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Speak Up: How to Communicate Better

Speak Up: How to Communicate Better

Do you know those things that make you sweat? The things that make you feel anxious? The ones that make you want to apologize when you didn’t even do anything wrong? Well, that is how I feel when it comes to verbal communication.

Communication has never been a strength of mine. Well, let me rephrase that–verbally communicating how I feel and what I need has never been easy for me. My brain was wired to devalue my feelings and needs and overvalue another. It was a learned behavior that I needed to learn how to harness. 

Courage to Communicate

I remember distinctly the first time I verbally voiced what I needed to my husband. 

My husband and I were sitting on the couch one night after he had gotten home from work. I knew that walking, yoga and physical activity helped me manage my anxiety and could feel my anxiety slowly creeping up. I wanted to go for a walk by myself to breathe, take a time out from the kids, and relax. However, with two small kids at home and a husband that was working a very physical job, I felt that his happiness and relaxation were more important than mine. Asking for a “break” made me feel guilty. 

However, at that moment, I knew exactly what I needed and I needed it so badly I had no choice. I swallowed my fear and verbally communicated to my husband that I needed to go for a walk. I paused. And waited. Brian, my husband, said, “Go, hun. I’m good”  without flinching. I felt an immediate sense of relief at that moment. 

This may not seem like a big deal to some but for me, it was a milestone. That moment where I voiced my needs and wants set a solid foundation for my future. Today, I am able to voice bigger things like my views on parenting, life, and business. It’s also led me to now be able to agree to disagree, be okay with someone not liking what I have to say, and setting time for myself and not feel like I have to ask for permission. 

Learning How to Listen

About ten years into recovery, I discovered that I didn’t know how to effectively communicate. I also learned that how well you listen has a major impact on the quality of your relationships with others.

I didn’t know how to listen. I was continually projecting what I thought others were thinking and saying before they even finished talking. With that, I was actually preparing for a rebuttal and would instantly shut down or bark back the moment I would receive a response that I didn’t like. 

I had to relearn how to listen.  

Even though listening may ‘sound’ easy, listening well is a gift that not everyone has. Improving your ability to listen well will enable you to assess situations with more clarity and gain insight into other people, their opinions and the overall circumstances of an event. Listening well can prevent you from misreading a situation and making mistakes –like I was doing. 

Make Your Voice Heard

I decided somewhere along my journey, with the help of the yoga I know, meditation, and fully embracing the love of those around me to press on. To keep voicing up. To keep asking those uncomfortable questions. To say what I need to say.

Speak up, friend. You deserve to speak. You have something valuable to say and your voice matters.

And each time it will only get better. Each time you voice up and choose to communicate instead of hold it in, you will get better at it. Each time you ask that uncomfortable question it feels less uncomfortable. Each time you will get more precise at what you need to say and how you need to say it.

Clear Communication

Work in Progress

I have learned time and time again in life and business that it is MY responsibility to ask questions, inquire, and do research if needed. This practice, in a sense, is putting myself first, and at the same time putting the other person first as well, because now communication is open. My advice, start with safe people. Start in safe environments and with small less scary things to communicate. For me, it was wanting to go for a walk. For you it may be voicing that you want Mexican food tonight instead of just saying “I don’t care”. 

Full disclosure, doing these things is super hard for me. Still, I’ve discovered that time and time again; I am continually putting others’ well-being, happiness, comfort, and satisfaction above mine. And I am so grateful I have developed an ever-growing toolbox to help me build up these muscles in my life and business.

Let me help you get rid of stress so you can press on to the next phase of your life.

Check out my blog: 3 Yoga Poses to Banish Stress Instantly

3 Easy Poses to Instantly Banish Stress

3 Easy Poses to Instantly Banish Stress

Stress can be overwhelming and even debilitating. It can cause headaches, muscle tension, difficulty sleeping, and irritability. Obviously, we all know that stress isn’t good for us physically or mentally. So, how do we banish stress in our every day lives?

As a yoga teacher, I encourage others to live a life where they can stay grounded, focused, balanced, and content. Yoga has helped me a great deal with handling stress and the side effects of stress. It helps to relieve tension by keeping me focused on my breath rather than all the thoughts racing through my heads.

Whether you are at home, work, or somewhere in between, yoga is a great way to find stress relief. So, to help you on your journey of finding ways to banish stress, here are three of my favorite yoga poses.

3 Poses to Banish Stress Instantly

Devotional Pose 

Devotional Pose

Devotional Pose

This pose is such a surrender for me. When I go here, I instantly let go. As I work to widen my knees slowly, I feel relief to feel such space (even if it doesn’t look like it). The freedom of my body letting go into the safety of the floor for a few minutes is all I need to feel a bit more like myself.

Legs Up With Support Pose

Legs Up With Support Pose

Legs Up With Support Pose

This pose is a go-to to help relieve the physical, emotional, and mental symptoms of stress. The feeling of my sacrum flat to the hard floor and my spine realigning without the burden of gravity is genuinely liberating. This pose allows me to let go. I totally give in to the fact that, at that moment, I am only human and not superwoman. What often starts as just a minute on my mat quickly ends up as ten, and trust me, you won’t be complaining.

Seated Forward Bend Pose

Seated Forward Bend Pose

Seated Forward Bend Pose

This pose is often used in yoga therapy to help manage depression. It is also known to soothe headache and anxiety and reduce fatigue. The feeling of bending forward eases the mind. My warm breath against my thighs brings me full circle to the simplicity that I am okay the way I am.

Be gentle to yourself so that life can be gentle back to you. Never force yourself into a forward bend, especially when sitting on the floor. With each inhalation, lift and lengthen the front torso just slightly, with each exhalation release a little more fully into the forward bend. If you are new to this pose, it helps to hold a strap around the feel. If you are incredibly tight, place a rolled-up blanket under your knees for added support. The more you relax in this pose, the more naturally your body will open up. 

You Are Worth It

Making things drawn out and complicated only stresses us out more. Don’t overthink it. Sometimes you don’t have the time or the mental discipline to hop onto your mat, and that is okay. I get it. However, what I have discovered is that if you do make the time for yourself, you will see how yoga can help you physically, mentally, and emotionally. You are worth it and you owe it to yourself to make time for you.

And if you want to get professional, inspiring, functionally-safe classes all in the comfort and privacy of your own home. You must check out my online studio. No travel, no hassle, no sitters, and no fuss. This is not your typical yoga or fitness studio–it’s a fresh approach that I know you will enjoy. 

Hope Zvara Mindful Movement Online Studio

 

If you are experiencing stress right now, here are some other helpful resources:

Meditations for Stress Relief

Mindful Ways to Reduce Stress

Navigating Stress In Life

 

Thanks and Giving Beyond Thanksgiving

Thanks and Giving Beyond Thanksgiving

Today I was up at 5:20am and was ready to teach yoga and meditation at 6am. I’ve been getting up early to teach on Thanksgiving morning for twelve years now. And I have a confession to make. Yesterday I didn’t want to go. I had only three people signed up and had a bit of a “if no one wants to come, then I’m not going attitude”.

But I woke up even before my alarm, slipped out of the house unnoticed and was thankful for the ability to do so. And would you believe it, the moment my feet met the mat, as usual, I get the necessary reality check that today’s yoga isn’t about me. It’s about being thankful for those that are willing to get up at 5:30am and practice alongside me. And the ability for me to be able to facilitate such an experience and all that goes with it.

This year was all about meaning for me. All about the memories and moments that make the memories. For most of my adult life I have been chasing, hustling, running, and pushing. All with good reason, all towards a goal. But this year I started to say no, so I could say YES to the things that I want and was doing all that chasing for. So this year I stopped doing that.

Yesterday I closed the studio for evening class. I didn’t work yesterday really at all. I went to my kids school play. I baked gluten-free, dairy free pumpkin pies, I chopped vegetables with my three year old son for a roasted root vegetable dish. And I enjoyed a relaxing evening at my in laws house for Thanksgiving round one.

Previous years I would have been working, worrying about Black Friday deals for my business, teaching Wednesday night for a few if any students to attend and missing almost all of the family time I so deeply enjoy.

Giving (unhealthy) things up

I’m beginning to believe that giving things up, things that do not best serve you or others does allow you to give more in the right ways. Possibly new ways.

And after a great yoga class, I went home, and at the last second decided to lace up and go to the Turkey Trot a student of mine puts on at Pike Lake each year, except this year I took my oldest son Harper with. The old, rushed, overworked, emotionally depleted me would have never gone. I would have allowed myself to feel too out of place to go. But this year I went.

I got outdoor time I much need, movement/exercise time that helps keep me sane AND time with my son doing something healthy and made a memory in the process. Pulling out of the parking lot my ten year old was smiling, chatting with me about how when he goes back to school on Monday and is asked what he did for Thanksgiving, how he’s going to say he ran 3.5 miles. I could have cried.

Pike Lake Turkey Trot

I know it doesn’t seem like much. But everything you just read are all things I have always wanted to do, but chose not to (it’s not that I couldn’t I wasn’t willing to) choose them.

Today I am grateful and thankful for where I have been and where I am now. And today has always been to me a day of giving thanks and gratitude. Giving love and spreading cheer.

Today be happy. On our run today, everyone we passed I said “hello, Happy Thanksgiving!” Because I was really happy and thankful. I really truly was.

Giving thanks (year-round)

Today ask yourself how can you best spread thanks and giving? How can you be at your best to help others do so. Because that’s the thing. You shouldn’t have to deny yourself of everything to be great. To be kind, to have and share a purpose, to remember what this day is really, truly about.

If you are reading this blog, it’s Thanksgiving or not. Spread Thanks AND Giving to all you meet. And mean it! Truly mean it! Leave before you get bitter, grouchy or angry. And put others first in a way that you can shine your light best. Go beyond. It doesn’t have to be complicated or boastful. Just be better than you were yesterday in a way that truly gives and receives gratitude.

I promise in doing so you will receive the benefit of it ten times over.

Today, I am going to two more Thanksgivings. Why? Because I want to. I want to be there, my family chooses to do this. It’s not just about me today, it’s about me being myself, sharing my love and doing it with others. Others that I love, respect and care to spend time with.

I hope you do the same!

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

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