Category: my story

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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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!

 

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.

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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

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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How to Be a Supermom? My HUGE secret revealed 😉 Click To Tweet

 

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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P90X On Demand!

Remember that time I did something crazy and sent my information into a casting call for a Beachbody On Demand Challenge Du Jour featuring the workout I TEACH, P90X Live?

On June 30, I found out I was picked!

And on July 1, I booked flights.

And on July 8?

I got on a plane and flew to L.A.

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Philly Airport at Foolish o’Clock AM

FOR THE SAME WORKOUT.  WHAT!?!The best part of this whole surreal experience was that not only was I picked for P90X Live (out of Insanity, TurboKick and Piyo) – which is my favorite new group exercise format – my girl, my partner in crime, my UPLINE COACH and the REASON I dove into Beachbody, Amanda, was picked too!

So, naturally, I did what any good friend would do and I flew to Denver to pick her up.

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Wifi? Check!

Well, my connection in Denver was purely coincidental.  But off we went, headed for Burbank.

Sleep deprivation started to set in but once we got to the studio for the dress rehearsal?? Adrenaline.  Nothin’ but adrenaline.

A quick rehearsal and an early call time….we headed back to our not-so-swanky-but-perfectly-functional motel.  And by perfectly functional, we had exactly what we needed.

Shower. Bed. Check.

Up EARLY and over to the studio…to be greeted by the Master Trainer leading our workout, Rawlins Apilado. We chatted with him and our castmates and after learning more about each other, Rawlins used the perfect word…serendipitous.  Not only were Amanda and I partners in fitness, life and tattoos, our castmates had a strong friendship too.  Similar personalities and ideas about our businesses….clearly, we were chosen because we are just that awesome.
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Then Rawlins brought us some of the new Beachbody Performance Energize – an awesome pre-workout.  Energy, focus and some adrenaline and we were READY to go!

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Love me some pre-workout!

The workout, P90X Live, was shot continuously, with no takes to make it look and feel like a REAL class.  That meant we were dripping sweat, grunting, cheering…that’s all real, folks!  We were pushing!

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Rawlins and I working the P90X guns.

After the shoot, we were free to go….so we did what anyone in L.A. would do….and drove up a mountain, gawking at mansions and went looking for the Hollywood sign.

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Welcome to Hollywood, baby.

We got to experience the tourist spots of L.A. in a matter of 8 hours or so.  Walk of Fame, Rodeo Drive….we were productive.

Back to the airport for our red-eyes…and we were quite literally bleary eyed.

Time for some tea….some reflection…WHAT JUST HAPPENED IN THE PAST 24 HOURS?!?!

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To say that the experience was surreal would be a great understatement. To say I’m thankful would not even come close expressing how amazingly lucky I feel.

But is it luck? I don’t think so.  I work hard every day, putting my dreams into plans, my plans into actions and taking risks.

This may have been the first shoot….but it won’t be the last.

Amanda and I have already picked out a better hotel.

 

That time I got picked to be in a workout video?? Yeah, that. Click To Tweet
>Related: Goal Setting & Goal Getting

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.