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Love is in the air for February. But what about in your daily life? Love is a great healing power in the yogic world, but not always realized or practiced off the yoga mat.
There are many ways to experience, to share, to learn love. Yoga can help you appreciate it practically and meaningfully, every day. Begin with yourself. This starts with engaging in learning patterns of your mind and cultivating new positive ways of being. Begin with a loving-kindness meditation, called Metta Bhavana.
Meditation stems from prolonged or deep concentration, which in the Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga, is referred to as “Dhyana.” It is not simply a thing to do, but something that you allow to happen to you and that you allow to feel. Meditation is a state of mind, and it cannot be controlled. Allow awareness to help transform your mind: this is mindfulness.
Below is my Fit2bWell adapted guide inspired by my favorite readings to help bring Metta Bhavana into your daily practice. This is a reflection of my love for life to help ignite your unconditional love for yourself, and may you spread this power to all around you.
1.) Sit comfortably
2.) Close your eyes
3.) Reflect on your own goodness by thinking of a time when you showed kindness, compassion to others. Bring attention to one of your strengths that you appreciate. Smile.
4.) Take a deep breath and notice how you feel. Really notice.
5.) Begin to repeat these phrases, loud enough for you to hear the words:
· May I be safe from inner and outer harm
· May I be happy and peaceful
· May I be healthy and strong
· May I be able to take care of myself with joy
6.) Take another deep breath and notice how you feel. Yes, again. Really notice
7.) Repeat as often as you feel. It may be different each time. Say it with authenticity.
Practice is the key. There is no magic. There is no destination for completion. Let the love sink in. You might get bored, or feel undeserved at times, but don’t give up. Everyone deserves self-love to receive never-ending love. You don’t need a month, a day, or an expensive gift, to remind you the importance of that. You are worth it.
“In the end these things matter most: How well did you love? How fully did you live? How deeply did you let go?”.” – Gautama Buddha
“Live passionately and don’t hold back” ~ Anonymous
I began my yoga journey through competitive racing in marathons and triathlons around 2003. I have always been an athlete, from basketball to cheerleading, and have had passion in fitness and health. I used yoga and endurance racing to cope with stress and to keep healthy during medical school and residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. As my clinical experience grew in medicine, I sought to use yoga and other mind/body exercises such as TRX, Hoopnotica Flow, Pilates, Cirque Fit, and Barre as modalities to not only keep people fit, but well. I later became board-certified to practice Integrative and Holistic Medicine. I am an experienced registered yoga teacher through Yoga Alliance and received training primarily in an Anusara inspired/Alignment-based yoga program. I also took courses in PiYo, Thai Yoga Massage, Iyengar, Restorative, Aerial Yoga and Acroyoga to add to my breadth of other fitness trainings in pilates, pilates reformer, barre, and spinning. I practice various forms of yoga outside of Anusara including Baptiste Power vinyasa, Acroyoga and Bikram. I even took focused trainings at Duke Integrative Medicine Center and at Kripalu Center for Health so that I can teach yoga and chair yoga to seniors and yoga for scoliosis. I have had the pleasure to attend trainings with esteemed teachers such as Simon Park, Seane Corne, Sianna Sherman, Jason Magness, Chelsea Magness, Elise Browning Miller, Lux Sternstein and Jason Nemer. In 2013, I became a Lululemon yoga and health ambassador.
“Be the change you want to see in the world” ~ Mahatma Ghandi
I believe in balance, while exploring fun in the journey of always striving for better, and continue to learn various styles of yoga and integrative and lifestyle medicine, to further nurture myself, my students, and my patients. Aside from a full time clinical practice, I remain a teaching faculty and alumni council board member at University of Rochester School of Medicine. I enjoy teaching medical students how to become more diversified, compassionate, and holistic. Outside of Rochester, I currently serve as a peer reviewer for the International Journal of Yoga Therapy and am a contributing author to various magazines and forums. Off the mat, I have had additional trainings in Reiki, osteopathic manipulations, active release techniques, craniosacral therapy, and acupuncture. I am also a certified holistic health coach and integrative nutrition counselor. To continue my journey in sharing my passion of empowerment and self-care through joyous movement, preventative medicine, and wholesome eating, I am the founding president for Fit2bWell Health: a wellness company that focuses on bio-individuality and mindful healing. I look forward to riding this beautiful ride we call life, and to help my community grow closer together as we grow with purpose, love, and gratitude.
“Why I love my yoga practice: it is a place and time where I can learn to be a better me just by simply being me.
Why I love teaching yoga: it is my way to share that better me with my community so to mutually inspire towards honest self-growth – from a place of self-acceptance, unrelenting kindness, and joyous play.
The gift of yoga is priceless.” ~ Joanne Wu, MD E-RYT 200