I Am Me
"The freckles on my face is the affirmation of my true beauty".
Acceptance of ones self is a pretty important quality to have in order to move forward in life, confident that you deserve and are entitled to all of the happiness the universe sends your way. I recent wrote an article that describes who I am, the things that bring me joy and the beautiful traits that I have that make me unique. Weather I'm accepted in certain social circles or not, my way of being is for me an no one else. The physical features that I have such as my freckles, may be looked at as flaws to some folks. For me, my freckles are what makes me stand out, makes me uniquely beautiful and confident. Don't get me wrong, there were times when I didn't like my freckles because of the comments and looks I would get. As I've grown, I've learned that the most important thing is that I appreciate and love myself.
My "I Am Me" article hit the Bad Yogi Magazine recently and you can check it out here. Please leave me a comment at the end of the article and tell me a little bit about yourself. What makes you unique? What makes you happy? What do you find most beautiful about yourself? We need to stop worrying about what others think of us and simply tap into our own confidence and know that we are stunning and should desire to be no one else other than ourselves. Shine bright my friends! #IAmME
Find your yoga curiosity!
Our community is full of some amazing folks who's passion is to help others design a happier, healthier life. "hello luminary" is a series of interviews with each of these amazing individuals. Get ready to to learn about and connect with our local luminaries.
Let me introduce you to Michelle Ruiz. She's the beautiful Yogi that started the Goddess Brunch. This purpose of the brunch is to give every women a chance to connect and brainstorm with other like-minded positive women in the community. The event includes fun activities, meditation, delicious food and a gentle yoga class led by Michelle, who might I add is a 500 hour Registered Yoga Teacher. I've known Michelle for a while now and I attended the very first Goddess Bruch that she and her fellow Yogi Stephanie Matos Hosted which was held at the beautiful Renaissance Hotel in Tampa Florida. If you want to get to know this beautiful goddess keep on reading.
1. Tell us about your career.
I am a full time yoga instructor & event planner residing in Tampa, Florida
2. How have you designed your life?
I am still designing my life every day but I do it by following my personal interests & listening to what those in my community are interested in and need most.
3. What was the last book you read or looking forward to reading?
I wish I carved out more time in my schedule for reading. The last book I read was " Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It " by Elizabeth Gilbert. It is a collective memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert. I read her prior book "Eat, Pray, Love" at a very transitional stage in my life . Reading her journey sparked the flame inside me that has a love of travel and more importantly, a love for chasing my dreams. I love reading true stories of women who took a leap of courage, stepped out of their comfort zones and decided to focus on themselves - doing this always leads to amazing adventures and life changing experiences!
4. What’s a normal day like for you?
My typical day starts off one of two ways: I either wake up at 7:30 / 8am to lead a private yoga session or I head to a local yoga session to deepen my personal practice. I then come home, make lunch, walk my dog and head to my computer to contact clients, plan workshops, book events or make phone calls for upcoming events. The day flies by! By 4:30pm, I cook dinner for my family and then prepare for my evening studio classes. I usually get home by 8:30-9:00pm. I answer any emails that I may have come in during the evening, pour a glass of wine and write in my journal about what a blessing the day has been. ( I admit - the wine and journaling happens about twice a week . I often come home, shower and hit the sheets! )
5. Share with us how you fought to build the life you currently lead?
I am still "fighting" to live the lifestyle I'm in. I used to work for tips / cash in the night industry and learning a new way of saving money was a big lesson for me. I go to the grocery store now with printed out coupons, I save up to get my hair done on special occassions, my house isn't as "posh" as it used to be, I barter my yoga sessions for massages/ pedicures etc - it takes a lot more work but it sure beats the 9-5 lifestyle! reach the current schedule / lifestyle that I lead was no easy feat. I owe a lot to my husband who works a 60 hour works week to provide stability, insurace and all the necessary basics to run a household. When we first married and I began my yoga business, I still had to bartend in the evenings to compensate for the bills. The double lifestyle and long hours were no joke! In this past year I was able to develop enough projects to quit my night job but we still have a long way to go. My goal is to double the holistic work that I am doing now and to keep growing! I want to remind everyone that you do NOT need a partner to grow your dream job. I firmly believe that when things are meant to be, they happen. It takes sacrifice, determination and heart. If it is meant to be - it WILL unfold. Don't give up.
6. Why did you create the Goddess Brunch?
I created the Goddess Brunch one night while I was sipping wine on my patio. I was scrolling through FaceBook and became overwhelmed with appreciation for all of the beautiful women that I see in our community fighting to develop their own business, change the world and share their gifts. I felt there was a lot of "competion" and separation in the social media world. I envisioned how beautiful & powerful it would be if we all put our ideas together and supported each other. A friend & fellow yogi Stephanie Matos had a similar vision for the Goddess Network . We put our ideas together on paper booked our first venue and watched our ideas come to life. We threw it out there as ONE brunch to bring together whoever was interested. It all happened pretty quick. It's neat to see how things evolve when you have two people with different strengths but same vision come together. Connections have been made, new busineeses started, friendships found. It's just awesome. It has now grown into a beautiful community.
7. How do you measure growth?
How do I measure growth? The Goddess Brunch was definitely started as a labor of love. With nothing more than intent at the beginning ( though a business plan is coming onto effect now) I consider growth to be : witnessing the friendships & partnerships that have developed through our online community. If we connected just ONE set of women to meet eachother and reach their dreams, then I consider our work done, but it continues to grow every day and that's what is os exciting about this journey that we are on.
8. What are some of the things you do at the beginning of your day?
At the beginning of my day - Before even opening my eyes, I lay in bed and list 3 things in my mind that I am grateful for. This has been a simple yet POWERFUL practice in my daily life. It sets a positive tone for the rest of the day. I will then either A ) drink some lemon water and hit the gym or yoga studio / online for a class or B) Make a hearty breakfast and hit my emails. For the past year - I was teaching classes in the mornings & evenings and I found that i was losing my personal practice. My resolution for 2017 was to keep mornings reserved for my personal well being and while it may have been a financial sacrifice, it has been the best decision I have made this year so far. You can't bring love into the world without loving yourself first.
9. What are some of the things you do to wrap up your day?
I drink wine & do laundry to wrap up my day :) I wish I took more time for epsom salt baths! On a rare occassion, those are healing & heavenly!
10. Who or what inspires you?
I really admire those who have developed a source of income through a laptop lifestyle. Bringing in income completely from my laptop is an ultimate goal! Though I know I will always have that human connection through my teaching, retreats & events , I really admire those who have found a way to follow their passions while being all over the globe. I travel now but I want to travel more and more ! Life is short , the world is small & I want to continue to take full advantage of this magnificant technology that we didn't have ten years ago. I want to learn as much as possible.
11. What does gratitude mean to you?
I love that you asked this. Gratitude is a mind set and it has completely changed my life. When you start to train your mind to be grateful - all the things that are "going wrong" disappear - the world is a happier, brighter place. There are not enough words for the practice of gratitude! My yoga practice has helped me get there. It's pretty simple though, whenever your mind tries to take you somewhere negative - just start listing all the things that you can be grateful for. It may just be the breeze outside or the sun shining in the window. We are here on this amazing planet and that alone is a precious miracle!
12. When traveling, is there a "must have" item that's always in your bag?
Ooooh must have item when traveling? I bring a generic yoga mat from Ross or TJ Maxx. Something you don't mind losing or getting dirty.It works wonders for stretching & napping in between flights. It is also a great excuse for some airport yoga pics :) If flying international, the N.A.P. Blanket from Brookstone is a must . So cozy and shapes around your body for a cacoon like sleep on the plane.
13. What makes you smile?
What makes me smile :So many things! my husband making jokes, my step daughter being a typical teenager, my puppy cuddling, being in the sunshine, being on a plane, waking up in a new city, experiencing a new fruit or new meal in a country far away, mimosas on the porch with house music and dancing with my friends xx Ooooooh Seeing women accomplish their goals and of course, online shopping.
14. Here’s your moment to do a “self shout-out”. Share with us anything you want us to know.
Thank you for the shout out! Join me for an ultra - lux, life changing trip to San Juan, PR for the Summer Solstice this year! All details can be found on http://www.MichelleRuizYoga.com/RETREATS To join my exclusive group of women in the Goddess Network - follow https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheGoddessNetwork/
My personal website is www.MichelleRuizYoga.com
Thank you Michelle Ruiz for sharing a little bit of your life with us and we look forward to hearing more about your Goddess Network and other projects. You are an amazing luminary!
Sometimes it's hard to make time for yoga. We put in our minds that we need to dedicate at least an hour doing yoga to call it a practice. If we simply use the time we have, be it a one minute, 10 minutes, 15 minutes or an hours, the body and mind will appreciate and adjust to the time spent. No mat needed, no fancy yoga clothes or yoga space. Right where you are is the perfect place and time. Try it!
I'd love to hear from you. After enjoying this video feel free to leave a comment, even if it's just to say "Hey"!
So, I recently had this crazy idea to reached out to the Co-Founder of Bad Yogi, Erin Motz. That right! Ms. Bad Yogi herself and asked her one simple question that I wanted to feature on my yoga blog. What do you typically do before and after filming your awesome Bad Yogi yoga classes? When this question came to me I didn't think that she would respond to me so quickly. Yes, I’m a Bad Yogi Ambassador and Yes, I’ve written an article on the Bad Yogi blog but Erin is one very busy and also funny person….seriously, check out to some of the bloopers she includes onside of her videos..HILARIOUS. Anyway, So why would she reply so quickly or even at all to my question? In my opinion, it’s because she cares about the Bad Yogi community and because she’s just that damn AWESOME. So, what was her response…? Well, just keep on reading…
Now for some reason I thought Erin had some process that she goes through before and after shooting that she always has to do in order to prepare herself. Like saying the same mantra over and over or making sure a glass of wine is waiting off camera read for her hand to take hold of in celebration of a completed day of filming. Nope, that wasn't it at all. Erin simply works with her team to make sure that the classes she provides weather on her website or on YouTube are “worthy of the BY Community”.
Erin you and your Bad Yogi Team are amazing and I want to THANK YOU for taking part in my blog post. To all of the yogis out there, make sure to check out the Bad Yogi website and join the I am Yoga Challenge which start January 2, 2017 .
Let's explore the joys of Chair Yoga! There are many different ways to practice and enjoy yoga. Enjoy this quick chair yoga flow in an outdoor space or in your favorite indoor space.
Yoga is becoming more and more popular. You can pretty much find a yoga class anywhere. You have yoga in the park, yoga with your pet, yoga & wine, yoga in an art museum, yoga in the pool…I can go on and on but I think you get my point. It’s great to have these options as you can discover which yoga class is right for you. With this new found discovery that yoga is everywhere, a new yogi will get super excited and want to try every yoga class that pops up. I know because the was me. You have to be a bit cautious new yogi, as yoga classes can be a little expensive. So here are a few ways you can explore yoga on a budget and save some cash.
Online Yoga. That's right my friends, you will find an abundance of FREE yoga classes on line. These classes can rang from 15mins - 1hour classes for zero $$. The online practice allows you to connect with different yoga instructors and styles in the comfort of your home or anywhere you can a WIFI connection. You're pretty much taking your yoga practice where ever you go. This is also a great way to get a few friends together and just practice some yoga. Just be a little caution here as a yoga teacher will not physically be in the room with you, ready to guide you into the correct form. Some yoga poses, if not done correctly can lead to some serious discomfort or injury. So, listen to your body.
This Yoga Class Is On Us! This offer is truly a gift my friends. A yoga home practice can get a little lonely and you long to be among your fellow yogis. I can’t tell you how many yoga classes I’ve attended at some of the most beautiful yoga studios where the vibe is so amazing and the cost to me was absolutely zero. Studios will invite you to see what they have to offer and enjoy a yoga class on the house. If you decide to come back to the studio to continue your practice thats great! You've found your yoga home. Now don't get me wrong. The owners of these yoga studios are running a business so you will get asked to join the studio as a member or purchase additional calls passes. If the price doesn't work for you then just kindly explain and chalk it up as an experience. Maybe sometime in the future you might be able to budget in the membership and you'll know exactly where to go. If your enjoyed your experience, consider showing some yoga love to the yoga studio by giving them a positive review and even suggest the studio to someone else.
Yoga Events. Withinyour community you may have the opportunity to enjoy a yoga event. I attended a really cool event earlier this year called Awakening Into the Sun. This event was totally free and gave me the option to enjoy a nice outdoor yoga & mediations session. Another event worth attending is Wanderlust. This event though not free offered Yoga, Meditation and a 5k run. It’s like a Triathlon for yogis!!! You experience 3 events for for the price of one. Yoga events often have various local business attending as well. These business often times give out free or discounted products and give you the opportunity to see what your community has to offer for health and wellness. This is like trick-or-treating for yogis!
Gym Membership. This is like a one stop shop option for your fitness needs. Most Fitness Clubs offer yoga at no additional cost. If you're enjoying Zumba, Spinning, RIPPED or any other fitness class at your gym, try checking out the schedule to find out if a yoga class is offered as well. No sense in paying a gym membership and then a separate membership for yoga. If your current Fitness Club is not offering a yoga class, find out why! Let the Management Team know that there’s a BIG whole in the current schedule which can only be fill with a yoga class.
Work for your yoga class. If you’re able to spend a little time helping to clean up the studio (and that includes the bathroom too) this may be an option for you to get in some free yoga classes. Doing a few jobs around the studio can be extremely helpful to the owner and a big opportunity for you to find a home for your yoga mat. emptying the trash, answering the phone, do some filing, clean the windows and helping to promote the studio all adds up to a free or discount price for you!
Donation Based Yoga Classes. Check out your community calendar and I’m sure you’ll find at least 5 donation based yoga class. Yoga studios may offer weekly or monthly yoga classes indoors or outdoors at no set cost. Other donation based classes are offered by Non-Profit Organization to raise money for a particular cause. This is like that feel good yoga. You donate what you can, help support a wonderful cause and enjoy the class. Don't forget to bring a friend, the more the merrier.
So there you have it. A few ways you can enjoy yoga on a budget.
Enjoy your practice
"I really don't have time for yoga". I've said this myself a time or two but when I actually ask myself "Do I have time for yoga"? My answer is acutally yes! This is why I started
10 Seconds of Yoga.
Picture this, you're standing at your bathroom sink brushing your teeth. You can use a little bit of that time for yoga by sliding the heel of your right foot just above your left ankle with your right knee facing toward the right side. Guess what, you're now in tree pose and doing yoga. How about this, your waiting for your coffee to brew and you stand tall, heart lifted, feet placed firmly on your kitchen floor, soft bend in your knees, arms at your side, palms facing out, chin neutral focusing on your breath. Guess what, you're in mountain pose and doing yoga. Maybe you're at the doctors office chill'n in the waiting room. You look over to find a yoga magazine. You begin flipping the pages allowing your eyes to feed knowledge to your brain. I call that one, yoga for your mind. If we recognize the moments it's easy to find at least 10 seconds for yoga. From there you can begin to lengthen the time and build a daily yoga practice.
The best part about 10 Seconds of Yoga is that you can incorporate different yoga activities into your daily life, like mindful breathing, meditating, setting an intention or flipping through a yoga magazine. The purpose is to get your mind and body to embrace yoga. From there, you'll begin to explore and build onto your practice.
So, lets find your 10 seconds....
I'm super lucky to have my new personal outdoor yoga space. I recently moved and it was a must to have an outdoor space that was a little bit bigger then what I had before. A space that would allow me to connect with nature and also enjoy my practice with my beautiful plants. The new space allows for additional room for a few friends to practice with me. I've also added to my outdoor studio a new item. A very tranquil water fountain! The fountain is positioned just to the right side of the space. A beautiful gift from a friend, this fountain also lights up! Night time yoga anyone? I love my new outdoor yoga space!
Having a home yoga practice starts with connecting with a space in your home that will allow you to feel energized, inspired and happy to step onto your mat. Your space can be indoors or outdoors. Weather you practice for 10 minutes or 60 minutes, make time to enjoy your practice.
Let the yoga shenanigan begin!
A spark from a positive thought can ignite a flame of good vibes. Then all you have to do is simply embrace the feeling.
Imagine yourself waking up in the morning from a kick ass good night sleep. No tossing or turning, your mind and body completely well rested. After going through your normal morning routine you decide to step onto your mat. You feel the excitement as you walk towards your mat. Feeling the energy of your yoga mat pulling at you. Your mind is at ease and your body refreshed Yogi. As you step on your mat you settle in. You become aware of your surrounding as you move your body around slowly. Then, without hesitation you begin your flow. Just like an MC walking up to the mic and bust’n out rhymes no one has heard of and energizing the crowd. Flowing in, transitioning to and flowing out of each pose like poetry your body excepts each movement. Each pose building on to the next to create a powerful and inspiring flow.
Your mind, body and spirit working together to create a beautiful flow that you’ve never experienced. Each movement of your flow representing it’s own meaning and reference to your life. The struggles, the success the and the uncertainties of life. The flow is honest. This flow is emotional. This flow is personal. At the end, your body drops down into Savasana like an MC drops the mic as if there’s nothing more to say. Allowing your body to sit still and appreciate what just happened. Can your yoga flow be that honest? Can you allow your body to naturally flow without hesitation? Allowing your body to accept what feels good. Can you flow like an MC? This could be the flow that sparks inspiration, love and gratitude to your life.
Fast or slow, enjoy your flow.
One of the most amazing benefits I’ve received as I travel to different yoga studios is the gift of connecting with other yogis. I’m often asked why do I share my visits and promote the yoga studios. What do I receive in return? I’ve actually received a lot! Experiencing different yoga classes, connecting and learning from other Yoga Teachers and students (yes, you can learn for the students too), receiving invitations to special events and building beautiful friendships. Yoga is about more than the asana or postures it’s a lifestyle of emotions, wellness and clarity. It’s an individual practice that anyone can begin. Most often those who are new to yoga may not know where or how to start.
So, back to the question. Why do I share my visits? I share my visits to promote the heck out of yoga! I want everyone to feel comfortable walking into a studio for the first time knowing that they will be welcomed with a smile, greeting with a hello and gifted a space to unroll their mat and enjoy a beautiful practice. A practice where you are the focus. Don't get me wrong, when you start practicing yoga it may not seem as easy as you thought but you should feel as if you belong. The first time I had to sit on my butt for several minutes in complete silence, eyes closed just listening to my breath I thought, “Oh my goodness, what the heck”! Sitting still was not easy for me nor was keeping my eyes closed. I was use to fast pace aerobics classes where the only time you stopped was when class was over…LOL.
I’ve truly enjoyed this opportunity of stepping into different yoga studios and connecting with such beautiful teachers and student. I’ve convinced a few friends to join me on some of these visits (Thank you Chris Wiegner) and I’ve also collected some beautiful yoga inspired jewelry. The YogaLove Project is about helping people find yoga in their community and exploring the practice. It’s about sharing yoga books, musics, mantras, events/workshops and I seriously can go on and on. This began with my own curiosity which has turned into a beautify journey.
Curiosity is a blessing ;-)
So you've seen all these awesome posts about how fun yoga can be, how healthy it is for your mind, body & spirit and how nature will become you best friend. Well before you dive into your new found adventure I'd like you to keep three things in mind as you begin.
Yoga is a life long journey.
If you're going to start it don't set a deadline for your self to perfect it. As you appreciate all the yoga post that lead you here, know that it takes time to learn how to get into and out of the asanas (poses) safely.
Explore the different styles of yoga.
Wait you thought is was just yoga? There are several different yoga practices and it may take you some time to figure out what style you feel most connected to. Iyengar, Hatha, Ashtanga or Vinyasa Yoga. This list goes on but this is actually the best part of beginning your yoga journey. Walking down the different paths of enlightening experiences, learning a new approach and meeting new people along the way. Simply allow yourself to be a sponge to learn and enjoy.
Allow yourself to always be a student.
Even those who have practice yoga for years still find the joy of being a student. Discovering a path they had not explored. Weather that path leads to a new book on the practice of yoga, an alternate way of meditating or some kick ass yoga pants that gets you fiercely excited about building your own yoga flow. Embrace being a student!
There's nothing better than being a yoga student! Here are a few silly things you could happen as you begin your journey.
1. You'll become a tea hoarder
2. You'll begin to realize that nature exists
3. Sanskrit becomes your new favorite language
4. Your yoga pants cost more than your cell phone bill
5. Posting yoga selfies on Instagram ever 10 minutes will take up most of your day
6. You"ll start using #yogaeverydamnday after ever selfie post
7. Getting tagged to random photos of animals in yoga poses
8. Once you reach handstand status you'll be considered a guru.
9. Your friends will ask you to teach them how to do a handstand 10. You'll find humor in listening to people misuse the word "Namaste" .
Enjoy being a student even if you're a teacher. Your yoga journey will be much more rewarding.