I escaped my computer today, at noon on a Monday, in order to visit my yoga studio for a hot vinyasa yoga class. Of all the things I have been missing during the pandemic, my in-person hot yoga practice at my studio has been top of the list. I didn't realize how much I even missed it until I had the chance to return to it these past couple days.
This may not seem like a big deal to you but it's a big deal to me. Monday's are usually the worst day of the week for me. The most stressful with the longest "to do" list ever, my most anxiety-filled day that I just power through with all my masculine energy to tackle all the "stuff" on my list. In fact, I almost cancelled my yoga class booking but felt bad to do that to my friend who owns the studio knowing they have been closed for months.
I am plant-based skincare formulator and so for me yoga goes hand-in-hand with natural skincare. Yoga is the expression for my body to feel deeply connected to itself.
As I lay there on my mat, I felt calm and peaceful.
I felt at one with the other humans in the room who were also there sweating their butts off from the minute of entry into the hot studio. If you have never experienced this, you must. And you may hate it. But that's part of what I am writing about here today.
To me the part of being in the hot studio is that it is uncomfortably hot. That's the point. Doing yoga in this hot studio, like actually moving your body and getting into challenging poses, is also uncomfortable...and furthermore part of the point.
You must get uncomfortable, to grow.
You see, for that entire hour that I am there moving, sweating, breathing, and experiencing my body, I AM UNCOMFORTABLE. But I am also at peace as I go to my edge of what I know my body can handle, and then I push myself a little past that to see if I can give it a little more than I thought.
That is the point. This is SOOOOOO the point of yoga. Yoga translates to yoking or uniting of the body and mind. What I experience when I am on my mat is a complete uniting of my body and mind. All of my worries, anxiety, stress and to do list for the day just simply disappears as I work to focus on my breathe, my body and the grace with which it all comes together...or not.
When your ego gets in the way of having fun...
The times when the "or not" happens is also the point. Today I was particularly unskilled, off balance, and even my listening skills were off as I raised my left leg instead of my right as cued. I am out of practice. As I tried to balance on one leg in eagle pose, I kept falling out of it.
The more that I tried harder and let my ego get in the way to try to be perfect, I fell over more. The more I forced the pose, the pose forced me back. At one point, I just laughed, shook it off, and told my ego to get the heck out of my body (using my inside voice of course).
Isn't that true of all things in life really?
I cannot help but see the parallel between yoga and life as a middle aged woman. You see, middle aged women have it hard. It's both the best and possibly worst time of our lives! No wonder a midlife crisis is always one sports car or girls trip to Vegas away.
Being a woman in midlife, aged forty and up, is a time of confusion, frustration, wickedly crazy hormones that make you feel like a lunatic while also being a time of freedom with kids leaving home, greater financial security, time to do what you want to do in life, and also the time to finally follow your passions and dreams whether they be personal or professional.
You need to give up on perfection to find happiness.
In order to find true happiness in midlife, you need to finally realize it is time to give up on perfection. The same is true in yoga. Giving up on perfectionism doesn't mean giving up on being your best self. It doesn't mean complacency, it means finding radical acceptance.
It just means allowing yourself to be human, showing yourself compassion when things aren't exactly how you had hoped, and somehow finding peace with the here and now that is your body with all its perfect imperfections that make you who you are.
You place more emphasis on your looks than others do.
This is truth! Nobody cares as much about how you look with or without clothes on than you do. As women, we put way too much pressure on ourselves to look a certain way and you need to remember that nobody is judging you as hard as you judge yourself. If you are feeling like the runaway train has left the station and left you with a frumpy, old, grump of a broken body then I hate to break it to you, but that's exactly the persona you are putting out there in the world.
On the other hand...
If you are putting out there that you are a badass, sexy as hell woman ready to make an entrance in your white shorty shorts after Labour Day...
...that's exactly what is going to happen.
Speaking of which this is also the time of your life when you need to start saying WTF and doing what makes you happy. Here is my list of "How Not to Give Any F's" that I found in my forties and I hope you will either adopt this list or make your own.
Ok, ok I get it. You're likely reading this saying it all sounds great but how on earth do you start not giving any F's, find radical acceptance in your body, and just loving all your imperfections. Including wearing the shorts, eating the donut, speaking your mind, spending your energy on your kind of high vibin' people, and living your best pro-aging happy life.
To me it is a convergence of four factors that come together to create a Holistic Pro-Aging Experience. And when you are Pro-Aging holistically, your skin glows. You energy is positive. It is palpable.
Speaking of skin, what does Yoga have to do with it?
I am so glad you asked! When you do yoga as a regular practice, your body gets into a rhythm of being present and feeling into itself. You show up for yourself. When you show up, the goal is to get out of your head and focus your thoughts on your breath.
In fact, the whole goal of yoga is to sync your body movements with your breath, not about being flexible or doing fancy poses. It should be the only thing you are focusing on during your practice (yeah, it's hard and it takes practice!).
When you are able to focus on your breath you are oxygenating every cell in your body, including your skin. You are bringing blood flow, oxygen and movement to give you healthy skin. You are also relaxing your facial muscles. It is super hard to do a relaxing yoga practice with a tense face and if you are then you need to find more ease in the postures you choose to do.
When you start to feel that connection to your body deeply through a mind-body practice such as yoga, pilates, barre, meditation or the like, you also realize that what you put ON your body and what you put IN your body matters. A LOT. This is why the world of natural, plant-based skincare that is toxin-free has a great dynamic with yogis around the world.
What about natural skincare rituals for after your yoga practice? Read more here.
The Holistic Pro-Aging Experience is where it all comes together.
This is where we find balance between the left side: our Mind "the how we think, how we feel, how we accept, and how we manifest what we want" with our Body "the what we do to move, to feel good, to be confident enough to wear the damn shorts".
In order to achieve the Pro-Aging Mind and Body experience that we want, we need to focus on the inputs on right side: what we put ON our body through clean, natural Skincare (that is free of toxins that completely F-up your hormones and may make you sick) combined with what we put IN our body through nourishing and pleasurable Nutrition (that keeps your skin glowing and your body feeling amazing).
About the Author, Jodie Pappas ~ Founder, Clean Kiss:
Struggling with hormonal skin issues? Aging skin?
Not sure what to eat to help your skin out? Strange rashes, eczema, psoriasis, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation? Not sure what the best natural skincare products for mature woman are or how to create your own natural skincare regimen that really works? That's where I can help.
Jodie also offers private Skin Health Coaching for women of all ages. If interested, send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire if this coaching is right for you or book a FREE 15 minute discovery call here.
Learn more about Clean Kiss.
Clean Kiss makes natural, clean skincare for women over 40 that promotes pro-aging beauty and radical acceptance of the beautiful aging process, in mid-life.
Clean Kiss was founded by Family Natural Health Expert, Jodie Pappas, out of her own personal quest to find natural products for herself and her family that ACTUALLY worked. After first creating her signature natural deodorant, she went on to produce a full line of 100% plant based skincare and body products.
Hypoallergenic, Cruelty-free, Vegan, No Petroleum-based ingredients, No Parabens, No Silicone, No Phthalates, No Toxins, No Fragrance, No Alcohol, No Plastic.
Each product is created in small batches using chemical-free formulations that have been recognized with several awards, has developed a loyal customer base of Clean Kissers, and has gained some international media attention by Business Insider, InStyle Magazine, The Toronto Sun, Breakfast TV Toronto, CHCH Hamilton, Global TV and more!
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