Month: May 2014

Happy Yoga- Steve Ross

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Yoga Teacher Training begins in August. I am super excited that finally after seven years of waiting, God has finally opened the doors and made it possible for me to begin my journey on becoming a RYT (registered yoga teacher) through Yoga Alliance. I knew from the time I was 18 that I was meant to be a yoga teacher. There is something about yoga that is mystical and transforming. It is freeing and peaceful. Yoga has the ability to open up doors mentally, physically, and spiritually. Yoga has also played a HUGE part in my recovery, which I hope to one day pay it forward by becoming a yoga therapist and helping those with ED’s or addictions via yoga and even dance-movement therapy. As part of the prepping process, I have to read books (just like I did for college and high school). I finally have started reading this process. I decided to start with the book Happy Yoga by Steve Ross. I liked the cover and it seemed like a good one to start with. In the book he goes over seven reasons why there is nothing to worry about and how yoga can help shape these worries into a new part of life. I really liked the first part of the book and I wanted to share it with everyone out there in the blog world. Here ya go…

*The depth of your awareness determines your potential for joy, freedom, and power.

*True yoga is meant to be lived.

*All human beings are yogis, whether they know it or not. A yogi seeks the ultimate fulfillment, and I’ve never met anyone who isn’t looking for fulfillment in one way or another.

*There’s nothing to worry about. You are whole, complete, perfect, beautiful, loving, blissful, and you know everything there is to know.

*A concept is a mental construct unverifiable in the moment by experience. It is a framework of thoughts and beliefs in the mind as opposed to an actual experience in awareness.

*Words can make a feeble attempt to capture the experience and describe it, but nothing matches the truth of being there. That’s the reality! Your experience is your experience-the pure, ultimate, untainted truth.

*But what the heart knows to be true, what you know deep in your bones, and what you have personally experienced will be closer to the truth than any dry, secondhand delusion.

*Concepts are in the mind. They are inferred and often useless and illusory. Experience is the real thing; it occurs in the present moment. Concepts are labels that keep us thinking about the world, thereby preventing us from experiencing the world as it is.

*The essence of yoga practice is learning to connect to the universe yourself…A true teacher will guide you toward experiencing your oneness with all that is.

*Approval comes from within. If you can’t approve of yourself, then all is lost. The whole world can be on your side, but if you’re not on your side, then what’s the point?

*Yoga at its best frees us from the prison of our concepts, relentless wanting, habits, and reactions, turning every experience, any circumstance, into bliss.

*Where you direct your attention, that you also direct your life force. So if you’re primarily aware of your thoughts, worry, or intellect (that’s most people), that’s where most of your energy will dwell. Accordingly, thought, worry, and intellectual pondering will be the predominant experience of your life. As you direct your attention into the body, not by thinking about the body, but by becoming aware of sensations in your toes, fingertips, stomach, heart, and so on, your life force will flow into these areas. Your experience becomes more sensual and complete. Your mind might seem extremely intelligent, but the mind alone is an incomplete life tool. The body has a deeper wisdom and intuition to offer. Experiencing your entire being benefits your physical health, deepens your sense of well-being, gives you more energy, and stimulates creativity.

*Your body has the potential to bring you big fun if you let it.

Inspiration from a newsletter: Shakti in the Mountains

I received the following newsletter in my e-mail a week or so ago and I found it so moving:

 

Dear Reader,

Choosing to step into the light sounds like an easy choice. I mean who wouldn’t want to play in the sun opposed to stay in the dark. Right? Uh, right.  And yet many of us can recall times, perhaps even now, when the darkness felt, if not comfortable, familiar and safe. Like a vampire who is afraid of combusting, we, too, fear to step into the light. 

Don’t worry you are normal. Stepping into the light, while ultimately rewarding, is also scary. No longer can you hide who you are or what you want. When you move into the light, you are seen, not so much by others, but rather by yourself. No more subterfuge, no more camouflage. You see you.

This conscious choice to recognize yourself, includes the good, the bad and the ugly. I can hear you now. “What you say? I have to acknowledge the bad and the ugly too.” Yep, you sure do. However before you freak out and run screaming in the opposite direction, let me remind you that the bad and the ugly are just labels. Labels given by someone else. Someone who did not know how to be in relationship with all of us, so they segregated the part of us they could not handle and gave it a label: bad, ugly, disappointed, ashamed.

You are not really bad or really ugly. You are actually really good, and while it is true that sometimes good people make bad choices, the act of making a bad choice does not make us inherently bad. (This is why self-compassion is so important.)

Stepping into the light is honoring the parts of us that we buried to make other people comfortable. This journey is so essential not only to feeling good about yourself but also is essential to feeling whole. I want each one of you to experience this wholeness, this goodness. As someone who embarked on this journey years ago, I can tell you have no regrets and have only received many gifts.

So acknowledge any fear or reservations you may have about taking this journey and then commit to going on a Shadow Walk with me this summer. Don’t let fear tell you you do not have enough money or time to go on this journey. You will find the time and the money. I trust you will. And when you do, I will be waiting for you, waiting for ALL of you.

Love,

Kim 

~~~

 

This is so beautifully written what else could there be to say? We are really good. We need to practice self-compassion and self-love. Who doesn’t want to feel whole and complete?

If you live close enough to Johnson City, TN please think about going on the Shadow Walk. I would love to be a part of it if my life wasn’t consumed with festivals and weekend engagements for work. Even if you can’t do the Shadow Walk with Kim, maybe try your own. Explore your dark places and bring light into your life.

For more information on Shakti in the Mountains, check out their website: http://www.shaktiinthemountains.com/

Peace and Namaste,

Leslie

 

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Ribs are not in, unless you are a BBQ rib

O the ribs. Besides the “thigh gap” and hip bones, ribs are one of the most self-worth/how skinny am I/I do not have an eating disorder measurement of those of us who have ED’s. We love ribs. We love to see them protrude and stick out like pterodactyl wings. The more of them we can see and count the prettier we feel about ourselves. It becomes a standard way to get the reinforcement we crave to prove to ourselves that this way of life is working. We see that we are getting skinny. Then we think,”the skinnier I get, the more my ribs stick out, or the smaller my thigh gap, or *insert your own personal physical fixation*, the more people will love me and the less pain I will feel”. O the lies. Once we start to see one or two ribs, the more we want to see. It is like eating BBQ ribs, you can’t stop at one or two, before you know it you have eaten a full rack. But, we all know that BBQ ribs are WAY better than human ribs. Unless you don’t like BBQ, which I would then say you haven’t had good BBQ yet 😉

The other day while I was on Facebook, I stumbled across this….

“Why is a nation with an outrageous obesity rate constantly attacking anything less than a full figured woman? It’s about being HEALTHY people. Some people are just thin. Some people have protruding ribs. That doesn’t mean they suffer from an eating disorder. Genetics people! Besides, ribs are in. Ribs are very haute couture, very Alexander McQueen. You can’t turn on the radio without hearing Lorde, who’s album features a song titled “Ribs.” 

All I’m saying is, stop hating on the skinny people, people.”

(this is in response to this article: http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/story/25525021/thin-mannequin-sparks-controversy )

There is a lot going on in this statement. There are a few correct thoughts, but most of it is skewed. We DO need to focus on being healthy. Some people are just thin. Yes, genetics play a huge role. There are naturally skinny people. But that doesn’t mean they are healthy. There are naturally bigger people. But that doesn’t mean they are healthy or unhealthy. You have to find YOUR healthy at whatever size you are. Sometimes bigger individuals are healthier than their skinnier counterparts. That is why it is important to work out or participate in physical activity, eat properly, visit your doctor, take a proactive approach to your health.

I do agree that society has a tendency to attack anyone and anything. They do push that if you are naturally skinny then you are less of a woman. BUT, if you are too fat then you are lazy and undesirable. Obesity is an epidemic America faces; eating disorders are also another problem America and the whole world faces. Obesity and eating disorders have a high mortality rate. Obesity can increase the chance of someone getting heart disease (number 1 killer of women), stroke, Type 2 Diabetes, and other diseases.  All of which are very deadly. For eating disorders, anorexia has the HIGHEST mortality rate of all mental illnesses. For more on the mortality rate of ED’s click here: http://www.anad.org/get-information/about-eating-disorders/making-sense-of-ed-mortality-statistics/.

Now let’s look at the last half of the statement, Besides, ribs are in. Ribs are very haute couture, very Alexander McQueen. You can’t turn on the radio without hearing Lorde, who’s album features a song titled “Ribs.” If this is what this one individual is getting from media then I am sure this person is not the only one. The fashion industry has been trying to change and hire more models who appear normal and not underweight. Maybe the fashion industry isn’t trying hard enough if that fore mentioned statement can still be a thought in someone’s head.  The fashion industry and society still places A LOT of emphasis on the skinny ideal or preferred body type. They value it. They want us to continue to buy their products so they feed us this lie.  You cannot go down the aisle of a supermarket and not get some form of thinspiration or fitspiration. The bombardment of these messages can eventually take their toll on individuals who have low self esteem and mental illness. They believe this lie that ribs are in. When anatomically the only “in” ribs are suppose to be is inside your body covered by visceral pluera, pericardium, then eventually skin. While BBQ ribs are covered in a tasty spice rub and lacquered in sauce.

The Lorde song, “Ribs”, has nothing to do with ribs being “in”. Here are the only lyrics in the song that mentions ribs, “You’re the only friend I need/sharing beds like little kids/laughing till our ribs get tough/but that will never be enough”. The song is about the fear of getting older. How scary it is to grow up. She wants to stay a child. It is NOT about ribs being haute couture and something to be prized/measure your self worth by. The rest of the song supports her fear of getting older. For example, “This dream isn’t feeling sweet/we’re reeling through the midnight streets/And I’ve never felt more alone/It feels so scary getting old”, “It drives you crazy getting old”.

After all of this, I would love to know YOUR thoughts on this. Do you think ribs are in? What do you think society is pushing? Do you like BBQ ribs?

 

BBQ ribs and beer anyone?

BBQ ribs anyone?

 

Sources:

AZ Lyrics, Rock Genius, MTV.com, CDC.gov,  & ANAD.org

 

His Masterpiece Theater

On this journey to a recovered life, or at least a more manageable and happy one, I occasionally pick up my Bible or read devotionals that speak to me. It is God’s timing that this happens. I know it is. For someone who does not read The Word as one needs to, God definitely blesses the word and jumps out at me from the pages of my Bible. Lately some of my favorite verses have been about new life, being God’s perfect creation, how we are works of art.

As a Christian we are given a new life. Once we believe in Jesus and give our life over to him we are new. We are not our old former self for we have died to the world and became washed in his blood and grace. Then we become a blank canvas, white as snow and ready to be painted with mercy, grace, love, peace, kindness, joy, happiness, and even sorrow(yes, sorrow can be a color that adds to our lives). Over the course of our life here on Earth we become a masterpiece. We become God’s masterpiece. He paints the canvas of our lives, or even sculpt us from clay (for all you potters out there), and turns our unworthy, dark, bleak selves into a beautiful masterpiece fit for the Metropolitan Art Museum.

All of this takes time. It doesn’t happen over night. Any artist can tell you that a masterpiece is not complete in one sitting. There are many rough drafts, bad outlines, blow ups, and miscalculations along they way. Christians aren’t just one canvas or one piece of clay. Christians become multiple canvas’s or pieces of clay. God, being our artist, goes through many drafts. It isn’t because He makes a mistake, it is because his subject matter, US, tends to not cooperate (an ill fitting canvas on the screen, clay that can’t become mold-able, an out of tune instrument). Due to the Christian walk being filled with missteps and mess ups, it takes our whole life to become the masterpiece God wants.

This whole masterpiece analogy is also true for those of us in recovery. We view ourselves as scraps, trash, ready to be thrown out. There is no masterpiece within. We cannot see it because we are head over heels with self-loathing, selfishness, inability to cope, perfection, people-pleasing, self mutilating/harming, depressed, low self-esteem, manic,  with distorted perception. This is all we can see; we cannot see the beauty that is there, our own masterpiece. This life of the fore mentioned is all we know. The pain, the self torture, the lies, the unhappiness. Yet, we cannot imagine our lives without it or feel like no one would want us. All the time we dwell there we yearn to be beautiful. To be something great. To be colorful, magnetic, charismatic.

It is not till we decide to take that step into recovery that the artist begins to mold us. To paint us. To tune us. To slowly start to reveal his masterpiece. Recovery is when most of us end up finding God and completely turning our lives over to him. For some, like myself, we stray and then come back into the fold. We fight and elude Him, we still give into our inner demon, but we also make progress. Through relapses, He is there. Though the mountain highs, He is there. Through the carving, chipping, and painting of our souls, He is there. As those of us on recovery’s never ending journey, we eventually learn to see what God sees. This beautiful creation. In our mirror, our soul reflection, our eyes begin to see the masterpiece that is within us. The beautiful, the great, the colorful, the magnetic, the charismatic individual we always wanted to be.

“But God is so rich in mercy, and he loves us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us new life when he raised Christ from the dead. It is only by  God’s grace that you have been saved!”Ephesians 2: 4-5

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2: 10

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. the old life is gone, a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

“Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2

Peace, Love, Namaste, and God Bless!

 

 

Performance Anxiety

anxiety: distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortuneearnest but tense desire; eagerness; psychiatric tension occurring in some forms of mental disorder. (dictionary.com).

performance anxiety: Performing anxiety, stage fright Psychology A ‘flight-or-fight’ reaction in an anxious person carrying out an activity in public–eg, entertaining, public speaking–or in front of others, as in sexual activity, for fear of poor performance Clinical Tachycardia, ↑ BP, ↑ respiration, ↑ muscle tone. (medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com).

 

Today let’s talk a little about performance anxiety and how it can affect one’s life for a matter of moments, weeks, or days. There are many different types of performance anxieties. Anything can interfere with one’s performance: death in the family, family stress, self-doubt, self-esteem issues, body image, negative or traumatic experiences, personal relationships, pressure to perform to one’s capability, failure, or financial stress (Weiberg and Gould, 83). Any type of of athlete or performer (theatre, dance, and musician) will experience performance anxiety. It can be something simple as a brief moment of doubt, to a couple of days leading up to the performance with doubts or any of the above circumstances. How one copes with the stress is whether or not it falls into two categories: event importance and uncertainty. Event importance is just what it sounds like, how important the event is to the individual (is it a big show, is a talent scout there, etc…). Uncertainty is when you go after someone who is just as good, or two teams who are equally matched playing against one another.

Some individuals are hardier than others due to their own trait anxiety and self-esteem.  Trait anxiety is “a personality factor that predisposes a person to view competition and social evaluation as more or less threatening. A highly trait-anxious person perceives competition as more threatening and anxiety provoking than a lower trait-anxious person does” (Weinberg and Gould, 85). For example I am a highly trait-anxious individual. I may be extremely competitive, but I start to doubt my own abilities and I get so determined to win that when I start to fail my perfectionism takes over and I crumble. Also, when I am putting a lot of effort or know someone is coming to a show, I put so much onto it that I become anxious and the doubts and fears creep into my head.

I have been asked quite a few times if I get stage freight. I always reply “No”. Which is the truth. I am not scared of performing or being on stage. Actually, I enjoy it. The stage feels like home. I love it when people look at me. I love to share my passion for dance/art with others. I love the compliments after the show (I had a dance instructor that one time said, all dancers are selfish because we like the praise at the end of a show). It makes me feel good about myself and my talent.

BUT…..

I do have performance anxiety mainly in the form of social physique anxiety. Social physique anxiety is when people become anxious when others observe their physiques. Can I say, “Hello dance costumes!”? All dancers can relate to this. We either have awesome costumes or really really horrendous costumes; which in the modern dance world it is known as a unitard (and Lord forbid if it is white). In Latin dancing, costumes are usually skimpy or revealing. Ballet class has leotards and tights. Other times costumes are just made out of horrible fabric that has no right to be on a person’s body. With me, any costume, flattering or not, is a bad costume. I recently wore an all black costume and thought I looked fat in it. Anytime I have a performance coming up I stress out. I am always worried I look bigger than everyone. That I don’t look muscular enough, that I am ugly, or that people will think I don’t look good. On top of that I am worried about my technique and performance ability. Usually the week of a performance I am spun like a top. And now I am trying to navigate the world of eating disorder recovery with the world of stage performance. Making sure I fuel myself properly before, during, and after the show. Recently I have started to take up pole fitness (pole dance), and I sometimes get social physique anxiety there due to having to wear short shorts and sports bras or tight fitting shirts. I get anxious because I think the instructor will see cellulite or fat, but yet, I know she doesn’t care. She encourages people of all sizes to embrace themselves and pole dance. I am hoping that through poling I take up that attitude and help conquer this.

I do use some therapy tools while I am battling this though. I tend to use lots of imagery and talk out scenarios in my head. I imagine myself doing the performance piece exactly as I do it in rehearsal, even better. I see myself on the stage; feel the warmth of the lights, catching the energy of the audience, seeing myself looking beautiful in my costume, executing the steps with flawless technique on my given ability. Believe it or not it works! I also try to go over in my head words I hear my other half say, “You have disordered thinking. So how you see yourself is not what others will see. Others will see you like you want to see you but can’t.”

I make it through the performances. I enjoy them. Each performance I am in I use as a tool. As a learning experience. A test; a little pop quiz on how well I can handle the high pressure situation. I may not get an A, but I am not failing at it anymore. I can now enjoy all aspects of performing and actually live in the moment; which before, I wasn’t always present on the stage and it was a fleeting moment. Now it is a fleeting moment that I can remember and feel.

 

Reference:

Foundations of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 5th Edition. Weinberg, Robert S. & Gould, Daniel.