Part Two: Struggling On My Yoga Mat With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Click here to listen to this story on my podcast

Read this first: Part One: How Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Led Me To Yoga

After Dr. Moira Fitzpatrick prescribed “Yoga” on her prescription pad, I trusted and obeyed her suggestion, and found myself silently struggling, muttering, and swearing in my first yoga class at Urban Yoga Spa in downtown Seattle. I didn’t know what dogs, camels, or eagles were; upward, downward, sideways, twisted, I felt uncoordinated and lost.

My teacher, “Gordy” looked and sounded like a rock star, resembling Huey Lewis, with a soft direct gaze, and a voice so smooth and sexy it was on the verge of inappropriate for a public yoga class. Before I even got to my mat, I was failing at focusing in yoga, and the more he talked about calming the monkey mind, the more I got distracted by his velvety voice and good looks that my naughty monkey mind could barely pay attention to this thing called yoga.

Everything about the yoga was going wrong. First, it was a frickin’ hot room, like almost 100 degrees, and I started to feel irritated, like the time I went on a business trip to New Orleans with my boyfriend and I gave him the evil eye if he even thought of touching me. Rockstar Gordy suggested we stay in the heat, to cultivate something. Isn’t cultivating something you do in the dirt, like gardening or at a farm? This yoga jargon was killing me!

I hadn’t even started any poses and I was drenched in sweat. And, I was in a room with 70 other students who looked like sculpted dancers, ripped gymnasts, and cirque du soleil performers.

Dr. Moira, how the hell was this supposed to help me feel better about myself when all I felt was inadequate, clumsy, stupid, and lost?

Hottie Gordy welcomed the class and rattled off something philosophical, quoting Bruce Springsteen:

“Someday we’ll look back on this and it will all seem funny.”

— Bruce Springsteen

At that moment, I wasn’t finding the humor in my overheated state of body and mind.

SOMEDAY WE’LL LOOK BACK ON THIS AND IT WILL ALL SEEM FUNNY.

In a moment of discomfort or pain it can seem really hard to believe it will be funny someday down the road. and here I am now, remembering myself over twenty years ago, able to laugh at how ridiculously challenging my first yoga classes were for me.

When I took my first pose, child’s pose, with my ass high in the air, my buttocks nowhere close to resting near my heels, with everyone else looking so peaceful, comfortable and relaxed, I felt totally exposed and vulnerable.

How was I failing right from the start, in what looked like an easy pose?

Who in the hell thought to start a yoga class, which is supposedly a prescription to relieve stress and anxiety, in a totally embarrassing pose with your ass in the air? I kept thinking: “Why can’t I get my butt down to my heels?”, “God, I hope I don’t fart”, “Why is this so hard for me?”

That was just pose number one. Yup, I had a masterful monkey mind.

THE STRUGGLE TO BREATHE…AGAIN.

Here I was again, struggling to breathe, and this Huey Lewis doppelganger had the nerve to keep repeating “Just Breathe.” Do you know how demeaning that suggestion is, using the word “just” in front of an activity that is already challenging? Let me tell you, until I started yoga, I really did not know how much I sucked at breathing. I knew my CFS affected my breathing, but, until this yoga class, I didn’t know it was because I was doing it wrong. Besides swatting my ass at birth to force my lungs to “BREATHE, BABY, BREATHE!”, there is no one in my life, no parents, no teachers, who gave me breathing lessons. And, now Master Yogi Gordy was telling me to “just” breathe, like it was the most natural most easeful thing my body could enjoy.

Like a perfect new yoga student, my comparison game was STRONG. I searched the room, observed all the other freely breathing bodies, while my lungs felt like iron, my breathing shallow, and the more Annoying Gordy coaxed us to breathe, I hyperventilated and felt the room spin.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT BATHROOMS?

I eyed the exit door and planned my escape. Less than fifteen minutes into the class, I bailed. I could have left in silence but, for some reason I lied and quietly announced I had to go to the bathroom, to a room of strangers, and looked straight into my first yoga teacher’s soft gaze, framed with his thick, wavy Jim Morrison hair.

I…straight…up…lied.

When I left that hot, humid prison, I gulped a huge breath of air, like being rescued from a drowning, at least what I imagined felt like that desperate first breath after not being able to breathe.

I hid in the bathroom, splashed cold water on my face, behind my neck, under my armpits, and sat on the toilet, with the lid closed, and cried with my head in my hands. I sweat so much I didn’t have to pee. I lied. I didn’t have to “go” to the bathroom. I just wanted to run away.

I didn’t know this was part of yoga too, facing myself off the yoga mat. At the time, all I felt was consumed in my inadequacy, humiliation, and embarrassment. I wasn’t aware about awareness yet, to notice I was in my habitual pattern of pressing the eject button.

One thing about me, which I discovered has been both a strength and a detriment to my health, is that I’m stubborn and, I don’t like to fail. After my Eat, Pray, Love session in the bathroom, I resuscitated myself enough to step back into that steamy class of torture.

I mustered up a pep talk: “If I don’t finish this class, I won’t know if there was something to this yoga prescription Dr. Moira just gave me.”

FINISH WHAT YOU STARTED

I walked back into Sergeant Gordy leading fast-paced warriors, crows, eagles, wheels and pigeons. I faced the wrong way, took lots of breaks in my ass-high-in-the-air version of child’s pose most of the class, because Compassionate Gordy said we could “take child’s pose or down dog whenever you need a break.” It wasn’t EXACTLY a break or relaxing in my body but, at least compared to all the other crazy contortionist poses, child’s pose felt doable. Pigeon looked promising, and peaceful, in other people’s bodies, but, for me hips, it was painful pigeon. This yoga class was turning out to be one cruel form of self-inflicted pain, pose after pose.

But, how is it that all of the other students looked like they were actually enjoying it? What did they know that I didn’t know?

I was determined to make it to the end, even if my 90 minutes was mostly a combination of high-ass-child’s-pose and running away to the bathroom…once. No judgment. I only ran away once.

Note to teachers: Downward dog is NOT a relaxing, restful pose…for beginners, especially for women or anyone who has not yet developed upper body strength. I TRIED to rest in downward dog when Teacher Gordy suggested it, and all I thought was “Fuck..You!” Sorry for all the swearing, just keeping it real. As a yoga teacher now, I vow never to say “Rest in downward dog.” Seriously, REST in downward dog???? That can be a recipe for scaring away a brand new student. It’s a fucking hard pose making your arms, legs, and whole body shake…and if you’re like me, it can make you swear more than you ever have in your life, especially when those five breaths in down dog feel like an eternity! And, spoiler alert: downward facing dog, adho mukha svanasana, DID made me stronger than I thought was possible, especially when I thought I was doomed to a life of feeling weak and tired. Is it an amazing full body pose? Yes. Encouraging, relaxing, restful pose for new students or someone struggling with CFS? Hells…to the no.

YOGA IS WEIRD

DEFINITION – Weird: mysteriously strange or fantastic.

Without describing my complete sense of disorientation in every single pose, like an untrained dancer stumbling to learn new choreography in a Broadway audition, overall I really sucked in my first yoga class. Not only was I exhausted, you know, from my CFS, but, I stepped into a Power Vinyasa class, not a beginner’s gentle yoga class, but, a Hot Baptiste Power Vinyasa class which totally…kicked…my…ass.

Then, something mysteriously strange and fantastic happened: savasana. Ten minutes to lay on my back and be as still as possible and do absolutely NOTHING. Now we were talking about RELAXATION. The beauty of the sweat and laying on my back was that the tears streaming down my face all blended in, plus everyone’s eyes were supposedly closed. No one was watching me anyway, and honestly, I was just too tired to care. Something was spilling out of me and I didn’t know what it was. I was spent. I was emptied out. Whatever monkey thoughts or worries I had, I was just too tired to do anything but lay there and cry.

And, God, I felt amazing at the end of that class. As we all rolled up our mats, and avoided slipping on the puddles around the room, my first power vinyasa yoga teacher, Gordon Ferguson, stood at that open door, to freedom and fresh air, high-fiving all 70 students, telling them “Good job!”, calling each one by name. With his kind puppy dog eyes, palm to palm, he smiled: “Great job, Amelia! See you tomorrow?” I nodded yes, dumbfounded he remembered my name too.

That was the beginning of falling in love with yoga, which had me swearing, crying, lying, and smiling in bliss all within the same class. And, the first time I experienced firsthand, that sometimes you need to really suck before you can shine.


Stay tuned for Part Three

Part One: How Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Led Me To Yoga

Click here to listen to this story on my podcast.

20 years ago there’s no way in hell I would have considered a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) a blessing. I was struggling. Struggling to breathe. Struggling to work. Struggling to play. Struggling to socialize. Struggling to walk. Struggling to talk. Struggling to get pregnant. Struggling to want to be seen in public. Struggling to want to stay alive.

Today, as I reflect on how I felt over 20 years ago, I have so much compassion for my struggling, exhausted self, who was frustrated by an unknown cause of my constant breathlessness, lack of energy, and persistent tender lymph nodes on the sides of my neck. I felt half-alive and 100% frustrated by no one seeming to know why they hell I FUCKING…FELT…LIKE…CRAP.

My journey with CFS is a long one, spanning several decades, so I’ll share my story one course at a time. And, why share now? I’ve been recording my Spiritually Fit Yoga podcast for over a year, and while I’ve shared transformational stories about my guests, I’ve never shared my own personal story about living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Several students and listeners have asked “I’d love to hear more about your CFS story.” In honor of my 100th podcast episode (wow!) and for those of you wanting to hear more about my transformational journey, this is for you.

So, here’s Part One: the beginning of feeling like crap, and the beginning of my yoga journey.

THE STRUGGLE TO BREATHE.

A little health history background about myself: I was born in 1964, a month premature, a c-section, formula-fed baby, healthy and strong. As a kid I rarely got sick, I didn’t even take aspirin, I don’t ever remember getting the flu shot, I had a few infections requiring antibiotics, I slept like a champ, annoyed friends with my hyper non-caffeinated morning energy, I was a petite 5’1 athlete who ran half-marathons just for fun and once squatted 250 pounds. Having myopia with astigmatism was really my only physical ailment.

Then there was the time I was a fresh 30 year-old, nearing the end of my year-long solo backpacking trip around the world, when with one step I all of the sudden couldn’t breathe.

Before that breathless moment in New Zealand, I had been climbing peaks in the Italian Dolomites, Austrian Alps, Swiss Alps, Auguille du Midi in Chamonix, France, and a 21-day trek to Annapurna in Nepal. I was in my eighth month of backpacking when I wrapped up my year in New Zealand enjoying a glorious three months of tramping until my travel visa ran out.

A few weeks into my New Zealand explorations, I booked a trip with New Zealand Adventure Safaris since they led off-the-beaten-track excursions. I was still backpacking solo and discovering the less-travelled paths always appealed to me. Because of my backpacking experience, my apparently impressive vegetarian stir-fry on a snowy mountaintop, and my availability, I was offered a job to join additional excursions in exchange for preparing meals and helping carry gear. In my opinion, it was a plush job and I scored with having free transportation, lodging, food, and hanging out with super fun and cute guides taking me to breathtaking, non-touristy sites, which to this day are in my top ten places I’ve ever visited in my life.

On what turned out to be my fifth and last excursion as an assistant guide, I was completely taken aback when hiking uphill, wearing a moderately heavy backpack (I was capable of carrying a much heavier pack), I felt short of breath. I found a log, took a seat, and told the guides and group I’d catch up. I had zero thought or concern about my health. My health history made me think I was invincible. I was maybe two miles from the top, and I struggled to breathe, starting and stopping for over TWO hours. The rest of the crew, including the slowest, oldest guests, took 30-60 minutes to reach the campsite.

Ian, one of the head guides and a good friend after months of backpacking and guiding together, hiked down to find me, surprised at my turtle pace. He believed me when I told him I’d be fine and catch up on my own. When I took so long he assumed I was probably taking photos again with my beloved Pentax SLR camera. He was shocked when he saw my slumped shoulders and short stride. My legs felt like lead. He regretted leaving me alone so long and I told him “I’m fine.” Back then, I really believed that. Now, I know, I wasn’t fine.

He took my pack which helped my breathing but, I still had to sit or lean against a tree or boulder after almost every five labored steps. I already had food and water. Ian ran back to camp to the get the first aid kit and brought me an inhaler. I puffed a few times, nothing. Just the jittery feeling from the albuterol. Good thought, but, I could still only take baby steps up that mountain. I kept thinking “I’m in the best shape of my life. I just backpacked in the Alps and Nepal, why the hell can’t I hike up this baby hill?” I got my first and only ever piggy-back ride up a mountain. I only had half a mile to go but, at my snail’s pace we knew I should get to camp to rest and arrive before dark.

Side note: I’ve lost track of my New Zealand friends and nothing came up when I googled their guiding service. Whereever you are, “Thank you, Ian.”

I made it to camp without alarming any of the guests. Only the guides were aware of my fatigue. I hydrated, snacked, took a rest, and felt well enough to make my last group dinner, and then last breakfast for New Zealand Adventure Safaris. In one trip I went from being an asset to a liability.

FROM ONE EXTREME TO ANOTHER.

After I finally returned home to the United States I felt better, even back to my energizer-bunny, peak-bagging self. At a routine physical I mentioned what happened in New Zealand and my doc wanted to test me for parasites, giardia, etc. The only thing that might have explained my shortness of breath was my low iron levels. I wasn’t anemic but, I was iron-deficient.

The fatigue came and went, then it started to stick around longer. At age 30, that was the beginning of feeling like I was living at the doctor’s office, getting poked, probed, tested, and feeling like doctors thought I was crazy because all of my results kept coming back normal. I would keep telling them: “But, something feels off, I am NOT a hypochondriac, I’ve never been sick all my life, and I just feel weird.” And that’s really how I felt, and the only way I could explain it, was “off” and “weird”, because my physical sensations didn’t fit any vocabulary in my frame of reference. “Tired” and “sick” didn’t fit the bill to describe what I was going through.

From typically seeing a doctor once a year to monthly visits, my life shifted from feeling invincible to feeling broken. I didn’t know who I was anymore, when I couldn’t physically do what I love, and I barely had the energy to socialize because focusing my thoughts or maintaining eye contact was such a huge energy drain.

My friendships were suffering because I was no longer feeding my relationships, and I was too embarrassed to share how I felt or to ask for help. I inherited the belief that sickness is a weakness, and weakness is a weakness, and I felt both sick and weak.

The earlier version of me who never drank coffee and annoyed my friends with my morning peppiness, was nowhere to be found. I discovered caffeine, and it was an evil curse because it 1) didn’t give me energy during the day and 2) it kept me awake at night.

I felt like my operating system was malfunctioning, and yet, somehow I fake-functioned, and got really good at saving my energy to wear masks resembling my old self, then make up excuses to skip socializing, to be alone and ashamed at home in my mysterious state of fatigue.

I was a highly-functional fatigued faker. On good days, I’d make appearances, on bad days I’d hide. This type of coping explains why people are so shocked when they find out someone has been sick or depressed or [fill in the blank], because some of us can be so good at only showing up when we’re fit for public consumption.

Note to self: If you haven’t heard from someone in awhile, check in on them. They might be struggling. If they say they’re “fine”, and your intuition senses otherwise, that might be a red flag. Invite yourself over with soup, ice cream, and a funny card. Insist you keep them company. Stay long enough to let them know you see them, care about them, even if they feel like they’re broken and falling apart, because we all feel like that sometimes. Book your next date with them in your calendar before you leave. The strongest, most independent people are sometimes the most isolated and lonely and, they often won’t ask for support.

YOGA AS A PRESCRIPTION.

This story takes a huge leap, 7 years later, to spare you all the medical tests and findings over the years, because those frustrating years of testing were mostly non-conclusive anyway. If I ever write a novel, I may share those details, but, for now, I’m ready to fast-forward to the yoga.

When I switched from seeing physicians to my naturopath, Dr. Moira Fitzpatrick from Bastyr University, I finally saw light at the end of the tunnel. Instead of more blood tests she asked me lots of questions and had me pee in a big plastic jug at home for a week to send out for comprehensive hormone panels. She muscle-tested me, she had me look at a box with different colored lights, she prescribed vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. She led me through my first cord-cutting meditation.

She handed me a prescription slip, and all it said was YOGA.

I started feeling better. I started sleeping again. I started smiling and hiking again. I eventually got pregnant. Dr. Moira Fitzpatrick took me down a non-conventional, holistic path to healing, and on a health and wellness journey I never imagined would become a cornerstone to becoming a yoga teacher and healer myself.


Part Two: Struggling On My Yoga Mat With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Full Moon Ritual

August 22, 2021 is the date of the Full Moon, Blue Moon, Sturgeon Moon. May you release what no longer serves you.

Full moon, Sturgeon Moon, Blue Moon

You will need:

2 bowls, one suitable to hold water, one suitable to burn paper in

1 candle

A paper and pen

Step 1. Clear Your Energy.

Imagine standing under a silver waterfall and allow all negative energies to be washed away.

Step 2. Create a Sacred Space.

Find a quiet place to sit, declutter and clean, you might like to place crystals or other special items around you, or cleanse the room with some incense.

Step 3. Set Your Space.

Light a candle – I have 2″ candles for this purpose,

Fill a small bowl with water, and have another bowl suitable to burn a piece of paper in.

Place both bowls in front of you.

Step 4. Centre Yourself.

Take a few deep breaths, centre yourself.

Step 5. Release.

Write on the piece of paper all that you wish to release from your life, what limiting beliefs do you want to be free from, what no longer serves you or what you want to let go of?

When you have finished your list, sign and date the page.

Breathe deep into your heart and declare “I now let this go. And it is so.”

Step 6. Let go.

Place a corner of the piece of paper over the candle allowing the flame to light your page – place the page into the empty bowl as it burns, watching the flames consume what you are releasing, the smoke taking your intention to the Universe.

**if your piece of paper struggles to light or burn, consider if you are really ready to let this go! Only when you are willing to let go will the page burn – the faster the flames, the more willing you are to let it go…

Step 7. Cleanse.

Then place your hands in the bowl of water. Signifying cleansing of the old and opening to the new.

Remove your hands from the water and take a deep breath.

Step 8. Assimilate.

Sit in silence for a while and see if any inspiration comes. You may even want to journal around your thoughts.

Let your candle burn itself out.

From: https://yoursherosjourney.co.uk/a-ritual-for-the-full-moon-a-time-to-release-and-let-go-so-you-can-make-the-space-for-the-magic-to-happen/

How to Gain More Energy?

As I prepared the theme for today’s yoga classes the word “energy” kept popping into my mind. When I reflect on who is showing up to yoga, meditation, or reading posts like this you might be feeling:

  • Exhausted
  • Depressed
  • Imbalanced
  • Sleep-deprived
  • Or simply curious about what I have to say 🙂

I arrived to two simple questions and a call to action: START or STOP

SELF-INQUIRY: START or STOP?

Close your eyes, take 5 breaths and ask yourself two questions:

  1. Right now, what do I need to STOP today?
  2. Right now, what do I want to START today?

CALL TO ACTION

  • Commit to STOP what is draining your energy.
  • Commit to START what gives you energy.
  • Write and recite positive affirmations to STOP and START.
  • Be honest with yourself if it’s time to seek counsel from a friend or professional, including reaching out to me.

I could have written an article suggesting you eliminate gluten or sugar, or get to your yoga mat and meditation cushion every day, or do what lights you up like going to the beach, dancing, book a ticket to a sporting event, or call a friend to play Scrabble. There are plenty of articles and books telling you what to do. Instead, I invite you to discover for yourself the answers by experiencing Svādhyāya, the yoga practice of self-study, self-inquiry, and discovery.

My offer to you is to look within, to trust your intuition, listen to your inner guide, who always has your back, and trust that you have the answers. Weed out what’s sucking the energy out of you and bring in what will allow you to thrive and feel alive! It’s a practice my friends, to know which thoughts to pay attention to and which ones to dismiss and ignore.

In my personal experience, when I feel low-energy I also tend to feel sad, depressed, brain fog, physically weak, unmotivated, anti-social, tendency towards negative thinking. As opposed to feeling high-energy I am enthusiastic, smiling, laughing, physically strong, awake, alert, alive, vibing high with positive thoughts, willing to connect with others. Observe your energy levels, they are an important barometer to signal what is requesting your attention and self-care.

As someone who was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), adrenal fatigue, gluten sensitivity, iron deficiency, and menopausal mood swings, I have first hand experience of low energy and all of the other symptoms which emerged from my physical challenges. I 100% am NOT saying that low energy is all in your head, that it can be simply solved by asking two questions and writing in a journal AND I am also 100% saying, for me, discerning between what thoughts and actions drained me vs. energized me has been a huge part of my healing process and discovering what it takes for me to gain my energy back and experience life with vitality. I practice what I teach.

Of course, a situation can be complicated, I know mine was, and yet, the power of paying attention to my symptoms and choosing STOP or START every day is a simple, powerful framework to prioritize what is needed for your particular circumstance. Shift your mindset from impossible to possible and you will experience an increase of energy.

I was diagnosed with CFS almost 20 years ago and I am no longer trapped in an experience of chronic low-energy. I manage my symptoms with those two questions, “What do I need to STOP and what do I need to START?” Yes, for me that means, I cut out gluten, sugar, coffee, toxic relationships; I add whole foods, yoga, meditation, extra sleep, alone time, gardening, etc. All informed by reflecting on my STOPs and STARTs, my YESes and my Nos.

Give my latest Spiritually Fit Yoga podcast episode a listenYoga to Support Immunity

There is hope on the other side of doubt. There is joy on the other side of fear. I believe in you. Keep the faith. Stay spiritually fit. I am grateful you are here. I’d love to hear from you! Comment below, DM me on instagram, email me. I care.

Blessings,

Amelia Andaleon

p.s. As others have supported me in my journey, I am here to support you. Please reach out if you are interested in a free initial consult if you’d like to work with me as your Wellness and Energy Healing Coach!

Meditation: Setting Your Intention, Sankalpa

Thailand
Thailand

Three years ago, in 2018, I took this picture above in Thailand after assisting a yoga teacher training with my master teacher, and a community of amazing teachers and students. This picture looks almost exactly like what I pictured in my mind for years, as I set an intention and visualized a dream, a hope, a vision, a connection to imagined sensations of what it would feel and look like when my dreams and intentions became realized and manifested.

You’ve probably heard of vision boards or meditating on an intention and repeating affirmations in the present moment as if that intention has already manifested, as if it is happening right now in this present moment.

Or, maybe this practice of sankalpa, setting an intention, is new to you. If so, I am writing this specifically for YOU.

I am grateful you are here. It’s not a coincidence that you are reading this post today.

Setting Your Intention

  1. Find or create a picture of your dream. Print it, draw it, create a visual representation of what you manifest and post it in a prominent place. You might post it in your kitchen bulletin board and/or make it your wallpaper on your phone. Keep what you want to manifest present in your mind…where you attention goes, energy flows.
  2. Align your intention with being your highest and brightest self, serving a highest good.
  3. Create a specific affirmation and write it in the present moment. For example: “I am teaching yoga and surfing in Mexico to a full yoga retreat in Spring 2022.” vs. “I hope to do something fun sometime next year.”
  4. Repeat your intention every day. Use my guided meditation here.

Observe what you experience, and what happens. Using my guided meditation, create a habit of setting your intention with a relaxed mind and body. One thing I promise you: this daily practice will keep you focused on what matters to you. As you continue to visualize and see your intention already manifested, the action steps needed to realize your dream, will present themselves to you. Set your intention from your highest and brightest self, offered up to serve the highest good.

May you be your highest and brightest self and serve the highest good.

I am setting my own intention, visualizing you attending one of my workshops or retreats, in person or virtual, where I lead you through a full practice of creating your sacred life on purpose and setting your intentions. Until then, enjoy these simple steps to practice on your own.

I’d love to hear what you experience. Share in the comments below.


The highest and brightest in me, honors the highest and brightest in you,

Amelia Andaleon

Your Story is Your Signature Inspiration – (yoga off the mat)

Vinyasa Yoga Livestreams on Insight Timer this week:

“One day you will tell your story of how you overcame what you went through and it will be someone else’s survival guide.” ~ Brené Brown

My stories of being ridiculed for the color of my skin and the shape of my eyes as a young child and into adulthood equip me with empathy, resilience, and an inner fire to advocate for those unjustly treated and underserved.

My health struggles with chronic fatigue starting almost 20 years ago set me on a path to amass an abundance of knowledge, tools, and personal experience to overcome, thrive, and hone my deep listening for self-care. This path led me to yoga and eventually becoming the impactful yoga & meditation teacher and, wellness coach I am today.

You can choose to let your past define you and be the end of your story or it can be the beginning of what propels you towards your purpose, and bear witness to your unique human experience of transformation and triumph. Let your pain become your purpose. Allow your story, intuition, and insight to be your signature inspiration.

What is your story? Your story is packed with energy. Check in. Listen. There’s a power in your story. Let it move you towards your sacred purpose.

𝐘𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐞 𝐡𝐚𝐬 𝐩𝐮𝐫𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐞.
𝐘𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐲 𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐦𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐭.
𝐘𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐝𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐦𝐬 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐭.
𝐘𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐯𝐨𝐢𝐜𝐞 𝐦𝐚𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐬.
𝐘𝐨𝐮 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐛𝐨𝐫𝐧 𝐭𝐨 𝐦𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐚𝐧 𝐢𝐦𝐩𝐚𝐜𝐭.

Feeling stuck? Contact me to book a free 10 minute consult. Stay tuned for my Discover Your Sacred Purpose workshop. 🙏🏽💓

“Free Me Up!” Today’s Spiritually Fit Yoga podcast episode with Heather Viniar!

(Looking for my class schedule? Click here)

Today’s episode coincides with National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, which is very important to my podcast guest today, Heather Viniar.

The goal of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (#NEDAwareness) is to shine the spotlight on eating disorders by educating the public, spreading a message of hope, and putting lifesaving resources into the hands of those in need.

https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/get-involved/nedawareness

Click here to listen to the full episode on iTunes.

Here is the photo and video referenced in the episode about pulling from the Oracle Card deck:

Click here for the link to order this deck of Oracle cards for yourself!

About Heather Viniar

Heather is a Spiritual + Intuitive Coach, and is the owner of Heather Viniar Coaching & Wellness. She works with and supports women who desire a deeper soul connection by healing past experiences and owning their authentic voice. She’s a firm believer that, as humans, we have the ability to transform experiences of the past into our soul purpose and divine future, and is completely inspired by the growth and empowerment that she’s witnessed clients develop. 

Heather is also a Tier 3: 1200-hour Certified Baptiste Influencer and a 500-ERYT through the Yoga Alliance. Her favorite part about yoga is that it’s not just a practice that works, it’s a practice that matters. She utilizes her yoga/mindfulness background and fitness/nutrition background so she can truly cater to and support clients with individual desires, holistically. 

Heather is committed to opening up a world of possibility. She is passionate about working with teens, Eating Disorder treatment centers and women’s shelters to awaken empowerment in those communities. When Heather’s not working or on her mat, she loves beach walks, looking or seashells, sunsets, photography, paddle-boarding, traveling, playing (aka-snuggling) with her 2 dogs, and spending time with her family. 

Connect with her on Instagram @heatherviniaryoga, and come join to learn Heather’s 3 biggest secrets to setting energetic boundaries . When? Thursday February 25, 2021 from 6-7pm EST. Head over to heatherviniar.com to sign up. Can’t make the workshop live? No problem! Sign up, and the recording will be sent to you after!

PRESENCE (week one) “40 Days to Personal Revolution” by Baron Baptiste

One of the best decisions I ever made in my life was embarking on my Baptiste yoga journey. And, one of the most impactful Baptiste programs and books is “40 Days to Personal Revolution – to Radically Change Your Body and Awaken the Sacred Within Your Soul by Baron Baptiste.

I am on an amazing team of teachers leading this 40 Days program through Baptiste Power Yoga San Francisco and am offering support and commitment to the daily yoga and meditation practice by publishing weekly episodes aligned with the weekly theme and focus points.

Week One theme: PRESENCE.

And, the first two laws are:

  • Law One: Seek the Truth
  • Law Two: Be Willing to Come Apart

Here are the iTunes podcast links to a meditation and yoga class you can use during Week One of your 40 days program, or even if you’re not following the 40 days book! First preference is to get yourself to a class AND for times when that’s not possible, these episodes are for you! Creating a “no excuses!” option to support your commitment to a daily practice! Of course, remember one day of rest every week from yoga! Meditation every day, asana practice 6 days/week.

If you’re new to my podcast, there are other yoga, meditations, and guest interviews on my Spiritually Fit Yoga too! (My podcast is also on Spotify, Google podcast, Anchor, and more.)

Have you listened to my episodes? I’d appreciate a review an iTunes with your feedback (5 star ratings always appreciated) or comment below. My. intention is to offer you podcast episodes to empower you using the tools of yoga and meditation, and from the insight and wisdom offered by my guest interviews! Thank you for being here.

Peace out,

Amelia Andaleon, founder Spiritually Fit Yoga

How to Deal with Political Stress?

Recent events in this country have disrupted my sense of peace. How about you? Here are a few resources to help cope with the experience of stress, including a link to an instagram live meditation I shared this morning.

5 Tips to Cope with Political Stress

  1. You are not alone. I acknowledge you feel stressed. Acknowledge that what you’re experiencing is part of being a living, breathing human with a beating heart with the beautiful capacity to feel deeply. What’s happening can feel jarring, like mentally, emotionally, and physically receiving the impact like shockwaves. You are not alone in experiencing the impact of stress.
  2. Breathe. Inhale to a count of 4, pause with a full inhale, slowly exhale to a count of 4. Repeat 5 times or until you feel more relaxed. Start and end your days with this mindful breathing, and use anytime you you want to a calm body and mind.
  3. State of Mind and Body. Stress is a state of mind and body, which can be shifted and shaped. How you feel and think is temporary. Take a break from negative images and thoughts. Limit your intake of anything disturbing Turn off the news/social media. Instead of watching repetitive news stations, read or listen to your news. I opt for the 20 minute weekday morning Start Here podcast. Choose an activity that floods the brain with positive thoughts. One of my mindset shifters is laughing at Friends reruns. What makes you laugh and feel happy? Get out of your head and into your body. A vigorous yoga class with challenging poses does the trick for me. When my practice invites me to focus on my breath, my physical sensations, and a positive affirmation or mantra, I fill up with positivity and crowd out the negativity. A positive mindset practice is protection towards letting negativity pentrate your mind and body. Choose to deflect negativity like teflon, not have it get stuck to you like velcro! Do what you love! Getting out in nature is another fav activity. Do what you lifts you up, which nutures your body, mind, and spirit.
  4. Connect. Reach out and connect to another person. Facetime and audio messages can feel more intimate than texting. Joining a virtual zoom yoga class can help you feel less alone. I teach zoom yoga classes and we do a mood check before class. In my free/donation livestream meditation and yoga classes on the Insight Timer app, I do a quick check in before and after class where students can share comments and questions in the chat box. It is amazing how connected we feel as if we were together in a community class.
  5. Meditate. A regular meditation practice can train the brain and nervous system to be less-reactive to stress, to cultivate a calm, neutral state of mind. Anger, fear, worry, sadness are all real emotions worthy of our acknowledgement and compassion. My meditation and mindfulness practices have taught me, when uncomfortable emotions arise it’s a warning bell reminding me to pay attention and check in with myself. “Ok self, what’s really going on? Let’s breathe, sit, and pay attention to this exact present moment.” Imagine stress makes its appearance like your hand in a boiling pot of water. The more you practice being in tune with your physical sensations you’ll notice the temp of that water before it even starts simmering then you stop and drop everything for a selfcare break. What happens is we don’t pay attention and before we know it we’re reacting like our hand in boiling water and primal, freak out stress kicks in. Noticing what is triggering stress can signal you to change course and learn lessons to avoid those triggers. Meditation and mindfulness is the practice of paying attention. Give it a try! Here is a link to a short meditation and a brief commentary about spirituality and politics on my Instagram page @spirituallyfityoga: click here.

CURIOUS NOT FURIOUS: Lastly, after meditating and doing all the things to calm your body and mind, from a centered state and with clear thoughts, ask yourself if there’s an action you can take which aligns to what you believe is right. Stress can often be telling you that you care deeply about something. Pay attention. Are you being called to be of service? Channel your energy towards a cause or allow a passion project to arise. Stress can be a powerful way to motivate you to make a difference, to support a cause that really matters to you.

An additional resource I found helpful: click here

Was this article and the meditation helpful? What are you struggling with? What are YOUR tried and true methods for coping with stress, especially during this current political climate? Please share to benefit and support others. Leave a comment below. Thank you being here. Peace out 🙏🏽 Amelia Andaleon


Connect with me:

Happy New Year!!! January 2021 schedule!

Looking forward to get back to teaching in 2021! Here’s my schedule the week of January 4th: (time zone Pacific Standard Time)

  • Monday 530-630pm Zoom Baptiste Power Vinyasa – book here
  • Monday 830-9pm Mindful Monday Yoga Nidra livestream on Insight Timer. Join here
  • Tuesday 430-530PM Zoom Vinyasa for Just Be Yoga – book here
  • Wednesday 530-630pm Zoom Deep Flow – book here

See you on your mat!!!

Amelia Andaleon

Warrior Pose at sunset on
Mount Diablo – Danville, CA