Replacing Fear with Love

Hello again everyone! Happy October! I think October can be one of the most GLORIOUS months and I love to watch the leaves change into vibrant hues of orange, red, and yellow. It’s such a nice change for the eyes on our daily dog walks.

This Fall everything seems a little different, maybe strange is a better word. We are still wearing masks to the grocery store and washing, washing, washing those hands. When we aren’t washing, we are sanitizing! Little by little, all of this has become the “new normal.” We can adjust to the changes in our lives in a variety of ways, but are we still thriving? Are we really living anymore? Or has the fear crept back in? It is so important not to let the fear from what could happen, stop you from living your life with joy and vigor.

I know for me, that fear has found its way back into the cracks in my foundation. Sometimes we don’t even know that the anxiety and fear is back until we hit a certain point, and that’s OK! That is why I have tools that I love to share for when you feel like you may be starting to get a bit off balance, or lets be honest, totally out of whack!

It is becoming increasingly more difficult to stay mindful in a society that is always refreshing the feeds, updating information, and broadcasting breaking news from multiple mediums, some totally unreliable. For people who are more prone to anxiety, this is totally overwhelming. Since we are stuck inside the home more these days, it may feel tempting to be on social media more or have the news on in the background. The problem is that we are feeding ourselves these messages the same way we feed ourselves lunch. Our nutrition for the whole person in yoga (also known as the koshas) includes everything that we take in on a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual level. The things that we feed ourselves, determine our state of mind and our overall health of the mind, body, and spirit. For example, if I listen to the news for awhile, lament with friends over the phone, and scroll through Instagram in a day, I am bound to feel pretty anxious. This is NO surprise. Look at what I am taking in. Here’s a hint: FEAR, FEAR, FEAR!  We do not need that. Just the other day I received an article from one of the maternity apps I use that was completely “fear porn.” It was written to work moms up, not prepare them for their upcoming births at the hospital. When I shared some of the points from the article with my doctor, he assured me that it was not true and that the hospital has really great protocols and they have been totally safe. He told me he has, in fact, delivered 20 babies whose moms’ were positive for COVID and they are all currently healthy and recovered.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, our society has been feeding off of fear, so it’s easy to feel anxious and scared during this time! Here is a wonderful reminder for you today: YOU ARE NOT YOUR FEARS. You are light and you are love and fear is a temporary state that passes as we learn to trust and love ourselves more and more. Take some of Louise Hay’s advice. She is my absolute favorite reference to call upon regarding fear. She says:

“Fear is becoming rampant on the planet. We can see it every day in the news. Fear is a lack of trust in ourselves, and because of this, we don’t trust Life. We don’t trust that we’re being taken care of on a higher level, so we feel we must control everything from the physical level. Obviously, we’re going to feel fear because we can’t control everything in our lives.

Trust is what we learn when we want to overcome our fears. It’s called “taking a leap of faith” and trusting in the Power within that’s connected to Universal Intelligence. Remember, the Power that supplies our breath is the same Power that created the Universe.

You’re one with all of Life. The more you know how to love yourself and trust Life, the more that Life will love you, support you, and guide you. You can trust in that which is invisible, instead of trusting only in the physical, material world. I’m not saying that we do nothing, yet if we have trust, we can go through life much easier. We need to trust that we’re being taken care of, even though we’re not physically in control of everything that’s happening around us.”

If you want to read the rest of the article, click here for the full link.  I highly recommend bookmarking it and re-reading it when you feel fearful or lost. By the way, Louise died years ago, so I get chills reading this now as it is so relevant to our current climate. It just goes to show you that history is always repeating itself. There will be other catastrophes and struggles, the only part that we can control is our own mindset and how we react to the fear.

My most pertinent take away today is that it is perfectly normal to feel fearful and anxious right now. In fact, it is valid to feel anything or nothing at all. The important part is to acknowledge what is coming up for you. Take a moment to sit with it just like you would sit with a loved one on a park bench. Get close to it and breathe deep. Accept what is coming up and then attempt to understand it. Maybe you need more downtime? Maybe you need to see a friend or take a walk under the trees. Emotions are always changing and that is healthy and normal. It is how we relate to those emotions and how we react versus respond that determine our overall well-being. The most critical thing we can do is examine our belief systems around what is coming up and then after some reflection and thought, figure out if those belief systems are not serving us anymore.

Once you have examined the emotion or thought more carefully, try and replace it with an alternate thought or feeling. Instead of fear, I am going to breathe in faith and love and let it override that fear. You could also use an affirmation each time the unsettling feeling or emotion comes up. Personalize your affirmation so that it feels powerful and true. In the case of fear, I love to use the following affirmations:

“I trust in the universe”

“I am safe, healthy, and strong”

“I release my fears ad fill up with love”

Here are some other useful tools to keep you grounded during this time:

  • Try journaling and writing out how you are feeling, but then coming up with alternate responses and affirmations to release negativity 
  • Take a social media break 
  • Try noticing something new every time you go for a walk. Make an attempt to mindfully walk and notice the smallest details, like the way the leaves grow up a vine or the color of someone’s front door.
  • Call a friend and have a laugh. Even better laugh with someone in person 
  • Get out a piece of paper at the start of each month and write down two things that are weighing you down, and two things that you can replace them with. Focus on these two themes for the whole month. For example, this month my fear of not having enough and my fear of not doing enough are weighing me down. I will replace them with abundance and acceptance.

Remember, we are not our fears. We are beacons of white light and love. The things that are changing in this world will always be changing, so if we attach to them we will suffer. If we choose to focus on our internal being, our inner climate, we can stay calm amidst the chaos. 

Trust that the universe has your back. Trust that when you are struggling, there is some lesson, some teacher, and that the pain and suffering is only temporary. 

Please feel free to reach out and tell me what you are doing to support yourself. I am still offering virtual sessions via Zoom, first session free for new customers. In just a few weeks I will take a break from working to nurture the newest chapter of my life, a baby girl.

Selfie after we took our maternity photos this weekend. My husband is my rock and a wonderful source of support.

A little life update: I am about 7 months pregnant and really feeling the emotions of becoming a mother. It has been a blessing to carry this baby during this time. She is my beacon of hope. When I become a little more stressed, I remember that I want to serve my highest good so that I can serve her highest good. It is so cool to meditate with another life form inside of you. I am sending her as much good energy as I can, and I extend it out to all of you as well!!

If you are expecting or know someone who is, please consider joining my prenatal yoga group via Zoom! You can sign up using Schedulicity by clicking here:

https://www.schedulicity.com/scheduling/EYTSQE

Stay safe, keep trusting, and let your love be so much bigger than your fear.

With love and kindness,

Maddie Tuohy 

Finding Freedom in the Mind

Independence Day

Happy July! I can’t believe the 4th of July holiday weekend has come and gone already. Summer always seems to go the fastest for me and I think it’s because I’m always traveling to the beach and spending quality time with loved ones. My business has also been steadily very busy, which I am so grateful for. In these heavier, more anxiety provoking times, I find that my clients need more support, and due to an increase in energetic work, I too need more support. Thank goodness for my lovely reiki and bodywork practitioners who help keep me balanced! OH, and for YOGA!!!

What a heavy few months it has been, huh? As a nation we have seen heartache, deaths, protests, and quarantine being placed and lifted. It has certainly been a year for the history books, and we are only half way through 2020. Here’s to hoping that we all begin to step up and see better days ahead for the whole nation, world, and universe! Put that good energy out there!

I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the importance of equality in a country that prides itself on being just that, equal and free. I think as humans on earth, we could do a lot better, and sometimes I am very interested in the Chaos Theory to begin to understand the amount of stress and tragedy we have seen in the past few months. We can do better. I have taken time to reflect on the energy that I am putting out into the world and I have decided that I can also do better, try harder, complain less, and just be a kinder human. This pandemic has given me a lot to think about and a lot to reflect on in my own life. These reflections always lead me back to trying to become closer to my highest self, as we say in yoga, and further away from the monkey mind and the materialistic wants and needs of the modern world. Simply put, I want to spend more time present for myself, my loved ones, and my clients, and release attachments and fears that have bubbled up over the past few months.

“The only real prison is fear, and the only real freedom is freedom from fear.” – Aung San Suu Kyi

Even if the recent turn of events has not seemed to affect you personally, this collective energy can certainly be felt by all. It is heavy, and sometimes harsh, and makes you want to stay in your house, and at the same time, tear out of it running and screaming. It is a new reality but it is not the reality we all hoped for. No one expected to be wearing masks on the beach or visiting their loved ones outside of glass windows. It feels like we are in a Hunger Games movie or the Twilight Zone. It feels more than ever, uncertain

This could be one of the most triggering times for people with anxiety. How do we cope with this amount of uncertainty? Will I lose my job? Will I be able to pay my mortgage next month? How will food come to the table next week? Will I ever see my grandfather again? These are all questions going through many people’s minds. So many unknown outcomes and little hope for those suffering. 

“May we think of freedom not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.” – Peter Marshall

Coping looks different for everyone. For someone with an anxiety disorder, we need all reinforcements on deck. For example, since the pandemic started I have revised my self-care routine many times to support myself. I meditate, journal, exercise, keep a daily gratitude list, and try to ground as much as possible (really I am grounding all the time). I try to pretend it’s normal to work in a tiny room all day, speaking remotely to my clients, leading them through their practices in the sweaty clothes I’ve been in for hours. We navigate sharing a space with loved ones for far more time than we have ever been used to (shout out to all the parents, seriously you guys are the real MVPs). This new normal has taken some getting used to and if we don’t check in to make sure our routines are supporting us, we can easily fall apart! If you are struggling with self care, maybe consider implementing something into your morning and evening routine that will help you feel more balanced and grounded. Some suggestions are:

  • Meditation (there are loads of guided meditations on YouTube and apps to support you if you are a beginner).
  • Movement (walking, biking, running, weight lifting, anything that makes you feel more alive!)
  • Journaling 
  • Reading a spiritual excerpt, uplifting poem, or philosophical book
  • Deep breathing 
  • A nice soak in the bath (bonus if you add essential oils)
My morning meditation with crystals

Everyone is different, so I always encourage my clients to really consider which practices will uplift them and help them feel balanced so that they can take on the day with a clearer mind and a more open heart. 

Independence Day has many meanings for many different people. This year, it carries another special meaning for me. July 4th, 2020 marks one year medication free. Something I was unsure was possible for a brain that had been diagnosed as chemically impaired. I have tried to go off all of my medications before, and was unable to do it due to very stressful circumstances. In fact, the last time I tried to go off of my medications was in the Summer of 2018. I ended up moving, getting a new job, and planning a wedding during that time, not to mention I was also diagnosed with Bartonella infection, toxic mold poisoning, and would need surgery to remove a cyst in my sinuses. Due to all of these stress- triggering life events, I went back to medication. I felt defeated at the time,  but also so overwhelmed and was yearning for more chemical brain support!

I want to be very clear about something before I continue on this topic. I am in NO WAY against being on medications. In fact, I was on medications from age eight to age twenty-seven. Medication is a tool that can save people’s lives and help them live a better quality of life. I just knew my medication was no longer serving its purpose AND I wanted to grow a human baby and knew for a fact that the medication that I was on would be a danger to that baby. So, in the Spring of 2019 I decided that my mental state was very balanced. I was meditating, eating well, doing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and tracking my moods in a journal daily. I was seeing a new psychiatrist who was supportive and gave helpful resources and getting regular reiki treatments. I was ready. 

Fast forward, one year. Here I am, medication free and four months pregnant. I have never felt more empowered in my life. A tiny part of me never thought I would make it to this day and be able to write this message to you all considering I had been on medication for nearly 20 years. I am not just talking your low dose anti-anxiety meds, I am talking anything from antipsychotics and mood stabilizers to antidepressants, and I have been on more brands/types than I can count on two hands. I was able to do this because of dedication, passion, but also largely, because of yoga. You see, yoga is a lifelong practice of observing the self, of noticing when we are letting our monkey minds or ego take over and when we need to ground, center, and come back to balance. This constant observing and awareness of the self has led me to the freedom from psychiatric medications. Let me tell you that I am not a stranger to anxiety and depression. It will always be a part of my biology, BUT the tools that I possess keep the anxiety and depression manageable and stable, and more than anything else, they are my teachers. When I am anxious or depressed, I must look within and analyze why, but also allow them as a passing state of being. We will never feel joy all the time. It is healthy to experience a variety of emotions and feelings. It just matters that we understand and allow them.

I quit my government job in 2016 to pursue my line of work in the wellness world. My constant dedication to working on myself and self-studying makes me a better Yoga Therapist and Wellness Coach. It also makes me a better wife, friend, daughter, and sister. My commitment to my healing is lifelong. I will always have to work at it, with or without medications. My greatest teacher always said, “in yoga, practice makes practice.” I am never striving for perfection, I am just striving for balance and connection to my highest self. When you are aiming to connect with the highest version of yourself, you are growing every day.

I now have an even bigger reason to work hard on staying balanced. I am going to be a mother. I am going to raise a little girl. My greatest hope for her is that she will feel connected to her highest self and that she will accept and love herself. 

This independence day, I celebrate freedom in the traditional sense, but I also celebrate the freedom I have created in my mind and in my body. I am no longer at war with my body and I can say with pure joy and gratitude that there is so much more space and freedom in my mind. Free your mind, open your heart, and just be yourself. 

Wishing you all a summer of joy & abundance. May you feel free, may we all be free together. 

Sending so much love,

Maddie Tuohy

A Time for Restoration

Hello Everyone & Happy Easter!

easter eggs in a ceramic bowl

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

 

I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend and taking time to rest & connect within and with your loved ones.  It is an odd Easter day, but rather peaceful and serene. My husband and I walked the dogs this morning and I could hear every bird and smell Spring and I definitely enjoyed the peacefulness in the air. It is so interesting to be able to feel so peaceful in a moment when such tragedy is upon our globe. I contemplate this often and the idea that we can retreat to the sanctuary within ourselves to find peace in the chaos.

This morning I focused on the word “restoration” during my meditation. I was inspired by what Deepak Chopra was talking about in his 21-day meditation challenge. He has been focusing on hope in the present moment and the power of hope. Today, he talked about the restoration of hope, and then, I really liked the sound of that as I inhaled, “restoration,” and as I exhaled, I imagined all the fear and negativity just coming out of me, like black smoke. If you are interested in this 21-day meditation challenge, it is free, and you can access it here.

 

So, we are a month into this social distancing & quarantining. I think I have officially accepted the change and stopped wrestling with, and resisting it. Sure, I still have moments of anxiety and overwhelm, but all-in-all, we are adaptable beings and the new routine has set in and become sort of familiar. I still am fortunate enough to see about 3-5 clients a day virtually, and when I am not doing Yoga Therapy or personal training sessions with them, I am exercising, cooking, vacuuming dog hair, and taking time in nature. I would be lying if I said this downtime was not enjoyable. While I am deeply saddened by what is going on in the world, I am making the best of the situation by keeping calm, healthy, and deeply connecting with myself and my immediate family.

image2 (3)

This pause has opened my eyes and sharpened my awareness to some negative and self-destructive habits & belief systems that have resurfaced over the past few years. While I work on self growth diligently, and help people with it for a living, I am human and still have flaws and get off track. I am so grateful to be able to observe some of the patterns I have been practicing that are not serving me. This “pause” has given me the opportunity to reflect deeply and to examine patterns that are in need of some shifting.  I wonder if any of you can relate?

 

This pause has shown me that I have unrealistic expectations for myself. It has shown me that my deep belief systems could still use some examining and re-wiring. I struggled the first few weeks to have less clients and less to do. I realized that my self worth may still be a little tied up in how much I do for my business on a day-to-day basis. My wellness business, and more specifically, helping others, which is my purpose & passion that  fuels me. But somewhere along the way, I started to believe that it WAS me. If I am not seeing ‘X’ amount of clients a day, and filling my free-time with trainings, client prep, and lesson plans, than I am not enough. This started to come up as things started to slow down. Rather than judge it, I noticed it, this is the principle of mindfulness. We hustle and we grind to meet these inner expectations, but we completely miss out on life along the way. Who set these expectations in the first place? And why are they there? Are they realistic? Are they reasonable?

 

I love this exercise that I learned in Yoga Therapy school regarding expectations:

 

  1. Take out a piece of paper and list your expectations of yourself.

  2.  Next, examine each one. What belief is behind that expectation? Can you jot it down next to the point?

  3. How does this expectation of yourself bring you closer to your highest self?

  4. Next, rip up this piece of paper. Expectations lead to misery.

You can have goals, sure. You can set mile markers to keep you on track, but know deeply and fully understand why that goal is there and what higher purpose or virtue it serves instead of living your life under unrealistic or unnecessary expectations. These are put there by us as a survival technique, but they don’t have to stay. All it take is a little awareness and re-writing, and you can feel like a weight was lifted off of your shoulders. What would it be like if you just showed up, exactly as you are? I ask myself this, too, and even meditate on it. 

 

Even in this quarantine, we are still doing, doing, doing. We did some house projects, (which is amazingly fun and a great bonding exercise as a couple) and Home Depot was SOLD OUT of Shiplap. Everyone in Loudoun County had the same idea. There is nothing wrong with this, I just observe as a culture how important it is that we all keep so busy, with Zoom happy hours, house projects, homeschooling, working out, etc. Rest is for the wicked. Keep doing, keep proving. 

pen calendar to do checklist

Photo by Breakingpic on Pexels.com

This week I focus on restoration. What does it mean to you to restore? Can you take a step back and analyze your routines, your expectations? How can you create more peace in the pause? Just take a moment. What would make your day-to-day operations more joyful, peaceful, or fulfilling? Maybe it’s a walk outside alone. Maybe it’s calling a friend. Maybe it’s sitting on your couch and staring at the wall because that makes you feel peaceful, whatever it is…I invite you to try it. What’s the worst that could happen?

 

I’ll end on a very positive note. This past week, I finished a journal that I have been keeping for a year. It has been a completely positive journal, no negativity or venting, just gratitude and goal setting. As I finished the last page in the journal the other night, I went back and read through it, April 8th 2019, to now. Over this past year, I have grown so much. I have worked so hard to continue changing my narrative from “mentally ill defective child,” to, “whole, radiant and empowering soul.” I realized as I read on, that each day I am showing up to be a better version of myself, to be closest to my highest self. I am learning where my true gifts lie and how to use them, I am connecting more deeply with myself and others, and I am living in the present moment more than I ever have.  I weaned off all psychiatric drugs and was totally medication free by July 4th, 2019. It has been NINE months of no medication (mind you, I had been medicated for 20 years, age 8 to 27). I know I have mentioned this before, but I was told I would NEVER be able to do this successfully. I was told that I was ill and had a condition just like someone has a heart condition. I was told I would most likely not be able to go to college or hold down a job. I was told I was defective. Yes, that is the story I created and I take responsibility for that, but I was told over and over again that I had something chemically wrong with me and that it was unrealistic and impossible to be off medication. Over and over again. 2o years and fifteen to twenty different psychiatric drugs later, depleted white blood cells as a result.  But. here. I. am. Nine months. Not even a Xanax on a hard day. 

image3 (3)

I am not against medicine and fully understand some people need to be on it and it makes people’s qualities of life better. For a period of time, it really helped me, particularly in my adolescence and when I was suicidal. And if I ever need to go back on medicine, it’s nice to know it is there for me as an option. I just didn’t need to continue to be on it and it took an incredible amount of inner work, therapy, and yoga, yoga, yoga, yoga, yoga, yoga, AND MORE YOGA, did I mention I do a lot of yoga for healing? It still takes work. Every day. But I feel whole and I feel radiant and I feel empowered.

 

The Fourth of July, or Independence Day, has a whole new meaning to me. I believed all the psychiatrists from a very young age. It was my story. I am not “healed” and I am not “recovered.” Like an addict, I consistently do cognitive behavioral therapy (yoga) on myself and live a lifestyle that supports the mind, body, and spirit. I continue to re-write my narrative and this pause is a time for me to reflect on it from a different angle and continue growing. 

IMG_6930

What does restoration mean to you? How can you use this time to reflect and restore? I would love to hear from you!

 

Please visit and like my Facebook page to stay up to date with all things empowering through yoga! https://www.facebook.com/EMpowerYogaTherapyVA/

 

Sending you restorative vibes,

 

Maddie Tuohy

Keeping Calm During COVID

Hello Friends~!

 

I hope you are all hanging in there during this strange time in the universe. It has been such an ongoing process for everyone to learn to cope as our reality continues to change and shift each day. It just makes me think of yoga philosophy so much, particularly the kleshas. The kleshas are the eight types of suffering, and one is being resistant to change and attached to what is familiar and routine. The Yoga Sutras teach us that if we are attached to the things that are changing, we will suffer. This is an important thought to ponder. How can we practice non-attachment to change during a time like this? The answer truly lies within each one of you, but today, I want to shed some light on how yoga can help keep you calm & healthy during this turbulent time.

connect wihtin

It is 2020 and the astrologists are saying that the last time the planets were in this alignment, other chaos was upon the earth. I read somewhere that the last time Pluto was in Capricorn, for example, there was the AIDS epidemic. I also read that the last time the planet Eris was where it is now (I believe in Capricorn, but I am no astrology expert!) we had the Trojan War. Whether you follow astrology, or not, it is super interesting to think about. About 100-years ago we had the Spanish Flu, and people walked the streets in masks much like we do now. My point is, history repeats itself, pain and suffering falls upon our nation in a similar fashion. It is how we individually cope with it that makes a difference. How are you reacting? Are you overwhelmed? Buried in fear? Or, just working from home and taking it day by day? 

 

The truth is that everyone is affected. Even if you are still getting paid and have no direct fears, people around you are suffering and we are all one collective in the end. What you do during this time matters. The mindset that you have matters. The way you show up for others to connect and share also matters. 

adult african american woman blur business

Photo by Christina Morillo on Pexels.com

I am sure you have read tons of articles, blogs, and news reports telling you to “focus on the positive” and “love on your family.” This is all true,  but I don’t want to be repetitive and demanding, I really just want to share how YOGA (my favorite thing ever) can help you through this time.

 

Yoga is thousands of years old and people have been using it as a spiritual practice and way of living for all of this time to prepare for moments like these. In yoga, the ultimate goal is to become aligned with your higher or divine self (or the divine itself). To completely calm the waves of the mind so that your true self can be present and aware. In yoga, the mind & body are one, but many of us become so disconnected with our monkey minds babbling on due to fear, anxiety, or pain. The monkey mind is the ego part of us, that voice in your head all day long that says things like, “I am not working hard enough,” “I should have called my sister back today,” “I am getting fat working from home.” Basically, the monkey mind tries to distract you from your higher self and the more time you spend on social media and Netflix, the more disconnected you become. This time at home is a great time to reconnect with the part of yourself that is unchanging, the higher you. 

image3 (2)

It’s time to connect! First, connect in with yourself and still the waves of the mind. The easiest way to do this? BREATHING! Pranayama or breathwork is one of the eight limbs of yoga. Breathing is vital to life itself and the breath is our life force. By taking just 5 deep, belly breaths, you can activate your parasympathetic, “rest & digest,” nervous system. This is wonderful news, since as a society, we mostly live in a sympathetic dominant culture, “rush to work, rush home, work more, sleep less, workout more, eat less…,” you get the picture. When you relax your nervous system and switch from sympathetic to parasympathetic dominance, you also enable processes like digestion, deep sleep, and cell restoration. These processes are vital for the body to function well, not to mention immune system strengthening!

image1 (5)

When you take a deep breath & begin to train the lungs to expand and contract for longer periods of time, you increase the amount of oxygen into the lowest parts of the lungs,  strengthening the respiratory system and accessing red blood cells. This can be a great time to begin a daily pranayama practice if you don’t have one already. Try the following exercise every morning when you wake up:

 

Prolonged Exhale:

Find a comfortable seat or lie down on the floor. Place one hand on the belly & one hand on the heart. Start to take really deep breaths, inhaling through the nose, and exhaling through the nose. Notice if the breath is coming from the belly or the chest, and then try to move it down to the diaphragm. This is called diaphragmatic breathing because you are breathing using your diaphragm, instead of taking shallow breaths into your chest.

 

  • Count your inhale and then exhale 3-5 seconds longer than you inhaled for. For example, if you inhale for 5 seconds, exhale for 8 or 10 seconds.
  • Complete 10 rounds of prolonged exhale, maybe adding a visual or a mantra, like, ‘inhale peace, exhale stress.’
  • Bring your breathing back to its natural, automatic rhythm, and just notice your mind & body. Has the tension decreased?

 

This exercise stimulates your vagus nerve, which helps relax your nervous system and your gut! I love this exercise and it is also great to do before bed. You can use it when you are stressed, or just add it in to your routine to change your stress response over time. Consistency is key!

 

This is also a good time to nourish the relationships that you do have and reach out to your friends and family on FaceTime, email, or by calling them on the phone. Reconnect with those people that you always felt like you never had time for in your pre-COVID schedule. Now is the time to re-establish those bonds and open up your heart. I have been doing virtual happy hours with friends that I just never seemed to line up schedules with. It has been so fun to reconnect and it brings me joy to interact with people I love!

pink moon

Tonight is also a great time to sit down and make a list of things you want to let go of. Today, April 7th, is a pink super moon in Libra. This full moon is a good opportunity to cleanse yourself of anything that is no longer serving you. Maybe make a list of three things to let go of, and tonight before bed, try a little meditation with a centering intention or mantra. Here are some examples of ideas for mantras to use:

 

  1. I love, honor, and accept myself 
  2. I release what is no longer serving me
  3. Let go and grow 
  4. I am present 
  5. I am love
  6. I am safe 
  7. **Create your own**

 

Take time during this slow down to really observe how you show up in your life for you and in your relationships. How can you find more peace in your daily routine? What do you yearn for? As the time slows down, you can really find time to listen. You just have to get quiet enough to hear the answers. 

 

I hope you have found these tips helpful. Please follow along with me on my business Facebook page, by clicking here.

 

I am offering virtual Yoga Therapy & personal training via Zoom at half price. If you are interested, please email me at empowerthroughyoga@gmail.com.

 

Wishing you a month of joy & connectedness. Until next time…

 

With love & light,

 

Maddie Tuohy 

(pictured below, my two rescue babies and I. Hudson is adjusting after only being with us for 3 weeks!)

IMG_6897 (1)

Running for a Soulful Purpose

Hello and Happy almost Spring!

I hope everyone is safe & healthy and still enjoying their day-to-day lives amidst this stressful & uncertain time. It is times like these when I lean on the ancient teachings of yoga more than ever. Some of the things that have really been helping me, have been to keep faith that I am doing all I can, and to use mantra in my daily meditations, like, “I am safe,” “I am healthy.” You can also try mantra in the collective “we” sense. “We are safe.” “We are healthy.” This can really help soothe the nervous system when paired with deep belly breaths.

Like many people, this week was stressful for me. I got my taxes back and realized that I was not as diligent as I should have been about paying them quarterly, and as a sole proprietor, this means paying a lot more at the end of the year…BOOOO. The heart rate went up a bit, old chatter crept back in. “I am not doing enough, I am failing…” This is old, familiar territory for me, taking a neutral situation and going right to the negative. As the week went on, new stress arose as older clients cancelled our sessions until further notice, of course they need to protect themselves from the virus at all costs. 

 

We adopted a new rescue pup from Shenandoah Shepherd Rescue last Sunday. He is the perfect addition to our family because him and our first baby, Timber, have bonded so well and he seems to fit right in. His name is Hudson and he is a 2-year old German Shepard that was left at a high kill shelter. I am so happy we found each other, thanks to a phenomenal rescue group (definitely check them out  timberandhuddy

click here )! Of course, a new dog means a bit more stress, at least in the beginning as they settle and we both adjust. By Friday, I felt a little scattered. The Coronavirus updates were blasting from the news, Facebook, my clients, friends, and family. I started to consider the reality of being unemployed, and as someone with an anxiety disorder, I worried a bit too much.

 

For the past few months I have been focusing particularly on grounding and protecting my energy. I have been told by mediums, Shamans,and reiki masters that I have to be extra diligent about grounding and releasing energy from others because my energetic field is wide open. If this sounds like a bunch of nonsense to you, it basically means I take on energy from others. This is NOT good if you are in a healing profession or just work with lots of people in general. I work hard on it, but it is a very old pattern of mine, from being a small child and feeling like I had to help others’ by taking their pain. Apparently, I did this until I became aware of it about two years ago. If I am a little off my game, or over-stressed, this happens more easily and I end up feeling very fatigued. By Friday, I was just about there. My clients’ panic over the virus (after seeing about 23 people all week) slowly seeped into my energetic field. The good thing is that I am aware of it. As hectic as Friday the 13th was, I took some time to ground & center AND THEN my new dog escaped and my other dog ate a pound of mulch…you get the idea… Friday the 13th stuff LOL!!

 

Today was different. Today I knew what I needed. My husband and I took our dogs over to my parents’ home, which is out in the country. I decided to go for a run in the hills. Only about a quarter mile in, I felt my heart opening as I smelled the Spring arrival, looked over miles of fields and blooming trees, and felt the sun on my face. The earth is my medicine. I remembered today that I named this blog “The Running Mind Blog” because running has always been a release for me. Since I was a young kid, running gave me the ability to reconnect with myself, to “re-discover Maddie” under the layers of the mind and the ego. My dad took me for my very first run when I was around 11. I had such bad chronic obsessive thoughts and anxiety. I think he didn’t know what else to do, but it worked. Being surrounded by trees, water, and mother nature, my nervous system just comes down. I come home to me. Running was taught to me as a mechanism to release stress and I am so grateful to my mom and dad who have always been active and athletic.

running15

 

Don’t get me wrong… I have some crappy running days, but they usually remind me that reality is neutral and that everything is OK. As I run and just observe and take everything in through my senses, my vibration grows and my mind relaxes. This type of running is really a form of yoga, because it quiets the mind and I am able to connect to my higher self. I am able to understand that I will be able to live past paying my taxes, that I am doing OK, that I am whole and worthy and living my life with powerful intention. I have a purpose, to help others, and sometimes I get a little side tracked, but I can come back to my breath, back to my soul, if I just take the time. I always get my best ideas on runs and always feel the most inspired by life when running. We rarely take the time in our culture to just observe and “be” anymore, but running does that for me.

trees15

 

As I continued to run over a few hills passing a cherry blossom lined pasture with horses grazing, I started to cry a little and a huge smile spread across my face (people driving past were probably confused LOL).  I whispered to myself, “this is all I needed.” For 20 years, I had been suffering. I had been on multiple psychiatric drugs. I had TRULY believed that I was a defective human who would suffer forever. For years, I took over 3 or 5 medications and fretted and worried about every step on my path. I obsessed over outcomes, and I suffered many physical effects due to this worrying. Today, though, as I ran, I celebrated. I am almost NINE months medication free, and living my life with powerful, passionate intention. Helping other people remove their suffering gives me life. Nine months medication free. It still sounds crazy. When I was eight, the psychoanalyst at the Children’s Psychiatric Ward put in her report that I would likely never be able to go to college, due to my diagnosis and mental health. I believed these types of negative statements until I did my healing. I identified with being a “defective” child, teenager, young adult.  Now, I know that I have always been whole, I was just out of touch with my higher self. I am passionate, I am loving, I am curious about the world and eager to connect. I am whole.

 

This is yoga off the mat. This is yoga for anxiety. This is what I teach EVERY SINGLE DAY! We have to keep doing the work, we need to keep coming back to the self and listening, and breathing, and observing, and accepting. This is the only way I can stay medication free. I have to constantly work at it, change my thoughts, meditate, GET IN NATURE. Everyone has their own medicine, and psychiatric or not, we all must honor what brings us in alignment with our highest selves. That is the only way to remove suffering.

legsup

So, there you have it. Not only is this blog for people who experience running thoughts, but I literally RUN to reconnect and release these thoughts. What do you do that brings you in touch with the highest version of yourself? How can you find more time for it and make it a priority?

 

I hope you all are enjoying the fresh air and connecting within and with each other! I would love to hear what your “yoga” looks like!

 

Hope to connect soon!

 

With love and light,

 

Maddie Tuohy 

Keep Growing in 2020: New Year, new level of acceptance

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!! WOW, 2020, can you believe it? Just typing it out is weird to me. 2010 does not seem like it was 10 years ago, but then I truly reflected on the last 10 years, and I have to say, I was impressed! I have come a hell of a way. I know you all have to! 

 

As a Wellness Coach & Yoga Therapist (which is truly lifestyle coaching), New Year’s resolutions always make my skin crawl a bit. I see the gyms get packed for two months, then 80% of the people stop showing up. I see posts on social media about “wanting to be this, or that” and it makes me feel sad that resolutions are based on such shallow, vapid goals. Look, I am ALL for getting healthy, whether that means: losing weight, gaining muscle, giving up sugar, hiking Mt. Everest, you get the picture….BUT, if goals are not grounded in virtue, then they are more likely to bottom out. In the first session with every client that I work with, we talk about intention setting. Intentions are a journey that you take yourself on to achieve something your heart & soul desire. It is a message to guide your daily actions and efforts towards. Intentions are rooted in virtue and positive growth and if you would like a full run down on intention setting, see my post from last year! Today, I want to talk about self-acceptance & self-admiration. I encourage everyone to set powerful intentions, and review them weekly, monthly, or daily. Today, however, I want to focus more on acceptance, and less on improvement. 

 

For the first time IN MY ENTIRE LIFE, I understand what living in peace means. I never really understood peace. My brain was a mile a minute. I was anxious, then depressed, then tired, then energetic, then depressed again, then resentful (“woe is me, why me, waaaa waaa waaa.”). I was always worried, always waiting, always wondering how I was going to make it to the next week. In 2014, for example, I was thinking about death a lot. I fantasized about getting hit head on while driving my car. I was numb and I didn’t want to live. My body was perpetually inflamed and heavy and my brain screamed at me all day. I was so out of touch with my higher self.

 

ENTER YOGA INTO MY LIFE. In 2015 I started attending regular yoga classes on a Groupon. I could barely workout anymore due to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and distal extremity pain. Something about the messages in the yoga classes woke something up inside of me. “Just breathe and let everything else go.” “You matter, even if you just lay here in child’s pose.” “Accept where you are right now.” 

 

These are phrases I never heard. I was used to a psychiatrist telling me to try to continue exercising and maybe increase to two workouts a day, take more and more pharmaceutical drugs and accept my fate that I have a mental illness. In fact, he suggested I take Ritalin (an amphetamine) to help with the tiredness (great idea to give an anxious person a stimulant). Yoga was the opposite message in every way. What yoga taught me was that suffering begins when we attach to things, become aversive to things, when we become out of touch with our highest self, and when our minds, bodies, and spirits are disconnected. In October of 2015 I rode the metro home from work for the first time with no fatigue. I cried the whole metro ride home upon realizing that my legs were not aching and my body did not feel like it had 300 pounds of lead inside of it. It was that sudden. Thanks, yoga.

 

“Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.” – B.K.S. Iyengar

 

The changes in my mind-body were so evident, that I quit my job and moved to Pennsylvania to train to become a yoga therapist. It was a huge risk. I didn’t know what would come of it. But I became SOOO passionate helping others in my anxiety group at the time. I knew it was my fate.

The past ten years have been challenging, extremely challenging. I was served the same lesson over and over again, from 2014 to 2018, and had to work really REALLY hard to overcome it. Therapists, reiki masters, cranial sacral therapists, cognitive behavioral therapists, studying, mediating and mediating and nourishing my whole self. When I give credit to yoga being my ultimate healing mechanism, I don’t want you to think that I mean just going to yoga classes. You see, yoga is an entire lifestyle approach. There are eight limbs to yoga and you have to work them all to really see these benefits. This means doing constant work on myself. Trying to understand my belief systems, banish negative self talk, and re-write my entire narrative. That is yoga, not just forward folding and downwarddogging

The past 10 years have also been very wonderful. In 2016, I moved to Philadelphia to begin yoga therapy school and moved in with my then boyfriend, now husband. We rescued my bestest pal and yoga dog, Timber. In 2017, I got engaged on a pristine beach in Puerto Rico. In 2018, I got married to the man of my dreams and we bought our first home together. In 2019, I graduated from three years of Yoga Therapy school and became an International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) certified Yoga Therapist! I also began working at Exhale Studios and found a new home for my Yoga Therapy practice. I said goodbye to my grandmother, beloved client, and my nephew was born. It has been a phenomenal decade, mixed with challenge and heartbreak, as well as miracles and accomplishments. I am so grateful.

 

Here I am, 2020. I am living in PEACE! I am working steadily towards my goal of growing my Yoga Therapy business and helping others, and am empowering teens to find their higher selves (which is a DREAM). I am off all psychiatric medications for the first time since I was eight years old and I am in love with my life. I still live with some of the fear that I have worked on removing, that one day my biology will change and I will feel deeply depressed or terribly anxious again. Until and unless that day comes, I use the tools that I have found and built and I take really good care of myself. I am so proud of myself and I am so overwhelmed with the amount of love, joy, and peace in my life. 

 

This year, instead of focusing on what you can do more of, and be more of, look back over those last 10 years, and admire yourself a little (or a lot). Reflect year- by-year and notice how far you have come. This is a gift you can give yourself. Admiration for the human you have always been and the human you have become over the last decade. After you’ve done this, make a list of one thing you loved about each year or one thing you were/are truly grateful for. Can you find peace with where you are today? If not, ask yourself, “what is my soul yearning for?” Try asking yourself this while in a bath or walking in the woods. Ask the question when you are having some alone time and it is quiet, so that you can really hear the answer. 

 

I mentioned that yoga connects you to your highest self. It does this by stilling the waves of the mind, so that your soul can shine through. When people are overworked and undernourished, they cannot possibly connect to their higher self, it is being silenced by their ego and their fears and their desire to own up to something. This is why creating space in your life FOR YOURSELF is absolutely necessary. It is not unrealistic or impossible. It could be a walk outside each day, just focusing on the trees and the noises of the birds, or a long restorative bath, or maybe curling up with a journal by the fire. Taking time to slow down, connect to your breath, and just notice the present moment is so simple, but so so powerful. 

 “You cannot do yoga. Yoga is your natural state. What you can do are yoga exercises, which may reveal to you where you are resisting your natural state.” – Sharon Gannon

So my question for you is this: When you look back over the last 10 years, can you find acceptance and peace for where you are now (even if it is not rainbows and butterflies)?

If the answer is yes, keep doing you! Keep appreciating yourself and finding ways to fill your soul. 

 

If you answered no, keep appreciating yourself and start to become curious about what could fill your soul. You can do this by journaling, meditating, or simply reflecting on what you could use more/less of in your life. 

 

“Yoga is a dance between control and surrender – between pushing and letting go – and when to push and when to let go becomes part of the creative process, part of the open-ended exploration of your being.” – Joel Kramer

 

Life is a journey. I believe that all of us who are working at becoming closest to our highest selves are doing warrior training every day. Anyone who is recovering from anything is constantly working on themselves, and this is what I call warrior training. We are training ourselves to be spiritual warriors, unaffected by change, unattached to outcomes, and accepting of ourselves exactly as we are. 

Will you begin your warrior training in 2020? Maybe you have been on the path all along!

 

My teens “Yoga for Anxiety” workshop begins January 9th at Exhale Studios in Stone Ridge, VA. Visit the app to sign up or book a private yoga therapy session with yours truly! 

 

 

Here is my nephew at Christmas 🙂

Thank you for reading & I wish you all the most joyous & accepting year yet. May you find peace in your mind, body & soul.

 

With love & light,

 

Maddie Tuohy

Gratitude is Trendy, but are you Grateful?

‘Tis’ the season to be grateful. With Thanksgiving tomorrow and popular self help & yoga influencers throwing gratitude around like confetti, it sure is a time to at least notice the word gratitude popping up all over your social media feeds. 

But are we actually practicing gratitude just by posting pretty content? The answer is most likely not. Trust me, I am over the moon that something like “gratitude” is #trending, but sometimes it can feel phony and I think you know what I mean… this whole social media culture can feel that way with airbrushed people telling us to buy products to make our lives better and to make us better in general. 

Social media culture is at an all time high, but is it making people feel like they’re at an all time low? It’s hard to tell, but studies show that more people are reserved, depressed, and distracted since the social media developments. How can you protect yourself and your brain (that’s right, social media changes your brain!), from feeling the effects of social media? The best thing to do is try a social media cleanse, for short term benefits! But also, it can be a wonderful experience to really reflect during this time of seasonal change, on what is working in your life, and what is not. 

Social Media Cleanse:

Can you give yourself the gift of completely taking a break from social media over the holidays? Will it make you anxious to not be posting pictures of your holiday decor and festivities? What would It be like if you lived in the moment and didn’t post a thing? If this is too drastic for you, try a day of no social media, but if you are itching for an escape, try a week or two weeks with no social media. Your brain will thank you!!!

If you aren’t planning on taking any breaks from social media, maybe just notice how often you are using it. Everywhere I go, I see people on their phones. I am guilty too, I also check my phone every time I come out of a client and in between destinations. I have noticed this week in particular how disconnected we can be as a culture. Think about a gym, for instance. It’s a bunch of people in a big huge space, all together, but completely apart. You look up from your workout and you just see people scrolling and staring at a screen, completely disconnected from the space around them. Never would I have thought that there could be 60 plus people sharing a space, but everyone is alone and shut off from each other. How can we prevent this epidemic from going too far? Will we all end up in chairs with screens attached to them,  like the movie Walle? These are the things I think about while doing lat pull downs at the gym. The worst is on the road. I watched a middle schooler almost get run over by a car in a pedestrian crosswalk because the woman who was driving was on her phone. Everyone is in a rush, no one can come to a full stop at a stop sign and driving on the roads in Northern Virginia has become quite terrifying. I see people face timing and snap chatting while driving. It’s no wonder 1.6 million car crashes a year result from cell phone use while driving (Edgar & Snyder Associates). Let’s stop the zombie-d out phone culture and start connecting again. 

I love to talk to strangers. Connecting with people fills me up and makes me happy. But I will admit that I do consider myself weird (awesome weird,  of course) and I will strike up a conversation with almost anyone. I’ve dedicated my life and my career to helping people who suffer, my niche market tends to be anxiety (that’s why I have an anxiety blog!). I work with teens a lot, and one thing I have noticed across the board, is that they are plagued by social media. It is a constant source of stress and unnecessary pressure and It scares the shit out of me for my future kids (sorry, I said shit). 

I guess I sound like a huge hypocrite. Here I am, writing this blog to post to my personal Instagram account & my business Instagram account (follow EMpower_Yoga_Therapy- great plug huh?). There are positives to social media, especially since people pay so much attention to it, it’s helpful to get messages out there. I am just encouraging everyone in this time of seasonal change to reflect deeply. Everybody always wants to make big changes on New Years, but the Fall is one of the best times to reflect before you enter a deep, and purposefully restorative, winter. 

Reflection Exercise:

Take an inventory of what is working in your life and what is not. What things are you doing that are really giving back to you, leading you towards success, or making you feel balanced? List them out and then notice them. Once you have your list of positives, first, decide on one to three habits/ routines/ emotions that are bringing you down, taking you out of balance, and making you feel stuck.  Consider each one of these points deeply. Why are you feeling this way/ repeating this habit, or having this conflict? Is there a small shift that you could make that would positively impact your lifestyle? 

Once you’ve considered these points, set an intention for these goals and changes. What virtue will help you as you try to change habits or keep healthy ones? Can you create a powerful mantra around these goals to use when you feel stuck or lost? Your intention will help you lead the way towards powerful shifts and healthy change and your mantra will help you stay focused and present within that intention. 

It is an imperfect journey, but you choose to make it beautiful. It all comes down to your mindset and the lens that you are viewing the world through. Accept that there are bad days. I have bad days. Now granted, my mindset is probably what is determining them as “bad,” versus neutral, but if we can just accept and move on, we suffer so much less (Type A personalities will suffer more with this, especially if being perfect is the usual goal). If we can accept that there are days of discomfort, breathe through them and stay connected to our intention & purpose, then we can live much more peacefully. 

I look outside my door and see all of the change happening on our walking paths. There are leaves covering the path in an array of gorgeous hues. I look inside myself  and notice the changes happening as well. The growth of my business from a deep passion I had two years ago (and still have). The growth from my eight-year old self in a psychiatric ward, to my college self on the verge of suicide, to a 27-year old who has a long way to go, but who has come so far and gained so much wisdom. It is sometimes hard to notice how much we are changing from the day- to-day, but look back over the last year, 5-years, 10-years, you are changing just like the leaves, darling. 

From this growth and this purpose, you can find real and authentic gratitude. Not #grateful Instagram bullshit, but real gratitude. I am grateful for all of the beautiful things in my life, and all of the ugly things that made me who I am today. Without an anxiety disorder and crippling depression, I would have never found yoga and probably would have never connected so deeply within to discover my truth beneath my darkest layers. Life is really beautiful if you take the time to notice it. 

Take time to notice this Thanksgiving. I wish all of you a season of positive and beautiful change. If you are up for a social media cleanse, feel free to join me! I will be taking the next 2-weeks to cleanse my brain and my eyeballs from screens and influencers. May you find peace in your mind, body, and spirit.

Follow me on Facebook @Empower Yoga Therapy & Instagram

If you are local, my teens yoga for anxiety group will start back up on December 12th. Email empowerthroughyoga@gmail.com for info & bookings! Private yoga therapy is always an option!

Namaste,

Maddie Tuohy 

Activate Your Life Force

Welcome back to the anxiety blog! I am back this week, trying to provide tools to manage stress & anxiety in this over-stimulating world. I hope everyone is having a great Fall! I am LOVING the change in temperature, but trying not to get too attached…because attachment to things that are changing causes suffering. I know, I know, I say that almost every post, but it happens to be my FAVORITE lesson from the Yoga Sutras. I admit it, I am a yoga philosophy NERD! And I accept this so that I do not suffer…ok, ok, I am done with philosophy references.

I have been studying yoga for years, but it is so easy to forget simple practices and philosophies when we are busy, stressed, or overstimulated. Just recently, I realized that my deep breathing practice has diminished a bit. I have been spending more time driving to clients, letting my brain run, and run, through checklists and plans to make sure that I am on top of it all. Inevitably, what happens to me after about two weeks of this routine, is burnout. It doesn’t matter if I am seeing four clients a day or eight. I get too many ideas and I get over stimulated with coffee, emailing, social media, you name it, and, BOOM, I am an inflamed, tired mess. You would think a Yoga Therapist would have this all figured out, well NEWS FLASH, I do not. Practice makes practice and I am 100% human being (but maybe I’m 10% mermaid?)

I realized over the last week that I am holding my breath and breathing shallow pretty frequently. This is one of the biggest recipes for anxiety. When we breathe shallow, or into the chest area, we are not getting much oxygen in, and we are maintaining sympathetic nervous system dominance, that “fight or flight” system. This perpetuates stress by releasing hormones like cortisol and the body gets so tired after so many hours of this pattern! So, the solution sounds super basic and easy, but this is not a scam, I promise! JUST . BREATHE . DEEP. Inhale through the belly, expanding it like a balloon, and out through the belly, exhaling every last bit of breath while contracting the stomach muscles. 

Pranayama-image

In yoga, breath is our “life force.” The Sanskrit word for breath-work is “pranayama,” and is translated to mean “life force.” It makes total sense, because without our breath, we would be dead. Breathing deeply each day benefits your mood, digestive, endocrine, cardiovascular, respiratory, and immune systems. It oxygenates every cell and creates more space in your body and your mind. This is why you are constantly being told to breathe in a yoga class. It isn’t just some weird ritual, but it is one of the most powerful tools that you can have in your toolbox.

000_0594_breathe.jpg

Once I started breathing deeply again, my whole situation shifted from lethargic, inflamed, and negative, to: energetic, inspired, and joyful. Deep breathing can be done ABSOLUTELY ANYWHERE! You can take deep breaths as you commute to work, or drive your kids to their activities. You can deep breathe when your boss is yelling at you, or when you’re reading a difficult email. You can deep breathe when you are out walking the dog, looking at the trees, a wonderful way to get into meditation! The options are ENDLESS but the point is to breathe when times are tough, so that you can change your stress response over time. This is the first tool I used to overcome my chronic fatigue syndrome and suicidal depression/anxiety. Deep breathing is sensational. Here are a few different styles that you can try:

  • Diaphragmatic Breathing: The most basic form of deep breathing. Just sit in a comfortable position or lie down on your back. Inhale and expand the belly out like a balloon, exhale and contract the stomach muscles back in. Try for 5 rounds and try to increasingly inhale longer, and exhale longer.
  • Prolonged Exhale: This method is shown to decrease stress fast by activating the vagus nerve. Just like in diaphragmatic breathing, inhale and fill the abdomen with breath, exhale and release more breath than you inhaled. So, if you inhale for 7 seconds, exhale for 8,9, or 20 seconds. Squeeze every last drop of breath out.
  • 3-part Breathing: Place one hand on the belly and one on the chest. Inhale, fill the belly with breath, continue inhaling and see if you can bring the breath up to the side ribs, now to the chest. Exhale out from your chest first, then your side ribs, then your abdomen. Repeat up to 10 rounds. 

There are so many more ways to breathe, but why not get started with one of these? Next time you are feeling stressed, activate that deep breath and imagine your nervous system totally relaxing. When you deep breathe, you are essentially sending signals to your nervous system that it is safe, and you can relax! 

img_1830-1

Try deep breathing while eating your meals, doing labor around the house, and listening to a loved one speak. The breath keeps us in the present moment, and out of “fight or flight,” anxiety. Activate your life force and start living again!

I would love to hear how you all are doing with these breathing exercises! Can you set a goal for this week? Maybe start breathing right when you wake up, just 3-deep breaths to start the day? I am here for you!

If you are local to Aldie, VA, I will be adding 4 yoga offerings to my weekly schedule at Exhale Studios in Stone Ridge, VA. Come and check out this beautiful space. Taking yoga classes are a great way to start deep breathing more often! Exhale Studios

Feel free to connect with me on Instagram & Facebook, by clicking below!
FOLLOW ON FACEBOOK

FOLLOW ON INSTAGRAM

My mother, Dana Siegel, & I will be participating in the Holistic Energy Expo in November in Ashburn, VA! Come and see us and check out all of the other amazing vendors and health & healing practitioners! Save the date for November, 3, 2019 and click below for more info!

healing expo info

Sending you love & healing vibes,

Maddie Tuohy

 

Follow Your True Path

Welcome back to The Running Mind Blog!

I hope that everyone had a great Labor Day Weekend and enjoyed some down time doing something you love! I had a pretty laid back weekend and it felt nice not to be overscheduled or overwhelmed (anxious person problems LOL).

I have been thinking a lot about my “true path” over the past few months. I started working for an integrative center while maintaining my private clients and trying to figure out what my career would end up looking like. As an over-analyzer and worrier (since as long as I can remember), I focused on what’s best, what’s most efficient, and what lights me up the most inside. I think it is safe to say that I still focus on all of this stuff. It is a curse and a blessing to work for yourself and definitely hard for an “anxious-type” of person since your income, future clientele, and destiny are all very unknown. I deliberate this all the time, but then decide that compromising for a stable 8-5 hourly job, where I am not using my creative gifts, would leave me very depressed and blocked.

When so much time is spent deliberating and worrying about where we should be, and what we should be doing, it takes us WAY out of the present moment and into the monkey mind. This is how yoga saves the day,again! Be present. This is a lesson that takes constant practice and reminder with such an over-stimulating culture and society, where I could order a pizza in 10-minutes from my phone, or take a conference call, order a pizza, and edit a draft all at the same time. That makes me tired just writing that out! No wonder we are always caught in our monkey minds! There’s so much to focus on. It is up to us to re-center and quiet the mind and this DOES take effort, but it is worth it.

forward fold seated

 

We are all always on a path. Decisions, obstacles, and challenges present themselves and we always have a choice to make. “Do I go left or right? Do I climb the hill or go over the bridge? Do I pursue this career goal and not the other? Do I get a new car or pay off more loans?”

 

Our paths are full of decisions, twists and turns, ups and downs. We can find some ounce of control over these directions we are going by being present. It sounds silly, but just being aware of your higher self through day-to-day interactions will help you make the best decisions possible. When we trust our inner-self and our intuition, we can navigate much more smoothly and confidently down the path (see my last blog post about sharpening your intuition).

true path

 

I went out for a run today and there was a long, windy trail in front of me (incidentally, I get inspired a lot on runs). To motivate myself with tired legs forward I told myself, “this is my path and I am in control.” I ran the windy trail feeling much more energized. Of course, we can’t control everything that pops into our path, but we can think of these things as obstacles or challenges that we must decipher how to best get around. If you feel out of control of your path, or not even on a path at all, here are some helpful tips to recenter and feel inspired by your direction in life:

 

 

  • Journal at the beginning or end of each week. Ask yourself, “what do I want to accomplish this week?” Once you have three or four ideas, ask yourself, “what is the underlying virtue or intention that will help guide me?” For example, if you are trying to clean out closets and find a new job, maybe your intention will be “more focus”, or “concentration on tasks”.
  • After you Journal, use your intention each day when you wake up and when you feel off track. For example, if the intention was “focus,” you could start your day with a short meditation, focusing on the breath and the third eye to promote more focus in your day. When you have a stressful moment during the day, you can take a deep breath and take your attention back to that intention to remind yourself where your energy needs to go.
  • Try meditating each day. Start with just one-minute if you are a beginner. Meditation will calm the waves of the mind and bring you closer to the answers you are looking for, after all, these answers are within you.
  • Take time in your daily routine to let your brain do nothing. Actually set a time of day and give yourself permission to just focus on that daily task and not let your mind rule the task. For example, you could dedicate a tedious task like dish-washing, or laundry to become a “mindful” time, where you totally zone in on your breath and just focus on washing or folding. When thoughts pop into your head, you give yourself a verbal cue, like, “not now,” and take your focus back to the task.

IMG_3738

 

 

We are all on this earth searching for the best route possible, the one with the most joy and the least amount of pain and resistance. Take comfort in knowing you are not alone. Being present and aware in your day-to-day life gives you so much more power over your path and your destiny. When you tune in to your inner self throughout the week, by quieting the mind, you can better hear the messages that are already there guiding you along.

 

I frequently still catch myself down a rabbit hole some days of “what if I…” and I just try to take a deep breath in, exhale out the fear that is attached to the uncertainty and just embrace what is already in my life. 

the only way out is in

 

Follow your path mindfully and be inspired by it! You are capable of amazing things. Just remember: “difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.” -unknown

timber on weeds

(Pictured above is my yoga dog and spirit animal, Timber-out on his path looking for spirit animals HAHA!)

What will you try this week to deepen your spiritual practice or overcome fear of uncertainty? I would love to hear!

 

Enjoy the last few weeks of Summer! If you are local, check out my yoga therapy offerings at The Wellness Connection by visiting my facebook page, EMpower Yoga Therapy. You can also keep up with my events and blogs, even if you don’t live close. I would love to meet you!

 

Stay grounded, my loves.

 

Yours in yoga,

 

Maddie Tuohy

Honoring the Mind, Body, & Soul through Intuition

With full hearts & sharp intuitions,

Maddie