Under my skin.

Sun. Exercise. Wind. Stress. Heat. Cold. Alcohol. Make-up. Spicy foods. Life.

These are my triggers. Life is my trigger, great….

Trigger for what you might ask. Here’s a little background on my journey to clear skin and my new diagnosis.

I had pretty clear skin in high school. I would get the occasional breakout, usually after a basketball or volleyball tournament. I would deal, pop all the pimples and deal with the aftermath of scabs and scarring. After high school, the breakouts ceased and it was glorious. I was happy in my skin. I loved not having to wear a ton of make-up to feel pretty and enjoyed the compliments I received about my freckles and not covering them up with foundation.

Now comes adulthood.

Everything changed when I was about 22. I started getting bumps that I thought was acne that lived under my skin. My face started looking flush even when I wasn’t working out, and my chest would breakout after a sip of alcohol, especially red wine. I started having pimples constantly, and I, of course, would pop them, mess with them & try every OTC remedy on the shelf. None of which helped. I would cake on the foundation that would look flakey on my dry skin, and I now know only made my skin disorder worse.

The acne and redness moved to my back and especially flares up when I’m stressed. I had shingles (OUCH) as a kid and my doc told me I was going to have flare-ups for the rest of my life. I had thought for all this time that my flare-ups were shingles, but I have now learned I have Rosacea.

Time to do what any hypochondriac would do, hop on Google and learn everything there is to know. Not even kidding, I was online for about 3 hours googling causes, remedies (home & prescription) side effects and so on…

According to http://www.rosacea.org, Rosacea is a chronic and potentially life-disruptive disorder primarily of the facial skin, often characterized by flare-ups and remissions. Although the exact cause of rosacea is unknown, various theories about the disorder’s origin have evolved over the years. Facial blood vessels may dilate too easily, and the increased blood near the skin surface makes the skin appear red and flushed. This may also cause bumps and pimples under the skin, appearing as typical acne. Those with fair skin, red hair, and freckling are at higher risk for developing rosacea aka I am at higher risk for developing rosacea. 

Well now what.. I have this skin disorder that is not going to be cured, but rather manageable. What options do I have to manage this? My dermatologist prescribed Soolantra which is a topical ointment that I can apply once a day and over time it should relieve my redness and prevent flare-ups.  Remember when I said it is not a curable disorder? This $800 tube of ointment is only to “manage” my flare-ups and only lasts 2 months. Thankfully, I was able to find a coupon to save me some money on my first prescription fill, but it’s a 1 per customer coupon, so in a couple of months I will have to decide if its worth $800 or if I have to find another remedy to “manage” my redness & flare-ups.

This disorder might drain my bank account, quickly.

There are also pills that I can take that will also help prevent flare-ups, but that is the last resort option since they have some pretty nasty side effects and I have been on a mission to cut out all manufactured drugs out of my life.

I know I shouldn’t be that upset, it’s not a terminal disease, I’ll live to see another day. My self-love will suffer, my perception of how I look will now always be on how red my face is, if I’m having a flare-up, and what people think of me. I will learn to cope, to manage and to live with rosacea.

This is my journey and now rosacea is part of it.

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The best is yet to come

-Tay

 

A letter to you.

I hope to every higher power in our galaxy that you read this.

I hope you know you are loved, cared about & worthy. Worthy of a life more than this. Worthy of success. Worthy of love. You are not doomed to this life. You are so smart, so caring, so insightful. You have always been there for me, regardless of the situation and I am forever here for you. I want to continue being here for you but not in the capacity you want me in. I cannot support or give pity to these struggles you are currently having. You have the world on your side but these demons are taking over. Changing you, and not for the better. You are losing yourself and it’s killing me.

How did this happen? Where did I go wrong to not have seen this coming? Is it because I moved away? Why did this happen? Where did I fail at preventing this from happening?

Part of me feels as if this is my fault. It’s your choices that lead you to this, but still… I feel guilty. You confided in me in the past but I played it off like it wasn’t that big of a deal. You’re smart, you can figure it out, this is a hurdle you have to get over and once you get over it that’ll be the end of it. We can all go back to our lives as if nothing had happened. No one will ever know.

I was wrong. 

These hurdles turned into hills, hills into mountains. Now you have an entire mountain range to travel and it’s going to be the hardest thing you ever have to do.  Even if or when you decide to start the climb up the first mountain, you will forever see another mountain in your path. For the rest of your life, you will be climbing mountains and it will forever be a struggle and I am so, so sorry for that. I will forever wish these were not the cards you have been dealt.

You know I’m a fixer. I want to come to you and fix all of this. I want to do everything I humanly can to make this better for you. I cant. This is one thing that I cannot fix. I can support you 100% in fixing this with you but I cannot make all the bad things disappear. I cannot support this habit or tell you it’s not a big deal anymore. It’s a life-changing deal. This is your life you are playing with. Your pulse. Your heart. Your being.  I can, however,  be your rock, your support system, your friend. I can call you every day to see where you are and how you are doing. I can give you all of the options in the world to get better, but you have to make the choice to actually get better. You have to see that this is an issue and accept that you need help.

It sucks asking for help. I know. It’s embarrassing and nobody likes to ask for it. It is, however, one of the biggest steps you will ever take to ridding yourself of these demons that continue to haunt and torture you. It will be the hardest step but I promise you, after you ask, things will begin to get easier. The demons will begin to go back into the dark. I will help you figure this out, but you have to be willing and ready for that help to happen.

You are worthy of help. Of support. Of love. 

I’m here for you, whenever you’re ready. Please don’t take too long though, I’m not sure how much longer you can survive at this pace.

I love you so much. 

-Tay

 

 

 

The Carousel Never Stops Turning

21 Days. No social media, no added sugars & a ton of progress! This month has been a crazy carousel ride, never stopping, constantly changing, always turning.

First things first. Not being on social media is way easier than I expected. I no longer feel the need to sit online for hours at a time, reading peoples posts that I don’t know or care to follow. Being disconnected gives me a sense of bliss and the reset in life that I have been searching for. I do miss Facebook Events. Being in Denver, there is always something going on. From concerts, yoga classes & other special events, I feel out of the loop with what is happening in the city and I have total FOMO (fear of missing out) over it. Also, Facebook must miss me. I get daily emails wanting me to check out random peoples posts that I haven’t talked to in years… Facebook you’re creepy!

No added sugars. This is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and I am just now falling into a routine with my diet and what I want/can consume. Going out for drinks has been a challenge since most bars/restaurants serve their drinks with either juice with a ton of added sugar or simple syrup. I am a gin girl. Gin and Grapefruit is my jam! Asking if a bars grapefruit juice has added sugar in it is kindof awkward, but luckily 8 out of 10 times the bartenders have been super understanding and either has juice I can drink OR have an alternative drink that does not have added sugars.

I miss sugar. SO much. I crave brownies, sweet coffee, and candy daily. It’s honestly torture when someone brings in Krispy Kremes into the office.  I thought that my cravings would subside as the month went on but they haven’t. I am currently thinking about what my first sugary treat will be…and I’m not going to lie, I’m salivating. While I miss sugar, my face has cleared up a ton, my headaches are few and far between and I feel much better about myself as a whole which was the whole point of this challenge; to feel better. I’ve been thinking about whether or not I’m going to dive back into my old diet or maybe modify to maintain the progress I’ve made by not having sugar. If anyone has any tips on how to not have a 100% no added sugar diet but maintain healthy sugar intake, let me know! I need to find a happy and healthy balance.

This month has been busy! I finished the walls of the shed and I cannot express enough how much I love this space now that it is 98% finished!  We purchased some MDF decorative paneling and it looks just like cedar planks! I also found this super cute hammock chair on Amazon and now I have a place to read/meditate other than the floor.

Speaking of meditating, I have been meditating for 45mins a few times a week! I started reading this book called Find Your Souls Purpose by Janet Connor and I have completed the first of her guided meditations and it is beyond eye-opening. Find Your Souls Purpose is all about answering questions many of us have but are not sure how to answer.

1.Discovering who you are

2.Remembering why you are here

3.Living a life you love

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The first of the guided mediations takes you on a walk down the first loop of the sacred spiral. From my readings, the sacred spiral is everyone’s path to answering the 3 things mentioned above and much much more.  All of our souls yearn for a “home” a purpose, a reason for being. It is my hope that upon finishing this book I will have found that purpose and can continue to live a life that I love and feel has real meaning.

I am here. I am present. I am open. I am ready.

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I am beginning to feel as though my life has a different meaning than I originally had thought. While I’m not sure what that meaning is, I know it’s not the path I had been walking prior to starting these challenges. Things from career changes, family planning, and travel are a constant thought in the back of my mind and everything I thought I wanted is starting to shift and change into something completely different. I am scared and excited to see where my path leads in hopes of enlightenment and true meaning.

I have been practicing yoga 1 hour a day with 1 day of rest a week. I originally had planned on 1 hour of yoga a day, no exceptions. I’ve learned that our bodies need to rest in order to grow. Rest day is hard for me. Having an amazing space to practice in makes it hard to rest, however, by giving myself a rest day I can see more clearly the progress I am making. I honestly don’t know where I would be if I hadn’t have started practicing. I am beyond thankful that yoga came into my life, it changed me.

I have never been so present in my life. I feel like I am living 100% of my life and living to fulfill my personal desires, not my perception of myself on my social media accounts. Ryan, my dear hubby, has mentioned a few times how we are able to go out and do things without me asking for pictures, selfies, or having my face in my phone telling the whole world what we are doing. It’s kindof exhilarating. Living that is. Living without the world knowing. Living without the pressure to do things that will please others. Living selfishly.  

I originally said I was going to blog about my first week, half-way point and completion of these challenges. I obviously have not done what I’ve said, and I’m sorry for anyone that was looking forward to reading those posts. I’ve been taking it all in, internalizing and doing some major soul searching & work and blogging got in the way of that. This is where I’m at and it feels good. There’s more to do, more to learn, but hey, it’s all about progress, not perfection right?

The best is yet to come. 

 

Namaste

Tay

 

 

Day One

Disclaimer: My blog post settings automatically post to facebook without having me login 🙂 No breaking of the social media rules happening here! 

 

I woke up feeling like absolute crap. I indulged myself by having a milkshake full of sugar as my last form of unnatural sugar intake for the foreseeable future. Bad Idea. I don’t drink dairy often and I think I may have developed a bit of an intolerance to it. My body hated me this morning. Gross!

I have a habit of checking social media as soon as I wake up in the morning while still in bed. It was hard to refrain from doing so this morning. I wanted to check and see if I got any more book recommendations and what all my friends were up to this beautiful Friday morning. Instead, I launched the Apple News app and read a couple of articles about Trump because I guess that’s the only news Apple thought I wanted to see… thanks, Apple.

Finally got myself out of bed and went to go make a pot of coffee only to realize that my creamer has 5gs of sugar in it. Off to Sprouts, to find some sort of unsweetened creamer because there is no way I am drinking my coffee black! After reading the ingredients on basically every creamer/non-dairy option at the grocery store I finally found an unsweetened coconut creamer. I paired it with some cinnamon and it was surprisingly delightful!

Flash forward to the first accomplished challenge of the day! I went to a great 1-hour Vinyasa Flow with my dear friend, Cassandra, who by the way is amazing! She has been sending me photos of her adorable new puppy and helping in keeping me occupied so I’m not thinking about social media. Cassandra, you are a saint and I am so unbelievably blessed to have you as my friend and neighbor!

Don’t judge, but I am an avid phone user at stoplights while driving and that has been the hardest part of the day. I found myself checking my phone this afternoon while driving to and from yoga, Home Depot, and the grocery store and each time my fingers automatically knew where to tap to get to Instagram (the first media outlet I check) Talk about muscle memory!! Another valid reason this is so important. Social Media should not be this big of a part of my daily routine. It’s embarrassing that it has and I hate it.

I kept myself busy today that’s for sure! After work, I went and returned some extra Yoga-Shed materials and bought the supplies to finish up the interior walls! Spiders and insects have decided my shed should be their new home and that’s not going to fly..literally! My weekend is now going to be full of sawdust, sweat and hopefully an officially finished space to practice in!

If there is one takeaway from today it’s that sugar is in EVERYTHING! We had chicken for dinner and the only condiment we had without sugar was spicy brown mustard. I couldn’t believe that BBQ sauce, ketchup, sweet and sour (the list goes on) all have sugar in them. I will be going shopping tomorrow for some sugar-free condiments because spicy brown mustard is not good with chicken!

I binged a few episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and that helped with the boredom that set in in the evening. The hardest part of not accessing social media is finding things to do when you’re bored. I have a feeling my house will be cleaner, projects will get finished faster and Ryan and my parents might get sick of talking to me by the end of the month.

Today has been hard. Really hard. I had to put myself into check a few times, I got frustrated and I was not in the best mood. However, I was present. I experienced today with my own two eyes and not from the screen on my phone and that feels amazing! I didn’t feel anxious about monitoring social media or coming up with a cool Instagram post to share. There’s this weight that’s been lifted. It’s SO hard to explain but I feel so much better already.

I’ve been thinking about why I want to blog about this experience and while it may seem like a play by play of my boring life it’s real, it’s raw, and I want to remember how I was feeling and what I was doing to make the progress I hope and believe I will. I’ve decided to blog about my first day, (what I’m doing in this post) one week in, the half way point and the completion of these challenges.

Day one is a wrap. Anxious and excited to see how I feel after a week!

The best is yet to come

Namaste

-Tay

Stepping into September

September is my month. 

This September I want to push my boundaries and do some real soul searching. I want this September to mean something much like Septembers in the past. Continuing a tradition of positive life changes, growth, & self-love empowers me to do more. To be more.

3 years ago I decided to start looking for a new job after years of being unhappy with previous employers. 2 years ago I married the love of my life. 1 year ago we traveled to Thailand. September puts a spell on me. It sounds weird I know, but it does! Maybe it’s the winding down of the summer, maybe it’s the changing colors of the leaves; whatever it is I’m blessed September has always been good to me and I hope it continues to do so with all that I have in store.

With that being said here are my September challenges:

1. Cut out Social Media 100%. Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram will be deleted from my phone and bookmarks removed from my computer come September 1st. I want to focus on being present in my life without the constant need to check/post/share. This is going to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I will be the first to admit that I am addicted to social media and it has been affecting me negatively and positively over the past year. If you follow me on insta you’ll know that  I am a HUGE advocate for #yogaeverydamnday. It motivates me to make it to my mat by the possibility of getting a cool picture or video to share. I need to move past my weird need to get pictures of my practice and focus entirely on my practice internally. Not what you might see from the pictures I share.

2. No sugar. Sugar is SO freaking good! I add it to so many things and my dentist can agree, its time to let go of my relationship with sweet sweet sugar. Not only will my teeth thank me, I believe that my daily headaches will begin to cease. From the research I’ve done, as long as I keep some fruit around (natural sugars yo!) This shouldn’t be too hard of a challenge. Time to hide all the chocolates and gummy worms!

 
3. 1 hour of yoga/meditation #everydamnday! I have been practicing every day for a full 8 months now and I want to up my game. Some days I only practice 30 minutes, others only 15. I want to build a routine of practicing for 1 hour every day to take my practice to a whole other level. I want to meditate to internalize all the other challenges I am attempting and yoga to strengthen and continue to build a strong yoga foundation for future endeavors.

4. One day a week I will cut out meat and fish from my diet. Having a husband who is a meat and potato kind of guy will make this challenge difficult. Aside from making a stance against animal abuse (I know there is so much more I can do) I believe this will also have some health benefits and who knows maybe I can slowly remove meat and fish from my diet completely.

Well, there you have it! September is going to push me farther than I have been pushed before.

I need support. I need to be held accountable. I need motivation. 

Shoot me an email or a text, please! It will mean the world to me to know that people have my back and support me on this crazy journey of mine. If you do not have my email or cell number please shoot me a message ASAP so we can connect!

The best is yet to come 🙂

-Nameste

Tay

 

 

Sak Yant Experience

I wanted to share an experience that changed every part of my being down to the core. I wrote about this experience prior to actually getting my Sak Yant and I can confirm I feel the magic it holds every single day. When I see my Sak Yant in the mirror each morning I am reminded of who I am, who I want to be, and where I am going. It is a constant reminder to be the person I was set out to be and I hope it inspires you to find something that gives you the same feelings and sense of belonging because we all belong in this world and we all have a purpose.

Enjoy.

December 10th, 2016:

I write this post as I sit in a coffee shop, sipping my caramel macchiato wondering how I am going to pass the time until my appointment at 2. This is my first time ever going to an unfamiliar city alone, and for it to be Vegas makes me quite a bit anxious.This city is nuts! Part of me wants to hide in my hotel room until my appointment, the other part of me wants to go walk around and take it all in. I’ve only been here once before, and it was not my cup of tea. Perhaps this time it will be.
I woke up at 4am to get here and sat next to the smelliest fella the whole way. He was super nice though! I got lost in the airport trying to find where to grab an Uber and just found out I can’t check into my hotel until 3pm. Looks like I can’t hide out in my hotel after all..
Why am I here?
I came to Vegas to get a Sak Yant. By definition: “Sak- meaning “to tap” or, “to tattoo” and Yant- meaning “yantra” Sak Yants is the Thai name for the tattooing of sacred geometrical designs on the skin. Why travel all the way to Las Vegas to get a tattoo you might ask. Well, while in Thailand this past September, I fell in love with Buddhism, Thai history & the history behind Sak Yants. As much as I wished I could have gone to a Wat (temple) and get this done, we didn’t have enough time. With that said, I NEEDED to figure out how I could get one without having to travel all the way back to Thailand, though I WILL be going back one day.
After returning to the states, I did some major research and found out that Ajarn Ohr was traveling to Vegas from Bangkok to do Sak Yants! I jumped right on the opportunity and sent numerous emails to get an appointment. I was luckily successful and now I am here! I booked this appointment a couple weeks after getting back from Thailand and I cannot believe how slow time has gone. I thought this day was never going to arrive.
Why isn’t Ryan here with me, why would you choose to go to Vegas alone? I’ve heard this a few times now and to set the record straight; I do not need my husband to keep me safe. This trip isn’t for me to come here to party, heck, I’m literally here for 24 hours, I will be doing 0 partying. This trip is for me to connect myself to Thailand indefinitely and to be “blessed” with a Sak Yant, that will be a constant reminder of the person I want to be.

The Sak Yant I am getting is named Hah Taew. Hah Taew is magical tattoo with 5 lines, or the 5 row yantra. Each line represents a Yant or magical spell. These spells are chanted 108 times to invoke a state of the mind where the mind can create these magical spells before entering a high level of meditation. Each line will be tattooed individually and each represents a different spell:
1.The first row prevents unjust punishment and leans in your favor when the area is grey, cleans out unwanted spirits and protects the place you live in.
2.The second row reverses and protects against bad horoscope constellations and bad fortune.
3.The third row protests you from the use black magic and anyone who tries to put a curse on you.
4.The fourth row energizes your good luck, success, and fortune in your future ambitions and life style.
5.The fifth row is to gain charisma and attraction to the opposite sex. It also is a boost to the fourth row.
Each one of these rows means something very special to me, with the exception of row 5 (I don’t need to be attractive to the opposite sex, I’ve found my life partner already!)but I’ll take it!. I would go more into detail about the meaning of each of these rows, but I find it very internal and personal. Maybe a story for another time…

At the end of each Yant there is an Unallome (ever decreasing spiral) to complete it. The spiral indicates the distractions we encounter in our daily lives and as I grow older and wiser the spiral gradually decreases until it becomes a straight line pointing upwards. This signifies the path to Nirvana or true enlightenment. I’ve read quite a bit about obtaining Nirvana and this has become my most important goal in life. If you have not read about Nirvana (not the band) please do. From my findings, to obtain Nirvana you follow the Noble Eightfold Path. This path is a list or guide of 8 ideals that will lead you towards a greater understanding of the universe and the goal is to follow this path right through to Nirvana.
The 8 ideals:
Right Views
Right Intention
Right Speech
Right Action
Right Livelihood
Right Effort
Right Mindedness
Right Contemplation
Vague right? You can interpret these ideals in SO many ways, but generally speaking, you can follow the path by approaching the world with compassion, patience and joy, and contemplating the universe through meditation. The fundamental goals are to cultivate morality (shila,) meditation (dhyana) and wisdom (prajna.)
It is very hard for me to meditate. I live a life where I am busy. VERY busy. I have been practicing almost daily and hope that with this Sak Yant, I will have more patience and find the time to let everything else go and focus on myself and meditate.

Well, there you have it. This is why I’m in Vegas, alone, for 24 hours. By the time I will be posting this, I will have already gotten my Sak Yant and will have some magic in me that will last a lifetime and help me towards my goal of reaching (or closely reaching) Nirvana.

Wish me luck as I get started on this endeavor and continue to become the best I can be! Maybe I’ll start a blog to keep you all in the loop. We shall see!

 

Cannabis. It’s for me.

Growing up, I was taught that smoking weed was the same as smoking meth or heroine. People were called stoners, bums & burnouts. Cannabis is a life ruining drug. If you smoked you might as well throw your life away, you’re going to live out the rest of your days stuck to your couch eating potato chips and then one day, the high from cannabis won’t be enough so you’ll move onto more powerful drugs.

Weed is a gateway drug

I believe that cannabis is a gateway drug, but not to hard drugs like a lot of people I know believe. I believe cannabis to be a gateway to seeing, feeling & healing in a way that some don’t have the ability to do without using cannabis.

I have rotator cuff tendinitis. Basically, the joints that move my shoulder are inflamed causing severe pain, stiffness, and swelling. I was diagnosed in high school and was offered 2 options, both of which did not work for me or my high school sports career. Option 1.  Corotozone shots. Option 2. Surgery.  Both of these options would take me out of the game permanently and that wasn’t going to work for me. I decided to “suck it up” and play through the pain and do the few physical therapy exercises my doctor showed me.

Fast forward a few years. The pain has increased, I am only able to sleep in 1 position that relieves the pain of my rotator cuff but irritates other parts of my shoulder. I can no longer throw a softball like I used to, and I’ve lost strength from fear of over using my shoulder.  I am frustrated, broke from numerous doctor visits, and sick of taking pills that relieve the pain momentarily but don’t fix the problem. Not only did these pills not fix the problem, but I felt I was becoming dependant on them. They made me fuzzy, cranky and unhappy.

Time to explore other options.

I made an appointment to see a doctor that specializes in medical marijuana. I didn’t know what to expect. Was it going to be like any other doctor visit? Was my doctor going to be a hippie? Maybe an undercover cop waiting to bust me since marijuana is still federally illegal? What was going to happen?

It was like any other private physicians office. There was a couple of nurses, a receptionist, and plaques on the wall showing my doctor is legit. I was greeted by 2 ex-Iraq war dogs that were both super intimidating but the sweetest pups. If you know me, you know that I almost always prefer dogs over people. These two eased my anxiety and made the whole experience ten times more enjoyable! After filling out the required paperwork for both the doctor’s office and the State of Colorado, the doctor brought me back to the exam room. He took a look at my paperwork and asked about my shoulder and how much pain I’ve been in. He performed a brief exam, rotating my shoulder and feeling the grinding that happens every time everytime I raise it over my head.  He asked if I had a history with substance abuse and my preferred method of taking cannabis. He then wrote me a prescription and explained what I needed to do with this pile of paperwork to finalize the prescription and to receive my medical marijuana card in the mail. That was it. I was now a medical marijuana patient.

I was now a medical marijuana patient. 

I received my card in the mail a few weeks later and couldn’t wait to go into a dispensary. I’ve heard stories about candies, drinks, lotions, everything you could think of they make with cannabis in it. I felt like a kid on Christmas morning walking into that store! There were walls lined with different products, I wanted to try them all. Then I started noticing all the different strains and types of cannabis to choose from. Thank goodness the lady helping me knew what she was doing. I explained my pain, my inability to sleep and my anxiety. She grabbed a few different things for me to look at. I ended up choosing to purchase some CBD candies and an eighth of indica flower.

I immediately wanted to try the candies! I opened up the package and popped 1 in my mouth. I had never experienced edibles before and wasn’t sure what was going to happen. Is it an immediate high? How intense is the high? What did I get myself into? Well, I didn’t get high. See, I had purchased CBD candies. CBD or Cannabidiol is a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. Unlike, THC (the stuff that gets you high) it is completely nonpsychoactive. After about 45 minutes the pain in my shoulder started to cease. It was still there, but it was not as severe. The first night I tried those candies I remember having the best sleep in years. It was glorious! After 3 years of no relief, I had finally found something that seems to help.

Flash forward another couple of years and I have learned a lot about cannabis. You CAN be successful and partake in marijuana. You can smoke and be productive. You can heal from a combination of physical therapy and the right types of pain relievers and relaxants. In my case, that was cannabis. Since starting yoga and my continued use of marijuana, I have gained my strength back in my shoulder. I can sleep at night. Handstands are NOT out of my reach like they were just a few years back. When I vape before yoga class I find it easier to focus on my breathing and hold my poses longer.

Now, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. I have also smoked too much before practicing and fell flat on my face. I’ve ingested too much and could only lay in savasana. It’s all about moderation, micro-dosing and figuring out what your body needs to be pain-free and free minded to obtain all the physical and mental benefits yoga has to offer!

Marijuana is not for everyone. I know some people that shut down completely when they use, they get anxious, nervous and hate every second of it. There are certain strains that I do not use due to how they make me feel. Everyone has their preferences and if you are interested in exploring/using cannabis, I recommend talking to an expert before trying anything new.  I prefer to vape vs smoking because of how the smoke makes me cough and hurts my lungs. I enjoy indica/cbd heavy strains because of their pain relieving compounds and how I am still physically and mentally able to go about my day without being stoned out of my mind. Everyone is different and luckily, we live in a world where there are hundreds of strains and ways to gain the benefits this beautiful plant has to offer!

Namaste

-Tay

 

 

Top 10 Yoga Poses for Beginners

Happy Day!

I have been asked a few times on how to start a yoga journey and while I am not an expert, I can share my top 10 poses that I found are easy for beginners but will become a staple in any yogi’s practice! When I first started practicing these were the poses I practiced every day and continue to practice regularly to maintain consistency and build a habit that I look forward to each day I make it to my mat.

Disclaimer: Before trying any of these poses please note that I am not a certified yoga teacher. This is my take of each of the poses and what works best for my body. I cannot guarantee any of the benefits mentioned but urge you to give them a try if you’re physically able 🙂  

1. Boat Pose- Paripurna Navasana

This pose is a great ab work out! Start by sitting on your mat with the soles of your feet on the ground, knees facing the ceiling. Start to raise your legs until they are parallel to your mat. You may use your arms for support but the goal is to use your abs to keep you sitting straight, heart shining forward and proud. To get into full expression straighten your legs and lift your hands over your head. Shaking is good! That means your muscles are working and that’s where the magic happens.

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Benefits of Boat Pose: Stress Relief, Improved Digestion, Strengthens the abdomen, hip flexors, and Spine.

2. Warrior II- Virabhadrasana II

Warrior II is great for increasing stamina! There are many ways to come into this pose; this is my go to set up. Start in Downward Facing Dog (see number 5) raise your right leg high and flex your foot like you’re trying to stamp it on the wall behind you. Slowly, move your raised foot to between your hands and align yourself into a low lunge. Once you are aligned, drop your left heel to the floor, parallel to the short end of your mat and cartwheel your arms open to a T. Maintain your lunge and ensure your hips are level, arms are level & gaze is forward.

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Benefits of Warrior II: Relieves backaches, Therapeutic for sciatica & infertility. Strengths and stretches legs, ankles, groin, chest, lungs & shoulders.

3. Extended Side Angle- Uthita Parsvakonasana

This pose is a great side body stretch pose! I always start in Warrior II (see number 2). With your arms at a T begin to stretch forward as far as you can go, your body should tell you when to stop. Drop your front elbow to your bent knee and stretch your back arm up and over your head creating a straight line from your fingertips all the way down to your toes. Remember to maintain your lunge and breathe!

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Benefits of Extended Side Angle: Increases stamina. Strengthens and stretches the groin, spine, waist, chest, legs, knees and ankles.

4. Triangle- Utthita Trikonasana

This is another side body stretching pose! Again, I always like to start in Warrior II as a good set up to Triangle pose. Once you are in Warrior II, start by straightening your front leg. Then send your hips back and reach forward at the same time. You should feel this in your side body. Once you are reaching as far as you can go, tick tock your arms to 6 & 12. The goal is not to reach your fingers to the floor but rather act as though there is a wall in front of you and behind and you are pressing yourself to both the front and back wall.

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Benefits of Triangle Pose: Therapeutic for anxiety. Improves digestion. Stress relief. Stretches the hips, groins, hamstrings & calves.

5. Bridge Pose- Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
This pose feels SO DAMN GOOD! Start by laying on your back. Place the soles of your feet on the ground just far enough so you can graze your heels with your fingers. Lift your bootie until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Interlock your fingers underneath you and start to roll onto your shoulders. Get into full expression by lifting your thighs, hips, and chest towards the sky. This is a great prep pose for wheel!

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Benefits of Bridge Pose: Reduces anxiety, fatigue, backache, headache, and insomnia. Stretches the chest, neck, and spine. Helps to calm the brain and can help alleviate mild depression.

6. Plank Pose- Phalakasana

Another ab work out! This pose is super easy to get into. Basically, it’s the top of a push-up. Align your hands directly below your shoulders and your feet directly below your ankles. Push hard into your hands to round out the space between your chest and your mat and push your heels towards the back of the room. Your arms may shake, your core might tremble; again, that’s the magic happening!

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Benefits of Plank Pose: Strengthens the arms, wrists, and spine. Tones the abdomen. Great prep pose for arm balances.

7. Downward Facing Dog- Adho Mukha Svanasana

This pose will become your best friend! At first it’s challenging and hard to hold, but after you build up some muscle you will find it a more relaxing and restful pose. An easy way to get into it is to start in Plank Pose (see number 6) Simply, send your hips up and back. Your bootie will be straight up towards the ceiling. Try to get your heels to touch the mat, it’s not easy so don’t get frustrated when it doesn’t happen on your first or tenth try! Do not lock your knees, if anything you should have a slight bend in them to avoid injury. Keep your arms straight and push hard into your fingers, adding length to your spine. I’ve learned that the more you tuck your navel to your spine the easier it is to hold this pose for longer periods of time.

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Benefits of Downward Facing Dog: Energizes the body. Improves Digestion. Strengthens and stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, arms, legs, arches & hands.

 8. Three legged Down Dog- Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana

Same thing as Downward Facing Dog only with 3 legs! Simply begin in Down Dog and raise one of your legs up into the air. Flex your foot so fiercely that it’s as if you are trying to stamp your foot on the back of the room. Level your hips. It’s not about how high you can get your leg, it’s about stretching your grounded leg!

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Benefits of 3 legged Down Dog: Quiets the mind. Strengthens and stretches the hamstrings, hip flexors and arms. Develops confidence in balance.

9. Childs Pose- Balasana

The best rest pose! Start by kneeling on the floor with your big toes to touch. Send your knees out wide, about the same wideness as your hips. Lay your torso down between your thighs and reach your arms forward. Aim to touching your bootie to your heels and stretching your arms as far as they can go. Rest your head on your mat and enjoy this restful rejuvenating pose.

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Benefits of Childs Pose: Calms the brain and helps relieve stress & fatigue. Stretches the arms, thighs & hips.

10. Corpse Pose- Savasana

This is the pose we all work towards during our practice. It has been called the hardest most challenging pose and not because of its physicality. The mental work that goes into this is what makes it challenging and I often struggle to let everything go and relax into this pose. Start by laying on your back in a neutral position. Lay whichever way you feel most comfortable. I’ve seen legs straight out, knees bent, arms over head, arms at side; it all works! Do whatever you need to relax fully into your mat and let the practice you finished go. Once you feel relaxed, begin to focus on your breath & only your breath. Let your lingering thoughts go. Release your brain into the back of your head and relax. That’s it. Relax and Rest. I like to stay in this pose for at least 5 minutes, but you can stay as long as you’d like!

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That’s it! These poses helped me get acquainted with yoga and fueled the beginning of my yoga journey. I hope they can help you too! Remeber, it’s all about your body and what your body needs. These might not work for everyone and that’s okay. We are all different, beautiful beings ❤

 

Namaste

-Tay

 

 

Where it all began

January 2nd, 2017

This day will forever be the day my life changed for the better.

Prior to January 2nd, I was tired. I was angry. I felt alone. I hated the way I felt about myself. I was constantly comparing my success, body image & emotional well-being to others, and I was sick of it. I hated the constant feeling of having to be perfect or damn near it. I read into every like, comment & look I received like people were staring into the depths of my soul and I hated the thought of what they were thinking.

Fake. Overachiever. Weird. Dumb. Ugly. Unworthy. Unlovable.

These thoughts were eating me alive. Going to work, I was afraid to speak up and voice my opinions. I’ve always been the listener with my friends and never liked to talk about how I was doing, or feeling. I hated the way I looked. I hated the way I felt. I was afraid to have real conversations with my husband, with my friends. I couldn’t fathom the thought of them judging the real me, so I covered it with superficial happiness. I was afraid of showing raw emotion. I was afraid of being me.

So I changed.

New Years 2017. I needed to have a resolution that would hold some true meaning to me. I needed something more than the typical Eat Healthy & Work Out resolutions I attempted & failed in years prior. I needed something real. Something raw. Something that would challenge every aspect of my life, because if we’re being honest, every aspect of my life needed to change.

So, I decided that 2017 was the year I was going to love myself. Every day.

How do you start loving yourself? What does it mean to love yourself?

This feeling will not last forever.

This resonated with me so deeply, that I often find myself using it as a mantra. “This is not permanent. This pain will not last forever.” Knowing this has changed the way I look at everything. If I am happy, I need to realize what I am doing to be happy and maintain it if I want that feeling to last longer. During hard times, knowing that it will pass, this is not forever. This is not who I am. During yoga, when a pose is hard and I mean real hard! Hard to the point where your body aches to come out of a pose and your whole body is shaking. Knowing the pain is not forever, and sometimes you have to experience a little bit of pain to see results and to grow.

I stopped caring what others think. I’m weird & I accept it. What others think doesn’t matter, nor does it determine how I live my life. This is hard. Probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to work on and continue to work on. Everyday.

Along with not caring what others think, I had to change the way I acted towards others. I need to be real, be raw, be me. I had to stop being superficial and start talking about my dreams, aspirations, my life. There is more to me than my career, more to me than the happy go-lucky person I was portraying myself to be. This is the time to show the world who I want to be, who I am.

I stopped waiting for tomorrow to make the changes I want to see today. Physically & Mentally I wanted to see so many changes and I have had this habit where I would put things off until tomorrow, and that tomorrow turned into another tomorrow and so on. The time to start was now. January 2nd. No later, no exceptions.

Yoga & Meditation. It’s not just physical. I have been practicing for 8 months now and this is the number 1 reason I have seen significant changes in my well-being; mentally, physically and all the in-between. I have much more to share about this part of my journey.

I started loving the journey. I had to accept that I wasn’t going to see changes over night, I wasn’t going to be doing headstands, getting into savasana, or losing weight right away. Loving the journey is hard, especially for people like me who want to see results right away. I used to have the mindset that if I wasn’t seeing the results immediately then it was a waste of time. 8 months in, I’ve seen minimal physical results but a multitude of emotional & spiritual results that I value dearly. Everything is part of the journey, enjoy it.

It’s okay to live a life others don’t understand. That’s the beauty of it. Make it your own. I’m on a path to enlightenment and every hurdle along the way will help me to grow into the person I am destined to be.

The best is yet to come

Namaste

-Tay

Beginnings

If you know me based on who I was a year ago you don’t know me at all. My growth game is strong.

Allow me to introduce myself. Hi, I’m Tay.

This is the beginning of a journey I’ve wanted to start for some time now. I’ve got a story, I have things to say & there is no better time to start than the present, right? This blog will be an outlet for me to use to share my travels through yoga, personal growth & world travel. I intend to share my experiences and how they affect me; spiritually, physically & mentally.

So stay tuned, the best is yet to come 🙂

Namaste

-Tay