Category Archives: Coaching Resources

when you’re too stressed for yoga

How you holdin’ up?

No matter which side you fall on, this past week has been an intense one. Shock, paralysis, nervousness, and fear are just a few of the feelings surfacing in me and in my communities. And amidst the whirlwind of emotion, we’re wanting to do something… but don’t know what or when or how.

>> Thing is, it’s my experience that when I’m jittery, overwhelmed, and unsettled, there’s not a whole lot I can accomplish. Or at least not much I can accomplish well <<

So, instead, I stop.
For a little while.
And turn to yoga or meditation.

But sometimes I’ve even too overwhelmed for that! Sometimes I’m just too restless to sit still or follow any kind of lengthy routine. I’ve had lots of those moments these past few months.

Wanna know what I did instead?

I shook it off.

No joke. People don’t use the term “shake it off” for kicks. Quick explanation: you’ve heard of fight, flight, or freeze, right? Both humans and animals use those responses to save their lives when confronted with life-threatening situations. Here’s the interesting part: when animals in the wild experience trauma, they pass through their freeze state by tremoring (literally shaking), which alleviates post traumatic symptoms and allows them to return to normal mobility and functioning.

Now, this doesn’t only help when your life is literally in danger, but any time you’re overwhelmed with stress and emotion. Shaking helps us immediately release excess tension, and prevents it from being stored in the body (and eventually leading to chronic tension).

Making sense?

Most of my life I’ve spent moving my body in very structured, rigid ways (during years of sports and yoga). This simple practice of shaking helps me get the stress relieving benefits of movement without the pressure of doing anything “right” or “wrong.” And did I mention it only takes 5-10 minutes? You can do it on its own or incorporate it into any other movement practice you enjoy.

Anyway, let’s get to it. You ready?
Read through the five steps below then give it a try.

1. Set up your space (yoga mat, candles, incense, music)

2. Keep your feet planted on the ground and begin to shake (bending at the knees, allowing the shoulders to drop), being mindful that you continue breathing throughout

3. Continue for at least 5 minutes

4. When you choose to stop, transition immediately into a few moments of deep breathing, using the following arm motions: inhale, open the arms out to the side and raise them over your head, exhale, allow the arms to drift down the center of your body… continue for at least five breaths

5. Hold your hands in front of your pelvis, palms facing up, while you allow your breathing to come back to its normal rhythm

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Wishing you a very restful sleep… xo

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It is here, it is here, it is here

Every day I write to-do lists. I’ve written thousands in my thirty years. 

And beyond those physical to-do lists, I’ve also got mental and emotional “to do” lists I edit all day long. These lists are a combo of simple errands, big life goals, and anything in between.

On any given day, a compilation of tasks from my to-do lists might look something like this:

– read for school
– write a blog
– get an internship
– email my client
– grocery shop
– pay bills
– make chocolate
– meditate
– get to yoga
– get inspired
– travel
– find love

All of these items, on one level or another, are of course, meant to either maintain, fix, or better certain aspects of my life.

Funny thing is, no matter how many to-do lists I write, no matter how many items I cross off, life stays generally the same. I still have good days and bad days. I still laugh and I still cry. I still seek and find, and I still lose and have to let go. I still feel loved and I still feel desperately alone. I might get an overdose of good, or an overdose of the not-so-good here or there, but in the big picture, life stays generally the same.

This started to make me wonder: 

> what exactly are we striving for with all our to-do lists?

Are we getting so caught up in “getting somewhere” or “achieving something” that we fail to realize that this, the routine, the mundane details, this nowhere near perfect-ness, this mess, is in fact, life… ?

Joseph Campbell, an American mythologist, and a man whose work truly inspires me, taught that we can choose to live in rapture, in joy, in ecstasy, that it is not “out there” in some other place or person, that we don’t have to go somewhere or have something, or someone.

Rather, he would say:

“It is here. It is here. It is here.”

Lately, whenever I have a wish or desire, I ask myself:

When I get it or achieve it… then what?

In other words,

Will I be happy forever?
Will everything fall into place?
Will life be perfect then?

And the answer is always no, no, and no.

So, should I stop growing, stop stretching myself, stop evolving? Of course not. But what I could do is become more aware that life is happening here, now, before and after the to-do list. And with that, learn to lean into and appreciate life as. it. is., which will prevent me from putting life “on hold until…”

> What are you putting life on hold for? Is it a clean house? Or maybe money? Love? The perfect body or perfect job?

Think for a sec about what minor and major goals fill your to-do lists, and consider what you’re actually striving for… Is it just a clean house? Or is it the feeling of peace and calm that might bring? Is it just the money? Or is it the sense of freedom and accomplishment you think it would offer you? Is it just the perfect body? Or is it the self-confidence, the love and attention you think would come with it?

As you start to ask these questions, you might be surprised to notice that what you truly want comes only from within you. And that you have access to it today, in this moment, and always.

Tonight I invite you put away the goal setting, the to-do lists, and to simply turn inward. Use the short 10-minute meditation below to bring awareness to all that’s inside of you and to your beautiful life, the one that is happening here and now.

Instructions:

Light a few candles
Play this song

Sit or lay comfortably
Close your eyes

Notice your breath
And mentally repeat: “It is here. It is here. It is here.”

XO,
Jody

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A look into the dark

Think of one or two of your flaws, your weak spots.

And no, not the flaws or weak spots you’d offer up in an interview (i.e. “I’m a perfectionist” or “I’m not very good with numbers). Not what I’m talking about here. Not flaws or weak spots that are endearing, cute or insignificant.

Think of the dark ones, the ugly, the truly unappealing. The ones that, after they’re exposed, make you want to curl up in the corner of the room.

Got em’?

These are what psychologist, Carl Jung, said make up the “shadow side” of our personality. It’s the side of us made up predominately of primitive, negative emotions and impulses like lust, greed, selfishness, envy, anger…

Or, as I hear it (and tell it), on phone calls with friends and clients, it’s:

being needy,
desperate

lazy,
anxious,
spiraling out of control

smothering my partner
or withdrawing completely

acting “crazy”
irrational
or “bitchy”

Like I said, not the stuff you’d offer up in an interview.

But it’s a part of you, no? It’s part of me, too.

Now, as a coach, it’s my job to encourage and facilitate change. To help you be the best version of you. But, there’s this truth that’s been following me around lately:

>> Being “better,” doing “better” isn’t all there is and isn’t always the pathway to the “best version of you” <<

What if overcoming our ugliness (aka “changing”) isn’t as important as accepting ourselves as we are, ugly parts and all?

What if it’s within our acceptance that transformation actually happens.

Although Jung referred to this shadow side as the “reservoir for human darkness” he also called it the “seat of creativity” or the “true spirit of life.” So perhaps it’s in getting to know our ugliness (vs. pushing it away), that we could discover something quite beautiful.

To be clear, I’m not suggesting we give up on growth, on change… no, no, no. We don’t get up in people’s faces screaming, “Well, this is me! Deal with it!” Nor do we focus so much on the shadow side that we sink into a negativity that feels out of control.

Really, my suggestion is just to press the “Pause” button for a moment. Pause the resolutions and goal-oriented thinking, and spend time this winter weekend getting to know a bit about your shadow side.

>> What parts of yourself do you so desperately try to hide and/or change?

>> What might be at the root of those emotions/impulses?

>> What behaviors do you use to cover up these feelings?

>> What do you fear might happen if you allow this to be a part of who you are?

>> What could this part of yourself be telling you? What could it be looking for?

>> How could you show yourself some compassion?

This week, my professor defined intimacy as:

“Receiving someone for who they are, with their virtues and imperfections. Allowing someone to be real with you.”

If we hope to receive others in this way (which I know I do) we have to first receive ourselves in this way.

So, for now, I’m going to toss out the idea of a “better” you and a “better” me and instead propose we get on the path to a more real you, a more real me; the beautiful, the ugly, and everything in between.

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  • Praise

    Nancy A.

    "Jody has been an inspirational force in my life. Not only do I eat better, but I'm able to handle difficult areas of my life with honesty and understanding"
    2013-09-15T00:45:15+00:00
    "Jody has been an inspirational force in my life. Not only do I eat better, but I'm able to handle difficult areas of my life with honesty and understanding"

    Heather B.

    "Jody has shown me eating healthy is not a chore."
    2013-09-15T00:45:36+00:00
    "Jody has shown me eating healthy is not a chore."

    Audrey H.

    "Working with Jody not only improved my eating habits, but also created more awareness around the nourishment of my mind, body, and spirit!"
    2013-09-15T00:45:56+00:00
    "Working with Jody not only improved my eating habits, but also created more awareness around the nourishment of my mind, body, and spirit!"

    Angela S.

    "Jody has a natural glow and positive energy about her. Working with Jody has inspired me to find the things in my life that will make me glow and thrive!"
    2013-09-15T00:46:14+00:00
    "Jody has a natural glow and positive energy about her. Working with Jody has inspired me to find the things in my life that will make me glow and thrive!"

    Emily S.

    "Working with Jody has helped me take control of my health which has opened doors that used to seem impossible."
    2013-09-15T00:46:31+00:00
    "Working with Jody has helped me take control of my health which has opened doors that used to seem impossible."
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