Friday, July 17, 2020

When it Began:Why I thought I would love Yoga

When I began my yoga journey I was very interested in the things my physical body could do. I still am, to be honest, however my physical self is no longer my main focus. I'd love to stretch my foot behind my head and get into incredibly complex arm balances, but to what end? Why did/do I want to do those things? Mostly because it looks really cool, I could take amazing pictures...

Yoga eventually become so much more. Yoga saved me in a way I was not expecting it to. Sure, my body is more flexible than it was before, however, it's those other parts of me that have been impacted to most.

When I was taking my yoga teacher training I was going through a very long, very difficult spiritual awakening. I was frustrated by the disparities in my religion, I was annoyed at the people who never seemed to question anything, I was confused about what I should do and frankly who I was.

I began to understand the pause that yoga brings to life. The opportunity to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. The practice of taking the journey instead of trying to skip straight to the end.

I began -in my life- to pause, to lean into the uncomfortable situations, and to do the work that this life requires of us.
I allowed the my mind, body, and spirit to become more united, to yoke together and learn from one another.
I began to become a more complete version of myself.

This is not to say that I no longer have any questions, hard days, or face confusion. I still experience these things in abundance. I am now more adept at dealing with them. Putting in the extra work feel like bondage, but it is actually freedom.

Fast is slow, Slow is fast.

Yoga training found Here 

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

5 Things Strong Couples Do

Today Todd and I celebrate EIGHT years of marriage! We don't know everything... but we have learned some pretty good lessons along the way. Here are 5 (erm... 6) things that we do to keep our love alive! 

5 Things Strong Couples Do
1: Connect Daily: Take some time each day to check in with each other. Even if one of us is traveling we text, call, or email each day to stay in tune with one another. If we are in person, sometimes our connection is both physical and emotional. One of my favorite things in the world is a nice 5 minutes hug, This connection each day helps us to be in tune with each each other, and to remind ourselves how much we care about one another.

2: Put their partner first.: This is relationship 101, but is HARD to put into practice. We know it, we are right there with you. Something that we’ve come to realize is that often our first thought might be only for ourselves, but what really matters is what we actually do. If your first instinct is to eat the bigger half of the last slice of pizza you are not a monster. If you let your partner have the bigger half, you are practicing putting them first.

3: Are independently united: We are SO different Todd wants to watch sports, Alaina wants to go to the theater, Alaina is social, Todd, not so much. How can we still love and support each other? We have the same end goal(s) in mind. We stand hand in hand (neither one in front of the other) facing the direction of our goals and our dreams. This is not a perfect science, and is often tweaked when life happens, or goals and plans have to be adjusted, but we do it all together while still being Todd and Alaina independently united.

4: Talk openly about sex and intimacy: Can I be frank? You should probably not be having sex if you cannot have an honest conversation about it… These conversations can be to set up rules or boundaries, talk about likes and dislikes, when and where, etc. etc. We consider sex and intimacy to be two different things. It’s possible to have sex without any intimacy and it’s possible to have intimacy without any sex. BOTH men and women need healthy doses of each in a relationship. Being open and honest about your emotional and physical needs in a relationship is crucial, not just for the health of your relationship, but your health as well!

5: Work on their health and wellness: If we are suffering from fatigue, stress, and general dis-ease it is hard to be our best selves. This is why we believe so strongly that one of the components of a healthy relationship is that each partner is working on their own health and well being. This is going to look different in each relationship and for each partner, but some places to start are, eating vegetables at every meal, going for a walk several times a week, meditating or working on other mindfulness practices, and focusing on what really matters. 6 packs are great, but even better is living free of pain and disease.

Bonus: Practice non-sexually intimacy: I hinted to this above. Non-sexual touch is something that has been almost banished from our society. It’s like we’ve forgotten how to do it. Here are some ways we can practice non-sexual intimacy, holding hands, hugging, kissing, gazing into each other’s eyes, slow dancing, talking about dreams and goals, and really listening to one another, hand and foot massages. Simply taking the opportunity to let your partner know how much they mean to you, with no expectations, is practicing non-sexual intimacy. This will change your life and greatly impact your other relationships as well!

Peace found Here 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Halloween Workout

Happy Halloween Ghouls and Ghosts!
I've put together a super spooky workout for you. Click the exercise name for a video on how to do it!

Repeat 3-5 total rounds
Frankenstein Walks: 8 Each side
Spiderman Exercise: 8 on each side
Seesaw Shredder: 20 seconds
Deadlift: 8
Rising From the Grave (Straight Leg Sit Up): 8
Atomic Push Up: 8
Face Pull: 8

I know this is a bit punny, I hope you enjoy!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Women's Health: Emotional and Physical Self Defense, Part 1: Empowering Yourself

The first thing I want to say is how tragic I find it that this is an issue, that self defense is a special part of keeping a woman healthy and alive. This is a whole other topic for another day (or week, or month) though.

A few years ago I took a Women's Self Defence class through my work. It was pretty great, and I felt like I picked it all up fairly easily, although I often tried to rely strictly on my physical strength instead of leveraging momentum and the proper angles...pretty typical for me.
Anyway. The class took place over several weekends and was taught by one of our security guards and his wife. They had been certified to instruct the course and were amazing.

He started things off by talking about the value of women. He talked about how many women play major roles in their household financials, and other "smart work" that the world has deemed women unworthy of doing. He mentioned that women were the organizers, and the doers. Without women the world would not be able to function because the men would never be able to pick up all the pieces.
Not a direct quote.
I was like, "H@** yeah!"

We started getting into the program and went around to explain why we were taking the course. There had been a lot of creepy men hanging around my place of work and I had to close each night, so that was why I was there. I listened in complete shock while the majority of the women explained about some form of abuse or attack that had taken place in their lives. Many of the attacks had been years and years ago, and they had just developed the courage to learn how to defend themselves.
Throughout the course many of these same women would ask questions regarding the welfare of their attacker. No joke. Things like, "Well, what I should I do if he gets knocked out?" "What if his head is bleeding? Do I need to wait with him?"
I was utterly dumbfounded. I kept thinking, "His big plan is to kidnap, rape, and murder you. If you are fortunate enough to knock him out his wellbeing should be at the very bottom of your list!"

I began to develop a deeper understanding of these women when it came to the actual physical practice. Just to give you some perspective. Our security guard and instructor is around 6'4" and properly weighs in at around 250 lbs. He is a big guy, a former police officer, and death row prison guard. He was also clad head to toe in one of these red padded foam suits.
We were not going to hurt him.

When it came time for some of us to practice the physical skills of kneeing, kicking, and even head butting, some of the women would break down, they simply could not do it. They would begin to cry as they raised their arm to strike him.

  They simply did not value themselves enough to believe that they were worth defending. 

I realized throughout the training that a large part of  why women become victims of physical abuse and assault is because we have been victims of some form of emotional abuse or assault our entire lives. 

This looks very different for each person, and I will not try to understand or explain every journey. My hope in the post is to help you gain an awareness, and empower you to make change! 

There is a system in place.

In the US it is set up to remind us that women are still basically viewed as "less than" any man regardless of education, employment, literacy, you name it. The penis is the most powerful status symbol this world has to offer, and if you were not lucky enough to be born with one..well you're stuck serving those who were. 

Women are reminded of this daily both through subtleties and boldness. Think of Bill Clinton ( a smooth talking womanizer) and Donald Trump (a loud, outspoken, misogynist) Both have sent us the message time and again. "I use women for what I need then move on." "Women are not valuable enough to be put into health care plans, women are not valuable enough to be emotionally and physically loyal to." "They are only as valuable as my current selfish indulgences allow them to be." 

Ladies, this is coming at us from all angles! No wonder we are tired and stressed out all the time!  I want to tell you, that despite all of this we bring an incredible value to the world! I want you to know that YOU bring an incredible value to the world.  

Our value lies not in our sacred ability to create life, but in our willingness to do it after centuries of oppression and abuse. Our value lies not in our ability to keep track of everybody's schedule and remember our mother in law's birthday, but in our willingness to drive our son to activities when there is no equivalent offering for our daughter. Our value is our ability to create something incredible for our daughter, and our willingness to share it with our neighbor's daughter or son. 

We have learned to be everything for everybody, and basically nothing for ourselves. 

Don't get me wrong. Serving others and creating with, and for, our families (friends, and coworkers) are beautiful and often fulfilling processes. The difference is the way in which it is done. 
If it is expected that the woman will handle the majority of the housework, the rearing of the children, and organization + execution of most tasks, at home and in the workplace, the process is no longer fulfilling. When it is approached from this angle (from either men or women) it changes from service and care to compulsion.  

How do we make change happen? I strongly believe that change is made one small step at a time. I hope, that by reading this, you have felt something, or maybe noticed something you had not before. I hope that you will feel inspired to make a change in your own life. Even something as small as waking up each morning and reminding yourself that you have value! I love the mantra:

My greatness is immeasuable
 Look in the the mirror and say outloud, "My greatness is immeasurable!" Not only are you capable of doing hard things, you are worthy of the kind of tender love and care that you show to the world. 

Below is a short meditation you can practice to help you begin on this journey.

Begin in a comfortable seated position. If you are in a chair press both feet flat on the floor, if you are sitting on the floor try to plant your sit bones into the mat or bolster that you are on. 

Begin by breathing in and out through the nose and draw your focus to your breath. If you feel comfortable, gently relax your eyes to closed. Continue to concentrate on your breath and begin to become aware of the many sensations it causes in your body. Can you feel the way air fills your lungs? Are your chest or shoulders rising and falling with each breath? What else can you notice? 
Take a moment and really experience a few breaths. 

Plant your feet or sit bones firmly into the ground. Can you feel the solid, steady, hand of our mother earth? Allow that strength to rise up through your body. Feel it entering in through your feet or sit bones. Feel it coursing through your legs and working it's way up to your center. Pause for a moment on your solar plexus, the powerhouse of the body. Feel it's warm golden glow. It is the strength of the universe shining through you. Focus on this light and allow it to continue upward through your body wrapping itself around you in a warm and comforting embrace. Hold onto that light and comfort and remind yourself that you are not only, worthy of the light of the universe, but you are also the source of light in the universe. This light has always been, and will always be, inside of you. 

Slowly begin to bring your inner eye back into focus and bring awareness back to the breath of your body. Watch as the light of the universe slowly begins to draw back into your core until it is a small glowing light. 

Even though this light cannot always be seen it is always inside of you. You may call upon this light for strength and courage. It is always here for you. 

When you are ready repeat out loud the mantra, "My Greatness is Immeasurable" three times.

In Part Two we will talk about physical safety.

Peace found Here 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

My Top 5 Foolproof Nutrition Tips

I get asked ALL.THE.TIME. what my top tips for nutrition are, or if people should subscribe to a specific type of diet that is making headlines. Generally people want something flashy and sexy. Something that will shrink their waist or grow their muscles in a matter of minutes/days, and I generally leave them feeling disappointed. Not my favorite thing to do.
Nutrition is a lifelong pursuit. You can't undo years of sedentary donut eating in one weekend. You can, begin to make big and healthy changes in your life right now!
So, without further ado, here they are. My top 5 fool proof nutrition tips.

1: Eat Slowly
Yup, that's my #1 eat slowly. This is important because it takes a while for our brains to get the message from our stomach that we are full. Eating slowly gives our body more time to get the message. This is also a great way to help prevent you from eating the entire bag of chips, or box of cookies, or whatever.
Here are some tricks to help make it happen.

  • Put your fork down between bites
  • Chew slowly and completely before swallowing
  • Drink water or tea with your meal
  • Turn off technology while eating (no joke)
2: Stop at 80% full
Remember when I said it takes our brain a long time to get the signal that we are full? It was like 30 seconds ago... So, stopping at 80% full helps us to not feel heavy and bloated after a meal/feeding. It also helps us to save some of our favorite food as leftovers later on. This one can get tricky for those who have "number" brains, or are very literal. You've got to experiment. Practice tuning into your boy while you're eating, and think "hmmm, does my stomach feel like it has enough food in it? Am I at 80(ish) percent?" Then stop eating. If you feel hungry in an hour you probably stopped too soon. If you feel bloated and yucky, you probably did not stop soon enough. Experiment on your body. Science is rad. Be a part of it. 
  • Start by eating slowly (see above)
  • Tune in to your body
  • Experiment on yourself..Science
  • Take notes
  • Learn to love leftovers (most of our plates and serving sizes are waaaay too big) 
3:Drink Plenty of Water
Water is my jam. Like I don't use it on sandwiches or anything, but I do use it for everything else. When we are hydrated we feel and look better. It helps to keep our skin bright and wrinkle free (ish) it keeps our hair shiny and nails strong. It also keeps our minds clear, so we can do our best work, and our joints lubed up so that we can move our best. Water is the key to all life (along with the sun) and our bodies need a constant resupply. If you lie in a dry area you probably need more. If you sweat a lot same thing. Most adults need about two liters a day. You can do this! 
  • Cary a water bottle around with you
  • Eat lots of fresh veggies and fruits (they are loaded with water)
  • Try infused water or tea (no sugar added)
  • Give up on (at least limit) calorie dense drinks (soda, flavored coffee and tea, alcohol) 
4: Add Lean Protein and Veggies or Fruits to Each Feeding
Need a snack? Grab some string cheese and carrot sticks. Hate that option, that's okay, find something you love. Make sure it's loaded with, you guessed it, lean protein and veggies, or fruits. If you need to watch your blood sugar stay with veggies, if you hate veggies try some fruit-or learn to love veggies. Seriously, there are 100s out there, there has to one you'll tolerate. 
  • Learn to prep your food-the best way to ensure you always get what you want/need
  • Find easy to snack on foods like baby carrots, string cheese, mini bell peppers, etc.
  • Get in the habit, this means just do it, and keep doing it
  • Get friends/family involved. If you live with someone it's easies to eat heathy together!
5: Be Mindful
Being aware of what/when/how much you are eating is key. Accepting the consequences for your food choices is the second part. There are not inherently good or bad foods. Some people are extremely allergic to raw vegetables, some people react negatively to dairy. Sometimes it's good for the soul to celebrate a dear friend's birthday by enjoying a slice of cake together. Again, pay attention.  Become aware of how you feel before/after feedings and take responsibility for it. If you feel like crap after a certain type of food, think about that before you eat it next time. Is this food "worth" that feeling. If so, dig in. If not, don't. Easy, right. It's actually pretty tough. I'm asking you to be present throughout your day. 
  • Take notes on how you feel before/after feedings
  • Slow down before/during/after eating (again, I know) 
  • Check in with your body-How are you feeling?
  • Check in with your mind/heart-How are you feeling? 

There you have it. These are my top 5 tips. The sexiest and flashiest nutrition tips of life. 

Remember to sign up for the Healthy Holidays Challenge today! 

Yogic wisdom found Here 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Speak Your Truth to Create Positive Change

Tonight (October 5, 2017) we have a full moon in Aries. I love the moon, and I love Aries, so this is an exciting time!
What this means for you is that it's a great time to gain clarity on your personal truth, and use your voice to speak your truth in a dynamic way.
The full moon in Aries is directly across from our sun in Libra.

The sun in Libra encourages us to build healthy relationships and find peace within ourselves.  Libra is diplomatic, persuasive, and empathetic. The sun represents our identity, so, if you've been feeling these pulls don't fight it. It's all part of the weather. Libra's mantra is "I come in peace." Something we could all use a bit more of right now.

The moon represents our soul and emotions. Aries is dynamic, quick motivated, and pioneering. Can you think of a better pair to enact positive change?! If you have been feeling the pull of peacemaker and change maker this is why.

This is a very powerful time for those who are seeking to be heard, and to find their voice. This is a time for us to claim our power back in a peaceful and loving way. Harnessing the power of Libra to be a peacemaker and develop healthy loving relationships while honing in on Aries drive and initiative can and will create a powerful and peaceful tide of change.

"True power is driven by compassion and empathy.

It is fluid, and easy to share with others. Power allows you to prop others up, to speak with clarity for truth and justice, and to elevate the greater good without putting others down. Speaking your truth to others in power creates a connective tissue that bands everyone together, creating the kind of cohesion that even those exerting force over you cannot resist.”

If you have ever thought you were too small to make a difference, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room! All of us, no matter how “small,” have tremendous power. Mercury (the ruler of the throat chakra) and the full moon in Aries drive us to find it this month. With Aries’ qualities of action, planning and forward momentum, we have the strength to utilize our clear, compassionate communication for thoughtful change and influence on our immediate and global surroundings."
Alanna Kaivalya

Now is our time our friends. One voice can make a difference. Your voice can make a difference. 


More Soul Weather Here 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Be the Light Share the Light

As part of my effort to give back and to share the light I am doing a little giveaway! You can enter someone you care about to receive a free two hour partner yoga session! This giveaway will be for local folks only (or someone willing to travel)

Partner yoga is an incredible relaxing and rejuvenating experience. The receiver primary stays in savanna and the practitioner (me) moves them through several deeply healing yoga postures. It is pure bliss. No joke. 

So, this is a two fold chance for spreading some goodness. You have the opportunity to write all the amazing things you love about the person who you'd like to see win! 

Here is how it'll work. 

1: Find and like the post on Instagram  Let me know if you have any trouble
2: Write at least a paragraph about the person you think deserves to win. 
3: Post it to social media tagging me @awoodfitness and using the hash tag #bethelightawf 
        Feel free to also use #sharethelight #bethelight
4: If you, or the person you are nominating is shy and/or very private feel free to message me your entry!

THREE entries will be chosen to win! All entries must be submitted by October 15th.  

I hope that this will be a great chance for all of us to share the light during these dark and troubling times. 

I know that if we stand united in giving more good into the world we can make an incredible impact! 

Much love!


Partner Yoga Learned Here 

Monday, October 2, 2017

Holding Space for Peace

I have spent much of the day unsure of how to respond or what to say about another act of senseless violence in our beautiful country. My heart is beyond broken for all those who are feeling such pain, fear, and grief.
I am religious, so I have been sending prayers to bless these families. I have also been holding space. To hold space means to give of your light and love unconditionally, free of judgement and fear. It means to lift up your heart and mind in unity with all that is good. The world, and all of it's inhabitants are made up of energy. When we are holding space we are sending all of our uplifting and healing energy out into the world. If a community unites in this practice it can be even more impactful!
I love this practice of both prayer and holding space. I love to send good and positive energy into the universe without judgment or expectation.
I also love things that are a bit more tangible.
I came across a post that a friend had shared on Facebook today. The author said that she had done a random act of kindness for each life that was lost in the Sandy Hook shooting. Her goal was to bring more love and joy into he world. This is such an inspired idea! I will be following her lead and performing an act of kindness for each life lost during the terrible act of violence in Las Vegas.
I hope, my friends, that you will join me in holding space, sending prayers, and being kind.

Be the light. Share the light.

More Yogic Wisdom found Here 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Healthy Holidays Challenge

The holidays can be a tough time of year! Our stress levels rise, we get busier and busier every year, and it never seems to stop! 

Make this year your best year yet. Manage stress, eat healthy, and exercise to give yourself more energy, and more quality time to spend with your family. 

Bonus: enter for a chance to win great prizes!!

Register Now! 

The challenge runs Oct through Dec. Competition officially begins on Oct 1st and ends on Dec 31st. Registration will remain open through Oct 15th. 

What you get: 
Daily emails including nutrition and lifestyle coaching
Daily workouts customized to your current fitness level and goals
Access to private Facebook group with your fellow competitors
Monthly online webinars and coaching sessions
Chance to win incredible prizes

The cost:
$80/month paid monthly
$200 paid in full registration

Sign up now and get a free bonus! 
The Kitchen Rescue Pak

Yogic wisdom found Here 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

One of My All Time Favorite Recipes: Salsa Chicken

I LOVE this dish. It's stupid easy to make, and is always a hit. I sort of discovered it on accident one day when I had to feed a billion people.

Here it is: Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

What you need:
6-8 Frozen Chicken Breasts
1: 24 oz jar of your favorite salsa
1-2 Tablespoons Ground Flax Seed

Put all ingredients into your slow cooker be sure to cover as much chicken as you can with the salsa. Cook on high for 8 hours. Shred the chicken and serve hot over riced cauliflower or on your favorite whole grain tortilla. Enjoy!

Yogic wisdom found Here 

Monday, August 21, 2017

A Total Eclipse of the Heart

With the total solar eclipse happening today in U.S. you have probably already felt and perhaps even seen some of the effects. The moment of the sun, moon, and planets can have a big impact on us, and a major event such as this one can be felt for weeks before it happens. So, if your last couple of weeks have felt a bit off, or you have been more sensitive than usual, there is a perfectly good explanation for it. We can blame it on the stars. ;)

Cosmic events like this inevitably stir up old wounds, challenge our perceptions, and reflect our inadequacies back to us in ways we could never imagine. It uncovers what has been hidden for too long… What is revealed is our greatest gift. All things must come to the light, and this is the universe's way of nudging us along the path. 

In the last couple of weeks I have felt tugged on by my past, a place I work hard to not dwell. Feeling old hurts and embarrassments, and reflecting on things that I might have done better. These memories and pains have pulled me toward seeking resolution, not revenge, but self healing resolution. 

These past pains, and the challenge to our perception of who we are allow us to dig deeper into ourselves, and discover what is actually real (hint, it's only this moment) It does not due to dwell in the past. We must acknowledge our past hurts and pains, they are real after all. Once we've acknowledged them we must set them aside and move forward. 

If you are ready to stop sleeping through your life, and to start living it, join me for life coaching, and soul weather astrology readings. 

Astrology training taken Here 

When it Began:Why I thought I would love Yoga

When I began my yoga journey I was very interested in the things my physical body could do. I still am, to be honest, however my physical se...