Happy Birthday Brother Bear!

Everytime June comes around I am reminded of the kind and wonderful human my brother was and how he impacted my life and many others.  My brother Johan was born on June 4th, 1988, three years before I was born, and was the apple of my parent’s eyes.  He was an active little dude always running around or doing something and this didn’t much change at all really when he was alive.  Well, the little dude thing definitely changed, he turned out to be 6’1 210-220, but he was always doing something or attempting to go somewhere.  Then in August of 1991 I decided it was time to break up the party and arrive.  According to my parents he was so happy to be an older brother, always playing with me, and making sure I was ok.  One of my favorite memories from when we were growing up was him reading to me or catching lighting bugs in the backyard on summer nights.  When our dad surprised him with a Super Nintendo (which I still have to this day, Mario Kart is my jam!) he would always ask if I could play it with him, even though I was terrible at video games.  I think he would purposely loose just so I could win every now and then.  We still were very close throughout middle school and high school.  When I was a freshman in high school he was a senior and anytime I would see him in the hallway, he would run up and hug me while singing/screaming my name.  At the time I remember how embarrassing I thought it was, but now I would give anything to have those moments back.  We drifted apart while I was finishing up high school and going into college due to my brother’s drug addiction and substance abuse.  It was a difficult time for myself and my family, but just like a lot of families did, we survived to see another day over and over and over again.  Johan was sober for almost a year and during that year our friendship was back to how it always was; he was my best friend.  We would stay up late talking sometimes till 1/2/3/4 o’clock in the morning just shooting the shit.  He would ask about something trivial and I would snap back a remark and before I finished my remark we would be onto a different topic laughing like two insane clowns that just got done murdering an innocent victim (my brother and I’s laugh sounds like the laugh of a killer clown).   Then one day, at the end of February he was gone and life as I knew it would be forever changed.

June 4th, 2018 my brother would have been 30 years old (he died at 26) and I will officially be older then him when I turn 27 in August, which is a strange feeling.

June 5th or 6th of 2013 marks the last day I ever saw Johan alive and if I did the math correctly that’s 5 years.  I haven’t seen him in five years and that is another strange feeling that I will eventually get use to.

His death is something I will never get over, there will always be a part of me that thinks he will eventually just come home and life will be how it was (even though I know it is not true and he is truly never coming home).

Happy Birthday Brother Bear, you are officially old…..I love you and miss you more now than I ever have.  Until I see you again (many, many, many, many decades from now), “keep on keeping on.”

-Leah

A Supermoon, the month of February, & Fibromyalgia walk into a bar…….

If you are looking for an uplifting I am sorry this is not one of them.  As we reached the end of January my emotions go all places that are associated with sadness and anything that could make me happy doesn’t….I just tend to go through the motions and hope for the best.  So, if you have made it this far and want to continue…sit back relax and figure out how the fuck I make it through everyday without killing everything.

On the last day of Jan 2018 the universe decided to have a supermoon/redmoon/bluemoon/lunarEclipse which sent me into the biggest, most intense, most painful flare up of my fibromyalgia I had ever experienced. I didn’t know my body could revolt this much causing myself and my stressed out mother to contemplate going to the ER. For those who know me personally understand that my pain tolerance is high, higher than most due to the chronic pain I have experienced in and through the passed 3-4 years. But, I have always been able to work through it. This was different. It was a constant burning, aching sensation in my back, chest, and shoulders. My hands were numb and it hurt to move. My mother tried to console me to try and not raise my blood pressure more, but nothing would help. It got to the point it hurt to inhale and exhale. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but finally after 5 hours of this, I fell asleep and woke up 75% of the way better…..and as I finish this post I’m right back on track to being 150% better. But, it was scary. I have never and don’t want to be in that position again. I am 26 years old and should be able to take on the world and the reality is I can’t and I have to come to terms with this.

One of the biggest reasons that I despise the month of February is the passing of my older brother. Three years ago on the 21st of February my older brother Johan unexpectedly passed away. For those who don’t know my older brother struggled with depression, anxiety, and addiction for close to 10 years. He was and will forever be my best friend, the nicest man I know, and the best older brother I could have ever asked for. He was gentle, kind, caring, and just a teddy bear. I was beyond lucky to have him for 23 years of my life and I miss him every moment of every day. The pain of loosing someone doesn’t leave, it doesn’t get easier, time allows us to adapt to the grief and learn what the new normal is. He is fantastic in life and in death. And for everyone that asks if I miss him, here is my response: of fucking course I miss him, I’m a human with feelings (damn this is nice to say).

So, now you know during February when you see me just know I’m trying my best. I’m trying my best to keep it together and moving forward and maintaining some sense of sanity (even though mine is not around anymore). I am trying my best. I am trying to survive each day. And I am just trying to be a normal human (this is forever impossible). Just know I’m putting whatever I have into each day to deal with my life.

I am forever grateful for my jobs, for my life, and for who I am as a person. I wouldn’t change anything even though some days seem impossible. Thank you for reading, know that you are a special human, and we are all just trying to make it this existence.

Until next time, stay bendy.

Leah

COME TO A YOGA LIVE STREAM!

Hello Everyone!  I hope you are all having a wonderful day!  I am inviting you all to join me for my live stream TODAY MAY 2nd through PowHow.com at 9am CST.  The live stream will be an all levels, beginner friendly, and all sizes and ages yoga class!  AND THE BEST PART IS IT IS ONLY $4!  If you are interested Click HERE to register.

CAN’T MAKE IT TO THE LIVE STREAM? NO PROBLEM PURCHASE THE VIDEO BY CLICKING HERE

Hope to see you on your yoga mat…..literally!  Thanks for being awesome!

The Curvy Yogini

Long time, let’s catch up!

Hello Everyone,

I know, I know it’s been a while (insert song lyrics here) and for that I do apologize.  Life has been insanely busy, but I am loving every minute of it.  I recently (two months ago) accepted a job with a chiropractor up in Hinckley, IL!  The office is in an 1870’s Victorian Style house; it’s absolutely beautiful!  I also have been in a time of transition with some of my yoga teaching.  I have been teaching for about three years and felt stuck, so I am going through and mentally re committing to all of my classes and to my own yoga practice.  With this I think I will be able to find a different perspective in my own yoga practice.  I am allowing the next year as a transition year in my business and personal life as well.   I know all the changes, but I am happy to embrace and accept them as they come!  During the time of transitioning I have started writing for The Odyssey Online!  It’s something I decided to do just for me!  I will link the article below!

The Odyssey Online

I hope to see you on your yoga mats soon!

The Curvy Yogini or Leah 🙂

Schools out FOREVER!?!?!?

READERS, BLOGGERS, AND YOGIS ALIKE!!!!  I have some news that will knock your socks off!!!  After 6 years of schooling I am finally DONE!!!  Those who are just tuning in, here’s a little more information about my schooling adventure.  For the past six years I have been a college student.  I have gone to school for my Associate’s Degree, Bachelor’s Degree, Yoga certification, and now Certificate in Therapeutic Massage.  During my schooling career I have only taken one semester off alternating between part time and full time status.  It was a long haul, but I can finally say that I am officially done with my college career.  And it feels amazing!!!  Granted I have to study and take my State Exam for Massage Therapy, but I am done with college.  The feeling is surreal and just weird.  But, now I can focus on my yoga business a bit more and just take time to relax and get back to my own yoga practice, meditation, and sauna routine; while also getting caught up on all the work I need to do on my website and finding out how to be an actual adult.  I will be back to my normal weekly posting, thank you all so much for all your support and patience it means the world to me!  I hope you all have a wonderful rest of your weekend!!!  Until next time, I will see you on your yoga mats!

Namaste,

The Curvy Yogini (aka Leah)

Siri Does Yoga……

I used Siri to help me sequence a yoga class….this is what Siri thought I said…

“In downward facing dog look towards the hands exhale step the feet towards the hands hinge at the hips and fold forward inhale halfway lift and exhale fold in hell mountain pose exhale forward fold in hell halfway left axilla hands come down ground down through the left foot in hell of the right foot up for standing splits take a deep breath in and exhale drop the lifted foot down to the match keep that he’ll lift it is you been into the opposite legs me reach both arms up to the ceiling Crescent lunch deep breath then exhale warrior to inhale star pose exhale forward fold take a deep breath and exhale walk both hands over to the back foot and legPivot the other foot so all 10 toes are facing the back of the room lift up the back he’ll bend into the newly front to me unless the body up while reaching arms the ceiling for present lunch taking a deep breath in and exhaled our chasing dog nice deep inhale exhale overall the way down to the stomach and he’ll cobra press and left and exhale lower in HelpLink took the toes presents the mat with the body up and exhale downward facing dog repeat this using the same leg that you did on the side for standing splits warrior two and all that good stuff and then switching to the other side so you’ll make two complete circles. ”
Let’s just say I don’t think Siri is ready for yoga yet….

Self-Care Tip #1

Take one moment out of your day to relax, meditate, reflect, and recharge.  You’re mind, soul, and spirit will thank you.  

The Business Behind Bending

Behind every flexible & zen yoga instructor there is an employer that does all of the paperwork for them….or there is a busy ass instructor doing paperwork on her off hours of teaching (which she is not getting paid for).  Can you guess which one I am?  Huh?  Have your answer?  I’m about to blow your mind……I am both of these people.  I teach at a total of nine different places, at 2 of those places I am employed and the other 7 I am independently contracted (I run four of them by myself paperwork and all).  I do all the paperwork, emailing clients, updating client information, updating my facebook, twitter, instagram, linkedin, online store, and website.  I do this while being a full time massage therapy student, work full time, run a small business, and tries to be a decent human being some of the time.  Which can be incredible hard to manage my time, for example today I have a private client in about an hour.  I should be working on some school/work stuff….but, I am shopping online (using one of my gift-cards I got for Christmas)…..well, I am technically doing working writing this blog post….so I guess not all hope is lost (for my own time management).  For a 24 year old, this is a lot to juggle….but, I enjoy every minute of it….even though dealing have to deal with a lot of bullshit and not being taken seriously by lots of clients (due to my age), and just finding ways to fund my business.  Running a startup business is extremely costly, so you have to find ways to fund-raise and give clients incentives on why they should come to class or buy a certain product from you. So, the real question is who do you go about doing this thing called making/raising money for a start up business?  The first idea is barter.  Barter for everything and anything you can.  Advertise for free as much as you can, for example social media advertising is a glorious thing for a start up business.  Find groups on Facebook that allow businesses to advertise on them, especially ones that will reach your targeted client base.  Maybe, start a blog? I think it’s pretty fun to track my ups and downs in the journey of being a business owner.  Maybe start a a campaign with Teesprings….go check out my new shirt by CLICKING HERE….and reverse your shirt today.  See what I did there? I advertised!  Another way to gain funds for your business is become a representative for a company or two.  For example you can become a rep for PuraVida and get a percentage of commission for every person that uses your specific link….so the next time you want to place an order with PuraVida use LEAHRICHARDS20 to receive 20% off your order!  Not a bracelet person? No problem!  Get in touch with the amazing benefits of essential oils by CLICKING HERE, it will change you life and make you smell amazing!!!  There are a bunch of ways to advertise and fund-raise for your small business, you just have to think outside of the box.  Starting/running a small business is a lot of trial and error and frustration times ten, but I quite enjoying being the boss and calling the shots.  I have high hopes for my yoga business, but even if I don’t reach the hopes I have, at least I know I love what I do and I do what I love. Until nest time, Namaste.

See you on your mat!!!

The Curvy Yogini

Holiday Season Of Love

Happy Holidays Everyone!!!  I hope every that celebrates Christmas had a wonderful Christmas!!!  For those who celebrate other holidays, I hope your holidays were just as wonderful!!!  

Lots of things have happened the past month…..things that I never thought I could do, but somehow managed to do it.  I feel that I am able to look at things in a different light after the last few months.  I successfully completed and passed my first semester of massage therapy classes.  If I continue how I want to continue I will be a licensed therapist by the summer, which feels super surreal and very nerve wracking…because I just barely passed the first semester…..Multiple choice scan-tron tests are my downfall.  So, I guess I will be hitting the tutoring center at the college I am taking classes through.  I also created (with the help of my wonderful mother) two different plans to help with my stress level and to promote success in the program.  Stress affects me in the worst way possible.  When I get stressed out any symptoms that I have from my medical conditions increase and become more prominent.  So the goal going into this next semester is to stay as stress free as possible and keep my eye on the prize!!!  I feel excited for classes and look forward to learning everything and anything I can.  How was everyone’s Christmas (if you celebrate Christmas)? I had a lovely Christmas, I celebrated it with my wonderful Mother (I live with her).  We had a wonderful Christmas Eve with just the two of us at home and than Christmas Day we had some family over.  It was very bitter sweet feeling to not get a phone call from my brother.  I miss him a lot, but I know that he was around in spirit.  It you don’t celebrate Christmas, I hope you had a wonderful time during the holiday of your choice.  Switching to the topic of New Years, does anyone have any New Years resolutions?  My resolution is to delve deeper into my yoga practice and start a meditation practice too.  I feel that I have started neglecting my own personal practice, which is bad for my physical and mental health.  I need to practice what I preach and right now I am not doing that as much as I should.  I need to be able to take care of myself before I try to take care of other people.

Sending all of you light and love as we enter the new year!!!

Namaste,

The Curvy Yogini

*I do not own the images used on this page unless it is stated. The images used on this page are not used to sell products or used as a logo for 360 Yoga. They are used to make people smile. If you have any questions on the use of images, contact Leah Richards*

There’s No Rest For The Wicked

Life tends to get in the way of life….Sounds silly, but it’s true!!!  From being in school to going to the BeHealthful Retreat to working to than sleeping.  This has pretty much been my life for the past month.  Don’t get me wrong, I am so grateful for all of the great opportunities, but it can be a bit tiring running around all the time.  But, hey isn’t that how life works? We get throw challenges and then learn from them.  Granted I feel like this year I have learned enough lessons for a lifetime…..but, oh well, life can throw whatever it wants at me I am game and ready for the challenge.

The first challenge of life = school

I started massage therapy school in August!!!  I have been wanting to do massage therapy for years and years, so after 8 years of wanting to I signed up for classes.  I was not expecting the amount of studying and money I would have to put into the program.  But, the knowledge is so useful for my yoga instructing that I just go with it and appreciate every moment of the program.

The second challenge of life = work

I am still teaching at 8 places and enjoying every minute of it!!!  Yes, it is time consuming, busy, and I will never become a multimillionaire….but it is so rewarding that I am able to help people.  I couldn’t imagine not having yoga in my life.  I have met some incredible people through yoga, have gained a sense of worth and calming, and it has helped me stay toned (I do have muscle underneath the fluff!!!).  Yes, I work crazy hours and I drive everywhere…but, I feel so accomplished after teaching three classes in a row.  I know that I have helped people and to me that is the most amazing feeling in the world.

The third challenge of life = medical conditions

I struggle with my various diseases and lack of organ on a daily basis.  It has been a struggle to keep everything in control, but I try my best to do it and not complain.  Recently, I found out that some of my levels were not at goal and I have been feeling sick and sluggish.  Thankfully I have excellent doctors that are confident that my levels will be back at a normal state soon.  I try not to let it get me down in the dumps, but this week it really has been difficult to deal with.  But, I just take one step at a time and deal with each day as it comes.  I remember what my late brother would always say to me, “Keep on keeping on sissy, I love you.”  And with those worlds in my head I do.

The fourth challenge in life = relationships

With my busy non traditional schedule I do not have a ton of time to go out and see my friends.  I am lucky enough to have super understanding friends that don’t hold it against me that I am always busy.  My friends think its cool that I don’t work a 9-5 job….granted I am one of the only ones out of the group of my friends that doesn’t sit at a desk all day…so maybe they are just trying to make me feel included (hopefully not).  But, regardless I have the best friends that any person could have.  I am extremely lucky to have all of them in my life.  I also have been with the same wonderful man for over two years.  Unfortunately because of scheduling we do the long distance relationship life that involves lots of texting, phone calls, and skype dates…..but, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  He’s amazing and I am so lucky to have him in my life.  I wouldn’t trade him for the world.

My number one cheerleader in my life = My Mother

My mother is the most fantastic person on the planet.  She is kind, giving, patience, helpful, supporting, loving, a hard worker, and THE BEST MOM IN THE UNIVERSE.  Through breakups with boys, colleges, and doctors appointments my mom has been there every step of the way.  If I can be half the woman she is I would be the happiest person on the planet.  I love her with all of my heart and am so lucky to call her my mom,

My guiding light in life = My Older Brother

My brother was my best friend and just an overall amazing human being.  When he passed away eight months ago my world shattered.  He was the most important man in my life, we had a wonderful relationship, and I miss him every single day of my life.  He will forever and always be my guiding light.  When I feel like I’m lost I know he will be there in spirit to show me the way.  When I am lonely I know he will be there to comfort me with a hug.  I know he’s proud of me and I hope to continue to make him proud.

I am extremely lucky to live the life I live!!!  Is it perfect? No, absolutely not!!  But, it’s perfect for me, myself and I.  I have a support system of people that are in my corner every second of the day.  I love my job and love what I am going to school for.  I am lucky enough to be able to go back to school for Massage Therapy (which is totally opposite to what my Political Science BA).  And I am just happy being Leah….would I change things yes…but, am I happy with where my life is going? Absolutely!!!  I encourage all of you that read this post to observe your life and if there is something you don’t like in it, modify it until you are happy with it.  Everyone should lead a happy life, not just some weird yoga instructor that has a blog.  I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and week.

Until next time

Leah (aka The Curvy Yogini)