Yoga is more than a child’s pose

Good Morning my friends! In honor of National Yoga Awareness Month I chose to join George Washington University School of Public Health Blogging Contest.

Howyogahaschangedyou

 I don’t talk too much about my own journey on this blog. Perhaps, that is something I will reconsider in future posts. I mention briefly about my past struggle with an eating disorder, anxiety and depression and rarely get into details. I think it’s because I find it difficult to write about it, when I feel as though it was someone else experiencing that life. I feel I am an outsider looking in, when the words of my past are written on paper. That is, until recently…

It was a rainy day here in DC. I was late, rushing around to get to a yoga class that has been on my “To Do” list for over a year now. The irony of a centuries-old favorite practice that promises to relieve stress and quiet the mind, was acting as my current source of stress: Making it to yoga on time. I parked far away from the gym door, as it must have been a packed class. Figures! Everyone from my favorite barista (hi, Brenda!) to my mailman is giving yoga a try lately. Now, usually I am the last person to advise anyone (myself included) to follow the herd. But the amount of people who are enjoying yoga suggested to me that there’s something to it. Whatever it was, I am too curious of a person to not find out. After all, if I didn’t like it, at least I would know why.

Okay back to that day…my first yoga class. After parking far away, I pulled a clever James Bond’s maneuver. I decided to run through the parking lot, twisting and turning, as a short cut to the double doors where I’d enter into warmth and dryness the fastest possible way.  I grabbed my rubber yoga mat (used it as a shield for my head from the rain) and ran.

BOOM! As I was busy looking down at my feet trying to dodge deep puddles, I missed another  yogi attempting to step out into the rain herself. My knee and shoulder hit her door as she opened it and I bounced backwards onto another vehicle. This was not how James Bond’s story would have ended…

I apologized to the girl (after all, I should have been the one looking where I was going), wobbled into the gym and saw the ugly purplish bumps forming on my knee and elbow. I was in pain and ready to skip the class, but the idea of going back out in the cold and rain (especially now that I was unable to run it) was not happening. So I gritted my teeth and entered the room of mats and poses.

The teacher asked us to come from a place of intention. She asked us to think of a life lesson that we may be needing to learn at this moment in our lives. As I attempted a crooked pigeon pose, the throbbing of my recent injuries were reminding me that I need to slow down! Here I was, rushing around in life. Trying to get everything done and be everywhere for everyone. I am a busy body. For those that know me, I love life and I try to live it as fully as possible. After all, this is it you guys. Our life is happening NOW! We only get one, so make it a good one.

But maybe this centuries-old practice is on to something. Perhaps, my run in (literally) this morning was a reminder to Slow Down and Breathe. To do less…GASP! What a concept I haven’t visited recently. Do less? How will I begin to do so? I wish I could say that I had a storybook ending from that class. No, I didn’t have all the answers after that class. I didn’t have a big revelation. But I did have loosened ligaments, more flexibility and some things to think about. I also had the desire to return for another class.

Shortly after, I was gifted a Groupon package for yoga classes. Oh the generous gift giver had no idea about my past attempt with yoga and how I planned to re-gift this yoga package the moment I opened the envelope. But I decided this was another lesson to be learned in life. So I went weekly.

As others would be in pose on their mats and in deep thought, I would be squirming and day dreaming about what I had to do once the class ended. Others would leave class relaxed and refreshed. I left class neurotic and just waiting to pack up my mat and tackle my “to do” list. In one particular class, we were told to get into child’s pose. It was then I felt it. No, not the tightness of my muscles. But it, the time of my life (my past) that I wanted to forget. The part of me that I wanted to stop writing about (after all, it’s many years later) and never wanted it to be mentioned again. It was that class, where in my crooked child’s pose, I felt a need to dig deeper into my old wounds and hurt. Since that class, I have been working on addressing things from my past that had hurt me and had me believing I was not enough. It is a journey of healing and I am grateful for it. 

Yoga has taught me to slow down and connect with myself. To accept parts of my past as being part of who I am today.

Your turn: How has yoga affected YOU?

Always Be YOU,

Jenn B.

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Turning Over a New Leaf

Good Morning my friends! How is your morning going? I am enjoying a piping hot cup of creamy coffee and wrapped up in a cozy snuggly blanket. Just how I like to start out my early mornings in the fall. Did I mention the smell of pumpkin has filled the house? Yes, it is pumpkin mania over here and I am enjoying all things pumpkin related.

Since it is officially fall (we are experiencing the cool fall like weather this week), I want to share with you something I like doing every fall. Besides my love for everything pumpkin flavored, sweater wearing, basketball watching cliché, I add something special to my Fall Bucket List…I take time to assess personal changes I’d like to implement for the new season. I consider fall a chance to “turn over a new leaf”.

fall leaves“Turning Over a New Leaf”

Some leaves I’ll be turning over this fall:

Work on showing empathy and understanding to others. This is something that is always a work in progress, the bucket is never full and there is never enough. This is something that we can continually work on throughout our lives. I genuinely FEEL lots of empathy and understanding for others, which is why I love helping others so much. But we can’t make change occur purely out-of-the-way we FEEL. So I continue to focus on demonstrating the empathy and understanding I have for others. One of my main goals for my son is to teach him to be kind and compassionate to others, even the ones who are too hurt to treat us with the same respect. Kindness goes a long way; you can never have or show too much.

Join a cheering squad. This is along the same lines as the above. Choose someone in your life who could use a little encouragement. Sometimes a little, “Hey I have been thinking about you and hoping you are doing well” can go a looonnng way!

be an encourager

Work on self kindness as well. This means working on little things that I may tell myself throughout the day, “Ugh, why did you do/didn’t that?” and “You could have done better”. As well as showing more patience to myself. Yes, self assessing realistically is critical for self growth, but there is a difference between self assessing and being critical and bully like towards yourself.

Gain momentum with my 2014 goals. I’m really excited to be learning and experiencing the research side of psychology, and also some huge (!) and exciting projects that are around the corner in 2015.

Your turn:

What leaves are you turning over this fall?

What’s something you want to change? Something you want to continue?

 I always love to hear your thoughts!

Always Be YOU,

Jenn B.

Do you conform?

Good Morning my friends! How was your weekend? This morning I am buzzing about (partly due to my morning cup of coffee) because I have to quickly head out for work. We are working on a research project that I am currently devoting most of my time to. I love studying psychology. I love being engrossed in the scientific study of the human mind and its functions. I’m currently learning more about the research side of things and so far I’m  LOVING IT!

Now, on to the reason I am writing today…

I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT OUR NEW GROUP.

We took a few weeks to implement a  new online support group and things are going great. There is still time for you to be a part of it as well. You can email me at JennB@BeYouAtBeMe.com if you are wanting to join this supportive community.

Before I go, I’d like to leave you with one of my favorites!

conformity

Have an amazing day my friends!

Always Be YOU,

Jenn B.

Never Forget

 

9-11-2001

It’s hard to believe it was already 13 years ago. I feel like I remember that day SO clearly. Let us take a moment today to be especially grateful for our military troops, policeman, and firefighters, and for everything they do on a day to day basis. Let’s raise our flags today in remembrance of all the people who lost their lives on that tragic September day back in 2001. Sending love and hugs to those of you that may have lost loved ones.

Always Be YOU,

Jenn B.

 

How the 5 Love Languages Changed My Relationships

Good Morning my friends! How are you spending this lovely holiday weekend? With the extra time off, I have something special to share with you and hope you may find it useful.

5 love languages

Have you heard of The Five Love Languages? According to this theory, they are as follows:

Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch.

Every person feels uniquely loved in one of these ways. Specifically, the way you feel loved is also the way you show love.

For instance, one of my Love Language is Acts of Service, which makes sense because I strongly agree with the notion that,”actions speak louder than words”. A kind and thoughtful act goes a long way for me and it aligns with the way I show appreciation for other people. An “Let me do that for you” after a long day makes me feel acknowledged and loved and I like to do the same in return.

The disconnect can lie in the fact that those we love may have a different language than our own. Your partner, friend, parent or child’s love language can be something you aren’t used to expressing. For example, someone I love can have the Love Language, Words of Affirmation, which means my Acts of Service will not have the same impact on them. Instead, an ”I love you” or “job well done” would make them feel acknowledged for things they’re doing right and they would like to do the same in return.

I’m curious to know what your love language is (take the test here), and how you’ve reconciled having a different language from your loved ones, a partner, friendship and parent/child relationships!