Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Health & Beauty Spotlight: January





At one point or another in ones heatlh and fitness journey, they stumble upon a picture of a super thin, super flexible woman in a sunlit studio doing a crazy difficult yoga pose with some "affirmation" as the tagline. It makes one slightly inspired, but also frustrated because you don't feel like that when you are barely able to lift your leg off the floor. Or your husband or kids are making it difficult to get in touch with that inner spiritual self. But I have news for you! It IS achievable, for the everyday woman, and the results can be both rewarding and life changing.

This was the case of Morgan Messick. She discovered more than just a hobby; she discovered a lifestyle. Yoga had been something she had tried before without much success, and was feeling frustrated with where she was in her life.
   
"I took Yoga for the first time my Freshman year of college. It was a large class, and my teacher used a microphone to instruct. It was not personal or spiritual in any way." This experience was frustrating and led Messick to turn the other way, and continue down the road so many college students travel. "I got lazy and I got unhappy," Messick said. "I was pretty active in high school, but I never ate well, and I brought that along to college with me, and added even more bad habits. I went through a long period where I didn't care at all about what I put in my body, or how it made me feel." In fact, research shows that our food choices directly affect our mood, performace and stress level. According to a 2009 study done of European college students, depressive symptoms and food consumption are directly related, and in female college students studied, frequent consumtption of sweets and fast food and less consumption of fruits and veggies are associated with higher stress levels. When asked what her favorite foods were, Messick responded, "Pizza. I love pizza or chocolate. I try to make it a special treat. But chocolate pizza is gross though." 




Messick before she discovered the power of Yoga


And so the cycle conntinued until her lsat year of college. "I began reading alot of books on health, well-being, and the power of your body. I saw documentaries like Food. Inc., and I took a strong interest in Yoga and Metaphysics. Yoga was being offered for free on Tuesdays and Thursdays [at my school], and I knew the instructor. We had some classes together." This time, the experience was completley different for Messick, and Yoga stuck with her. "It was very intimate, and she was very spiritual in her teachings," she said of her new experience. "I got pretty into it, and decided to learn more about it. My readings lead me to Metaphysics and the realm of spirituality, and I expanded from there."

Practicing Yoga at home


"I've been doing [yoga] ever since then," Messick continues, "but my practice has grown the most in the last two years. It's such a beautiful and fulfilling practice. Everyday you can see how your body changes. You can see yourself grow. You can work towards something for a long time then, when you achieve it, it's unreal. I love it. I blossomed. I never knew how good I could feel and what I could do. It was hard, but it was worth it."






It is safe to say that Yoga is more than just a hobby for Messick, it has truely become a way of life. "Once you accept that you are making a life change everything becomes easier." One of the most interesting parts of this already extrodinary person, is that Messick is just like you and me, and still implements this lifestyle on a daily basis. " It is difficult really. I have a work schedule that is Monday-Friday, 9-5. I have to work in all my other life activities and then find time for myself." The key to this? According to Messick, it is little changes, a great support system, and not beating yourself up for having a normal life. "I go to Yoga classes at the studio when I can, I try to wake up a bit early for Yoga or dog walks to start my morning off. In a perfect world, all of that happens, but a perfect world doesn't happen every week, so some sacrifice is made." And in regards to her support system? "It's so much harder when you're doing it alone. It's dangerous. My husband is very supportive of the exercise I do. I have a few friends that are super motivated for running and other physical activities, and my work Biffy and I are really motivated to eat well during the week. We will go get salad materials every Monday for the week." If this isn't enough to help see that the Yoga way of life can be for every one, maybe her take on all the recent holiday food is. "I eat. Honestly. For me hatI think it is important to have special treats, but all things in moderation. Have a little bit of every favorite dish, and eat it slowly. Savor it. Then when the day is over get it out of your house," she said. As if we weren't enamored with her already, she took it to the next level. "I personally load up food bags and give them to the homeless I pass on a daily basis. It keeps me in line, it feeds someone in need. It makes me feel good." It makes us feel good too.

When it came to beginning her practice of Yoga, Messick noticed a change immediately. "Yoga, breathing and meditation bring a certain awareness; almost a heightened sense of self. I began to notice the subtleties of the inner workings of my person," she said. And it didn't stop there. "The first changes I saw in my body were in the form of strength. I got strong fast! I began trying to do things I would have never believed I could. I think the strength seemed enhanced as well because I was shedding my feelings of 'I can't' along the way. It feels so good to believe in yourself."

Messick is also a self proclaimed "foodie", and when it comes to the latest food fad or diet craze, you won't catch her on board. "I don't believe in diets. You are either changing the way you eat and drink or you're not. There is no middle ground for me. I try to make an assertive decision, and cut or change my diet appropriatley." She also had advice for the everyday woman who struggles with this change. "I would suggest affirming yourself of what you want to do and why. If you are strong in your reasoning, you can get behind it mentally and physically.  I also suggest starting with a few small things that will help you alot. For example, if giving up sodas, and you should, just cold turkey do it. Make that the only thing you give up for awhile, because it can be hard. Once you get to a place where you're done with a bad habit, move on to another. Tackle your goals in stages to help ensure success." This is great advice, as many of us try to jump on board and cut everything out at once. "Make things attainable," Messick agrees, "I know we often want results now, but you it takes time to get there. You have to be patient. If you change too much at once, you'll be more likely to relapse." One way that she specifically does this in her home is to make her own bread and eat whole grains. "I want to cut out high processed carbohydrates because I want to eat food that is more basic and real."




Like so many of us, Messick has her own favorite beauty and Yoga prodcuts that help her feel her best. When asked about the specifics, she had a long list to give. "My absolute favorite brand is Teeki. They are a lovely brand. All their gear is made in the USA using recycled materials. The majority of my yoga clothes are purchased from them. They make the cutest fabrics, they last a long time, and the pants are high waisted, which I love." According to Messick, the right outfit really makes all the difference in her practice. "When I started buying 'Yoga Clothes' instead of random stretchy comfy things I could work out in, my Yoga changed. It breathes better, it's comfortable, it's cute, and its designed specifically for what you are doing." Other brands she said she is a fan of: LuLuLemon, Onzie, Fabletics, Gaiam, Prana, and she is excited to purchase a Manduka Yoga mat. "I hear Manduka Yoga mats are tops. I'll be getting one when my LuLuLemon one gives way." Her favorite beauty products? "LUSH cosmetics has my heart. Anything from there is amazing. I really enjoy anything from their line with roses in it. Turksih delight is phenominal and Eau Roma Water is really refreshing. I also especially love bathbombs from there. I take baths all the time."

Although she admits that the practice of Yoga was tough at the beginning, it was worth the effort in the long run. It certainly is inspiring to see someone not only have a physical transformation, but a mental and spiritual one as well. As many times as I have "done" yoga, I have not "practiced" it, but am now looking forward to doing so! 

These last bits of advice from Messick are words to take home with you. And for those who want to be like Morgan, (girl crush anyone?) check out some links below!!

"Recognize the love and respect your body deserves. You are a goddess, and you must take care of yourself. Don't compare yourself to others, there is no competition. Treat yourself well, and you will be the optimum you that you can be. Love yourself, whether it's curves or straight lines, thick hair or thin, whether you feel too fat or too skinny, you're not. Love yourself...it's contagious."











Teeki Apparel , LuluLemon YogaLush Bath Bombs

Namaste, and All my love,

Millie







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