Category: inspiration

Tension, Compression and the “Hard Stop”

Tension and compression are concepts in the yoga world, taught and made widely known by Paul Grilley.

Tension is the muscular effort, the muscular edge. In order to build a muscle to strengthen it or lengthening it for flexibility, you have to go beyond to see or feel results. There’s “give” and room to go deeper with consistent practice.

Compression is the way your bones and body are built, causing a hard stop, bone to bone where there’s no more room, its just IS.  The way you are built determines your fullest expressions of any given pose.

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With tension, we can push, go beyond and get out of our comfort zones. This tension can happen on the mat in physical practice and off the mat, if life situations. We can see, feel and experience personal growth or a deeper expression of a pose.

In compression, the hard stop, it can feel damning, almost, to have to accept that your fullest expression won’t ever change.

Sometimes, in life, we feel the hard stop.  More often than not, its the story we are telling ourselves versus the reality of the situation. When you feel bone to bone in a pose, it takes a strong mind to be fully there, at the “end” of the pose. At the end of the pose, using your breath, you can experience all the pose has to offer. It’s said that in the compression (and the absence of pain), that energy and prana are being stimulated even more!!

I’ve been feeling the hard stop lately, a “life” compression.  Where it really feels like a ceiling, a wall, bone meeting bone, no more.  But if I look at the idea from a yogic perspective, there is opportunity by simply being “in it.” There is room to explore whether or not it is actual compression or is it the story I’ve created. There is room to grow if I allow energy to flow here, versus looking at it like a kink in a hose. There is room to flow in the space where it feels like nothing is flowing. Finding my breath in the space where there’s nothing more to do, fix or change.  Can I just BE with everything the pose or situation has to offer?

My next step? Harnessing the energy.  Finding another path to keep going and growing.  If you are in this place right now, I invite you to do the same.  Look at the compression as a place where energy flows, where you can be fully present in the situation as it is; feeling and experiencing it  instead of letting it feel like a reason to stop, either stop practicing the pose or stop chasing a goal.

Have you ever felt tension and compression, on your mat or off? How do you deal with working with the compression?

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My LifePower Yoga Experience – so far.

It is 10:30PM on a Wednesday night.  Four Wednesdays ago, I was typically in bed by 10, at the very latest.  On February 27,  my LifePower Yoga experience, this 200 hour yoga teacher training, started…and almost everything that was normal – albeit, blissfully chaotic – changed entirely.

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“YTT” – our LifeTime abbreviation for the program – has all but taken over my life.  And usually, when someone says that, its in a negative way.  This “overtaking” has been a far cry from negative.  I’ve never really lived every day, and seized every moment quite like this….perhaps because I have so little time to waste now.  Perhaps just because I’m yolo’ing the shit out everything that comes my way.

#ootd to meet with the accountant. Haha. #carpediem #taxseason #seizethatshit

A photo posted by Leigh (@theleighryan) on

In the first three weeks of this experience, I’ve learned to teach yoga.

Not a full class, but almost there.  But, with confidence, I can say, I’m a yoga teacher.

In the first three weeks of this experience, I’ve learned to manage my time better.

Not perfectly, because I’ve still forgotten some things, still have to rush a little.  But, with confidence, I can say that this Hot Mess Express has been running smoothly.

In the first three weeks of this experience, I’ve become a stronger group fitness instructor.

Not that I wasn’t a *good* or even great instructor, but with confidence, I can say that my group fit game has gone next level, with some of the tools I’ve learned and the confidence in my instruction, knowledge and motivation.

In the first three weeks of this experience, I’ve become a more patient mom.

Not that I wasn’t a *pretty* patient mom, but with confidence, I can say that now, in the 6 years of being a stay-at-home-kinda-working mom, I appreciate my time with my kids so much more that losing my patience with them isn’t a good use of any of our time together.

In the first three weeks of this experience, I’ve watched my husband really own his “Dad” title.

Not that he didn’t own DAD before, but with confidence, I can say that he’s taking this in stride, supporting me, making our team work with more teamwork.

Study, study, study in the place I live, live, live, live. #poweryoga #ytt #yogaeverydamnday

A photo posted by Leigh (@theleighryan) on

3 weeks down, 9 weeks to go.  So much more to learn.  So many more chances to grow stronger, physically and mentally.  So excited for the rest of this LifePower Yoga experience, this YTT – because if this is the beginning??

Damn, the end will be something amazing.

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Supermom: The Secret on How to Do It All

“How do you do it?”

A sentence that makes most moms – moms of many, working moms, pretty much all moms – cringe.

Cringe…because I’d have to reveal my “great” secret.

*chuckle* “Caffeine and alcohol, haha……but really though….I don’t know….I just do it.”

Yesterday I posted on my personal Facebook page about a particularly kickass morning I had – me.

Personally.  Selfishly.

 

I’m not a Supermom…or a super anything really.  I had a really great morning for ME yesterday. One snapshot in the collage of our typical week.

But, yesterday, the dishes were piled in the sink.  And the laundry was mountains high, clean but unfolded and on a chair in the family room. Another snapshot in the collage.

Today, I’m not going to have the same kick ass “YAY, ME” morning.  I’m going to yoga to get my brief zen on and then I’m going to come home, tackle those dishes, fold that laundry and take care of the two pee-soaked piles of bedding from not one, but two kids who uncharacteristically wet their beds last night.  More snapshots in the collage.

Much less badass.  Much more “boring mom stuff”.

But if it were ALL boring mom stuff or ALL badassery, there would be no balance.  No moments of self-congratulation for an awesome workout in spite of being tired all the time (but NO ONE knows that, its our secret, k?) to juxtapose with the less glamorous moments cleaning up a poop accident from a stubborn mostly-potty-trained 2.5 year old and the proud moments of cheer competitions and hockey games.

All moments captured in the collage.

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That’s the real life, the behind-the-scenes of every perceived “Supermom” out there.  For the things we are succeeding in, kicking ass and taking names in one day, there are at least 3 or 4 things at any given moment that are messy and imperfect. I’m not doing anything out of the ordinary but simply trying to maintain a balance that creates *our* own ordinary, our collage, our picture-imperfectly-perfect life.

So, how DO I do it all?

I don’t.  Just one thing, one breath, one moment at a time, that results in one beautiful collage with highs, lows, messy and immaculate, happy and not-so-happy moments of my very ordinary and special life.

No super powers necessary.

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Goal Setting & Goal Getting

I posted this on my personal Facebook page yesterday and decided to share it here.  At the end of the day, you need to be a goal getter.  Now is YOUR time!  Enjoy!

Confession (and long post alert)…I can be a little impulsive. An impulsive spender, quick to make decisions about things that most people would take weeks or months to decide. Conversely, going to a restaurant with a big menu is my personal nightmare. But the big stuff, I’m good.

Unsolicited advice coming…if there is SOME DREAM, any GOAL you have, and the opportunity presents itself, TAKE IT. Don’t think, blink or pause. Take it. Say yes. Act first when your gut is like, SCREAMING, “OMFG, I HAVE TO DO THAT” and hash out the details later. You’ll figure it out.

10 years ago (when I was….15. Right. Ha.), I had the opportunity to do a Yoga Teacher Training. And I wanted to SO BADLY but had reasons (excuses?) why I couldn’t. And I wanted to go back to school for exercise science, SO BADLY. But things happened. But, but, but.

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Last month, Alexander Schimmel posted that he would be leading a local LifePower Yoga Teacher Training. I’m pretty sure I messaged him within minutes, mind already made up.

Without knowing price. Or times. Just that I HAD to do it. Mind. Made. Up.

Is this the right time? Nope. Is it “perfect timing”? Sure is. I have way way more on my plate right now than I did when I was 15 (not letting that joke go. lol.) and this may literally require hiring a part time nanny for a brief period.

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But I’m not letting anymore opportunities go by, things that I want to do, things that will make be a better person, wife, mom and friend.

So, whether its a New Year’s resolution, if that’s what makes you tick, or just a goal you have, go after it, without thinking, because the time will never necessarily be right or perfect.

*mic drop*

(Pic is not a perfect pose, or perfectly executed. But it felt good, so that’s what I did. See? If it feels good, or its going to feel good, JUST DOOOOOOO IT.)

If you have a fitness or health goal you want to talk about or want to know more about flexible dieting, use this form to contact me.  I’ll respond within 24 hours and I will get to know you, your goals, your intentions and we can create a plan that works for you.

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Be the Example.

It has been a long day.

It has been a long week.

I’m sitting here unwinding, thinking about everything I do on a daily basis. 

I’m getting even more exhausted just thinking about it.

I don’t need to list out the things because if you are a mom reading this, whether you stay at home or work out of the home or work AT home (like me), then you know.

You know how it feels to try and hold on to the ONE thing that you can do for you.  For some, it is taking 20 minutes during a rare moment of quiet and reading a book.  For others, maybe its catching up on a mindless reality show.  

For me?  It is hands down, without question, my workout.

Sometimes, I second guess myself and think that it might be presumed to be a selfISH action.  To have a personal fitness goal.  But I forget and I have to remind myself – they are watching.  

My workout isn’t selfish. While it benefits me in all the physical ways that we know exercise is proven to do, it also clears my head.  It gives me focus to move on to the mile long to-do list.  My workout benefits this whole household. And those small people? They see how important it is, to me, for me, for them.

I’m lucky if I get to squeeze in an extra 10 minute ab workout.  I’m even luckier if I get to make it to the gym to actually TAKE a class, rather than just teaching one.  

Its easy to lose focus on those personal interests and goals when everyone around you needs something – food, drink, attention, extra time.  Those things all come first, all the needs are always met….but the non-negotiable is still my workout.  Whether it is squeezed in during nap or while the littlest one helps “sweep” the floor, once there is a moment of still, I press play.

And after I’m done?  I’m refocused.  Recharged.  Happier.  

I know that it takes a big mental change, especially for moms, to come to the decision to make a lifestyle change.  To be healthier, to set an example, to feel better overall.  I can’t tell you do “just do it” or “schedule it” because we know that isn’t always the reality.  

But I will tell you to take it one day at a time.  Make it non-negotiable. 

“I will work out twice this week.”

“I will go for a run on Saturday.”

“I will take a strength class at the gym this week.”

Set the small goals, achieve them, feel successful and build the habit.  A habit is just like a muscle – you need to work at it to make it strong.

You deserve it.  Because it isn’t just for you.


Inspiration and Shakeology

“Ooooh, you are another Beachbody coach? You sell another shake, right?”
Well.  Yes.  But…no, not really.
Here is my story.
My Beachbody journey technically started in July 2013.  That was when I bit the bullet and via a free fitness group, hosted by an “internet friend”, I learned about T25.
I say “technically started” because that’s when I signed up to coach.  That’s my official anniversary.

Flashback to my childhood, I was NOT athletic. Not into sports.  Not into exercise.  I was “skinny fat” (a term I loathe but it is totally accurate) – thin and not strong.  I gained the typical weight in college and used the gym sporadically and mostly just for social purposes.

When I met my now-husband, he was overweight and unhappy – a former athlete who fell into a miserable relationship.  When we started dating, he had just starting running again and was working towards a 50lb weight loss.  Because couples do things together, we started running – not literally together but it was something we both did.  This fueled my interest in nutrition and fitness and I started looking into going back to school for exercise science.

And then…we got married and the babies came. With babies came these elusive “internet friends” – the people I could talk to without judgment, whine to, laugh with…I had NO idea that they would be such a presence in my life.

When I became a coach after our third and last baby, again, I had no idea that a life changing experience was on the horizon. and I decided to become a Beachbody coach.


Yes, I lost weight.  Yes, I have great before and after pictures. Yes, I drink Shakeology. Yes, I make a nice extra income to help my family.  But what I DIDN’T realize was that I would join a family. A family with a leader right from that group of “internet mom friends” and a coach (who I used to argue with in the throes of hormonal mayhem!) that is now one of my closest friends.  And even better, a few of my best friends on the planet, other *gasp* internet friends, JOINED ME.  A completely inspiring and supportive group of women, who I talk to every day. Pretty much all day long.

My old aspirations of a fitness and nutrition “job” is coming to fruition in a totally unexpected and unconventional way.

So, now, I’m moving up this Beachbody ladder.  My “why” has shifted.  I still do this 100% to help people and to set a positive example for my kids. It is not and has never been about making a lot of money or thoughtlessly signing up coaches to build my team. Now (and this is the focus of my team name and our motto), my “why” is to be a motivating force.  Not just a casual cheerleader.  A rock solid, well informed, supportive leader.  A business woman. A health and fitness professional.
An inspiration.


That’s my story.  A lot of people out there will roll their eyes when they hear “Beachbody coach” and have visions of a shake peddling, pyramid-scheming snake oil sales person.

I can absolutely assure you that this has very very little to do with a shake.