Blog

Listening to That Voice Within

Not too long ago I was sharing a stressful experience with someone and they asked me if I meditate. I thought that was a pretty odd question, but then I realized I don’t always meditate in the way some people picture meditating to be experienced. Which is why I don’t really share about it because its a very personal practice for me. Sometimes, it looks calm, sometimes I am surrounded by screaming kids, and other times I just strive to make an effort to be completely present in the moment I am in no matter what it looks like. Other than at the end of my yoga practice, I could be in the grocery store, the coffee shop, the shower, at the park with the kids etc… Essentially, I don’t always set aside time, which I’m not knocking people doing, but I work better when I go into my meditation without the mindset that I have to get this done and check it off my to-do list. That induces anxiety and stress and just doesn’t serve me well. 

All that leads me to my points here to challenge the way we look at meditation and mindfulness practices. One common misconception about meditation is that when we meditate it needs to be in a perfectly calm, quiet and serene space so that we can empty and clarify our thoughts. Although this may be ideal, its not always realistic. Another common misconception is that meditation is a lesser alternative to prayer, or conflicts with religious beliefs. Personally, I say they go hand-in-hand. I mean…isn’t praying just meditating while talking to God? I just don’t really separate the two, but to each their own. No matter how it gets done, meditation is is a great tool for centering our thoughts and working through all the stuff going on in our minds. 

Meditation doesn’t have to look like a peaceful image and as a matter of fact, when we can stay calm in the midst of chaos, we give ourselves the practice that can potentially enhance our focus in our day to day. Think about it… when we get stressed out sometimes we start to spin out and think irrationally. So what better time to practice meditation than in a not so ideal setting. Literally working to stay present in the middle of noise, and distractions. It’s not easy, especially at first, but I encourage you to give it a try from time to time. You will be amazed at the benefits and how worries don’t immediately cause you to feel as though you’ve lost control.

I hear so often that people are afraid to practice yoga and meditation, because they fear it interferes with their religious beliefs and practices, but I just don’t get that to be quite frank. As a catholic, who practices and teaches yoga, I connect the two systems in unison. I meditate to not only just balance my emotions, feelings, thoughts, and energy, but to connect to God. Whichever way you practice, or whatever your beliefs are, meditation doesn’t have to take away from that. It should actually be seen as an opportunity to strengthen our faith while at the same time helping us gather our thoughts and become more connected to what is actually happening around us. 

Meditation is just a tool to bring us into the present moment. Typically practiced for a minimum of 5 minutes, anything less than 5 minutes is okay, but to really collect and ground ourselves it is important to just take the time.  The best part is it can be done anytime and anyplace. You don’t need to carve out a moment, unless you want to.  Another key is to just let the mind wander. The way I look at it is organizing a file cabinet. Such as, when our files and cabinets are in disarray and we don’t know where anything is we have to organize. Same thing with our mind-body-spirit. During the meditation, when you notice your thoughts going all over the place try and bring it back to center. Sort it out. Other than that, there really aren’t any special directions. Just settle into a space breathe and listen to what your inner voice is saying. 

This practice can have profound impacts on our well-being such as better focus, stress management and the breath work is a major key in allowing us to remember we can slow down. As a society on the go all the time, I would argue we need to pause and breath in order to function at an optimal level. The best part is anyone can do it and there isn’t a strict rule book. The only goal is to become completely aware and present in the moment you are in. From there… the magic happens. 

HIIT Abs and Booty 1hr Monday 4/6/2020

Let me know how it goes! Give me time to get better at the sound in these live Zoom recordings. I’m still learning!

FOR THE WORKOUT:

1. Keep water on hand and hydrate because this one will make you sweat!

2. Body weight is all you need! If you have equipment you can use- dumbbells, weighted plates, bands, bench/chair/couch, and your mat!

That’s it!

Hashtag #seriouslygoodfitness and share when you’re done! I want to see those smiling, sweaty and accomplished selfies, or your workout summary!

ENJOY!

Journey to Becoming a Fitness Instructor

My experience in group, or instructor led fitness goes as far back as 2003 when I started to become interested in Pilates and Yoga. One day, my dad and I were shopping at Barnes and Nobel and I saw a Denise Austin Pilates DVD called “Pilates for Every Body”. I recognized her because I used to do her workouts in the morning on cable t.v. when I was home for summer. She had 7am and 7:30 am workouts and I would usually do both. I loved her instruction! So thankfully that day, my dad bought me the DVD.

As I did her workouts, I began to learn more about the mind-body connection and the importance of feeling good about yourself. I played softball until I was 16 years old, so most of my life I stayed relatively active, but all her ideas and exercises were new to my young mind. She sparked my curiosity to not only learn more about Pilates and yoga, but to also continue to stay active in order to remain healthy and strong.

About a year after this, I stopped playing softball and I began to gain weight. Partially because I was significantly less active and still eating like a teenager, and partially because I didn’t make the team that year. I was down emotionally and consuming more calories than I was burning.

Once I realized I gained weight, my mom didn’t hesitate to help me find a solution. She took me to Jenny Craig to get me signed up with a meal plan, coach and weekly check- ins for support. This gift from my mom gave me the foundation I needed to understand the importance of proper nutrition and staying active for overall health and wellness.

At this time, we joined LA Fitness and that’s when I began taking in-person group classes. I was interested in water aerobics because I loved swimming so, I started attending aqua classes regularly, as well as yoga. Everything I was learning in the classes about fitness and myself, were only expanding on my experience doing Denise Austin videos. I loved the community, the challenge for my mind-body and I quickly (with that sweet teenage metabolism) lost 50 lbs. I kept most of it off throughout college, until I started an entirely new fitness journey after my 3 pregnancies. This experience in my teenage years prepared me for my post natal weight loss and fitness journey. So, I truly benefited long term from everything I learned in my teenage years.

The day I realized being a fitness instructor was something I’d eventually want to do was the day my Aqua instructor invited me to a training. At the time, I was only 16 and you had to be 18 to teach. She complimented my skill and passion and told me to call her in two years. I never did. I went off to college, but it was always an encounter that stood out in my mind. I just figured one day I’d do it. She saw something in me at the time that I didn’t see within myself. I was just too scared to pursue it.

But now, here I am. Thirty years old and 3 kids later, instructing classes at a more challenging level I could have even imagined. I’m thankful to everyone in my support system for the continued encouragement that has allowed me to just dive into this process. I look forward to helping others get results and especially to everything I will learn along the way!

<- My girl Vicky and badass class participant! 💪🏼