Posts

Can you diet on your body love journey?

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TW: Diet talk

Can you diet on your body love journey? The truth is I don’t really know. I think everyone has to answer that question for themselves. Your body, your rules. But if you are wondering about this, here is my story of going on a special diet, every thing that I did and everything that happened.

I have been suffering with digestive issues for quite a while but at the end of 2016 they got much worse. And I won’t go too deep into the specifics, but it seemed like the best course of action was for me to go on a special diet recommended by my medical team.

This was SUPER triggering for me. I knew it would provoke my disordered eating, my body dysmorphia, and depression. I knew it was going to be hard, like so fucking hard.

I’ve been on a body love journey for years and for years I have worked to dismantle diet and weight-loss culture from my psyche. Since the winter of 2014 I have been practicing intuitive eating to help to rebuild and heal my relationship with food.

Because of all of this I knew I would have to tread carefully into this health choice.

So instead of calling this special diet a diet, I came up with some alternative less triggering terms. I called it a healing journey through food or food selection healing and even a healing journey opportunity so that it didn’t even mentioning food.

I used the intuitive eating approach as much as possible within the confines of the diet. I have this great magnet on my fridge courtesy of the awesome people at Be Nourished.

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And I would use it to assess my hunger, and what kind of food I desired from the selection of food available to me. So even though I was restricted I could still listen to my intuition and listen to my body.

I also said affirmations to myself while I did the food prep: This is an opportunity for healing. This is an opportunity to put myself first. I make this food with love. This is what loving myself looks like.

I even went for an aromatherapy session to create a special essential oil blend that would be my power scent to help me get through the rough times that were coming.

All of the work I did to prepare and supports I gave myself really helped…

 

The only thing was, this diet was actually making me sicker.

 

Like really sick.

 

Even though it was making me sicker, on some level I felt this sense of accomplishment for having conquered my fear of food restriction to point that I didn’t want to let the diet go, and I also didn’t want to let it go because I really believed it would be the thing to help heal me.

But the choice was being made for me. This diet that I was trying to use to heal me was just making me sicker. So under the supervision of medical professionals I stopped.

And this was when a new journey began. I began to think about my digestive issues from a different perspective, from a more energetic perspective.

I don’t doubt that my digestive issues have come from years of trauma and abuse being stored in my belly. Through many very hard years when I was young I would feel sick to my stomach all of the time. It would feel like I just couldn’t digest food. If I put food into my belly it felt like it would just sit in my stomach undigested. And any time something horrible happened, I felt it in my stomach.

Through the guidance of my amazing friend and body positive Naturopathic Doctor, Kyla Wright, I now I know more about digestion. And I know that what my body was telling me was true. We cannot digest our food properly while in our stress response or the “fright, flight, freeze” response. If we need to be in immediate survival mode (stress response), our body just doesn’t have time or energy for longer term survival processes like digestion.

This was very helpful and adaptive for humans at one time. But now, today, in our world we can tend to feel threats all around us throughout our day in the form of emails, social media, traffic, and constant messages that we aren’t good enough and that we need to fix ourselves. And all of these “threats” put us in a stress state for most of our day, which can seriously affect our digestion.

This has been a HUGE aha for me.

I just had never really thought about it before. So I began to implement a softer approach to my digestive issues. I started getting better rest. I did more restorative yoga as my personal yoga practice. I wrote myself a yoga nidra for digestive health. I used mudras (hand positions) to help my digestive processes. I talked to my belly telling it loving thoughts before I put food in it. I filled my belly up with healing light to continue the process of mending from my traumatic past.

And today, I am happy to say I am back on my intuitive eating journey and also on a new intuitive healing journey. And my digestive issues have been steadily improving.

This is what I would like to offer to you. If you are struggling with digestive issues or would like to work on your relationship with food and digestion, my Yoga Therapy for Digestion Workshop is for you! In this workshop we will explore how yoga therapy can help improve our digestion through poses, mudra (hand gestures), and yoga nidra (guided relaxation).

The early bird price for this workshop is ending this Thursday January 12 so register today for only $31.50 with GST by sending an e-transfer to krystal@thelusciouslife.ca with a note about which workshop you are registering for and your email address so I can send you a welcome email.

If you aren’t able to make the workshop, I also made you this Yoga Nidra for Digestive Health that you can download and use any time to help you on your own healing journey.

I hope to see you this Sunday!

Happy digesting,

Krystal

Hot Tips for Holiday Body Love

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The holidays are getting into full swing!

For many of us the parties have already started. And, as I mentioned before, this time of year can be really wonderful, but it can also be really stressful. And in terms of feeling good about your body there are many triggering situations that can come up.

So I wanted to offer some more strategies to get us through this holiday season loving your body as best you can.

Book Self-Care into your Schedule

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I think one of the biggest gifts we can give ourselves at this time of year is actually making some time in our schedule for self-care. With the change in routine, the demands of the season, the darkness, if you are in the northern hemisphere, and the cold, if you are in chillier climates, we really need to take time to recharge. I highly recommend booking your self-care into your schedule. If you know there is a form of self-care that really works for you like, restorative yoga, meditation, running, dance, naps, etc actually book those into your schedule. Or if you know you would like to be more spontaneous, you could create a list of self-care ideas and then when the time comes up in your schedule pick the one that is calling to you.

Use Affirmations

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To help me stay in a body positive headspace, I will write out or say my body positive affirmations every morning to get ahead of the game. Affirmations like, “I love my body. I love every cell in my body.”, “I give myself full permission to eat whatever my body desires.”, and “I listen to my body’s needs and lovingly respond.”.

Plan Ahead

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For many of us the coming together of family can be very triggering. Family members may like to comment on our bodies or any changes in our weight since the last time they saw us. Or they may pass judgement on what we are eating. And if not that, then they are making food-shaming and size-shaming comments about themselves. It can be so tricky to stay grounded in loving yourself as you are. And it can be challenging to still listen to your own body through all that noise. What I like to do for this one is to plan ahead.

I will prepare little responses to different situations that might present themselves, like when my friend says she needs to lose 5 lbs so that she can look fabulous in her new dress on New Year’s Eve, I may redirect the conversation with “I am feeling pretty fabulous about rocking these boots with this skirt today!”

If I am feeling bold and so over shaming comments about my body, instead of the redirect I might go for the direct, “Actually, I’m not inviting comments on my body today. Thanks.” I am even thinking of creating some t-shirts that say “My Body – The Comments Section is Closed.”

Plant the Seeds of Body Positivity

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Another thing I like to do is arm myself with anti-body-shaming thoughts to help plant the seeds body positivity for my family. Like, “Food is just food. It is not good or bad. You are not a good or bad person because of what you eat. You are not a more or less valuable person based on how much you weigh.”

These concepts might be new or unfamiliar to our friends and family. Our friends and family are a part of our body-shaming society too. So the holidays can be an opportunity to educate your family by speaking openly about body-shaming. And if you are feeling keen you could have at the ready data from the Healthy at Every Size website.

What are your tips you use to stay in a body loving frame of mind over the holidays? Tell me all about them or share them in the comments.

I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season so far!

Krystal

P.S. If you are looking for some great self-care for the holidays, try my Daily Luscious ReTreats – 21 Days of Meditations to take you from beginner to relaxed meditator. Only $42CAD!

What is Body Positive Yoga? Why it should matter to you!

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As a Body Positive Activist and a Body Positive Yogi, I get asked the questions, “What is body positivity?” and “What is body positive yoga?” a lot.

The Body Positive movement is so near and dear to my heart and I don’t think I could offer yoga any other way. If yoga today is only for a select few who to fit into the narrow mould of a Yoga Journal cover model (white, thin, cis, able-bodied, affluent), then I am not interested in it.

I want our yoga practice to heal us. I want our yoga practice to be a place where we feel safe. I want our yoga practice to be a place of radical self-love. I want our yoga practice to be inclusive. I believe in the power of yoga to heal and transform and I believe that everyone should have access to the benefits of yoga. This is why Body Positive Yoga is so important to me!

 

First, let’s talk about Body Positivity. When I started practicing yoga, I didn’t think it was for me. I didn’t look like the other people there and I was always the biggest body in the room. So once I started teaching yoga, I wanted to make it a safe space for other people who might feel like yoga was not for them. Back then the Body Positivity movement wasn’t as popular as it is now. I didn’t even know about the term. Over the years the movement has grown and changed to become more inclusive and intersectional. A move in the right direction in my opinion.

As an evolving movement, everyone’s interpretation of body positivity might be different, but at its core the term represents the idea that all bodies are worthy of self-love, self-care, and acceptance. It includes the idea that all bodies are allowed to feel beautiful, regardless of their colour or jean size or health status or how attractive you personally find them to be. Although the mainstream media has been focusing the Body Positivity movement on feeling beautiful in our bodies, I am more interested in finding ways to love and respect our bodies, even if we desire for our bodies to change. This allows for space in the body positivity movement for someone who might still want to lose weight, or for someone who might be ill, or for someone who wants/needs to modify their body.

 

How does body positivity apply to yoga?

Yoga is for Every Body! Everyone should have access to the benefits of yoga! Yoga is not just asana (the postures), which yoga in the West tends to focus on. If one can consciously observe their breath one is practicing yoga. I have worked with people who are in palliative care. People who are unable to get out of bed and are in so much pain from cancer and the healing power of Yoga Nidra (a guided relaxation) has been the only thing they found to relieve that pain.

For me Body Positive Yoga is so much more that just body size. Yes, there is a lot of focus on body size in the Body Positivity movement as a push back against Western yoga’s focus on thin bodies and because of North America’s fatphobia erasing bigger bodies from movement based activities. If we never see larger bodies being physical, then we start to believe that it isn’t possible for larger bodies to be physical, to be healthy, to be an athlete, or to be a yogi. Here are some great resources proving otherwise:

Fat Girl Running – A blog about being an active larger girl in a thinner world via the individual yet universal sport of running.

Louise Green – Louise Green is a globally recognized plus size athlete, trainer and advocate with a leading voice at the forefront of the Body Advocacy movement.

FabUplus – FabUplus is a health, fitness and lifestyle magazine dedicated to women with curves. Their goal is to empower, encourage and inspire women to maintain a healthy lifestyle no matter what your size.

Body Positive Athletes – This is a closed Facebook Group forming a community of people who believe that the term ‘athletic’ defines a lifestyle and not a body shape or size.

Jessamyn Stanley – Jessamyn Stanley is a yoga teacher, body positive advocate, and writer based in Durham, North Carolina.

 

As a Body Positive Yoga Therapist I do my best to make sure I know as many variations and modifications of poses as I can. And I make sure offer those modifications to the poses in a way that doesn’t sound like the are a lesser pose. I also like to affirm at the beginning of the class that each student has full permission to move their body in the way that feels right for them. I believe you know your body best and you know what works best for your body. Throughout the class I will also encourage you to listen to your body and modify your poses so that you are maximizing the benefits for your body while minimizing the risk of injury.

I also use Yoga Sutra (The Book of Yoga) cards in class to help me know whether people are comfortable with hands on adjustments. The cards offer an opportunity for learning something new about yoga philosophy and then the students are invited to place the card face up near their mat if they would like hands on adjustments. Or face down near their mat if they would like to be left alone today. This way the student doesn’t have to communicate verbally and I will still check in with the student before putting my hands on them even if their card is face up. Knowing the people and the bodies in my yoga space helps me to make my classes safe. This is one of the reasons I have moved away from offering drop-in classes and now only offer pre-registered classes and workshops where people can let me know about any issues or concerns beforehand and then we can work together to make it the safest most beneficial practice for them.

I am also very aware of the language I am using during class. I never want to use body shaming language in the class, like “to burn more calories do this” or “if you are trying to lose weight try this”, or even calling a certain expression of a pose “the full expression of the pose”. The benefits of an asana practice can be experienced and felt in any variation and any body. And I want to make sure that I am using non-gendered, non-agist language, anti-racist, anti-colonial, and LGBTQ+, body positive and body ability positive language.

I strive for the space that I create for yoga to be a space to:

  • Appreciate your body for everything it can do and everything it does for you
  • Notice where your body is strong and capable and focusing on that
  • Feel your body as an ally, not an enemy you have to be at war with
  • See your worth as more than a number on a scale
  • Redefine health – My definition of health includes physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. I know you can be healthy at any size. If you are not familiar with this topic look into “Health at Every Size” by Dr. Linda Bacon.

For my business I have guiding principles that help to frame how I operate a body positive business:

1 – Honouring the Tradition of Yoga

I always strive to offer a practice that holds reverence for the lineage, history and culture from which yoga arose. I do this by studying the philosophy of yoga, knowing the history of yoga and the culture in which it arose as well as how culture has shaped what we know as yoga today, including the history of colonialism in India. I also do this by stating at the beginning of my workshops and retreats that I honour the path of yoga, I honour that it is an Indian tradition and I thank my teachers for guiding me on this path. Yoga is not mine. It is something I honour and offer to others.

2 – Unceded Chief Drygeese Traditional Territory of the Yellowknives Dene

I always strive to recognize who’s land my services are being offered on. So when I am home in Yellowknife I will state at the beginning of workshops and retreats that I thank the Yellowknives Dene for allowing me to offer my services on the unceded Chief Drygeese Traditional Territory of the Yellowknives Dene. When I am traveling, I take time to learn whose land I am visiting and will thank and honour them at the beginning of my workshops and retreats.

3 – Anti-Oppressive Space

I always strive to make the spaces I create as anti-oppressive as possible and this is challenging since we do live in oppressive spaces. I focus on making my spaces:

  • Anti-racist;
  • Anti-colonial;
  • Patriarchy resistant;
  • LGBTQ+ positive; and
  • Body and ability positive.

And I acknowledge my privilege. I can’t possibly have all the answers on how to make my spaces anti-oppressive so I always welcome conversations on how to achieve this.

4 – Accessibility

I explore ways to make my services as accessible as possible, including, but not limited to:

  • Offering free classes;
  • Offering classes-by-donation;
  • Offering classes from which proceeds will be donated to a cause; and
  • Offering to work with individual for whom cost is a barrier to make my offerings accessible.

 

I do all of this because I believe feeling safe, and this includes feeling free from oppression as much as is possible, is so important to helping us to heal. And as a Yoga Therapist, I want your yoga practice to be healing. I believe that through yoga we can heal ourselves and ultimately our world.

 

Thank you so much for reading. I would love to hear your thoughts. What does body positive yoga mean to you? Did I miss something? Why is body positive yoga important to you? Share in the comments below.

xox

Krystal

 

P.S. If you want to watch a little video of my talking about Body Positive Yoga you can do it here.

P.P.S. If you want to practice Body Positive Yoga with me, you can get started with Body Love Yoga CardsBody Love Yoga Cards is designed to get you started on your yoga journey as well as your body love journey. And you if you are already on your way, it will help you continue on that path! With Body Love Yoga Cards you are committing to a 10 day practice. It’s made for people just like you who feel like they don’t have enough time for their yoga practice.

Big shifts can come from small changes! Get started today!

 

 

 

Body Love True Stories: Part 2

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Yay! It’s time for the second instalment of Body Love True Stories – Inspirational stories of people’s body love journeys and where that journey has taken them. These stories are from people I have worked with and they are my inspiration. Their stories are so powerful and I want the world to know what is possible when we begin on our body love journey.

 

Today’s story is super powerful and reminds us that loving our bodies is truly a journey. Here’s what she has to say:

 

On her experience of yoga with me…

 

I’ve never been in a class except Krystal’s where I can move (or not move) however I feel in that moment, while still following her guidance. It has been a good gateway to give myself permission to listen to my body and be in the present, with whatever arises. I’ve also found a new appreciation for the way my body feels and moves, when I started listening to it more.

 

I remember starting yoga when I was on Weight Watchers and things have changed so drastically since…

 

I still struggle with body image regularly, but nothing compared to before, where it was almost debilitating. Now I can show up and be me more. Krystal’s classes have opened my eyes to the fact that I can give myself permission to love myself exactly as I am today. This has all been helpful on my body-love journey.

 

On her body love journey…

 

Hating myself and being on diets used to take ALL the energy and all my mental energy on a daily basis for so many years. Body positivity has given me permission (or even just a glimpse at the possibility) to love myself just as I am. It has helped me on my journey to self love and on my recovery from eating disorders. It has also helped me see the other people around me less harshly. I feel less judgmental about others because I judge myself less. I’m also more careful about the things I say, even the things I say to myself, because I don’t want to fuel negative self image. I remember spending a year not being able to look at myself in the mirror. I would avoid mirrors at all cost, just so I didn’t have to “endure” the sight of me.

 

I do not wish that on anyone… It was a difficult difficult time and I think that body positivity, paired with self discovery and nurturing self worth (for instance by doing yoga for myself now, instead of doing it for burning calories) helped me be where I am today. Two weeks ago, it dawned on me how far I have come, as I found myself dancing naked in front of the mirror.

 

Yes! She is living a Luscious Life in the body she is in right now! And even dancing naked in front of the mirror. I LOVE IT!!!!

 

Come and experience the power of body love yoga with me! The Luscious Life Program starts next Monday (Oct 24). The program is 6 weeks of diving deep into your body love journey with weekly yoga practices, meditations and lifestyle tips, plus a private Facebook group where we will all cheer each other on! I am so pumped!

 

Find out more by clicking this link to The Luscious Life Program and let me know if you have any questions. I am always here to help! Oh yeah, did I mention that as a subscriber I am offering you the program at 50% off?! And if you register today I’ll send you a bonus chakra balancing meditation for FREE!

 

Lots of love,
Krystal

Body Love True Stories: Part 1

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All this week I am going to be sharing Body Love True Stories with you. Inspirational stories of people’s body love journeys and where that journey has taken them. These stories are from people I have worked with and they are my inspiration. Their stories are so powerful and I want the world to know what is possible when we begin on our body love journey.

Our first story comes from a woman who had been practicing yoga for a while, but found group classes intimidating because she worried about being judged for ger lack of abilities and coordination. And because when she started practicing yoga with me she had recently given birth so her body was heavier than she was used to.

Sound familiar?

 

Now after practicing body positive yoga and building her body love journey this is how she feels.

Where to even begin?? I really enjoy the sense of calm I feel when I arrive at class and the culture of supportive women that attend. It’s instantly soothing. I also love the way it physically feels to move my body, it makes me feel energized and cleansed of nervous energy buildup all at the same time. I also feel a sense of accomplishment each time I practice and notice an increase in my flexibility and strength. I’m in awe at the things my body can do now that just a few weeks ago it couldn’t. I could go on, but these are the main reason I love yoga!

I am still my toughest critic, but I definitely feel more confident and comfortable in my body since starting a yoga practice. I have always loved to challenge myself to grow, but doing that physically was intimidating to me for a long time. Now physical challenges are fun and exciting to me and I can’t ever see myself going back.

Body Positive Yoga makes me feel 100% better about myself physically, mentally and emotionally. To illustrate this point, I want to emphasize that I used to avoid and cringe at any type of formalized, scheduled group exercise class. It was so intimidating to me and I could never commit to it. Now I CRAVE yoga classes and I can’t wait to go. I’m even inspired and not afraid anymore to try other types of classes that I would have shied away from previously.

Every person deserves to feel good about their body. Yoga, especially Krystal’s body positive yoga, is a super approachable and fun way to become more present and aware of the amazing things your body can do, which results in a sense of pride and confidence that for me has been truly life changing.”

Amazing! I love all the freedom her body love journey has opened up in her life! All the new experiences that feel possible for her!

And I want this for you too! The Luscious Life Program starts next Monday October 24 and I would LOVE for you to join us. The program is 6 weeks of diving deep into your body love journey with weekly yoga practices, meditations and lifestyle tips, plus a private Facebook group where we will all cheer each other on! I am so pumped!

Find out more by clicking this link to The Luscious Life Program and let me know if you have any questions. I am always here to help! Oh yeah, did I mention that as a subscriber I am offering you the program at 50% off?!

How could you say no? 😉

Lots of love,

Krystal

I Auditioned & I Got In!

Pssst did you know you can highlight any sentence to automatically tweet it? Give it a try!

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I did something really big and scary recently. I auditioned!

Follow along and learn about some of the key tools I use on my body love journey.

I have danced since I was five years old. I LOVE to dance. All forms of dance.

Due to life events and body image issues I have taken different breaks from the dance world. The most recent three year break was because I have been prioritizing my business and while I have been doing that I have also been doing some upsizing.

So when I saw that the Yellowknife Dance Collective was holding auditions I didn’t even entertain the thought of auditioning. Even though “Develop creative dance projects” is one of four goals I had for 2016 based on Danielle Laporte’s Desire Map. (If you don’t know Danielle Laporte, definitely check her out and I will be writing more on how her Desire Map has really worked for me to achieve all four goals in 2016!)

So I put the audition out of my mind…

until a fellow dancer reached out to me. She invited me to the audition and in the most beautiful way shared a heartfelt desire to dance with me again. It wasn’t about how I looked or that I might be out of “dance shape”, but that she really enjoyed dancing with me. And the truth is, I really enjoyed dancing with her.

So why was I denying myself this experience?

I was so afraid to confront my bigger body in dance. I was afraid to confront the fact that it might not move in the same way any more. That I might not be able to do the things I used to. That some of my dance skills will have been lost and that it wouldn’t feel as good as it used to.

But I remembered her kind words and I remembered the goals I had set for this year and decided I would take the pre-audition community class to just see how it feels. I gave myself permission. Permission to have negative thoughts. Permission to leave. Permission to be bad. Permission to just see what this bigger body could do.

And yes, I was the biggest body in the room and the biggest I have ever been in my life dancing, but as soon as I walked in that didn’t matter.

I was welcomed back into my community with open arms and big hugs. And the joy I felt dancing left no room in my body, my heart or my mind to be concerned with beauty standards or dance body standards.

Because of that experience the audition became at least another opportunity to dance and at most I would be invited to join the Yellowknife Dance Collective and be surrounded by passion that would build my inspiration to create new routines and choreography.

I was so elated when I found out I made it in!

Already this is having positive changes in my life. I now am practicing Belly Dance and connecting with my Macedonian roots and set up a time once a week where I get to free dance, in addition to the regular Yellowknife Dance Collective classes. So I have gone from not dancing to dancing three times a week. 2016 dance goals are being achieved!!!

All because of the kind and thoughtful words of Erin Suliak! HUGE thank you to Erin Suliak who is the reason I am dancing again and for that there is no equivalent way to express my gratitude.

I want to do this for all of you! I want to help you move your body in ways that are so delicious your mouth will water. I want to provide you with ways to reconnect with your authentic self and and take action to shine that authentic self out into the world.

I would love to be a part of your body love community. I would love for you to join our body love community. It’s easier when we aren’t alone. And somethings we can’t do alone. I don’t think I could have gone to that dance class without Erin’s encouragement, but her words built on my own body love work to tip the scale over and allow the positivity to spill out!

Tools for our Body Love Journey

  • Move your Body for Pleasure!
  • Reconnect and Shine your Authentic Self!
  • Create Communities of LOVE!

Join me for The Luscious Life Program as we explore all of these tools and more together. Our next session starts October 24 and as a subscriber you will get 50% off the regular price.

6 weeks of body lovin’ yoga, self-love meditations, body love lifestyle practices and a community of LOVE. All for $199. Payment plans are available too. Send me a quick email (krystal@thelusciouslife.ca) and we can figure out something that works for you!

I hope to be a part of your body love journey.

xox

Krystal

A UNIQUE SELF-CARE PRACTICE

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What is Self Care?

Self care is care provided “for you, by you.” It’s about identifying your own needs and taking steps to meet them. It is taking the time to do some of the activities that nurture you. Self care is about treating yourself as kindly as you treat others. It’s about self-compassion!

Worth

Which is why self-care is also linked to our own sense of worthiness. If we do not believe we are worthy of the acts of self-care or of taking that time to look after ourselves, then practicing self-care is like an uphill battle.

I definitely struggle with feelings of being unworthy. And since, in recent years, I let go of most of my unworthy feelings around my weight it allows me to see how much my level of productivity is also linked to my level of worthiness.

I hustle all the time for my worthiness by trying to show myself and the world just how productive I can be. The big one is how much I hustle to prove it to myself.

This shows up in my life by driving me to keep working into the evenings, forgoing rest, meals, movement, meditation, all in the name of productivity. I truly know now that shaming myself into practicing more self-care is also not going to work. “I should go for a walk.” “I should take a break.” “I should have meditated today.” All of these thoughts will then just get piled on to the thoughts of: “I should have finished that proposal”; “I should have gotten that facebook post out”; and “I should be creating more content for my business”.  The result will be a big crash. I won’t feel good about myself. So I won’t feel like connecting with others and I will feel isolated and ultimately I will feel depressed. It’s a vicious circle.

This is why I love Brene Brown SO much. If you haven’t heard of her, google her TedTalk. Brene says, ‘There are no prerequisites for worthiness. Worthiness is an as-is, here and now proposition.’

So all of this to say I think some of THE BEST self-care and the most accessible (but maybe not the easiest) to practice is noticing when we are hustling for our worthiness and asking ourselves “Is there another option in this situation?” “If I am trying to prove myself to others or myself, what am I hoping to gain?” “Do I maybe already have those things because I am the only one with the power to give that to myself?”

And then to switch our thinking to:

“I am the only one who decided that I am worthy. I am the only one who decides that I am worthy of love. I am the only one who decides that I am enough. And that is what I decide, I am enough. I am worthy. I am worthy of love.”

I say this is accessible because you don’t need any new equipment and you don’t even need to carve out more hours in your day to practice this so it is always available to you. However, changing our thoughts and beliefs can be WAY more challenging than trying to stretch your calves everyday. I have definitely heard the feedback from yoga students that it is less scary to try coming into a challenging pose for two minutes than to try sitting with yourself in silent meditation for two minutes.

Self-Care Exercise

This practice will be an exploration from a place of self-love and worthiness of what self-care looks like for you. I believe self-care is very personal and can look very different in different situations. There are the usual acts of self-care

  • Talk openly with a trusted friend.
  • Sit outside and listen to the birds.
  • Practice breathing exercises
  • Take a warm bath/shower

But maybe there are some ways that we can practice self-care that are little outside the box and personal to you. For example, I love playing with creative expression of how I dress, my hair and my makeup and lately I have been doing what I call, “galaxy eyebrows” where I colour my eyebrows with blue and purple and pink shadows. It helps me to feel like me. It helps me to feel like my authentic self and this lowers anxiety and improves my connection with others.

Some general ideas of things that might be self-care are:

  • Things that makes us feel good and like our authentic selves
  • Things that comfort and ground us
  • Things that make us feel calm
  • Things that lower stress
  • Things that help us feel connected
  • Things that make us happy
  • Things we are enthusiastic about

Here is the practice:

Begin by sitting comfortably. Close your eyes and settle in. Let the world outside melt away. Let go of anything that happened earlier today. Let go of anything you think you need to do later. And bring your awareness into this room. See where your body is in the room. Then see the room around you begin to fade away as you gather up your awareness and bring it fully into your body. Fully into the present moment. This time is just for you. There is nowhere else for you to be. Nothing else for you to be doing. Just being in your body. Being in this moment. That is enough.

Practice breath observation for one minute. If you notice other thoughts, label them as a thought and let them go. Then come back to the breath.

For the next minute begin to breathe in and out through your heart. Breathing in and out of the spiritual heart. The area behind the breastbone and to the right of your physical heart. Like your lungs are in your heart. Let your breath caress your heart.

In this meditative state, ask yourself the following questions to get more clear on what self-care really means for you:

  • What makes me happy?
  • What helps me feel calm?
  • Where do I find comfort?
  • Where do I find connection?
  • What tools do I have to release stress?
  • What helps me to feel good about myself?
  • When do I feel connected to my authentic self?
  • What do I feel passionate about?

Breathe here listening to your heart and getting clearer on the actions you can take to practice self-care.

I hope you enjoyed this exploration of self-care. I would love to hear about any discoveries you made in your meditation. Please share them in the comments below.

xox

Krystal

 

RADICAL INTENTIONS FOR SELF-LOVE

Happy New Year everybody!

with RADICAL INTENTIONS FOR SELF-LOVE

In my blog this week I am revisiting a post from 2 years ago, “Radical Intentions for Self-Love”. It was one of the first blog posts I ever wrote and I still believe in the message.

With the New Year comes reflection and projection. We look back on our year and assess how we did, how we felt and what did we achieve and we use this information to dream and scheme about what we want for our lives in the coming year.

I love this process. I am a big fan of learning as much as I possibly can from my experiences. And I am kinda addicted to planning. Seriously. It’s one of my favourite procrastination and stalling techniques for when I am about to launch into something scary and that my heart is attached to. From all of this reviewing and planning we start to develop goals for the next year. And goals can be very healthy and helpful guideposts for how we want to live our lives.

In the loving your body to wellness world, the New Year and the New Year’s resolutions that come with it are dangerous territory. It can seem like everyone around us is setting food restriction and exercise regimen resolutions. It’s tempting to jump on board.

But most of these New Year’s resolutions have been “broken” by January 15. Setting you up to feel like a failure and that’s definitely not my wish for the start of my 2016.

Instead of New Year resolutions, I would like to offer the concept of New Year intentions.

Resolutions are hard. Immutable. Breakable. There isn’t much room to listen to your body’s wisdom. There isn’t much room to respond to the inevitable unplanned and unforeseen events in our lives. There isn’t room to change our minds. There isn’t much room to learn and grow into a different way of being.

Intentions are open. Responsive. Present. They create space for possibility. Intentions are grounded in listening and being present with what is. They grow as we grow. This is not to say that we cannot bring discipline to our intentions. My favourite definition of discipline is practicing what is possible with consistency. And what a beautiful way that is to think of our intentions, practicing what is possible with consistency!

The Power of Self-Love

Taking this one step further, I’d love to suggest that the intentions be grounded in self-love. We may have a desired change that will come from this intention, but does it pass the self-love and self-compassion test?

  • Will you be able to listen and respond to your body’s needs?
  • Will you experience pleasure as you practice your intention?
  • Will you be living in the present moment?
  • Will your intention help you find greater contentment and gratitude?

Here’s an example of a Resolution versus an Intention:

Resolution – Stop eating sugar to be healthier

The morning of January 4th it’s a big rush to get the kids to school and yourself back to work after all that time off over the holidays and you begin to feel your holiday bliss slipping away. When you get to the office, your co-worker has brought in some delicious looking treats and after the morning you had you just can’t resist. You feel horrible. You feel like a failure. You ate the “bad” sugary food and now you feel bad.

Result = Resolution broken

Intention – Be more present in the moment so that you are eating intuitively and listening to your body’s needs.

The morning of January 4th it’s a big rush to get the kids to school and yourself back to work after all that time off over the holidays and you begin to feel your holiday bliss slipping away. But on the drive to school and work you remember your New Year’s Intention to be more present in the moment and so you take a deep, slow breath and begin to notice the beauty around you. Your kids. The scenery. The anticipation of getting back to work. And once at the office, still living in the present moment, you are offered a delicious looking treat. Rather than feeling like it is the distraction you have to have after that stressful morning, you get to choose whether you want to eat it. You are not good or bad if you eat it. You just eat it or you don’t.

Result = You immediately feel the benefit of this intention and feel empowered to keep up the PRACTICE.

So take the pressure off with a smaller number of New Year’s Intentions that can be reasonably achieved and still make profound changes in your life. Here are a few suggestions of Radical Intentions for Self-Love!

Radical Intentions for Self-Love

  • Let go of worrying about what others think.

Not everyone will like you or always like the choices you make. Stay true to your values and know that you are doing the right thing.

  • Don’t “Should” all over yourself.

As in, “I should go to the gym today”. “Should” represents some externally imposed expectation and comparing ourselves to a perceived cultural ideal and can make us resentful of our own imposed requirements to be a “better” person. Instead of “should” statements ask yourself, “What would be most loving to myself right now?”.

  • Accept what is.

When we accept what is we allow ourselves to be in the flow with life rather than resisting what is. There are things that we can change about our lives, but often it takes time to make those changes and we have to be patient with ourselves. And then there are the things we can’t change. For both the things we can and the things we can’t change, accepting what is releases us from wasting all that time and energy getting frustrated and annoyed.

  • Be in the present moment.

Probably one of the most powerful intentions you could practice. Being in the present moment lowers stress levels, opens you up to more joy, allows you to make better choices, and let’s you see the beauty around you.

What are your Radical New Year Intentions? How will you be practicing great self-love in 2016?

xox

Krystal

NEW HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

Still looking for the right gift for the yogi or yogi-to-be in your life? Check out the Luscious Life’s NEW Holiday Gift Guide, including Yoga Therapy DVDs, Yoga Nidra CDs, New 2016 Yoga Therapy Programs and our upcoming retreat!
10% of profits from DVDs and CDs go to the Centre for Northern Families.

holiday gift guide

 

xoxo

Krystal

Uplifting Yoga for Winter Days [VIDEO]

uplifting yoga for winter days

 

If you are in the Northern Hemisphere, you probably can feel the shorter days affecting you? I know I can. Up here in the Northwest Territories it’s dark when I wake up and dark again by 4pm. Winter can sometimes have negative effects leading us to fear its arrival. However, winter can also be an opportunity to slow down, embrace being creative and connect with yin and kapha energies.

This short (10 min) winter yoga flow is for people for whom the darkness is scary and an unwelcome season in their life. For people who want to know how to channel or harness the winter energy. For people who want to let go of the past and move into the new year and the new light with new energy and new vision for their life.

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 8.11.05 PM

Hope you enjoy!

xoxo

Krystal