Yoga From the Outside

So I’m sure there are plenty of articles about boyfriends and husbands sucked into yoga by the wives/girlfriends and how amazing it is, but this isn’t that article. Yes, my wife, Amanda is an accomplished yoga instructor. She has been for about 7 years teaching various studio yoga, kid’s yoga, acroyoga, paddleboard yoga, and chances are if it’s a type of yoga she has tried it or taught it. Although I’m still holding out hope for some naked yoga…. You know for research…

For me I’ve taken a few standard classes here and there. I can probably count them all on 1 hand and they’ve been good. Definitely eye-opening as far as what yoga is and what it is not. I don’t do Yoga but I can see why so many do and the benefits of regular yoga classes.

Yoga is NOT all hippies and rainbows. Yes, there are teachers out there who practically sweat crystals, but a lot just want to connect with their students and send you on your way with new perspectives. There are teachers who just want to give you an excellent workout and keep you sweating. The point is if you are interested in giving it a shot don’t stop because of one bad experience with a teacher.

Yoga IS filled with teachers from all different backgrounds and styles that give you choices.

Finding balance with Inner Fire.

Finding balance with Inner Fire.

Yoga is NOT leggings and sports bras. Sure some classes may encourage or be filled with skinny girls and shirtless guys, but there are just as many people in basketball shorts and a t-shirt.  If anyone at a yoga class makes you feel self-conscience then it’s not a class or studio you want to give your money to.

Yoga IS about how you feel about and in your body, not how the asshole next you feels about it.

Yoga is NOT about being flexible. Being able to touch your toes or do the splits is not the gauge to whether you can do yoga. Most classrooms are full of props and tools that can be used to accommodate different body styles and flexibility levels or bring your own.

Yoga IS accessible by people of all levels. You just need to find the right teacher or props to help you.

Yoga is NOT all done in 100 degree studios with beads of sweat dripping down your face. Yoga can be outside, on the lake, in pools, hanging from the ceiling or in a normal temperature class with the fans on.

Yoga is about finding the class that best fit your needs, it can be as easy or challenging as you want it to be.

So go find a local studio and see what the offer. Check reviews or looks up the teachers social media accounts to get an idea of what they offer. As for me, I’ll be hiding from my wife as she tries to get me to use two hands for my yoga count…

Embracing the Mom Bod

 "It's not about being good at something. It's about being good to yourself."

This is NOT an easy concept for many and I am one of those people. Negative self talk has been my reality for the majority of my life. Looking in the mirror had been one of my biggest challenges all because of terrible self esteem. Years of conditioned negative body image don't just disappear it takes a lot of work.

Most recently I've been frustrated and discouraged when being asked if I'm pregnant (I'm not) even with teaching full time and in the gym 5 days a week I STILL look 4 months pregnant. I've beat myself up about it for far to long only to find out last week it's because of my Diastasis Recti which has now caused a hernia. It's not the end of the world and there are ways for me to take care of the condition, but instead of seeing a doctor I spent the past 2.5 YEARS blaming myself that I couldn't meet the ridiculous appearance standards I have set for myself. 

Handstands and Strength Building with My Inner Fire. 

Handstands and Strength Building with My Inner Fire

It's actually amusing that this diagnosis came at the time it did because in recent months I have completely embraced my body. That doesn't mean I've stopped working on it.  I'm TRULY proud of how strong I am physically and emotionally, and of all the things my body is capable of regardless of what "look" others may perceive. So this came at a time of acceptance and understanding. A time when I could finally look in the mirror and say I'm proud of ME and who I am not what I look like. 

In today's society we are starting to see a glimmer of hope in the media and advertising industries around body image. More companies are embracing the "every BODY" matters mind set, but there is still a very long road ahead. The change has to start within and with ourselves. We cannot expect big changes in our society if we do not make big strides within ourselves. When I finally decided enough was enough I did three things to help me move on and away from the negative self talk.

1. Face yourself in the mirror with a smile

This was my most challenging DAILY key to working toward self acceptance. Any time through out the day that I passed a mirror I would truly look at myself and smile. For me it required faking it for the first few days (or weeks), but I didn't give up. Over time it got easier and now I've taken it a step further to think of one thing I'm internally proud of when I look at my reflection. For instance maybe today was the rare occurrence where I awoke before my kiddos. Go me!

2. Any activity that makes your heart sing

I have MANY hobbies! My interests change from day to day and even minute to minute. This gives me the opportunity to find joy in so many ways. It's easy to get bogged down and feel depressed about life when we don't take time for ourselves. Take just 15 minutes to do something that makes you happy so the next time you face negative self talk you have something to think back on that you are AWESOME at!

3. Wear clothes you LOVE!

When we feel insecure in our bodies it's often hard for us to get dressed everyday. We tend to wear clothes that don't fit and don't make us fall in love when we do look in the mirror (remember that's step one...look in the mirror!). Do NOT wait until you're such and such size to go out and get yourself clothes you love. Go out and pick up something NOW for the body you currently have. And pick something that the colors make you happy. Don't stress if you have to try on 10 different sizes because let me tell you none of the brands run the same in sizing anyway it's an arbitrary number.

These are just a few of the ways that I started to turn around my negative self image. Now don't get me wrong there are still hard days and society (or people's unwanted comments) will still get in your head. It's easier to pull yourself out of the funk when you have tools and the WHY behind it. If you don't have a WHY yet I'll give you one until you come up with your own:

You deserve to be happy!

Avoiding Burnout

Amanda Quintanilla~JBWY Owner wearing Inner Fire

Amanda Quintanilla~JBWY Owner wearing Inner Fire

Avoiding Burnout

It's easy to get wrapped up in something near and dear to our hearts especially when we are just starting out in a particular hobby or when we make the hobby our career. Yoga is no exception as a beginner I found myself trying to soak up as much information as possible. There was so much to learn and not enough hours in the day to learn it all. I found myself reading all the books, magazines, and websites I could find on the various yoga related topics that piqued my interest. After becoming a certified teacher when I wasn't studying my new career I was on my mat building sequences and learning from my body. This led me to become a teacher training junkie.

While there is nothing wrong with studying, practicing and taking additional training in itself; it's important to find balance in the way that we go about our learning journey. As I immersed myself further into the journey I found I was prone to injury from exhaustion and over training while maintaining my intense teaching schedule. There was no cross training to help balance what I did on my mat. I found a few ways to help fend off the burnout I saw fast approaching.

1. Cross Training

Especially in the yoga world there are certain motions we simply don't do. For me, I found weakness in my back body and any pulling motion. Upon finding Stand-up Paddle boarding I realized the pulling motion during paddling coupled with the cardio aspect made it a perfect and enjoyable cross training activity. Shortly after I picked up resistance training again after many years, but this time around it was coupled with my yoga practice to maintain flexibility.

2. Get Creative

Creating yoga sequences has a creativity in and of itself, but I found the less creative I was in other avenues the less creative I became on my mat. Without indulging my creativity off the mat my classes became stale and uninspired. Turning back to other creative aspects like knitting, sewing and spinning allowed my mind to find rest in rhythmic movement. Much like yoga it allowed my mind to free itself of the demands to create under pressure, and in turn my sequence creations came more naturally.

3. Reconnect with Community

This may seem like a no brainer, but I found it harder to connect with our community while teaching in the studio so frequently. What I loved was becoming a chore. That's when I decided to take a step back and attend a teacher gathering that my home studio holds monthly. Taking time just to eat and chat with my fellow teachers helped to reignite what I love about my career. Knowing I may not be the only teacher feeling the way I did helped me to realize I had support when necessary.

In today’s rush we all think to much, seek too much, want too much and forget about the joy of just Being.
— Eckhart Tolle

I would love to hear of different ways you've found to help avoid burnout when you find yourself on your mat maybe a bit to frequently or teaching to many classes. What ways are you cross training, getting creative, and reconnecting with your community? Comment on Facebook to join the conversation!