I'll never forget my first experience in a Group Cycling class. I walked into a class at my local YMCA, parked myself on a bike in the very front of the room, because that's where the fan was located, and bounced around on my bike while listening to old school hip hop. I loved it so much, I was teaching classes by the end of the summer.
Trying something for the first time can be intimidating. If you are ready to walk into a class at Sincerely Yoga and Massage for the first time, here are a few pointers to elevate your experience. Who knows...maybe you will love it so much you will end up instructing too!
1. Select the class that's right for you
All classes are Gentle Yoga. Your instructor will provide options to power up or scale back throughout your session. A menu is posted on Facebook/Instagram and shared via email every Sunday. Classes will range from Slow Flow, Focus Flow (such as hamstrings or upper strength), or a themed class.
2. What to bring to class
It's a good idea to bring a water bottle and a yoga mat. All other props (blocks, blankets, yoga straps, towels) are provided. Your instructor will show you how to use them throughout class.
3. Plan to arrive about 10 minutes before class starts
This is a great opportunity to familiarize yourself with the studio and speak with your instructor before class.
4. Discuss your concerns
Did you have a recent injury or have a specific concern? Be sure to chat with your instructor before class to receive some pointers on how to protect yourself from further injury and get the most from your yoga practice?
4. Do you feel like you still need one on one support?
Private sessions are available by appointment. You are welcome to bring a few friends and split the cost if you wish.
Remember to give yourself grace and enjoy the journey.
When "I" is replaced by "we", illness becomes wellness. - Author unknown
Using this platform to discuss nutrition was never a part of my plan. It's something that I kind of fell into. However, the information I've gathered may be of value to you. If my story becomes your survival guide, then I've done my job. I will be sharing what the journey of "fighting the fire".
New Year's Day 2021 I was bouldering and I thought I developed a case of tendonitis. The pain continued to makes it's way to every joint in my body and the symptoms continued to mount.
-Inflammation of the hands and feet
My doctor ordered blood work and diagnosed this as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. While this condition cannot be cured, it can be managed. Fortunately, my organs are unaffected and I was responsive to a conservative medication plan.
However, there was a bigger piece of the puzzle that my doctor didn't discuss with me. Changing my lifestyle. Prior to my diagnosis I heard a business mentor discussing anti -inflammatory living and this sparked my curiosity so I stated doing my homework.
I learned inflammation is a breeding ground for disease. It didn't make sense to eliminate the inflammation via medication (while risking harmful side effects) yet continue to indulge in food and a lifestyle that put the inflammation right back into my body.
What does anti - inflammatory living look like?
My diet is free of the following: Alcohol, Coffee, Caffeine, Processed Sugars, Diary, and Gluten
I refer to this as a lifestyle rather than a diet because it extends to other aspects of my life including:
-Getting 7.5 hours of sleep every night
-Daily low impact workouts
-Instating strict boundaries in my personal and professional life
-Drinking 75 ounces of water a day
-Eliminating harmful chemicals from my personal care items and home
I encourage anyone living with an auto-immune disease, adrenal fatigue, hormonal imbalances, chronic pain, or any disease to do a little research.
This book was my saving grace. Check it out on Amazon or where ever you buy books
"Inflamed" by Shelly Malone
I'm going to continue to share the journey and how I'm making this work for me. It's been a little over a year since I began adapting this lifestyle. While it may sound like conquering a mountain, I assure you, I'm now healthier and more present in my life than ever.
Whether you are looking for the perfect gift for a loved one or a little self-care for yourself, I've got some suggestions for you! All products are items that I've purchased this year and use almost daily.
This rapid percussive device is my go-to when recovering from a tough workout or easing the tension from a long day. Theragun mini can be taken anywhere and comes with a travel case. Theragun Prime is my pick for the massage room. I like this one for the ergonomic handle.
2. Hydrarank Water Jug
This is how I hit my daily water intake goal. Hint: I have two so I'm never without when the other is in the dishwasher.
3. Crate 61 Soap
This 6 pack of soaps offers a gentle aroma and none of the artificial fragrances or harmful crud. Give the set or split them up for several people.
4. Samsung Galaxy Buds
The only earbuds that I can find to stay in my ears. These are comfortable even during my longest training sessions.
5. Younique Liquid Eyeshadow
I wanted to feel a little more put together. These liquid eyeshadows are easy enough for anyone to apply. Trust me...I'm not the savviest when it comes to make up. Use one shade or get creative and mix shades. I love this product so much I bought 4 colors....so far. PS, I love using the fluffy crease brush to apply.
6. Audio Books
Book suggestions are kind of personal. I have several stipulations when purchasing an audio book. It needs to be narrated by the author, it must be non-fiction, the narrator must have a captivating voice. These books checked all the boxes. I purchased through Audible though I'm sure the hard copies are equally amazing.
Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey
Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
I've been hitting up thrift stores lately and purchasing beautiful vintage furniture and breathing new life into it. You can find inexpensive pieces and come up with a really unique gift. This may sound like a process, but most of my projects are cleaned, painted, and dry in under two hours. One can of paint or stain goes a long way. I'll take a trip to the thrift store instead of a department store any day. Bonus: Your purchase is likely supporting a really good cause.
Here is the link to the paint that I use and it's yielded wonderful results. Heirloom
8. Misfits Market
Organic Produce delivered to your door at a lesser price point than your local grocery store. While you are there be sure to shop the pantry for some yummy chocolate. Shop with me to save $10 on your first order. Gift Cards are also available.
One day you will tell the story of how you overcame what you went through and it will be someone else’s survival guide.
I love the great outdoors. I crave adventure and the adrenaline rush from class V rivers. Running brings me a sense of accomplishment and crossing finish lines after distance races makes me feel unstoppable. I have the coolest job ever. I get to bring pain relief to my clients through bodywork and yoga. My body is my instrument. If it’s not functional, I cannot do these things.
Earlier this year, I sustained an injury while bouldering. I thought it was just a bad case of tendonitis but something a little more sinister was making itself at home. Six months had gone by and I could no longer ignore the mounting symptoms.
Night Sweats, Fatigue, Painful Joints, Raynaud’s, Inflammation, Weight loss
Something wasn’t right. My doctor ordered blood work and diagnosed this very quickly. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). I have Lupus. There is no cure, but it can be managed.
I took a proactive approach to reduce the inflammation in my body which included medication, dietary changes, sleeping 7-8 hours every night, reducing stress, focusing on gut health, instating strict boundaries in my personal and professional life.
The last three months have been focused solely on my well-being. I’m happy to report the inflammation is down, my organs are healthy, and I’m feeling like myself again. .
I share my story because many of my clients are faced with the same challenges. (Autoimmune Conditions, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain, Injuries) I understand how you feel. I understand what it’s like to wake in the morning with the intention of tackling a list of to-do’s, yet you need a nap after your shower.
There is so much I want to do with this one glorious life. Sitting at home protected by bubble wrap isn’t one of them. I will be using my platform to share the information that I have gained.
Last month I gave myself the ultimate 40th Birthday gift. I crossed the finish line in a 24.1 mile triathlon. (pictured below) I was so grateful to my body for holding up, I unleashed a floodgate of tears as my toes hit the finish line. Just a few months earlier, I was struggling with the most basic tasks.
When faced with challenges we can either dismantle or rebuild. I choose to build back stronger.
I will never stop believing in the capabilities of the human body. It is a smart vessel and when given the right tools, she will heal and protect herself. I am living proof.
My husband and I recently celebrated 16 years of happily ever after. I decided to plan a quick weekend getaway close to home with an abundance of nature and resort - style activities. This is one place you will want to visit!
Where To Stay
Stonewall Resort is a short drive from Pittsburgh. Options for overnight accommodations include: campground, luxury cabins, and lodge. The cabins are a bit larger (2 bedroom) and harder to book, so we stayed in the lodge. The rooms are updated and comfortable with great views and windows that open so you can experience Lake Life.
Weekends can get busy. Plan to visit through the week for the best experience.
940 Resort Drive
Roanoke, WV 26447
Where To Dine
The resort offers three on-site restaurants. The menu is amazing and they offer plenty of Gluten-Free options. I highly recommend the yogurt bowl for breakfast!
Reservations are required for all restaurants.
What To Do
The resort offers amenities such as a lake-side pool and hot tub, tiki bar, lawn games, fitness center, fire pit, and miles of trails for hiking.
Purchase a day pass for $15 to access paddle boards, kayaks, and mountain bikes.
The resort also houses a small day-spa and painting venue.
A foam party for adults was hosted on Friday night.
Will I visit again?
This was a great get-away only 2.5 hours from home. I will certainly visit again. Next time, I will plan to visit through the week, pack snacks, and probably venture off the property to explore a neighboring town.
I love to get lost in a good book. My favorite genres are non-fiction / inspirational and dark psycho-thriller. I know. It's quite a contrast. This summer I picked up a few selections that are certainly worthy of the share. If you want to borrow, I'll leave them in the studio.
If you like a good psycho-thriller, Check out the author Lisa Jewell. I recently read two of her books Watching You and Then She Was Gone. Jewell has authored several books and I appreciate her writing style so much I'll be adding more of her books to my upcoming reading list.
The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison. This is another thriller with a touch of sweet revenge. I blew through it in literally 3 days. Here's the funny part. As I was nearing the end of the book, I seemed to catch a hint of familiarity. The characters and plot sounded like something I'd heard before. It just so happens I loaded this to my kindle and read it several years ago. Hopefully I don't buy it a third time.
Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. A coming-of- age tale about love, loss, and resilience. I was captivated by the main character, Kya (Marsh Girl). This was a different choice of genre for me, but I'm so glad I expanded my horizons. Let's get this in theaters please! It would make an amazing movie.
Check out Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey on Audible. McConaghey shares his life stories from childhood to present. The man has stories and a great voice! My husband and I listened to this on a recent road trip. We enjoyed every second of this book. The only problem, we couldn't find anything we wanted to listen to once it was over.
"Time spent amongst trees is never wasted time." - Katrina Mayer
Spending time in nature is not only grounding, but healing. This was certainly the best vacation of my life. If you've never visited the Great Smoky Mountains, I'm going to give you the details so you can experience this amazing location.
Where To Stay
Located a short drive from downtown Gatlinburg, we stayed at a resort with all the comforts of home. The villa (I refer to it as a luxury cabin) had all the comforts of home including laundry in the unit, full kitchen, and central AC. There is a grocery store located down the road which worked out great because I prefer to prepare my breakfast and lunch. The resort kept us entertained after our long morning / afternoon hikes. You can look forward to pools, hot tubs, mini golf, gas fire pit, and activity center. The activity director had a schedule of craft projects, guided hikes , yoga classes, games, and other family fun. I booked through VRBO.
Mountain Loft Resort
110 Mountain Loft Drive
Gatlinburg, TN 37738
Visiting the National Park
Keep in mind the trail heads tend to be a little congested and parking can be tricky. Don't let this deter you. We didn't have any issues. Download the app All Trails. You can read reviews of the trails and determine what works best for you. Hint: You can use this app to find trails close to home that you never knew existed.
Be sure to take a drive on Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. A baby black bear ran right in front of the jeep.
A Night On The Town
We found amazing German fare at the Wild Bear Tavern. I highly recommend this place! You must try the mashed potatoes.
4236 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
If you are looking for shops, restaurants, and other family amusements, make your way to The Island in Pigeon Forge. You will also find Margaritaville. I can't review the restaurant because I'll never wait two hours for a table.
We didn't make it there this time, but we did pay a visit to Dollywood in the past. If you like amusement parks it a must visit at least once. I really appreciate the hospitality. They encourage you to stay hydrated and will provide a free cup of water at any vendor stand.
Downtown Gatlinburg features your shops, restaurants, and family friendly amusements. We typically dine at the Loco Burro Fresh Mex Cantina. While you wait for your table check out Jonathan's "The Bear Necessities" to pick up some thoughtful gifts. You can park in one of many lots for $15.
Rules Of The Road
Enjoy the journey, my friend.
It's the stuff I wish we didn't have to talk about, but we must. "Copy-Cats" are snagging pictures and duplicating social media accounts of businesses and public figures in an effort to scam supporters. It's not only happening to celebrities. It's hitting closer to home. Unfortunately, social media platforms are very slow to respond to reports of fraud. (I personally made a report recently. Facebook wouldn't address it for about a week.)
Platforms utilized for operations:
Appoint Scheduling is done through Acuity (Powered by Square)
Payments are accepted through Square
Mailchimp is utilized for email communication
Virtual Classes are offered through Zoom
Social Media Handles:
Facebook: Sincerely Yoga & Massage
General Payment Procedures:
Massage Therapy appointments are paid for at the time of service.
Membership Sign-ups are conducted via our website. If you prefer to complete in studio, you may.
No-Show Massage Therapy Appointments will receive an invoice via email. (Powered by Square)
Yoga Class Passes may be purchased online or in the studio. Please visit our website to conduct this transaction. (verified above)
Gift Certificates may be purchased via our website or in studio
Sincerely Yoga & Massage, LLC will never call you to request banking information. Also, we do not utilize Paypal, etc. Hey, I think you are super cool and more than deserving, but I'm never going to wire you 1 million dollars in exchange for your bank account numbers.
Play it safe and if you see duplicate social media accounts, please speak up.
I'm going to share a story about the time I failed at something and how it ended up working in my favor.
Several years back I sent in my application and scheduled my audition for a position as a Master Trainer with a company that was a leader in the fitness industry. Essentially a Master Trainer is the trainer of the trainers. I truly believed my purpose on this planet was to serve my community in the fitness and wellness industry.
I picked out my outfit, rehearsed until I couldn't get it wrong, and stepped onto the stage with energy and confidence that day. It went pretty well. However, during the interview it was noted that I didn't teach enough classes through the week and my social media following needed to be bigger, as well.
It took awhile, but I finally took a step back did some soul searching and asked myself "Why I wanted this."
I knew what I didn't want.
I didn't want to burn out teaching 15 fitness classes a week.
I didn't want to break down my own body with high intensity work every day.
I didn't want to spend all of my waking hours stuffed in a gym or driving from gym to gym.
I didn't want the stress of constantly pushing the sale (in this case trainings) to my clients.
It turns out I didn't want this particular accolade. I wanted to design my own programs and pair gentle movement with body work. It was time for me to make a big shift.
Fast forward several years: I am now the founder/owner/operator of my own wellness boutique that offers Gentle Yoga and Massage Therapy. Bringing pain relief and relaxation to my clients is my dream job and I'm so excited for what the future holds.
The company I auditioned with completely closed up operations a few years ago. I don't believe that things happen by accident. Perhaps that denial was the universe putting me right where I needed to be.
If you are stumped on the perfect gift idea this year, don’t fret! I’ve curated a list of my favorite things. These are items or services that have added value to my everyday life. Happy Shopping!
1. LEVOIT H13 True HEPA Air Purifier
You may have seen this gadget at the studio. It was rather impressive. I also bought one for home. Great for anyone suffering from allergies or wanting to purify the air in their home. If you’ve been cooking a little more, this will help with lingering kitchen odors.
2. The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living
I’ve incorporated this reading into my AM routine. This short and sweet read is a great way to start your day. Do you want to WOW the recipient? Tell them you picked up this book, turned to page xyz, and immediately thought of them.
3. Younique Rose Water Toner
This toner is great for reducing redness on the face and it leaves your skin feeling so soft. It’s been a part of my skin care routine for years. My hands were becoming chapped and irritated from hand sanitizer. A few spritzes of this toner on the affected area and I was healed in a few days. AMAZING!
4. Blue Apron
If you are suffering from food fatigue (eating the same boring thing every week) it’s time to introduce your palette to some gourmet food. Each meal has 2-4 servings. Recipe card and all ingredients (with the exception of salt, pepper, olive oil) are delivered to your door. Purchase a gift card for your out of town relatives.
5. Revive Oils
My clients are always greeted to the studio with a light aromatherapy in the hallway. This year the fan favorites are:
Summer of Love (smells like orange creamsicle)
6. Paint kits from Paintly
Paint and sip from the comfort of your home. Choose from a wide variety of pictures. All materials will be shipped to you and you will be given access to the instruction video. Perfect gift to send to out of town relatives! You all know I LOVE hospitality. They included a hand-written thank you note and a bag of snacks with my carefully packaged order.
7. Sound Machine
This is another tool at the studio, which helps create a serene atmosphere. Choose from a variety of sounds including: babbling brook, rolling waves, birds, crackling fire, and more. Makes great background noise while reading or falling asleep.
8. Music Lessons - James Diller
My husband wanted to get out of the house and work on his guitar skills, so he took some lessons this year. He thoroughly enjoyed them! James also offers virtual lessons for anyone that can’t make it to the studio.
9. Pet Grooming Gift Card - Tiny Cause Grooming
Pet grooming is just about aesthetics, it also important to your pet’s health and comfort. These amazing humans keep my Lhasa Apso looking and feeling great all year long.
10. Misfit Markets
Organic fruits and veggies are delivered to your doorstep weekly. You can customize your order and also select add-ons such as pantry items. Less time at the grocery store is a win. Am I right? Gift Certificates available.
11. Ellie Active Wear
I’ve been ordering my workout gear and athleisure from this company for years. Get a top, leggings, and sports-bra for $45. You can subscribe and have it delivered to you monthly (they have quite a selection) or skip a month. Gift Certificates available for a box containing a 3 piece outfit and two accessories. Also worth noting, the packaging is really cute.