Responsibility What’s That

Before becoming a yoga instructor, I noticed how impactful teachers are and can be to others. What led me to yoga initially was the mindfulness and philosophy aspects and then it opened up to how my body could benefit from it. Back then I read a lot of self-help books that instilled developing a broader perspective and how life isn’t just a bunch of mistakes. I was drawn to the esoteric world at a very young age. I guess it is in part because I was exposed to it with my grandmother, who was in a sense a curandera. I remember she used to cure me of the evil eye with a raw egg, fan parsley over my body, and always have a home remedy for everything. As a child I used to get annoyed at all of the “crazy” things she used to do. Little did I know how much I would grow to love this about her. But yoga was always an action to me and I got turned off by teachers who pushed their views and ideas onto others. For me I focused on how they showed their yoga through actions, how they exhibited it.

As a yoga teacher, I now have a huge responsibility. When I teach, not only do I make sure I keep bodies safe, but I also have to make sure I don’t push my own views and ideas down peoples throats. Being a yoga teacher comes with a platform for which you are given to communicate the beauty and life of yoga BUT this platform can also get tricky. With this platform comes responsibility and humility. Unfortunately more often than not I feel that this platform gets abused. With the rise of social media and free advertising I’ve seen the ego being the forefront of yoga. The ease of followers like never before, doing just that, people out there following without questioning. Following every word, every routine, diet, and philosophy. I used to work at a yoga studio and I witnessed a lot of this. I saw how people quickly accepted everything that came from their teacher they admired and looked up to. Its understandable, you trust this person, you’ve learned a lot from this person and then suddenly your perspective starts to dim and embody someone else’s. Don’t get it twisted, I am not in the least excluding myself of this. I’ve slipped up in classes too, explaining philosophy can get sticky, teaching with conviction can come off as arrogant and so on. Becoming aware of this is key, almost like when teachers say, “Check your egos at the door”, teachers should do the same.

A big myth people hold true is that yoga teachers have it all together. One can even say, that it’s complicated as a teacher having the “I should’ve known better syndrome.” Yoga teachers are still human with judgments, ideals, perspectives, bad days, crappy attitudes, etc. As a yoga instructor I personally have a big problem with this ongoing urban legend. I am not enlightened, I experience struggles, and I make mistakes too. I want to proclaim this from the tops of the mountains and debunk the myth. I share the good, the bad, and the ugly with people. Life is an ebb and flow, we have highs and lows and I feel like authenticity is important. I feel like we need more of the real, raw, vulnerable aspects because people can relate to that. I try to be as authentic as I can and honestly even writing what “I” do bothers me because that’s not what this is about. This is my opinion, and its ok if others don’t have to agree.

At the end of the day my goal as a teacher is to provoke students to go within, to question everything, take that which resonates and make it your own experience.

 

 

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No Means…

What does “No” mean to you? Most importantly, what does the word no mean to the person you are being intimate with. Ironically the word, sometime has little to no effect when used in the bedroom. People will push limits to see how far they can go, ignoring the word completely.

Its interesting how I still have conversations with people who have strong opinions about rape and or sexual allegations as a whole. These conversations prompted this blog post

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Whats constantly questioned is how the victim allowed the situation in the first place. I’d like to start off by saying, we all at one point or another make an initial decision. Initial decisions are influenced by emotions, hormones, ideas, standards, or even expectations. But at any given point, we have the right to change our mind and say “no” and or use body language which implies a no. The problem arises when our voices are not heard. Maybe when the word no is said, it sounds playful to the other person. However when the word no is said, the result should not fall on the victim. A lot is involved in this encounter and these situations often are judged, the victim is blamed because she didn’t fight or use other tactics to enforce her words. But what is the point of our words if we are not heard? And from a young age little girls are told not to fight back, and be a lady. Body language plays a big role as well, the body shows when it’s closed off and vice versa. I believe that at any given moment anyone is allowed to change their mind. There are many different reasons why the victim may not have acted forcefully in the beginning. We all come from different socio-economic status, cultures, backgrounds, upbringing, and religions. Which means, some people were raised to speak up for themselves while others were not taught to assert their rights and instead were forced to ignore. Some grew up with people not listening to them and have gotten used to such dismissal. Many factors are involved in this ever so controversial interaction, but the big idea is if a person expresses denial in any form, there shouldn’t be a hesitation to stop.

I also dislike hearing people say things like, “well look at what she was wearing, she was asking for it”. Do you really think people ask to be dismissed, disrespected, hurt, mistreated, and undermined? Again I believe no matter the outfit, a woman has the right to wear whatever she pleases. A short dress, a bra, no bra, a v neck shirt, or whatever else she desires assuming the outfit is not hurting another. As women we experience so many double standards that keep us limited and are kept in old social ideals.

The word “no” is powerful, heavy, and important. How about instead of blaming the victims, we teach our children to speak up for themselves and let their voices be heard. It is more than ok for a little girl, lady, or woman to use her voice without being labeled bossy, controlling, emotional, unbalanced, rude, or uptight. Society has pushed these ideas upon us, which explains why so many females have quieted their voices and gotten used to being dismissed. In Malawi, Lilongwe they teach girls the power of consent in classrooms throughout the country. Simang’aliso Domoya teaches girls from ages 11-16 self-defense and self-empowerment classes. She has the girls repeat mantras like, “I am beautiful but I am powerful” and “Don’t touch me, respect my body”. Domoya teaches both verbal and physical self-defense in order to reduce sexual violence and assault but most importantly empowering them.

On the other hand, as teachers, parents, and or guardians we also can make an impact on teaching our boys, young adults consent. This goes both ways and at an early age, we can make an immense impact on how males interact with females. Teaching respect and boundaries early on and teaching our children the meaning of no can make a meaningful impact in our society. I hold an immense amount of respect for those gentlemen who do listen to the word no as they continue to make a difference in the world.

So why don’t we create a movement like this? Lets raise, guide, encourage the feminine development. Rise up and speak out even if people judge you. The more we all speak our truth the easier it is for everyone to get used to. Get used to what? Get used to women having a voice no matter what. As you can see, there were many aspects discussed in this one blog. From sexual violence, consent, culture, upbringing, socio economic status, and feminism. Experiencing any lack of consent, changes you as an individual. It takes away your power and changes the way you view yourself. As a woman who has gone through lack of consent, I went through the 5 stages of grief. I didn’t tell anyone because of all of the stigma that is attached to the word. I didn’t even label it until a decade later. I learned through guidance and therapy to reclaim my power and fully accept what happened. As the #MeToo movement unfolded I started to realize how much this was happening to so many people around me. As women we hold the power and I believe we need to know this as young children so that we know how to express it later on in life. Women empowerment is big and in your face now, I want to help keep it going. Lets see more Serena Williams out there and reclaim the Devine feminine power.

Atypical

Isn’t it funny how when we greet people, we say, “Hi how are you?” But rarely do we want to know, how they really are. The response we want to hear back is the typical, “Good, how are you?” We want to keep it moving and get to where we want to go. In other words I’m just being nice and saying hi without much regard to really trying to understand what you may be going through at this moment. I won’t say that I’m void of this type of interaction because I would be lying if I did. Most days I can barely keep up with my own emotions, circumstances, and stories to take on someone else’s. But what happens when you get the truth? When the person is honest, and opens up to you about how they really are feeling.  I’ve noticed that people don’t know how to react, it gets awkward and nobody knows what to do or say or you get the complete opposite. The person answers back disregarding all of your feelings. This happens to me often, sometimes I am in over my head with my current situation, I feel like if someone else asks me how I am doing I can’t look at them with a straight face and feed them the, “I’m good” lie. Unfortunately even when feeling safe with someone it doesn’t mean that person is ready to hear your story. Its really hard to understand feelings and or experiences, everybody feels their emotions and experiences differently, the way I feel can be so foreign to the way you feel. I realize how uncomfortable people become when you are open and honest. I often think of the sketch from The Chappell Show, that is called, “When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong”. It showed Dave Chappell in situations without any filters. The social filters we place everyday so that we can present ourselves as a “typical person”, when in reality we are far from that. Most people don’t know how to respond to another human going through struggles. When I share, I almost feel a hit of regret, oh no, I’ve shared too much. When I share I guess I seek understanding for who I am, I know I am confusing, and its more of an explanation to why I am the way I am. I know sometimes I say things that don’t make sense and I forget a lot of things, but by opening up I also seek a deeper connection. I know at the core there is no need to explain myself and I am who I am but something inside me wants to. I want to show my vulnerabilities so that we can connect on a deeper level and you can share yours with me. I like to go straight into it and cut to the chase in a sense. I know we are all people, we all struggle, love, laugh, get angry, sad and so on. I like the raw version of people.

Because I am still purging, accepting, and healing my near death experience (I suffered a traumatic brain injury when I was 16 years old.) I struggle to relate and connect with others. Often times I feel like a little alien roaming the streets. Even though the accident was many years ago it is apart of my existence. It turned my world upside down, I process life in a totally different way. starseedsIronically, I crave a connection but find myself retracting socially all together because of my struggle to relate. I am noticing that when people don’t reciprocate the same advanced intimacy as mine, I get bored and I lose interest. I don’t do well with surface talk, I want to connect on a deeper level. The brain injury affected my social filters, which explains why I am confusing at times, say things out of order, or easily forget things. This all makes socializing and communicating interesting for me, thus making connecting a task. Most often than not, I retract because its easier. I don’t have to work it all before speaking, its kind of a task to when communicating. Other times I just go for it and take the plunge. I feel out the energy and if it feels safe and accepting, I continue but if its the opposite I take it personal. What I am learning the most is that not everybody will align with me, the craziness, the rawness, the weirdness and thats ok. Learning to love myself each day is a continuous practice, its easy to place blame on oneself but the more you accept the person you are nothing else matters. You see what don’ts align with you just as that. We are all on a different path, some may cross and some may not want to and again that is perfectly ok.

 

I bid farewell.

For me 2017 was extremely eye opening. I went so deep, deep into places and spaces I never explored. Through this journey I gained clarity and remembered that I am immeasurable. I am not how much money I make, my occupation, where I live, who my friends are, if I’m romantically involved or not, if I have children, have a family etc. All of that is fluff, none of it is real. Those things do not define me or us. What defines us is who we are inside. Our souls, our love, our energy, our truth. I learned a whole lot this year, things I discovered about myself that I never knew. I spent more time with myself doing things I enjoy. Getting to know myself a little more each time. What I found out is how much I like my solitude and yet at the same rate, how much I enjoy being around people and socializing. My Gemini- self craves being social and yet I yearn for the quiet times to reset and just be. Balancing those two dynamics are what keep me sane. 2017 was also about learning to let go, being aware of when things really aren’t aligning to me and being at peace with it. I think this is where I grew the most or where I was challenged the most. I have learned not to dwell on life of which I have no control over. I do my best and practice surrendering and trust its for my highest good. This aspect is still a practice for me and I definitely can not say that it is easy. This year I started off my business and its been a trip. I’ve already experienced highs and lows but the most important thing I learned is that a business takes time to expand and develop. There is no such thing as instant success. As much as I want to quit and give-up on what I’ve started with the crystals I feel a pull to keep going. I got certified in Reiki level 1 & 2 this year, which is also a great leap for me. Never did I think I would be called to do this. Looking back on the year I am proud of what I have gone through. For years I avoided any type of confrontation with people about issues that bothered me to spare them and me of being uncomfortable. This year I overcame it. Honoring my voice and using it when I feel the need. Practicing this is a work, it doesn’t always feel good inside, its foreign, why should it if you’ve never done it? But its necessary. I am definitely proud of what I’ve accomplished this year amongst all the hurdles.

I don’t do resolutions because they don’t scream “consistent”. So I make intentions. My intentions:

I am confident, powerful, and bold and release helplessness.

I am whole and release feelings of yearning.

I am grateful and release feelings of scarcity

 

My Rebirth

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Me with an NG tube inserted, wearing my fabulous rainbow belt and petting the therapy dog.

For the past year or so I have taken my healing to be my top priority; physical, emotional, and spiritual healing. You name it, I’ve done it; psychotherapy, acupuncture, magnetic therapy, family constellation, non-force chiropractor, energy healing, foot detox, neurosoma therapy and the list goes on. See I have lived most of my life in pain, physical, emotional, and spiritual, which explains a strong connection to Frida Kahlo’s art and words. Lets back track a little – now this is definitely not a sob story but this information is required in order to understand the full scope.

In 2002 I was 16 years old and a Junior in high school, and I was in a very scary car accident. I suffered a traumatic brain injury leaving me hospitalized for a month. I was in a coma for a week and then placed under a medically induced coma to avoid my swollen brain from touching the inside of my skull. Waking up to family and friends talking to me and not being able to respond was not easy and difficult to understand what was going on. I remember I would see my friends and hear them tell me about their day but not being able to respond. I felt like I was dreaming the whole time. This was such a weird dream, I thought. I remember I was able to ask my mom what happened and why I was in a hospital room. In tears my mother explained to me what happened, that is when my life went from 16 year junior in high school rehabilitating in the hospital. I literally had to relearn everything, swallowing, walking, kicking, eating, my laugh was even foreign. I remember being in physical therapy standing inside of a clock and asked to keep my left foot in the center while I had to place my right foot on different numbers. My coordination was a mess and lets not talk about my balance. I had to wear a rainbow gait belt in case I lost my equilibrium. It was all so dream like and unreal. I had 4 different therapies (speech, occupational, physical, and recreational therapy) and I knew that at the end of the week they all got together to discuss my progress; so I did my best to impress them. The strange thing was that I never cried about what happened to me. I felt I needed to be the strong one, since I put my family through so much pain, I did not want to see them hurt because of me anymore. Instead of feeling sorry for myself I made it my goal to get out of the hospital as soon as possible so I could return to my “normal” life, or so I thought. Funny thing was that from that point on my life had changed and would never be the same again. I did what I set out to do and managed to get discharged from the hospital exactly a month after the car accident. I turned 17 years old ten days after my discharge and I began my “normal life” again. It was far from normal, I started wishing I had nurses monitoring me soon after I found out I was taking anti-seizure medication, I wanted night lights, where were all the beeping machines? This was the most sensitive and delicate time of my life and I had no idea what was going on and how meaningful this time was. I thought everything would go back to “normal” and I would just go back to what I left behind but I soon found out that nothing was ever going to be the same.

My perspective was the biggest change and slowly but surly noticed my friends dwindle away. I became hard, straightforward, bitchy if you will but it was what I learned after such a hard transition. Those weren’t the only changes I had to deal with. I realized noise was a big problem. Too much noise overwhelmed me and over stimulated me. My family was told that I had to continue with speech therapy and see a psychiatrist so we followed through with the doctors request and trusted that he gave us all the necessary measures needed for treatment. Forgetting about the trauma that my body underwent during the accident we carried out the doctors orders. Years later, to my early 20’s I start noticing how I could not get accustomed to my bed. Every morning I would wake up complaining with a sore body, feeling all of the dips and slopes in the mattress. Not being able to turn my head rapidly because I experienced sharp pains, not being able to raise my arms all the way, my back and shoulders in constant pain, hip and groin problems, my elbows would hurt if they were rested on a table for too long and the worst one was my scalp, suddenly it felt tender to the touch. As if my hair was in a tight ponytail for a year and nothing not even my pillow would be comfortable. I remember my mother always telling me that it was all in my head and that I was just being picky about my mattress but I always knew deep down inside it was because how the car accident left me. Not only was I feeling pain in my body but I was emotionally unavailable for anybody and anything. I could not cry or feel sorry for any reason. I thought that was normal. I remember when my first anxiety attack happened, I was 23 years old and I didn’t know what hit me. I began therapy at my college and that was when I learned I had never processed and healed from the accident. I learned to shut off my emotions at such a young age, which was my way of protecting myself, a defense mechanism. I was only with my therapist for 3 months until I graduated and had to find someone else. While I was trying to heal my emotional self I was still in need of a physical release. Spiritually I was lost and searching for solace. I was reaching but not reaching enough. I was young and thought it would eventually disappear and I would just be “fixed”.

Now I’m 32 years old and I can finally feel my road to recovery is so close. I am excited and really proud of how far I’ve come. I have taken the last year to really focus on myself and heal for myself. I was always looking outside of me for answers and for others to magically heal me but learned that no one can heal me unless I am willing, ready and able to do the work. I am the only one who can do that. Happiness. love, and confidence starts from within, none are found externally. I continue on this path and trust that I will get there and if I don’t I will know I did all I could to.

Do your body good

It’s been almost a year now since I transitioned my eye make up to vegan/cruelty free products. I realized that if I’m going to be careful with my diet I should also be careful with what I put on my face. So I purchased a water-proof “Natural eye pencil” in Jet by Pacifica Beauty and I love it. Not only is it free of the gunk you don’t want on your face but it is very easy to wash off. Usually I have to wash my face 2-3 times just to get my eye liner and mascara off but definitely not with this awesome liner. I also purchased a mascara by Gabriel Cosmetics in Jet Black. This cosmetic line is also vegan! No harsh chemicals, no animal products, and super easy to wash off. This mascara is great because it lengthens your lashes and reduces breakage. These lines are both found at Whole Foods and Sprouts and anywhere they sell health conscious food. Let me know what you think I will never go back to mainstream brands!!

Turmeric toothpaste

I know it looks pretty gross but this paste is miraculous. Now I wish I would’ve taken a before and after picture of myself but unfortunately I didn’t. Either way there, are so many ways to enhance a picture you can’t really rely on them anymore. Therefore you will just have to take my word for it and give it a try. I have yellow teeth, I didn’t brush well and on top of that I was given coffee at 5 years old. I know, blame it on my South American roots. Along with all that I had braces which didn’t help. In high school my favorite drinks were Peach Iced Tea and Pepsi to top it all off. In college I used white strips to reverse the effects of my poor drinking habits and in return I was left with the most sensitive teeth on the planet. It was torturous to eat really anything that was either cold or hot. So I stopped using those and felt stuck, I didn’t know what direction to go in my quest to white teeth. I found this natural remedy and decided to give it a try and holy turmeric does it work. Not only does it help whiten your teeth but because of the coconut oil you put in it, it makes your teeth feel squeaky clean afterwords. Ok enough of my ranting here are the ingredients:

-2 parts Turmeric 1 part Baking Soda 1 part Coconut Oil

Things to consider:

*Turmeric stains so be prepared to have a yellow/orange toothbrush

*Make sure you brush in your PJs so you don’t get any on your clothes

*Only brush with this magical toothpaste once a day

*Remember that the paste will melt as you brush since coconut oil hardens if the temp is too low

*Rinse your mouth well after use and make sure you clean the corners of your mouth as the turmeric likes to get in cracks =)

*Coconut oil is great for teeth since it fights cavity causing bacteria

*This paste is better than what you find in stores since it is all natural & there is no fluoride