WCW: Yasmin Muzil

I’m making it a September to Remember. So the #WCW series is BACK! The Women Crush Wednesday hashtag and social media trend is nothing new. But I am trying to reclaim that title not just for half naked celebrities or women you actually know nothing about. The women I crush over are using their womenhood, their voice and their passions to make our world brighter. I have some incredible women in my life so I am honored to share them with you. I hope you find them as inspiring as I do.

Meet Yaz.

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Yaz and I met in Australia at a random hostel in a tiny beach town called Mission Beach. My brother, Jackie and I had been backpacking the east coast of Australia for almost a month and when I came to Scotty’s I was ready to relax, detox and recharge. I will never forget the moment I heard Yaz’ strong welsh accent and saw her flopping into the pool. I could tell right away she had a personality that was larger than life. We got to know each other quickly and spent a magical 24 hours on Fitzroy Island together with my older brother. It was a day I can never forget. It seems to last a whole week in my memory and I knew that day Yaz would definitely be a friend forever.

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Our traveling paths took us separate ways but we finally reunited when I came back to the U.K. with Harry last year. Since then we have just strengthened our bond and have so many exciting things planned for the future. I’ll let her take it from here!

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WCW: Allyson Wettengel

February is the month of love and I made you wait all month for this lovely #WCW. The Women Crush Wednesday hashtag and social media trend is nothing new. But I am trying to reclaim that title not just for half naked celebrities or women you actually know nothing about. The women I crush over are using their womenhood, their voice and their passions to make our world brighter. I have some incredible women in my life so I am honored to share them with you. I hope you find them as inspiring as I do.

Meet Ally.

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The first time I went down to Bondi Beach for a free yoga event I had no idea what to expect. When I got there there were about 250 people there and I didn’t know a single soul. It was Ally’s first time ever teaching after her yoga teacher training and her familiar American accent and bubbly personality caught my attention right away. (One of us. One of us.) She took us through an awesome practice and shared such vulnerable pieces of her life story. After this experience I decided I would come back because she said there was free yoga at One Wave’s events every Friday. I quickly realized it was not just yoga but a whole non profit organization and community dedicated to breaking the stigma against mental health.

Slowly but surely Ally turned from my yoga teacher into my good friend but I felt like I knew her much more than she knew me because a yoga class with Ally is like experiencing part of her soul. She is such an incredible story teller and weaves themes throughout her classes in a way I’ve never seen someone else do. She is someone I am genuinely so grateful to know and I know that anyone who knows her feels the same. Thank you Ally, for shining your light in this world. For being vulnerable, strong, independent, funny and most of all caring. Your friendship and yoga teaching has inspired me in so many ways I’m not sure I could ever explain them all. I’ll let Ally take it from here so you can get to know her too.

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WCW: Jessica Rooney

It’s November 1st but I had to wait till Wednesday to bring you October’s WCW I have a special treat for you. The Women Crush Wednesday hashtag and social media trend is nothing new. But I am trying to reclaim that title not just for half naked celebrities or women you actually know nothing about. The women I crush over are using their womenhood, their voice and their passions to make our world brighter. I have some incredible women in my life so I am honored to share them with you. I hope you find them as inspiring as I do.

Meet Jessica.

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Jessica and I met through a mutual friend, Ariella while we were all traveling in Bali. We are all a part of the Facebook community, Girls Love Travel and Ariella and I connected and had been virtual friends for a while when our paths finally crossed in Bali. We were all able to attend a yoga class together. When Jessica and I got to chatting poolside, Ariella was like “yeah, I think you two have a lot in common.” Somehow this escalated to an outdoor shower photoshoot for our Instagrams and I knew I loved her.

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How to not give up this time.. even if you already did

Do you feel frustrated with yourself? Maybe you already broke your “resolution” for the new year or you “gave in” to Netflix and wine instead of what you thought you should be doing. Maybe you didn’t write down any goals but you still feel “the same” and you can’t figure out why? Or did you go in full force and now you feel like you failed because you’ve already skipped the gym for a couple days? Did you succumb to the persuasive power of Ben and Jerry again? Now is the time most people are quitting when the shiny glow of the new year starts to fade. How do you make yourself part of the group that didn’t give up this time…even if you already did?

STOP RIGHT THERE! Take a deep breath.

The new year is an awesome time to start chasing after new goals but the amazing part is, we get a clean slate everyday. You have the power to rewrite your story, every single day. The question is will you let yourself? Are you hiding behind fear? Let’s get to the bottom of this so you can figure out how not to give up this time.

Celebrate progress– Progress comes in many forms- small and large. Saying no to cookies in the staff room or choosing to take a deep breath instead of lose it on your partner- that’s progress. Even if it’s one time! Find something that you feel like was a success everyday and start building on that.

Acknowledge your power- When we give up on our goals we try to place blame on everything around us. I’m too busy, I’m just not good at eating healthy, I have no willpower. How many times can you feed yourself excuses before you begin to acknowledge that that is exactly what they are. Lying is awful and when you lie to yourself, you’re wasting everyone’s time and energy especially your own. YOU HAVE THE POWER. You always have. Act like it.

Try new things– If the same gym membership and Lean Cuisine diet isn’t doing it for you and it hasn’t for the past five years, why do you keep thinking this time will be different? If you want different results DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT. Don’t just say, “Yeah, that would be nice.” “Someday.” DO it now, for goodness sake. If you hate it, then at least you tried!

Non-food rewards– You are not a dog. You do a trick, you get a treat? Come on. Even if you LOVE food (trust me- so do I) try rewarding yourself with things other than food. Manicures, facials, massages, a bubble bath, new workout gear, or a Groupon for a fun and active date night.  Branch out. Stop saying okay, I ran 3 miles now I shall eat my body weight in pizza. You are not a pet, don’t treat yourself like one.

Allow yourself to quit– What? This sounds silly. No, it’s not. If you sign up for Crossfit and you end up HATING Crossfit, do yourself a favor and find something you do like. Human beings were born to MOVE, so I promise you there is something that will feel good for your body. Don’t see exercise as a punishment but as a gift and blessing.

Find your tribe– MAN. I don’t know how many times I can say this. Find people who motivate you. Find people who don’t sit around on the couch every night. Find people who want to plan the trip, take the class, run the race, start the business. Fire breeds fire. Find people who make you HOT!

Ask for help– You don’t have to do ANYTHING alone. If you are struggling with mental health issues, see a doctor. If you are struggling with your relationship- ask a friend or someone you trust for advice. If you can’t get your diet and exercise under control SEEK HELP! There are experts in every area of your life you want to improve and you’re probably already friends with them. It doesn’t have to be paid advice or programs, just seek out what you need and be open minded!
Be flexible– You should NEVER be so set in your ways that you hinder yourself from finding and creating the life of your dreams. This goes along with trying new things, allowing yourself to quit and asking for help. Be flexible. ALLOW yourself to grow. Don’t feel like you MUST do what you have always done. It’s so incredibly sexy and fulfilling to better yourself. HOP ON BOARD.

Continual Forgiveness– Alright, you messed up? Welcome to the club. Seriously, it will never be an uphill progression. It’s a roller coaster. Be kind to yourself. I don’t like to say be “easy” on yourself because that leaves  a lot of room for excuses. Be kind but firm. Alright, beauty you messed up- let’s do better tomorrow. YOU GOT THIS.

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My Space

As I sit and stare at the Opera House on a sunny Thursday afternoon in Sydney, my mind is taken to so many different places and spaces. I want to live in this moment again and again. I’m not sure how …

And then my laptop died. To me, a sign from the Universe to drink in that moment and write about it later. Remembering it now, it still feels like just as sweet of a space.  

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I feel as if I am neglecting my words like the VCR that slowly got replaced by the DVD player or the walkman that got tossed aside for the iPod. But every time I turn to them again it feels like an old, familiar, and comforting friend. My words are the ratty t-shirt you wear to sleep that has a hole and some permanent stains but still feels just right. Even when things steal my attention (Facebook Live) or make it difficult for me to write (broken laptop) I still know in my heart this is my purest form of expression, therapy, joy and creation. My words are my space. 

So here I am, on a Sunday night, with my ever looming to-do list and my stack of ungraded papers. My apartment is clean, my workout is complete and my inbox is empty- all of which give me great satisfaction. But my words are still looming waiting to form and reflect. My words still give me the deepest satisfaction I can ask for and that’s how I know they are my truth and my space.

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Growing Pains

Last week my headspace was very much fueled by sadness and anger for the victims of yet another gun violence tragedy in the United States. This week I am coming from a fairly different angle after experiencing a weekend full of not strictly positive experiences but instead experiences that encouraged heightened awareness of not only the good but also the bad.

Friday, I got back to the beach with my One Wave crew for sunrise yoga and a meaningful cup of coffee with my yogi friends. As I have mentioned before, One Wave is an organization that promotes mental health awareness so most people who attend are either suffering from mental health issues themselves or are closely connected to someone who is.

It doesn’t matter who you are, we are all affected by mental health and ultimately the natural highs and lows and peaks and valleys of life. We talked in depth over coffee about going through hard times, changing our frequency levels so that we can attract good things and actually believing that they are possible and warranted for our lives. It is amazing to me how deeply human beings crave the need to be understood. It is not something that is unique to a gender, age group, nationality, or personality type. We all want to feel like we aren’t in this thing alone. It is a beautiful feeling when you can make someone else believe they are not alone and usually all that requires is listening to them. We all have that power.

 

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Almost Snoozed

Today I woke up late. I caved into the tricky snooze demon and missed my train to get to Friday morning yoga. I still woke up before it started but not in time to take the train & bus like I normally do. I was still nestled in my blankets when I texted my boyfriend and he told me to  leave right NOW & get a cab and that he would pay for it because he knows how much these Friday mornings with One Wave mean to me! He’s an absolute gem, I know. I feel so lucky to have him in my life because everyone deserves loved ones who support things that mean a lot to them. Even though I was ready to throw in the towel this morning he knew how much happier I would be and gave me a much needed voice of reason & encouragement. So into the taxi I went… 

The sunrise was unbelievable and I saw the familiar faces I’ve grown to expect on Friday mornings. Especially my friend Steph who shared her amazing story of her lifelong battle with depression, aneixty and body dysmorphia last week. I was very inspired by her strength. We started the morning with the usual group meeting/introduction and reminder about what One Wave is and what the community is for; raising awareness for mental health. Then Sam asked if anyone would like to share. Now if you know me personally you know I am always a talker and I’m never nervous to give my two cents in just about any situation but since I’ve started coming to One Wave Fluro Friday I have been an absorber. I have listened Friday after Friday and gleaned bits of hope, strength and courage from these good hearted, unguarded individuals. I knew one day I would share but I just wanted to listen for a while . So today, after the thirty dollar cab ride and the perfect sunrise, it seemed a better day than any.

I shared about how I accidentally got involved with One Wave because I saw a Facebook event for the Sunrise Bender yoga but coincidentally I have been a mental health advocate since I lost my best friend to suicide at 16 years old. I felt Corey’s presence with me as I spoke. I feel her presence every Friday morning on the beach when anyone speaks about suicide, depression, losing friends, or suffering of any sort. I talked about Corey’s life and her seemingly perfect exterior and how losing her changed my life and the lives of SO MANY forever. I talked about my mothers struggle with depression and bipolar disorder and how that affected me as a child. I talked about my wonderful cousin who also lost his battle to depression and suicide.  But mostly I focused on the fact that mental health affects EVERYONE not just the individuals who suffer from mental disorders but their loved ones, family, friends, the communities they are a part of. And to some degree, we ALL have struggles, ups and downs and unexplainable stress, aneixty and hardships on the road of life. You can not judge a person by the way they appear to be on the outside. You can not assume a person has a perfect life because that’s what it looks like on social media. We all have times of sadness and we all need compassion and understanding. We can change our world and our communities by the way we support each other and give individuals space to feel understood, looked after and cared about. You don’t need to know what to say, you just need to know how to listen without judgement. That is the best gift you can give anyone struggling with hardship, mental health related or not.

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Always NOW

Here’s my weekly “Head Space”. I give you my thoughts in a pretty unrefined manner. I’m not sure who it’s for but writing is my own form of therapy and I truly need it this week.  This week has been a roller coaster for me emotionally. My head space has been very full. But as usual my weekly Friday ritual of sunrise yoga on the beach & joining with a group of like minded people supporting an awesome local mental health awareness organization has reenergized me and left me feeling inspired, invigorated and peaceful. I got painful news this week that my four legged best friend and sibling of 14 years was losing his battle with cancer. My mom told me the news that my precious pup Connery was gone and it hit a tender spot in my heart.

Why do we love our pets so much? Why do humans create such an attachment to their animals that they quite literally are part of the family? Luckily, thanks to the universe, I am currently reading The Power of Now. The Power of Now focuses on the difference between our mind and our Being. It stresses the importance of living in the now because that is physically the only “time” we ever have. It is always Now.

We attach ourselves so strongly to our pets and that love is such a wonderful representation of Being. We can’t chat with our dogs,  ask them about their day, or argue with them over frivolous things. But we form a bond with them, we love their presence and their companionship. They remind us what it is like to be loved and to love unconditionally.  They don’t worry about the past. If you are angry with them for destroying your new shoes or stealing food off the counter, dogs don’t dwell on it. They sulk in sadness because they can feel your anger but a few minutes later they act as if nothing happened and go right back to living in the now. Dogs don’t care what your goals are or if you reached your sales quota for the month. They won’t judge you if you eat ice cream straight out of the tub. They definitely don’t care how expensive your car is or what brand your purse is. Our relationships with our dogs or any pet for that matter, represent all of the best qualities of a loving and pure relationship and a satisfied present life. They depend on you and you depend on them. They can sense when you need love and extra snuggles and they have an uncanny ability to find ways to cheer you up. (Side note:If you are a dog person and you haven’t read The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein grab a box of tissues and go buy it immediately. It will change the way you look at dogs forever.)

Through this great sadness of losing my dog I gained great clarity as well. I’m not sure why sadness gives me such perspective on life but I have come to realize that I don’t let pain sit long with me. I immediately need to craft it into something more. I use pain to propel me forward and remind me what matters to me, what I need to let go of and what more I can do to help others through pain. “You can use a challenge to awaken you, or you can allow it to pull you into even deeper sleep.” The pain of losing my dog coupled with the power of reading this book have pushed me back a few steps and allowed me to take a moment to appreciate what is. When you reflect on your relationship with your dog, the bond you share, and the incredibly genuine and raw sadness you feel to lose that life you are immediately reminded of what matters the most in life. Dogs teach us a lot about life, how to love, how to forgive, how to be fiercely loyal to the ones we love and who treat us right and most importantly, how to live in the moment. As for my sweet puppy, I will love you always Connery Bell. You were an amazing companion and the most polite gentleman puppy brother a girl could ask for. My love and our families bond with you will last forever.  Dogs aren’t thinking about next week, stressful deadlines, or what their friends are doing, they are thinking about what is right in front of them, whether it is food, a squirrel, a treat, or a ball they are chasing…they put their whole heart and attention into that moment. We could all learn a lot from our dogs.

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NEWS FLASH: I’M FOUND

It has been a while since I’ve checked in. Consistency does not seem to be my middle name these days. One of the problems of constantly living in the moment is picking and choosing what moments are worth living in and what moments I need to save for someone else. Technology has the power to connect us but sometimes I like to withdraw and unplug to gain perspective. Maybe that is not the best quality for a blogger to have but we’re all a work in progress…right?

When I last updated you I was living at a hostel in a small beach town in Northern Australia. I was participating in my self-proclaimed detox and doing sunrise yoga on the beach in the morning and exercising every afternoon. I spent my days reading, exploring the beaches and hiking areas or laying by the pool. I spent my evenings working at a local restaurant that needed extra help for the end of tourist season. It was a very simple lifestyle but my favorite part about it was the friends that I made there. It was a living/working hostel so most of my friends were there semi-permanently to complete their farm work for their second year visa. I spent so much time with these individuals they quickly turned into friends. It was much different than staying at a hostel and meeting a fun crew for a few nights. We bonded and did everything together and I truly miss each and every one of them now that I am in Sydney on my own. I especially miss my girls who did my detox program with me (shout out to my most loyal students Shona and Sibell) you ladies gave me such motivation to keep going and helping you helped me! I miss having my little minions to terrorize daily. You reminded me why I became a health and fitness coach in the first place! And my roomie, Amy, who helped inspire this blog post. This one is for you girlfriend. Can’t wait until you move to Sydney so we can do it all over again!

In Mission Beach, I woke up every single day like clockwork at 6am and marched down to the beach to do my yoga. The first sunrise took my breath away and I knew that I wanted to start my day like that for as long as I was living at the beach. After a week or two I found myself focusing more on my yoga practice than the sunrise. I stopped taking photos because I was used to the beauty. But then one day it hit me, and I was in awe at how symbolic the sunrise is for life. Every single day there is a gorgeous sunrise but most people miss it because they are still asleep. Even if no one is there to watch it, the sun still rises just as beautifully. If you are lucky enough to see it, you may become jaded to its beauty, but the truly wise take time to acknowledge its beauty every single day. Life has so many beautiful moments and opportunities but people often miss them because they are subconsciously sleeping or they take the splendor for granted. Ask any happy person why they are so happy and I guarantee they will have a simple answer. When we appreciate little things it gives us room to welcome big blessings in our lives. When we focus on the basics and acknowledge how little we need to truly be happy, a whole new freedom opens up in front of our eyes. If you choose to watch the sunrise or you choose to sleep, it still rises. Beauty is everywhere and it is up to us to not only go out and find it, but to go out and appreciate it. Not once, but continually, as a habit not a happenstance.

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