Blogs

The Process of Transformation

Last week, I talked about the cost of discipline and how creating a habit takes more than 21 days like many of us had been previously informed.  Although the being disciplined is not the most fun or comfortable route to take in life, it is the more productive choice and an essential decision to make in order to improve who we are.

I used to teach a 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training program which would take 9-10 months for my students to complete.  On the first day of the program each year, I reminded my students that becoming a certified yoga teacher is secondary and that the self-transformation through the process is the primary benefit that they will experience.  At the end of the program, they have all agreed that they’re not the same person that they came in through the door on the first day.  I’ve had students that seemed to be polar opposites or conflicting personalities become best friends by the end of the program.  I’ve had students who seemed to “have it all together” break down and experience a sense of authenticity and vulnerability that they say they’ve never felt before (you can read more about it in my book, BE STILL: The Power of Biblical Meditation“).  I took a break from running my 200-Hr YTT program last year so that I can focus on publishing my first book, and I am in the process of writing my second book which will be completed either by the end of this year or the beginning of next year; but once I am ready (and my schedule allows me to commit to teaching 200 hours), I will resume teaching my program… in Texas!  (Check out my blog next week for details on Texas.)  Now getting back on topic of transformation…

The reason why my students experienced a transformation is because they committed to learning how to be a good teacher; and part of being a good teacher is to be a good student.  Yoga is not something you can teach or regularly practice half-hearted.  Being a Yoga Teacher means you are also doing the work to get deeper in your journey towards authenticity.  As a teacher to future Yoga Teachers, I always say that I am not an expert as there really is no such thing (that’s why it’s called a Yoga Practice, not Yoga Perfection).  Even the greatest gurus in Yoga are learning and growing.  With learning and growing comes discomfort, facing your fears, and doing the work necessary to heal from past hurts, traumas and tendencies that do not serve us for our highest good (which is to meet who you were created to be since the beginning of creation itself).  I have had to face many obstacles (pride, bad habits, fears, etc.) in order to change and to grow… so that I can continue to change and grow.  We must be intentional about constantly transforming to be better versions of ourselves.  We never stay the same;  We’re either striving to get better or allowing ourselves to get worse.

The process of transformation is hard, and it won’t happen overnight; but if you keep persevering and staying disciplined, you will be able to look back and see how much you have grown!

 

With Gratitude,
output-onlinepngtools (10)

SIGN UP FOR MY QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER FOR GIVEAWAYS, ANNOUNCEMENTS AND WELLNESS-RELATED INFO!  (TO PREVENT POTENTIAL SPAM SIGN-UPS, ANY E-MAIL ADDRESS THAT LOOKS SPAMMY WILL BE DELETED.)

 

FOLLOW JHENI ON SOCIAL MEDIA:

FB Facebook
IG Instagram
TwitterTwitter
LinkedIn LinkedIn

The Cost of Discipline

Let me just start out by saying I don’t like discipline.  I don’t like it, I’ve failed at it, and sometimes I fight it… but I know I need it and thrive in the middle of it.  I used to believe in the saying, “It takes 21 days to form a new habit.”  I found that I can stick to doing something for 21 days… only to lose it all on the 22nd day.  I would end up feeling like a failure and have — on many occasions — thrown in the towel, convinced that I’m a lazy person who can never become a disciplined person.  If you can relate, I have great news for you (and me):  YOU’VE BEEN MISINFORMED! 

According to a research conducted by Dr. Phillippa Lally, a Health Psychology Researcher at University College London, it takes an average 66 days to form a new habit!  A habit is defined as “a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.”  Since our tendencies are automatic (we don’t have to consciously make a decision to do or act a certain way), it is safe to say that in order for us to create a new habit, we need to be disciplined in our consistency for an average of 66 days.  How many of us can admit that we’ve expected results after just a few days or weeks?

Person Raising Hand: Light Skin Tone on Apple iOS 10.2
Yep, that would be me.

So knowing this fact, I need to commit to being uncomfortable in discipline for at least 66 days.  One of the reasons why I blog every week — even though I don’t have thousands of subscribers — is for my own discipline.  I’m still waiting for it to become automatic, but maybe I have to write 66 weeks of blogs before it does become more natural.  No matter what though, I know that the alternative to being disciplined is far worse than persevering through the tough moments.

“We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret and disappointment.”
– Jim Rohn

My greatest desire is to live without regrets.  Not that I won’t have things I wish I did different in my life, but I don’t want to choose things in the present moment that will cause regrets.  I want to choose things that will create gratitude and a sense of satisfaction knowing that I chose things that were good and honorable.  I also want to choose discomfort in the present moment so that I can see my dreams and goals come to life… and by practicing discipline, I know my character and heart will be transformed so that I can handle the blessings and the fruition of my dreams (more on the topic of transformation next week).

 

Have a great rest of the week, and I hope that by June 17th (66 days from now), you and I can both enjoy the new habits we have created by choosing discipline.

 

With Gratitude,
output-onlinepngtools (10)

 

SIGN UP FOR MY QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER FOR GIVEAWAYS, ANNOUNCEMENTS AND WELLNESS-RELATED INFO!  (TO PREVENT POTENTIAL SPAM SIGN-UPS, ANY E-MAIL ADDRESS THAT LOOKS SPAMMY WILL BE DELETED.)

FOLLOW JHENI ON SOCIAL MEDIA:

FB Facebook
IG Instagram
TwitterTwitter
LinkedIn LinkedIn

What is Success?

SUCCESS.  I feel like it’s such a loaded word.  For some, “success” can mean accomplishing a measurable goal such as having a career that puts you in the Top One Percent Earners in the country or winning the Nobel Prize.  For others, it can mean crossing everything off on their Bucket List.  Whatever you consider to be “success,” we generally want it right away and without any setbacks.

“Success is going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm.”
– Winston Churchill

I experienced many setbacks, and I decided way too often that the setbacks were failures.  I hated failing.  I used to hate failing because of my performance-oriented nature.  I hated not achieving certain goals right away.  I was also a people-pleaser, so I would hate feeling like other people saw me as a failure.  In my early 20’s, I went from job to job while many of my friends were already set in their careers or pursuing their Masters Degrees.  Career wise, I felt directionless when I quit dancing professionally.  I think my 23rd year was probably the toughest year for me in regards to feeling successful because I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to pursue, and I really felt that I couldn’t be considered successful unless I was making a lot of money and in a “career,” as opposed to living paycheck to paycheck working a “job.”  And through all this, I lost a lot of enthusiasm.

After struggling financially for a couple more years, I got a job at Washington Mutual (which was later bought by JPMorgan Chase) in California as a Foreclosure Specialist (I basically acted as a liaison between the mortgagors and the attorney’s offices).  My favorite part of the job was when I was able to forward mortgagors’ files to the department that handled repayment plan set-ups because that meant the customer would not lose their house.  I made a decision to work hard and have integrity in what I did, which led to opportunities for promotions.  I was promoted to a Business Analyst role and then eventually to a Project Coordinator.  To make the long story short, by the time I left the mortgage industry, I was a (very high-paid) Senior Technical Writer.  I left my career to homeschool my daughter who was about to go into the second grade at the time.  I went from making the most I had ever made to making nothing. 

In my blog last week, I said,

“If you don’t succeed in your definition of success, know that IT IS OKAY.”

It took me many years to get to that point.  By the time I left my career as a Senior Technical Writer, my definition of success had changed.  When I was in the corporate world, my definition of success was making a lot of money and having a very important role where I was highly valued.  But as my desire to homeschool my daughter grew, that was no longer my definition of success.

In my former definition of success, I would consider myself unsuccessful; but in my current definition of success, I AM THERE!!!  I currently make way less than 25% of my former salary (much less right now because of the current Coronavirus Pandemic), but I love that I get to determine my work schedule (as a Wellness Entrepreneur, it is so important to stay disciplined with my schedule – more on this topic next week), homeschooling my daughter and having fun together (she is now finishing up her sophomore year in high school)… and I get to spend some quality time with my husband when he isn’t working from home or studying for his MBA.  I also get to help people for a living.  I get to help people slow down and be present through Yoga and Meditation. 

Does your definition of success include intangible things, such as your level of gratitude, compassion, joy, or ability to love deeply?  During this time of self-isolation, my hope for you is for you to do (or continue to do) some inner work in order to achieve success that is great and long-lasting.

Have a great week!

 

With Gratitude,
output-onlinepngtools (10)

SIGN UP FOR MY QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER FOR GIVEAWAYS, ANNOUNCEMENTS AND WELLNESS-RELATED INFO!  (To prevent potential SPAM sign-ups, any e-mail address that looks SPAMMY will be deleted.)

FOLLOW JHENI ON SOCIAL MEDIA:

FB Facebook
IG Instagram
TwitterTwitter
LinkedIn LinkedIn

Get Out of The Way!

Since the onset of COVID-19 Pandemic and all the restrictions that have come with it, I was among the thousands of people who have lost their income due to business closures.  I was also among the numerous yoga teachers/fitness instructors that transitioned to teaching live-stream classes through Zoom.  Even though teaching through an online platform was something I had wanted to do for a while, I was “forced” into this situation sooner than I was anticipating.  I say “forced” because my other option was to not teach at all.  There are several reasons why I was delaying online teaching:

    1. I don’t like hearing my recorded voice (I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels like this).  When I hear my unrecorded-self talk, I like the tonality and the intonation in my speaking voice… which is not the case when I hear my recorded voice.
    2. I don’t like seeing myself talking in a video.  I start looking at how I move my mouth when I speak, my non-conscious movements, my lack of smile (making me look like I’m mad), my non-white teeth (from many years of tea and coffee drinking)… the list goes on and on.
    3. I wondered if people would actually switch from in-person classes with me to on-line/live-streaming classes.  Being that I specialize in teaching gentler forms of yoga (not necessarily easier, but I focus more on proper alignment and injury prevention), my morning classes consist of mostly women in their late 30’s to 50’s.  Half of these wonderful women are not big fans of technology, so I knew I would lose the number of people I can help by transitioning my classes online.
    4. I questioned my discipline.  Would I be able to consistently teach online every week, or would I start to lose motivation and quit?

It is interesting that it took a global crisis for me to take the leap into teaching classes online.  But before I decided to offer live-stream classes, I had to search in my heart and make sure I wasn’t doing it out of fear (check out my previous blog on overcoming fear).  Once I prayed, meditated and talked it over with my husband (who is often the voice of reason), I realized that this would be a great time for me to take a leap and see what God does with it.

Today is my second week of online teaching, and it’s going great so far.  Last week, I taught three All-Levels Yoga classes, two Yoga Nidra classes (if you don’t know what this is, sign up for my class here), and a Biblical Meditation Workshop (click here for future workshops)… and I’m happy to report that I did not feel self-conscious, and I was able to stay disciplined and organized with my schedule!  The greatest lesson I learned in this whole process is that I get in my own way (and in God’s way) which prevents me from doing and experiencing greater things.

How often do you convince yourself not to pursue a dream or an idea because you think it is:

  1. Too much work?
  2. Too much effort?
  3. Too scary?
  4. Too intimidating?
  5. Too out of your comfort zone?

Next time you feel any of the feelings above, remind yourself to get out of your way so that you can go after accomplishing and experiencing things that you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to.  And if you don’t succeed in your definition of success (more on this topic next week), know that IT IS OKAY.  You are still wonderful.  You are still loved.  You are still uniquely YOU!

COVID-19 Self-Quarantine: Finding Your New Normal

I recently saw a meme of a teenager holding a landline phone and trying to figure out how to use it.  I’m among the last generation that remembers fighting over who gets to use the phone next.  As a Gen-X’er, I used payphones at the mall and mail hand-written letters. I remember when we transitioned from records to cassette tapes, from cassette tapes to CDs, and from CDs to mp3.  With each transition came a new normal… but the transition we’re all facing today in social distancing and self-quarantining has been shoved into our lives.

Just like many people in the service-providing industry, I have been impacted as a yoga teacher and pilates instructor.  As of last week, the facilities that I teach weekly classes at have temporarily closed, so I decided to offer On-Demand (aka live streaming) yoga and meditation classes via Zoom (click here to see my schedule of classes).  Instead of using this time to binge-watch TV shows and movies on Netflix 24/7, I decided to keep myself on a schedule to prevent going into hermit-mode.

There are many benefits to keeping a routine in your schedule:  Mentally, stay disciplined allows our minds to be sharper and have more control over negative thoughts and feelings.  Physically, we’re able to burn more calories and prevent muscular atrophy if we stay on task and active.  Our mental and physical discipline can create a sense of safety for our souls to be still and experience the beauty of the present.

Here are some ideas to consider while you create your new normal:

Set your alarm (then wake up and face the sun).

You don’t necessarily have to wake up at 5 AM (unless you want to), but set your alarm at a reasonable hour.  Once you wake up, get out of bed and do some gentle warm-ups and slow stretches (maybe some Cat/Cow Yoga poses or Table Pose to Child’s Pose flow).  After your stretching and warming up, find a spot in your front porch or backyard (or in your house where you can be in sunlight).  Sit or stand still, close your eyes and enjoy the sunlight on your face as you take some deep diaphragmatic breaths.  When you feel present and calm, slowly open your eyes.

Go for a walk.

I’m generally not an outdoor person because of seasonal allergies during the Spring and Fall, and mosquitoes during the Summer.  But we’ve been having great weather here in North Carolina lately, so my family and I’ve been taking advantage of being outside and going for walks in different neighborhoods.  While keeping our social distance from people, we’ve been able to give them a wave, a smile or even say hello in passing.  I also take “podcast walks.” My favorites are BEMA Discipleship (for a deep-dive into context of The Bible), The Creative Penn (for indie authors), and Yoga Teacher Resource (for — you guessed it — yoga teachers).

Have a Game Night with your family.

My family and I love playing card games and board games.  Our current favorites card games are Rummy, King’s Corner, Idiot (yes, it’s an actual card game).  We also love non-card games like The Settlers of Catan, Mexican Train, and Rummikub.  Having some laughter and silliness can definitely bond a family… Just make sure you keep your competitive nature in check so that no one leaves angry.

Enjoy a Weekly Spa Day at home.

Once a week, block out 1-3 hours (or more) to enjoy some time to yourself with a spa day.  All you need are some candles, a bathtub filled with warm water, a great bathbomb (my favorite ones are from Sweet Home Bath+ Body from Plano, TX.  Free shipping until the end of March!), a sheet face mask, some spa music, a difuser with lavender essential oil and some DIY spa water (slices of cucumber and lemon in purified water is nice a refreshing).  This will be quality time of relaxation that you won’t regret.  If you have young kids, you might want to consider having a spa evening after the kids go to bed.

Read a book (or two, or three).

Most of us have several unread books on our bookshelves (or a drawer); I have over 25 unread books because I seem to buy books faster than I can finish them.  This is a great time to pick up those books and read them.  You many not have another extended stay-at-home time like this, so make the most of the time that you have by filling your brain with some useful knowledge with some non-fiction/self-help/DIY books or immerse yourself in a great fiction book to engage your great imagination.  If you need a new book to read, check out my book on biblical meditation.

Do your spring cleaning now.

In the midst of the current world pandemic, Spring has sprung!  Go from room to room to de-clutter and organize. Donate your gently worn clothes (you can find drop-off stations as well as donation bins throughout the city).  Plant some plants and flowers.  Get rid of expired canned goods and freeze-burned foods.  Whether or not you like to organize and clean, it can prove to be a therapeutic experience as you let go of the things that no longer serve your highest good.

 

 

As we all look forward to the day when we no longer need to keep 6 feet away from each other, let’s make it a goal to be better versions of ourselves than when all this began.

 

With Gratitude,
output-onlinepngtools (10)

SIGN UP FOR MY QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER FOR GIVEAWAYS, ANNOUNCEMENTS AND WELLNESS-RELATED INFO!

 

FOLLOW JHENI ON SOCIAL MEDIA:

FB Facebook
IG Instagram
TwitterTwitter
LinkedIn LinkedIn

Fear is Faith (in the wrong things)

You can’t get on social media or turn on the news without hearing/seeing something about it.  Everywhere you go, people are talking about the pandemic that is Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).  Image result for coronavirusThe constant media coverage created a gripping fear in some people while for others, it’s business as usual.  I must admit, it’s easy to get caught up in all the statistics and the number of deaths reported as well as all the international travel bans.  Personally, I’m not too concerned about whether or not I contract the virus because according to many reliable and respected sources (such as Tarik Jasarevic who is World Health Organization spokesman), “Eighty percent of those who are infected with the new coronavirus (COVID-19) will have cases involving mild symptoms.”  Being that I’m pretty healthy, I’m pretty sure that I would get sick, get better and then get over it, but then when I started to cancel/postpone my upcoming workshops, it really started to hit home; however, before I can get paranoid or fearful, I read the following during my morning devotional:

FEAR IS HAVING FAITH, BUT IT’S PLACING YOUR FAITH IN THE WRONG THINGS.  FEAR IS PLACING YOUR FAITH IN THE “WHAT IFS.”  SO MUCH OF OUR FEARS ARE FOCUSED ON THINGS THAT MAY OR MAY NOT HAPPEN.

This devotional could not have come at a more perfect time!  After I read that, I felt a sense of lightness within my spirit.  It would’ve been easy for me to go into panic mode about my finances (as a business owner, if I don’t teach, I don’t make money) since we don’t know when all this is going to end; but because I’m making a conscious decision to put my faith in my God who created the Universe, I am confident that I will be at peace and all this will pass.  Everything on this earth is temporary including COVID-19.

Instead of giving into fear and paranoia, I hope you will join me in being careful and cautious while having faith that we will soon see the day where Coronavirus will be a thing of the past.

 

With Gratitude,
output-onlinepngtools (10)

SIGN UP FOR MY QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER FOR GIVEAWAYS, ANNOUNCEMENTS AND WELLNESS-RELATED INFO!

 

FOLLOW JHENI ON SOCIAL MEDIA:

FB Facebook
IG Instagram
TwitterTwitter
LinkedIn LinkedIn

Female Friends That All Women Need

 

With yesterday being International Women’s Day, it seemed fitting that I write a blog about women.  I’m blessed to constantly be surrounded by amazing women who cheer me on, encourage me, support me, dream with me, trust me and love me.  I’m equally blessed to cheer them on, encourage them, support them, dream with them, trust them and love them.  There are many lessons God has taught me in life, but one of the most valuable lessons I learned was the need for good female friendships.

“Friendships between women, as any woman will tell you, are built of a thousand small kindnesses… swapped back and forth and all over again.”
– Michelle Obama

Here are the type of female friends to surround yourself with:

 

The Cheerleader

These are the girl friends that celebrate with you when great things happen, and encourage you when things are not so great.  You don’t have to wonder about any hidden motives, back-stabbing, or jealousy from these women.  They love you and are not threatened by your successes.  They don’t gloat when you experience set-backs.  They don’t feel the need to rain on your parade because they have a parade of their own that you’ll be showing up to cheer for as well.  Some of the common things you’ll hear from them are, “I’m so happy for you,” “I’m so proud of you,” “You got this,” “You are amazing,” “I know you can do it,” “I believe in you,” and other words of affirmation.  Majority of your friends should be in this category.

 

The Adventure-Seeker

The Adventure Seeker Friends are not just the ones that will go skydiving with you or go backpacking across Europe with you; these friends will do random things like go to brunch with you wearing pajamas or take fun pictures with you like this one on the left (I’m the second one on the right… it took us several tries to sync up our jumps! 😂).  These women bring spontaneity and extra zest to your life.  Having spontaneous, adventure-seeking girl friends keep away monotony from a daily routine, help you to be more flexible to change, increase your creativity by breaking down mental blocks, help reduce stress by helping you take a mental break, and increase the fun factor in your life.  Since adventure-seekers may not all be available at the same time, it’s best to have more than a few of these fun and spontaneous women in our Contacts List.

 

The Confidant 

These are the friends that you can trust with the most vulnerable parts of yourself.  There are less of these women in your life because of confidential things you share with them (and vice versa).  In fact, I can count on one hand how many of this type I have in my life.  It’s not that I don’t trust other people, but when it comes to the deepest parts of my soul, there are only a handful of women that I can confidently say I feel safe to lay my entire heart and guts out on the table with.  You never have to worry about whether or not they will judge you or use any information against you.  If you tell them any highly-sensitive information, you can trust that they will keep it confidential without you even telling them not to say anything.

 

The Straight Shooter

This is not the same thing as women who are brutally honest and don’t care about your feelings.  These women are the ones who will speak the truth in love and you have no doubt in your mind that they have your best interest in mind.  I have several straight-shooter girl friends that I can go to for objective feedback and advice, and I’m glad I can be the same to them while feeling loved, safe, and not judged.  Even though this can be painful and awkward at times, these female relationships are necessary in helping us become better versions of ourselves.

 

The Mother-Figure

These are women that are older and wiser than you.  These women have a wealth of knowledge and experiences that you don’t have because you haven’t gone through their season yet.  It’s so easy to neglect these mentor friendships because Ageism is so prevalent in our society.  But having one or two of these wonderful women in your life will help you to grow in your appreciation for the older generation as well as keep you humble.  She’s nurturing, loving, patient, and she will be able to share stories that might leave you wondering why her life hasn’t been made into a movie yet.  If your mother is one of your best friends, consider yourself blessed.

 

A lot of times, you will have friends who are more than one of the types listed above which is great!  Having these five types of women in your life will enrich it in a way that no money, romance, or fame ever can!

 

With Gratitude,
output-onlinepngtools (10)

 

SIGN UP FOR MY QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER FOR GIVEAWAYS, ANNOUNCEMENTS AND WELLNESS-RELATED INFO!

 

FOLLOW JHENI ON SOCIAL MEDIA:

FB Facebook
IG Instagram
TwitterTwitter
LinkedIn LinkedIn

Is Yoga a Religion?

“I’m concerned for your soul,” “You’re doing the devil’s work by teaching yoga,” “How can you say you’re a Christian when you’re teaching the belief system of the Hindu religion?”  These are some of many comments and questions that I’ve received about me being a Christian who teaches yoga and meditation.  In my book, BE STILL: The Power of Biblical Meditation, I wrote about a specific incident that happened to me about 4 years ago.  I’m honestly not offended by people who express their concern for me; in fact, I appreciate the fact that they care enough to express their concerns.  What I am not crazy about is the fact that most of these people’s concerns are based on what they’ve heard other people say or on a negative experience that they’ve had either personally or through someone else.  I would like to take this time to dispel the rumor that Yoga is a religion.

YOGA IS NOT A RELIGION… UNLESS YOU WANT IT TO BE.

In my training as a Yoga Teacher (through the 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training I completed and all the advanced training I’ve received since then), I have learned that Yoga was not meant to be a religion but rather a tool to help you meet the Authentic You.  This “authentic you” is the pure essence of who you were created to be, before you accumulated all the baggage that you carry (which you received from yourself and from others).  For me, the goal of Yoga is to get in touch with who God has created me to be since the beginning of His plans for me (Jeremiah 29:11-13).  I use Yoga as a tool to get my mind quiet and my spirit still enough to hear the voice of God (1 Kings 19:12, Psalm 46:10).

Depending on the lineage and the style of Yoga a person practices, it can be a more physically-based practice or a more spiritually-based practice.  What I practice and teach are somewhere in the middle with a whole lot of science.  I start each class with setting an intention for the practice, whether it be “stillness” (to experience stillness in each movements), “gratitude” (to be grateful for breath, for movement, for strength, etc.), “perseverance” (to be okay with discomfort in the challenging poses), etc.  At the end of the postures, I guide my students through a guided relaxation during savasana which activates the parasympathetic nervous system (the “rest and digest” response to homeostasis).  We finish with a breathing exercise called Pranayama where I guide them to use their breath to continue creating a balance mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  This is where they (and I) really experience stillness.

In addition to considering their physical levels, I take time to create yoga practices for my students in a very scientific and methodical way.  Since I only teach morning yoga classes at the moment, I make sure that the poses that I incorporate into my sequences are balancing and uplifting (if you’ve ever done a back-bending yoga pose, you can attest to the energizing/uplifting effect and a balancing/centering effect if you’ve stayed in a standing pose like Tree Pose for several breaths).  There’s science to back up the neurological benefits of yoga such as increase in endorphins and reduction in cortisol level (check out this article about “Neurobiology of Asana“).

To me, Yoga is a tool, not a religion.  It’s like walking (I use this example a lot, so if you’ve ever heard me say this in a workshop or seen it in a blog or social media post, just bear with me):  You can be walking toward someone with the intent of giving them a hug or you can be walking toward someone with the intent of robbing them.  The walking itself is not good or bad.  The walking, in this case, is simply a tool to complete your goal.  Just like this example, you can use Yoga as a religion or as a tool to enhance your faith.

At the end of each class, I bring my hands to heart-center — in prayer position — and take a moment to give thanks to God for that very moment.  I also pray that I commit to keeping my yoga practice centered around Him and Him only.

So to answer the question, is Yoga a religion or not…  I must use what one of my Yoga Teachers, Nikki Myers says a lot:

It depends.

The answer depends on you.

 

With Gratitude,
output-onlinepngtools (10)

SIGN UP FOR MY QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER FOR GIVEAWAYS, ANNOUNCEMENTS AND WELLNESS-RELATED INFO!

 

FOLLOW JHENI ON SOCIAL MEDIA:

FB Facebook
IG Instagram
TwitterTwitter
LinkedIn LinkedIn

I’m So Weird!

Have you ever felt like a weirdo?  While writing my blog last week about Self Love vs. Selfish Love, I mentioned that I’m the oddball in my family.  I used to hate feeling like none of my family members understood me.  What I hated even more was when I was told by my classmates that I was weird.  On the outside, I would act like I didn’t care what people thought of me, but those three words (“You’re so weird.”) stung deeply.  By the time I was in high school, I learned how to cover up my “weirdness” by conforming to the crowd.  I became a social chameleon, and I thought I had it all figured out; but deep inside, I was suppressing my oddities more and more each day.

I’m not sure when it changed, but it seems like as I grew older, it became easier to let go of the pretenses that I was “normal.”  I didn’t even know what “normal” really meant!  I just knew that I didn’t want to fit into a certain mold.  The more I became comfortable with being different, the more I felt free to be me.

I recently watched the first episode of Carpool Karaoke on Apple TV+, and the two “carpoolers” were Will Smith and James Corden.  While they were chatting about their careers and Will’s rise to stardom, he said that during his Fresh Prince of Bel Air days, he felt so free to be whoever he wanted to be.  In fact, his famous head rotation in the theme song/video was totally improvised, and he didn’t feel embarrassed about it, and nobody questioned why he did it.   He became famous for his clean rap about everyday things in the midst of rappers who were known for rapping about their dangerous lives and rough upbringing.  Will Smith was willing to stand out from the crowd and be “different” so that he can be himself.  My friends and I were drawn to his music because he stayed true to himself.

I’ve grown more comfortable in my own skin throughout the years.  I like the fact that I’m one of the few suburban moms who color her hair whatever color in the rainbow (although I’m currently rocking my natural dark brown color to give my hair a break).  I like the fact that while some of my friends and family are doctors, corporate executives, CEOs, scientists and college professors, I’m a homeschool educator, yoga & meditation teacher, indie author, and a pilates instructor.  I like that I find ridiculous comedy like Napoleon Dynamite hilarious and that I make up songs about anything throughout the day.

You will always have to live with yourself, and it is to your best interest to see that you have good company – a clean, pure, straight, honest, upright, generous, magnanimous companion.”
— Orison Swett Marden, Founder of SUCCESS Magazine

Embrace your uniqueness.  Love what makes you YOU.  Give yourself a mental high-five (aka clap 😂) next time you think to yourself, “I’m SO weird!”  Image result for clap

 

With Gratitude,
output-onlinepngtools (10)

SIGN UP FOR MY QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER FOR GIVEAWAYS, ANNOUNCEMENTS AND WELLNESS-RELATED INFO!

FOLLOW JHENI ON SOCIAL MEDIA:

FB Facebook
IG Instagram
TwitterTwitter
LinkedIn LinkedIn

Self-Love vs. Selfish-Love

I love February.  I love how he is different from the rest of his family, and he flaunts his uniqueness by being the shortest month in the year.  And every four years, he decides to be one day longer (I’m using “he” because months are masculine in Spanish and French).  I think I identify with February because I’m also the oddball in my family in so many ways which I will go into in next week’s blog.

Whether February is also your favorite month or not, I’m sure you are influenced by him in one way, shape or form.  You can’t go into a retail store without seeing Valentine’s Day and anything relating to love being advertised and sold.  There are plenty of reminders to love your family, friends, significant other… but how often do you remind yourself to love yourself?

I’m not sure when the whole “Self-Love Movement” started, but it seems like every other posts I see (especially in February) are about self-love.  Loving yourself is absolutely necessary to live a happy life, but the reason for self-love — in my opinion — can sometimes get misinterpreted.  There is a difference in self-love and selfish-love.  Self-love is accepting who you are at the core and knowing your worth, and doing the necessary work to be the best version of yourself that you can be; and through this process, you’re able to love others greater than you’ve ever loved before.  Selfish-love — which is the complete opposite of self-love — is indulging in pleasure to fulfill your current (and temporary) desires with the end goal being all self-serving.

I’m not saying taking a day to get pampered or having “Me Time” is the bad thing; we all need a break to retreat and rejuvenate.  What I’m talking about is when taking care of yourself becomes a self-absorbed ritual where that becomes the end-goal instead of it being a tool to improve your mind/body/spirit for others.

I have experienced both self-love and selfish-love.  Last summer, I took a week-long sabbatical to work on writing my book.  I checked in to an AirBnB for that week and slept in every morning (being that I was in a city one hour behind, I was waking up in between 6am and 7am without an alarm), meditated, prayed, read my Bible, went out for meals by myself and spent majority of each day at a desk, writing my book.  It felt great to take a pause from my day-to-day duties to have some solitude, but I did not take the sabbatical to indulge in my desire to be lazy and be entertained.  As much as I wanted to binge-watch shows on Netflix, I took time to carry on my goal of finishing my book so that I can share my experiences and practicals of biblical meditation with the rest of the world.  This was a time of self-love for me because I took time to rest, enjoy slowing down, but it was with the intent of becoming a better version of myself for others and for me to accomplish my goal.

On the other hand, I remember when I was overwhelmed with stress from work and indulged in selfish-love (this was when I had a fast-paced, high-stress position in a Fortune 100 Company): I would come home, make dinner and spend a few hours with my family, and then I would lock myself in my home music studio for many hours to compose, record and edit songs.  I thought this “Me Time” would allow my stress level to go down and feel better, but my stress level and outlook did not change; if anything, it contributed to me becoming more self-absorbed.  Because I used creating music as an escape from reality, it neither improved my well-being nor get me closer to my authenticity.  I do, however, believe that this  was a necessary step in my journey to becoming more self-aware.

I say all this to encourage you to take time out for yourself in a way to use Self-Love as a tool and not as a goal toward your authenticity.

 

With Gratitude,
output-onlinepngtools (10)

SIGN UP FOR MY QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER FOR GIVEAWAYS, ANNOUNCEMENTS AND WELLNESS-RELATED INFO!

 

FOLLOW JHENI ON SOCIAL MEDIA:

FB Facebook
IG Instagram
TwitterTwitter
LinkedIn LinkedIn