Tag Archives: balance

Two years ago, I taught my first barre (n9ne) class.

…and it was the best decision – and opportunity – I ever made (and had).

Every single class, every single day, I love what I do.

1901957_10152256648681170_1447480675_nIt brings me joy every single time, and there is no better feeling than to pay it forward in the form of helping women get into the best shape of their lives.

It gives me gratitude to put together a class that challenges, that inspires, that motivates.

And equally, when I have the chance to step into a class as a client myself, and get my own ‘me’ hour to focus, work, and sweat.

It touches me when a client looks for advice, suggestions, encouragement and asks me. To this day, I am always honored to help, to advise, to inspire and motivate.

And it keeps me on my toes – no pun intended, seriously hehe – to continue on my own journey, in maintaining this fit life, this balanced life, this happy life that I lead. It’s not a diet, it never has been, and never will. I have reached that happy place with food and my body, and you can’t quantify how good that feels.

It feels like I was meant to do this. Because I was. And I am. And I can’t wait to see what the next year has in store.  Thank you Tanya for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime, and to the barre n9ne community, for being you, for your inspiration, loyalty and committment. I say it all the time, but there truly is no community like the barre n9ne community. You can’t make this happen, it’s created.

(in other news, I have a scary amount of selfies, but it was way too fun putting together this flipagram!)

The guilt prison.

I’ve been lamenting this topic for awhile now – both personally and experiencing it around me, at the studio, on social media, amongst friends.

The guilt prison.

The self-imposed guilt *we* put on ourselves – whether it be to get in that workout, run faster, longer, more, push through a cold, jam in a zillion errands into an hour because you’re racing the clock to your next meeting, commitment, plans etc. or any ‘imaginary’ self-imposed deadline you put against yourself – because it’s usually either a) unrealistic, or does not *need* a set timeframe or deadline to complete. We just put that on ourselves as a deadline, which then in turns to unnecessary pressure, unnecessary stress and ultimately? The guilt prison.

Because we didn’t meet that imaginary deadline or goal or number we were trying to reach.

So we guilt ourselves, we turn to negative self talk, we beat ourselves up, or even worse, still try to find a way to meet this ‘deadline’ or (usually unrealistic or unnecessary goal), even if our heart, mind, or body isn’t really into it, but our minds take over and tell ourselves we need to do such-and-such or we are a failure.

I realize I am speaking in the proverbial ‘we’ when I am of course talking about myself, BUT I am also talking about seeing this in action just about everywhere I look, lately.

The negativity, the pressure, the anxiety – and all of it? Completely and absurdly unnecessary. Completely arbitrary. Completely self-imposed ‘deadlines.’

For what?

What do we accomplish by guilting ourselves into doing things vs. doing them out of intention and because we truly WANT to?

Absolutely nothing. 

The guilt prison is entirely draining and self-fulfilling, really, too. And partially because whatever we’ve set our minds to, is sometimes too much, or motivated by the wrong reasons, so it will naturally fail, as a result.

5e854ace1c41ff3afe31ff66716e6d77For me, it goes back to intention - my word for 2014 – and doing things out of want, not because I ‘need’ to or because I feel a need to keep up with a certain routine, but literally because I want to. This could be social plans, plans with family, a b9 class, a run,  or even food. Eat out of intention. Do out of intention. Work (out) with intention.

Strip away the guilt. Get back to basics. Let’s break free from this guilt prison. I know for one, I am entirely exhausted of it, from my own tendencies too, and my natural inclination to do more, more, more, when sometimes less and simpler is truly best. I am ready to shed this inclination fully and finally, and I hope if you struggle with this, you will work towards a guilt-FREE life, along with me.

After a crazy week, it’s just okay.

It’s been an exceptionally crazy week.

One of those weeks where I realized stuff has to give, and it’s just okay. 

In my journey towards letting go, loosening my death grip on routine and perfectionism and putting undue pressure on myself (there’s enough pressure in this world, why do I add MORE to it?!), it was one of those weeks where I had to put my money where my mouth is.

And not stress the extra laundry (gasp!), stray dish or two in the sink for more than an hour (gasp! gasp!), or class I wanted to take (today, but after an especially trying two days, I just have nothing left, so I let this go too).

And step back, take a moment to sneak in a few extra intimate moments with M this morning, since we’ve been ships passing in the night (our sole dinner together was Monday night, sadly), and embrace the time we did have this week – running outside twice together, a few extra mushy IMs or texts during the day, an extra ‘I love you’ or two.

It was also a chance for me to take a step back and reset my focus, and reinvigorate things at work. Though the last two days, in particular were mentally and physically tiring (just long days out of my comfy cozy home office, big meetings and lots of them), I came away from it feeling a bit more energized, and if that’s not a good sign, I am not sure what is, when it comes to work.

It was also a chance for me to test my patience in all things sickies. Last week, the stomach bug that had me appreciating what rest does, and this week? A cold that would not relent. The snot just wouldn’t stop coming. So.much.snot. Gross, I know, but seriously, it was of epic proportions. And it added an extra layer of stress to my two days of meetings where I felt less than professional with my box of tissues, raw nose, hoarse voice and cough. But I made it through, I took it day by day and I didn’t try to do too much. I know it made a huge difference to the severity of this cold (for as much snot as there was, I didn’t ‘feel’ that sick, thankfully!).

I am feeling ridiculously relieved as the week comes to a close, and pleasantly surprised at what letting go and practicing what I preach has done for me this week. I think that deserves a cheers or two, or three, don’t you? ;-)

Sister perspectives: what rest does.

I’ve rustled up my sis Jess from her blog retirement for this post and I am so glad she wanted to write this with me  as it is a topic that is near to our hearts but also one we both wrestle with more often than we probably care to admit.

Rest.  We talk about doing it, we do it sometimes, but do we *really* do it fully and believe in why we are doing it? Not always.

As we have both been hit with illness the past couple of weeks, we noticed some major realizations and observations and we share that here, openly, honestly, and fully.

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My perspective:

I believe in rest, and in rest days. I completely do. But I also wrestle with rest days when I feel good, strong, and interested in being active on said rest day. Sometimes I bend that rest day a little, as a result, and almost entirely because I absolutely adore my workouts – my chosen workouts – barre (n9ne) classes and running, primarily, and there are days where it is truly hard to temper that excitement and passion. And I’m not talking miles and miles and miles and doubled up classes (taken). I’m talking a quick (extra) run or a Sunday afternoon class (a rare treat, especially if my sister is teaching!). And Jess and I are really good at tempering each other’s workouts and being that reality check for each other – do you want to run, or do you feel like you have to run. If the latter, don’t even bother. Do you hurt everywhere? Fail. No workout. Nope, don’t even attempt it.  But that doesn’t mean the mental mind games don’t stay behind, even if I’ve agreed to keep that rest day and honor it fully. *That* is what I wrestle with most, far more than stillness.

But illness is a funny thing, isn’t it? Suddenly, you are flat on your back, can barely keep you eyes open, and everything hurts in a hurts so bad way and all you can fathom is recovery and feeling normal again. Nowhere near workout ready.

And as those days pass, where you rest, rest, rest, sleep, sleep, and more sleep, a funny thing happens. You realize what rest does. It renews you, mind, body and soul. It resets you. And it reinvigorates you. And when you come out on the other side of illness, you appreciate your body’s abilities and you learn that it shouldn’t be taken for granted and you shouldn’t do more, more, more, even if your body feels good, because that’s harder and not smarter.

Let’s face it, for example, one really strong run, no matter what distance, pays off far more than a few ‘meh’ runs where you feel like your body doesn’t want to move because your legs are tight, sore, or overworked. One – it’s not nearly as enjoyable as that ‘happy’ and strong run, and two – you aren’t doing yourself any favors in your strength or endurance. What are you accomplishing? Checking a box. That’s it. I’d much rather have one really strong run than three crappy runs. Quality, not quantity.

This is what rest does, and what rest has taught me (especially as I sit here teetering on a cold brewing, but determined not to succumb so soon after the FLU last week!). It is about honoring the rest day, honoring your body’s abilities by resting, renewing and restoring. As I like to say, one day, you won’t turn into a pumpkin. Quite possibly, the reverse. Your body becomes more efficient, more able to recover and well, happier. And who doesn’t want that?!

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Jess’s perspective:

So I’ve been a non-blogger now for almost a year and this is one of the first times that I found myself itching to write. You see, I was down for the count with this funky laryngitis thing that had me sidelined for a week. From everything. The day job – done from my home. In solitude. My beloved barre classes? I had to sub them out. Pained me. My ‘me’ workouts. Gone. I had a lot of time to think. And question.

…how could I possibly be sick after two weeks off from work *and* a quick surprise getaway to Healdsburg (aka ‘my mecca’) with my husband over the holidays? I was uber relaxed. Not worn out in the slightest.

…why was I sick? Besides the obvious – duh I picked up some icky germs somewhere along the way – but truly why. Why now?

And the more I sat and thought about it, sipping on cup after cup of tea with honey (swapping in the occasional hot toddy thanks to a certain Tony, aka Sarena’s husband!) – it struck me.

I hadn’t been valuing rest as much as I proclaimed to value it. My sis and I had this pact at the end of the year, it went something like this:

Stop embracing go-go-go-how-much-can-I-fit-into-my-day mentality and return to the smarter, not harder mentality. A mentality that, admittedly, neither of us had been embracing as much as we’d care to admit. 

Yet, as soon as I got back from wine country, I was ready to go balls to the wall again. Um hi, where did that pact go that we so smartly made right before the new year???

Yup, out the window.

And bam – laryngitis swooped in. Down.for.the.count.

My, my, God has *quite* the sense of humor, I do believe.

As the days went by, and the rest, rest, rest, mentality settled in, I started to really SEE, for the first time, the true value of rest. Every second I spent cuddled under a blanket, not running around doing a million things, not working out or teaching or any of that, not doing much of anything…except for rest…and it amazed me to see my body respond.

I actually wasn’t feeling nearly as sick as I sounded (or didn’t sound, haha), and I think that’s because I rested. My body was working hard to avoid a full-blown case of bronchitis or something far worse and I allowed the rest to seep in.

And I sat there laughing at myself after awhile. Thinking about all those mornings where I sat in a funk, mad at my rest day, not wanting to take the rest, feeling like a superhero and wanting to do it all, be it all. Silly, short-sighted thoughts to say the least.

So now, I sit here recovered and rested and ready to REALLY do what I say and say what I mean.

Embrace rest.

Seems simple. But clearly, I wasn’t really doing that before, nor was I even admitting that to myself. So I was taught (well WE were taught (how ironic that we both got sick nearly at the same exact time…) a very important lesson this past week, whether I (we) wanted that lesson or not, a certain Someone wanted to show me (us) the way.

Nailed it 2013 (and what to nail in 2014)

I loved this idea for a post that Christine wrote and thought I would do my own little take on it, partially as a look back at the year, but also reflecting on areas ‘to nail’ in 2014. Not so much goals, but moreso in the quest of my ‘perfectly imperfect’ journey.

What I’ve nailed in 2013?

Let’s see, I think I’ve done a pretty good job with these, but you’ll notice some of them show up in the ‘what to nail’ list below, and hey, that’s okay. Some of these are ongoing and reminders to me constantly.

  1. Nixing the numbers fixation. I struggled with this a LOT in 2012 and the early part of 2013. From weight, to miles, to food, to everything. I felt compelled to quantify everything, when really, who cares? Who am I competing against but myself, and even then, why is it a competition? It’s not, so cut the sh*t and just live.
  2. Learning to let go. This is a work in progress, but I do feel like I’ve made some big strides here. This really ties in to number one, above, too, because part of my numbers fixation is all about control and *not* letting go. And I am trying to apply this to all areas of my life, including my marriage, because I never want to fall into the trap of constantly nagging, complaining, nitpicking over seriously non-issues, when there is a man that loves me for me, that would do anything for me, that lets E-V-E-R-Y-thing roll off his back and yet, I sit there, uptight and nudgy half the time. That’s ridiculous and not even worth it. So I am learning. And trying to step back, breathe, and then react.
  3. Balancing the ‘me’ workouts with those I teach at barre n9ne. I think every instructor or trainer must face this at one point or another, how to balance their own ‘me’ workouts with those they teach. At first, I tried to keep my usual barre/running routine *and* my classes (which could range anywhere from 6-9 classes a week), but that quickly became a ‘HARDER, not SMARTER’ routine and I was getting nowhere. So I stopped taking classes and just taught them, and ran. And that didn’t feel quite right either, because the first time I took a class in a month, I felt AMAZING after and I realized how much I missed TAKING classes, not just teaching them. So I found my balance in taking a couple of classes a week – less if I taught more, more if I taught less, as schedule allowed – and I think it has not only made me stronger and feel more fit, it has made me a better instructor. I can weave in new combinations of moves I observe other instructors do while I take their class, I realize how certain moves stacked with others tire the body (in a good way) and think about new ideas for my own class structures, and it just lets my mind roam and feel the workout in a way that I don’t feel when I am teaching, and making sure clients are in proper form etc.
  4. Prioritizing.  This has been HUGE for me. I was feeling so rush-rush-rush and busy all.the.time until I started saying no. Until I started prioritizing and putting my time where it mattered most, not spread so thin that I barely enjoyed any of it. I am definitely keeping this one on the list for 2014 and beyond, because prioritizing is truly the simplest way to happiness.
  5. Marrying M. I file this under ‘nailed it’ because, six months ago today, I married the man I was meant to be with, and with each day that passes, I realize more I love about M, more qualities that I adore about him, and more I want to explore and learn together in our marriage. And in the literal sense, I married M in the most perfect way for us than I could have ever imagined. Quietly. Small. In a place that we love, Healdsburg. What more could we have asked for? Bliss.

What to nail in 2014…

  1. Letting go. This is one I have just started to ‘feel’ happening, the change towards letting go and not being so damn particular about things, and I am excited to see it continue to take shape in 2014. It’s been worth it to step back, to release control, especially in my marriage with M, to give that to him more, since he is so laid back and easy about life, the ‘control’ tends to shift to me, and I don’t always think that is best, because it just feeds into my type A-ness and not the good qualities of being type A. And it allows me to sit back and slow down more, when I let go, observe and BE.
  2. Not taking others’ actions so personally. This one has reared its ugly head in the last oh, six months or so, and it’s driving me crazy. There are a few instances of things that have happened in my life that I took SO damn personally and stepping back, they truly had nothing to do with me, as a friend, employee, person. Yet I allowed it to attack my psyche, to bring me down, to draw out the cattiness and some resentment. And those are  ugly qualities. No more. I draw the line here.
  3. Allowing imperfection (more). Dirty dishes, being late (oh this one drives me crazy, but once in awhile, is being say, 5 mins late, for example, the worst thing and reason to get all bent over? uhh no.), changing plans or course of action. Letting these things happen. Letting go, per #1 as above ;)
  4. Stop the comparison trap for good. I really DID nix this one almost entirely this year – tying into the numbers fixation issue I mentioned above, but once in awhile, it still comes back. And it again brings about ugly traits, jealousy, bitterness, frustration. And I am NOT that person. So I vow to rid myself of this need to compare, compare, compare. This isn’t a competition or a race. Compare to nobody, not even yourself.
  5. Slowing down. I have LOVED the slowdown challenge and getting into The In-Between, I just drink up the words and want to sear them into memory forever. There is just so much you see, learn and experience when you slow down, strip away the complications, and keep it simple. It’s truly amazing.

So, there you have it…some things I’ve nailed in 2013 and more I plan to nail in 2014, along with living with intention, of course. What I found most interesting in putting this list together, is how many of them tie together so well, and the themes that rise out of these – simplicity, balance, and embracing. I’d say that’s the only way to live, don’t you?