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How Yoga Teacher Training Helped me Ditch Perfectionism

GentlePaige Reohr2 Comments
How yoga teacher training helped me ditcher perfectionism and taught me that I am enough. #feelgoodeffect #realfoodwholelife #gentleisthenewperfect #selflove #selfcare #healthy #wellness

How Yoga Teacher Training Helped me Ditch Perfectionism

Part I

About 2 months ago I took a deep breath, grabbed a pencil, and began filling out an application to take part in a 200 hour yoga teacher training.

Hands shaking and heart racing, I wrote answers to the standard questions.

Name. Age. Number of years practicing yoga. Turned the page.

How yoga teacher training helped me ditcher perfectionism and taught me that I am enough. #feelgoodeffect #realfoodwholelife #gentleisthenewperfect #selflove #selfcare #healthy #wellness

Stopped and stared at the medical history questions.

Do you have physical injuries or illness?

Umm, how much time do you have?

Autoimmune disease. Lower back pain. Separated abdominals. Bad ankle. Ovarian cysts. Endometriosis.

Should I stop now?

Are you trying to get pregnant? Yes.

Are you pregnant? No (but thanks for bringing it up).

I put my pencil down.

Looked again at my answers--my body on paper.

Is this a yoga body?

Tears fell onto the words, smearing the answers.

So I folded it up, tucked it away. Went outside. Took some deep breaths.

Is this a yoga body?

Yes. This is me. My right now body.

I can be sick and healing, grateful and shattered.

I can show up.

Broken in places, yet still whole.

Okay, then.

Time to answer the the questions.

Slip the application into a pristine manila folder.

Walk to the front desk. Hand it over.

Just me. As is. Ready to start.

Part II

I got the email.

You’re in. Welcome to yoga teacher training. Get ready. We start soon.

Super. Perfect. Wonderful. Wait. WHAT AM I DOING???

More specifically, have I lost my mind?

Ah, there you are fear. I see you.

Suddenly the image of every person I imagine awaiting me at teacher training clouds my brain.

Probably twenty-something. Fantastically strong. Impossibly bendy.

And just this vision of a studio full of Instaperfect yogis stops me cold.

I can’t do a handstand to save my life and haven’t mastered chaturanga pushup.

What if I don’t fit in? What if I’m not enough?

Gotcha. The familiar soul-crushing, dream-killing combo. Fear + not enough.

But this time the desire to become a student and teacher outweighs the fear.

The thoughts don’t define me. They aren’t me.

So I walk in. Simile. Say hello. Deep breath. Heart open.

Enough in body. Enough in mind.

Ready for now. Ready for what’s next.

Part III

Looking ahead it all seems impossible. There is no way. I can’t. Definitely not.

Week one of yoga teacher training and I’m shoulder deep in overwhelm + self-doubt.

The only possible way forward: dig deep and hold onto the present moment.

Don’t spend so much time looking ahead. Focus on now. Today. One thing at a time.

Okay, then. Five poses. Cue the shapes. Deepen. Breath. Great. Got it. I can do this.

But then, week two.

Time to stand up and teach.

In front of everyone.

Nope. No thank you. Hard pass.

I am freaking out.of.here.

It takes all my willpower to stay put. To not to stand up and run.

I don’t know how to do this yet. I’ll mess up. Make mistakes. In front of everyone.

So, no. I’ll pass.

Stay in this safe zone where not trying means not failing.

But then they call on me and I stand up and something comes out. Not sure what. It was sort of a blackout experience.

I sit back down.

The feedback: you did just fine.

But we couldn’t hear you.

Where is your voice? Oh. My voice?

It’s stuck under the fear. I know it’s there, though. Directly beneath the surface.

I can feel it. Almost hear it.

So I keep standing up and making mistakes and letting it go and discovering what it right there waiting.

And what’s right here?

It is so much better than perfect.

Part IV

Beginning feels like jumping into icy cold water.

Breath catches. Gasping. Floundering. Flapping.

Trying to figure out which way it up.

But then, maybe, release.

Find the air. Breath in. Breath out. Let go. Find the float.

Halfway through yoga teacher and realizing I just need to float.

And breathe.

Give up perfect. Open up.

Make a choice: a ) try to teach my 30 minute midterm perfectly--nail every cue, by the book, nothing missed; or b) simply go for it--bring my true self, make mistakes, leave things out, and oh that’s right, be vulnerable.

B it is. So I show up. Really go for it.

And midway through I realize--omg--I actually love.this.so.much.

Every single word comes out with a giant smile because it occurs to me (late to the party, I know) that I’ve been missing the point.

The perfect-seeking, thinking I need to look a certain way or bend a particular direction, fear of failure, all if it.

That’s what was making the water cold.

But now I realize it’s really just helping people connect with themselves and feel their breath and--of course--it’s not really about me.

It’s about us.

And the water is actually warm after all

Part V: The End/The Beginning

I went into yoga teacher training holding onto all that I’m not, clinging to the ways I don’t fit neatly into the box.

You know this "yoga-box," right?

Bendy, young, calm, thin, perfect, totally + completely zen.

Which isn’t exactly me.

So I decided I was only there to learn.

Independent observer, taking in the information, risking nothing.

But, I also committed to the practice and to the work.

Ten weeks. Practice. Do the work.

And guess what?

I still can’t do a chaturanga pushup. Or a handstand.

I’m still six feet tall, prefer yoga pants over jeans, and make awkward jokes when I'm nervous.

But also.

But also I’m a yoga teacher.

Or rather, I’m exactly who I’ve always been--teacher, storyteller, awkward joke-teller.

After all of this I fully understand that there isn’t a box, or if there is, I don’t need to squeeze my way into it.

So maybe you need to hear this today, if you’re feeling less-than, not-enough, or staying safe because you've bought into this idea, too, yoga or otherwise: there is no box.

Just you.

As you are.

And you are right where you need to be.

You know exactly where you’re going.

Trust that you are enough.

#gentleisthenewperfect


How yoga teacher training helped me ditcher perfectionism and taught me that I am enough. #feelgoodeffect #realfoodwholelife #gentleisthenewperfect #selflove #selfcare #healthy #wellness

A Simplified Guide to Undoing the To-Do List

GentlePaige ReohrComment
A quick guide to undoing the to-do list. Read on for more on doing less to feel more! #realfoodwholelife #feelgoodeffect #gentleisthenewperfect #practicegentle #selfcare #organize #simplifiedguide

I’m a list maker.

Give me a task, a job, a day and I’ll make a list.

Maybe even a spreadsheet.

Possibly color-coded.

I’ve always found lists comforting, a way to organize and categorize the chaos, and--I’m not gonna lie--I simply love crossing things off.

The problem with lists, though, is that they quickly become unwieldy.

Items get added without regard to what’s already there.

Without mind to time.

Or reality.

Or to what matters most.

This used to be me: I’d make lists.

Long lists.

Then I’d go about trying to check things off, all the while adding more.

Always more.

Stuck in the cycle of never done, never enough.

Every day ending with an uncompleted list.

Then one day I (finally) realized that I was the one making the lists.

So here’s what I did: I stopped creating impossible lists.

Instead of the never-ending, I focus on three.

Writing just three priorities each day--for work, for family, and for myself.

The prioritizing?

Now that's the hard part.

But also, the good part.

Because the end of the day doesn’t mean a list of things that didn’t get done.

Instead it means a short list of what mattered, plus lots of letting go of what doesn’t.

What would it look like if you reframed your lists?

Less piling it on.

More peeling back.

Doing less to feel more.

Undoing the to-do.

#gentleisthenewperfect

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    A quick guide to undoing the to-do list. Read on for more on doing less to feel more! #realfoodwholelife #feelgoodeffect #gentleisthenewperfect #practicegentle #selfcare #organize #simplifiedguide

    A Simplified Guide to Creating a Wellness Routine

    GentlePaige ReohrComment
    A simplified guide to creating a wellness routine that you can actually stick to. #feelgoodeffect #realfoodwholelife #gentleisthenewperfect #practicegentle #selfcare #selflove #wellness #routine

    Self-care. It’s one of those things we know we should be doing, but the idea of setting up a self-care routine can seem like just one more thing on the to-do list.

    Plus, when you look around the interweb, it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that self-care requires a long soak in a tub filled with flower petals and crystals.

    Or a multi-step breakfast routine that involves 12 kinds of superfoods and a holistic nutrition degree. Or hours set aside each day to meditate, journal and work out.

    Which isn’t always realistic.

    Yes, these are options within the practice of self-care, but they don’t represent the only way to care and nourish yourself.

    So instead, today we’re going to take a deep dive into getting started with a wellness routine.

    One that you can do and actually stick with, so you can take self-care off your to-do list and make it an essential part of your real life.

    p.s. Listen to the Feel Good Effect podcast episode on How to Create a Wellness Routine (You Can Actually Stick To) to take this next level!

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      Part One: Set for Success

      1 | It’s Not Self-Care, It’s Self-Compassion

      Let’s reframe self-care as self-compassion.

      As a way to let go of self-judgement and criticism and embrace your life with kindness and understanding, knowing that to suffer, fail and to be imperfect is completely, perfectly human.

      So why does practicing self-compassion matter?

      Research (1, 2, 3) has linked self-criticism with depression, anxiety, body dissatisfaction, and various other forms of psychological distress.

      Self-compassion is a way to disrupt self-criticism and be gentle with ourselves.

      And, as it turns out, being gentle with ourselves doesn’t make us soft, it actually makes us more resilient.

      Approaching a wellness routine grounded in self-compassion, then, allows you to forgive yourself when you miss a day or “fall off the wagon,” and will help you to build a sustainable practice that you can stick to over time.

      2 | The Wellness Trifecta

      Let’s think of wellness in three parts: food, movement, and mental wellbeing.

      Yes, food is important. And yes, movement is necessary.

      But it’s the combination of all three that can really move the needle when it comes to your overall well-being.

      When we over-focus on one area at the detriment of the others, we fall out of balance.

      By focusing on all three areas you can create your own, well-balanced wellness routine that addresses all areas of what it truly means to be healthy.

      3 | Rethink Success By Recalibrating Goals

      The all-or-nothing trap. We all fall into it one time or another.

      Maybe for you it’s in thinking about food.

      Or cooking.

      Or how often you work out.

      No matter how all-or-nothing thinking looks like for you, we know it reduces the likelihood of success and does not contribute to feeling good.

      Instead of all-or-nothing thinking, let’s focus instead on the parts and pieces you can do. Read on for more on how to do it!

      4 | A Fresh Start

      We know it’s important to start the day with a breakfast full of protein, healthy fats and plenty of fiber, but it’s a meal that’s often skipped or filled with tons of sugar or carbs.

      If you want your wellness routine to include eating a real food breakfast, use the journal sheet at the end of this post to set some Feel Good goals related to breakfast.

      Be sure to include your Ideal world goal, what’s happening now, your Gentle goal, Contingency goal, and a place to track progress (more on that soon).

      5 | Nourish in the Middle

      Up next, lunch.

      If you find yourself running through the drive-through or picking leftovers off your toddler’s plate, lunch may be a good meal to focus on as part of your wellness routine.

      Use the journal sheet at the end of this post to set some Feel Good goals related to lunch, and be sure to include your Ideal world goal, what’s happening now, your Gentle goal, Contingency goal, and a place to track progress (more on that soon).

      6 | Finishing Strong

      Even if you have your breakfast and lunch game figured out, dinner can sometimes slip through the cracks, especially on busy weeknights.

      Use the journal sheet at the end of this post to set some Feel Good goals related to dinner.

      As with breakfast and lunch, include your Ideal world goal, what’s happening now, your Gentle goal, Contingency goal, and a place to track progress (more on that soon).

      7 | The Right Amount of Movement for You

      As with food, movement is essential to any wellness routine.

      Maybe your goal is to add more movement to your day, or perhaps it’s to reduce the amount or intensity of exercise to focus more on connecting and feeling good in your body.

      Regardless of your goals, use the journal sheet at the end of this post to set some Feel Good goals related to exercise or movement.

      As you did with food, include your Ideal world goal, what’s happening now, your Gentle goal, Contingency goal, and a place to track progress (more on that soon).

      Part Three: Document

      8 | Tracking and Self-Compassion Practice

      The last piece of establishing a wellness routine you can actually stick to is to track your stated goals and add a little self-compassion to the mix.

      So, for each Feel Good gentle and contingency goals (breakfast, lunch, dinner, movement), create a place to state your gals and to track daily progress.

      You can use the journal sheet provided at the end of this post to get started, or create your own personalized version.

      Now, and here’s the key, add a line each day to add a note of kindness. Remember that self-compassion part we talked about at the beginning of this post? Here’s a chance to put it into practice.

      If adding a note of kindness sounds silly, remember that most of us spend a significant amount of time engaging in self-critical or negative self-talk.

      Adding a note of kindness brings self-compassion into our awareness, and gives us the chance

      to intentionally practice it on a daily basis.

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        Bringing It All Together

        A wellness routine is so much more than individual acts of self-care.

        It’s about grounding your actions in self-compassion and focusing on the Wellness Trifecta: food, exercise, and mental wellbeing in an intentional way.

        By taking the Feel Good Goal Setting Process (download above!) and applying it to your own food, exercise, and mental wellbeing goals, you can craft a wellness routine that you can actually stick to and feel really good about doing it.

        Remember, this is all about what works for you! You don’t have to focus on all the areas described above, you can take this framework and use it to create something that works in the context of your life.

        A simplified guide to creating a wellness routine that you can actually stick to. #feelgoodeffect #realfoodwholelife #gentleisthenewperfect #practicegentle #selfcare #selflove #wellness #routine

        How Looking at My Body Through My Daughter's Eyes Changed Everything

        GentlePaige ReohrComment

        This morning as we as we were getting dressed she stopped me.

        “I want to hug my favorite belly,” she says.

        This has been a thing, ever since she was old enough to talk.

        Mama’s belly.

        My favorite belly.

        How looking at my body through my daughter's eyes changed everything. #realfoodwholelife #selflove #bodypositive #feelgoodeffect #gentleisthenewperfect #practicegentle #bodylove #acceptance #selflove

        She comes over, wraps her tiny arms around my waist, nestles her head into my midsection.

        “I love this big belly,” she whispers, so softly I can barely make out the words.

        She whispers without judgement, without knowledge that big can sometimes mean bad.

        Ugly.

        Shameful, even.

        To her my belly is simply big in comparison to hers.

        “This is my favorite part of your body, mama,” she says gazing up.

        “Oh?” I respond. “Why is that?”

        “Without this belly I wouldn’t be here. It was my home, and I love it,” she states.

        Matter of fact.

        As simple as that.

        I look down, seeing through her eyes.

        The stretch marks.

        The subtle roundness.

        The fact that I haven’t achieved the elusive (and highly prized) flat-abs-post-baby, even though my baby is almost 6.

        The autoimmune disease that brews just beneath the surface.

        The miscarriages and cysts and infertility.

        She sees none of it.

        And looking down I can let that all go, too.

        To see a body that carries battle scars and struggle, but also beauty and love.

        Real, pure, unadulterated love.

        Thank you my girl.

        Thank you belly.

        You’re my favorite, too.

        Grab the Simplified Guide to Body Love

        5 simple practices to love your body better. Download it now for free!

        Simplified Guide to Body Love

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          How looking at my body through my daughter's eyes changed everything. #realfoodwholelife #feelgoodeffect #gentleisthenewperfect #practicegentle #bodylove #acceptance #selflove

          A Simplified Guide to Avoid Falling Off the Wellness Wagon

          GentlePaige ReohrComment

          A Simplified Guide to Avoid Falling Off the Wellness Wagon

          Let’s talk about the health wagon for a minute. Are you familiar?

          A simplified guide to avoid falling off the wellness wagon. Read on for more on how to ditch the wagon and practice gentle. #feelgoodeffect #realfoodwholelife #wellness #healthy #gentleisthenewperfect #practicegentle

          I’m not sure I can define this elusive wagon for you exactly, but I do know it’s something people feel like they can fall off of.

          Especially this time of year.

          This time of year with short days, long nights, and cold.

          This time of year of parties, family, friends, drinks, sweets, and all the rest.

          This time of year some of us think we’ve fallen all the way off the wagon.

          And once off the wagon, we might as well just spiral down into a black hole of indulgence.

          A hole that we think we can only dig out of come January.

          I admit that I know the wagon mindset well.

          It’s the all-or-nothing, I’ve-already-ruined-it, might-as-well-start-over-monday mindset that’s been in my back pocket over the years, ready to pull out when life gets hard or the days get dark.

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            It always starts innocently enough.

            Cheese + wine with friends, followed by skipping a workout in favor of coffee and donuts with the family (dad, I blame you for the donuts).

            These were, and are, indulgences that I consider worth it.

            And I don’t think it’s these that are a problem.

            I think the problem is the wagon.

            Thinking that a few worth-it splurges automatically equal a month-long shame spiral.

            Buying into the all-or-nothing health lie that you have to do it perfectly.

            The lie that if you miss a few days (or weeks) or eat gluten, or (god-forbid) sugar then that’s it, you might as well give up, because you are OFF THE WAGON.

            As for me, I’ve moved on.

            Life is not a wagon.

            It’s simply a series of days, filled with beautiful opportunities to make choices.

            To choose to take care of myself and nurture my body, mostly with energizing whole food, tons of water, meditation, mindfulness, and plenty of movement.

            But also, importantly, sometimes pie.

            And always, always, a whole lot of gentle.

            So this month, here is my invitation to you: find your special, and embrace your splurges.

            But feel free to go ahead and ditch the wagon.

            Each day is yours.

            Independent, beautiful opportunities full of choices that are yours to make.

            Have fun.

            Ditch the wagon.

            Be love.

            Practice gentle.

            #gentleisthenewperfect

            A simplified guide to avoid falling off the wellness wagon. Read on for more on how to ditch the wagon and practice gentle. #feelgoodeffect #realfoodwholelife #wellness #healthy #gentleisthenewperfect #practicegentle