10 Spectacular Things Happening Right Now

Be-Grateful

Having an “attitude of gratitude” is something that I strive for EVERY day. In fact, it’s part of my morning ritual. I like to use the word “ritual” instead of “routine”. A “routine” is tedious and calls to mind something that has to be done, but a “ritual” feeds the body, mind and soul. So when my good friend Coach Jennie wrote her latest blog post “10 Spectacular Things Happening Right Now” I knew I had to write my own post. However, I hesitated; and then Jennie gave me one of her “cathartic shoves”, so here it is.

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1. My husband – Next week will be our 13 year Manniversary. In 13 years he has been my best friend and biggest supporter. I’m very lucky to have found someone who is (secretly) as crazy as I am. He backs me with every crazy thought I have, cheering me from the sideline, celebrating my wins, and picking me up and brushing me off when I fall. He’s the Yang to my Yin. We balance each other out in so many different ways. Sometimes it’s like we share a brain, we always fall in to sync with our thoughts and ideas for the future of our lives together. I’m very grateful for this generous, caring, handsome and intelligent man. I’m also grateful that his Disney addiction is almost as big as mine!

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2. My career – If you had told me five years ago that I would be teaching Yoga and Pilates full time I would have laughed. I’ve never been much for speaking in front of others. Even in small groups, I was silent and shared my thoughts only occasionally. I was never one for speaking out or standing up for myself. I never felt I had a voice of my own. But now, not only do I speak in front of large classes of students, but I’m there to hold a sacred space for them. I’m there to guide them to connect to their bodies and move in healthy ways. I’ve finally found my voice. In just over two years of teaching I’ve connected with some incredible students, making a positive impact on their lives and health, and I’ve watched them grow into their practice. As they have grown so have I as a teacher including the size of my classes and student following. One of my goals this year was to take my teaching out of gym settings and teach more at studios. I’ve been successful in doing so, adding four new studios to my teaching schedule. I’m so grateful that I get to teach what I love to practice, and that it is my “job”.

3. My Health – My own personal practice of Yoga and Pilates has brought me into a space of perfect love for my body.  My body may not be “perfect”, and it might never be, but for the first time in my life…I’m okay with that. I’ve struggled with some VERY unhealthy habits in relation to my body over the past 20+ years. I’m finally at a place where I am inspired to be healthy and not only that, but I’m inspired to inspire others to be healthy. I have created a deep and loving union with my body that I’m now able to constantly nourish in healthy ways.  I’m grateful for a body that is healthy, fit, and strong. I’m grateful for a body that is able to move through the activities I love: Yoga, Pilates, Running, Cycling, Dancing, etc.

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4. Meditation – My meditation practice has grown and this has been a life changing practice for me. Every meditation session that I’m able to do leaves me more connected to “god”, “the creator”, “higher consciousness” whatever you want to call it. Out of this I’ve had these amazing moments of clarity about who I am, where I am going, and how I can live my life to be in service to others. Every moment spent in meditation has helped me to detach from the ego, and learn to let go of things that are no longer serving me. I’ve found a deeper spiritual connection not only to myself but to the world around me through meditation. Meditation has given me peace, patience, love, compassion, and strength. I’m grateful for these moments of silence and stillness that allow me to connect to my true inner self.

Writing

5. Writing – Meditation has given me some clarity on my writing as well. Ideas that were planted in my head that never came to fruition are now projects that I’m working on. I’m currently working on two yoga and spiritual related books that hopefully will be finished and published soon. I will be signing up for NaNoWriMo in November to further inspire me, and keep me on the track to finishing at least one of these two books. I’m grateful that I have an outlet, such as this blog, to share my experiences with others through my writing. I’m grateful for anyone who reads this blog (that’s YOU)!

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6. Hamlet – No, not that Hamlet! My dog Hamlet Beauregard, or Hammie as he is called. I know to some people this might sound weird, but he is one of my greatest teachers. That little dog is a great teacher of patience, love, joy and loyalty. It impossible to come home from a long hard day and not have your spirits lifted as he greets you at the door; toy in mouth and tail wagging. He is his own brand of therapy. He’s a cuddler, and nothing warms the heart more than being snuggled up with him. He is a constant reminder that you have to let go of the small stuff, and to make time to play.  I am grateful for his love and devotion every day.

7. Service – As I mentioned before, almost everything I do comes from this thought of “How can I help others?”, “How can I be of service to others?” or “How is this going to benefit those around me?”. I don’t teach Yoga and Pilates, write this blog or the upcoming books, or record videos or podcasts to be famous or anything. Everything I do comes from a place of being in service to others; from a place of sharing with others. I’m very grateful and honored to be taking part in my teacher, Jacqui Bonwell’s, upcoming Yoga Benefit for the Homebase Program. I am working on raising money and will be holding a donation based class next week to raise money for this amazing program that provides clinical care for veterans and their families to heal from the invisible wounds of war such as PTSD. Her event has raised over $36,000 for this cause over the past two years. For more information or to make a donation check out my fundraising page.

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8. Training – Okay, so this one is not happening RIGHT NOW! I thought by now I would have started or even finished with training, but it’s been pushed back a little. Hopefully, starting in January I will be continuing my Pilates education by taking a Comprehensive Pilates Training course. This will allow me to become certified to teach on all the Pilates apparatus such as the Reformer and Cadillac. Not only that, but I will be able to dig deeper into the history of Pilates and become a better and stronger teacher. 2015 is going to be all about PILATES for me. Through this training and workshops, I’m going to push myself to become the best and most well rounded Pilates teacher I can be. Stay tuned for more on this one. I’m grateful that I have the opportunity to grow in this field and share this amazing form of movement with others.

Fall 29. Autumn – Every so often I think about moving back home to Florida, where I have so many friends and family. Not to mention being able to visit Disney anytime I want. But when Autumn kicks into high gear in New England, nothing is as beautiful. The landscape slowly changes colors and each day that spot you drive by looks a little different. The crispness in the air settles in, and you get to take out and wear your favorite hoody. Apple picking, fall festivals, pumpkin spiced EVERYTHING! The air is finally turned off and the windows are thrown open. In fact as I sit here writing this, the windows are open and a breeze rustles the multi hued leaves outside, as the air blows in and cools the room. This is my favorite time of the year! I’m very grateful that I get to experience this beautiful change happening all around me.

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10. Vacation (It’s all I ever wanted) – Again, this is not happening right now, but the planning and anticipation sure is. Since January, when I went to California to run the Tinkerbell Half Marathon at Disneyland, I’ve been working six day weeks. The only day I ever have completely off is Sunday, and I’m usually too tired from work, and setting up for the week ahead, that I never get to really unwind and relax. My body, mind and soul is ready for a week’s worth of vacation. It will be the first time in over a year that we will be getting home to Florida. Our visit over Christmas week will include catching up with friends and family, and of course a few days at Walt Disney World. Disney is my truly our happy place, and Disney at Christmas time is just pure magic. I’m very grateful that we are able to travel when we can. And I’ll be VERY grateful for that first Fiesta Margarita at the Mexico Pavilion in Epcot!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my “10 Spectacular Things Happening Right Now”, and I challenge you to write your own! Feel free to post them in the comments, email them to me, or post them on my Facebook page. Remember to take a few minutes every day to be grateful for the things that you do have in your life at this moment.

Healthy Swaps Day 2

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Over in OktoberFIT this week we are talking about making “Healthy Swaps”. You know replacing the garbage we tend to eat with healthier versions. Yesterday we talked about how most commercial salad dressings are loaded in sugar. You think you are making a healthier decision to have a salad, but then load it up with basically PURE SUGAR! Kind of defeats the purpose of the salad, yes? I l swap out salad dressings with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Better yet, make your own healthy dressings. There are tons of recipes online that are so quick and easy to do.

Today is Day 2 of “Healthy Swaps” and we are discussing one of the biggest culprits in a unhealthy diet/lifestyle: Diet Soda! I’ll be honest and admit that years ago I was a Diet Coke addict. I would drink a two liter a day or more. I didn’t drink coffee…I would wake up and grab a diet coke first thing. Once I learned how sodas of any kind wreak havoc on the body, and the dangers of aspartame (check out the inforgraphic), I gave them up completely. Its hard to give up sodas though, am I right?! Why is that? Because you are ADDICTED! Your body responds to sodas like it does to drugs…you crave it.

And a “Diet” Coke with no calories doesn’t mean its healthy just because it has the word “diet”. Healthy swaps to replace soda are water, but plain water can be boring, so I like flavored sparkling waters from Poland. They have all sorts of flavors with no added sugars, etc. I actually heard from a Poland person that they use essential oils and natural flavorings to make the flavored waters. It’s not an artificial flavoring or chemical from a lab.  Make sure any flavored waters you get are all natural, with no added sugars or chemicals. Or better yet…make your own Healthy Sangria!!

Add slices of lemons, limes, and frozen or fresh fruits to a sparkling water. My favorite is mint leaves and slices of lemons. You can do so many different flavors of water this way. I have a big jug with a spout that I make my waters in, having a big batch to last me all week. I just fill up my water bottle on the go, and feel great that I have pure clean water, flavored with natural fruit flavorings straight from Mother Earth.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

pumpkin-patch-1Fall is my favorite time of the year. Especially the month of October with Halloween and all. Not just because the weather starts to change and we get a cool crispness in the air. Not just because the leaves start to change colors, and the landscape looks like a beautiful painting.  Not just because of all the great Fall Festivals that take place. I’ll be honest and admit it’s really because of all the foods that come out at this time of the year: pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pie muffins and cakes, pumpkin beers, pumpkin flavored anything really. Don’t even get me started on Halloween candy.

When I decided to launch OktoberFIT again this year, I was a little sad about missing out on all of these Fall favorites. But OktoberFIT is all about making smarter and healthier choices, it’s not about missing out! You have to be careful about the swaps you make though. Some people will think any type of smoothie will be a good choice. We think “Oh I’ll just grab a smoothie from this place on this corner. It’s a smoothie, so it can’t be bad right?” WRONG!! Just for an instance, A large Jamba Juice Mango-A-Go-GO smoothie has MORE sugar than an ENTIRE Mrs. Smith’s Classic Cherry Pie!! SAY WHAT?!

I wanted to satisfy my cravings for something pumpkin flavored. So I decided to switch my regular Peanut Butter and Jelly breakfast smoothie out for this Pumpkin Pie Smoothie. Below is the recipe I will be using for my breakfast smoothie for the month of OktoberFIT. Give it a try and let me know.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Ingredients:

1/2 frozen banana
4- 6 ice cubes
1 cup almond milk
1/2 – 1 cup canned pumpkin (just pure pumpkin, not the pie filling. Make sure there is no added sugar or other crap)
1-2 tsp maple syrup, honey or agave to sweeten (optional)
dash of pumpkin pie spice
dash of cinnamon (cinnamon is a great blood sugar regulator, so I recommend adding it to all smoothies)

Directions:

Place all ingredients in the blender and blend together until smooth.

OktoberFIT Workout Challenge

OktoberFIT kicked off today, and below is the workout part of the challenge that we will be following. Join us over in the Facebook Group for OktoberFIT and let us know how Day 1 went for you!

Daily Workout Challenge

Monday

  • 20 sec jog in place
  • 10 squats
  • 5 lunges each side
  • 30 sec burpees
  • 20 sec plank
  • Pilates Hundred Exercise (see video)

 

Tuesday

  • 20 Sec high knees
  • 20 Sec wall sit
  • 10 pushups
  • 20 sec jump rope in place
  • 25 crunches
  • 10 Pilates Criss Cross (see video)
  • Pilates Hundred Exercise (see video)

 

Wednesday

  • 30 sec burpees
  • 20 squats
  • 10 lunges each side
  • 3 rounds of Sun Salutations (see video)
  • 30 sec plank
  • 30 crunches
  • Pilates Hundred Exercise (see video)

 

Thursday

  • 20 sec jog in place with 10 sec rest (do 3 sets)
  • 25 squats
  • 15 lunges each side
  • 20 sec jump rope in place with 10 sec rest (do 3 sets)
  • Pilates Hundred Exercise (see video)
  • 10 Pilates Criss Cross (see video)

 

Friday

  • 20 sec high knees with 10 sec rest (do 3 sets)
  • 30 sec wall sit
  • 30 sec side plank each side
  • 60 sec plank (center)
  • 60 sec burpees
  • 20 pushups
  • 30 crunches
  • Pilates Hundred Exercise (see video)

 

Saturday

  • Rest

 

Sunday

  • Rest

 

 

 

 

Pilates Teaser 1 with Modifications and Variations

I know this is really over due, but here is a new video continuing the discussion on the Pilates Teaser that we started with the previous Pilates Teaser Prep video. Teaser is the gold star exercise in any Mat Pilates workout. This exercise works on strengthening the full body, and incorporates many muscles including all of the abdominal muscles, the spinal extensors and the hip flexors. In fact, the Teaser is much more effective than traditional crunches at targeting your external obliques and rectus abdominis. In this video, I show you a few different ways to achieve this amazing Pilates exercise, including some modifications. We will continue this with another video to come soon with some more Teaser variations.

Acupuncture: Everything You Need to Know

acupuncture-faceListen to the latest episode of Nourish: Body and Soul radio. In this recent episode I had my first guest, Margo Voskianan, an acupuncturist, and owner of Silver Leaf Acupuncture. We talk about about the history of Acupuncture, conditions that benefit from a session and what a typical session is like.

Download the podcast via iTunes (make sure to subscribe, rate, review and share)

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/nourish-body-and-soul/id907475014?mt=2