Month: December 2016

Self Acceptance & my Annual (anti) Resolution

Over the past few months, I’ve gained weight.

Its not something that a group fitness instructor or anyone who makes a career in the fitness industry likes to admit. That said, we are human too, with the very same struggles.  I’ve gained enough weight that I’m not comfortable in my own skin, in spite of how others see me.

Struggling with a wrist injury, a busy schedule and not planning or choosing food properly, all the hard work that I I put in slowly unraveled. I’ve fallen into some old habit patterns, the ones that got me to this point, and I’m trying to avoid the patterns that I would have previously taken to “get out” of this situation.

One of my favorite quotes is by Robert Holden. We share often in our yoga teacher training and even in classes.  He says that no amount of self-improvement can make up for a lack of self acceptance.

Today, I accept me, as a I am.  Not where I want to be but knowing exactly where I want to go – not just physically, but in my path as a yoga teacher and fitness professional.  This isn’t a resolution; I don’t do resolutions.  I set goals and I go after them.  The timing here is simply coincidental.

Accepting me, today, as I am and everything, today, as it is, will clear the way, the energy will flow and all this good shit that the universe has to offer will be even *more* available.

Self Acceptance and Resolutions #newyear #goals #weightloss Click To Tweet

Want to learn more about my nutrition and training plan?  Head over to Growth Stimulus Training and check out what Ryan and Adrianne have to offer!  I’ve been working with Adrianne for almost a year and her sanity in nutrition and a sound training plan is refreshing amidst a world of “Instagram trainers” and bikini models peddling teas.  If you have more questions, email me or get in touch with Ryan and Adrianne directly!

 

Yoga Myths AND Upcoming Workshop!

As a yoga teacher, I’ve heard a LOT of “reasons” as to why someone *thinks* they can’t do yoga. Let’s run through a few of them and dispel some yoga myths!

1. “I can’t sit still, I can’t do yoga.”

Great news, not all yoga is “still” or on the floor. Vinyasa yoga is a powerful style – and there’s a style for every body. Some styles, like yin, are still. Some styles are a happy marriage of the two,  Vinyasa, in particular the LifePower Yoga style, can be a physically intense practice!

2. “I’m not flexible.”

Then we have something in common. And I’m a yoga teacher so hopefully the yoga police don’t come to class when I’m practicing!  Think of it like this – if you didn’t lift weights, you wouldn’t become stronger.  Same principle applies!  By avoiding yoga, you certainly won’t become more flexible but like lifting heavier as you get stronger, with a consistent practice, you will find your flexibility improving.

3. “I don’t know poses.”

And like learning anything new, you start by knowing very little. And that’s ok – this is why it’s a practice and any yoga teacher will help you with poses!  Either by consistently showing up to class or by working one on one with a teacher, you’ll learn poses.  That said, poses are actually secondary to the practice; your breath is always the first “pose” to learn.

vinyasa, yoga, lifepower yoga

With an open mind, this practice peels away layers. With strong breath, this practice is rejuvenating, revitalizing and is amazing for your body too.

Prove these yoga myths wrong! Come check out my workshop at Life Time Athletic Mount Laurel on January 18 at 7:30pm.  Learn the basics of connecting breath and movement and some common flow sequences to help you feel more confident when you step on your mat!

Yoga Myths & Upcoming Workshop! #phillyyoga #southjerseyyoga #lifepoweryoga #ltemployee Click To Tweet

You did YTT ….twice?

With a slightly guilty conscious, I’m here, writing and reflecting, about my experience doing a second YTT (yoga teacher training).

Guilty because my kitchen needs to be cleaned, guilty because the clean unfolded laundry pile seems to be getting bigger before my eyes.

But, as this round of YTT wraps up, I need to sort out the feelings, the takeaways, the a-ha moments, not only for myself, but to put in words why one would do the SAME training twice, within months of completing the first. (“Did you fail?” and “Are you crazy?” came up quite a bit and the answer is no. Well, that second is up for discussion, I guess.)

One huge takeaway is that the more I spend time learning and growing, into a better teacher and better human, the less I’m concerned with taking time to clean or fold laundry!  Only half kidding, while I know that those things need to be done, my time spent teaching, practicing, writing and my time with my family are more important than the dishes in the sink. So much more than just time management, its like a lesson in living life fully without stressing or worrying about chores and choosing to fill your cup with your passions and loves instead.  (And if you are reading this while your wet laundry hangs in the washer, namaste, friend. Do some sun salutations after and if there’s time, you can always get to the laundry later.)

Get upside down. #inversionsmakeyouhot #yogaeverydamnday

A photo posted by Leigh (@theleighryan) on

Another more significant observation is that this second time through, I realized that I’m not comfortable in the “gray area” – not a faculty teacher but to the other YTT students, being a “been here, done this” presence.  Not a leader on paper, but wanting to help lead, not just implicitly.  And as any yoga teacher knows, still always, ALWAYS, a student.  This gray area is a slightly stressful place to be so obviously, it can also be a place of growth, if you allow it.  The internal struggle of being a teacher on the schedule, having high aspirations for my growth and really feeling confident teaching a strong class…then at times, feeling really small and raw during our YTT meeting times. Those extremes kept me humble, “in my place” even if it didn’t always feel good.

humble kanye YTT yoga teacher training
Caught between humility but also not “playing small”…

Finally, the last revelation and certainly most powerful, is becoming fully aware that my heart is so invested in teaching yoga.  That I don’t want to *just* teach classes, that I also want to teach yoga teachers.  Seeing this YTT unfold through a different lens, a lens that maybe was uncomfortable at times, taught me so much and it was so rewarding to watch these student teachers grow, even if my impact was ancillary, at best.

I didn’t sign up for a second YTT to learn Ashtanga again; I signed up to get deeper into my “why” – why I practice, why I feel so passionately about this style, why I want to teach student teachers.  I’m still working on articulating my “why” but I do know this….yoga feels like home.

you did YTT twice?? #ytt #yoga #lifepoweryoga Click To Tweet