You may have seen me post recently about a collaboration with Annie Damsky, owner of Villager Yoga, called The Fearless Om. Want to know what all the fuss is about? Check out our story + exciting *new* offerings coming this summer!Read More
In 2016, I had the opportunity to speak to a vibrant group of America's First Federal Credit Union employees on creating "The Mindful Workday." Y'all - these guys were so much fun! Corporate Wellness and speaking engagements are a big part of my business and it is such a joy when people attending the sessions are open minded and engaged. We talked about simple changes anyone can make to help reduce stress and feel present throughout the workday. Everyone was such a great sport - even when I asked them to move through some desk yoga!
So, when AmFirst invited me back for the 2017 Employee Engagement Conference, I was THRILLED. When they told me I would be speaking to 162 people, I was like WHOA...that's a lot of people. Can I even do that?
95% of being an entrepreneur is asking that question, daily; then digging deep to answer back, OF COURSE YOU CAN.
Nothing soothes my nerves like feeling prepared! Whether it's planing ahead for a workshop or prepping for my week with a fully stocked kitchen, it helps me feel a sense of balance and achievement. So, despite feeling a little overwhelmed, I got to work on my presentation, Creating Sustainable Change. In the session, I planned to discuss elements that shape our conditioned behaviors, realistic goal setting, and my top tips for kickstarting REAL change. I want you guys to benefit from this preparation and tips as well, so I'm sharing them here.
Hi from Bali! I know it's been quite awhile since my last post, but my travels have sparked a need to share in me. Mainly because I've received an abundance of messages and texts asking what I'm doing, why I'm doing it and how it all happened. So here's the story...
After quitting my full time job and starting a business a few years ago, I experienced a flood of emotions. Excitement, insecurity, doubt, empowerment, elation, anxiety and depression. Within a short span of time, I went from being unmarried, living in a low maintenance townhouse and working a regular 8-5 job in fundraising and event planning to married, historic home owner (meaning a wealth of renovation and construction in my future) and an entrepreneur. Basically, I went from independence, financial security and stability to well, everything but. Flash forward to February 2015, I'm sitting in a completely disorganized home office on a dreary southern winter day feeling a strong case of the winter blues. It was a cold, rainy Monday and I was overcome with the reality and responsibility that I was the only person that could dictate my success, future and joy. WHOA. It felt big. It still does. There's no manager or supervisor to help guide, praise or criticize me or my work. IT'S ONLY ME. For an extrovert, that's a challenging truth.
I decided I needed support, training, travel, basically any external source of wisdom. So began the search for further education. I sat in my cluttered office googling every combination of nutrition, yoga and wellness training I could imagine. I knew that I wanted something that combined yoga and food. I searched all the big wellness education centers in the US, but everything was so expensive. Thousands of dollars for a short, inconclusive training that didn't include my airfare and sometimes lodging. Then, I found it. Attuning to the Seasons by Swara Yoga in Tuscany, Italy. Call it dumb luck, call it excellent googling skills, call it divine intervention - who knows. I stumbled on a website that to this day I have not been able to find through search, only typing in the exact web address. I was totally enthralled. Two yoga classes a day and 1 cooking class everyday all centered around balancing your body to each season. It was affordable and I could use sky miles on Delta to get there. I searched more to figure out if this was even real - was it a scam? Are they Yoga Alliance certified? It all checked out. But the big question, can I do this? Can I leave and just go to Italy by myself? Later that day a close friend and workout buddy, Jenna, countered that question with why not? Why couldn't I and would't I do this? After a month or so, I booked it. Done. I was going to Italy by myself for 6 days in Tuscany learning about yoga and nutrition according to seasonal changes.
What I experienced there was more than I can put into words, several blog posts on their own. In short, I can tell you that I truly discovered how nourishing and balancing the right combination of yoga and nutrition can be. It was profound. That training combined with the experience of 10 days solo travel changed me. I felt direction and passion in a way I had never experienced. Truth be told, when I got off the train in Italy, I half expected not to be picked up. A big part of me wondered if I had transferred money to a scam artist. But it worked out - the way life does when you are living your truth and on your path. I met amazing people from all over the world (I was the only American there) and experienced 6 days of clean, sustainable living.
As the training came to a close, I learned about their 300hr Yoga Teacher Training in Bali. A 30 day immersion from October-November 2016. I asked a lot of questions, but mainly tried to convince them to offer the training in Central America. I explained all the reasons I could NEVER leave for a month for Bali. I told them it was too far. I would miss my husband, my parents & sister, my sweet Lollie girl. I couldn't leave my clients. I didn't have the money....blah blah blah. One limiting statement after another. My teacher explained to me why the training was in Bali (Spiritual Center) and why it had to be an immersion (depth and gravity of content).
I thought about the training almost daily. I thought of every reason I couldn't do it. However, just like my decision to leave my cushy job and start a business, I continued to feel a strong pull to do this. I've always had a take the road less traveled way of life anyway. So in spring 2016, I began emailing with the instructor and eventually went through the application and interview process to be accepted. After a million conversations with my husband and mom, I pulled the trigger. I put down my first deposit and set the wheels in motion.
So, now I'm in Bali washing clothes in a sink, staying in a bungalow with no AC or hot water for $27/night and I'm loving life. It took me 42 hours to get here and I really have no idea what to expect, other than certainty that this is right for me. I will be in training from October 26-November 25 with limited access to the internet. There are several people and elements that came into play in preparing for this trip that I want to share, but that's another post. For now, I'm in Bali for the next 6 weeks. My husband will meet me here just before training ends, so we can relax and enjoy this unique experience together. My normal life will resume on December 5, but I imagine "normal" will be redefined, as it is after life changing events.
For now, I would like to leave you with one quote. This quote was read in my very first yoga class by my first teacher and over the past 10 years, it has had a sneaky way of reappearing in my life and just the right moments. It reminds me that I am meant to be great and that anything is possible, when you are living your passion and truth. Our Deepest Fear, by Marianne Williamson.
The American Heart Association is one of the non-profit's I am super passionate about! I have had the opportunity to volunteer and partner with them for several events around the Birmingham area. AHA does really awesome work and has made great strides bringing awareness to heart health and overall wellness. Today is AHA Go Red for Women, which is a campaign to bring awareness specifically to women's heart health. I sat down with Danya Segrest, Director of Development for the Birmingham Heart Ball, to learn more about this campaign and the work they are doing!
What is the American Heart Association Go Red for Women day all about?
National Wear Red Day is the American Heart Association’s special day to bring attention to the number one killer of women – heart disease. This is the day we encourage everyone to wear red, show their support, know their cardiovascular risk, and take action to live longer, healthier lives.
Why is the focus on women?
Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year, killing approximately one woman every 80 seconds. Fortunately, we can change that because 80 percent of cardiac and stroke events may be prevented with education and action. That’s why this year we are asking that you wear red on National Wear Red Day and Donate to Go Red For Woman. By doing so you help support educational programs to increase women’s awareness and critical research to discover scientific knowledge about cardiovascular health. Here are some general stats about heart disease in women:
- An estimated 44 million women in the U.S. are affected by cardiovascular diseases.
- 90% of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease or stroke.
- Women have a higher lifetime risk of stroke than men.
- Fewer women than men survive their first heart attack.
- The symptoms of heart attack can be different in women vs. men, and are often misunderstood – even by some physicians.
- Sweating. Pressure. Nausea. Jaw pain. Believe it or not, these are all symptoms of a heart attack in women. They are also symptoms that women often brush off as the flu, stress or simply feeling under the weather—which could put their lives in jeopardy.
Symptoms of a heart attack:
- Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
- Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath, with or without chest discomfort.
- Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
- As with men, the most common heart attack symptom in women is chest pain or discomfort. But it’s important to note that women are more likely to experience the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.
How has "going red" helped AHA spread awareness?
On National Wear Red Day, people start to see others wearing red, buildings going red, social media pages filled with red pictures and posts – it brings attention to a subject that isn’t commonly talked about – heart disease risk in women. 1 in 3 women are affected by heart disease, and yet 80% of all heart disease is preventable. Because it helps us educate more women to know their risk, learn their numbers, and to help build healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease, National Wear Red Day has the ability to save lives. That’s why we ask people to wear red today so we can jumpstart a conversation about heart health.
Where can we learn more?
Hey friends! I've got a fun video to share with you! Friend and fellow #GIRLBOSS, Megan LaRussa and I teamed up to give you a few Healthy Holiday Tips as part 3 of her Style More, Stress Less video series. You might remember Megan from a webinar we did together last year, but if not, check out the video below then pop over to her page! My favorite aspect of her style coaching is that Megan helps truly empower clients to feel authentic and confident. She encourages clients to practice self-care, yoga, and nutrition in addition to teaching how to find individual, classic style!
Much Love & Holiday Pleasure
More Style, Less Stress video series with Megan LaRussa