Have you heard of “mindfulness”? Do you know what it means? I didn’t quite know what this fully meant until this year. Mindfulness is being present in the moment, and being conscious and accepting one’s feelings and thoughts.
I am a beginner yogi – yogi in training if you will. I have been since 2014 where I will randomly take classes with my friends at local studios. Over the past year, I have been more consistent in my yoga practice, where I have had spurts of consistently attending classes and then even practicing at home. I am not flexible by any means where my entire life I probably haven’t stretched. I never was into gymnastics, still can’t do a cartwheel, and only recently can I touch my fingers to my toe (standing up only!). I played softball and basketball my whole life and in these sports, it did not require flexibility.
I tried yoga for my first time by doing a hot yoga class with one of my friends. She was going pretty regularly and her friend was running the class. I caught on pretty quickly with the poses and the flow of it all. I ended up really liking it! For me, it started out to be more of just another way to workout. It was during a time where I was trying out a bunch of different workout classes. I did classes sporadically until about a year and a half ago, where I really wanted to start incorporating yoga into my work out practice. From reading all of the health benefits, physically and mentally, I wanted to try this out even more. I was very unhappy with my weight that I had put on, and because I run a lot, I thought this would also help me stretch out my body too.
I ended up developing a piriformis muscle issue, and it was hard to bend and hard to sit in an office for eight hours a day. In case you don’t know what it is, here it is blow. It is deep, deep within your glute. Very hard to massage and most times, stretching is how to get rid of it. I had lots of lower back pain and tight muscles in my leg.
By taking yoga consistently for 5 weeks in a row, this issue has completely disappeared. The stretching and the development of these muscles made a world of difference.
This year, I set out to become more mindful. There are various ways that one can practice mindfulness. Most importantly, I wanted to take care of my body and myself because I have spent the last few years with struggling to lose weight and that has created some pretty negative feelings inside of me. I needed to take a step back and realize what my body has gotten me through, and becoming more mindful of myself and self-love will help me conquer my negative thoughts.
Yoga, to me is something that I always go back to. I am not consistent, but I want to be. Every time I take part in a yoga session, whether it is with my friends in a class or at home by myself, I immediately have my mood turn around. If you are stressed, sad, upset, mad, or have any sort of negative feelings, yoga is a game changer. There are amazing health benefits, both physically and mentally.
Last week, I started a yoga challenge for myself and for several others to do 31 days of yoga in a row. This is also meant to practice mindfulness and finally just to love yourself even more than you already do. Yoga and being more “mindful” go together. Both are about being present in the moment. The practice of yoga is being self aware and aware of how your body feels. I want to continue this practice and be more consistent within myself with not only yoga, but with being more mindful as well.
I challenge you to become more mindful within yourself. With everything you do during the day, be present in that moment. Do you drink coffee in the morning? Take that first sip and focus on the smell, the taste and how it makes you feel. When you go outside, notice nature. Notice the smell of the air, the wind or the warmth of the sun. We are so busy these days, that we are always thinking of the next task on our list. Most of us are hardly present mentally in our lives where we are always trying to get our task lists done quickly. We need to make time for our mental health, and focus on being present. Keeping a journal of one positive thing each day will also help as well.
If yoga is something that you don’t believe to be your thing, I would love for you to practice mindfulness. Not only has yoga helped me overcome stress and sadness, but it has helped with so many ailments with my muscles so if you haven’t tried it yet, I also encourage you to do so. If you want to join my ongoing yoga and mindful challenge, I would love to have you a part of it too! You can join the group here.
Until next time – thank you for reading!
We wait for jobs. We wait for opportunities. We wait to see if we will get that promotion. We wait for more income. We wait for the “other” person to make the first move. We wait to travel. We wait for our friends to contact us. We wait for summer, fall, winter or spring. We wait for a “certain” time.
What are the things you have always wanted to do? What are the places you have always wanted to travel to? What is your dream job? What is your dream life?
Answer these questions honestly. Write a list if you must.
My question to you is – Why in the world haven’t you done those things? What is honestly holding you back? More importantly, what are you waiting for? Why don’t you have a plan to tackle these goals?
I used to live someone else’s dream. I lived vicariously through other people and their experiences. I did not go away to college. I did not have the college lifestyle that many people get to have; dorm life, drinking late hours and partying, sorority sisters, frat parties – I had those experiences THROUGH others. It was either my boyfriend that I had at the time or friends I had that were away at school and I would visit them.
Of course, you are age 18-22 and you don’t know what you are doing in life yet. However, I was not having my own experiences. I spent so much of my late teens and early twenties living through others experiences and doing what others wanted to do. I put myself last when this time in my life, I should have been the most selfish. Unfortunately, not many of us realized that!
Life took its toll and took my parents away from me. Still reeling from those deaths, I was shortly diagnosed with cancer on and off for the next 3 years. LIFE CHANGING EXPERIENCE ALERT!
Once in remission for my final time, all I wanted to do was live life. That was my goal. My friends and I will tell you that this particular summer was probably all of our favorite summers together. We all spent every single day of the summer months together and we all bonded and became so much closer than we already were. One of my best friends and I had an urge to take a trip together. We started to “get into” wine at this point and decided that a trip to Napa Valley was something we wanted to do! It was planned within two months!
Was this something I have always wanted to do? Yes and no. Before this, I had never traveled alone with a friend or planned a vacation by myself. I didn’t know what I was doing, and neither of us had a set plan for going out to Napa, nor was Napa our planned destination. We ended up going for a week with NOTHING on our agenda and decided what we wanted to do once we got there.
I could have had hundreds of excuses. “I don’t want to spend the money”, “I don’t want to travel that far”, or “Let’s wait until next year”. This is something that I have wanted to do and God knows I needed a vacation! It was something I truly wanted to do, so I did it. It is still one of my favorite vacations to this day (yes, it even comes close to my honeymoon in Maui!). I feel my life was finally jump started into finding what I wanted to do specifially in my life and I started learning to become selfish for ME.
Since beating cancer in 2013, I have been to more states and have been on more vacations than I have in my previous 25 years of life. I have been wine tasting in Napa Valley, I have been to Cancun, I have been all over Michigan for weekend stays, I have been to Maui, San Diego and I ran a half marathon in Disney World in Orlando Florida. I already have two vacations planned for 2018 which is Guatemala and a return trip to Napa Valley!
I don’t make six figures a year. I own a house. I have student loans. I have bills to pay. But I make it WORK because it is something that I love doing. I can’t imagine not visiting these places. I can’t imagine not exploring these places in my lifetime. Life has shown me that I should not waste time. It keeps slapping me in the face pretty hard that I can’t take life for granted!
Why do you wait for love to come and find you? You have probably done this in your life before; sat around and maybe you weren’t getting the attention you desired from someone because he/she was not texting you, not calling you, or not making plans. STOP WASTING YOUR TIME WITH THOSE PEOPLE and make it happen with someone else. Life is too short to waste time with people who don’t appreciate you or VALUE time with you. The first time I have EVER asked for a man’s number was the first and last time I ever needed to because I am now married to him. If a relationship is something you really want, go out and find it for yourself and don’t wait for it to come to you!
Why are you waiting to see if your job will turn out better/get a promotion? If you think you deserve better, find something better. You have the entire power in your hands at this moment to apply to any job or find something that better suits you. Do you think you are too old to do something like that? That is also something that shouldn’t hold you back.
My advice to you is to stop waiting. Stop waiting for the right time. Take it from someone who knows and has had many reminders that life is short. This message doesn’t have to be about the “bigger” things in life and that this is a reminder to cut the bull with a former friend over a stupid argument or any grudges that you have with family. This could be about taking chances in all aspects in life. I wanted to share with you how I began to take chances to make my life something that I am PROUD of.
Thank you again for reading!
P.S. – I am looking for Laugh Always Ambassadors! Head on over to the “Ambassador” section up at the top to join spreading the Laugh Always lifestyle and to inspire and motivate those who can’t find the motivation <3. Join the movement!