & B which creates a deep heat from within the body. Following the sun salutations is a specific standing series, split series (a key component to the practice), seated series and finishing series. Each posture prepares you for the next building a beautiful balance of both strength and flexibility!  

When Larry formulated the series, he asked Bobby what they should name it and without hesitation Bobby said, "The Rocket." Larry smiled, nodded his head up and down and replied, "I like it, but... WHY?" Bobby laughed a little and said, "because it gets you there faster." It was a very true statement! Between each of the seated postures is some core strengthening and there are always a couple of dolphin poses, which also build core and shoulder strength preparing you for the arm balances and inversions. Within a year of regular disciplined Rocket Yoga practice 5-6 days a week, I was able to do the full splits. Now, I am not able to do them everyday, sometimes if I have not practiced I am immediately more stiff, but at least I know I am capable. The arm balances and inversions are incredibly fun and eventually those turn into your  transitions from one pose to the next flowing with grace. 

I LOVE LOVE LOVE teaching the Rocket practice!!! I Love to see people break the barrier of their fears and conquer things they did not believe were possible. Being upside down is truly terrifying for many people. But we take this very slowly and build up to it safely. You get used to being inverted in high dolphin, you can use the wall and other props, and by all means listen to your body! In the splits series we hold each of the three splits 6-10 breaths allowing the body to slowly sink into its natural stopping point. Each practice may take you a little deeper. Most importantly we practice self acceptance knowing that wherever we are is exactly where we are meant to be. Yoga is a journey. We practice to improve. Many many people will reach full splits in time. For some, it takes longer. For some, based on bone composition, it simply will not be possible, but those folks can still enjoy the practice!  

So hop aboard the Rocket Ship and prepare to take your body places you never thought possible. Take your mind to new levels and ultimately connect the body and mind through the practice creating the best version of yourself!  

I am more than happy to lead privates, semi privates, group and corporate classes! If you have any questions at all please let me know.   

Namaste,

Libby McAvoy

PS - I want to give a big shout-out and thank you to Amber Espelage!  Under her excellent teaching and guidance I became 100 hr certified to teach Rocket Yoga.

What is Your Favorite Flower?

I Believe it is in nature that we best come to know ourselves. So plant the seeds of what you love and watch the world around you grow.  

Living on the edge. Take chances. Lake Cumberland, Ky    Do your daily yoga practice and progress is sure to follow.  You do not need to be able to do the full splits to practice yoga.  The important part is to start where you are.  Practice full acceptance, trust the journey, and most importantly have fun with it!

Living on the edge. Take chances. Lake Cumberland, Ky  

Do your daily yoga practice and progress is sure to follow.  You do not need to be able to do the full splits to practice yoga.  The important part is to start where you are.  Practice full acceptance, trust the journey, and most importantly have fun with it!

Sometimes we need to kick off our shoes and plant our feet right into the earth. Really feel grounded and one with nature. Quiet the mind and leave behind the chaos of the external world. It is in these moments when we connect body, mind and soul. We feel whole. That is when our beauty shines. So live your authentic life. Blossom into your own unique being.  

Please comment below on your favorite flower.  

Please comment below on your favorite flower.  

Namaste Beautiful Friends, 

Libby

ps- I love all wild flowers  

Cucumber Lemon Detox Water

Are you aware of the amazing health benefits of something as simple and delicious as cucucumber lemon water? It is loaded with Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that promotes skin health, protects our cardio vascular system and boosts our immune system, as well.  Lemons help cleanse the liver and also reduce uric acid in our joints, fighting pain and inflammation.  

Cucumbers are chalked full of many essential vitamins and minerals that our bodies need including b vitamins which help reduce stress, folic acid, calcium, potassium and magnesium.   Potassium and magnesium in particular are important minerals that we lose when we sweat, making them critical electrolyte replacements pre and post work out!

Cucumber lemon water helps fight bloating and may even aid in weightloss as it draws toxins out of our bodies, cleansing and acting as a mild diuetic according to Huffington Post

In conclusion, the body is composed of approximately 60% water. Therefore it is essential that we stay hydrated. So why NOT drink this quick, delightful, refreshing and low calorie version that will boost immunity, brain power, skin health and protect against cancer. 

For maximum nutritional value it is recommended to slice the cucumbers and lemons into the water the night before and allow them to sit. Drink at room temperature when you first wake and then throughout the day.  Drinking at room temperature is important because ice water can be abrasive and shocking on our organs. It is always best to consume local organic fruits and vegetables whenever possible, as well. 

Bon Appetite,

Libby

Be A Warrior Not a Worrier...Happy Monday!

Brand New week! With each new week comes new opportunities. Maybe you are still working on long term goals and that is great, keep moving in the direction of your dreams and never give up. Maybe you want to set a new goal for today or for this week? That is great as well. All things are possible when we put energy into our intention. So rather than dread Mondays, look at it as a brand new chance to make your goals happen. It is going to be an AWESOME week! Take a deep breath and lets do this!

Rock on,

Libby

Chillin' out at High Falls in Dupont State Park, North Carolina