I wanted to share with you all my most recent “personal journey,” 100 days of Yoga. I did something similar in the past that I referred to as 100 days of happiness. When I began 100 days of happiness, I began a gratitude journal. Journaling every morning is something that has completely shifted my mindset and created great change in my life. Now, I cannot imagine beginning my day any other way. As of recent I have been thinking, “what else can I incorporate into my wellness journey that can cultivate rewarding benefits?” Well, I have decided to see if yoga may just be that answer. I have incorporated yoga off and on over the last year, but by no means has it been practiced consistently (even when I had the greatest of intentions). This time around incorporating a session every day will be a priority.

If you know me at all, you know that I love Science, so I read several scholarly journals supporting the benefits of yoga based on multiple studies. To begin, I immediately went for the articles regarding yoga and its benefits for greater muscle strength and endurance, flexibility and cardio-respiratory fitness, but then my mind was blown away with all of the benefits in so many other aspects of life. I really didn’t know much about yoga. I knew that it was great for flexibility and I was aware of the strength it requires but other than that I have never expanded my mind and read about its many benefits. I won’t go into the details here but I encourage you all to read about its benefits (those far beyond the mat). Encouraged after all of my findings, I decided to add another 100-day journey to my list, and I am stoked to get started!

As far as where and when I will practice, it will be varied depending on scheduling. I have followed along with friends using apps and YouTube, which have been great previously at being descriptive and easy to follow, but having an instructor in a classroom ensures expert guidance. I have several friends here in Vegas that teach so a good mix of both is the plan- whenever I can get it in.

Today, being that it is the beginning of a new month, marked day number 1. I followed along with a beginners yoga video from Youtube this evening with basic (and familiar) movements that allowed for an easy and relaxing introduction to my journey. After, I worked on inversions. Headstands and handstands have been something that I have incorporated into my training since my CrossFit days first began. I love being inverted and overhead strength and mobility have always been my strong point, but I can’t handstand walk to save my life, a fear I really need to work out!

I find when I incorporate yoga, mobility sessions, lengthier warm-ups, and make more time for recovery, my body appreciates the dedication, and less pain is the reward. It seems so basic, right? And really, it is. It doesn’t require science to understand the why’s, but it does require taking action and putting in the effort.

Follow along as I journey 100 days in search of another amazing shift in my life.

If you are new here, hello and welcome! Thanks for stopping in! Please check out my “about me” heading to grab a quick introduction.

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Now, let’s fast forward 100 days and see how it all went! You can head over to my Instagram and view all 100 days in my stories!

To start, I began this journey with hopes that practicing yoga could help relieve the lingering back pain and elbow pain that I have had off and on for several years now. In the beginning, however, I found that my elbow would flare up when practicing, and my wrists would take a beating too- honestly, it was really frustrating. But, within 15 days or so, I found that my wrists were feeling stronger and my elbow pain was becoming less and less, not only on the mat but when lifting weights too. Soon after, I realized I was no longer thinking of the pain in my elbow, or how weight-bearing I felt on my wrists, but rather began focusing on two key points: mindfulness and the breath. 

My understanding when reading into the practice was, in yoga, “the breath does the work for you.” That’s because getting fresh oxygen into your blood while moving through the poses allows you to cleanse the body, loosen tension, and experience its full benefits. Deep breathing requires mindfulness and concentration, which I found myself practicing beyond the mat. It’s easy to let our mind wander when completing less technical movements like walking or running, but yoga requires paying attention to your breath and constant refining of your movements. The same goes for our day to day tasks, we often get caught up in our routines and simply roll through the day without truly being present. In yoga when my mind began to wander I would bring my eyes back to a focal point and bring my attention back to my breath. On day sixty-three, I realized I had yet to have an entire session where I didn’t have to bring awareness back to my breath or use a focal point to still my mind. I never did make it an entire session without having to remind myself at least once to, focus, but by the end, I found that I could bring awareness back relatively quickly. Being aware and present was something I found I was applying to all parts of my day. My mindless strolls in the morning with Jack (my doodle), shifted from a “mind-full” stroll to a “mindful” stroll. I found myself paying attention to the colors of the leaves on the trees, and listening to the sounds of birds chirping, as opposed to the chaos in my head regarding the day ahead. It’s astonishing at how you recognize great moments in the day when you are truly present and aware. Not only do I recognize more moments of happiness throughout the day, but I find happiness in the smallest things.

At the end of my 100-day journey, the lingering elbow and back pain had subsided tremendously! I began seeing improvements in my lifts and less inflammation and aggravation following training sessions overall. If that weren’t enough, the rewards that have stemmed from simply being more present and aware have (once again), yielded life-changing practices.

While I cannot incorporate both yoga and Weightlifting every day, I plan to keep yoga as a staple in my training at least 3X each week.

I would like to close this entry with a big thank you to my friend, Amanda Sides.
Amanda is a fellow coach and yoga teacher, and because of her great range of content available on YouTube, I was able to follow along seamlessly as I progressed. Below I have shared links to three of her beginner yoga videos, and here you can find the other 10. This is the perfect 13-day series when beginning your very own yoga journey! I hope I have encouraged you all to give it a go!

Beginner Yoga 1: Get Going!

Beginner Yoga 2: Just Breathe

Beginner Yoga 3: Calm

As always, thank you for taking the time to read anything I have to say.

Good morning guys! It seems as if the sporadic blog upload continues. Since talking with you all last I had a birthday, here’s to 36!!

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I spent many days leading up to my birthday reminiscing birthdays of past. The last five birthdays were either spent prepping for a show or reversing out from a show. Competing was such a major part of my life. For many years, it was the primary center of my life. It was a great experience, it allowed me to meet a lot of people and it taught me stringent discipline- but somewhere over the last year, there was a shift.

When I began my fitness journey so many years ago, my intention was to become stronger, fitter, and happier. I became stronger, a lot stronger. I became fitter and I became happier- but, sometime, somewhere along that road I allowed the aesthetics of fitness to drive me rather than the dimensions of wellness. Do you know what I mean by that? Let me explain. When I first entered the world of weightlifting my primary focus was the weight on the barbell, not my weight on the scale. I noticed immediate changes in my physique as a result of training, not because of restrictive eating and endless amounts of cardio.

As time continued, training became a chore and my diet was solely for fat loss, as opposed to eating foods because they had certain antioxidants that battle cancer, or because they were optimal for recovery. I was training merely to chase a certain physique. Don’t get me wrong, a nice set of Glutes and abs will always be a major motivator, but loving your body through the process is just as important. 

Achieving optimal wellness means achieving your fullest potential in the following dimensions: physical, social, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and environmental. Wellness is becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life. Wellness is more than being free from illness, following a strategic meal plan, or looking good naked; it is a dynamic process of change and growth.

At some point, we all get sidetracked and deviate from our path, and sometimes we may not even know our path- Either way it’s OK. Adjusting our visions are just part of growth and improvement. It’s important to rememberer to occasionally take a moment, reevaluate your goals, and check your path. 

Perhaps I sound like a new-age hipster, but I recently introduced new techniques into my daily routine that I feel are contributing greatly to creating personal renewal and finding harmony. We are all worthy of the best care possible.

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If you are interested in the dimensions of wellness, I have given you my personal interpretation of each below:

Physical Wellness: Improving physical wellness means a number of things to me. This means focusing not only on maintaining, but improving physical health through resistance training, flexibility, and mobility, and improving cardiovascular output. Physical wellness not only means exercise but it means adhering to a healthy diet, consuming responsible amounts of alcohol, abstaining from tobacco, and all substances that forge depression, anxiety, or disease.

Social Wellness: Reaching optimal social wellness means that you are fulfilling interpersonal relationships. These are relationships with family and friends, as well as everyday people you meet in society. To enhance social health you must be willing to communicate with others. You must be reliable, honest and most of all, acquire the ability to listen attentively with an open mind and a closed mouth.

Intellectual Wellness: Mental stimulation is a major component of intellectual health. We should continuously strive to stimulate our thought process; it can mean finding ways to be creative, developing good study skills, practicing time management, challenge yourself to see all sides of an issue. Every day is an opportunity to learn new concepts and expand our knowledge. 

Emotional Wellness: The greatest component of emotional health is the ability to not only control our behavior but to better understand it. This means taking time to look at ourselves and acknowledge why we feel certain emotions; learning to recognize what brings on feelings of anger, stress, anxiety, or sadness, and those of hope, love, joy, and happiness. Once you know what brings on these feelings, you are more equipped to dictate your emotional wellbeing. 

Spiritual Wellness: This is finding peace in knowing that you provide a purpose for existence. A person may find spiritual contentment through organized religion, volunteering, mediation, hiking; whatever fulfills your spirit and creates harmony in your life.

Environmental Wellness: We cannot always determine our environment. There are threats from our surroundings that can play a hazardous role in our everyday lives: people’s negativity, pollution, infectious diseases, crime, and the list goes on. This means taking time to do all of the extra little things that can add up to make a big difference: caring about your skin enough to apply SPF, wash your hands after public interactions, make an appointment at the doctor if you feel something isn’t right, get regular check-ups, and for God’s sake make time to floss. Minimizing the negative effects of environmental hazards is a major contributor to wellness. 

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