Happy Spring Playlist!

I love the newness that comes with spring. I love the sweet smell in the air, the flowers, and the hints of warm summer to come. It is indeed a time of rebirth, of new beginnings. The world has woken up from its winter grind with opportunities and potential blossoming everywhere.

One of my favorite quotes, is this classic on beginning: “Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!” The quote It was originally attributed to Goethe but is in fact actually a very loosely based translation from Faust. The actual source is less important than the fact that I have kept it written where I see it everyday to inspire me. It reminds me that each new beginning brings positive potential and transformative power. A great reminder as we start a fresh new spring season to stay open to new possibilities and take bold action towards our dreams.

What better way to motivate you towards all your goals than with a upbeat collection of music?? Here is my latest spotify music playlist to inspire you to live your spring to the fullest. Leave me a comment below if you enjoy it or if you have a song request for the next fun song round up!

Caroline’s Happy Spring Playlist 

This spring: be willing to explore new horizons, take risks, and try new things. Remember: Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it! Heres to you and the beginning of a bright new Spring season filled with positive potential. Cant wait to see how you GROW.

Be bold,

Caroline

Other Things To Check Out This Week:

How I got my Butt Back. A Surprising Yoga Injury Experience

Too much flexibility can lead to injury. Read this post to avoid a painful yoga injury, keep your butt muscles healthy, and keep your body free of pain from too much stretching.

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You can get an injury doing yoga? Surprisingly yes. Here’s my story about a Yoga Injury that taught me all about the dangers of too much flexibility and how I got my butt back.

As a dancer, the yoga studio always felt like home to me. It was a place I found community, got in touch with my body, relaxed my mind, and pressed the re-set button. From the very first sun salute, I loved it. I started practicing yoga in college at a local studio and took my love of yoga with me when I moved to San Francisco. The city is home to some of the best yoga in the WORLD, with studios that can see over 200 people per class and cult followings for specific teachers. Naturally I fell right into the scene and made yoga classes a part of my regular routine.  I would take class 1-3 times per week and often include postures in the morning and evening. Forward folds and hip openers were my favorite. I loved it, it was one of the most challenging and rewarding physical disciplines I had experienced.  I got stronger, I felt great, and my practice improved.  I felt like I had come home.

But after several years of yoga-euphoria, something changed. First my practice plateaued.  And then it started to hurt.

Although my  mind and spirit loved yoga, my body began to whisper some objections. I started to have hip pain and contributed it to tight muscles from my love of running, spinning, and group fitness. So I stopped all other activity and did only yoga thinking it would help. Yoga is the “safe” form of exercise right? The opposite happened. It got worse. Little did I know my love of forward folds and hip openers had chronically overstretched my hamstring tendons and forced me to lose contact with the  whole gluteus family: max, med, and min.  As I continued to stretch, my balance became worse, my hip ached more, and all of the wear and tear caught up to me in my daily activities (even sitting was a pain in the BUTT).

For the longest time I didn’t want to be honest. I didn’t want to believe that my yoga practice was the culprit. I wasn’t ready to admit that I didn’t know how to fix it or how to practice any differently. But after 6 months I couldn’t do anything else, so learning and changing had to happen if I wanted to re-unite with the mat.

I finally chose to listen to my body and ask for help, I sent myself to a team physical therapists and a strength coach. In muscle “rehab” I learned all about over stretching and was surprised to learn how common it is a problem (especially for women, dancers, and flexible yoga folks). Physical therapists are seeing more patients with chronic hip, hamstring, and lower back problems. Excessive flexibility and weak stabilizing muscles are often the key factors leading to these injuries. I was still in dis-belief, I was never able to do the splits or any crazy pretzel postures, and had a hard time thinking of myself as “excessively flexible”. BUT I was overly flexible for MY body and years of “lengthening” through yoga and dance had weakened my muscles to the point of not functioning. It was like my hamstrings had become a rubber band that over time had lost elasticity. They were no longer responsive to the demands of movement, and their loose-ness caused me pain.

Now I want to be clear that there is nothing wrong with yoga.  It’s simply that yoga – like any repetitive physical activity  done over time – will dole out specific stimulation and specific wear and tear if it’s the only exercise that you do.  And every body is different, we all have weak links that must be addressed for better, pain free movement.  My yoga practice had created some weak links – If I wanted to really take care of my body, then I needed to make a change. And what my body needed more of was STRENGTH.

My rehab involved getting on the weight room floor and reuniting with my hips, glutes, hamstrings, and core. I  needed to restore the power in my muscles to stabilize my joints.  While yoga involves some bodyweight strength postures, it is not enough to balance out the muscles. To build real-world strength, you have to use real-world resistance.  I worked with a coach. I did squats. I deadlifted. I swung kettle bells.  My heart ached for yoga, but I worked to find my flow with the weights. The cross-training was what healed my injury and gave me the stability to eventually return to yoga without pain.

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Working with weights has allowed me to build strength, bolster muscle awareness, and return to a pain free body. Now my goal is integrated movement, to work from a place of  equal amounts of flexibility and strength. I have learned that flexibility without strength is out of balance, and strength without flexibility is too.  Adding resistance training to my weekly routine has been a revelation. My body feels good. I have an ease of movement I’ve never had before. Best of all, I have reclaimed and retrained my BUTT muscle, which gives me the power to make everything better 🙂

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strength training to avoid injury

Three years later I am happy to say I am able to do all the activities I love with ease, gratitude, and joy. I’ve returned to my yoga practice with a great deal of humility.  I use props, bend my knees, and do a lot of standing poses.  I no longer sink into every posture, I practice with my mind awake and my ears wide open.

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Avoid painful yoga injury!

And wouldn’t you know: yoga still has some surprises up its sleeve. Even though I’m returning to essentially same practice I left, my body feels radically different.  Hamstrings are happy, low back is happy, and I continue to learn new things every day on the mat.

I wanted to share this story with you incase you are struggling with pain too. It took me 6 months to figure out why my hip hurt. I am thankful I had physical therapists, coaches, and teachers who helped enlighten me to my body’s unique structure. Everybody is different. Don’t ignore what you need or follow a cookie cutter approach – find OUT. Listen to your body and never stop learning how to take care of yourself. It’s an ongoing process but when you build body awareness, listen, and respect what you hear you can nurture your body for the rest of your life.

Are you a dancer, yogi, woman, or mover who has struggled with pain from being too bendy or needing stability? Leave your story as a comment below, Id love to hear from you. And please feel free to pass this post along to others, I know I would have LOVED having access to this information when I couldn’t figure out the cause of my pain. For more literature on Over-Stretching and Yoga Injury, check out these articles:

Moral of the story : LISTEN to your body and move with intention, respect, and love. After all, its the only body you’ve got. Take care of it and enjoy movement for the rest of your life.

With lots of love,

Caroline

DISCLAIMER: This post is my own personal experience and research on yoga and stretching related injuries. If you suspect you have an injury please seek advice and care from your doctor. Here to support you in living pain free in any way possible 🙂 Since writing this article I have received many emails and comments from others who have dealt with yoga injury or pain from too much stretching . I am here to support you in any way I can in finding pain free movement and taking care of your body. I hope my story serves you in living well and having healthy muscles.

Want to build a balanced body? Check out my book, Balanced Body Breakthrough and get your mind, body, and spirit in great shape so you can love your life.

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How to Get Lucky

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Luck.

Some have it. Some dont. Some of us use four leaf clovers trying to get it. And some of us don’t believe in it.

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word luck means “a force that brings good fortune or adversity; the events or circumstances that operate for or against and individual; or a favoring chance.” Im one to believe that the “force” that brings good luck into your life could be YOU. Many people have studied luck to investigate if it’s self-created or just for the lucky. Psychologist Richard Wiseman, a professor at the University of Hertfordshire in the U.K., did a 10-year study of 400 men and women who considered themselves either extremely lucky or extremely unlucky. He found that lucky people might seem to get all the breaks, but it’s not because they lead magically charmed lives. It’s because they “generate their own good fortune.” Their luck comes from their attitude and behavior—more specifically, their positive thinking and positive actions. Wiseman also discovered that it’s possible to change your luck. When he trained the unlucky people to act and think positive, like the lucky ones, they noticed results within a month: They were happier and had more good things happen for them.

Is Wiseman right? Is luck just something you are born with or can you grow your own garden of four leaf clovers? Here are my thoughts on how to “get lucky” in your life.

How to Get Lucky.

Think Positive. Having a positive outlook on life is a must if you want to become a luckier person. When you dwell on the negative events in your life, you will experience only the negative.  But when you concentrate on positive events, you will begin to feel much happier and luckier. The world is often a mirror of ourselves. By keeping a positive attitude most people will react to you in a similar manner. When you keep a positive attitude towards other people they will be more positive towards you and offer you far more opportunities and help than if you keep a negative attitude. Positive thinking allows you to see the silver lining and create stronger relationships with others who can help you towards your goals.

Don’t wait for your dreams. CHASE them. Don’t wait for opportunities to fall into your lap. Go out and proactively seek the solutions and opportunities you need. Sure what you want might fall into your lap some time in the future. But you if you are proactive then you can find some of them today. Don’t waste any time. Get out there.

Work Hard. The harder you work, the luckier you will become.  Stop waiting around for things to work out on their own. If you want good luck in your life, you’ve got to be willing to give it 100% every day.  No slacking off!  Take some advice from one of America’s most influential founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson,   “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” Achieving your goals and dreams can be a lot of work – and you are worth all of it.  Be ready to put in some sweat.

Focus on your Long Term Goals – not how you get there. Plans can and will change. But long term goals don’t.  Happy marriage, talented kids, meaningful work and a successful career – these usually remain constant but how we get there can change over time. Success is never a straight line but a path full of curves and side roads.  If you can learn to zig zag your  way through and swim in uncharted waters, you will be successful.

Surround yourself with positive people. Surround yourself with positive people who lift you up and support you towards your goals. Energy is contagious and you will catch the vibes of those around you whether its positive or negative. Make sure you hang with people who spread feel good energy instead of toxicity!

Keep an open mind. Being open to new people, places, or things. You never know when a chance meeting or new experience could lead to getting lucky.

Take risks and Try NEW things! “If you want more luck, take more chances. Be more active. Show up more often.” If you want more luck, mix it up.  Unlucky people tend to be creatures of habit.  They take the same route to and from work every single day, talk to the same types of people at social functions, and live out the same routine day in and day out.  In contrast, lucky people try to introduce variety into their lives.  They are adventurous.  They take calculated risks.  They are consistently taking action in the face of uncertainty. When you take small risks, either you succeed or you learn something.  Win-Win.  Take the leap even when you can’t see every last detail coming over the horizon.  Remember, if you never act, you will never know for sure, and you will be left standing in the same unlucky spot forever.

Trust Your Gut. Lucky people make effective decisions by listening to their intuition and gut feelings. They take steps to actively boost their intuitive abilities like meditating , journaling, and clearing their mind of other thoughts. When you take time to listen to yourself, its easier to hear what your gut is saying. Practice tuning in and trusting your intuitive thoughts.

Help Others. It’s impossible to help someone else and not get a little help for yourself in the process. The old saying “what goes around comes around” is definitely true in all walks of life, and it comes around when you least expect it.  In life, you get what you put in.  Remember, luck often comes in the form of help when you need it most, and the best way to ‘grease the rails’ for help when you’ll eventually need it is by helping others right now. When you help others, don’t expect something in return.  Just enjoy the experience of helping that person and building a stronger personal relationship.  That stronger relationship will likely be there for you in your moments of challenge.

Look for the opportunity in adversity. You make your own luck when you look at adversity as a source of opportunity. In this world, life cannot hand you a negative moment without a positive lesson hidden deep inside. This isn’t to say that you should be in denial when negative moments happen. But when you can look beyond the negative and see the positive in every challenge, that’s the beginning of a lucky moment. Lucky people employ various  techniques to cope with, and often even thrive upon, the ill fortune that comes their way. Don’t let life’s challenges bring out the stress in you, let them bring out the BEST in you.

Make the Best of The Hand Your Dealt. There are many things in life that our out of our control, but there are also many, many things we can do to make the most of the life we’ve been given. We’re all uniquely awesome and we all have the ability to do amazing things. Sometimes it can be hard to remember this (especially when we’re feeling down in the dumps), but we really do all have the ability to make our own luck. Some of us have a lot more to overcome than others, but we all have the ability to work hard and seek out opportunities. Making your own luck is difficult; it’s much easier to sit back and hope luck comes your way, but if you don’t go out there and go after it, you could spend your whole life waiting.

BELIEVE in yourself. This is not arrogance, its the secret to success. You must believe in yourself in order to create the life you want. In all walks of life, positive beliefs have the power to become self-fulfilling prophecies. Lucky people believe they CAN be successful. Live each day believing in yourself and in your ability to be successful, and over time you will be.

Do you think luck is something you are born with or something you create? To me, luck is so much more than a four-leaf clover or a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Luck is something we can act on, something we can create, and even something we can share with others. Luck is so many things and it can even be something that’s unique for everyone. Even if we never fully understand luck there is one thing I know for sure: If you followed all the tips above your life would be lucky and blessed.

May the road rise to meet you,

Caroline

Other Fun Saint Patrick’s Day Posts:

The Positive Thought Diet.

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Have you been eating too many negative thoughts lately?? Are they causing you to feel defeated, tired, stressed, upset, or unhappy? Are they creating adverse reactions like overeating, random acts of anger, apathy, sleeplessness, or lack of interest in your life? Why do you keep eating them if they make you feel SICK??

Studies have shown that 75% to 95% of the illnesses that plague us today are a direct result of our thoughts. We know that what we think about affects us physically and emotionally and the average person has over 30,000 thoughts a day. If most of those 30,000 daily thoughts are negative or fearful, that’s like eating poison!

Research shows that fear, all on its own, triggers more than 1,400 known physical and chemical responses and activates more than 30 different hormones. Toxic waste generated by toxic thoughts causes the following illnesses: diabetes, cancer, asthma, skin problems and allergies to name just a few. And you know it’s true: Negative self-talk is limiting, crippling and harmful. Your words and thoughts carry the toxic energies of fear, shame, criticism, judgment, fear, blame, and doubt. As a result, you feel depressed, depleted and dispirited….. and well…. not in love with your life.

I believe the only diet you ever need to be on is a positive thought diet. Detox your mind from thoughts that make you feel sick and take away your ability to fully enjoy your life. Take out the trash talk and your life will eventually clean up the way you want. No one is perfect, we all struggle with this. But simply building an awareness over the thoughts that control your life can help you be more mindful over the thoughts you choose to cultivate. You mind is a garden, your thoughts are the seeds : you can grow flowers or you can grow weeds. Want to get rid of the weeds and grow flowers instead? ?? Get on the positive thought diet. 110% results guaranteed.  Here’s how :

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Time to cook up some positive!

Detox your life! Caroline’s positive thought diet. I eat positive for breakfast!!

  • Clean out the criticism cabinet. Look in your head cabinet and clean out all criticism! Criticism never changes a thing. Refuse to criticize yourself, throw all the trash talk in the TRASH. Accept yourself exactly as you are. Everybody changes. When you criticize yourself, your changes are negative. When you approve of yourself, your changes are positive.
  • Feed yourself forgiveness on a weekly basis. Let the past go. You did the best you could at the time with the understanding, awareness, and knowledge that you had. Now you are growing and changing, and you will live life differently. Its a process! Forgive regularly and keep moving forward.
  • Don’t believe scary, false packaging. Stop scaring yourself with fearful, terrorizing thoughts. It’s an awful way to live. Remember FEAR stands for “False Evidence Appearing Real”. Have any of your fears EVER come true? Yea I thought so. Don’t waste your life spending time hanging out with your fearful thoughts. Acknowledge them and call them out. Then throw them in the trash along with the self criticism and take it OUT.
  • Marinate the mind with positive juices. Our mind is a sponge. It absorbs almost everything it encounters. From the negative comment a work colleague made a year ago to some awful things we heard on the news, we can’t but help internalizing all the things our senses pick up. Sadly there is a LOT of negative out there in the world. Positive thinking isn’t about ignoring the negative, its about overcoming it. And to do this, you must marinate the mind with positive influences on a daily basis. From surrounding yourself with positive people, reading inspirational blogs, or watching TED talks, do what it takes to be more proactive about what you put into your mind rather than just allow others to influence it. Regularly putting positive things (words, messages, conversations, stories, pictures, etc.) into the mind will help you overcome the negative influences of the world with optimism.
  • Take a daily dose of gentleness morning, noon, and night. Be gentle with yourself. Be kind to yourself. Be patient with yourself as you learn how to follow the positive diet and eat new ways of thinking. Treat yourself as you would someone you really loved. Feed yourself with compassion and care regularly throughout your day.
  • Be Kind to Your Mind at all Meals. Self-hatred is only hating your own thoughts. Don’t hate yourself for having the thoughts. We are all human – we ALL struggle with this! Gently change your thoughts and be kind to yourself in the process.
  • Dish out meals on plates of praise. Criticism breaks down the inner spirit. Praise builds it up. Praise yourself as much as you can – at every meal and snack. Tell yourself how well you are doing with every little thing. Celebrate your progress.
  • Serve yourself with support. Find ways to support yourself at every opportunity. Reach out to friends and allow them to help you. Set boundaries and honor your commitments to yourself. Strong means practicing self care,  asking for help when you need it, and finding ways to support yourself towards living the life you want.
  • Learn everything you can about positive life fueling. Don’t let the positive diet be a quick fix or fad in your life. Learn everything you can about living your best life and KEEP learning! Learn about nutrition. What kind of fuel does your body need in order to have optimum energy and vitality? Learn about exercise. What kind of exercise do you enjoy? Learn about self-care. What do you need to feel balanced and well? Cherish and revere the body and soul you were blessed to live in and never stop.
  • Sip on self-love 24-7. Don’t wait until you get well, or lose the weight, or get the new job, or find the new relationship. Begin now—and do the best you can. I have found that there is only one thing that heals every problem, and that is: to love yourself. When people start to love themselves more each day, it’s amazing how their lives get better. They feel better. They get the jobs they want. They have the money they need. Their relationships either improve, or the negative ones dissolve and new ones begin. Loving yourself is a lifetime of learning and practice – you get better at it but you never stop practicing. Just like a muscle you work out in the gym if you don’t use it you will lose it. And just like drinking water, self-love is key for flourishing in life. Start now. Drink it it up!

Watch the thoughts you are feeding yourself. You cant live a happy, healthy life with an unhappy, unhealthy mind. Happiness and health is an inside out process and I believe that by following the positive thought diet you will THINK WELL, live well, and be well in your life.

Have you struggled with negative thoughts that have hurt your health? Whats one thing you ate that helped? 😉 If you liked this post or found it useful in your life, please share it with your friends on Facebookpinteresttwitter, or email. Id love to help others eat the positive diet too 😉 Thanks for all your support and till next time, keep smiling.

Caroline

Other Things To Check Out This Week:

Growing Overnight Oatmeal Recipe.

I am a creature of habit. I have almost the same thing for breakfast every morning. Sure I mix it up every so often, especially when I am with my family at our home in Davis where our pet chicken’s eggs make breakfast AMAZING…..

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But most of the time its the same thing: Oatmeal. Its filling, nourishing, and just really makes me happy. I mix up the toppings often to keep things interesting. Typically I make my oatmeal the night before so it is ready to go in the morning for an easy, fast, and delicious breakfast. For me, breakfast has become an essential and special part of my day. Its a moment to pause before the craziness of the day begins and nourish myself. I don’t know if it’s the oatmeal or simply taking time out of the morning to relax, but breakfast has a magic in it. Won’t you join me for a bowl of goodness? Read on for my very special overnight growing oatmeal.

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Growing Overnight Oatmeal Recipe (serves 1 happy breakfast babe)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup Bob’s Red Mill Extra Thick Gluten Free Oats
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds (Chia seeds absorb water or milk, so they’re a great way to thicken up a bowl of oatmeal while also adding some filling fiber. Not only that but they are a nutritional POWER house offering essential fatty acids alpha-linolenic and linoleic acid, mucin, strontium, 30% protein, Vitamins A, B, E, and D, and minerals including calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur, iron, iodine, copper, zinc, sodium, magnesium, manganese, niacin, thiamine, silicon, and anti-oxidants. WOA thats a whole lotta goodness! I buy mine from the bulk section at Whole Foods Market. An easy way to add some oomph to oatmeal 🙂
  • 1 1/2 cups water or milk of choice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • preferred sweetener (I use Nunaturals brand)
  • add-ins of choice

Place your oats and salt in a large pot with the liquid of choice. (You can use all water, but it’s MUCH creamier with milk. Often I use a combination of water and almond milk.) Bring water to a boil and simmer for 1 and 1/2 minutes. Turn off stove and add your chia seed. Stir, seal the lid of the pot, and then allow to sit and cook overnight. When you jump out of bed in the morning, the oatmeal will magically be thick and ready for your favorite add-ins! Its really amazing how much it grows overnight. Sometimes I even add another 1/2 cup liquid and heat it up a bit in the morning for a softer, warmer bowl of oats.

If you don’t want to wait overnight for the oats to grow, try the same recipe, cooking for 12-15 minutes stirring often. This should bring you to a very thick and creamy,bowl of oatmeal. Now for the fun part…. TOPPINGS!

Favorite oatmeal toppings:

  • fresh fruit – could go bankrupt on berries at Whole Foods
  • dried fruit: raisins, figs, apricots
  • nuts: pecans, almonds, walnuts
  • seeds: sunflower, pumpkin
  • dried coconut
  • Jam (when I had my wisdom teeth pulled and couldn’t eat solids, jam became an oatmeal favorite)
  • cinnamon
  • almond or vanilla extract
  • freeze dried fruit. Natures All is my favorite brand. I like all their flavors, but the mango is surprisingly addictive.
  • Vanilla protein powder: sun warrior, jay rob, or natural factors from whole foods market.

After all is said and done, eat, enjoy, and smile a ton!

What is your go-to morning meal? Any favorite oatmeal combinations to share? Leave a comment below, I can’t wait to try one of your favorite oatmeal combos. And as always if you liked this post, please share with your friends on Facebook, twitter, or email. That way we can all share a universal bowl of oatmeal together 🙂

Till next time, keep smiling,

Caroline

Want to build a balanced body? Check out my book, Balanced Body Breakthrough and get your mind, body, and spirit in great shape so you can love your life.

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