Stretch Your Fine Self!

Make like a tree and stretch to the sky!

As I travel along the fitness path, the thing that comes up most often for people is the desire to stretch. We all know that it feels good, but we just don’t do it.

Why? I honestly have no idea.

If you have to pick just one type of physical activity, make it stretching. It’s that important.

When done properly, stretching assists the body in maintaining strength, flexibility, range of motion, and is great for relieving stress.

When done improperly, you can hurt yourself. So make sure that you take it slow, get someone to check your form if you are unsure, and consult your doctor if you have any limitations that may prevent you from stretching properly.

We instinctively stretch, sometimes in the morning right after waking up and again after sitting for long periods of time.

We know that it is important, but still we don’t do it consistently.

Stretching goes hand in hand with exercise as well, as properly stretched muscles perform better, receive more blood flow, and are less prone to injury.

It doesn’t have to be a big deal either. Five to ten minutes of stretching done consistently will have benefits that are noticeable.

You will just feel better!

So if you are looking for an easy way to start to fine-tune that wonderful body you live in, stand up and reach for the sky. You might just touch a star, and if not you will feel like a star yourself!


A goal set and reached!

Accomplishing things feels good. Making lists, checking off the tasks as they are completed – all of this gives a sense of satisfaction. But why?

Is that all there is to life? Getting things done and then planning more things to do?

Of course there are actions that need to be taken everyday. From the mundane to the unusual, life is a series of tasks and motion.

Is the movement forward though or just in circles?

I am making a concerted effort not to accomplish anything, and in so doing I hope to get everything I need. Not everything that I want, but everything that I need. There is a big difference.

Life is a series of experiences, not accumulations. I don’t need more stuff. I don’t need newer and better and bigger stuff.

I want to get rid of all of my stuff. Well, some of it anyways. Just the things that weigh me down.

It’s the doing that I want, not the having. The memories that I build with friends and family are what I will cherish to the last day I am here.

The stuff? Not so much.

So here’s to a slightly more minimalistic lifestyle and all of the freedom that I hope it brings!

Making Habits Work For You

Run towards things, not away from them

I feel good. I’m into the second half of my life and I don’t think I’ve ever felt as good as I do now.

Is it because I’m lucky? Sure, that probably has something to do with it.

But I also work at it.

Six days a week, I wake up early and exercise. Every week, week after week, even when I don’t feel like it. Because after I’m finished, I always feel fantastic.

A few years ago I made a decision that I wanted to be fit, to have lots of energy, and to feel good about myself. At the time I was 20 pounds overweight, sluggish, and not sleeping well.

So I started a morning fitness routine. At first it was running, then I got into yoga, and now I am big on strength training.

My workouts have changed, but the working out part hasn’t. I don’t even think about it anymore – I literally climb out of bed right into my workout clothes.

I’ve come to recognize that the most important thing to do is develop good habits. Since we spend most of our lives on autopilot, it’s important that your habits take you in the direction you want to go.

Developing good habits gets you away from having to argue with yourself. Remember, the part of you that wants to change old behaviours will never win, especially at 6:00 in the morning! You have to consciously outsmart your old habits, because they are comfortable and friendly and crafty.

They will try to beat you every time.

To defeat and replace them, you need to make it easy on yourself. Get clear about why you want to change, make your reason extremely important to you, and then prepare a plan in advance. Put the gym clothes beside the bed. Move your alarm clock into another room. Fill the fridge with healthy food.

Outwit, outsmart, and outmaneuver the little you who doesn’t like change.

Five Ways to Make Your Habits Work For You

  1. Make a Decision – Every act has to start with a decision. By getting clear with what you want, it is much easier to take action.
  2. Start Small – It’s nice to want to change everything in one day, but we all know these changes seldom last. Just think how effective New Year’s resolutions are! By making one small change at a time, you are much more likely to stick with it.
  3. Check In – Be honest with where you are and how committed you feel. Remember that you are completely in charge of this. Hold yourself accountable and have strong reasons for why the change is important to you.
  4. Commit For a Specific Time Frame – Make it at least 30 days. Research shows that this is often long enough for most people to make changes that stick.
  5. Reward Yourself – Having something to look forward to that is a direct result of your new habit is important. Most people respond much better to positive encouragement rather than negative reinforcement.

Make it easy to succeed. Pick a change that is very important to you, but isn’t the thing that frightens you the most. Once you get the hang of it, the bigger changes won’t seem so impossible!


Share your mat with a friend

Is it even possible to be content anymore? It seems that as soon as we achieve one goal in life, we instantly move on to the next one.

The question is, is that a good thing or a bad one?

It all depends on your point of view. If the constant striving is driven by a feeling of not having or being enough, then it can be a problem.

If you aren’t able to enjoy what you already have and are constantly envious of what others possess, then the striving will never be enough.

You will always feel empty inside.

If, on the other hand, you chase after goals because you enjoy the process and do it because it challenges you, then that is perfect! Life isn’t meant to ever stop, and by moving in the direction of the things we want we can find enjoyment in every day.

Write down five things you would like to have. It could be more money, a new house or car, a relationship, whatever you think would make your life happier or more complete.

Now look at the list and decide what emotion drives each of the desires. If you want more money, is it because you want to buy things, or you want the security that money can bring? Or is it because you think it will make you happy?

Find out what motivates you. Now find out if you can have the feeling without the thing you are chasing after.

Can you be happy without the money? Can you be satisfied without a new relationship? The key is to find the emotion without needing something outside of yourself to fulfill it.

When you can do that, you are truly free in this world and there is nothing you can’t do, be, or have!

Get Addicted to Happiness

Yoga Teacher Graduation Day, Costa Rica

Some days are more challenging than others. Some lives are more challenging than others. Everyone has a story, something that makes their life experience unique to them.

Make the most of your story. Choose to make the most of your life.

Five Things to Do Every Morning to Increase Joy

  1. Wake up early  Allow yourself time to accomplish goals by going to bed early and getting the sleep you need. You can’t win the morning if you are running on empty.
  2. Express gratitude  Sitting in meditation is one way to access a state of gratitude, but you can also take 5-10 minutes and just think about all of the things you are grateful for. This practice will change your life quickly.
  3. Exercise  Do something to connect with your body and get it going first thing. This could be yoga, going to the gym, jogging, or going for a walk. Appreciate the body as the vehicle that moves you through life and don’t neglect it.
  4. Prioritize the day  Know what important tasks lie ahead, and figure out which ones you need to do and what you can delegate or dismiss. You are one person – attend to the things that only you can do. Run your life as your business and be the boss of yourself.
  5. Smile  Stop taking yourself so seriously! Remember that nothing and no one you see will matter in 100 years. Live your life as though you won’t be here forever – because you won’t. It doesn’t have to be a struggle. 

Even if you have challenges, appreciate that you are alive and be grateful for the air you breathe and the opportunity to be the captain of your own ship. Make decisions in every moment that propel you towards your goals, and don’t waste time on things that don’t matter. And remember, most of the things we spend our time thinking about and worrying over don’t matter.

Be healthy, be happy, and be whole. Be the kind of person who everyone wants to be around, not the person who no one can stand.

Be the best you in all ways, always.

Live While You Are Alive

I don’t fear death. I think about it sometimes, but I am more curious about it than scared.

Maybe it’s because I saw a lot of it when I was a kid. I grew up in the country and there were just a lot of animals who died.

One day I was riding my bicycle on the road. I was about 8 or 9 years old and a bird almost hit me on the head when it dropped out of the sky. Scared the crap out of me I must say. I looked at it. It was dead.

Then there was the time I had to get a big shovel and scoop my favourite cat out of the horses’ water trough after it had fallen in and drowned. I might have been around 10 when that happened, and I remember it was hard because he was so heavy. My dad was away on business or he would have done it.

Cats, dogs, birds, coyotes, skunks, horses, mice – there was no shortage of things that died. It was just the way it was.

I saw a man die once. We were training race horses and his horse ran into a fence. I ran to help, and as other people got the horse off of him and were calling 911, I knelt down beside him to comfort him as he lay in a twisted heap. 

He asked me to move his arm for him, which was trapped under his body. I told him the ambulance was coming and to just hold on, that everything would be okay. Then his lips turned blue and his head rolled back and it wasn’t okay.

I moved him then. I knew he was gone, but did CPR on him anyways. The paramedics finally came and they tried to force him back into the world using all of their skills, but to no avail. He didn’t live there anymore.

Death is just a part of life. So live while you are alive.

Embrace each day and live the hell out of it.

Dare to Dream

The sky is the limit!

There is something to be said for the familiar. It’s comfortable, feels safe, and pushing beyond its cozy limitations isn’t fun sometimes.

Without pushing through, though, you can’t advance towards your dreams. Why? Because if your current habits supported the realization of your dreams, then you would have everything you want already.

So unless you can see your dreams ahead and you are following steps every day to reach them, there is room for improvement!

These are the steps I took to get the ball rolling and to start to change who I was, from the decisions I was making to the actions I was taking. The funny thing was – it wasn’t that difficult once I got started!

  1. Where – Be clear about where you want to go. This is the most important step to take. A clear, detailed map will get you on the road and make it much easier to start going forward.
  2. Why – Be clear about why you want to get there. You want to be rich? Why? What will your life look like and how will you feel when you have money? It’s the feeling of having the things that money can buy that is important. Get in touch with those feelings.
  3. How – When your motivation is big enough, you can accomplish anything. Once you know where and why you are going, start to figure out the how. Break the big dream down into actionable steps. 
  4. When – Set time frames. Don’t just say that you want to start your own business, define exactly what the business is going to do, what needs it fills, and what you have to do today to start making it a reality.
  5. Act Now – Finally, do something right now! Read a book, make a phone call, do research on the internet, whatever seems like a logical first step. You won’t have a clue what you are doing, but as you start to learn and keep working at it the steps will begin to unfold before you.

Never lose sight of your dreams! Write out exactly what it is you want and then accept no substitutes. Don’t let regret be a companion of your future when it is within your power to do something today to get to where you want to go.

Sleep – The Right Amount is What?!!

Is it really necessary to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night?

I hope not, because if so I’m in big trouble. If only I didn’t feel so fantastic when averaging 4-5, then I would consider worrying about it. But worrying would probably keep me up at night!

So who decided that all humans are the same and that our bodies operate under similar requirements? 

There are nights where I wake up after 4 hours of sleep and just don’t feel the need to sleep more. I used to try to get more sleep, but then I began to wonder if it was truly necessary.

Then I started going with the flow, and I instantly felt better. I focused on the quality, not the quantity, and that made all of the difference.

I did a lot of research on this. While some studies insist that we need 8 hours, there have been many fully functioning human beings who didn’t come close to that.

Albert Einstein reportedly slept for 10 hours a night, and had naps during the day. I’m not going to argue with a genius about that!

Nikola Tesla, who was responsible for inventing the AC power that runs through your home, slept 2 hours a night. He would add a short nap during the day as needed.

And Leonardo Da Vinci practiced polyphasic sleep, which breaks down long periods of sleep into short intervals. Averaging about 5 hours in total, he would sleep from 20 minutes to 2 hours as needed.

It seems to me that there is no one size fits all.

I figure that as long as I wake up every morning and have lots of energy, then everything is as it should be!

5 Tips For Better Quality of Sleep

  1. Keep your bedroom dark and cool
  2. Don’t eat within 2 hours minimum of going to bed
  3. Don’t drink too close to bed either. Experiment and see what keeps you in bed and not in the bathroom
  4. If you enjoy the scent of lavender, spray a bit on your sheets and pillow
  5. Don’t overstimulate your mind before bed. Take an electronic break and do whatever relaxes you. A soothing nighttime routine can make all the difference in the world!

What’s Coming

Guys, I am super excited to share everything I’ve learned with you! I have studied nutrition for years and have been in school to become a holistic health coach for the last two years.

I will be posting tons of tips and tricks that will help you feel better, have more energy, sleep better and be your best self!

Stay tuned for videos, blogs, recipes and more. There will also be personal consultation options if you would like something tailor-made for you.

I can’t wait to take this journey together. Let’s do this!

My Story

I just wanted it to stop hurting.

It was a lot for a little kid to deal with.

I was eight years old, holding a popsicle on my stomach to try to soothe the burning. Next thing I knew I was in the hospital for two weeks, diagnosed with ulcers. 

But this wasn’t my first trip there. When I was four, I was admitted and put in an ice tent after having a seizure following a reaction to a vaccination. I had a  temperature that reached over 102 degrees. The ice tent knocked the fever down, but then I got pneumonia. That kept me in the hospital for a week.

Dawn Kindergarten
Out of the hospital- my ID bracelet was still on!

I suffered from such severe tonsillitis that they sliced my tonsils out some time after that.

There were multiple attacks of bronchitis, so bad my ribs ached from the coughing. Then the all too annoying  ear infections, which were slightly eased by my worried mother putting warmed drops in my ears to try to take away the pain.

I was a happy kid, but a sick one.

Thus my lifelong search to understand how to feel better was born.

It was a journey of trial and error. I did research on myself, eliminating certain foods and adding others as I discovered that what I ate made a difference.

I learned meditation at the age of 13 when I stumbled across Shakti Gawain’s book Creative Visualization. It changed my life.

But I consider myself fortunate. I grew up in a rural setting, surrounded by horses and nature with two loving parents and an empathetic older brother. It provided me the atmosphere I needed to learn about the healing power of nature, and the beautiful energy of horses.

And I healed. My problems fortunately weren’t permanent – some children aren’t nearly as lucky as I was.

I learned how to heal by reading hundreds of nutrition books, learning yoga, and spending hours talking to horses, all before turning 16. The journey to learn as much as I could about being healthy had begun.

That journey continues today.

Now I am a certified yoga instructor, a holistic health coach, a Reiki practitioner and a fitness junkie. I feel strong, healthy, and happy every day. I consider myself fortunate – and I never forget how being sick feels.

It sucks. I want to share what I’ve learned with anyone who is struggling with health.

I truly know how it feels.