Learning to Retox my life

September is yoga month! If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I have become a total yoga junkie.  It’s gone beyond just a daily practice. It’s a way of life.  My yoga life as evolved from being able to land some really cool arm balance ( the reason I started ) to learning patience, self control, gratitude and charity. My confidence has soared. My self acceptance, including body image, has changed for the better as well. I could go on and on posting pictures from my journey so far and call it a day. I have shared that stuff in the past and I don’t want you to get bored one paragraph in.

What I do want to share with you is a book that recently picked up on a trip to Barnes & Noble. It is called Retox: Yoga * Food * Attitude – Healthy Solutions For Real Life by Lauren Imparato.  Lauren is the founder of I.Am.You studios in NYC.

(The following review is my own thoughts based on parts of the book. I was not contacted by anyone involved with Retox or I.Am.You. to write this nor am I being compensated in any way. I’m just a girl on this lifestyle journey sharing what I love.) 

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I was on the fence about buying this book at first.  I was worried that it would be another diet book. Or worse, it would be 362 pages of sales pitches as to why you need to buy some on line course or product to see results.  (Yes you can buy the videos for the yoga portion on line but it’s not necessary.)

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That shit really drives me crazy!  I know you feel me too.

After reading about Lauren’s switch from wall street trader to yogi with nutritional science training, I knew I had made the right decision. She really dived deep into training to understand the body. Smart chick.

This actually is NOT a diet book at all. Retox is the opposite of detox. There is no elimination of whole food groups or crazy workout schedules to follow. This book focuses on balance between yoga, food and mindset. This is a plan for general living and how to keep it together on very given day. Lauren calls it LSP, or Life Stability Plan.

As a yoga instructor, Lauren takes you through twenty-one daily life issues and breaks it down into the three LSP’s:

  • Yoga – flows and asanas geared specifically to heal your ailment
  • Nourishment – Think of this as the “eat this not that” section.
  • Mindset – explains the how and whys of what you are feeling and how to bring balance to that through meditation

There is something in here for everyone:

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Bloating
  • Hangovers
  • Low energy
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Back pain

(Just to name a few)

You can run through the book section by section or skip around working on what your body needs most that day. For me, the first step was getting rid of the alien baby that is belly bloat.

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The yoga flow ( shown above ) is designed to focus on core movements and twists that activate your organs helping to release toxins. Each flow takes 20-30 minutes to complete.  There are also quick fixes and desk flows for when you are short on time. Perfect considering I always seem to be running late.

Nourishment tells me about foods that may be causing the bloating such as:

  • Soy (check!)
  • Eggplant / cucumber (check!)
  • Chia / nuts ((check!)(check!)
  • Raw foods  (mmmmm  some )
  • Spicy foods (check!)

You may have issues with all these foods or just a few.  If you notice certain things you eat are making you bloated, avoid them. If you can tolerate them in moderation, go for it. Just don’t over do it.

The retox instant debloaters include:

  • Warm water
  • Rice
  • Cooked foods
  • Some herbal teas like mint or chamomile

The reasons why each of these foods hurt or heal you is explained in the book as well.

Mindset: Your gut is sometimes referred to as your second brain. When faced with uncertainty, your guy can get all funky.  The stress can cause unbalance causing bloat. Sometimes you can’t just “let is go”.  you literally need to learn to trust your gut. The retox goal here is to train your mind to process the events and emotions around you. Write down what is stressing you. How does it make you feel? What are ways you can improve your situation? Then, sit tall, clear your mind and focus on your breath. Follow Lauren’s guided meditation then move on with your day.

After reading through each section in Retox, I had a few ah-ha moments.  Some things were obvious.  But Lauren brings science into her explanations so that it makes more sense. Don’t recoil by that statement.  She doesn’t get all nerdy on you. There is so much information packed into these pages that I find myself going back and reading sections again. I have learned so much about my diet alone that makes this book so worth the purchase. I catch myself asking, “Did I Retox today”?

If you are interested in Retox or I.Am.You studios, I interested links in the top of this post.

Have you read Reotx? If so, tell me your thoughts below. 

Do you have any of your own retox solutions that you incorporate into your day? 

 

 

My Happiness Project ~ June edition

How is it the end of June already? I am on vacation this week. It’s a staycation this time around. We have some things to do around the house before our big picnic on the 2nd. But it hasn’t been all work.

We started off with a drive to Central PA to find new towns to explore. Although we have been going out there togetherb for years hiking and Dan has been going there all his life with family, our original plan was less then inspiring. So, since we were near Knoebels Amusement Park, we decided to stop in and walk around. We weren’t there long. It was nice to walk around and reminence about taking Allyson there when she was little. I love the fact that it’s free to get in, pay as you ride, the tickets never expire and it is all surrounded by this:

A great view from above


Our TV died last night so we ran out this morning to get a new one. Although I loved our last one, the new LED TV is even better! Gotta love The Goldberg’s!

Yesterday was all about gardening and we got our wood delivery for the winter. While Dan is preping for the septic tank appointment tomorrow, I got to look back at a few other moments from June…

Sister’s weekend in OCNJ

My niece got engaged to her HS sweetheart

Yoga on the boardwalk

A blues festival with beer and BBQ

And an 80’s tribute band to flash back a few decades

Overall, June has been pretty fantastic. Some things were experiened just the two of us. Other moments were all about family. What more could I ask for?! July is shaping up to be eventful as well! 
Tell me about your month in the comments below. I would love to hear about your happy moments!

What a week!

How is everyone’s June going so far? This has been a week of ups and down. Strange but familiar. Ever have one of those?

I was told what not to wear because I am old. ( not worth linking the actual article but a quick search will give you many other similar fluff pieces )

I say to that:

WearWhateverThe HellYou Want

Give me my leopard print, converse sneakers, bright pink anything and oversized sunglasses. One thing you learn as you get older is to not give a shit what others think, especially about your wardrobe!

I became obsessed with the guilty  verdict,  weak sentencing and public outrage of former Stanford student turned rapist, Brock Tuner.  His name should not even be mentioned again.  I am so blown away by the words of this little dork and his elitist father. What is worth sharing is the letter written by the victim (warning: parts of it are graphic).  WOW.  Her words are powerful.  I got emotional as a mother and got all “Girl Power” as a woman when I read this statement.  Be the beacon of light, dear girl. Be the lighthouse.

A friend received a diagnosis, another leaving her husband, while another friend has an uphill battle of her own. Funny not but funny is that these three women are some of the strongest, toughest chicks I know. I have a gut feeling that they each will come out of their situations even more badass then ever. But still, I send them prayers and good vibes along the way.

I binge watched VEEP S1 & 2 in two days.  Seasons 3 & 4 are not free on Prime yet so they will have to wait. I am not sure if I liked it enough to invest more time on it. Did anyone else see it? Should I keep watching? I have to say I am happy to see Anna Chlumsky in the cast. I have not seen her in anything since My Girl.  I always liked her but did not follow her career. I would say she is one of my favorites on this show.

I was introduced to a new yogi to follow on YouTube – Lesley Fightmaster of Fightmaster Yoga. I did a 30 minute class that focused on a lot of hip opening and flexibility in the back. I am hooked.  I am adding her into my weekend practice from here on out. That is when I have the most time to focus.  During the week, I can add parts that I learn into my personal practice. I am feeling the burn in my sides and core two days later. It’s been a long time since I felt sore from my practice. This new find is just what I needed to move forward where I otherwise felt stuck.

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And can we talk about this amazing weather? Even though we are still having crazy amounts of rain, the humidity has been low and the mornings are spring like cool. I AM IN HEAVEN!  Considering the AC in my house is total crap, I will take the cool temps all summer long if that is possible.  All my runner friends must be in their glory too! am I right?

Tonight, Dan and  I have plans to hang out with our sister and her husband. We are going to see Rubix Cube ,  our favorite 80’s tribute band!  They are so fun to watch with all their (seamless) costume changes and stage show.  It is a fun night and I recommend you check them out if they come to your neck of the woods.  Oh and did I mention some people dress up for the show?  That’s right ladies and gentleman.  People watching is part of the experience so grab out Members Only jacket, Wayfarers and lace gloves and entertain me!

It’s time for me to get ready for night so I gotta run! I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!  Make memories people!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where was I? My Happiness Project ~ May

So last time I was here, we were having coffee and discussing life. Several weeks have past and I have had a lot of time to reflect on things.

Grandma made it back safely to her home in Florida where her son and extended family are doing everything they can to make life easy for her.  The northern Long clan is happy that she has support down there.

I had felt that my doctors appointment on the 16th went very well.  I was left with hope that I would get answers for the weight gain, tiredness and other issues that have left me less then myself.  My new doctor took the time to listen to everything I said. “We will get to the bottom of it!”  was her response.  In reality, I was told everything looked good (thankfully) but to take B12 and call if things get worse.  Otherwise, there is nothing to do at this time. Sigh….Honestly, I was going to just take it anyway before going for blood work but I caved to peer pressure.  This is the exact reason why I don’t use doctors. I always feel like going is a big waste of time. Rant over. Thank God I have my yoga to keep me sane. Breathe in the good. Release the bad.

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The weather finally turned to summer! We totally skipped spring this year.  Having the sun up and 60* weather by 6:00AM is my silver lining. I freeze in my office every day so I am loving the act of throwing my hair up in a big bun, opening the sunroof/windows in my car, cranking the radio and singing loudly.

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This is the total mood changer for me. It is time to find myself again. I think I started to lose myself in the rain and aches and pain.  Maybe all I needed was the feel of warm sun on my face.

It’s Memorial Weekend. Time for outdoor BBQ’s with family. This is one of my favorite weekends of the year. My family means everything to me. Each year the dynamic changes. For some it’s a new divorce. For others it’s a new baby to celebrate. It is always nice to catch up with everyone even if it’s just for a few hours until the next time we see each other again. Sure, there is Facebook and other social media to stay in touch. But there is nothing better then sharing a meal and laughing together.

The weather it beautiful. The birds are singing. My lilac bush is sending it’s sweet scent in through my front door. As I sit here listening to the world around me, I give thanks for what I have. I remember those who came before me. I silently thank those who fought to secure my freedom and protection of this beautiful country that we live in. Even though I know I am hard on myself at times, I forgive myself and I am grateful for being surrounded by so much love and light of so many amazing people in my life.

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I wish you all a happy and safe Memorial weekend.
Namaste 💟

Ultimate Coffee Date – May

Hello beautifuls! I am teaming up for another coffee date with Deborah, Coco and Lynda.  Thank you for having coffee or tea with me while we chat and catch up.

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If we were having coffee… I would tell you about our weekly visits with Dan’s grandma.  She lives in FL most of time but has been in PA with her one son since late autumn 2015.  Even though they are “close” is was not close enough to see her often.  She is currently floating between rehab facilities within an hour from our home healing from a broken shoulder she suffered in a fall.  It’s unfortunate that this is how we get to see her.  But we are making it a priority to visit 1-2 times a week.  She just got the news that she is healed and can go home real soon. We would like her to stay in PA but she is home sick for FL.   At her age, 96, we just want her to be happy living out the rest of her life where she will be comfortable. She still has a sharp mind and we will miss her stories when she does get to go home. We will just have to make a trip down to visit her someday.

If we were having coffee… I would tell you I am starting to have food issues ~ Again. I am not sure if it is sugars or gluten. I plan on doing a total detox next week including alcohol. I am hoping the detox will do a few things: Help me feel better, find the trigger foods that are causing the major bloating/stomach pain  and jump start some weight loss. I see my doctor in two weeks and so I hope we can figure this out.

If we were having coffee… I would tell you that I am glad it is May but frustrated with all the rain and cold temps.  Ok, the cold temps.  The constant rain and lack of sun I can deal with.  But come on mother nature! It’s May!  Can we have some days that get above 65?  My feet are rejecting my shoes and are begging to be barefoot…

If we were having coffee… I would tell you that I am happy with my yoga practice right now.  I am taking a step back and really focusing on my breath and movement.  I am not worrying about progress.  The past two weeks I have really taken things back to basics so to speak and have been loving every minute on my mat.

If we were having coffee… I would wish you a very happy Mother’s Day.  I will be having dinner but I am not sure of the plans yet.  I am leaving it all up to my MIL and sister. Whatever they want is cool with me.  Just tell me when and where!

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If we were having coffee… I would tell you my job is heading into busy season.  So, if I am suddenly silent, you know why.  Life is good but this time of year does not leave much leisure time for posting, reading or commenting.  You’ll see me around though.  I can’t stay away too long!

If were were having coffee, what would you tell me

 

 

My Happiness Project – April

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April has flown by! Work is starting to get busy again gearing up for summer which is craziness for us.  I had a few posts planned but time got away from me.  Life happens and I have enjoyed every second of it!

I have a baby announcement for this month!

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Jacob Patrick was born on April 16th to our step brother and wife.  I have not met the little guy yet but when I do, there will be pictures galore! This one was taken from my MIL’s IPad.

I have owned my Mindful Yoga Wheel for a month now and am slowly learning ways to use it.  One of my yoga challenges this month is all about using props ( Straps, blocks, wheels…).  This month of poses has helped me refocus and go deeper into my practice. Sometimes I feel stuck after doing the same poses and don’t feel progression in them. Typically, I stop doing them for a while and try new things… then I lose all that work.  This is where the wheel and other props comes in. It is helping me find new ways to do “old” postures.

Spring is finally here!  I love how everything has that new, bright green look to it. My allergies are not liking the pollen too much but it’s not a bother when I can look at the pretty trees in bloom!

 

These pictures were taken on Saturday.  Sunday turned out to be a bright and sunny day.  We managed to get out of the house somewhat early so we started off with a walk by the lake.

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By 11:00AM the park was packed with runners, families on bikes, race teams and people in boats fishing. There was even a local photographer set up with props taking Mother’s Day photos. The little kids all dressed up in their fancy dresses and bow ties were adorable!  It certainly was a good day for people watching.

One last thing I am happy about are my new sunglasses!  This is my first pair of prescription sunnies.  I have always had clip-ons or transition lenses but wanted a larger pair that actually blocks the sun.  These are working out better then I ever imagined!  I wish I had done this years ago.

So tell me….

What are you doing to enjoy this amazing spring weather? I know all you runners are in your glory! Am I right?

Lessons in Compassion

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When my friend, Fran, posted this on Instagram on Wednesday, it was the second quote within a day that I saw about compassion.  They say if you pay attention to your surroundings, there are signs all around us that show us that we are on the right (or wrong) path.  These signs are coming to me like a flashing neon sign that my week was going just as it was intended for me. Let me explain….

It all started on Sunday when we got the call that my husband’s Grandma, Marie, was admitted to the hospital for broken bones due to her falling.  It turns out she had broken her shoulder and pelvis.  Due to her age of 96, there would be no surgery… just rehab. Since family is spread out through Eastern Pa and Florida, we are trying alternate visitation days with other family members so that there is someone stopping in each day to stay with her for a few hours.  We had planned to go on Tuesday evening.  But, God had other plans….

As Dan and I were just about to walk out the door that evening, he noticed a woman walking up to our house.  Now, we are on a rural road and no one ever comes knocking… not even our neighbors.  Dan answered the door prepared to say we are not interested in whatever it was she was selling or preaching. It was getting late and if we were going to have time to visit before the end of visiting hours, we needed to get on the road! This woman started talking and asking for help.  She was telling this story of how her friends kicked her out of their car and told her not to come home.  She needs to know a place where she can stay for the night and how she can get her medication from this house she was just told not to return to.  She tried to hitchhike for the past three hours and did not know where to go for the night. We suggested the hospital and churches before we decided to call the cops to come assist her.  While Dan made the call, I gave her water and a PB&J sandwich while she made herself comfortable on our porch. She told me her name was Melissa, age 33, and had a list of psychiatric issues. She was very child like and not threatening at all. We spoke for about 20 minutes before the cops arrived.  Twenty minutes after that, the cops confirmed she walked out of the crisis center 2 miles away and they were taking her back.  They wondered why she chose our house to stop at for help.  I wondered how many others slammed the door in her face before she got to our porch. The whole experience reminded us of the European folktale about Jesus disguising himself as a beggar going door to door begging for food and most people slamming the door in his face. We were meant to be home at that moment in time to help this person. Needless to say, we never made it to the hospital to visit Grandma…

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This is my favorite picture of Allyson with Grandma – April 2011

We finally got to visit Wednesday evening after her move to another hospital that has a Moss Rehab facility. We knew something was not right with her state of mind almost immediately.  Grandma went from being sharp as a tack knowing where she was, who she was, who everyone the room was two days before to being scared and confused because she did not know what happened to her, where she was or why she was not at the hospital she was at just a few ours before. The move to this new facility probably was the stress trigger to upset her so much. She recognized Dan but thought I was Allyson at first ( easy mistake really ).  We stayed with her for almost two hours before we had to leave.  The whole time we kept reassuring her that she was safe and in good hands.  It was hard for both of  us to see her so agitated and unaware like she was. She is always so strong willed and in control.  We spoke to the nurse when we were leaving about our concerns. The nurse said she would have her tested for a UTI because this sudden major change in behavior is a symptom.  As of yesterday, family members report she was much better.  Her case worker was in to visit and she seemed to be more with it.  This is just a small part of Grandma’s story.

This week has been a test in patience and compassion.  I believe my yoga practice (and age) has helped me to grow in these two areas.  Years ago, I would not have taken the time to help Melissa.  Was most of her story a lie?  Yes.  Did she have mental issues?  Absolutely.  But I would not have cared. My time was more valuable. I had a schedule to keep. But this time around, I knew we had to help her.  And if I told Grandma the reason we did not make it to her the night before, she would have understood.  When speaking to Grandma, I kept telling myself to keep repeating to her that she will be ok.  She needs to take one day at a time and reassure her that we all love her and are there to make sure she is taken care of. She will not be one of the forgotten. I think we were supposed to be there at that time instead of our original plan. Had we not gone on Wednesday, it upsets me to think  how much more frightened she could have been.

I guess the point I am getting at is this:  This world is a scary place.  For some, it’s down right frightening.  When presented with a special situation, sometimes we need to shift our perspective to truly see things for what they are.  As long as you are not feeling threatened and feel called to help, do it!  Even something as small as holding a hand, listening with a smile on your face or making a simple phone call for help can mean to world to the other person.