Strength and Flexibility

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I used to have this thought process of how you have to get one or the other “Strength or Flexibility” and what I have learned is that we choose the concept of “OR”. We each have access to gaining strength and flexibility but it is all in the process of which we go by.

Why is it important to gain both?

Strength

Strength is important to have to help support our joints and support our tendons and ligaments. When we walk, run, bike or do any form of physical activity it produces stress and stress must go somewhere. If our muscles are not strong enough to withstand the stress that is being placed on the body then the stress goes to our joints. Stress to the joints produces injuries to those areas. So strength is very vital in helping to build stronger bones and also to help decrease the amount of stress going to our joints.

Flexibility

Flexibility is important because it allows our body to go through its full range of motion. Think about it this way…If I am using my quad muscles (thigh muscle) and it is really tight then technically when I walk, run or do any form of exercise I am only using a certain percentage of that muscle. I am not using that muscle at it’s full capacity (100%). Why is this important?

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Two reasons

  1. If the muscle is only functioning at a 50% capacity then technically we are not using the muscle at its full capacity. So therefore we are not working the entire muscle which means that are performance is not at 100%
  2. The other concept is that if we are working at muscle at 50% capacity then we are earing down that muscle and never allowing that muscle to fully be stretched out therefore causing muscle strains and muscle pulls  img_3769

So how do you incorporate strength and flexibility?

As much time as you spend lifting you should spend the same amount of time engaging into some stretching.  Some tips on how to implement it into your daily  routine

  • Create a stretching regime
  • Stretch before and after a workout
  • Allow one day a week as your restoration day (recovery day) and spend that time really focusing on doing some deep stretching
  • Implement Yoga into your workouts (Yoga not only helps increase flexibility but it also allows you to balance out your muscles)

You will come to realize that the more you implement flexibility into your workouts the more your body will be able to recover from your intense workouts. The more that you will be able to bounce back the next day. You will also notice a decrease in soreness as well. So start to change your mindset around strength and flexibility. Don’t think of the two as an “or” but think of it is as “AndStrength AND Flexibility!

 

Soulful Yogi

Trust the Process

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It’s crazy how you constantly hear the saying, “Trust the Process” but then when you are going through daily life and the ups and downs of life Trust the Process seems as if it is just a metaphor. However, what I have come to learn and understand that in trusting the process you have to be willing to learn and grow through life. Be willing to take the good and the bad not as just what it seems to be but take each opportunity, each lesson, each day as “What will I learn today?” because that is what life is all about.

Life is about lessons that we learn each and everyday. Now we do have a choice in this the same as a child in school has a choice to take in the lesson and learn from it. Therefore, we choose each and every day whether we will take in the lesson that was just taught to us and what we will do with it. Will we learn and grow from it or do the opposite?

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I choose each day despite what the lesson may be to learn and grow from it. Now I will admit there are some days that may seem to be harder than other days and I quickly remind myself Felicia be willing to take in the lesson from today. So ask your self each day you are given lessons:

“What can you learn from this lesson today?”

“What can you take in that will allow you to grow on today?”

When I take a second and sit back and ask these questions then my perspective opens up to what I am learning and how I am growing. So when I say, “Trust the Process” also be willing to learn each and everyday. Be willing to grow each and everyday. What does that require? It requires you to “Trust the Process.”

40 Days to Personal Revolution

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So most of you who know me or follow me on Social Media know that I love meditation and YOGA. Well oddly enough over the past year I have been back and forth between crossfit, running, other fitness goals and focusing on Teacher Training. Well I really truly forgot the feeling of what I would get when I practice yoga until I went through Teacher Training. I also truly realize the rekindle love that I have with Yoga and all the benefits that it brings not only to my body but my mind and soul. So 4 years ago I did 40 days to personal revolution and I felt that it was time to rekindle the flame that is burning but begin to dim. So why 40 days?

So why Yoga and why 40 days?

Yoga for me is not about just the physical practice but the mental and spiritual practice. Yoga is about taking your body through various poses, breathing through those poses, expanding yourself, growing, powering your way into new opportunities. Well that pretty much describes life too. Going through ups and downs but it is through that journey that we grow into new opportunities and into a new POWER that lies within us.

Physical Practice

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I look at this through life itself. There will be times where life will seem and feel tough, physically draining and it will require you to use strength to battle your way through those tough times and you will want to quit, you will want to get out of that position, that pose, that time in your life. It will require inner strength and physical strength to get you through. The physical practice teaches you how to use your breath to allow sthira (strength) and suka (ease). It allows you to combine the two together not only in your physical practice but also in your daily life.

Mental and Spiritual Practice

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So when I first heard of meditation I was like ummmm yeah I can’t sit here for this amount of time being still and not doing anything. I had to train myself to be still. I soon learn that as I was practicing meditation it was helping with not only to sit still for a certain amount of time but it was teaching me how to breathe through yoga poses, how to breathe through life situations, how to simply just BE. It help me learn that sometimes you simply have to just BE STILL and breathe through certain situations. The more I began to be still and simply breathe the easier the pose or the craziness of my life became. The more I realize that whatever that challenge was in my life it didn’t have control over me, I actually had control over it. The state of consciousness allows me to not let the challenge take over my sense of being.

 

40 Days of YOGA

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So follow me on this journey of Personal Revolutions

What will my 40 days look like:

I have devoted to:

  1.  Practicing yoga everyday through various forms (slow flow, power flow, deep stretch, power beats)
  2. At least a minimum of 2 Home practices (really trying to build my home practice up)
  3. Meditation twice daily
  4. 1 day of deep stretch YOGA (home or at studio)
  5. Have fun, be playful, try on new poses

Follow and Feel free to JOIN me on this journey

IG: @iamsoulfulyogi

Soulful Yogi

 

 

 

New Week, New Goals, New Mindset

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Have you ever had one of those weeks where you were like when will this week every end? I think we have all experience weeks like this; you feel like everything that could possibly go wrong in your life it seems as if it is being thrown at you and you feel like I have no energy or time for this. Some of us takes situations like this and just deal with it, while others take situations like this such and completely shut down and let it ruin weeks to come. So how do I deal with weeks like this? Believe or not I used to completely shut down from the world and just sit in my sorrow. But what good does that do……..do we really accomplish anything from doing that? Do we get closer to our goals by sobbing? Do we conquer our fears and challenges by wallowing in our disappointment or sadness? NO, NO and NO. We don’t accomplish anything when we just completely shut down. We don’t conquer our fears and challenges by just sitting in our safe box (complacency), our comfort area. We don’t solve problems by eating our way out of them. What do we do? We get out of our complacency box, our comfort zone, our fearful box and we tackle it.

So  this is how I deal with days, weeks, months or even a year of disappointments or struggles:

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I have learned from friends and acquaintances that life happens but how you approach it or deal with these situations is what really matters (did you catch that) How do you overcome battles? You SHAKE IT OFF and you stand straight up and tackle that battle.

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You have gone through that struggle or that bad week so what do you do now? You REFOCUS yourself, your goals and your life. I purposely have my manifestation board where I meditate every morning so that I can visually see it each morning. I also place affirmations around my house and it my workplace them so that I can purposely see them each day to allow myself to REFOCUS to remember my goals, aspirations and my WHY (why do I do what I do each and everyday) Nothing will get accomplish if we always stay in the same mindset.

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You learn from that struggle, battle or disappointment. What makes you stronger is not always how you deal with situations but how you learn from them so that the next time you are face with a similar situation you know how to handle it. So MAKE A PLAN OF ATTACk of how you can refrain from that situation or how you can handle it if it ever happens again.

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Now that you took time to SHAKE IT OFF, you REFOCUS yourself, MADE A PLAN now it is time to ATTACK. Attack your day with the attitude that whatever may come your way today YOU are ready to take it own full force. Attack your day with the attitude of gratitude of being PRESENT, a mindset of STRENGTH, a mindset of fearlessness.

So if you ask me today how do I get through a bad week? I will tell you this……I shake it off, refocus myself, make a plan of attack and then I simply just ATTACK. Always remember each day is a new day, new goal, new mindset and A BETTER YOU!

With love and A BETTER YOU!

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Soulful Yogi

“I AM”

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Wow those two words are so BOLD and mean so much. What you put behind these two words can shape and mold you into whoever you want or desire to be. As I sit here and ponder about what these two words meant to me in 2015 it quickly reminds me of how far I have come as a woman. There are three words or phrases that come to my mind of what I felt like on last year that started with these bold two words. I AM alone, I AM unhappy, I AM Hurt then I realized that when I changed my mindset and the way I was wording things I began to realize that my new space was…I AM LOVED, I AM JOY, I AM OF STRENGTH.

I AM LOVED

For some reason when I would say this to myself I would just cry. I would feel so alone and hurt. Why? I couldn’t understand why I was feeling that way, I was finally out of a situation that I didn’t want to be in but yet I still was sad. I realize that it was because I felt like a failure, I felt defeated, I felt as if I couldn’t do it on my own….. Fast-forward to today. I can replace this “I AM” with I AM Strong. Being a single mother truly has shown me how Strong I am and how blessed I am. I stop categorizing myself as a single mother and starting to say I am a mother who is strong, fierce, independent and well educated. I stop labeling myself as if it is negative thing. What I do know in this second and moment that I am a blessed mother of two beautiful girls who look up to me, cherish me and love me. And that is enough for me:)

I AM JOY

This was a big one I had to battle. Why was I unhappy? I was finally out of a situation that was making me unhappy but yet I was still unhappy. I figured out I was unhappy not of my situation but of the unknown. I didn’t how things were going to turn out. I had to stop looking back and looking too far ahead. I had to learn how to live in the moment. I had to learn that it is okay not to not be okay. I also learned that it is okay if it doesn’t happen the way it should happen. You regroup, detour or find a new path. Once I stop trying to control my life and the changes that I was going through I began to become happier not of the situation but of how I reacted and addressed my life each and everyday. I finally began LIVING.

I AM of STRENGTH

In 2016, I suffered from a bad injury to my left foot and I was physically hurt. Well if you have ever been injured before it is very mental. Why? because if you love to do something and one day you can’t do it anymore then it can become depressing. Running as I realized was my stress reliever, it was a way where I could escape from the world and just be. Well when I realized I couldn’t do that anymore I had to learn how to re-program my mind. I truly devoted my time to meditation. I really started to focus on changing my mindset. I realize in changing my mindset that it not only helped me to mentally recover from that injury but also mentally recover from LIFE.

So just because your I AM may not be uplifting at this point or moment in time. Think about it, why is that your I AM? Can anything be done to change that? If so what…. then change it. I can tell you one thing that can change it…is how you label it and put it. Realize that what you put behind those two words, I AM will come into reality. So speak positivity, speak life and speak happiness.

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Love and Light,

Felicia

Embracing the Present YOU

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So I often speak about this but in our fitness journey we are often taunted with our past or with the notion of what we can not do. However, we never really take the time to embrace the moment that we are in, the accomplishments we have made thus far. We are our biggest critics and we often put so much pressure on ourselves that instead of it encouraging ourselves we provide discouragement.

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As I glance at this photo that was taken this last year I begin to really be amazed at the sky and how beautiful it is. I also begin to really focus on the water and how peaceful it seems. I said to myself, “Wow this is simply beautiful”; just caught in the present moment of it’s beauty. So I really begin to equate this to our lives and thought to myself if I would just take a moment each day before I get started with my day and  really embrace ME, LOVE ME and really begin to give compliments to myself. Do you know how motivating, invigorating and encouraging that would feel? Do you think I would have a positive outlook on what I have to do for that day? Of course I would, what people often fail to realize is that this healthy journey and lifestyle is not all about just how many workouts can you do; this journey is about mentally how do you feel about yourself. Do you tear yourself down each and everyday? Do you love yourself for who you are on THIS day?

So take time out each day and really sit back and Embrace the Present YOU! Be grateful, thankful and Love the NEW YOU.

  • Love the changes your body is going through even if it is not where it needs to be.
  • Love who you have become both inner and outer.
  • Love the fact that you cared so much about your health and your body that you chose to change your life.
  • Love the downfalls that you have gone through as it has only made you stronger.

So I ask you to really LOVE YOURSELF UNCONDITIONALLY but in order to do that you must first Embrace the Present YOU!

Love and Light,

Soulful Yogi

What are you WAITING For?

Have you ever said I am going to do that tomorrow or I will get to it tomorrow? That was totally me not only with fitness but just with everyday life. Often times we don’t want to face the things that are challenging we want to do the things that are easy, comfortable, the norm. For example, I used to hate doing bills, especially if you know you have many bills to pay. I would procrastinate and procrastinate to the point where I would dread sitting down to do the bills. Well reality was that the bills were not going anywhere so why wait and prolong the process, the agony..lol. It is the same way with our fitness journeys. How many times have we made resolutions or said okay I am going to start this week? The week comes and goes and we are still in the same place, same situation, at the same point and still have not gone anywhere.

So what are we waiting for?

If we are waiting for that perfect time, perfect moment, perfect opportunity we may be waiting for a long time, The time is now, the time to evolve into true self is now, the time to explore and tap into your inner self is now. So stop waiting on the perfect opportunity or waiting for the next New Year to make another resolution. I don’t care if you have fallen off of this New Year resolution the year isn’t up…Start today. Don’t let the past pain, the past hurt, the past disappointments cause you to not start today. The true Art of Healing is understanding and accepting the past but not dwelling in the past. Learning of ways to not allow the egoic mindset to say you are your past. You are not your CIRCUMSTANCES or YOUR PAST. You are READY NOW, the time is NOW. No more excuses, no more I will wait, no more I just can’t right now. The TIME is NOW!!!

Stop Waiting…It’s time to HEAL, It’s time to start evolving in who we are.

Love and gratitude,

Felicia

Yoga 4 Athletes

Yoga has now become a very popular topic in the world today but can Yoga really help you become a better athlete?

We have all heard of the amazing benefits of yoga from a flexibility perspective but I wanted to really dive into yoga and how it can create the change that you are seeking in your life both inside and out.

Yoga and Flexibility

No doubt about it that yoga is known for increasing flexibility in your body. There are specific classes such as deep stretch that focuses on allowing your muscle to engage in a series of static stretching. Static stretching allows the neurotransmitters to send a message to the muscle to relax. It is the most common form of stretching that is seen in fitness today. Often times in our everyday life we don’t take enough time out to sit and stretch or hold a stretch for 10-30 seconds to help with flexibility. So attending a yoga class that is focused on stretching allows the muscles to relax and elongate.

Yoga and Strength

The common misperception about yoga is that it is all about stretching….and it is not. Yoga not only can increase flexibility but also increases strength. Okay so here is where I will get into the technical terms…Yoga classes helped provide two types of Muscle Contractions

Isotonic Contraction–  generates a force by changing the length of the muscle.

Isometric Contraction– generates a force but doesn’t change length in the muscle

So what does all of this mean?

In everyday fitness and often times in the sports we are constantly moving and working our muscles in a isotonic contraction. Not all the time but the majority of the time. In yoga you get a variation in these contractions…You get isotonic contraction and isometric contraction. This allows the muscles to be engaged while in movement and also without movement.  Prime example of non movement (isometric contraction) if I was to hold a Warrior 2 pose it may seem as if no muscles are working because I am not changing the length of my body. But try this on..Stand in Warrior 2 for about 3-5  minutes and you will soon realize that your quads, hamstrings, calf muscles, abdominals muscles, upper body muscles are all fully engaged and all working together to keep you in this pose. So it allows all of your muscles to be fully engaged and working together; which can help teach your body/muscles when doing activities to be fully engaged together.

Does Running, Crossfit or any sport help you to become a better Yogi?

No it is actually the opposite; engaging in yoga actually helps you to become a better runner, crossfitter and better at your sport. How? As stated before yoga helps not only teach your muscles how to be fully engaged together but also helps elongate your muscles through flexibility and allows you to utilize 100% of the muscle instead of 50% of the muscles due to muscle tightness. Yoga also helps you learn how to breathe through movements and helps you create a mindset that will help tackle some of the hardest races, or hardest competition or hardest game you may tackle….Stay Tuned for another post about Yoga and Mindset coming soon.

So should you incorporate yoga into your weekly practice…Heck YEAH!!!!

With gratitude,

Felicia

Savor the Moment

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Often times we get in the hustle and bustle of life and oddly enough my meditation today was all about stretching. At first I see these words and naturally think of stretching when you are trying to release a tight muscle or stretching because you don’t want to have any cramps or tightness in your body.

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But this is a different type of stretching but holds the same meaning. When we stretch our bodies or a muscle we are stretching to help release tension and we are holding that pose for an extending period of time. Often times after holding a stretch we feel a sense of relief, we feel like a new person, simply a new feeling.

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Well the kind of stretching I am referring to is different. This type of stretching deals with the moments in our lives.  As a society we have this on the go type feeling where we are always at a need to move, to go. But what if we stop for one moment and just stretched out the present moment, we live in the present state as long as we possibly can.

What would happen?

I’ll tell you what would happen we would experience things like no other, we would notice the beauty in that moment, it will allow us to cherish that moment. We would find peace and a sense of relief within that moment.

Why?

Because we are stretching out that moment, we are truly learning and embracing the present moment. This is the type of stretching that we need to do with our lives each and everyday. Take time out each day to release the habit of always on the go but get into the habit of embracing each present moment.

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Stretching out each present moment so that we can experience it fully, 100%. So the next time your mind is wanting to go so many miles per minute. Take a second and just stretch out the present moment. See what you see, feel what you feel, embrace everything that moment has to offer. Just as stretching will help release tension in your body physically it can do the same thing mentally. Mentally it can help relieve tension in your mind and allow you to truly wholeheartedly enjoy the moment. So I invite you to not only stretch physically but let’s practice stretching mentally.

 

 

Beyounique

The Year of Completeness

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So back from my hiatus I was inspired by a post that I wrote this time last year and as I was reading this post it really spoke to me. As I prepare this week to detach from the world…to embark on something that I would have never even imagine that I would have done. Then it dawned on me Felicia through it all you have grown, you have so much to be thankful for. It seemed like during the past couple of years I had more bad days than good days. But honestly it was through all those crazy days that I was able to truly define who I am, able to really see what God has in store, really able to see how my life is a testimony for others. See we often times think of this image of what a healthy life looks like but what we fail to realize healthy doesn’t just mean outward appearance but are you healthy from the inside out. So in celebration of my life I wanted to recap my past years so you can see that even while you are going through it may seem like there is no light at the end of the tunnel; it is there you just have to be patient.

Recap of Year 36

This is NOT OK

So almost 2 years back I was running my long run of 13 miles with my #runhomie and it just seemed like nothing that morning was going right. I had to stop several times to use the restroom, the gas station I normally stop at the employee was on break so I couldn’t use the restroom; so I had to proceed on with my run. If you have ever tried to run and you have to use the restroom then you know what I am talking about, not the best feeling ever. Then as I was running my heel begin to bother me; well at first I was like it just seems tight so I will keep running to see if it loosens up; well it did. Then I proceeded to run and it did just that it started to loosen up so I began to think okay well this is not going to be as bad as I thought.

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Ummmm I was rudely awakened

I get about at the half way point of the run and of course we are out there so the only back is to just walk all the way back or run back. So I proceeded to run back.

Then it happened

I get back to my car and when I stopped I could feel it. It was not good, I was not okay.

So then I did what was the right thing to do, I went to the doctor and they told me I had a heel spur and also plantar fascitis.

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I said to myself really not something else again, my exact words were, “Why can I not be GREAT?

So at this point I felt like there was so much going on in my life, from single motherhood to dealing with beginning stages of divorce, managing a job, two girls, one income, training and just LIFE.

I was forced to face reality, I was forced to say Fe you are not okay but guess what you will be okay.

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So I began to start the healing process, began doing rehab and just trying to battle my way back. I knew I had other races lined up for the rest of the year and also the beginning of the year.

So I did what doctors ordered and when it was time I battled back. Well meanwhile during all this time of course life doesn’t just throw you one lemon but several lemons. So after completing all the races I was signed up for I finally said enough is enough Felicia it is time to really focus on you and get healthy. So I spent 6 months through physical therapy all while going through so many changes in my life….new job, selling my home, new home, divorce and just simply motherhood. I mean you name it everything that you can imagine someone going through I was going through it all. But one thing that I kept telling myself is that Felicia it will be okay. It is okay if it seems like your life is a mess right now. It doesn’t mean that you are going to always stay in that state.

See we all have this thing called pride that often times we have to face. We are ashamed of saying,

“You know what I am struggling today.”

“You know what I am having an OFF day today”

or

“You know what I am not OK at this moment”

What makes us stronger is the ability to recognize that and know that we will not be in that state very long.

To know that there is HOPE

To know that everything will be OK

To know that it is okay to have those days

To know that it is those days that help build us, help make us stronger

 

So what did I learn?

I learn that it is okay to not be OK.

It is okay to have an OFF day.

It is okay to say I am having an OFF day.

It is okay to say I am struggling right now.

What else did I learn?

It is when we face that everything is not OK that is when we BUILD when we get STRONGER and that is when we begin to have HOPE that even though at this very moment in time it may not be okay but I know that everything will be okay.

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So here is to this craziness called Life, to lessons learn, to overcoming battles. Despite how things may seem or just seems like you can’t catch a break. It’s okay to not be okay the key is to not stay in that place. Dust yourself off and keep moving forward.

So now fastfoward to the year of 37….Why such a big meaning? 3 defines divine protection/guidance and 7 is completeness (both physically and spiritually) That is what Beyounique is all about is developing: STRONG MIND + STRONG SPIRIT= STRONG BODY (Completeness)

So what better way to display this than to go clear across the country and detach myself from the world and do what I absolutely love doing which is Yoga and Meditation. So as I begin my journey today in Bali, Indonesia know that despite whatever you may be going through there is hope, there is peace, there is a NEW DAY. In order to rebuild on a solid foundation sometimes we have to tear down the bad, the ugly, the not so good things that are lingering in our lives. So don’t give up on your dreams, don’t say I CAN’T dust yourself off and I say just because I can’t right now doesn’t mean I can’t it just means in due time I WILL.

And that my friends is the equation and solution for a HEALTHY LIFESTYLE.

 

With love

Felicia