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

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)

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

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)

Yoga Date With Me, Myself, and I

Being alone is something that everyone experiences. Some people like it,  others hate it.  I tend to be one of those people that extremely enjoys being alone.  It’s nice, quiet, I can get some work done, de-stress, sleep, talk to my lovely boyfriend (we both work all the time,  are in school,  and he is the father of an adorable almost 9 great old…….so we’re both super busy and don’t see each other a lot), and I like not doing anything.  The different health issues I have takes a lot out of me…….. so it’s essential that I get time to myself.   I also like taking yoga classes by myself or with my yoga friend Sean…..but, it’s usually alone.   Am I a loner?  Do I hate people?  Maybe…..  Do I get stressed out with my friends, family,  and fellow yoga teachers being in classes practicing with me?  Yes!!!  The reason being… most of my friends and family don’t practice yoga.   So, during classes if I have either a family member or friend taking class with me, they usually stare at me the whole class because they do not know what to do.  This me amakes me really nervous and stressed out,  so I take class usually but myself.  I like the idea that I don’t have to impress anyone…. Because,  some days my practice sucks and I don’t want people to see how bad it can be.  Question for anyone reading this: Do you like being alone?
Until next week…. Stay confident, stay beautiful,  and stay you.
See you on your mats!

The Curvy Yogini

Yoga For One?

Any yoga teacher knows the feeling when no one shows up to your yoga class.  It’s disappointing, annoying, & heartbreaking. You immediately think,  “No one likes me anymore….. Maybe everyone thinks I’m awful at teaching…..or in my own personal case I think….. It’s because I’m fat. ”  First, I know I’m not fat I’m thick and deliciously attractive looking.   But, the thought still crosses my mind in certain situations.   Well, I didn’t have anyone show up for one of my classes tonight and I felt all these feelings.   And well I’m broke (Thank you federal taxes) and really needed the money.   But,  just my luck…. no one showed up.  But,  my mom came with me to help me setup and take class. While I setup the room she goes for a walk around the building.   As the time got to 7pm, it was only my mom and I in the room.  So, when it became 7:02PM I turn to my mom and said,  “Do you want a private yoga session?” My mom finally agreed to it,  I turned the music on, and away the session went.   So, for the next 40 minutes I helped my mom into different restorative yoga possess.  Side note, my mom has a bad back, bad rotator cuff, and is blind in one eye.   She never sits down and is hard for her to relax.   So, after the yoga session she helped me pack up and was generous enough to fill up my gas tank (I was running on empty).  It turned out to be a nice night…. Even though I didn’t have anyone show up to my class.  So I guess the moral of the story is even though mothers are a pain in the asana we love them anyway.
Have a great week and I will see you on your mat!

The Curvy Yogini

With Each Exhale Let Any Unwanted Thoughts Melt Off Your Body.

Stress, stress, & more stress…..Every person deals with stress….it’s a daily part of life….but for people like me or people who have medical issues it can be hell on earth.  Stress makes my body swell up, my joints tighten, and my sanity leave completely.  It becomes extremely hard to control and my body feels like the it is revolting and killing itself.  Violent? Yes, all the violence….but unfortunately it’s my life.  But, there are some ways that I can counter attack the stress.  YOGA is my number one destresser.  My body feels like it can do no wrong, I can work all of my muslces, and the low impact of yoga makes my joints happy.  Another HUGE destresser is Reiki.  If you do not know what Reiki is….Reiki is a Japanese practice of using energy to heal the body.  I am a certified level 2 Reiki Practitionor.  I do reiki on myself most of the time, but my favorite is when I go get a reiki session done.  It helps promote healing and destresses me.  Massage and acupunture are amazing…..but my favorite thing to do to release stress is SLEEP.  I’m a narcolep so sleep is my best friend.  If I don’t get enough sleep I get really sick.  So all of these techniques combined help me destress, get through life, and continue being me.  I will wrap up todays post with a small bit of advice…..Don’t overthink things & smile. 
Have a wonderful weekend & I will see you on your mat!

The Curvy Yogini

Rock N Roll, A Slow Vinyasa Flow, & Let’s Get Personal…Really Personal

This week is all about new things for me, myself, my yoga practice, & just life in general. So as you see in this post I added a video to it. This week I decided to combined my two loves which are Yoga & Music. I have been singing since I could talk….but, I knew that a career in singing was not going to be possible when all the health issues I have started….and the fact that I had my neck sliced open due to my thyroid removal surgery. So, I got a degree in Political Science and I got certified to be a yoga instructor. It’s funny how life can change in an instant….for the better or for the worse. To add a very personal touch to this blog, I will talk about how I got fired from a yoga studio and I thought my teaching career and life was over. I will not mention the name of the studio, so please do not ask. A few months after getting certified to teach yoga I auditioned for (or in the real work market it is called an interview). Needless to say I got the job and was asked to teach three classes, 2 vinyasas & 1 restorative. For the first month or two everything was great, my class numbers were growing, and I was pretty happy with how it was going. But, before I knew it I has someone complain about my music. I used a non-lyrical acoustic semi popular rock/pop songs. I guess someone didn’t like it. Ok, I thought, I will just change my music…no worries. But, it wasn’t that simple…. From than on I was a target or I had a huge red X on me. Nothing I did was right, nothing I changed was right, I just wasn’t right. So, this led to my classes being review….but, the fun part was the senior manager who reviewed my classes was texting on her phone while reviewing both of my classes….and barely participated in the classes. I felt cheated, I felt like I wasn’t given a chance to succeed. I felt like my size was a problem. That the owners and senior manager thought because was plus size I couldn’t teach. So, slowly but, surely my classes were taken away from me. And I was left teaching only my restorative class. I even attended the studio’s restorative yoga training. But, really it wasn’t training….if you call the senior manager reading from a book the whole time training…than ya I got trained. I got trained by a Paul Grilley book (nothing against Paul Grilley he is an amazing Yin Yoga teacher). But, that’s the problem…he’s a wonderful Yin Yoga teacher….not a restorative teacher. In my personal opinion they are two different styles of yoga. Yin yoga is holding postures for 5 mins a piece with no props & Restorative yoga is holding the poses for maybe 2-3 mins and using all the props in the world. Both styles of yoga are great for the body, but they are different. So the training was not training, it was story time. So, after the training (if you could call it that) I thought things would be better. I am technically trained in restorative yoga so my problems should go away, shouldn’t they? Well, before I could ponder this happening I had thyroid removal surgery and was out for 5 weeks for recovery. But, I did go back to the studio at 4 weeks just to take a yoga class. Than the week after I returned and taught my wonderful Restorative Yoga class. I ended up with 25 people in the class, mostly regular students of mine. It was the biggest class of the day, week, & I believe month….so I thought, awesome I’m out of the woods….things were going to be ok. So I walk into the studio the next week & my manager pulls me aside and says the owner’s of the studio don’t want you teaching for us anymore so I am going to take you off the schedule…this will be your last class here. I was devastated….I have never been fired before, never been suspended, I don’t think I have ever gotten in trouble except for a verbal warning. But, the one thing that upset me the most was the owner’s reason to fire me. The reason was I didn’t have a restorative yoga certificate, but I took their training. So, in my opinion I didn’t get an answer to why I was fired. I still have never received my review for my restorative class….and whenever I see the owners or the senior manager they either will not speak to me, walk away from me, or will ignore me…even if I was nice to say hello to them. After I was fired….I really thought this was the end. No one will want to hire me. This isn’t the right career for me. But, I still sent out emails and I still tried to get more classes. Two months after I was fired I had 3 interview/auditions at places who actually wanted me to teach for them. I got a couple private clients that actually wanted to learn from me. I got referred to a place….yes someone actually referred me to someone to teach yoga for them. And that brings us up to today, now, the present. I currently teach at 5 different locations, I have 3 private clients, & I have a meeting next week for another teaching spot. I work 7 days out of the week, have 1 day off a month, & I am starting school back up in 2 weeks for Massage Therapy. I can’t believe how my life has turned around. Even though getting fired was awful…that door was meant to close, so all of these other doors could open. I am extremely humbled to work at so many spots. Am I perfect? Do I make mistakes? Have I messed up some stuff? YES, YES, & YES!!! I’m not a superhuman, I am just a yoga teacher….A yoga teacher who is trying to figure out her place in the world, yoga, & life. It’s hard being plus size in a size zero industry, but I have never been the type of woman to do things the easy way. So this week I challenge all of you to not take the easy way out. Make those difficult steps in life, have that crucial uncomfortable conversation, & don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Life is what you & only you can make out of it.
Until next time…stay beautiful, stay confident, & stay you.

See you on your mat!

The Curvy Yogini

Restore Your Mind, Body, & Soul

When you (yes I am talking to you) think of yoga, what comes to your mind?  Workout, zent out, bending, relaxation, or another word?   People go to  yoga classes for different reasons, whether it be emotional, physical, or a combination of both.  Personally I got into yoga for strictly stress management.  I was just starting college, working, and was in a long term relationship at the time.  So I felt like I was being pulled in about 30 different directions and my health started to decline at a slow steady rate.  I would always go to the gym and just do strictly cardio.  It was either the eliptical or stairmaster….and with bad ankles (from 6 years of soccer) it was very painful. It would only cut my stress in half on a good workout and I would go home in more pain that when I left.  So, I saw my gym offered yoga classes and I decided to go to one.   I went to a Yin Yoga Class and the instructors name was Kim.  I loved the class, the instructor was fine, and I decided to make this a weekly type of thing.  And just with replacing one of my workouts with a Yin Yoga Class I saw my stress level slowly be cut in half.   To this day I love teaching my restorative yoga class.  I call it a nap in a yoga class, because yes my students stretch and get into the muscle fashia and connective tissue, but I add a more relaxing vibe to the class.  I also incorporate my Reiki Training into the class as well.  Granted do I have a Restorative Certificate….no…no I don’t.  But, I have taken workshops, I practice restorative yoga on a daily basis, and I do a lot of research in the yin/restorative arena of yoga.  So, I am qualified to teach it, I just haven’t spent the money to get a piece of paper saying I know restorative yoga.  People (even in yoga) get so worked up over not having specific certifications.  I understand being a certified yoga teacher is important, I understand that, I am that..but, just becuase I don’t have a restorative certificate…just because I didn’t want to spend $400 to get it…..because I don’t have $400.  People think I don’t know what I am talking about…makes me sad sometimes.  So, I leave you with….don’t judge a book by its cover and be informed before you speak.
I hope you all can take a Restorative Yoga Class this week , it may change your opinions on some things. 

See you on your mat,

The Curvy Yogini