mindset

How To Follow Up On Good Advice

Louise Hay is a hero of mine. 

If you don't know who she is, Louise Hay is a motivational author who wrote the bestselling book: You Can Heal Your Life, and she is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. She was diagnosed with Cervical Cancer and healed herself by using a combination of physical, mental, and emotional exercises to understand, overcome, and let go of issues from her childhood. 

I told you... absolutely AH-MAY-ZING! 

I watched this video awhile ago and connected on so many different levels, but when the video was over, I just turned off my computer and didn't put anything into practice. 

And if you're anything like me - you'll think about it, maybe even talk about it, but you struggle to put it to practice. It's weird but I see this happening all the time. We hear great advice that we KNOW we should take, but we continually do the same things over and over again that don't serve to benefit who we are or where we want to go. It's bizarre. 

But I realized, maybe the reason we don't take on the good advice is because it's too much change all at once. Maybe, asking us to adopt 10 new rules for success feels overwhelming. If that’s the case, it’s really the best case scenario because it's easy to work with overwhelming things... you just have to minimize them until they feel doable. 

Every action comes from a thought first. Louise Hay would be the first person to tell you that, but when we overload our mind, we feel too burdened to actually take action.

Don’t make things heavy for yourself. Watch this video and choose 1 thing to change. Work on that and then, once it feels simple, add another.

Before you know it, you’ll be living all 10 and walking in the footsteps of the truly brilliant, Ms. Louise Hay.

With love & light,

Carolyn Kaufman

How To Heal: Yin Yoga with Pamela Newman

An interview with Yin & Resorative yoga teacherPamela Newman.png

A few years ago, I found myself with a friend in New Hampshire at a Yin Yoga class. I’d been doing yoga at home for quite some time, but I’d never actually been to a class. I wasn’t sure what to expect and I felt nervous, but as the class flowed, I realized how beneficial this type of yoga could be. By the time it was over, my life was changed forever. I was head over heels for Yin.

According to Yogapedia, “Yin Yoga is a slower-paced, more meditative version of the popular physical and spiritual discipline of yoga. In Yin yoga, the poses are held for a long period of time (typically three to five minutes or longer) to target the connective tissues (such as the ligaments) rather than focusing on the muscles. As a result, the asanas are more passive holds, with little muscular engagement.”

After that first class in New Hampshire, I came back to Boston and immediately searched on google for a nearby class. As if divine intervention was guiding me, I discovered a class at the perfect time above my favorite restaurant in Cambridge (just an aside, it's called Life Alive Cafe and you should DEFINITELY go if you're ever in Boston!). Yin yoga with Pamela became a staple in my weekly routine and I loved how much mental strength I developed by focusing on my breathing during those long holds.  

Through that practice, I’ve learned to better manage stress, to carve time out of my schedule for self care practices, and that healing the body doesn’t have to be aggressive or quick… it can be simple and flow smoothly.

That’s why I wanted to interview my bright light of a yoga teacher and now my great friend, Pamela Newman, to share a little more insight with you into the world of Yin.

Carolyn: Hi Pam! Thank you for interviewing with me! You know how much I love your class and I’d love for others to become aware of the power of Yin, so this is great! Let’s just jump right in… Tell me, what makes yin yoga different than a standard yoga class?  

Pamela: Hey, Carolyn, thanks for having me! Yin targets your connective tissues as opposed to your muscles, like regular yoga classes do, so we do all of our poses on the mat for anywhere from 2-6 minutes.  Each pose is supported with props so you can relax the muscles to stress the connective tissues.

Carolyn: Right. So it’s less about getting a workout and more about relaxing the muscles, which is huge when it comes to reducing stress! What are some other benefits of taking yin/restorative yoga?

Pamela: The benefits are endless!! But to name a few, it helps with stress management, improved joint mobility, increased circulation, lower blood pressure, anxiety reduction, increased flexibility, and it calms and balances mind and body.

Carolyn: No wonder I love this class, I need all of these things… It’s amazing how one class can have such dramatic benefits! Can you break down how a class with you would go?  

Pam: Sure! We open in a relaxing pose to get centered in the present by either lying down or sitting upright. Then, we go through a handful of poses that we hold for 2-6 minutes. It can take up to a minute to set up each pose but, once you are comfortable in the pose, you resolve to be still for the remained of the time and attempt to keep your mind present throughout. At the end of each pose, we come out slowly and do a minute of rebound in a more relaxed posture. Every class ends with an extended Savasana (final relaxation pose).

Carolyn: Ah, Savasana, my favorite part! Despite all the benefits, Yin hasn’t picked up in popularity in the Western world yet. What prompted you to start teaching Yin and Restorative yoga?

Pam: After 10 years of regular vinyasa, ashtanga and Iyengar classes, which are all considered yang or active styles, I took my first ever yin class in Portland Maine with Sagel Ulacher and fell in love. I couldn't believe how challenging it was for me to be still for so long.  As a self proclaimed type A personality, I realized immediately the benefits that slowing down would bring me.  When I started my 200 teacher training I knew right away that I wanted to offer my students Yin and restorative because the benefits of slowing down were endless for me.

Carolyn: Wow, so you fell into it just like I did… except you’ve had a lot more practice with other styles! Ten years is a long time, what got you involved in yoga in the first place?

Pam: My older sister dragged me, kicking and screaming, to a hot yoga class in 2007 when I was staying with her in Princeton, NJ. I had been running for years and never felt so open as during class. I just felt the immediate benefits of better posture and increased confidence. After that, I was hooked.

Carolyn: Oh, that’s so funny that you went kicking and screaming! Funny how we always need what we’re resisting most. So, you teach yin all over Boston now… Who should come to your classes?

Pam: Everyone! Although I believe “should” is a judgment word, so I would say that physically yin yoga is accessible to most people. We use plenty of props to support each individual's postural needs and in our overly busy “on the go” culture, most people would benefit from slowing down and spending some time in their parasympathetic nervous system.

Carolyn: Ah! You caught me using the should word! Louise Hay would be questioning me up and down for using that. And yes, I completely agree… we spend so much time in our Sympathetic Nervous System (fight or flight) that it’s an absolute gift to have Yin to bring us back to our Parasympathetic (rest and digest). After decades of practice, do you have a favorite yoga pose?

Pam: Definitely Deer pose - I have been known to drool over the bolster in this pose :)

Carolyn: Haha, just the imagery makes me laugh. Let’s get back to your class. What’s the main way you hope your class attendees feel after class?

Pam: At ease, centered and grounded in themselves.

Carolyn: That’s beautiful. And what is the main message you hope people will take away from your class?

Pam: You are perfect just the way you are, let's love ourselves a little more and judge a little less.

Carolyn: Amen, girl! What are your top three tips for people who’ve never tried it or are new to yoga?

Pam: Come with an open mind and know you don't have to do any of the poses, breath work or meditation techniques that don't resonate with you.  Everyone's experience will be a little different and you can't do it wrong!

Carolyn: I love that. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions about yourself, Yin, and your class. It was such a pleasure, as always, to connect with you and I can’t wait for my next yin class! Just tell me now, how can people find you?

Pam: I currently teach around Boston at Yoga Works in Back Bay, The Corner Studio in Medford, and Coolidge Yoga in South End. To keep up to date on my classes or any pop ups, follow me on instagram at instagram.com/yinspiritwarrior!

Interviews by Carolyn from Without The Weight, Inc. are meant to share all the different options available to heal your mind, body, and spirit from a holistic lens. Any advice or recommendations are meant to work as complementary therapies alongside any treatment provided by your medical practitioner and are not suggested as a replacement for medical care.

How To Maintain Motivation

It’s Monday.

You’re pumped with energy and ready for the week. You got everything together this weekend, making sure you had healthy food in the house, meals all prepped, and that the gym membership that you’ve been paying for (and not going to) for months was still active.

Motivation is just flowing through your veins as you go through the day, excited that surely, this will be the last time you ever have to start over.

Monday through Wednesday are great! You snuck a few m&m’s on Wednesday but that’s nothing compared to the king size bag you used to scarf down every day. That’s all in your past now.

But then, on Thursday, that cute coworker tells you that they’re all going out for happy hour after work and you should come.

Anxiety hits.

You brought your meal prep, but you’ve been working so hard all week and you really want to be social. In fact, it would be bad business not to go and one night out with coworkers couldn’t be that bad. You’ll just have one drink and jump right back to your diet tomorrow.

You go out and somehow, one margarita turns to three. Soon you’re splitting nachos and wondering if anyone is down to order another plate for the table.

The next morning, you wake up with a hangover and bloat.

You’d be happy to start over today, but you didn’t pack your lunch last night and all you can think about now is how good a cup of coffee and a piece of lemon cake from Starbucks would be. You’ll get a salad for lunch.

But then lunch comes around and the office ordered pizza to celebrate that it’s Friday. You think about your bank account and opt for the free lunch and gossip with your coworkers about last night’s escapades.

By the time you get home, you’re exhausted and opt to order Chinese food. It’s the weekend now and you’re absolutely beat. For sure, on Monday, you’ll start over one more time.

If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. In fact, this is the cycle most of us live in.

We start a new diet or exercise routine with gusto but soon, as external situations pop up, we lose motivation and fall off track.

Really, all we needed was to know was how to stay motivated, but instead, we let our goals fall to the wayside and put it off, just for one more weekend.

Enough is enough.

If you have goals that you want to hit, making the decision to hit them is the first step.

Second step is understanding why that goal is so important to you. What will dieting bring you? Weight loss to fit into your old jeans? Better health so you can heal your chronic illness? A calmer and more focused mind so you can excel at work? Whatever the end goal is, get clear on it and keep that image in your mind.

The third step is to surround yourself with motivation. According to Zig Ziglar “Motivation doesn’t last, but neither does bathing. That’s why we suggest it daily.” Fill up your social media feeds with pages that remind you of your mission, keep notes around your bedroom and office to keep you focused, bring yourself back to the reason for your goal as often as humanly possible.

By doing this every single day (multiple times a day) you are filling your brain with that motivation. Truth is, it’s in the action of constantly bringing it back to your attention that will keep you motivated, not the actual motivation itself.

Motivation is yours in abundance if you keep your mind on the goal. Position yourself for success and it’s yours for the taking!

How To Achieve At Anything

When I was a kid, I used to watch True Life on MTV.

Have you ever seen it? It’s this documentary show where they find 3 people who all share a common obstacle and then record their life as they struggle with it. The intention is to give viewers an insight into other people’s hidden struggles. For me, I just thought it was entertaining.

Some memorable episodes were “True Life: I have Epilepsy” and “True Life: My Parents are in Porn”, I mean honestly, this show had everything! But then one night, as I laid curled up on my couch in PJs, “True Life: I’m Going To Fat Camp” came on the screen.

I immediately turned the volume up. Three people were up to go to fat camp. One that really wanted it, one that was being forced to go by her family, and a third. I don’t remember much about the third, but I’ll never forget how emotional I got over the other two.

The one who wanted it, let’s call her Mary, saw fat camp as an opportunity. She worked her butt off just to get the money to be able to go and, when she got there, she utilized everything they had available to her. She saw fat camp as her path to better health and happiness and she wasn’t going to waste it for anything.

The second girl, again let’s make up a name - Jenna, didn’t want to go. She knew she needed to lose weight, but the idea of going to a fat camp upset her. Jenna wanted to do it on her own, even though she hadn’t been successful on her own, and her parents insisted she go. She was miserable and didn’t want to participate in anything at camp. She saw it as if it were a prison that she couldn’t stand to be in. She ended up sneaking out and getting candy bars with another girl and getting kicked out of camp.

I cheered at the TV when her parents had to come get her.

I tell you this story because these two girls both had the same goal and the same opportunities available to both of them, but only one had success. The only real difference between these two were their mindset, and that was the main driver of success versus failure.

You see, it doesn’t matter what you know or how much opportunity you have, it’s how to choose to use it. Every action comes from a thought first.

When you have a goal in mind, start to notice how you feel about that goal. Do you think you’ll hit it? Why or why not? Once you start to understand your thoughts around your goal, then you can start to shift your actions.

The opportunities, tools, tips and tricks are all available to you in abundance, but if your perspective sees them as negatives, then all you can get from the situation is negative.

If you want to find success in your journey, to achieve at anything, become aware of your mindset and start shifting your thoughts to gratitude and positivity. That energy will always lead you down the right path to health, healing, and happiness.

Because, True Life: Perspective Matters.

Is Stress Good For You?

   Since we're always talking about the negatives, I'm going to take a moment to stick up for stress.

    We need stress to be able to react to dangerous situations. It's what keeps us alive as a species, just in case we're threatened or attacked. Positive stress (eustress):

  1. Releases hormones into your bloodstream to get your heart pumping and give you energy.

  2. Burns off your sugar stores to give you fast acting sugars for an energy turbo boost.

  3. Creates a cushion around your cells and tissues in case you get tousled up in a fight or fall.

  4. Pauses digestion so you don’t have to waste time.

  5. Clears your mind by creating  so you can be totally present and focused.

Stress triggers the sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight response) to get through difficult and life threatening situations. It’s the basic goal of the body to survive and it uses stress as a warning bell to keep us alert and alive when attacked.

I mean honestly, how amazing is your body?! Take a moment.

The reason why stress gets so much flak is because the nervous system doesn’t realize that we’ve evolved and made a society that creates a lot of mental stress without a physical threat. In today’s world, when we experience stress through the day, it’s usually not because we’re in physical danger.

Still, it’s triggering those benefits I listed above EVERY TIME we stress. Think about that… Let's say, hypothetically, that lava is pouring out onto the floor you're standing on. If you needed to climb a flight of stairs once or twice to escape, you could handle that and survive no problem. But what if you had to climb 10 flights? What about 50? Or 100? You’d be on constant alert, stressed, and absolutely exhausted. But that’s what we’re putting our mind and body through every day. Lots of us are living in a constant state of stress (77% of Americans reported physical symptoms as a response to stress!) and that lava is burning out the positive benefits! That’s negative stress, distress, and chronic distress is what people are talking about when they hate on stress.

Chronic distress:

  1. Gets your heart pumping over and over again through the day, creating fatigue and high blood pressure.

  2. Completely depletes our sugar stores making us crave sweets and carbs for a quick refuel.

  3. Creates a cushion, inflammation, around our cells and tissues that stimulates the immune system (affecting those with autoimmune and inflammatory diseases).

  4. Leads to digestive disorders and imbalances.

  5. Creates inflammation around the frontal lobe so our conscious decision making becomes hazy and strained.

    Distress is what everyone is talking about when they connect stress to chronic health issues. If you feel like you manage burnout more often than stress, understand that the first step in overcoming it is becoming aware of it. Don’t let it upset you, but simply notice how often you feel stressed through the day. Notice how fast your thoughts race through all the worries of the day. Become aware of how you feel energetically at the end of the day and whether or not you have cravings. Take time to pay attention to how your body feels physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Stress is a natural part of life, but distress - especially chronic distress, can negatively impact your entire experience every single day. Being aware allows you to recognize and begin to stop situations where stress takes over.  

So don’t hate on stress, it can do a lot of good. Just be mindful and remember... Everything in moderation.