Archives for Nov,2016

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Mind over Matter: Mentally Strong

But Did you Die though?

So you have made the decision to start working out. Yes! This is the first step of the journey! But suddenly you don’t know where to start. Or maybe you have decided to try out a class, but are suddenly feeling anxiety about it. “I need someone to go with me”, “What if I’m the only new person”, “I don’t know what to do in a gym”, “Everyone is going to be looking at me”, “What if I’m the most unfit person there”, “I don’t feel comfortable working out in front of people”, and the list goes on and on, and suddenly you are talking yourself out of your decision for a healthier you, before you even start.

Did you know that over half of your fitness journey is actually a mental one? The first step is forcing yourself out the door and in to the gym or class. When I was getting ready to go to boot camp for the Marine Corps, you know what my biggest fear was? Running. It wasn’t the Drill Instructors, getting up a 4am, or even the thought of going to the gas chamber like most recruits dread. It was the simple thought of running and how I had to run 3 miles for my PFT, and I was a terrible runner. I did pass my run in boot camp… I was one of the very last few recruits, but I passed.

If I only knew then what I know now about mental mindset and physical training, I probably would have done much better. When I got out of the Corps, I was looking to lose weight and thought I had to run. It was like a nightmare. I would dread it. I would put it off as long as I possibly could, and then as I start out and am running down the street I’m literally thinking 15 excuses as to why I had to turn back… “I have to pee”, “my ankle hurts”, “damn, why does my knee feel like that”, “I wore the wrong sports bra”, and the list again goes on and on. I was already in motion, half way around the block, still making mental excuses. If only I had not dreaded it so much and thought about all the “ I think I can’s” and “ I know I can’s” and the “ I will’s!

I realized later in life if I took all the excuses and the same mental force I used thinking how I couldn’t and put a positive spin on it, how different things would have been. If I focused on all the things I could do, instead of the ones my body wanted to fight me on, I would have better results quicker. It didn’t dawn on me until much later in life that although my body thought I was going to die during physical activity, I never actually died. Although my lungs were absolutely certain I couldn’t breathe and I didn’t have enough air, there was indeed plenty of oxygen in the air and my body was doing exactly as it was supposed to. You see the first step is getting out the door, and starting your workout, whether that’s in a Wicked Fitness class, or at a gym. The next step is mentally pushing through your workout. When you feel like you just can’t, push just a little bit further. In this “I’m going to die” moment, that’s where big changes occur to NOT just our physical bodies but our mind. Our mind is truly where all our power resides anyway.

So, you did it! You made it through your workout and didn’t die! Now you go home and want to eat the first thing you see. Slow your roll, home slice. That will sabotage the hard work you just put in. The rest of my family is eating pizza and I just worked so hard is not a valid reason. The next hardest thing is mentally training yourself to eat healthful foods to benefit your body and help you reach your goals, even when you are surrounded by poor choices and possible bad decisions. If you are like me, late night temptations will whisper in your ear like a devil…..Stay STRONG!

Finally, you have to train your mind and not just your body to keep going! Just because you worked out and did really well on your eating plan for a few days, or a week does not give you permission to suddenly go crazy. Results take time, hard work, and dedication. That extra 20, 30, 40, 50 plus lbs did not go on overnight, and it’s not going to come off in a few weeks of eating right and working out. You are going to have to sweat and work really, really hard for it. You may have to wake up extra early just to get your workout in… yes… we know it’s way easier to stay in the bed a few minutes longer, or stay up a little later watching that T.V. show. Hard work, commitment, and sacrifice are the only things that truly create change , but the mental work you put in to make the physical happen will leave you a stronger, more confident, healthier YOU. That YOU is incredible and can accomplish anything. KNOW you can. See it in your mind. Believe it. And keep going!

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Own Your Own Story

Last week I celebrated my 27th birthday. Naturally, I started reminiscing about my past, my personal story. About nine years ago, I was in a full blown battle with an eating disorder.

As a child, I was super anxious, had panic attacks, and even OCD. I was so afraid of dying. I didn’t feel safe in the world. At that time, I learned that food could comfort me in ways I didn’t know how to do on my own. I started to feel bad about myself and developed low self-esteem because of the way I was treating myself. I got picked on and felt gross. I didn’t know how to handle my thoughts. I never felt good in my body or about the way I ate.

Senior year in high school, I found my control. I started eating less. Way less. I saw myself getting smaller. I started exercising more and more. I started to gain control over my anxiety and panic. I even got more attention from boys. I felt so high because I finally was good at something, I was thin and nothing else mattered. I became obsessed. In just a couple months, I lost an unhealthy amount of weight. I was eating very little and on a very rigid schedule. I put this first before anything else. I avoided parties, family, or anything that I thought would set me off track. I avoided anything food related. I lost a lot more than weight. I lost friendships, fun, my period, my thick hair, and my connection to my intuition . After 3 years of food restriction and over exercising, my body’s hunger could not contain itself. I needed to be nourished. I needed food.

So I ate. A lot. I was compulsive and nobody knew it. I started binging on anything, especially the foods I had denied myself. I would leave functions to sneak eat in the bathroom, car, or anywhere private. I gained 30+ lbs. back and some extra in 2 months. It was drastic and made a major dent to my ego. I felt hot, uncomfortable, and depressed. I felt as if my worth went out the door. I hated putting clothes on. I hated looking at my closet at the clothes I used to prance around in when I was…thinner. I felt sucked in to this guilt / self-sabotage habit loop. I was mentally and physically at war with myself.

When I hit my rock bottom. I decided to write. It was midnight. I ate so much that day that I actually got sick, my body naturally rejected the food I put in it. I couldn’t sleep because I felt so ill, so uncomfortable, so full, and ready to just give up on myself. Somehow, I went downstairs on my computer and I started typing. I wrote…

“There has to be a way out. There has to be a different way. I don’t wish this pain on anyone in my life. GOD, I swear, I will get better. Help me get better and when I do I will help others. ”

So I got better.

My recovery journey was a slow, steady, yet rewarding one. I took action and got professional help. My boyfriend at the time, Kyle, introduced me to his sports mental management goal system. He used it for golf. I was a horrible golfer. So I used it for my personalized goals.
That was my first introduction to learning about the power of our mind, our thoughts, and that we can change our reality by changing our minds.

All that lead me to where I am today. Helping others find freedom around negative habits and beliefs. I still struggle, I still battle the obsession, the thoughts that tell me I’m gross. However, it doesn’t stop me from living and doing the things I love. I have to redirect myself, every damn day. Truth is, it doesn’t matter how much you weigh or what your dress size is. IT DOES NOT MATTER. What matters is how you treat yourself, how you feel in your body. Instead of working out to lose weight, work out to nourish your muscles. Eat healthy to have energy to do the things you love. I have learned to approach my disordered thinking with more kindness, love, and compassion. At the end of the day, you need to be happy with where you are now. I was not any happier being smaller. I am happier now more than I have ever been. I fill up on experiences with my good friends, with meaningful and uplifting work, and doing the things that nourish my body, mind, and soul.

Whatever path you are on, the first step is to forgive yourself. Forgiveness equals freedom. Use your challenge, your suffering as a pivotal turning point to change. Be grateful for the challenge as it serves a purpose. It is easy to focus on the negative side effects of our challenges. However, without it, how else would we evolve and transform? Use them as learning lessons. Get curious, what is the benefit of this suffering? Believe it or not, this is your bodies way of telling you…my darling, PAY ATTENTION !!!

“In the long run, you’ll be proud of yourself being able to push through the obstacles. The outcome is great and all but the journey is better because that will be your story” Kurt

Just take the first step and the path will show up later. You are worth the fight. Fight for yourself by asking for help. Message me. Message a therapist. Google. One step every day. The biggest thing was I had to accept myself as I was. I learned to stop waiting till I felt better to act. Now is the perfect time to start, now is always the perfect time.

So own your story. OWN the darkness. Shout it out loud. Express your secrets that nobody knows. Why? Because you never know who you might help heal. When we free ourselves from our past, we help others heal and do the same. Make the choice to be free from the darkness inside you. Shine the light of awareness on that dark spot.

All we need is a little inspiration, and I hope this is it.

From my heart to yours,

I believe in you.

Anna Elizabeth Nadolski

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Why Am I Sore After Yoga?

So you just took a yoga class, maybe your first or maybe your fiftieth and you’re scratching your head asking “Why am I so sore after a Yoga class?” After all, yoga has the reputation for being a class to improve your flexibility, so why all the joint pain and/or muscle soreness?

Great question. First of all, congratulations on stepping outside of your comfort zone and trying a yoga class. You’ve discovered a time honored tradition of rhythmic stretches that dates back generations upon generations. These practices were once held in secret, reserved only for men of great wealth and influence. Interesting isn’t it that now in 2016 it has a reputation of being a female dominated choice of workout? Balance. All things, especially energy, looks to return to balance. So no matter where you are at on your yoga journey, welcome to a lifelong exploration of who you are and what being fully present and alive in your own body temple can look and feel like. As the esteemed yogi and writer Pattabhi Jois writes, “do your practice and all is coming.”
One definition of yoga means union, discussing the union of breath and body. When you undertake a yoga practice, you are syncing your breath with your movements. Each pose has both a physical and emotional component. Take note that your body has both a physical and energetic nature. Your physical body is the realm of physical matter such as blood, bones, organs, lymph system, muscles, etc. Your energetic body, however, is the transmission of energy to, through and around your actual physical body. Some may call this your aura, or discuss your chakras (if you’re into the lingo,) or reference your 12 energetic meridians as the acupuncture studies may chart. Consider the word emotion. Emotions are actual Energy in Motion, E-MOTION, ENERGY-in-MOTION. How does that feel when you read it?

Consider a frustrating experience that you may have had recently, a time when you did not feel supported or protected. For illustration, imagine having to pay your bills and not having enough money. This is a first chakra issue, and this particular energy in motion disturbance tends to manifest right in your lower back, causing lower back pain. The energies felt may have been frustrating, defeating, humiliating, exhausting and a plethora of associated energies in motion, your emotions. Without consideration of your energetic body, you may wake up the next day with your lower back singing to you, tight in pain, and you start scratching your head wondering why your lower back hurts? Did I pull it? Did I do something in yoga? Did I sleep funny? Instead, consider that your emotions were not fully processed and your body stored them in your lower back, for a time later when you were ready to fully deal with them.

Now back to yoga. When you are in class, your instructor has prepared a sequence of postures (called asanas) to warm you up, challenge your balance and strength and then stretch out the muscles used in your flow sequence. From power yoga to hatha yoga and even including Buti yoga, the back story is the same; you do your practice and all is coming. Yoga instructors will repeat “breathe,” and “inhale” and “exhale” multiple times during most classes.

They are holding space for you to go within your body find the balance, to match your breath with your movement and to create a very relaxing space where your body can open up and allow your energies in motion to ground and release. Yes, release. This is one of the many secrets of yoga. You can clear out old, stuck, unwanted energies in motion through your yoga sequences and not have to relive those old memories. The incident of not having enough money to pay your bills may come to mind during your yoga class, likely when you are in a first chakra grounding position such as malasana (squat pose) or Vrksasana (tree pose) when you are finding strength through grounding in these Earthy solid poses. Adding affirmations, even if just in your mind, can expedite the emotional work.

Affirmations for the first chakra could include, “I am lovable and capable, I am enough, I am protected, I am safe, I am well provided for, All my bills are paid and I still have all this money.” Thoughts become things and you can create your own reality by choosing the thoughts you think and the words you speak. The beauty is that if your life isn’t created the way you would like it to be, through visualization and spoken affirmations you can re-create it to be just as wonderful as you can envision it to be. You are that powerful.

So what to do about that sore back? Whenever a pain or discomfort arises, consider both your physical and your energetic body. What emotions are you feeling? Where does it hurt? Louise Hayes outlines in a nice chart different dis-eases and discomforts in her classic book “You Can Heal Your Life,” if you would like full chart reference, this book is highly recommended. On the energetic plane, does your throat hurt? What is it that you do not want to say? Sinus infection? Who are you close to that has angered you? Migraine? What has you feeling that you are not good enough, what perfection are you struggling with? Once you’ve considered the emotional culprits, and have written out some positive affirmations to change that energy in motion to a positive flow, now it’s time to look at your physical body.

Are your hamstrings sore? Perhaps a sore shoulder or sore wrists? What is your physical body trying to tell you? Again, consider looking up the emotional component, but then consider your physical form. What exercises are you doing? If you’re not exercising at all, it should not be a surprise that soreness is your reality. You are a living breathing human being, not a human resting, so you must be all you can be to feel as good as you can feel. Choose exercises that challenge you. If the exercise practice doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. So after a good yoga class or exercise practice expect soreness.

General soreness is a nice indicator that you put in some work, and your body is changing. Excruciating pain, however, is a red flag that you need to change your approach. Perhaps, in the case of yoga, it is an issue of form. Sore wrists and sore shoulders can be remedied with hand placement on the mat and some instructions on how to balance your weight evenly into both shoulders for inverted postures, such as downward dog. What about a sore lower back after yoga? This sounds like a form issue to, posture especially, which can be remedied by holding a tight Mula Bahnda. Mula Bahnda is your root lock, which is summed up as holding your abdominal wall in tightly with a tucked pelvis and a nice squeeze through your pelvic floor while performing almost every asana. The pelvic tuck protects your lower back, and engages your muscles properly for utmost alignment.

What if you are just sore head to toe after a vigorous class? Good question. First of all, consider the physical body and the emotional body. Did you overdo it? Did you push too hard? Did you try to get into a pose that was far out of your realm (such as headstand) and now have both a migraine and a sore neck and shoulders because you wanted to nail a pose too soon? For every yoga class there are modifications. Take the modifications and use the props provided to work your way up, to and through postures. If the instructor is flying through a vigorous sequence and your body is telling you that it’s tired, take child’s pose. Take the rest posture and watch what is being offered, and join back in when you are ready. See what is available in your class, knowing that you do not have to do each pose. Challenge yourself only to your level, and only you know what you level is for that day. Pick classes that you cannot finish, knowing that you are set up for growth just by being there and taking it all in at your level. Pick other classes where you can fine tune your form, perhaps going slower or faster than your normal preferred rhythm, and get the poses into your muscle memory. Please do not beat yourself up mentally when you cannot complete a pose or class. You are here for practice. You will improve. You are getting stronger. “Do your practice and all is coming.” At Wicked Fitness especially, you are safe in a judgement free zone, and that means talking nicely to yourself too in your mind. You are lovable and capable. You are deserving. You are enough.

Remember above all else, that your body is both physical and energetic, and what you feed it will create the body that you have to operate within. When you are doing energetic work, like exercises and yoga, please feed your body lovingly. Choose foods that grew in the sun, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Choose foods that have one word ingredients, such as: apple, banana, kale, spinach, rice, potato, orange. Your energetic body is fed by live foods. Processed baked goods with dairy whipped sugar beverages surrounding a yoga experience is a great way to promise yourself soreness. As a matter of fact, fast food, sugar, corn syrup and negative thoughts all wrapped together is a guarantee for sore muscles. Keep it up, and you can invite depression, desperation and sickness into your reality.

Dear loved one, please drink water. Water cannot be overstated. Your body is made up of water more than any other element, and drinking plenty of clean water is the road to flushing out toxins and wastes. You may see yogis walking around town or in television shows carrying either coconut water or a green drink; why do they do that? Coconut water is an excellent hydrating beverage, delivering more electrolytes than any red drink could ever imagine. Your body can rehydrate effectively and quickly with coconut water. Did you know that back in World War 2, when blood products were unavailable for wounded soldiers that coconut water can and was used intravenously instead? It’s molecular make up is so close to that of human blood plasma that it is a viable substitution. So indeed, drinking coconut water can get you feeling perky with a quickness, especially great for when it is hot and you are sweating. Thank the wise Universe for putting coconut trees readily available in very hot areas. What about the green drinks? Green drinks are a fun, easy and tasty way to consume some good alkaline type foods, such as your kales and wheatgrasses. Fresh pressed juice, from a specialty store or juice bar delivers wild wide open energy in an easy to digest form, sippable through your straw. All the goodness of sun grown vegetables in your 16oz easy to carry cup, it’s a little miracle, actually. Being alive in 2016 means that you can actually buy some green drinks of fresh pressed juice, (no, we are not talking Shamrock Shakes) from big stores such as Kroger’s or Whole Foods. The local Kroger’s in Garden City now stocks a brand called “Suja Uber Greens” that can be found in the cooler of the produce section. A 46oz bottle costed $9.99 and is delicious on an empty stomach first thing in the morning, (perhaps before your Tuesday 6AM Vinyasa class) or later in the day between meals as a ‘pick me up.’ This brand is loaded with cucumber, celery, grapefruit¸ lemon, kale, green chard and more, all in one convenient bottle. Of course, in a perfect world you would have a gorgeous juicer and a gorgeous live in cook that would juice the fresh juice for you each morning. Perhaps work on your affirmations to create a reality like that.

Finally, consider the power of Epsom salts. Your body needs magnesium. You likely do not get enough in your food, based on current farming practices and depleted soils. Supplements taken orally won’t cut it, they are not properly absorbed. The best absorbtion for magnesium is through your skin. There are topical magnesium creams if you are interested but a relaxing way is to add a cup or more of Epsom salt (magnesium salts) to your bath at night. (Be mindful to get plain Epsom salts, as some brands have added in artificial fragrances that can cause headaches and skin irritations. They may read ‘therapeutic’ but know that the synthetic fragrances do not have healing or therapeutic properties. Yucky.) Allow your skin to absorb the healing properties of the magnesium salts. Do you know what the sign and symptom of magnesium deficiency is? Sore muscles. Yes, sore muscles. Do you know that when you’re engaged in energy moving practices such as yoga, you burn up your magnesium? Yes, you do. So treat yourself to a loving bath, maybe add your affirmations and a nice cold glass of coconut water and enjoy the fact that you had a wonderfully challenging yoga practice, you are growing, you are becoming stronger, you are releasing old emotions and old thought patters, and you can sleep sound knowing that each day you are better than the day before. Treat yourself right. You are worth it. You are enough. Your body is your greatest teacher. What is it telling you today?

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