Tuesday, June 23, 2015

S.O.S. & Rose Yoga Personal Development: The Perfect Pair


"Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit. When one is free from physical disabilities and mental distractions, the gates of the soul open."- B.K.S. Iyengar
Self-Optimization Sanctuary (AKA SOS), is the practice of the mind, body and spirit. It is a path toward the union of the human spirit with the divine consciousness. It can align us with our true self. SOS has the power to change, heal and transform.

Rose Yoga is a system of reviewing, rebalancing and replacing to achieve results so that you can identify, remove and replace any blocks that are holding you back from achieving your goals. Together with SOS, Rose Yoga is transforming my health, body-image and relationships.

My Self-Optimization Sanctuary (SOS)
In my private training sessions with SOS focus at Coach 2 Edify along with one-on-one sessions with my Rose Yoga mentor, Carly, I have begun to notice changes not just physically but also in my thought patterns. Both have freed me from the chains of depression and pain, transforming me into the Phoenix rising from the ashes. Improvement in my self-esteem has been my reward. SOS and Rose Yoga have lifted me out of darkness and delivered me into the light. They have liberated me from fears and revealed a new world of freedom and possibility. They allow me to transcend the limits of the physical mind, to access higher levels of consciousness and awareness. They have energetically shifted my life forever and allowed me to step into my true self.

Simply put, SOS and Rose Yoga are changing everything.

I feel my life unfolding. New opportunities have risen. I accept more challenges. I cry through meditation as I feel my estranged sister's hand in mine, healing from the wounds we have inflicted upon each other.

My eating disorder has become something that I can work through with breath, consciousness and the new-found courage that my SOS practice gives me.

Here I am, 1 1/2 months into my SOS training and two weeks into my apprenticeship with Rose Yoga Personal Development, already with the hope, strength, love and power that only these two could have given me. I have the tools to not only face life with my head up but also to carve the life I choose to live. I can recover, I can heal. I can connect. I am capable of anything.


These are the lessons my SOS practice and coaching continue to teach me every day:

1. Every Day is an Opportunity for a New Beginning: My SOS practice is different every day. Weights and movements that are hard one day are manageable or even easy on another. I just have to accept what is happening on the mat for me that day. I appreciate what I have on each given day...and I know I can start again tomorrow.

2. The Value of Pause: A friend once described me as a mosquito....quick thinking, fast talking, having a million-miles-an-hour-mind. It has had its perks but when that chatter becomes destructive, it's hard to stop the snowball effect. Both SOS and Rose Yoga have taught me to pause and be still. I appreciate nothing more than those golden moments when I am moving, fluidly, in a dream-like state, aware only of the flow of my own breath. Finally, my mind gives it a rest and I become free from its bondage.

3. Expression of My Soul: The OmGym "cocoon" has become an amazing opportunity for an encounter with my true self. Seated meditation is still a challenge for me but in the cocoon I connect with my soul. I don't think but things come to me...insights into myself and I am left in awe of what is in my heart.

4. Fear Paralyzes: Challenging movements teach me that my fears and doubts paralyze me. When I doubt, I fall out and when I'm scared to fall, fail or get hurt, I just don't do anything. It's my strategy in life, too. So now I fall, I get hurt and I get up...because it's SO important to DO something and when it doesn't work out the way I planned, It's never as significant as I thought it would be.

5. Love Thy Body: The way my SOS time has me seeing my body is that we're a team. All my organs, cells, glands and me....we have a little support group going on. I look after them and they look after me. We chat and listen and I learn so much from all of them because this "God Pod" knows endlessly more than I could ever fathom. We heal each other every day.

6. Acceptance: My SOS practice and Rose Yoga coaching teaches me to be at peace with what is even if it's not how I had envisioned it. I will be on a mission to conquer an Animal Flow movement, without progress to get excited about, when suddenly, without warning, I will get another movement down. Just like that! For every movement that has eluded me, I am given another just as lovely instead.

7. My Endless Potential: I have expanded my mind and body in ways that have me realize how much more there is to me. It's a journey during which I am expanding my potential and my understanding of the limitlessness of being human.

8. Physical Body Improvements: I will be 45 in November but I'm in better physical shape than I was in my 20's. I am strong and healthy! No diet, no starvation, no extremes...just me and my "tribe" doing the work as a team!

9. Happiness: SOS time has made me happy. I get an intense sense of joy when I roll out my purple mat, write down my intentions for this workout and get into my first downward facing dog. When I am finished, I am centered and peaceful...and happy. I am being with what is. I am.

My personal trainer, Mayra. (photo courtesy of Deborah Kolb Photography)
My Rose Yoga Personal Development Coach, Carly. (Photo courtesy of Takahiro Watanabe Photography)
I've learned a lot of amazing things on my mat with incredible teachers such as Mayra and Carly. These women are inspiring, sharing and being authentic in the quest for wholeheartedness and vulnerability. Yes, vulnerability....it's something most people let shame them, yet on our mats we sweat out more than just toxic substances in our bodies. We sweat them out of our hearts and minds.

OmGym Time!!!
As Carly says, "Imagine what your life would feel like two years from now if you did nothing and stayed the same". I wonder what would have happened had I fallen in love with yoga, weight training, OmGym, Animal Flow and cycling instead of an eating disorder or codependent relationships? Is this why I crave my SOS time? Even when it makes me want to puke or cry, it can also make me laugh, depending on the day. It's accountability at its finest, most physical reminder. Binging and purging does not get along well with planking but when I don't do it, planking feels fantastic!! I guess I've been asleep in my core for a long time and this waking up is a sort of deliciousness that has nothing to do with chips and guacamole.

...and I love it!

"I feel a shyness and a building of confidence. After the cleanse you will step into a place where you feel more powerful and confident. Because letting go of that critical voice shadow, you will stop striving for perfection but remember again you are perfect." - Reading from intuitive, Malika Love
I AM authentic, strong and healthy. What are you?

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Having My Cake But Not Stuffing My Face with It


(source)
Veganism is a health-conscious diet that requires discipline and nutritional knowledge but for me, it took a turn toward an obsession. After a thirteen year struggle with bulimia and seven years of anorexia prior, I used the vegan diet as an excuse that drove me to an even greater unhealthy relationship with food and an increasingly restrictive diet. 

No matter how hard I tried to be *perfect*, I would ultimately fail, either by having some *toxic* non-dairy creamer in my *anti-Christ* coffee or by polishing off the last of Bome Bell's *evil* Kraft macaroni and cheese. This lead me to self-loathing, purging and unhealthy attitudes toward food. 

I confided about my latest binge last week to my personal trainer. I had never felt so relieved and so terrified about something at the same time. I had already known that I had developed many fears surrounding food and it was clear to me after our discussions that by my ever-growing list of restricted foods, my habits and binging around it worsened. It was the breakthrough I had been looking for!

In the days that have followed I have come to terms with the fact that changes in my restrictive diet needed to be made. I have reintroduced fish and chicken back into my diet and have loosened the reigns on dairy and wheat. My friend Gretchen over at Veggie Grettie had death threats from hardcore vegans (some of which I know personally) when she renounced her vegan card but time away from proselytizing veganism may give me a leg up from the death threats. 

How I am Coping After My Breathrough
  1. Avoid categorizing foods as good or safe -vs- bad or dangerous. Balanced diets are key to health
  2. Trash the idea that a particular diet, weight or body size will automatically lead to happiness and fulfillment
  3. Stop judging others and especially YOURSELF based on the types of food they / you eat or body shape or weight they / you are. Negativity only breeds self-hate and insecurity, which lay the foundation for eating disorders

It is definitely strange going against the principles I have so fiercely defended but I feel like a weight has been lifted. I feel strong, healthy and have more endurance not just in my workouts but in day-to-day living. Even carnivores know the way to better health is to eat more plants and less crap!

To be clear, I still love all the plant-based doctors and their studies. I have enjoyed the education I have received in eCornell's Plant-Based Certification Program. It all has a great deal of merit. I also know that this "dogma" doesn't work for me no matter how hard I try.