Self Care Friday: We become what we do…

Peace Soulstars,

Let’s talk about something that has changed my life since 2013 and taught me the importance of self care…Yoga.  My first official yoga class was in 2013.  It was bikram yoga also known as “hot yoga”.  The name in and of itself is a bit intimidating when you haven’t experienced hot yoga before.  I was having a rough day and a friend of mine texted me about going to hot yoga class with her.

A part of me didn’t feel like it because I was in a horrible mood.  The other part had been curious about taking an actual yoga class with other people of all levels. I had done yoga at home for years but never took a class.  It was more about convenience I guess.

When my friend asked me to come to class with her, I had just taken my social work licensure exam and failed it.  I felt terrible but didn’t need to.  It was only a test.  All I know is that I told my husband about my invite to yoga and he encouraged me to go despite how I felt.  So, I went.  It was one of the best decisions I made for myself.

I remember at the beginning of the class while we were in child’s pose focusing on the breath I thought to myself “This is awesome.”…Just from breathing alone.  The instructor said the words which were music to my soul “Let go of all of the shit from this week”.  I needed to hear that and I did.  I began to learn the art of letting go that day and it felt amazing.

I had done yoga before but there was something different about this time.  I did yoga for “fitness” before but this time I had a reason beyond getting the poses right.  I got on the mat not for physical exercise but for my spirit. Later, I learned that it’s called yoga flow for a reason.  It starts with awareness, the breath, spirit, mind and the body follows.

My spirits were low and needed uplifting.  My peace of mind was shook by an external conditions and I allowed that to happen.  I learned that my peace of mind is not contingent upon passing a test or how others perceive me or any other extenuating circumstances.  I cannot control what goes on outside of myself but I can control what goes on within me.

I proceeded to fall in love with yoga and kept it up for almost a year two to three times a week.  Once I discovered pure barre I alternated between yoga and barre.  Nothing ever felt like yoga though. Nothing ever compared.

Fast forward to today.  I’ve been practicing yoga at home about three or more days a week.  Recently I participated in a challenge (twelve days of yoga) which motivated me to practice daily even if only for ten minutes.  The benefits are endless and the little improvements you notice as days progress are profound.  Sometimes I do yoga twice a day(morning and evening) depending.

Over the years,  I always kept yoga in my routine along with other forms of body work (exercise).  So, I would do yoga once or twice a week at home along with pure barre which I had done for a few years (2013-2015).  It was great.  I love pure barre too but nothing was like yoga.  Yoga is soul work when you fully embrace it.

Prior to starting yoga, I thought it was about fitness but had a mindful component to it.  It’s actually the other way around and more.  Yoga means “union”.   We could get into sanskrit terms but for now I’ll keep it simple.  Mind, body, and spirit become aligned when you become yoga.  They unite.

When you break down the many aspects of mind, body, spirit there are many other components within.  We don’t “do” yoga, we become yoga.  When we become it, our soul is illuminated.  Everything else falls into place.  You may not be into yoga which is fine but I am.

Books like The Bhagavad Gita by Eknath Easwaran (although there are many translations available) and Osho’s Mind, Body, Balancing as well as others have all increased my interest in yoga. I’ve begun diving deeper beyond the surface of how yoga is presented in western culture.  Oh, India how I would love to come experience you full circle….One day.

Just be mindful that movement is necessary.  Stagnant energy that doesn’t get released finds places to hide within.  If that stagnant energy doesn’t get shaken up regularly, it can eventually develop into physical ailments and conditions making you sick.  We become what we do, so choose wisely.

Love and light,

 

 

 

Spiritual Thursday: Soulwork…It’s necessary

Peace Soulstars,

I cannot and will not stress enough how important soul work is.  Contrary to what many believe we are mostly non-physical beings. Our physical body makes up a small portion of our being…I mean minuscule.

This is the one thousand and tenth reason why it’s utterly ridiculous for people to place more emphasis on appearance and skin color than they do on one’s character.  Putting it more accurately we place emphasis on appearance etc. instead of energy and vibes.

Here’s a quote from Abraham Hicks to ponder “You are source energy.  You came from non-physical and while you were non-physical before you came into these physical bodies.  You still are for the most part predominantly that nonphysical consciousness but that’s hard for you to know because you have come into this personality and the awareness of what’s going on here, what you’re observing is so dominate and so real you call it reality…”

Love and light,

 

Self Care Fridays: Set Goals and Crush ‘Em!

setgoals

Peace Soulstars,

One of my favorite forms of meditation involves movement.  Anything dance, barre (pure barre to be exact), yoga which involves moving the body resonates with my spirit.  Sitting still is cool but I much more prefer to move.  It’s just as effective but adds variety to my meditation practice and variety is a must for me because I bore easily.  Insert amazing yogi Adriene from “yoga with Adriene” whose yoga videos I’ve been using for my home yoga practice for years now.  I’ve just finished day 2 of the “31 days of yoga” series with Adriene of “Yoga with Adriene” on youtube. I started the 2016 yoga series but fell off.  Well, this year I plan to keep it up throughout the 31 day stint.  I’m all about goal setting because it’s motivating to have done 2 days back to back.  It actually goes by fast because I enjoy it so much.  I make sure I do yoga first thing in the am or after a light breakfast.  So, I’ve made it a part of my morning routine which helps tremendously.

I’ve been off and on with my home yoga practice due to a two year stint with pure barre which took over for a while starting in 2014.  Back to my yoga now and I am truly loving this series.  Adriene takes it easy, doesn’t rush you, and encourages you to go at your own pace.  I love her clarity in describing each transition from pose to pose and her overall vibe.  Her style resonates with me so much that I’m thinking of doing yoga morning and night (right before bed) just because.  The list of health benefits of doing so is endless.  Check out yogarevolution with Adriene here.  I’ll check in from time to time throughout the month to follow up.  Nama-Slay!

Love and Light,

9k=-1

 

 

Self-Care Fridays: Set your rhythm with morning rituals…

morningrituals

 

Peace Soulstars,

Yesterday, I mentioned moon rituals but those aren’t the only rituals that I do.  I have quite a few which change from time to time but they keep me grounded.  I’m not sure about you but my body loves routine and I can go so far as to say that it needs routine.  It’s also ideal for a routine to stimulate each of your senses.  It’s important to take the time to jumpstart your senses before using them.  If not, your body may not function properly and your  body can be thrown off balance.  Alignment is key to overall health.

I am a music person so I like to use analogies that reference music.  So, I like to refer to “getting in alignment” as “setting the rhythm”.  For the past few years I’ve tried different ways to “set the rhythm” for the day upon opening my eyes.  The “rhythm” can be different each day but as long as it’s in tune with your spirit that’s all that matters.  Here are some of my morning rituals which  stimulate my five senses.

  1. SOUND:  I wake up to music or play it in the morning while getting ready.  If I have time, I listen to a motivational podcast or other audio which is in tune with my rhythm.  I have also set my alarm to play a song with soothing vibes and/or a positive message.  Great way to wake up.  Typically, I don’t need an alarm but when I do I prefer music as opposed to some annoying, loud basic alarm.
  2. TOUCH:   To prep my physical body, I stretch for a few minutes to warm up my muscles and wake up my body before getting up and moving.  Nothing major.  It can be as simple as taking a few deep breaths and stretching your neck, shoulders, back, arms, and legs.  It helps you to notice any physical sensations (comfortable and uncomfortable) and increase body awareness.
  3. TASTE: Hydration is key.   Before or after showering and brushing my teeth, I drink a tall glass of water with a squeeze of lemon or have a cup of matcha green tea.  Sometimes I steam water and add lemon.  Either way I have something to stimulate my internal organs at some point in the morning before eating anything.  Why?  I just spent from six, seven, eight or more hours without eating or drinking anything.  The body needs fuel.  Your body needs to replenish and regenerate itself.  Water helps to give it that push.
  4. SMELL:  There are many ways to do this but here are some of my favorite ways to incorporate sense of smell to my morning ritual.  I burn incense or inhale some of my favorite essential oils like tea tree, peppermint, or lemongrass.  Sometimes I also use lavender oil because it’s calming.  I also apply topically by mixing one to two drops of an essential oil into about 2 teaspoons of sweet almond oil.  Then I massage my neck and shoulders (sometimes my back).  There are different essential oils that can be used for different parts of your body i.e. pressure points to relieve certain ailments or for prevention purposes.  I also use a diffuser that uses a tea light to generate heat which disperses the fragrance in the air.  You can also use your favorite all natural scented body wash or salt scrub if you prefer.
  5. SIGHT:  Lastly, I meditate for at least 10 minutes using a lit candle or a himalayan salt lamp as a focal point while I take deep breaths.  Eventually, I may close my eyes while envisioning the light from either source as my inner light.  Both are reminiscent of that ball of light within myself where inner peace lies.  The light can also represent my higher being and the fact that my higher being is always within to keep me centered.  Crystal stones have healing energy, are beautiful to look at and embody the light energy that helps me maintain a connection to nature i.e. vibrating higher.  Crystals can also be used during meditation.

These are just some of the practices that have worked like a charm to help me set my rhythm for the day.   Anytime I get thrown off I remind myself of that inner light.  This may seem like a lot for some.  Do what you can and follow your intuition.  We really need to learn how to connect to our higher selves more.  It doesn’t take an hour or even several minutes.  If you only have five minutes it’s better than nothing.  If you don’t have five minutes, that’s a whole other problem to address.  What do you do to set your rhythm for the day?  Do you practice morning rituals?

Love and Light,

9k=-1

 

Cyst Update: I had surgery…

healing

Peace Soulstars,

I hope everyone had a great weekend!  I wanted to give you a quick update on my cyst situation by sharing my experience with the surgery.  I had a minor surgery to drain the cyst because I didn’t have the patience to continue to deal with the inflammation.  Besides, It had gotten extremely painful, irritating, and just became a nuisance to have this thing on my back not to mention how nasty it looked.   When I went for my doctor visit Thursday to follow up on how the antibiotics were working to shrink the cyst, I decided to just let him do the surgery.  It really wasn’t getting better even with antibiotics for a week.  After the doctor explained that the healing process was not going to be overnight and that surgical removal was the best thing to do I agreed to go through with the surgery.

My doctor and his assistant were very reassuring as they made me feel comfortable.  I was worried about the numbing medication via needle because I don’t like needles (who does?) but I can deal with them. My doctor told me that if I can handle getting my blood drawn than I should be able to handle this needle because the  needle he was going to use was smaller than the standard needle used when blood is drawn.  I perked up then! haha!  Getting my blood drawn is a piece of cake.  He even showed me the type of needle he would be using.   I appreciated him being patient with me and trying to make me feel comfortable.  I liked him so much that I wish he could be my primary physician but he’s a surgeon.  I don’t want to have to see him after this is all over…lol.  I just have a few more follow ups to track healing.

In addition to the fact that he had a great sense of humor and professionalism,  I trusted that my doctor knew what he was doing.   I felt that he cared about making me feel comfortable and getting the job done.  This helped me let go of a lot of my anxiety.  I do have general anxiety by the way but I keep it under control (most of the time) using deep breathing techniques, and meditation.  I’m currently exploring other calming practices including the use of crystals and healing stones in my meditation.

During the procedure , I remember talking a lot…lol…That’s what I do when I am comfortable around people (and when I’m nervous).  They were very easy to talk to.  I felt confident that this was not going to be as bad as I thought.   In the end, I only felt pressure in areas that were inflamed but I mostly used my deep breathing to keep me calm.  Thankfully, it worked because I felt very calm despite going under the “knife”.

I share all of this with you because I know many can relate to having anxiety.  You may have even experienced a cyst or something similar.  This experience taught me a few things:  One, don’t put off for tomorrow what could be done today.  I waited too long (until the cyst got inflamed) to address this issue.  It didn’t have to come to the point of surgery but you live and you learn.  Two,  shit happens.  Yes, my waiting too long to address this skin issue caused a cyst to develop but it could have been worse.  I can heal from this and life will continue to be great.  This does not mean that I did something wrong or that my health is in jeopardy.  It’s a warning from my body that I need to just pay attention to it more.

Lastly, I learned that deep breathing is a super power many of us aren’t aware of and/or just don’t use for various reasons.  I know for a fact that it helps in many circumstances not just during surgery but during typical every day situations.  I once used deep breathing to relieve pressure from my bladder after waiting too long to use the bathroom.  It worked because it kept me from peeing on myself and relieved my irritability.  You know the feeling.  How do you manage anxiety?  Everyone has it to an extent.  I would love to know if you meditate, use crystals, prayer, whatever the practice is.  This is a non-discriminatory zone.  We can all use different practices based on different beliefs without feeling like we are being judged for thinking differently from the other.  Next up, I’ll be sharing my experience with salt and epsom salt baths to detoxify, cleanse negative energy, and to relax.

Love and Light,

9k=-1

 

 

 

What I’ve been up to…

 

WhatIBeenUpto

Peace Soulstars,

Is it really September and I let a whole month go by without blogging?  Shame on me!  The nerve!  In my attempt to scold myself for being M.I.A. for a while I want you all to know there’s a legitimate excuse that keeps me from being too hard on myself.   There’s a reason that  August was pretty much non existent on the blog and the one year anniversary (August 15th) of Amanisoul.com got completely overlooked!  *deep sigh* That is a huge accomplishment by the way which deserves its own post (Coming Soon!).

Lots of transitions have been taking over my life as of late including a move back to my hometown, the DMV!  I wanted to just briefly take the time to explain that the lack of posts for the past month have been due  to my shift of focus solely being on packing and moving in a nutshell.  It’s been quite the experience because it was our third move in three years.  Yes, every Labor Day weekend for the last three years we have moved.  We moved to Boston in 2014, moved to another apartment (same complex) in 2015 and this year we moved to the DMV!  This will be the last move for a LONG time! I’m speaking it into existence!! *hands up to the universe*

Speaking of the universe, I almost lost my mind just a little bit (haha) but I discovered how beneficial mindfulness meditation is in maintaining my sanity.  Right now as we speak the house is still filled with boxes and I’m okay with that for someone who despises disorder.  If ever you’re faced with so many things going on at one time some of which are beyond your control make it mandatory to take time out for yourself to enjoy life.  Appreciate the “little things”.

Treat yourself to some ice cream (or a smoothie for my health conscious folks), go for a walk, get outside…Do whatever you like to do that represents life and forces you to slow down!   Focus on that one thing and take every second and minute to enjoy every morsel of “life”.  That is mindfulness.  Then you can go back to dealing with the chaos with a cool head.   We all need balance.  We need the stress to learn how to deal with challenges when they arise because there’s no escaping stress.  We can minimize it but not totally omit it.  At the end of the day, regardless of the craziness life still goes on.  Remind yourself that this is only temporary.

Well, we’re all moved in now but still lots of organizing and unpacking to do among a plethora of other things that have tested my ability to remain calm like dealing with the MVA.  In other news, in case some of you didn’t know I do have an instagram where I post more frequently with shorter more straight to the point inspirational posts.  I share my experiences in getting closer to my higher self, the mistakes lessons (because I’m human) in this journey called life, and my fascination in rediscovering the use of crystals.  Manifestation at its best!  You can find me on insta at amanisoul_.  I’m also on snapchat as missangiebee.   So many blessings and new beginnings have my level of gratitude on high!  Not only am I thankful for this next chapter.  I am also thankful that I still have my loyal audience which is you who hasn’t quit on me during the time of my absence.  Life happens and  I know y’all understand that.  So, thank you!

The break stops here though.   I needed to take time to focus on packing, preparing for the move etc.  If you’ve been there done that than you know what it all entails.  I honestly could not focus on blog posts so I would post here and there to instagram because it was just easier with the way my lifestyle was at the time of transitioning.  Transitioning is still in effect as we get used to new surroundings, people, and everything else thrown our way but we are taking it one day at a time.  Been working on new posts which I plan to start sharing soon including one about an epidermoid cyst that  has developed on my back.  I’ll discuss how I plan to use an integrative approach to healing myself because I’ll be using an antibiotic (per Doctor’s orders) in addition to natural remedies for the inflammation.  Until next time,  I hope you all have a peaceful weekend!

Love and Light,

9k=-1

Meditation…My Most Important Lessons

“Meditation is emptying your mind completely of all belief, ideology, concept, thought.  Only in an empty mind when there is no dust left on the mirror truth reflects.” ~Osho

Peace Soulstars,

The above quote is from “The Book of Wisdom” by Osho which I have yet to finish because it’s filled with so much wisdom that I have to pace myself.  I take notes in the margins and everything.  I highly recommend it.  Many may find this “mindless” concept of meditation questionable.  It has even become quite controversial but just like with any other information you take it as just that.  It is information.  Use it how you see fit.  What is truth to one is not truth to the other.

Meditation is all in what you make it out to be.  It does not always have to consist of you sitting “mindlessly” in lotus position while deep breathing.  For example, this past weekend my meditation consisted of creating my vision board (finally).  Most of the time I  do sit in lotus position while deep breathing as I let the thoughts that enter my mind pass like clouds in the sky.  My understanding is that it is okay to have thoughts while meditating.  It is what the mind does.  The key is not letting the thoughts control your feelings and/or distract you from your peace of mind.  Also, have fun!  Meditating should not be stressful.  It defeats the purpose if it is.

I’ve meditated off and on in the past but my most successful experience with meditating began when I used the app Headspace.  I did the free 10 minute daily sessions which helped me understand what I was doing, why, and how to begin.  From there, I began meditating on my own and found that I was able to meditate for 10 minutes without a timer or other guidance.  This intrigued me as I found that the mind truly is more powerful than we give it credit.  It was nonstop from then on which led me to learn how to meditate in other ways besides sitting still.  Though I do enjoy sitting still and find it very effective.

In the months that I have been practicing daily meditation for at least 15- 20 minutes (sometimes longer) here are a few lessons I’ve learned:

  • There are many creative, effective ways to meditate.  Do not just stick to one method
  • You can meditate anywhere when you really get the hang of it
  • Learning to let my thoughts come and go without reacting to them helped me resist feeling (letting thoughts control you)
  • I was able to tune out the physical state (sounds, distractions, tension/pains in the body) by focusing on the breath and breathing  causing me to relax
  • It is okay to lose focus at times as thoughts take you off track but what’s important is that you bring your awareness back to the breath

I’ll be sharing some of my experiences with meditation.  I think many of you will find it interesting how I learned to take life to a whole other level by learning how to connect with my spiritual self.  I hope you find this helpful in establishing a meditation practice of your own.  Remember, everyone is different with different needs and starting from different points in their journey.  When you understand that, you’ll be able to reap the full benefits of meditation.

Love and Light,

9k=-1