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

A much needed break…

When working at so many places putting in 10-14 hour days and feeling like life has hit you in the face and leaves you wanting to crawl into a hole and slowly whither away…and let me tell you it finally did me in. I was exhausted , overworked, and not making hardly any money after paying bills. So, I had to re evaluate some aspects of my life. What was working, what wasn’t working, and what needed to change so I could be living a more successful life. So, what did I do? I quick one job and got hired at another place, decided to beef up my yoga schedule to try and get more reliable income (still working on that), and decided to just pay off two credit cards in full draining my back accounts. Some things were done in the spur of the moment, others were done with a lot of thought and consideration. I have also had to shift how I think and feel about certain aspects of my life. How I do thinks? Can I do them better? How can I take care of myself better? And the best part is…I still don’t have any answers to any questions, I’m still lost in this crazy thing called life and I have a feeling this is going to be a permanent state of mind for a while. Do I enjoy being in this confusing state, no absolutely not. But, I know that it is necessary for me to be here; even though I may not enjoy any part of it. But, with this weird state, I am in and with myself just working my life into the grave, I know that good things are on the horizon. That if I can hold out for just a bit longer, things will be happier and healthier in my life. I’ll quote journey for a second, “don’t stop believing,” and that is just what I intend to do. Until next time everyone. Light, love, & Namaste.

Leah

Revamp The Restorative

Humans are creatures of habit.  We hate change, don’t like to be uncomfortable, and (well in America) we want things NOW!!! Which is not wrong…..our brain chemistry (survival method) tells the rest of our body once we are comfortable we should not change anything because that could eventually lead to us not surviving.  So, when you look at this as a survival mechanism humans hating the idea of change is an understandable thing.  With that being said, when I went to sequence some new yoga classes….well, I was more than not too thrilled.  But, it was a thing that needed to be down.  Since my brother’s passing…I hate to say this….but…..I have been coasting……through every aspect of my life……  I can’t really blame myself because I am grieving the loss of my brother, my best friend, and my favorite person.  I am allowed to be sad (everyone keeps telling me).  So, knowing that I need to get some sort of normal back into my life….I grabbed my notebook, a few yoga books, some of my yoga journal issues I have marked some good ideas in, and I powered up my tablet and I started sequencing.  I wanted to focus a class on hips, shoulders, and lower back, once I had that figured out I opened up my favorite yoga book….which is, “1000 pearls of yoga wisdom.”  This book is amazing to just have for class inspiration, breathing techniques, break down of some poses, and lots of quotes (my favorite).  Once, I had a light bulb moment I wrote down all of the poses as quick as I could.  Than I focused on modifications for the poses and finally got the breathing down.  The process took a while because I was actually trying to be creative….while trying to be creative.  But, at last I was done and happy with what I had come up with.  I was proud of myself, I actually sat down and changed something about my teaching and maybe it’s a change for the better….who knows?

I hope everyone is having a lovely Memorial Day!

See you on your mat!

The Curvy Yogini

Round Your Shoulders In Paschimottanasana.

There is a stigma in yoga that plus size, thicker, rounder people can’t bend as well or in fact do yoga at all.  I know, I know any Yogi or Yogini reading this is going to automatically say, “That’s crazy!  Why did you just state that?!?! Yoga is for everyone, why did you just say this!?!?!” I said it because it’s true.  I hate that it’s true, but it is.  I personally have to deal with it all the time.  When my students first meet me, when I go in for an interview/audition, or if I am going to a yoga class at a new studio.  Again, I’m not thrilled for the stigma that being a plus size yoga teacher brings…but, over the past year I have learned how counter the stigma.  First, I go above and beyond to look, sound, and act professional…no sometimes I’m still as goofy as ever…but, hey A for effort?  Second, I always introduce myself to my classes…if it’s a new session…new students…new anything…people know who I am as a person and not by how I look.  Third, I teach my heart out in my classes…combining power yoga with a slow vinyasa flow yoga…lets just say I get emails the next day about how sore my students’s cores are…..combining restorative with reiki….I have people fall asleep during classes because they are so relaxed.  Fourth, I stay as knowledgeable as possible on the different subjects, chakras, modifications to the different postures, and how the body moves from pose to pose.  And last, but not least I always have a smile on my face through bad auditions to great interviews.  A smile will automatically ease the situation and create a better zen vibe.  Here’s the deal, I will never not be plus size.  I can’t change my body structure, how dense my bones are, or people’s opinions towards me….but, I can change how I feel about myself and how I act towards people.  This week I encourage everyone to take the rounder approach in yoga and in life and let me know if you enjoyed rounding your shoulders in paschimottanasana.  Peace, Love, and Namaste 🙂

Round it out and I will see you on your mat!

The Curvy Yogini

Downward Facing Dog

Pour me a drink and come natarajasana with me!

“Are you ready to start your yoga journey?…….Do you need any special modifications during class?…..You’re not exactly what we are looking for, for our studio.  Thank you for your time…..Is this your first yoga class?…”  These phrases and questions are ones I hear frequently before or after I take a class…..when I meet a fellow yogi for the first time…or when I apply for yoga jobs.  Of course no person or studio will actually say this out loud becuase I could sue them if they did.  I have a feeling it’s because of my fluffy exterior, the roundness in me, and my larger than life stomach.  So when I am asked these questions…I first respond with a smile…and than insert the following words/phrases…”Well actually I’m looking at continuing my journey, due to being a fellow yoga instructor…….I’ll take any modifications I need on my own thank you.  Yoga props have been a focus in the classes I teach.  Oh, yes…I’m also a yoga teacher…..No thank for even considering me.  I am so humbled and honored!…..No this isn’t my first yoga class, I am also a yoga instructor…”  These lovely interactions happen on a weekly basis.  I guess not a ton of people are familiar that there are plus size yoga instructors…or maybe they think we are mythical creatures that live in far off lands with endless supplies of kobucha and chocolate?  Well let me assure you, we do not live in far off lands with kobucha, even though that would be AMAZING and I would waddle there as fast as I could.  And we don’t always stuff our mouths with chocolate…even though I wish I did…on a daily basis…in a dark corner so people wouldn’t judge me.   Okay let me for a second give mankind the benefit of the doubt…maybe mankind is that clueless and they  think thick people can’t bend.  If that is the case?  I’m not offended.  I would take you by the hand and educate you on the practices of yoga.  How yoga is an amazing totally body workout!  And that ANYONE can do it.  It will/would be a wonderful experience for everyone involved and we can make a day out of it.  Now if you know how yoga is for everyone and you still are going to bash the beautifully round yoga instructor or any fellow thick yogi.  That’s a totally different story.  As much as I don’t like to admit it, being bullied (even at the age of 22) it’s hurtful.  My harsh exterior will crumble in a matter of seconds.  No one likes to be judged for their job, career choice, where they went to school, any medical issues they have, family life, their weight/height, and the list could go on forever.  But, unfortunately it still happens….and will continue to happen as long as there are judgemental people around.  So let me do a bit of damage control/educate mankind.  Yes, there are plus size yoga instructors.  Yes, anyone can practice yoga.  It doesn’t matter if your tall, short, thin, or thick..use a wheel chair…have medical condititions that make walking difficult…or anything else that you would think could hinder someone from yoga.  Plus size yogis can bend.  I’ll use myself as an example.  I love back bends, I practice back bends a lot, and I’m constantly trying to incorproate them into my classes.  I can also flip myself upside down, sit on my knees and recline all the way back, and can get into the full expression of half pigeon….but, those topics are for another day.  The main thing I want anyone reading this to take away is the idea of Non-judgement.  Don’t judge me for how I look and I won’t judge you for being an asshole.  See the action goes both ways.  I’m not saying be hard on yourself for making assumptions, just be mindful on how your making those assumptions about people/places/things.  With being more mindful, we can slowly get rid of jugdement and see someone’s imperfections and uniqueness….and that’s what makes a person beautiful….and that’s all that really matters.

So my advice this week is don’t judge, pour a drink, and ask someone to dance.

See you on your mat!

The Curvy Yogini

Look through your third eye and tell me what you see…

“Take a nice deep inhale and cleanse the body with an exhale….Open up your heart chakra and let the love flow into it….Focus your third eye on a warm beach, feel the wind in your hair, let the sun kiss your face, and completely immerse yourself into this new reality….Float your thumbs to third eye center, bow, and say namaste…”  These cheesy words and strange phrases are how I make a living.  I talk about breathing, how change is a good thing, how to love yourself in the good times and bad times, and create a positive and peaceful environment.  If you guessed I am a yoga instructor….you would be absolutely correct.  I am in love with my job 24/7 and the fact I actually get a paycheck is an awesome added bonus.  I love going to work everyday, taking yoga classes throughout the week, and studying up on different postures.  I get excited when Target has a sale on yoga pants or when I find a book of quotes I can use for my classes.  I really don’t sound any different from any other yoga teacher out there…and in all honest I really am not that different from any other yoga teacher.  But, there is one quality of mine that may make you do a double take when you meet me……and that quality is I’m plus size.  Being a plus size yoga instructor has many upward facing dogs (ups) and lots of downward facing dogs (downs).  Being plus size in society now a days can be difficult.  There’s judgement thrown at plus size people in all different forms and non plus size people don’t understand/don’t want to understand why your not a size zero.  Throw society’s judgement into a world of health and fitness, where you’are expected to be no bigger than a size 6-8, and all your work attire is very figure hugging….it turns into the yoga roller-coaster of life.   Regardless of what size you are yoga is for everyone.  I’ll be posting once a week, talking about the ups and downs of my personal yoga roller-coaster, more information on postures, how to meditate better, any light bulb moments that occur on and off the mat, and what it is like being plus size in a health and fitness industry.  So keep calm, lay on your back, and close your eyes…..because the 22 year old, plus size, yoga instructor named Leah Richards (that’s me) will massage your eye drums with words and enlighten your third eye with a new perspective.

See you on your mate!

Peace, Love, and Namaste.

The Curvy YoginiImage