Why I Have Been Laying Low

If you follow me on social media, you may have noticed that I have been laying low the past month or so, and perhaps you have wondered why my teaching has been so much less these days. This month I had only two classes in my yoga studio and did not create any new virtual content. I have been working really hard at choosing radical self-care and balancing the demands of pretty challenging clients that I am blessed enough to see. My version of radical self-care is plenty of time to walk, working out everyday (in fact, I started an amazing strength training program five weeks ago that has rocked my world), and making the time for myself to feel my best in whatever that might be on a given day.

A couple months ago I mentioned to my doctor that I have been feeling pretty lousy, and the feeling was more than the usual chronic pain/fibromyalgia/lupus yuck that I experience most days. I explained to her that this new pain and not feeling great felt different, but I could not put a finger exactly on what I was experiencing. After listening to my symptoms she ran some additional blood tests to see if anything showed up. Indeed it did. She explained that my unexplained symptoms (extreme fatigue, soreness, loss of hair, weight loss, and overall malaise) might be contributed to very high iron levels. She ran some more tests and it was discovered that I have a single mutation of a genetic blood disorder called Hereditary Hemochromatosis. The way to remove the iron overload is a series of blood donations done fairly frequently. Many people donate blood and it is not a big deal. Well, since I am not like the average person (and if you ask my family, they will all say I am the difficult freak in the family when it comes to medical stuff), it is REALLY hard on me. It wipes me out like nothing I have ever experienced. I am exhausted, worn out, pale, puny and extremely weak for several days following my every two weeks blood letting.

At this same time, I committed to following my dermatologist insistence to begin a treatment to rid my over exposed skin to an intense skin cancer treatment. Essentially this topical treatment will eat away any pre-cancerous or cancerous cells. Because I have so much damage from the sun, he suggested I take three months to complete this protocol, rather than the usual two weeks regimen. Aye aye aye is all I can say. Imagine second degree burns and extreme itching for three months; blisters, scabs, abrasions, etc. all over my face, neck and chest. It is so uncomfortable and so painful, and really ugly.

Between the horrible blood treatments, the intense skin issues and my everyday pain and feeling miserable, I haven’t had the mojo to put on my pretty face and teach a ton of Yoga online or in my studio. These days I am lucky to make it to my assisted living sites and keep up with running a business to earn an income. The behind the scenes of any small business is bigger than one might imagine, and in normal months, it takes a TON of my energy. Over the last few months, it has been a real struggle.

So, if you see me walking in my neighborhood in a sun hat and a scarf, that is why. If you don’t see me producing tons of online content or hosting classes in my studio, that is why. If I don’t respond to your texts, emails or messages as fast as I used to, that is why. If I am grumpy and short with you, that is why.

As I teach so often, I am reminded that everything is temporary. That mindset does not mean that this is easy because it is not. But, I do try to hold on that this too will pass. My blood will be normal again. My skin will heal beautifully. I will manage my pain as I have for decades. In the meantime, I encourage each of you who is reading this to never underestimate the power of the human spirit, and also to remember that you may have no idea what kind of battle someone is fighting, so always err on the side of compassion.

Hopefully this will clear up some of the wondering some of you have had about my stepping back a bit.

Blessings to you and yours.

Tumeric Supplement

These amazing one-of-a-kind delivery system is truly remarkable. doTERRA is the first to combine CPTG Turmeric essential oil & Turmeric extract in a dual chamber capsule, creating a uniquely powerful synergy of tumerones & curcuminoids, in order to maximize the effectiveness & benefits of both compounds for a healthy inflammatory response.

TURMERIC ESSENTIAL OIL

Steam distilled from turmeric roots of the Curcuma longa plant, Turmeric essential oil encourages the body’s healthy response to inflammation and oxidative stress, & may support healthy cellular function. Turmeric essential oil has two unique chemical components, Turmerone & ar-Turmerone, that have been shown to help the body with the absorption of curcumin, offering support to the body’s natural defenses. These components make Turmeric essential oil a daily staple.

TURMERIC EXTRACT

Turmeric extract may be one of the most effective nutritional supplement in existence because it contains curcuminoids that help the body fight free radicals & have a role in protecting against oxidative damage. An important benefit of Turmeric extract is its ability to maintain a healthy inflammatory response at the molecular level.

DUAL CHAMBER CAPSULES

Research has shown that curcuminoids have poor bioavailability, but when combined with turmerones from Turmeric essential oil bioavailability can be increased. The dual chamber capsules are truly unique because they combine key ingredients together in one convenient delivery system, resulting in better absorption of Turmeric. Unlike other brands that combine Turmeric extract with agents like black pepper extract, the dual chamber capsule is a more natural approach. You do NOT need to take Black Pepper when you take these capsules, since the essential oil increase the bioavailability 11 times & acts as an agent to help the curcuminoids absorb better!

Supports inflammatory response, reduces discomfort in joints, supports mood, fights free radicals, antioxidant, supports healthy cellular function & metabolism, neurological support & protects against oxidative damage!

These are game changers in living a life of inflammatory response. Living with lupus and fibromyalgia, and being a Pitta Dosha, I tend to run pretty hot all the time. I take these every single day and cannot imagine not having these as support.

Learn more about these amazing supplements here.

The Practice of Svadhyaya (Self Study)

Svadhyaya asks you to suspend looking outside for perceptions of yourself, and instead, look at your inner life–your beliefs, your priorities, and your actions. -Suzan Colon

The term svadhyaya literally means ‘one’s own reading’ or ‘self study’. It is is the fourth niyama of patnajali’s sutras and has the potential to deepen our yoga way beyond the mat.  My favorite translation or definition of this beautiful inner work called Svadhyaya refers to any activity wherein we quietly study ourselves and reflect upon our actions, thoughts, emotions, motivations, aspirations, desires and needs in pursuit of a deeper experience of our lives and our own selves.

The physical aspects to the yoga practice offers the perfect opportunity to explore svadhyaya.

To create each posture you must move and place the various parts of your body into a shape on a rectangle. You could do this without any real engagement or awareness, carelessly going through the motions while your mind is a million miles away, or you could work towards staying present with each and every moment as it arises. You could notice how the body responds to being aligned a certain way, observe physical sensations, watch how your mind reacts to what you’re doing with your body, experience any emotions that show up, and listen to the ebb and flow of your breath. 

Often when we’re practicing yoga on the mat discomfort—or sometimes pain—becomes evident.

If we slow down, apply this form of self awareness, or svadhyaya, and truly contemplate what’s happening in our bodies and minds, pain becomes an important teacher. We can examine the subtleties of pain and begin to understand the difference between “bad pain” that is harmful and injurious to our bodies; and “good pain,” mild or moderate discomfort that we can stay with, breathe into and observe as it shifts and changes.

Since my first hip surgery in 2016, I have greatly avoided the physical practice and therefore, avoided this kind of deeper self-inquiry. Sure, I did some chair yoga as I taught my classes and I would occasionally unroll my mat but honestly it was more as a way to simply say that I am practicing. Truth is I wasn’t practicing at all. Or at least very often.

I might find myself being a tad more consistent and then another injury and another surgery would put me back in the same resistance and emptiness of anything closely resembling a physical yoga practice.

With great honesty I can say that as time has gone on I have made up a million excuses as to why I was not practicing a physical yoga. Some of the excuses were legitimate and some of them were downright falsehoods.

I missed my time on the mat a lot, but I still resisting it until recently when I began to choose time on the yoga mat. Rather than spend too much time in the morning reading and journaling (and avoiding the mat), I have since shortened that sitting time to spend more of my so-called ‘spirit time’ with myself on the mat. This inner work has been transformative to me in just a few weeks.

I began to feel like I had come home after years of being away. I felt like the dear old friend has returned and without any judgment she has welcomed me into the sanctuary of pure love and acceptance.

This morning as I was paying attention to the sensations within my body (while also fighting the grumblings of any ego based thoughts entering my mind about what my body used to be able to do or feel…more self-study), I realized this magnificent practice of self study is a gift that opens the doors to so many other deep discoveries. I found the voice speaking softly to me while practicing the way any dear old friend would speak; encouraging, kind, compassionate, loving. This beautiful friend reminded my body of all that it has endured and welcomed her back to feel and soak in the sensations as perfect and whole.

Foot Pain

If you’ve been around me since September you might have noticed a hobbling limp. Most likely this new foot pain is a result of a changed and unproductive gait following three hip surgeries.

I’ve tried it all and can’t say that this has healed me, though I do think it aids in me being insane with pain.

Be gentle on those with foot pain. It’s not an easy thing.

Oh and the MRI shows a couple nasty tears and a bone and cartilage deformity. Since PT didn’t help, I’m moving to more aggressive treatment with hopes to keep me walking and surgery free.

If you’d like to order or want to learn the bad is of essential oils, check out this gorgeous ebook!

Pain Relief Essential Oil Blend

This is the go-to blend for PAIN. If you experience muscle pain, nerve pain, arthritis pain or joint pain this is for you. Check out how amazing these oils are. I have samples of Deep Blue Rub if you want to try them! Just shoot me a message and I can get them to you!

Remember, you can use some or all of these oils in a roller! The top three listed below are pretty affordable and have a variety of uses. Making up rollers is the easiest and most cost effective way to use and apply the oils.

Pain Relief Blend

  • Lemongrass has anti-inflammatory, analgesic (relieves pain, regenerative (promotes regenerations of cell tissue) and anti-rheumatic properties. It is amazing for connective tissue and joint/ligament/tendon pain.
  • Marjoram has antispasmodic (relieves spasms of involuntary muscles) and vasodilator (relaxes/dilates blood vessels and increases blood flow) properties. Marjoram is great for carpel tunnel, tendonitis, arthritis, muscles cramps or sprains.
  • Siberian Fir has analgesic properties and is amazing for muscle and joint pain, muscle fatigue and regeneration, rheumatism (inflammation to the joints, muscles, tissues)—especially rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Helichrysum has antispasmodic, analgesic and neuroprotective properties. It relies nerve pain.
  • Deep Blue is awesome for muscle/joint pain, arthritis, neuropathy, fibromyalgia, whip lash, muscle tension, and so much more.

To learn more about the basics of essential oils, check out this handy guide!

Aches and Pains Blend

Over the last six years I have had just as many orthopedic surgeries, plus living with a diagnosis of a connective tissue disease that causes joint pain and swelling.

Despite all that, I average 15,000 steps each and everyday and work six days a week teaching yoga and pilates. Basically I am one busy and active girl.

What keeps me going?

  • Serious self care
  • Early to bed every night
  • Healthy foods
  • A consistent Gratitude practice
  • Essential oils regimen

This is my favorite pain reliving blend. I apply this to the sore spots and along my spine daily. It is effective, affordable and has no side effects other than relief.

If you’re struggling with aches and discomfort and want to invest in a collection of the highest quality essential oils, click here to get these soothing ones.

Or, if you’d like to cover more than just pain, but also stress, immunity, cleaning, belly aches and so much more this is my favorite. You can also check out more choices found in this handy usage guide.

When you get started I make sure you have plenty of tools and support to feel successful plus access to my amazing tribe of people who are in this together to bring health and wellness to your home.

Benefits of Massage

Are you a believer in massage?

I used to think that massages were an added luxury that only divas indulged in.  That was until I developed chronic pain and had a series of orthopedic surgeries.  Now, I know that I could not live without them.  I also used to think that I did not have the money for massages.  Now, I choose to invest in my health instead of in other things.

While more research is needed to confirm the benefits of massage, some studies have found massage may also be helpful for:

  • Anxiety
  • Digestive disorders
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia related to stress
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Soft tissue strains or injuries
  • Sports injuries
  • Temporomandibular joint pain

Beyond the benefits for specific conditions or diseases, some people enjoy massage because it often produces feelings of caring, comfort and connection. Did you know there are so many other benefits of massage?

These are the 10 most common benefits reported from massage therapy:

1. Reduce Stress

A relaxing day at the spa is a great way to unwind and de-stress. However, clients are sure to notice themselves feeling relaxed and at ease for days and even weeks after their appointments!

2. Improve Circulation

Loosening muscles and tendons allows increased blood flow throughout the body. Improving your circulation can have a number of positive effects on the rest of your body, including reduced fatigue and pain management!

3. Reduce Pain

Massage therapy is great for working out problem areas like lower back pain and chronic stiffness. A professional therapist will be able to accurately target the source of your pain and help achieve the perfect massage regimen.

4. Eliminate Toxins

Stimulating the soft tissues of your body will help to release toxins through your blood and lymphatic systems.

5. Improve Flexibility

Massage therapy will loosen and relax your muscles, helping your body to achieve its full range of movement potential.

6. Improve Sleep

A massage will encourage relaxation and boost your mood.  Going to bed with relaxed and loosened muscles promotes more restful sleep, and you’ll feel less tired in the morning!

7. Enhance Immunity

Stimulation of the lymph nodes re-charges the body’s natural defense system.

8. Reduce Fatigue

Massage therapy is known to boost mood and promote better quality sleep, thus making you feel more rested and less worn-out at the end of the day

9. Alleviate Depression and Anxiety

Massage therapy can help to release endorphins in your body, helping you to feel happy, energized, and at ease.

10. Reduce post-surgery and post-injury swelling

A professional massage is a great way to safely deal with a sports injury or post-surgery rehabilitation.

It is also important to me that my massage therapist uses pure essential oils on my body during massage. The aromatic as well as the physical benefits create an all around amazing experience for the mind, body and soul.

Some of my favorite essential oils are:

  • Lavender. Safe for all ages, massage into the skin to promote calmness.
  • Ylang Ylang. Reduces effects of daily stress and leaves a soothing floral aroma.
  • Cypress. Soothing when applied on its own, use with a citrus oil for an invigorating massage.
  • Eucalyptus. Helps to create feelings of open airways.
  • Lemongrass. The perfect massage oil to use after an especially intense workout.
  • Marjoram. Used to target specific tired or stressed muscles.
  • Deep Blue® Soothing Blend. A blend that is both cooling and comforting, it also comes as Deep Blue® Rub for a lotion-like application.

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The Sorrow

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. 
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow,
if you have been touched by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain. 
I want to know if you can sit with pain,
mine or your own,
without moving to hide it,
fade it,
or fix it.

Every life has pain.   It is in the pain that we often find the deepest parts of our soul and yet as humans we are afraid of pain–emotional and physical.  We try to convince ourselves that we should be going around the pain.  Avoiding pain.  Not being willing to sit with pain.

It is impossible to be with another person’s pain if we are not able to be with our own. Our pain is often the window to deep wisdom about ourselves.  In that same way, when we are able to be with someone else’s pain–simply BE with it, we can also learn how to observe a reaction and how our impulse is to remove the pain by fixing it or fading it.

I believe that we must move into the shadows of ourselves. We rarely are willing to look at the dark spaces to find out more about who we are.  Dipping into that intimate parts of ourselves that we often hide.  But to show up in life full, we have to be willing to go into the vastness of the mysteries within us. Learning to be fully with ourselves, another and the world is the work of the soul.

When we learn to be with our pain, we call back parts of ourselves we have attempted time and time again to leave behind, we are to once again find that wholeness.  We are able to leave behind the idea of ‘perfection’ that often holds us back from a life of fullness and deep compassion for others.

Be with your pain and be willing to listen to the whisperings of your soul.

We will be exploring this on the mat this week and looking at the inner parts of us that back away from our sorrow, and search for the wisdom that comes from the pain.