Relapse

I have been here awhile. It wasn’t a good night, but we knew it was going to be a fight. Yesterday was a hard day. I am in physical pain that won’t let up. It is making me exhausted physically, emotionally, and spiritually. When I get low on reserves I get super raw. I also overthink. Super freaking fun combo! I leaned into the rawness yesterday. I know that when I shove things down they grow into dark voids that consume me. So I sit with it. I go for a long drive, turn up the music, turn the music up louder, double check the settings on the phone and turn it up even louder. Yes, my windows are shaking but so is my soul. I go to a place that brings me peace. I weep.

What’s wrong? Nothing. No, everything. I mean it’s been worse. Damn, I am not dead or anything. So yeah nothing. No, really, EVERYTHING IS WRONG!!

I contemplate cancelling my evening plans. Uh Beck that isn’t wise, but I look at it anyways. Screw it, I am going. I arrive early, because the ability to plan has left me. I tell the hostess it’s rough, but I am here, I cannot drink tonight no matter what. I nibble, laugh, rub my jaw, try to escape from my own personal hell, play cards. Eventually, I decide I have to go home. I simply hurt too much.

My friend stops me in the driveway. Why am I so worried about you?! My response, because this is what relapse looks like. Relapse is being frantic with pain, but terrified at the dance that opiates bring. Relapse looks like exhaustion with no real end in sight. Relapse looks like isolation and struggle all with a false grin plastered across the face. Relapse looks like wanting to escape this darkness and being willing to entertain the darkness of numb aka addiction. Relapse is standing 6 inches from a loved ones face and feeling 6 football fields of distance between us. Relapse never looks like what we think it does. Relapse is desperation. Relapse is running out of other choices and returning to the familiar of the abyss of numb.

I am vaguely aware of the offers that surround me to come stay the night, I can sit up with you, I am here, and please text me when you get home, have I mentioned I am worried?!? I arrive home. I send my text stating I am home. I receive back love, support, and encouragement. I pace. I send a PM to my person and say it’s bad. He reiterates that I have a place at his house too if I need. He listens. There is no magic wand, but there is the support of love that feels magic. I listen to a meditation. I ice my face. I sob. I take more ibuprofen. More oil pulling. it’s 3 am.

I stumble to my yoga room. Music turned up and I start to flow. I ask this container how do you need to move to release the pain? How do you need to move to make space for what is coming? How do you need to breathe to find strength in this moment? How do you need to chant to ignite that internal agni? What dear container do you need?

Yes, this is what relapse looks like. Yes, this is what it means to fight to be sober. Yes, this is what it looks like when I spill onto my mat time and time again releasing, refilling, replacing, rebuilding. When I say “Saved by Yoga.” Please know I wouldn’t be here this morning, or any day in the past decade, without my practice. Last night, I chose to fall into my practice and not into a bottle, a needle, or a pill.

This Body

This body. This body has been through so much. It is the keeper of trauma, intense feelings, past love, exhilaration, despair, light, and shadow. It has been the victim of anger and assault, sometimes at it’s own hands. It has fought to stay alive, more times than a body should have to. It has had 5 major abdominal surgeries and more medical procedures than one can count. And this body gained 5 pounds this weekend because apparently a diet of marshmellows and coffee isn’t ideal. (Who knew?!?!) Yet, I see none of that when I look at these pictures. I see someone who is content in the container given to them. I see someone who is fully present in this moment. I see joy. I see victories. I see love. I see life. There is a reason why I don’t focus on glutes, abs, toned arms etc, instead teaching in a way that chooses to focus on joy, breath, movement, & feeling well. I am not concerned with your container. I am concerned with your heart. Yes, strength & flexibility come with a daily practice, but that isn’t the point! Your heart is the point. The lens you view the world through is the point. Heal those and the body will fall in line or may not matter as much as you once thought

 

When You Say Yoga What Comes to Mind?

There is a modification for that!

When You Say Yoga What Comes to Mind?

When you say yoga what comes to mind? Many people have a preconceived, some times negative, idea of what yoga is and what the people who practice are like. The truth is there is a long list of benefits of a regular yoga practice. Some of the common benefits include stress management, lower blood pressure, increased energy, improved flexibility and strength, and improved overall health and wellness. The trick is to pick a practice that aligns with your needs and goals.  Here at Life Keys Energy  we believe yoga should be fun and available to everyone. We offer upbeat, spunky yoga teachers, fun play lists, and teachers who are well versed in props and modifications helping you find your appropriate space in every pose. The first step in finding your perfect class is  understanding the different types of yoga that is available. Here at Life Keys Energy  there is a practice for everyone.

Vinyasa or Flow – The traditional vinyasa flow focuses on breath and alignment. In general, each pose is held for a breath and then you flow to the next asana or pose. This is an excellent practice for building strength and flexibility, while calming the mind.

Slow Flow/Gentle – This is a breath based, alignment focused class in which we use props and move at a slower pace. It is designed to help you increase flexibility and strength while moving slowly. The slower flow lends itself to more introspection and over all calming. It is appropriate for all fitness levels and an excellent starting point for anyone wishing to explore yoga.

Restorative/Yin – In this class we ask the props to do the work for us, while we lay on them feeling fully supported. This practice encourages passive stretching and encourages the parasympathetic nervous system to activate, resulting in increased flexibility and overall sense of calm. A regular restorative/yin practice lowers the stress response in the body, settles to mind, and improves flexibility. It is appropriate for everyone.

Yoga TRX – The TRX can be used as a prop to make poses accessible that are not yet available on the mat. It can also be used as a tool that makes poses more challenging. This class is excellent for building strength and flexibility with the added cardio benefits. It is an excellent supplementation for your regular yoga practice.

Prenatal/Postpartum Yoga – This class is lead with the knowledge of what is safe and what feels good during the different stages of pregnancy. The benefits of yoga during pregnancy are:  improved sleep, reduced stress and anxiety, increase the strength, flexibility and endurance of muscles needed for childbirth, decrease lower back pain, nausea, carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms, headaches and shortness of breath.

Trauma Informed Yoga – This practice is one that is designed to create a safe and comfortable environment for those who have experienced trauma. We create a safe and predictable environment allowing for relaxation and potential healing to occur. There are 2 yoga teacher’s here at Life Keys Energy who are certified in this practice. At this time, we do not have a specific class designated for trauma recovery, instead we incorporate these practices in all of our classes.

Laughing Yoga – This is a pranayama (breath work) practice involving prolonged voluntary laughter. Laughter yoga is based on the belief that voluntary laughter provides the same physiological and psychological benefits as spontaneous laughter. It encourages joy and is an excellent tool for those experiencing anxiety, depression, or PTSD.

Pranayama – This is the formal practice of controlling the breath, which is the source of our prana, or vital life force. When you tune into your breath you can reduce the stress response in the body, thus lowering cortisol and adrenaline.  Prolonged deep breathing increases oxygenation of the blood. It has been shown to help with anxiety, stress reduction, asthma, lowering blood pressure, and more. We include this practice during our yoga classes.

Meditation – There are many ways to meditate, including guided meditation, moving meditation, and zazen (still mind). There is not right or wrong way to meditate. This regular practice has been shown to decrease stress, anxiety, and depression while increasing feelings of happiness, self-acceptance, and concentration. It also improves the immune system, aids with restful sleep, and may slow the signs of aging.

 

Every class is designed with safety and comfort in mind. Our classes also may include aromatherapy, warm essential oil infused washcloths, verbal and physical assists, and other extras to help you relax even deeper. If you have questions about which class is appropriate for you reach out, we are happy to help. We are looking forward to seeing you on your mat.

 

Written by: Beckie Evans Owner of Life Keys Energy, RYT-200 and Healer

How My Yoga Journey Saved Me

 

Most people who know me or know of me, understand that I love yoga. Most people do not know why I am so passionate about having a daily yoga practice. Yoga literally saved my life. 9 years ago I was addicted to pain medications and vodka. I was suicidal and had attempted suicide a few times. I was living in this suffocating dark abyss. I had lost all hope and couldn’t even imagine how life might improve. So how did I go from that to what you all know now? Yoga and sobriety. I had started playing around with yoga before I got sober, but I was doing it for all the wrong reasons. I was doing it for a means of getting attention, not for the healing and life changing aspects of it. In rehab I started fumbling around with some very shaky Sun Salutation A and B and meditation. It was shaky for many reasons, the main one was in my last suicide attempt I gave myself a brain injury. So, literally at the start of my yoga journey I had balance issues, motor planning problems, couldn’t feel where my body was in space, and was learning what it felt like to be in my body instead of numbed out by opiates and alcohol. That is a-lot of road blocks! Incredibly, yoga met me where I was. I was blessed with several instructors who helped me make modifications, so yoga became possible. I became stronger, more flexible, and incredibly I became centered and calm. The changes on my mat eventually became transformation off my mat. Every time I wanted to use, I got on my mat. Every time I started to have a panic attack, I got on my mat. Every time life got “too big”, “too much”, just “too” I got on my mat. These are many of the reasons I adore yoga and am forever grateful for the practice. It is these reasons why I say “Yoga is for EVERYBODY!” and mean it. There are modifications available to meet you exactly where you are right now. I approach yoga with curiosity, suka (ease), and lila (play) this is how I share my passion. I am forever grateful for my yoga journey. Where will your yoga journey take you? What road blocks are you starting out with? How can I help you get onto your mat? Shine bright my friends, you are worth it!

Life Lessons from a Life Coach

 Today is my last day being 40 and if you know my story then you are aware that I am a story of destruction and rebirth especially in my thirties. Here is a list of the life lessons I learned so far:

1. No matter how dark it is if you can see a shadow, then there is a light source somewhere, follow the light. That is your hope, even when it seems you don’t have any. Don’t give up. Life changes quickly.
2. On the other hand, make peace with that shadow. There is nothing to fear in the dark. Learn to sit with yourself, all of yourself, alone. You will be better for it.
3. Some families are awesome, some aren’t. If yours isn’t make one that is. Everyone deserves to have a soft place to land, be loved on, laugh, have truth told to them, and to be safe. I call mine a tribe. Sometimes you cannot fix broken, sometimes you simply need to go find your people and love each other dearly. Go do that!
4. Heal your hurts, walk through your pain, deal with it. You aren’t going to die from pain, truly. There are helpers who will help you. Once you deal with your demons they can no longer hurt you. That is freeing. There are no words for this. Perhaps one, Joy… authentic joy comes from dealing with your shit.
5. Unapologetically chase your dreams and follow your heart. Society only knows what makes it happy, but you are unique and you have unique likes, dislikes, talents, and capabilities. Stop listening to the masses, stop listening to the blue print for life and start listening to your soul’s plans for life, you will be happier and more successful. _/\_
6. Do the right thing, always. Be of character, even if that takes baby steps to create. No one regrets standing in the light.
7. Give, love, laugh, teach, be kind… this world hurts, offer it a way to be better, and have a moment of comfort. Leave people better than you found them.
8. Not everyone is going to understand you, your struggle, your power, or who you are, it is not your job to out scream them, out smart them, or even out bully them, it is simply your job to be with them and if at all possible love them, but always remain you.
9. You cannot listen if you are talking or thinking about what to say next, nor can you take in what is being taught if your cup is full. So, if you already “know it all” please don’t bother you aren’t open to learning. 2+4=6 but so does 3+3 as does 1.9+ 4.1 …there are many ways of doing things. Be open.
10. You cannot pour out of an empty cup, self care is so uber important. You matter. Take care of yourself first and then the world.
These are my hard earned lessons. I offer them to you with love. Do with them as you see fit.

How I deal with anxiety

I think we all have moments of anxiety and feelings of overwhelm. However, some of us stay in that heightened state for longer periods of time than others. It is also easier for some of us to fall into an anxiety state. I spent many years on prescription anxiety medication and when those didn’t work I added vodka to the mix (this is NOT recommended at all!) . My panic attacks got so bad I didn’t leave my house for several months. It took years to fully detox from all the medications I was on and learn how to handle my anxiety instead of drown in it. I still have anxiety. I still have panic attacks, though not nearly as frequently. Here are some of the ways I have learned to handle this uncomfortable state.
1. Breathe…I have noticed one of the first things to go during anxiety episode is my breath. Deep belly breaths, alternate nostril breathing, and 4-4-4-4 breaths are all excellent ways to regain control of your breath, while adding much needed oxygen to your being. Kicking in your parasympathetic nervous system and getting yourself out of fight, flight, freeze is crucial in panic attacks.
2. H.A.L.T….(hungry, angry, lonely, tired) When I am tired, run down, or plain exhausted my mind starts to amp up. I can over-think everything and end up in a puddle of anxiety. When my heart starts pounding and those feelings of drowning start to encroach I run through H.A.L.T., many times my solution is found in one of those.
3. The 4 questions from Byron Katie…since overthinking is one of my major components to my anxiety I have found Byron Katie’s work to be super useful for gaining perspective. Her 4 questions are: Is it true? Are you absolutely sure that it is true? What happens when you believe that thought/response? Who would you be without that thought/response?
4. Journal…I journal everyday. I keep a gratitude journal, a worry list, a magick/meditation journal, and a free writing journal. Journalling gives me a place to express the chaos in my head and helps me get my words out. Often I find the root cause of my issues by simply allowing myself to purge all the thoughts in my head. My worry list has shown me that most of what I worry about never comes to fruition. My gratitude journal keeps my focus on where I want it to be. I can often find patterns in my free writing journal. All of these have been major tools for me over the years.
5. Move… For me movement is a way to release cortisol and adrenaline while boosting endorphines and gabba. Some of my favorite ways to move are yoga, qigong, walking in nature, and dancing at home. Taking the time to move helps put me back into my body and gets me out of my head.
6. Meditation..This is one of my go to tools. There are many ways to meditate, depending on what is happening will effect what kind of meditation I choose. Guided meditations have been especially calming to me in times of angst.
7. Phone a friend.. There are times I have run through all I know how to do for myself and when this occurs I reach out to a couple of people in my life. Sometimes a voice of reason and calm on the other end of the phone is what is needed. Both of my people understand me well and will start to ask questions walking me down a path until I have a new solution to try.

There is always a solution. Being proactive in uncomfortable situations helps me regain control faster. It also helps me identify the cause so I can actually resolve the real issue. There are many ways to deal with anxiety, the key is finding many tools that work for you. What have you found that helps you? What can you incorporate into your life? Shine bright my friends, you are worth it!