• Feel Your Fear

Dance Your Way to Inner Freedom

2019-01-05T20:29:33+00:00

Unleash your inner wild goddess. Set yourself free in mind, body, and spirit. Reclaim your power and embody your highest self. Let go of the habits and beliefs that keep you playing small.

I’m sure you are thinking...

"That all sounds wonderful, Amber, but how do I do this?"

You do this by practicing powerful self-care rituals that will create long-lasting change.

Rewiring your mind, building your self-confidence, and feeling your best won’t ever happen overnight. Anything worth having is earned through practice and consistency.

But, I promise you it’s not only completely doable, but you can have a ton of fun along the way!

In this month's Self Love Warrior video training, I’m sharing a potent ecstatic dance workshop with my members.

Click here for a small clip of my improv.

P.S - This is improvised in the moment, not choreographed.

 

Why dance?

We do improv dance because it allows us to create and express what words will never do justice. It has the power to unleash and active parts of ourselves we didn’t know existed, or have suppressed for far too long.

Dance also helps us process trauma and emotional baggage stuck in our tissues that are holding us back from shining our brightest.

Within the flow state of dance, we tap deeply into the inherent wisdom of our bodies. We get out of our mind and into our hearts. We are able to access our intuition and creativity on an entirely new level. A level beyond the limited constraints of the mind.

So if you want to dance into the new year with us, celebrating life, and liberating yourself, then leave a comment below with the phrase, “Self Love Warriors”. I’ll then send you the link to join my Self Love Warrior online tribe.

Join a sisterhood of empowering and inspiring women on the rise who want to see you shine!

 

Blessings + Mega Doses of Pura Vida!

Amber Sears
Founder of EpicSelf.com
Online Coaching, All Inclusive Retreats & Teacher Training Programs

Dance Your Way to Inner Freedom2019-01-05T20:29:33+00:00
  • Mindful Movement

Free your mind with mindful movement

2018-12-19T16:33:13+00:00

Everything you need to know is within your body. Our bodies are gifts, and mindful movement is medicine. Reconnect to your temple daily. Honor it. You and only you hold the power to change how you feel from the inside out.

Exercise is a celebration of what your body can do, not punishment for what you ate.

Your Body is Your Temple

Treat and honor your body like the temple that it is with daily mindful movement and healthy eats.

Tap into its well of inspiration daily with your self-practice. Practice listening and feeling. Let go of any guilt and shame you carry and decide to do better for yourself from now moving forward.

Trust your body’s unique wisdom because it doesn’t lie. The mind can play tricks, but the body speaks its truth loud and clear for those who listen.

The more you develop awareness and a strong relationship with your body, the deeper, more profound lessons you will learn.

When we neglect our bodies' needs, we are sending a direct message that says...you don’t matter. You aren’t worthy of my time and attention.

When that message is sent over and over and over again, that's when health problems and pain arise.

Mindful Movement is Key

Mindful movement is preventative care that makes you feel amazing NOW.

You CAN prioritize and commit to your self-care. It’s never too late to start, and your body is far more capable than you think. How you treat and take care of your body is a direct reflection of how you feel about yourself.

A strong, balanced, and flexible body will reward you tenfold in health and happiness.

So, won’t you join me on your mat? Let’s breathe and flow together! Try this side series and practice mindful movement. It looks easy, but it’s not. Slow it down as you practice. This video is sped up x2.

 

 

 

Open your body, free your mind, and uplift your spirit. Everything is connected.

How are you taking the best care of your temple? Comment below and let me know how you feel afterward!

Free your mind with mindful movement2018-12-19T16:33:13+00:00
  • Learn to Love Yourself

Love Yourself in my Self-Love Challenge!

2018-11-23T20:16:26+00:00

The journey of learning how to love yourself isn't easy, so I decided to do a 10-day Self-Love Challenge to share the practices that I use and teach my clients.

self love, self love challenge, mindset, mind, body, spirit, yoga training, yoga challenge, online business, female entrepreneur, love yourself, exercise, mindful movement, meditation, affirming, mantras, boundaries, holistic nutrition, forgiveness, nature, limiting beliefs

The journey of learning how to love yourself isn't easy, especially in a world that teaches us the opposite. Still, going against the odds is all part of the adventure.

Learning to love yourself better is easily the most empowering, self-enriching, and body-honoring practice you can ever do.

And it's completely doable. It just takes practice.

I decided to do a 10-day Self-Love Challenge to share the practices that I use and teach my clients.  Although the contest is over, I would still LOVE to see you participate in the Self-Love Challenge on your own and tag me in it!

And for those who want to delve deeper into the radically transformative power of loving yourself, the fun doesn't stop here! Read below for more info on my newest offer, a ladies only self-love community!!

 

Self-Love Challenge

Those who participated in my 10-day Self-Love Challenge had the chance to win a 3-month 1:1 coaching package with yours truly! That's over a $1,500 value! Although the prize has already been claimed, I'd still love to see you join in on the fun!

Below you'll see the full challenge. Each day I give you an exercise to complete. Every day will be different and offer a new tool to add to your self-care rituals. Try them all on for size and see what you resonate with most!

To join this challenge, be sure to:

  • Post a video of your practice or just write about your daily experience throughout the 10-day challenge
  • Tag me on  Facebook or on Instagram & use the hashtag #selflovechallenge to make sure I see your posts.
  • Tag your friends to join you & engage with the growing global community of self-love warriors.

 

Day 1

Day 1 of my Self-Love Challenge is all about honoring your body with mindful movement. In this case, a vinyasa yoga and pilates mat fusion sequence.

Your action/exercise for today is to follow the sequence below and feel it in your own body. Then post about the experience.

 

 

What did you feel? What did you notice about your body or your mind? How did you treat yourself during the flow? How do you feel differently afterward?

Take this sequence slow and breathe deeply. There is no rush or need to perform perfectly.

Honoring your body with a daily mindful movement practice builds your self-awareness, teaches you how to listen to your body, and helps you release unnecessary tension and stress. A strong and flexible body is a happy body that will reward you tenfold.

I use the word “mindful” because this practice is about being PRESENT and feeling your body from the inside out. It's simply getting out of the chatting mind and into how the body is feeling. So, bring your mind's attention to how your body feels throughout the exercise.

Notice where you feel sore and tight today. Take your time to tune in and listen to what your body is telling you. Notice when you are judging and/or criticizing your body or “performance”.

Remember, that no matter where you are on your movement journey, what matters is that you show up and practice. Do the best you can and let go of any inner criticism. Showing up to your mat is winning!

Take it slow. This video is sped up x 2. Be sure to repeat the other side so you are not lopsided. When you’re done, share your experience on your FB wall or on Instagram, or even in the comments below. Tag me in your post and remember to use the hashtag #selflovechallenge.

 

Day 2

Day 2 of my Self-Love Challenge is focused on practicing meditation and affirming mantras to calm your mind and empower your heart.

Meditation is often one of the most difficult practices to commit to. Sitting and witnessing your own mind can feel terrifying & overwhelming at first. There may be a lot going on up there that is not easy to see, feel, or face.

One of the most powerful teachings meditation reveals is that you are NOT your mind. You are the ultimate observer of your mind.

And when you realize you are not your mind, you realize you have the power to consciously choose how you respond to the beliefs, programs, and stories that loop your mind on repeat.

Awareness of the chatter is the first step. Then comes the rewrite!

Meditation trains the brain to focus on the present moment. Not past stories and future projections.

One of the best ways to train the brain to focus on one thing at a time is to give it a phrase to repeat. An affirming phrase of course! One that empowers you to step into your greatness!

Challenge:

So, today’s exercise is to meditate for 10 minutes followed by repeating a mantra/affirming phrase of your choice.

Sit in a chair with a back to support your spine. Set a 10-minute timer. Put your bare feet flat on the floor and close your eyes.

All you have to “do” is follow the rhythm of your breath. Witness what your mind does. Notice the tangents it takes you on. The stories it brings up or repeats. Perhaps emotions come bubbling up. It’s all good. No judgment.

Every time you notice your mind wandering off of the focus of your breath, bring it right back. You may do this a thousand times. Don’t worry. This is normal and part of the practice.

When your alarm goes off, choose an affirming phrase like “I am limitless,” “I am enough,” or “I am capable.” Repeat this mantra out loud at least 30 times. When you notice your mind wandering off, come back to the mantra.

 

Day 3

Day 3 of my Self-Love Challenge is all about setting better boundaries to support your limitless growth and potential.

  • Do you constantly feel exhausted, stressed, overwhelmed, resentful, and taken advantage of by other people?
  • Are you a people pleaser who has a hard time saying no to others?
  • Do you feel guilt and shame about taking time to care for yourself?

If you felt like you could relate to any of these, it’s time to build much better boundaries to honor your space, time and energy.

Setting up and maintaining proper boundaries is required for you to grow in all the ways you desire most. Without a structural foundation to stand on, other people will push, pull, and mold you because you allow them to.

You teach others how to treat you based on how you treat yourself. If you are not honoring your own space, time, and energy, they won’t either.

Challenge:

Today’s exercise is to grab your journal and answer the following questions:

  1. What boundaries do I currently have that are serving my highest good?
  2. What boundaries do I try to maintain, but frequently fail to do so?
  3. When and how do I express my needs? Do I ask for help when I need it?
  4. When do I say yes when I really want to say no?
  5. What boundaries are required for me to truly thrive in my mind, body, and spirit?

Once you’ve gained clarity about these answers, it’s time to put them into ACTION with the people in your life.

Practicing saying no and expressing your truth with compassionate and clear communication with at least one person today.

This could be a simple conversation with your partner about how you will be going to the gym every day and will need his/her help to watch the kids while you take care of yourself.

Feel the uncomfortable emotions that may arise as you do this. Sit in the fire and let it burn away all that guilt and fear that is no longer serving you.

I look forward to hearing about your journey!

 

Day 4

Day 4 of my Self-Love Challenge focuses on the power of holistic nutrition to radically transform and heal your body from the inside out.

Health is our greatest wealth, and nutrition is the key to feeling fantastic. You can work out at the gym for hours and meditate for days, but if you are not consciously choosing what you eat, you will not feel any real shift in your body.

The trillions of cells that make up our magical bodies require clean, nourishing, whole foods to perform at their best. Most people have no idea how good their body is designed to feel simply because nutrition has never been a priority.

If you are sick and tired of feeling sick & tired, NOW is the time to try a new approach that truly honors your body. Remember, food can be the greatest medicine or the slowest form of poison.

Challenge:

Part 1 of today’s exercise is to eat as clean as possible ALL day. Yep, you read that right. All day. This is a challenge after all 😉

What does clean eating mean to me? It means cutting out foods that are heavily processed, sprayed with toxins, heavily salted, fried, genetically modified, or full of sugar. No alcohol either folks.

It means eating an abundance of organic veggies, greens, fruits, nuts, seeds, seaweeds, legumes, and sprouted grains. If you can’t get your hands on organics, do your best with the conventional produce near you.

Notice I didn’t mention animal products. Can you go one day without consuming anything that comes from an animal? It’s actually much easier than you think. I’ve been doing it for 11 years!

If you’re already a plant-based eater, this may be super easy for you, so I invite you to experiment with going raw!

Part 2 of this exercise is to answer the following questions in your journal:

  1. How do I disrespect my body with my food choices?
  2. Do I use food as a numbing/coping mechanism to stuff down my feelings? If so, what can I do instead when I feel stressed, sad, tired, bored, etc?
  3. Do I prioritize nutrition daily? If not, what are my excuses and how can I overcome them?

You got this my loves!

 

Day 5

Day 5 of my Self-Love Challenge is what I call conscious flow journaling. Writing is one of the most powerful tools we have to manifest our ideas into concrete reality. It literally brings the ethereal into the material world.

You don’t have to be a “good” writer to experience growth and transformation from your own words. You never have to show these words to anyone if you choose.

Think of your journal as a sacred place where you go to learn more about yourself and create your dreams.

Challenge:

Today’s exercise is to write (with pen + paper) for 15 minutes straight with NO agenda. Just write what comes to you. Whatever it is, don’t judge it, perfect it, or stop it from flowing. Practice trusting what comes to mind and let your hand move.

Whatever is going on in your mind and heart will flow onto your paper with grace if you allow it.

At the end of the 15 minutes, read what you wrote, and answer the following questions:

  1. What do these words reveal about me? Did I learn something new about myself?
  2. Are there any lessons or bits of wisdom I can take away and use?
  3. What emotions did I experience?
  4. What am I most grateful for right now?
  5. If I could meet my 90-year-old self, what would they say to me right now?

Maintaining a daily journaling practice is a GAME CHANGER for self-inquiry and mastery. When you gift yourself permission to ask and answer deep questions, you realize many of the answers you seek are within you already.

Writing builds self-awareness and critical thinking skills that will help you gain the clarity you seek and initiate action towards your dreams. If you don’t have a journal or notebook, now is the time to pick one up!

 

Day 6

Day 6 of my Self-Love Challenge emphasizes the importance of forgiveness and letting go of toxic people in your life.

When you forgive yourself and others your heart heals and opens.

Today's exercise won’t be easy. Long lasting transformation never is. Stuck emotions will surface and tears will flow.

This release is necessary for you to heal old wounds and cut the energetic cords that tie you to your past so you can open and create space to receive what’s coming.

Challenge:

Part 1: Write a forgiveness letter to yourself. What do you want/need to forgive yourself for from your past and present? Get detailed here.

Part 2: Write down the names of who you want/need to forgive from your past or present. Write them each a forgiveness message in your journal. It doesn’t need to be long to be effective. A few paragraphs each is great. Specify exactly what you are forgiving them for.

Part 3: Write down the names of the people in your life that you know are toxic to your growth and happiness. Write them each a goodbye message in your journal. Include exactly why you won’t be choosing to spend your time with them anymore.

Now, to be clear, you don’t need to send the people you named in your journal these messages. The energetic cords will be cut, but it’s extremely powerful if you do decide to share these messages with them.

Once you’ve severed the cords, it’s important to act in alignment with your written words.

The words will mean nothing if you keep playing out the same cycles through your actions. This exercise is your golden opportunity to stay in integrity and do what you say you are going to do.

I am SO looking forward to seeing your posts and stories! Remember, it’s more than okay to cry. Tears mean you are processing and releasing what is no longer serving you. You will feel lighter afterward. I promise.

This is the work where we face our shadows and walk through the fire. You got this!

 

Day 7

Day 7 of my Self-Love Challenge emphasizes unplugging and immersing in the magic of nature.

In this busy, fast-paced world, it’s ridiculously easy to get sucked into our devices and go months without walking in the woods, swimming in the ocean, or simply stopping to smell the wild flowers.

This massive disconnection from our true source, the Earth, is causing some major physical and mental health issues. Have you noticed?

  • Do you feel ungrounded, scattered, and overwhelmed with the frenetic energy buzzing around you constantly?
  • Are you anxious and depressed?
  • Do you feel disconnected from your heart and spirit?

If so, it’s time to explore some wild open spaces. The wisdom of the Earth is always there for those who are willing to listen. Nature is our greatest medicine for the mind, body, and spirit.

Challenge:

Today’s exercise is to unplug completely and leave your phone/ other devices at home for 30 - 60 minutes. During this time, go walk in the biggest and wildest natural space you can find.

Go alone and just observe what unfolds. Take your shoes off. No distractions. No friends. Just you and the wild.

When you return from your wander, answer the following questions in your journal:

  1. How did I feel without my device(s)?
  2. How did I feel hanging out in nature?
  3. Do I feel different now after being outside? If so, how?
  4. What did I realize about myself?

 

Blessings from the heart of the jungle to yours.

 

Day 8

Day 8 of my Self-Love Challenge focuses on identifying limiting beliefs and rewriting them to support your limitless growth.

Your mind is a VERY powerful tool. It can either fuel your rapid transformation or keep you stuck in the same old patterns and cycles.

What you believe you become. Whether you think you can or you can’t, you are right.

You also hold the power to rewrite the script in your mind whenever you wish. How exciting!

Challenge:

Today’s exercise is to write down your top 10 limiting beliefs in your journal. Choose the ones that really prevent you from growing in all the ways you desire most.

Then rewrite these limiting beliefs into empowering affirming ones.

Read these new beliefs out loud. Repeat them as many times as you’d like. Speak them into existence.

The more you think, write, and speak these new beliefs into existence, the faster they become you.

Letting go of old beliefs and embodying new ones takes time and patience. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s beyond worth it. You got this!

 

Day 9

Day 9 of my Self-Love Challenge emphasizes the importance of feeling and processing your emotions in order to heal.

Feeling the full spectrum of our emotions, especially the “dark” ones, is often avoided like the plague.

We are taught from a young age to stuff down our emotions and pretend they don’t exist.

We fear what we might experience if we let ourselves go there fully. If we let ourselves get messy and vulnerable.

We’ll use all sorts of coping mechanisms to numb and avoid our own emotions. So much so, that we can become extremely self-destructive and project our pain onto others simply because we are unwilling to face the emotions that wreak havoc on our hearts.

I’ve learned a lot about emotions over the last several years on my own healing journey. I’ve learned that unprocessed emotions never go away.

The pain you think you can just brush off is actually still affecting you.

That trauma you experienced when you were younger still hangs out in your energetic field.

These unfelt emotions just build up in your heart until you are literally forced to feel them.

You must feel it to heal it.

There is no way around feeling your emotions. There is no way to bypass this step and wipe the slate clean. You must walk through the fire to release these energies.

Challenge:

Today’s exercise is to write down 5 things you know you need/want to heal from your past. Pain you know you’ve never let yourself feel or process fully.

If you think you’ve healed all of your past wounds, think again. There are always more layers to peel back.

This could be grieving a death, the end of a romantic relationship, sexual assault, bullying, addiction, an accident, etc.

Once you have these 5 experiences listed in your journal, take a few mins to write out the following for each experience:

  1. How did I feel in that moment? What emotions were present?
  2. How did I deal with the pain then, and how am I coping with the pain now?
  3. How is this old pain effecting/shaping my life now?
  4. Who do I need to forgive to move forward?
  5. What lesson did I learn from this pain?

I can’t wait to see your posts & stories! Only one more day to go!

 

Day 10

Day 10 of my Self-Love Challenge focuses on setting clear intentions in order to build your unique dream.

If you’ve completed all of my daily exercises up to this point, congratulations!! You’ve been through the depths, walked through your shadows, and cleared what is no longer serving you on many levels.

It takes tremendous courage to practice these self-care and reflection rituals. It’s very easy to coach, teach and help others, but it's often the most difficult to do the same for yourself.

You are a self-love warrior! I am SO proud of you!

Challenge:

Today’s exercise is all about dreaming, intending, and setting your next steps after all of this deep self-awareness work.

Now that you have much more clarity and confidence, it’s time to act on your dreams.

This challenge will just be an experience unless you integrate the lessons you’ve learned into daily action.

Answer the following questions in your journal to complete today’s exercise:

  1. What are the top 3 intentions/goals I will set and focus on now, based on what I learned during this challenge?
  2. What is my BIG dream that I wish I could create for myself but just don’t know how?
  3. Who or What is getting in the way of building my unique dream?
  4. How will I overcome the challenges I will face?
  5. Who can I ask or count on to emotionally support me and my dreams?
  6. What are the first 5 steps I will take to begin the journey?

I can’t wait to read all about your dreams and how you are going to make them happen!

 

Loving Yourself Doesn't Stop Here!

A HUGE thank you to everyone who participated and went on this journey with me!  I hope you realize now that you are your own healer. Everything you seek is within you. You are deserving, worthy, and enough. Your potential is truly limitless!

I also hope you’ve experienced new depths of connection to your body, heart, and soul. We went deep!

For those of you just now reading this, go ahead and start your own journey to love yourself more! Tag me on social media or leave a comment below so I can follow your experience.

But the fun doesn't stop here.

Introducing: The Self-Love Warriors!

If you enjoyed this challenge and would love to continue working with me, I just launched my Self-Love Warriors online membership community today!

I’m super pumped about it and can’t wait to share all that I have been building for you!

Within this monthly membership community, I teach my most potent tools and practices for rapid transformation that I’ve been using with my private clients for over a decade.

As a Self-Love Warrior tribe member, you’ll receive in-depth video trainings, action steps, and a monthly live Q & A session with me. I’m here to support you every step of the journey, along with a global community of self-love warriors.

 

Leave a comment below with the phrase “Self-Love Warrior Tribe” and I’ll send you the link to learn more and sign up.

I can’t wait to see your Self-Love Challenge posts & cheer you on!

 

Much Love and Mega Doses of Pura Vida!

Amber Sears
Epicself.com

Love Yourself in my Self-Love Challenge!2018-11-23T20:16:26+00:00
  • Self-Love Challenge

Self-Love Challenge

2018-11-23T20:15:16+00:00

Self-love is an adventure, but learning how to love and honor ourselves is a journey that sometimes feels impossible in a world that teaches us the opposite. But, the inner work required to reclaim your confidence and form deeply meaningful relationships is completely doable. It just takes practice.

Why Self-Love is Important

Self-love is all about honoring your mind, body, and spirit through meditation, movement, and a whole lot of inner work. Many of you voiced that you would LOVE to learn more about the tools and practices I have cultivated and utilized to break free of my own limiting beliefs and destructive patterns. I feel you, and am happy to help! So, I created a Self-Love Challenge that anyone can follow. Keep reading for more details!

Mind

Practicing meditation and affirming mantras helps calm your mind and empower your heart.

Meditation is often one of the most difficult practices to commit to. Sitting and witnessing your own mind can feel terrifying and overwhelming at first. There may be a lot going on up there that is not easy to see, feel, or face.

One of the most powerful teachings meditation reveals is that you are NOT your mind. You are the ultimate observer of your mind.

And when you realize you are not your mind, you realize you have the power to consciously choose how you respond to the beliefs, programs, and stories that loop in your mind on repeat.

Awareness of the chatter is the first step. Then comes the rewrite!

Meditation trains the brain to focus on the present moment. Not past stories and future projections.

One of the best ways to train the brain to focus on one thing at a time is to give it a phrase to repeat. An affirming phrase of course! One that empowers you to step into your greatness!

Body

Honoring your body with a daily mindful movement practice builds your self-awareness, teaches you how to listen to your body, and helps you release unnecessary tension and stress. In this case of this challenge, I focus on vinyasa yoga and a pilates mat fusion sequence.

But whatever way you decide to move, it's important to ask yourself these questions:

  • What did you feel?
  • What did you notice about your body or your mind?
  • How did you treat yourself during the flow?
  • How do you feel differently afterward?

 A strong and flexible body is a happy body that will reward you tenfold.

Spirit

Do you constantly feel exhausted, stressed, overwhelmed, resentful and taken advantage of by other people? Are you a people pleaser who has a hard time saying no to others? Do you feel guilt and shame about taking time to care for yourself?

Honoring your spirit is all about setting better boundaries to support your limitless growth & potential. So, it’s time to build much better boundaries to honor your space, time and energy.

Setting up and maintaining proper boundaries is required for you to grow in all the ways you desire most. Without a structural foundation to stand on, other people will push, pull, and mold you because you allow them to.

You teach others how to treat you based on how you treat yourself. If you are not honoring your own space, time, and energy, they won’t either.

 

The Challenge!

I decided to do a 10-day Self-Love Challenge to share the practices that I use and teach my clients. These practices will help you make leaps and bounds in your relationship to self. Not only will this challenge encourage you to work on your mind, body, and spirit, but you'll also have a chance to win a 3-month 1:1 coaching package with yours truly! That's over a $1,500 value!

The challenge will run for 10 days from November 13th - 22nd, 2018. If you're seeing this blog after the challenge, don't worry! There may not be a prize, but I'd still love to see you join in!

Each day I will give you an exercise to complete. Every day will be different and offer a new tool to add to your self-care rituals. Try them all on for size and see what you resonate with most! Be sure to follow me on Instagram and Facebook to join in the challenge!

To join the challenge:

⚡️Repost this picture on Facebook, or if you prefer Instagram, repost this picture

⚡️Follow the guidelines in the posts linked above, and be sure to use the hashtag #SelfLoveChallenge

⚡️Tag three friends to join you on the journey.

⚡️Complete each daily exercise and post about your experience with each one on your FB/Insta wall OR in your stories. Be sure to use the hashtag or I won’t see them!

⚡️Support and encourage other people who have joined the challenge.

At the end of the 10 days together, I will choose two winners who will receive a 3-month 1:1 coaching package from me valued at over $1500.

I'm so pumped about this, and I can’t wait to see your posts!

NOW is the time to finally let go of what’s no longer serving you mentally, emotionally and physically.

You CAN do this, and we are all here to support each other. I look so forward to sharing this journey to the heart with you!

Also, be sure to check next week's blog post for the full challenge break down!!

 

Much Love & Pura Vida!

Amber Sears
Epicself.com

 

Hopping in on the challenge late? Comment below and let me know you're still going to commit to loving yourself! I'd still love to hear about your journey!

 

Self-Love Challenge2018-11-23T20:15:16+00:00
  • mind your movement

Change your mind, Mind your movement

2016-11-29T02:24:12+00:00

This morning I woke up feeling tired. I stayed up working way too late and didn’t get enough sleep. Sound familiar? We’ve all been there. Even though I wanted to sink back into sleep and ignore the world for an hour longer, I didn’t. Every morning I wake up my body and mind through movement and stretching (aka I get my sweat on). An older version of me would have made an excuse along the lines of, “but I’m so tired, I should rest instead,” or “I just don’t feel like it. I’ll do it later on today when I feel more awake.” The updated 2.0 version of me knows better.

You see, I finally understand that there are two parts of my mind that are always vying for my attention. One part of my mind is completely and utterly resistant toward change, movement, and growth. It wants to be as lazy as it can get away with. The other half knows what’s best for me: change, movement, and growth. Guess which one I choose to listen to? Hint: the latter. Wouldn’t you rather be seduced in to success by a positive voice than succumb to self-sabatoge?

Change your mind, mind your movement

I decided that I’ll show up for myself, no matter what. We often create and accomplish more than we ever dreamed possible when we are pushed into tight, uncomfortable places in life. When we are thrust into the unknown and uncomfortable, we want the scenery to change as soon as possible, which challenges us to problem-solve and practice courage, focus, and determination against all odds. Those attributes of success are, more often than not, born out of practice and failure.

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”  Elizabeth Appell

Make movement a priority

Do you know the telltale sign that you need to be moving your body? When it hurts, when you’re tired, and when you really don’t feel like it. We actively (and often stubbornly) resist moving our bodies. It’s our resistance toward change at it’s most basic expression in our body and mind. The more apathetic our view toward movement, the more we really should get up and cut a rug. Yes, I know it sounds contradictory, but think of it in terms of Newton’s First Law of Motion:  An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion.

What we focus on, grows; what we put our energy toward, increases; and once we get the body moving and grooving, it likes to stay that way. It thrives on movement. The challenge? Getting over the initial hurdle of stagnation and immobility. The answer: making the daily choice to prioritize your health and honor your body. Sure, you’ll have days where conditions are perfect: you wake up with a twinkle in your eye, ready to run 5 miles. Most days, you’ll have to simply make the choice to show up and push yourself a little further than yesterday.

A method to push to your edge…every. time. 

Retrain the internal dialogue that wants you to give up. Equip it with affirmations, and turn it into your personal coach. Set a goal (one more lap, 5 more breaths, 30 more seconds, etc.) and when you feel your muscles shaking and your mind cracking, call upon your inner coach for support. Practice mantras like: You’ve got this. You only have one more lap. It’s just a breath, you can do 5 more no problem. You’re so close, just 30 seconds longer. One more lap, you know you can do it!  An internal dialogue that encourages you around every corner helps you reach the edge of your limits, and push beyond them.

Trust me, it will feel good

When you’re done with your daily movement practice, take a moment to appreciate the open, free feeling in your body and the clarity of your mind. The process of changing your mind is one of awareness. Being mindful of your alignment, muscular engagement, and breath during movement is the golden key to unlocking the treasures of a powerful mind-body relationship.

Change your mind, Mind your movement2016-11-29T02:24:12+00:00

Mindful Movement

2016-11-29T00:43:09+00:00

When someone says Mindful Movement, what comes to mind?

In my mind, I always imagine someone moving really slowly. It's a little silly picturing it that way but it makes a clear point, and that is that an overabundance of movement or movement done very quickly is generally superfluous, not mindful. During my stay here in Costa Rica for the Epicself Fellowship, I have learned so much about mindful movement from Amber and her style of teaching pilates and yoga. Since I have been down here, I have made huge strides in my physical abilities and energetic posture simply from exercising mindfully.

Mindful movement refers to movement focusing your attention on your body while observing the subtleties of what you are feeling. It can be applied to any form of movement, any type of exercise, as long as it is performed with awareness.

Ok so let's break down this word, awareness. What does being aware of your body and really mean?

In my experience, one of the most powerful techniques for cultivating awareness is paying attention to your breathing. Whether you are running an errand, an a Zumba class, or just sitting in front of your computer, notice your breath. Are you breathing deeply or is it shallow? Are your breaths rapid or slow? Does your chest or belly expand when you inhale? Are your sinuses so stuffed you can hardly breath through your nose? Becoming aware of how you are breathing in any given moment is the beginning of cultivating the awareness necessary for mindful movement.

So mindful movement is firstly any movement done with attention to the breath, and secondly how the harmonizations of movement with breathe affect both the body AND the mind.

This conscious coordination of body and breath was THE thing about yoga that changed my life. I became a pranayama addict! Pranayama is the Sanskrit word for the practice of harnessing life-force, or prana, through implementing breathing techniques.

What I love most about pranayama is the way in which it not only affects your body, by slowing down your heart rate and activating your parasympathetic nervous system, but it also has such a profound affect on your state of mind! By bringing that awareness of the breath into your movement practice, you will not only deepen your understanding of your body but also your mind.

There are so many scientific reasons why breath awareness and mindful movement are so beneficial both in exercise, and in life in general but I want to focus on some practical uses of mindful movement using the breath.Mindful movement practices such as yoga, pilates, and qigong focus heavily breathwork, implementing a plethora of techniques that boost energy, increase flexibility & strength, even help release trauma. Sure, breathing sounds simple enough but to really understand how profound of a effect it can have, we really need to experience it directly to get why it can be such a powerful tool for healing.

Boost you Energy - Through gentle back-bending yoga postures, like Extended Mountain pose, Bridge, or Upward-Facing Dog, we are opening up the chest and thus are able to take full deep breaths, thereby increasing our energy. We can also increase the speed of our breathing, using a practice like breath of fire in a pose to energize the body and increase mental alertness..

Increase your Flexibility - Do you hold your breath when you stretch? Taking deep breath while stretching can be a powerful tool for increasing the intensity of posture and thereby increasing your flexibility. When breathing in, try to hold the pose while directing the air in through your lungs and down to the part of the body that is most feeling the stretch. As you exhale, allow your muscles to soften and release further into the stretch.

Increase your Strength - If your hardcore about physical fitness, you probably already know how crucial breathing is to building strength. Martial artists have known this forever, making sounds like "Kiai!" to leverage their breath for strength.  By turning up the volume on your breathe, you are able to exert greater force in your movements.

 Release Physical & Emotional Trauma - Breathwork with or without movement has an enormous capacity to help us release & heal emotional wounds that can be hard to access otherwise. Often these trauma's are lodged somewhere in the body and by actively and consciously directing our breath, we can access emotional blocks to clear them.

My experience here in Costa Rica practicing mindful movement every morning has transformed my body and mind. I have seen how working with my movement and breath has re-energized me when I was feeling exhausted. I have seen both my strength and flexibility increase dramatically and I have let things go, emotionally, that were no longer serving me. observing your body and cultivating breath awareness are some of the most simple yet powerful, and terribly under-utilized tools for transformation.

What do you have to lose?

 

 

Mindful Movement2016-11-29T00:43:09+00:00

How Conscious Yoga And Pilates Practice Changed My Body Awareness

2016-11-28T00:07:11+00:00

I came to Epicself 3 weeks ago with a long history of being in pain. My my upper and lower back, especially my neck were hurting constantly and for me it was just normal. I had also suffered a recent injury on my pectoral muscle and I wasn't sure how my body would deal with the daily yoga practice.

The first class already changed my life when I met the amazing foam roller (my new boyfriend, lol!). Who knew that by rolling out my feet with tennis balls would relax some of the tensest muscles in my body! And by laying on the roller, the whole spine aligns and gets back into its natural shape. How easy is that!!! A new world had opened up for me and I was truly impressed and amazed how good I felt.

With every class my body awareness has become greater. It is kind of crazy how many things and moves we do unconsciously and how our body just follows autopilot. I feel like I'm finally using the right muscles to move my different body parts, but also learn how to move the body as a whole. I'm getting stronger and within 3 weeks I have developed quiet some abs and triceps!

I have fallen in love with the pilates practice. I had no idea what it was all about, other than a workout and a trend. Conscious muscle training and rewiring the brain to use the right muscles for the work is so powerful and life changing! I never imagined that I could heal my body issues at this speed!

When I first met Amber I knew instantly I had to come here to Epicself and practice with her. I knew only good could come out and I do not regret taking my chance. It was the best decision I made in a long time and I'm looking forward for more. I love her mindful practice and meditations. She always finds a way to touch my heart, and the right words of motivation. She challenges us, but is also very aware of what our body needs most in the moment and she is so patient. Qualities I really appreciate in a yoga teacher.

I love practicing outside. We have been to the beach twice and we did yoga on a paddle board yesterday! I find it stunning how much muscle work it takes to actually balance myself on uneven substrates, and I noticed that my left and right side are not doing the work evenly. Such a great insight! I'm a total head person and my mind is usually wandering off to other places and thoughts. But hey, if you are not present in your body when you are practicing on a board in the ocean, chances are you may fall into the water!

Before coming to Epicself, I had some goals I wanted to achieve from the daily yoga and pilates practices.

  1. Improving my posture - I am very tall and my whole life I have been hunching over, trying to hide and keep myself small. My back muscles are really very weak and strengthening them was one of my main intentions.
  2. Building (upper) body strength - Most of the time, my muscles are lazy and don't want to do their job. I avoid hard workouts because they just increase the pain in my body. And now I know why! I seriously got to know muscles in my body I had no idea they existed. And other muscles had completely taken over the work for them!
  3. Being pain free – I was more then ready to learn yet another technique that could potentially alleviate my neck pain and all that comes with it.

We still have almost 10 days to go, but I have already achieved my proposed goals. My upper body strength and posture greatly improved. I'm much more focused on using my abs for certain movements and let them work in favor of my neck.

As a nice side effect, my self-esteem also got a little boost! I felt so proud when I stood up on the paddle board yesterday and even do some yoga poses! I feel much more grounded and self secure in my practice and I will look for other challenges and adventures to take my body on!

I'm ready to take it to another level. I have come to realize that I have said NO to so many things in my life because I felt limited by my body. If it was just to be seen, going for long hikes or doing workouts. I always told myself that I couldn't do it, and that it was not worth taking more pain. But without risking, you will always wonder what if...

How Conscious Yoga And Pilates Practice Changed My Body Awareness2016-11-28T00:07:11+00:00

My Awareness Experience: Three Weeks With Pilates & Yoga!

2016-11-28T00:07:11+00:00

I was brand new to Pilates when I came to EpicSelf HQ. I’d heard about it before but I thought it was just 1990s SoulCycle. I thought it was a popular celebrity fitness trend so I never gave it much thought. When I saw Yoga/Pilates fusion classes were a part of the Epic Living Academy Fellowship curriculum I was open to trying it. I was ready to embark on my journey of 4 weeks with pilates and yoga.

My first yoga/pilates fusion class with Amber was a whirlwind. I had no idea what I was doing. The moves were similar to some yoga asanas in appearance but required completely different muscle activation. Amber was giving cues to activate one part of my body and another was moving. I knew anatomically where the muscles were but my mind-body connection wasn’t yet strong enough to actually move the correct muscle.

Pilates opened me up to a different level of mind-body awareness. We’ve been practicing the yoga/pilates fusion for 3 weeks now and I feel very strong. I have more control over my ribs, serrates anterior, and my pelvis. I’m able to breathe deeply and rinse the air from inside of me. But most of all I’m able to focus on the smaller more delicate muscles. I’m very athletic and even cheered in college but I’ve been working on being more graceful in my practice. It’s easy for me to just put my body in a pose because of my cheerleading flexibility, but pilates called for a deeper muscle awareness than my yoga practice previously had.

We’ve been practicing outside in nature and yesterday on the ocean. A natural background immerses you in presence because you can hear the birds chirping, you see butterflies, you feel the breeze, you smell the ocean. All of these elements remind you that there is more to this life than you. Its easier to relax into a pose when you’re being cooled by the wind and listening to nature’s sounds. You learn new levels of balance when the sand is sliding under your feet in Tree pose. Being rocked by the waves in child’s pose during SUP yoga forces you to be present because if your mind drifts you may fall off your board. SUP yoga was very challenging because all of the muscles had to work together. Luckily these last 3 weeks prepared me and I felt strong and steady in my SUP yoga practice (until the lunge series came and I fell off multiple times lol).

The strength I’m gaining is helping me with my long standing body image issues. For as long as I can remember I’ve been obsessed with my physical appearance. I’ve placed so much value and worth in how my body looked on a daily basis. I’ve used food and all kinds of pharmaceutical means to control my body. For years I never cared how I felt, my focus was always on how I looked. I’ve gone through some difficult personal times this year and have put on extra weight. I’ve been compassionate with myself because of the emotions that caused the weight gain and retention, but now I’m ready to be free from it. Pilates is making me feel stronger than ever because I see my daily strength and body awareness improvements both on the mat and with the apparatuses. I’m seeing myself shed the excess weight but its a more slow and controlled process than my old regimen of 3 weeks of high cardio and low to no food.

I can notice my increased strength in my yoga postures as well. My hips are aligned in Warrior 2 and I can stand strong in Crescent lunge. I’ve always preferred Yin Yoga and traditional Hatha to Power and Hot yoga styles because I like a slower and more contemplative practice. The pilates fusion adds more challenging elements into the practice but doesn’t take away from my concentration and focus. I’m happy to be learning a new discipline that so forcefully combines breath and movement. I thought yoga was the only mind-body workout but I’m happy to be introduced to something new. For more on how to use your mind and body in connection click here!

My Awareness Experience: Three Weeks With Pilates & Yoga!2016-11-28T00:07:11+00:00

Why I Enrolled In Yoga Teacher Training

2016-11-28T00:07:11+00:00

For me, yoga has been integral on my path of self-healing and self-improvement. It took me a while to finally take the leap to do a yoga teacher training but I'm so happy I did. My doctor suggested to me the idea of yoga as stress relief. It was 2014 and I was suffering from chronic IBS among other health issues. My doctor recommended I decrease my stress levels and gave me an information packet with tips and techniques. Yoga was listed as a stress reduction technique and I decided to take that approach since I had taken a few classes before. I bought a 30 day New Student introductory pass, committed to going 4x per week, and had no idea what awaited me on the other side of this decision.

I kept my promise and completed yoga 4x per week for a month trying several styles including Hot Bikram, Restorative, and Beginner’s classes. Something inside of me came alive and I found myself looking forward to getting on the mat everyday. I loved what the teachers would say in class and how they could bring me to a level of grounding I felt I couldn’t access on my own yet. I noticed my symptoms began to improve so I kept at it semi-consistently for the next few months.

In May of 2015, I immersed myself in yoga on a month long solo and self-made yoga retreat in Ubud, Bali. During that month I reignited my love for Yin Yoga, Vinyasa Flow, Meditation, and Pranayama.

I considered taking a teacher training to deepen my knowledge. However, I always talked myself out of saying “I’m not ready yet” and “I’m not flexible enough” etc. After much research and trepidation, eventually I decided to put fear aside and listen to my heart. I enrolled in a yoga teacher training program in Houston, TX where I live.

My yoga training is in the Pralaya Yoga System. The Pralaya Yoga System is a blend of Hatha and Ashtanga yoga designed by Robert Boustany, an international yoga instructor of 40+ years renowned for his knowledge of anatomy, energetics, & esoteric forms of yoga. Pralaya Yoga develops strength & functional flexibility, defines muscles, and supports joint longevity & improved alignment. This yoga system increases energy over time by relaxing and decompressing the spine and developing precise muscle balance. These changes in the body allow for maximum neurological activation of muscles and organs to function your best.

I made THE BEST decision by deciding to complete yoga teacher training. My life has changed so much through both my personal practice and my training. Yoga is a vehicle to reconnect your mind, body, and spirit. Integration of all parts of yourself allows your body to heal and transform in amazing ways. I’ve been blown away by the transformation I've seen in myself. Listed below are the Top 5 changes I’ve noticed in my life since becoming a yoga teacher:

  1. I’m conscious of what I consume and I’m able to control my IBS symptoms without any medications.
  2. I feel the connection with something bigger than myself. I find peace knowing The Universe is always working for my greatest good and am able to connect with others more easily.
  3. My physical body has become strong and I’m more sensitive to it’s messages.
  4. I have a deep sense of gratitude and an easier time expressing it.
  5. I’m able to breathe in tense/stressful situations and not react immediately

If you are like me (coming up with list after list as to why Yoga Teacher Training isn’t for you), do yourself a favor and JUST DO IT! There is something inside of you that wants to answer the call. You just have to have the courage to trust your feelings and act! You wouldn’t have the desire to deepen your practice via teacher training if you couldn’t do it. We will always be students of yoga and there is so much to learn. Join me on the other side, you won’t regret it!

Want to know more beyond my story? Check here for more insights about the benefits of Yoga!

Why I Enrolled In Yoga Teacher Training2016-11-28T00:07:11+00:00

10 Ways to Stay Fit this Summer

2016-11-28T00:07:17+00:00

Summer is finally here! That mean's the pressure is on to stay fit. It's the time of  the year where BBQ's, pool parties,  and loved ones and lots of food are in full swing. It's also the perfect time to take your fitness out doors because who wants to be stuck in a gym or fitness studio when the sun is shining and the weather is HOT!  I know I don't!  But don't worry I got you covered. Don't let your fitness sit on the back burner this summer.  Instead, take your fitness outdoors with these fun activities that will help you stay fit this summer and be bursting with energy.

  1. Swimming - Water aerobics is great way to make the most of the swimming pool. Swimming is a great full body workout, especially if you have joint issues. The water eliminates the shock impact that you would typically get from running.  Like yoga you can do it anywhere as long as there is water of course.

2. Hiking- Mother nature has so much to offer to us. Grab a buddy and hit some hiking trails together. The elevations of the hills and slopes will for sure raise your heart rate and break a sweat Not only do you get to chat and catch up you get a killer workout in. Talk about killing two birds with one stone.

3. Running- Running is a great way to get your heart rate up and burn a lot of calories. Hitting the track to do interval sprints or running a trail are great options. Try waking up an hour early to get a morning run in. This will set your mood and energy for the day and best of all your workout is done for the day and wont have to worry about doing it later on.

4.Walking- If you're not into running then go for a walk! 10 minutes of walking a day has been shown to reduce cardiovascular disease, improve energy and mood , maintain weight and increase your  metabolism. After all,  you are going to need a fast metabolism to metabolize all the yummy foods you will be eating this summer,

5. Rollerblading- Rollerblading offers an abundance of health benefits coupled with lots of fun. It is an effective calorie burner and can help maintain body weight. It increases endurance and improves coordination. It firms the upper leg muscles, buttocks, hips, and lower back muscles and is another great low impact sport on the joints.

 6. Cycling - Bike rides are a fantastic activity when the sun is shining. You can pack a picnic and  hit some bike trails and stop along the way to eat and take in the scenery.  If you suffer from joint pain, cycling is very low impact and is  a lot easier on your legs, ankles, knees and feet than running is. Not only is cycling a great way of keeping your fitness up, but it is also a great mode of transport. Ditch your car for the day and bike to work!

6. Canoeing or Kayaking- Don’t underestimate this one! Canoeing and kayaking are low impact activities that can improve your aerobic fitness, strength and flexibility. This is an amazing upper body workout. Trust me when I say this , your upper body will be screaming at you to take a break after 10 minutes!

7. YogaThe good thing about yoga is you can do it absolutely anywhere. Sometimes all we need is a change of scenery to make the experience 10 time better.  Yoga is meant to relax your body and clear your mind and setting your mat at a beach or park will for sure  relax you even further. So don’t forget to pack your mat for your next adventure.

8. Park Games- Grab a friend and head to the park and just play! Throw a frisbee, play ball and catch , or toss a football. The possibilities are endless! Just get out enjoy the sun and nature and move in anyway you can.

9. Slack Lining - Slacklining is sport of balancing on a rope or strip of webbing that is fixed high above the ground. It is great for improving balance, posture and concentration. Talk about a workout of the core and the mind!  Slackline can be done at the beach between two palm trees or at the park. All you need is a dependable slackline and friend.https://epicself.com/wp-admin/admin.php?page=wpcf7

10. Outdoor Cardio Challenge - Who needs the treadmill? Grab a mat (or towel), get outside and get down to business, 4 sets of 15 Long Jumps, 15 Pushups, 15 Sumo Squats, 15 Burpees, 15 Bicycle Crunches: 15 Mountain Climbers will really get your heart pumping and sweating buckets. Time yourself and try to beat your best time with your next workout, or challenge a friend!

 

10 Ways to Stay Fit this Summer2016-11-28T00:07:17+00:00
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