Yoga in Cincinnati

Late Again?

Are you on time all of the time, most of the time or never? Hmmmm…. Be honest. If you struggle with time management what, is it that prevents you from being places on time? Do you try to fit too much in? We are all busy people living in a busy world. But, some of us make a point of showing up early or at least on time and others are perpetually late. Awareness is critical is resolving the problem. 

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Why Are You Late?

First: Be aware of why you are late. Once we are aware we can change our process and progress towards better habits.

Next: realize that being on time is a form of respect. Once you embrace this it is difficult to be late.

Finally: Prioritize what you need to do and when so that you make time for the people who are most important in your life. Be where you say you are going to be on time or early and realize that it is a direct reflection of your character.

Being on time is simply a common courtesy. Everyone is busy and being late quite honestly is selfish. Now, occasionally there are circumstances that cannot be helped such, as a traffic accident or an emergency, we are not talking about normal traffic that you should have allowed time for. If you must be late do not panic, forgive yourself and stay calm, call or notify the person or people you are meeting as soon as you realize that you will not be on time. This way they can use the time to the best of their ability, as well. 

Read full article on  lifehack.org

Read full article on lifehack.org

Mindfulness will help you stay on time

Being mindful of your tasks, as well as what time it is will help you stay focussed and on time. Occasionally, but rarely, things may come up that will derail you. For the most part though, you are in control. Show people the person who you are. Show up. Practice awareness, acceptance and forgiveness. This means being aware of when and where you need to be. Leave in plenty of time to allow for traffic and parking. Accept stressful situations for what they are, listen to calming music and use car rides to make hands free phone calls or enjoy good music. Finally, if you are occasionally late, apologize to the person you were late for and forgive yourself.

When you are mindful of being on time, people will respect you and consider you a considerate and respectful person. Being on time is sadly a rare quality today and time is money. So, show up and respect time of other people, after all they are busy, too. Only speak when you have something positive to add to their life and listen with full reverence. 

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Slow down the pace. It sounds counter intuitive when trying to be on time, but when we slow down and become mindful, rather than living in robot go mode, we are better able to be productive, on time, think clear, and achieve our goals concisely.

Peace & Light,

Libby

P.S. - Meditation helps create concentration, clarity and calmness, which will help you stay on task and on time so head on over to my other blog at A TotalSoulfulJourney. com and read my latest blog on The Powerful Benefits of Meditation and How to Get Started.

 

Are you Stuffed? No worries, No guilt, No Shame!

My family enjoying leftovers the day after Thanksgiving.

Are you amongst the majority of us who ate far to much and indulged in rich foods, desserts and probably a beverage too many over the last couple days? And to think… the holiday parties are only getting started! Do not worry. Seriously, it is ok to indulge and feast every now and then. There is no shame in enjoying a delicious meal. No need to starve yourself for the next week. In fact, that will never work. Balance and moderation are key. Forgive yourself and move on just like anything else in life. Practice awareness of how you are feeling. Then, as you eat leftovers and attend parties moving into the season, practice awareness with portion control and choices of what you are eating.  

For now, the damage is done, so to speak. Accept it and enjoy it. Get outside this weekend and get moving. Once you take control of your body you will feel better. Maybe you put up holiday lights, go for a hike, rake leaves and if you are lucky enough to be somewhere with snow maybe you go skiing… the possibilities are endless. As long as you are having fun, then exercise becomes easy and the guilt melts away. 

Hold yourself accountable. Start a journal this holiday season. Write down what you eat at each event. Record how you feel that night. Then, write how you feel the next day. Be sure to include any movement you are getting and how you feel with that. This will help track your progress both positive and negative. Know that it is OK to sometimes admit that we are not perfect. We strive for progress NOT perfection. Perfection is no fun anyway, lol.  

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Enjoy yourself! Life is too short not to. But, set yourself up for success. The holidays do not need to weigh you down, quite literally, but instead should inspire you to become the very best version of yourself. With each sparkling light you see this season, let that be a reminder of the light within you.  Put religion aside and see the beauty of your spiritual commonality. We are really all the same. We strive to be accepted, to be loved, to be needed and appreciated, to be happy, to be free, to be joyful and abundant. So, all differences aside, be you, eat what you want, exercise, and shine bright for all to see. 

Peace, Love and Light to you all,

Libby

 

5 Tips to Reduce Stress When Waves of Stress Knock You Down

Many times life throws us unexpected curve balls. And sometimes it can feel unbearable and overwhelming. I would love to say that yoga and meditation should be your go to fix for stress relief, but the reality is that when a crisis strikes there are times when the situation is so cumbersome that we barely have time to eat and sleep, let alone practice. So, what can you do?

Well, in my personal life I have experienced one of these waves of grief this week where I felt like I was going to go down at times. Fortunately I am still here so I would like to share with you not only how I am surviving, but also how I am thriving.

My dad has survived three kinds of cancers for years and was doing well until a little over a month ago when he was diagnosed with a rare debilitating lung disease, which is causing his one lung to scar gradually and his breathing to become more difficult. As hard as it is to watch a man who I love so dearly struggle, I can handle this knowing that he is 87 years old and has lived a full life. But then in the last month a waterfall of other problems have ensued. The father of my children was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease that less than .06% of people suffer from and is still not getting relief. And now my mom, who has always been healthy as an Ox and the caregiver of the family, suddenly started having trouble recalling what she wanted to say and began losing some muscle control on the right side of her body. This led to multiple trips to doctors and hospitals for many tests. The days have slipped by as I helped my parents deal with this crisis where I have not had time to step onto my mat. My house was a disaster and I was exhausted, but I realized I was doing what really matters. I was spending time with my parents, delivering home cooked meals that I knew appealed to them, attending doctors visits and being present. Family will always come first to me. This is really my living yoga and sometimes we have to step away from the mat to realize this.

My brother, my sister and I are working lovingly together to help find answers to get to the bottom of my mom's health issues. Our coming together has brought us closer as a family and that is the gift that is coming out of this difficult time. My mom will see a neurologist next week. Meanwhile I am taking a day to PAUSE and catch up on life.

So, here are my Top Five Tips for Relieving Overwhelming Stress:

    1. Make lists! Separate your to do lists into priority categories so that you absolutely know what must get done each day, what is not so urgent, and what can be eliminated.

    2. Ask for help! Especially in a time of need never hesitate to let friends and family help. It makes them feel good and it lifts a weight from your shoulders, too!

    3. Seek counsel. Please do not hesitate to go to counseling or therapy, especially in heavy times. If time is short, often therapists will do a phone session.

    4. DO NOT ISOLATE. Surround yourself with those who love you when you go through difficult times. They will help carry your burdens, help you laugh and help you see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    5. Take it one day at a time. Stay present, stay positive and always hope for the best. There is tremendous power in positivity!

I hope that these tips will bring you comfort in your times of high stress. Also, remember that we can slow our stress response by regulating our breathing. So, practice nice deep slow inhalations and nice deep slow exhalations. Breathe in love, breathe out love. 

Peace, Light and Love,

Libby

P.S. - Stress is a huge cause of health problems. Please try to manage your stress before it takes a toll on your health. We cannot avoid stress, but how we respond to it is really the key to living a Total Soulful Journey of Health & Wellness! <3

 

 

Oh Powerful Wizard of Oz

Follow the yellow brick road, follow the yellow brick road... Those words may sound very familiar to you. Well, Toto, we aren't in Kansas anymore. The Wizard of Oz is a beautul story about connections and about finding your purpose and true path in life. As Dorothy discovered along her journey, the answers we seek are in us all along, but having supportive friends makes our lives a little easier and gives us the courage to perservere.  

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It feels good to plug into collective energy. Remember, we ARE energetic beings, so, when we share our energy with other people, it gains momentum and spirals upward. There is power in numbers so to speak. This is why being a member on a sports team is so exhilarating. It creates a feeling of acceptance and a sense of appreciation. Team spirit is powerful. This applies not only to sports, but to any group that cooperates for a common cause such as family, a work community, or a group of friends.  When you realize you are a part of something much bigger than yourself, that is when the magic happens.  

When you feel connected, you feel a sense of purpose. You then wake up with a great drive and determination. This gives your life meaning and you are less likely to focus on unimportant things that once caused stress. With a strong support network you also have people who share your burdens so that in difficult times you are no longer isolated and alone. People who consider themselves part of a network or a community tend to be healthier overall and are able to better cope with stress and difficult situations. 

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There are five Blue Zones in the world where people are proven to live well over the ripe old age of 100 free from disease. Scientists are saying that air quality, nutrition, and social connections have a strong correlation with this remarkable life span and may in fact, in combination with a positive attitude, be able to alter our own DNA. Yes, waking up with purpose and feeling connected is THAT important!

People come and go like waves in our lives. Some stay only short amounts of time and teach us what we need to know and others stay longer, but each one adds an important lesson. The most valuable people bring out the very best in us. They allow our spirits to shine and that synergy (shared energy) is irreplacable.  

The last two years I have experienced the power of community first hand by having the privilege of volunteering my time to lead the Sycamore Community School Lady Aviator Water Polo Team in a once a week Yoga cross training session. Not only is it amazing for them to build core strength, open their shoulders and work flexibility and agility, but it gives me the distinct honor of getting to know these amazing young ladies.  If I can teach them to pause and breathe, it might mean the difference between making a goal or a penalty shot under pressure in a game. If I can teach them to lean on each other and support one another and practice compassion, then I feel like I have added greatly not only to their skills as a team, but to their life assets. I hope the awareness and acceptance that I instill on that mat carries off the mat and into daily life for each of these Ladies. That is what the journey is about for all of us; it is the journey of the self. 

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These ladies are absolute sharks in the water with determination and teamwork that is off the charts impressive, but out of the water I watch as they support other teams with unbelieveable sportsmanship and class. They are kind, respectful and compassionate. I am so incredibly honored and proud to be even a tiny tiny part of their experience. It is thrilling to me! I cannot even imagine how it must feel to be them! They are having a great season and every game has been incredibly intense. If you have never been to a water polo game, I highly recommend it. It is super fun to watch, albeit absolutely exhausting and not for the faint of heart. 

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So, follow the golden road to your own destiny knowing that it is within you all along (there is no almighty Wizard behind the curtain). You will also gain strength by surrounding yourself with a supportive community and by adding to that collective yourself. Get involved. Go find your true purpose and passion. Don't make it complicated. It is just something you enjoy. Add your passion and talents to a greater collective energy and watch that momentum build. You will have victories that you never imagined possible. You are capable of so much more than you even know. Just take the challenges that life offers. You have the power to weather the storms in your life, just as Dorothy survived the tornado that launched her on her journey to self discovery. 

In Victory of Light,

Libby  

As I watched the girls rest, giggling in the hammocks,&nbsp;I knew I was a part of something big. I felt my purpose and my heart welled with gratitude.&nbsp;I have never been so happy to be able to give my time to something. To be a part of something so powerful.&nbsp;It may seem small to some of you reading this, but in that moment, that energy that filled me, well.... it is still within me.... I encourage you to get involved. Find your tribe. Find your purpose!&nbsp;All that means is find a group of people that want you around and that involves doing something you absolutely love, even if only for one hour a week.&nbsp;Believe me when I tell you it is worth it!&nbsp;

As I watched the girls rest, giggling in the hammocks, I knew I was a part of something big. I felt my purpose and my heart welled with gratitude. I have never been so happy to be able to give my time to something. To be a part of something so powerful. It may seem small to some of you reading this, but in that moment, that energy that filled me, well.... it is still within me.... I encourage you to get involved. Find your tribe. Find your purpose! All that means is find a group of people that want you around and that involves doing something you absolutely love, even if only for one hour a week. Believe me when I tell you it is worth it! 

Reflection

We talk so much about being present and staying in the moment, and yes it is important, but it is also meaningful to reflect from time to time on your past... what worked and did not work. The truth is we learn a great deal from our mistakes as long as we do not repeat them.  

The Bean in Chicago

The Bean in Chicago

Sometimes we just need a break from our daily routine. We tend to be creatures of habit who get  "stuck." When we are able to take time off, or if we are fortunate enough to get away for a few days, it allows us time to reset. Experiencing new things, new places and gaining new insights provides us with the inspiration that we need to move forward. We then become more present, more productive and more happy when we return.

&nbsp;  My Dad, with whom I am extremely close, has recently suffered a health set back. He is nearly 87 years old and the thought of not having him here with me on earth is a big hard rock to swallow and yet I know eventually it will come and he will go on to a more beautiful place. My sweet momma gave me the best gift in the world by encouraging me to get away for a long weekend and go unite with friends in Chicago, indulge in great food and enjoy myself. &nbsp;"He is not going anywhere this week," she said with confidence as she sent me off for a much needed trip of rest and relaxation! Moms always know best! So off I went. The hard part, as a mom myself, was to pull away from life, from my children, from my parents and from my responsibilities and to enjoy this time free from guilt! It did not take me long, however, a few bites into a delicious pecan pie, a glass of Cabernet, a few great meals and a ton of walking around that delightful city of Chicago and I truly began to feel refreshed and inspired! Thanks to taking time out from my daily routines,&nbsp;I am sooo ready to move forward into bigger and better things. Vacation is great, but the best part is the renewed energy upon returing home!&nbsp;     When we take a break break from life, even if it is a "staycation," we are able to tap into power of the mind and redirect into a positive mindset that will catipult us in the direction of our goals and dreams rather than keeping us stuck and weighed down.

My Dad, with whom I am extremely close, has recently suffered a health setback. He is nearly 87 years old and the thought of not having him here with me on earth is a big hard rock to swallow, and yet I know eventually it will come and he will go on to a more beautiful place. Yet, worrying about him has been stressful to say the least.

My sweet momma last week gave me the best gift in the world by encouraging me to get away for a long weekend and to go unite with friends in Chicago, to indulge in great food and to enjoy myself.  "He is not going anywhere this week," she said with confidence as she sent me off for a much needed trip of rest and relaxation. Moms always know best! So off I went. The hard part as a mom myself was to pull away from life, from my children, from my parents and from my responsibilities, and to enjoy this time free from guilt!

It did not take me long, however... a few bites into a delicious pecan pie, a glass of Cabernet, a few great meals and a ton of walking around the delightful city of Chicago and I truly began to feel refreshed and inspired!

Thanks to taking time out from my daily routines, I am sooo ready to move forward into bigger and better things. Vacation is great, but the best part is the renewed energy upon returing home! 

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When we take a break from life, even if it is a "staycation," we are able to tap into the power of the mind and redirect it into a positive mindset that will catapult us in the direction of our goals and dreams rather than keeping us stuck and weighed down. So consider taking a day or two to reflect, to connect and to rejuvenate. Love and accept yourself exactly where you are in life. Set goals for where you want to go, and then each day take baby steps toward those goals until you arrive. 

Remember, life is a great journey. Just like every road trip you take, you will encounter construction zones. You are the engineer of your life both in body and in mind, always improving, always  "under construction." Just remind yourself to keep it joyful and to chill out! Everything you feel is OK! You are a beautiful being.  

Happy Travels Peaceful Friends, 

Libby

 

We Have All Been a Little Lost in Life...

We all have an idea, a road map if you will, of what we think our lives should look like long term.  As it turns out we are in control of very little in our lives, and sometimes major things happen causing trauma, depression, and even PTSD. An unexpected crisis can throw us way off course, leaving us feeling lost and frozen with fear because we no longer know which way to go. It is especially important during uncertain times like this to forge forward, or risk getting stuck in the pain, the fear and the negative energy that overwhelms us when we're feeling down. This is also the time to trust the journey, putting one foot in front of the other each day to create a new and hopeful path going forward.  

When trauma happens, we are often tempted to turn toward potentially destructive behaviors such as addictions, self isolation and recklessness, which can push us deeper into a downward spiral of dispair. Whether you lose an arm, lose a job, or lose a loved one, there are constructive ways to get your life back on track by creating an upward spiral of positive energy. For example, getting up early to exercise and start the day with determination gives you positive momentum and those feel good endorphins. In addition, find something, even if it is small to be grateful for each day. When we are in a state of gratitude, it's much easier to feel better about life. Allow yourself the grace to take baby steps toward the door to happiness and the path toward healing the trauma that derailed your original journey. Be compassionate toward yourself starting with acceptance and forgiveness, then go back to our roots of awareness, in order to grasp control of your feelings and reactions to those feelings. Change is the very nature of life. Once we have the tools of awareness, acceptance and forgiveness, we are able to deal with the traumas that arise in life, or past traumas that reoccur. Most importantly look yourself in the mirror and say, "I love you" every day!

We are writing the books of our lives. Each day we are faced with many choices, some more difficult than others. When trauma is involved every decision and choice can become monumental. Connecting with friends and family and avoiding isolation is critical in healing. Do what it takes to find happiness as long as it is healthy and takes you on an upward spiral.  

For me, the recent trauma of putting our very beloved dog down really knocked me off my tracks. The first day, honestly, I screamed and cried. The second day I did not want to get out of bed, but I KNEW I HAD TO PULL OUT OF THIS DOWNWARD SPIRAL, so I thought to myself what can I do? What will bring me happiness? And.... the answer was a puppy. This might be extreme for some people, but it was exactly what my family and I needed, and Tucker, the love nugget, is bringing us much love and joy.  

For others they might find comfort in eating healthy homecooked meals, connecting with past friends, volunteering, watching a comedy show, simply laughing, going on a nature walk, or joining a yoga class. Just take time and brainstorm positive solutions that will fuel good energy. Numbing the pain is simply prolonging the pain and will ultimately cause more suffering for us and for our loved ones. In fact, there is something called secondary PTSD. This happens when family members are traumatized by being around a loved one who isolates and pushes them away (among other things) as a way to cope with their own PTSD.  Secondary PTSD can tear families apart and destroy lives if we do not rewrite our books with happy endings.  

Sadness is a part of life. It is unavoidable and it also helps us appreciate our happy days. This is really the Principle of Polarity; which is to say everything has opposites. All things can be transformed with the power of your mind. Hate can be transformed into love. Sadness can be transformed into happiness. Even an empty bank account can be transformed into a full bank account. It also ties nicely into the Law of Attraction, which is to say the power of your thinking attracts the outcome of what you recieve. So when we wake each day with positive determination, even with baby steps, we set into motion that law of attraction to bring goodness into our lives and put us back on track on our journey toward well being. 

Sending all those who are suffering and hurting healing and loving vibes. Life is hard sometimes. Let's all pull together and make some lemonade out of the lemons we are dealt. It IS going to be OK!

Much Love,

Libby

 

P.S. - For those of you who feel paralyzed by severe trauma, depression or PTSD, there are additional resources available to help you through your journey.  You are never alone!

Recommended books:

Overcoming Trauma Through Yoga - Reclaiming Your Body - by David Emerson and Elizabeth Hopper, PhD.

Daring Greatly - By Brene Brown.

Untethered Soul - by Michael Singer

Additional Resources:

PTSD Hotline - mentalhelp.net

Now Mental Health - nowmentalhealth.com

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - suicidepreventionlifeline.org

What do Your Dreams Mean?

Dreams have always intrigued me in a mystical magical way. Sometimes they are an escape from reality to a beautiful place with people you do not recognize. Other times they are aweful nightmares and you do not wish to close your eyes again. Why do we dream such things?  

Well, we sleep about 1/3 of our life and we dream roughly two hours out of each night. Some people recall their dreams vividly, some people recall only portions of their dreams and some people do not recall dreaming at all. It's ok if you do not remember your dreams. I often don't myself. Nothing is wrong with that. Sometimes we simply sleep so well that we do not remember. And sometimes our sleep is too interrupted.  

For those of you who recall your dreams and are curious what they mean, keep reading! If you have recurring dreams, start to journal them. Try to remember how you felt in your dream, and what was going on in your day prior to that sleep...

5 Common Dreams and What they may really Mean 

1. Dreaming that you are partially naked in public: 

This is a very common dream which is often a sign of vulnerability or shame. It can also reveal a fear of being exposed.  

2. Dreaming that your falling: 

This may be a call from your subconscious to make some changes in your life. Perhaps you are concerned about the direction that something is going and often this is associated with depression. 

3. Teeth falling out: 

This has nothing to do with whether you brush enough and floss properly. This is a signal that perhaps you spoke too harshly, gossiped, and need to speak less and listen more. 

4.  Being chased:

Examine if you are trying to avoid something or someone in life. Perhaps something requires your attention? 

5. Sex: 

This can be a literal sexual outlet, or it can also symbolize intimate connection with yourself or others.  

Dreams are a way for our conscious minds to connect with the subconscious. They usually have a message for us. So just deepen your awareness without putting too much thought and any judgement into it, and see if you get to know yourself a little better through your dreams! 

I recently had a very unique dream that I would like to share with you. It was unlike any dream I have ever had. I dreamt that I was kneeling on a dock on a dark night with the sky lit by the moon. I put my hand down into the dark, but calm water. I had no fear. I wished that a dolphin would come to me. Sure enough I saw a fin coming. Again, zero fear of it being anything but a dolphin. The dolphin came straight to my hand and then out of the water enough to hold itself cheek to cheek with me. We turned our eyes toward each other and both were smiling. The connection was extraordinary. Then the dolphin swam a minute before returning to look at me face to face. We smiled and laughed together as tears streamed down my face. Then the dolphin slowly went back into the water and I woke up.

When I woke I felt as if everything had changed. It was like the weight of the world had been lifted, as if that dolphin was my spirit guide releasing all my past troubles and worries and giving me the love and encouragement that I needed. The dream was a sign like an omen. It was my soul, as well as the Universe, speaking to me and telling me that now is the time for me to put my life dream into action. 

During the past year I have been researching and preparing notes to write a book. This has been a dream of mine for sometime and now the Universe is ready to make it happen. My dolphin dream represented the clarity and certainty I needed to forge forward in full motion with a new found confidence. Since this dream I have felt so inspired and full of life! I am happy to share with you that I am currently working on writing my first book that will address how to live a Total Soulful Journey and Reduce the Stress in your Life!  

The biggest message I want to convey goes back to awareness. Be aware of what your dreams are trying to tell you. They might be a sign to slow down and change something, OR perhaps a sign to forge forward with your day dreams that are now speaking to you through your soul at night. Ideas and dreams are wonderful, but without putting them into motion it is the biggest wasted commodity we have, unused creative energy. So dream big! Put your intentions into action and watch how fast they come to life. There are signs and miracles all around us and dreams are just one area of  insight. When we are aware we are able to see more clearly. 

You know the saying, "Dreams Really do Come True".... I believe in this power now in more ways than one.  

Sweet Dreams,

Libby 

P.S. - Please feel free to share (in the comment section) your recent dreams, or what your BIG DREAM is in life to begin the action of making it happen. And check out the video below to learn how to interpret and remember dreams from an inspirational speaker who I truly enjoy. 

 

 

Would You Save a Life if You Could?

Most of you know me as a yoga instructor, but that is simply one aspect of my life. I invite you to  come along on my journey and get to know me better. And I would like to get to know you, as well.  I am a mother of two children and a daughter. Ten years ago, my dad, Bob Shively, was diagnosed with Myeloma, which is a cancer of the blood and bones. The "C" word is super scary, especially when in relation to yourself or a loved one. My father's diagnoses came as a shock. They gave him only a coulple years to live at best. The doctors said to expect his bones to deteriorate and that the only available treatment was pain management.  

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Well, let me tell you a little more about me. I am extremely close with my whole family. We have always been very supportive and loving. I am super sensative and also empathetic. When my dad was diagnosed, it felt like my world shattered as I am sure many of you can relate. I felt so helpless. All I could do was to pray and pray for a way to help him. Low and behold the very next day in the mail there was a flyer for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society who offer a variety of fundraising events in honor of or in memory of anyone you know who has suffered from a blood or bone cancer of any type. I knew at that very moment I was up for the biggest challenge of my life! I quickly conspired and got my best friend, Katherine Shrout, to agree to "walk" a full 26.2 mile marathon with me in Honolulu, Hawaii!  We had a fundraising minimum to reach in exchange for our airfare and room for four nights, which was bonus motivation. So.... we thought who can't walk 26 miles? We've got this! Hahaha.... many laughs and many long training hours later we quickly started running more and more realizing how time consuming it was. Needless to say we BOTH finished the marathon. I love you Kat for pushing the limits with me, for standing by my side through tough challenges (including three broken bones in my foot) and for helping to save lives!

This year my daughter, Morgan, asked me to join the Team in Training Hike Yosemite Event on June 10th. Morgan is quickly becoming my new best friend as she grows up and becomes her own unique person. I am so proud of who she is and I love the way she makes me laugh. Her positive spirit will grace the world for years to come. But anyway, I realized that it being the ten year anniversary of my marathon that this is just perfect timining to celebrate my dad's life and the fact that he has truly beat all the odds. Ten years ago there was no treatment for his cancer besides pain management. Today, there are finally options that are available thanks to the research that was made possible by people like you who donate money to fight these diseases.

When Morgan and I decided to do the walk, the universe sent me another sign. My high school friend, Susan reached out to me. Her nephew, Paul Wilson, was in the hospital fighting for his life with leukemia. Susan asked if I would be willing to go to Children's Hospital to do some yoga with him just to change up his routine and relieve his boredom. I was honored. I realized this year I will hike and participate in this event not only in honor of my dad, but also to help find a cure for Paul's leukemia.  My goal is to use my able healthy body to give hope to these courageous people of all ages who are suffering and holding on with every ounce of dignity just to smile for their families. Cancer knows no age and no boundaries. It robs us of precious time, life and memories.  

If we have our health, we are truly blessed. Let this remind us to be grateful each and everyday. To hug the ones we love. To prioritize what is TRULY important. AND.... I invite you here and now to become a part of this quest to end cancer! I invite you to be a part of my team to help save the lives of those who are suffering! The money I raise goes to research, family support and patient care. I have seen results from the money that I raised ten years ago at the Honolulu Marathon. I am forever grateful and I will continue to pay it forward by doing all I possibly can when I can to advance cancer research for all of us.  

Sometimes it takes a villiage...but together we can move mountains!

All is possible!

In full gratitude,

Libby

P.S. - If you would like to support our team, you can learn more and donate at: http://pages.teamintraining.org/vtnt/Yosemit17/LMcAvoy

Morgan and my team name for this event is, "Not so Main Stream."

Or you too can register to participate in the Team in Training Hike Yosemite event at: http://www.teamintraining.org/events/hike-yosemite

How to Break the Cycle of Seasonal Weight Gain

Fall is the time to pull out the cozy over sized sweaters and comfy leggings - we all do it. The problem is we also tend to hide under those comfy clothes and eat more in the colder months, which leads to inevitable weight gain. Unlike the bear who gains weight to prepare for hibernation, there is no reason why we should stay indoors and hibernate all winter. Challenge yourself to remain active like you do in the summer months by trying new activities that take in the wonder of autumn and winter.

According to Deborah Balfanz, PhD at Stanford University, "despite our worst fears, the average American really only puts on one pound during the holiday season — which doesn’t sound like much, unless you gain that extra pound year after year." Gaining a pound year after year adds up quickly.  As we get older and our metabolism slows down it makes it even harder to take off those extra pounds that slow us down and put us at higher risk for heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes.  This extra weight also has a huge bearing on how we feel about ourselves. So let's take a deeper look into the underlying factors that contribute to this cycle of seasonal weight gain and come up with tips to help us avoid it. 

Approximately 2 percent of the population suffers from a mild form of depression, which is known as seasonal affective disorder or SAD. According to the Cleveland Clinic, this is brought on by the shorter days and colder temperatures. This depression leads us to want "comfort" foods which tend to be higher in carbohydrates and fats. If you think that you suffer from this condition, it's a good idea to consult with your doctor and come up with a strategy to counter the winter blues. 

As for the rest of us, there are many reasons why we tend to eat more in autumn and in winter. These triggers tend to be more behavioral and less biological. They also revolve around our traditions and habits in the colder seasons such as eating junk food while watching football games, over indulging at holiday meals and parties, drinking more alcohol, and reducing our levels of physical activity as we spend more and more time indoors avoiding the cold outside. 

Another contributing factor is the adverse effect of stress upon our appetites.  Fall brings with it the pressures that come with the kids being back in school; juggling hectic schedules, keeping on top of their homework, rushing them to and from extracurricular activities and the added pressures at work. Life can get crazy this time of year and I get it! But... This is the perfect opportunity to break that cycle by becoming mindful of the triggers and habits that cause you to be stressed out.

Allow yourself the permission to not become so busy in the stressful sense this season. We put so much pressure on ourselves and upon our kids to be the very best and to achieve at the highest levels.  We don't have to be perfect. So allow yourself the grace to say, "I can't do it all."  This is not failure. In fact this is a gift that you give to you and your family that will make you all happier and healthier this school year.

Also give yourself and your family the permission to replace activities that you think that you "have to do" but hate, with activities that you love or have always wanted to try. Use these seasons as an opportunity to explore new sports such as hiking, cross country and downhill skiing, indoor cycling, yoga and playing in the snow. In addition, raking leaves and shoveling snow should not be viewed as dreaded chores, but as active ways to enjoy autumn and winter while getting exercise and fresh air. Putting your body into motion not only burns more calories, it also boost your energy and makes you feel great! 

Here are are five things you can do to help you not gain weight this season. Surely there are more great tips, so I would love it if you would share what works for you in the comments below: 

1. Be mindful of portion size of the meals that you eat. Overeating stretches out your stomach, which makes it harder for you to feel full over time. With a larger stomach, it then takes longer for the stretch sensors in your stomach to signal your brain that you are full. Also avoid fatty snacks that are high in carbs, sugars and high fructose corn syrup. Keep fresh fruits and raw veggies around as snacks with a small amount of nuts to go along with them. These healthy foods are packed with fiber and vitamins that will give you energy and keep you feeling full for a longer period of time.  

2. Seek the guidance of a nutritionist or a counselor to help you identify the triggers that cause you to overeat and to help you create healthy new habits. A therapist can also be a great resource if you are an emotional eater. In addition, I coach my clients in the areas of fitness and nutrition so feel free to contact me! I will help you develop a nutrition plan, increase your level of fitness and provide an important point of accountability and encouragement for you.

3. Get involved in an activity that gets you moving at least 3 times a week. As you know, yoga has done wonders for me, helping me stay fit, mindful and happy. Find a physical activity that you love and make it a regular part of your life!

4. Wear tight fitting clothes at least occasionally. This will be your reality check. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, cozy big sweaters and loose leggings hide the fact that we are gaining weight.  If your summer jeans feel overly tight in the winter, use this as motivation to shed the weight that you have recently put on.  By being mindful of your eating and adding a little exercise to your day, you will be please by how quickly you can shed that unwanted weight.

5. Create an art or home renovation project that will keep you focused and give you a positive purpose. Having a creative outlet for yourself can be a great stress reducer and keep you from the type of unhealthy snacking that we tend to do when we are bored.

While you are still feeling good from all of your summer activities, continue to practice mindful eating, reduce stress in your life and stay active this fall and winter. Set yourself up now with winning habits that will help you beat the holiday indulgences! 

Warmly, 

Libby

PS - Watch this excellent video that will change the way that you look at eating versus exercise for losing weight.  I highly recommend it!

Summer Heat Advisory for Cincinnati... Ride the Wave

Summer is my favorite season. I personally love hot weather and being outdoors. With high heat warnings throughout the midwest, however, it is essential that you take precautions and be smart. You do not want to become a victim of heat exhaustion, or worse yet, heat stroke because these are serious medical conditions that can be life threatening. 

Mackenzie Madison, professional triathlete

Wear loose fitting light in color clothing, drink plenty of water, or better yet coconut water, before during and after your outdoor activities. Stay in the shade as much as possible, apply and reapply sunscreen and replace your electrolytes. We loose three main minerals when we sweat; calcium, potasium, and magnesium, which can be critically dangerous leading to fatigue, muscle cramps, dizziness, nausea, headaches and even organ failure. If this happens to you, see a doctor immediately.  

Enjoying yoga on a boat at Lake Cumberland in Kentucky

When your core body temperature rises to 101 degrees as it does in hot yoga (as it will with these naturally high temperatures and high heat indexes outdoors), it allows the body a higher range of flexibility and potentially greater athletic performance. However, if you loose too many of these minerals it can cause you to pass out or even worse, to die. Foods high in these electrolyte replacing minerals are almonds, avocados, dark leafy greens, coconut water, bananas, and cheese. Also be careful not to allow your body to rise above 104 degrees, this is when it gets truly dangerous.

Mackenzie Madison from  kenzmadison.com

Mackenzie Madison from kenzmadison.com

Swimming is a wonderful way to get a great workout and still keep your body cool. Whatever you do, just be safe and enjoy! Find your inner child and live each day to the fullest riding the waves of life with gratitude and grace!

Cheers,

Libby

Daily Inspiration

If you are breathing, then you can do yoga.  It is not about being able to touch your toes or stand on your head.  Yoga is a journey of the self through the self to the self.  Ultimately we practice to reach our highest state of being, Samadhi or ultimate enlightenment.  It all begins with an hour or so of meditative movement on the mat.  We focus on our gaze and breathwork while we move and suddenly the clutter in our minds is reduced.  A deep level of awareness is created that then carries off the mat and into your daily lives.  

Begin by taking even inhalations through your nose and even exhalations through your nose. Then start to gently stretch in a way that honors what your body needs.  Keep it simple at first.... welcome to yoga! 

Have a wonderful Wednesday.  We would love to hear from you! If you have questions or comments, please click on the Daily Inspiration Title and it will take you to the page where if you scroll down to the bottom you can interact with me! 

Peace & Love,

Libby