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

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

 

 

 

“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.

Silhouette of a woman doing yoga on the beach at sunset

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

Breaking the Chains

 

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When you think of breaking the chains I imagine being shackled together being in a rut, can’t release, can’t get away from. Breaking the chains can be something that is physically going on with you and also literally. So what do I mean when I say, “Breaking the Chains”? Breaking the Chains is all the expectations that we hold on ourselves. Often times we set such high bars and expectations for ourselves that we feel like we are in chains..we can’t seem to catch a break, we feel like we are less than because we didn’t complete that task. We feel as if we just will never break free from our past, from our mistakes, from our problems, from our current issues, from just life in general. We don’t have to continue to be shackled, we don’t have to continue to be chained….

BREAK THE CHAIN

 

  • Release the mindset that you have to be perfect

 

  • Release the mindset that everything has to work a certain way

 

  • Release the mindset that you have to do everything all on your own

 

  • Release the concept that you don’t need help or that asking for help will make you inferior.

 

These are the chains that we put on ourselves each and everyday that holds us back from achieving our goals and dreams. It’s these chains that we put on ourselves every morning before we walk out of the door.

  • We want to move forward

 

  • We want to move ahead

 

  • We want to fulfill that goal and dream but we feel we can not because we feel incapable of doing it

BUT

WE can but we must first break the chain that we have placed on our lives.

Stop feeling like life has to look a certain way, stop putting high expectations on yourself and start living. Start accepting each moment and each experience that comes in our lives as not a bad thing but as guide to help us achieve the goals that we are setting to achieve…but first you have to break the CHAINS!!!

Riding the Waves

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During my meditation on the other day I begin to really just focus on my breath on trying to just quiet my mind. My mind was everywhere, I just couldn’t keep still, I couldn’t just relax and breathe. I was letting the lost of a love one, the moving homes, the transitioning of my girls to a new school, the finances, the schoolwork, the lack of this, lack of that just overtake my mind. Then it hit me…Felicia why are you letting all of these things overpower you? Why are you letting the waves of life pull you under? Why are you letting the waves of life take you completely out of self. It dawned on me…Felicia life is like riding waves, sometimes we have to go back to shore to get our composure together. Sometimes we have to go back to shore to regroup, to refocus, to reset…And that is okay. So that is what I did…

I went to shore

I reset

I regrouped

I refocused my mind

So realize that despite what may be going on in your life….look at life as waves…Don’t let the wave overtake you….Ride the waves. If you fall down, get back up on the board….continue to ride…..continue to hold steady. If you have to go to shore realize that is okay but don’t just stay on the shore wishing you would have, could have, should have. Get back out on the waves of life…And keep riding, keep pushing, keep striving, keep staying afloat. Don’t let the wave take you out but you take control over that wave.

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

Go out and BE GREAT!

 

 

 

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It’s a new day, start of a new week, new journey, new You. So what are you waiting for? Are you waiting for approval? Are you waiting for someone to say You can Do It? Are you waiting for someone to discredit you or say you can’t do it. Don’t wait for approval. Don’t wait for someone to say you can do it. Go out and do it.. Go out and be Great. I remember a time when I always waited for others approval or I waited to see if anyone would congratulate me on whatever I did. If I felt as if no one congratulated me then I thought wow I must not have been great at it or I must have not done a great job. Why do we wait on others to validate us? Why do we wait on others to say good job? We wait or we thrive off of that because it makes us feel loved, it makes us feel accepted, it makes us feel that we belong, that we are somebody. So I am here to tell you stop waiting on others validations. Stop waiting for others to give you praise on your accomplishments. Go out and BE GREAT whatever that may look like, whatever it may feel like, no matter what anyone else says, no matter if anyone else sees it as a GREAT. IT IS GREAT, anything that you do that is bringing out the better version of YOU is being GREAT. So stop sitting back waiting on someone else to tell you to be GREAT. Go out and BE GREAT on your own:)

Love

Felicia

Happiness

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So everyone wants to be happy, everyone wants to live a happy life but what does that look like? We are always caught up in what happiness should look like instead of realizing that happiness lies from within.

When I was younger I was like most little girls I dreamed that one day I would be famous and I would have this perfect life, with the perfect husband and perfect kids and just perfect fairy tale story. As I got older I quickly realized that there is no such thing as perfection. I never knew while I was growing up that I would face weight problems, depression, separation, anxiety, disappointment, single motherhood. That was never part of the picture. As I have gone through these things I have learned what true happiness is and what it is not.

I realized that happiness is not what we think that our life should look like, happiness is accepting where we are now and enjoying the life that we have now.

Why all of this talk about Happiness?

So as I went through all of these points in my life I realized that the reason that I was experiencing the weight gain, the depression, the anxiety, the stress issues is because I was not HAPPY, I thought my life was an uttermost mess because this wasn’t the picture of what Happiness is suppose to look like. As I have learned each and everyday is that we Create our Happiness. The more that we create our Happiness on our own level the happier we are.

So stop dwelling on what your life is suppose to look like or how you are suppose to be and embrace who you are today, be happy of what you have gone through and where you are today. Because that is what Creates your  Happiness.

 

How does this relate to fitness?

Well when you are unhappy you begin to stress, eat more, not eat at all, become less fit.

Stress= creates unhealthiness

Eating too much of bad foods= create unhealthiness

Not eating enough=create unhealthiness

Not engaging in physical activity= create unhealthines

 

So…………………………….

Tired of that weight gain, well do something about it. 

Tired of the depression and anxiety, do something about it.

Tired of not getting the results, do something about it.

Tired of not being happy, well stop and think why am I not happy.

 

We make the choice, we can choose to be happy or we can choose to live in the same state of being. Once we embrace and choose the happiness that is right in front of our faces the happier we will be, the healthier we will be, the more we will achieve the goals that we are setting out to achieve.

 

Strong mind + Strong Spirit= Strong Body

 

Enjoy the life you are living at this moment and time

 

With love and happiness,

Felicia

Clean Up the Messes

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The Mess

How many times have you gone home or in your office or looked at your desk and said, “Whew I need to clean up all this mess?” I know that I have plenty of times. So I may take a little at a time and begin to clean it up. But do we really clean it or do we just straighten it up so that it looks clean? That is how our lives are as well. Are we truly cleaning up the messes in our lives or are we just straightening things up just so that it appears that it is clean.

Don’t just Straighten up…Clean UP

Often times before we can truly grow or see growth in our lives we have to clean up the messes. I equate this to my spring cleaning that I am doing right now. It’s crazy how before you can truly get to the finish product the pile of crap and mess that is surrounded by you. That is how I life is…Often times in order to see that true growth sometimes we have messes that are still within ourselves, within our lives. I look at it like my girls sometimes I tell them to clean up their room and they will push all their clothes underneath their bed or they will put the clothes towards the back of the closet. That is similar with our lives….often times we think that everything is cleaned, everything is all good but we still have messes that we have swept under the bed, swept over into another corner. We must realize that in order to truly be at peace, truly be in that full growth we have to clean up all the messes that lies within our lives. When we finally tackle all the messes that is when true growth happens, that is when we can blossom, that is when we can truly walk in our true SELF. But in order to truly walk in your most Powerful SELF you have to clean up the messes first.

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Beyounique