Open Your Heart

An open heart welcomes new experiences, fresh connections and an altered view of your surroundings. I live in Pleasantville. Really. Every…

30th Birthday Bucket List

The countdown is on, less than one month to go before I kick my twenties to the curb. I’m pretty excited about this birthday. I mean, what do I have to lose? My youth…flawless skin (let’s face it that never happened)…that wild sense of abandonment you feel after completing a final exam? All of those were great, but they are sooooooo last decade, my twenties, that is.

As an old soul I’m fully embracing my upcoming birthday, but I also want to keep it fresh and stay in touch with the younger generation. So I came up with a ‘to do’ list full of young at heart as well as grounding activities to complete before August 19th.

  • Get my mindfulness practice together – I’ve been dancing around it for weeks, I need just to do it already!
  • Play Pokemon Go – gotta stay in touch with the millennial crowd.
  • Karaoke – one of my favorite past times that I haven’t done in foreverrrr.
  • Rock a bare midriff look – people are always putting expiration dates on fashion trends, but really, who cares?!
  • Color in a coloring book – it’s just so hot right now.
  • Join the church I’ve been visiting – this is so grown up I can barely stand it!
  • Bond with my Mom and sisters – I’m forcing them to celebrate my birthday with me, I bought us concert tickets!
  • Master my handstand – my goal is to do a full on handstand on the beach in Cabo for my birthday trip!
  • Buy a lottery ticket – simply because I never have before…will I get lucky?!
  • Get outdoors daily – I get stuck indoors for work, other than when I teach water aerobics, so I need to make time to get outside on my own.
  • Celebrate and really mean it – I’m only turning 30 once, I’m going to make it count!
  • Be okay, with everything – Embrace my imperfections, I’m only human…a fabulous human!

View More: http://diamondoakphotography.pass.us/alliknoth-guaranteedgiddy

View More: http://diamondoakphotography.pass.us/alliknoth-guaranteedgiddy

Do you have a bucket list?

 

 

 

I Scared My Soul! #scareyoursoul

I scared my own soul last weekend. What exactly am I talking about? Click here.

Tawny Lara, a fellow blogger (check out Sobrietea!) and soul bearer hooked me up with this funky fresh courage challenge. It was a joy to participate in!

I got pumped up for #scareyoursoul by completing a slightly silly but fun challenge while on a tubing trip in West Texas last week. I wanted to do a headstand at 1,800 hundred feet. All I can say is goal crushed!

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I like change, but I’m also afraid of a lot of things. An interesting combo, I assure you. It wasn’t hard to think of three things I’d like to conquer for the three day challenge, but it was tough to decide which three fears to select because I would be traveling to Michigan for my gal pal Christine’s wedding.

My Scare Your Soul Challenges:

1- Be present in scary social situations (AKA a rehearsal dinner where I will only know a handful of people), do not use my phone as a crutch. Make eye contact and ask open ended questions to get to know people.

I really went for this one and talked to ‘new to me’ people during the ceremony rehearsal and a few more folks at the rehearsal dinner. The rehearsal dinner was packed and super loud but I tried my best to chat a few people up. To make up for the loudness I decided to make an unplanned toast and put myself out there in front of a group of 50+ mostly strangers! I got some crowd participation going and even made people laugh, I’m totally smiling thinking about it now! I guess I was just inspired by love! #awwww

 I fill up with this nervous energy when I’m faced with talking to new people, even though I know from experience that it can be rewarding. I had to remind myself that because I stepped outside of my comfort zone I ended meeting my friend, the bride, Christine. I blindly suggested we play tennis via e-mail five years ago and last weekend I was her bridesmaid! That’s pretty amazing. I wonder when I will stop fearing this so much, I’ve had many great experiences with sticking my hand out there and simply introducing myself. I guess I’ll just keep trying, practice makes perfect…errr tolerable?!   

2- Live on the dance floor at my gal pal Christine’s wedding EVEN if my feet are killing me! Inspire others to ‘get down on it’!

OH YEA. I was out there, barefoot the entire time, mostly jumping up and down in a ‘mosh’ style dance groove as the live band played. I wondered why I hadn’t done this at every single wedding I’d been to. I usually dance a little but not nearly this much. My feet were totally D-O-N-E but I kept sashaying my fears away. When you wake up at 6am on vacation to primp and swoon over your friend you get tired, but I didn’t care. I was so high from pretending how to dance I didn’t realize I’d been going strong all day. Plus the DJ played my favorite tune, Canned Heat by Jamiroquai , which will make any dope race to the dance floor. #couragecrusher 

3- Strike up a conversation with a stranger on an airplane, maybe even promote Guaranteed Giddy!

Okay, so I totally failed on this one. Maybe I was tired from all the dancing or perhaps my soul had been scared enough already. Plus, I sat next to Mr. Giddy on the plane after all so I didn’t actually have a stranger to talk to…I know it’s a total cop out! I did strike up a subtle convo with a solo diner patron earlier in the day, it was nothing major but I did do it. Half courageous?! 

Something else happened to me over the Scare Your Soul weekend. Something REALLY scary. I realized what I need to do with myself, with my life. I just got this feeling…a little voice spoke to me and said ‘Remember those terribly awful adolescent years? Yep, those. You need to help girls survive them’. I think I’m supposed to help people in the most defining points in their life. Specifically young women, and even more specifically ladies who are going through what I considered to be the most painful and depressing era of life. Ugh…this truly frightens me to think, to admit, to WRITE DOWN here in this very moment.

Young people are intimidating, they know so much about technology and do things I didn’t do, like grow up too fast. I grew up slowly…I was pretty much swimming in molasses until I was almost through with college. I don’t regret it, but it makes me feel distant from  let’s say a beautiful, popular young woman who knows where she wants to go to school and is practically already a member of thi beta whatever. But just like the wall flower girls who were like me need guidance, the girls who would have spit on me in high school also need direction.

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What it looks like to scare your soul!

Did you scare you soul? If not would you like to? Tell me one fear you wish you could conquer.

Gettin’ Giddy at Yoga Pod

I would describe myself as a wannabe yogi. I dream of effortlessly performing inversions on a calm beach while donning an etherial outfit…don’t we all?! Normally, depending on the month I could attend anywhere from one yoga class to eight. Cultivating a yoga practice is no different than others workouts in the sense that forming a routine is important. But until now I didn’t have a convenient and awesome place to frequent that worked for my schedule. Focus on the ‘until now’ portion of that statement!

Cut to Yoga Pod The Woodlands, a brand new studio that opened on June 8th. My goal was to attend a variety of classes at the pod over a four week period and see how my body reacted to a more balanced yoga practice, my findings are as follows.

Community
Because I’m an introvert, feeling apart of any community is a challenge. But I tried my best to bring friends with me to class to get others involved. Nothing is more fun than sharing your joy with others! Plus I compared notes with other yogi friends who had tried the new studio as well, good reviews all around! The studio owner, Melony was very welcoming and it didn’t take long to get to know the instructors who are usually at the front desk greeting the yogis as they arrive. I always feel like a VIP when I arrive at the pod! —cue my ‘raise the roof’ hand gesture—

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Confidence
I’ve done my fair share of yoga, but that doesn’t guarantee confidence every time I unroll my mat. Thankfully the pod offers an array of class styles including PodFlow, PodBarre, PodGentle, YogaTone, PodYin, PodRestore, and I can’t forget about to mention those heated classes! There are PodHot and HotFlow heated classes, which I’m sure will be slightly more enjoyable in November. I am more naturally strong than flexible, so yoga is challenging to say the least. But to hear instructor Amy during PodFlow remind me that ‘This is your practice, listen to your body’ set me at ease. That kind of encouragement is not something you hear at every gym or studio.

Comfort
All you have to do is slip your shoes off and connect with the ground, and at the pod you’re encouraged to that as soon as you walk in. Don’t mind if I do! I felt true comfort in the hour long practices. The moves in Casey’s PodGentle class allowed me to feel lengthened and powerful through completing calmer sequences. Lovely! The quality of the gentle classes at the pod is paramount. Both Casey and Felicia’s gentle flow interpretations will set up beginning and returning yogis for success in the future as their practices expand.

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Flexibility
Speaking of flexibility, or the lack thereof (I’m working on it!), I wanted to try to new things and step out of my comfort zone with my yoga practice this month. Sooo…I tried a HotFlow class! This was scariest class on the schedule in my opinion. I’ve done a few warm flow classes before, but nothing at 90 degrees with 40% humidity (yep, you read that right)! I was open with instructor Hieu, ‘This is my first hot class, go easy on me!’, she was understanding and encouraging—exactly what I needed. I made it though the class, and felt absolutely footloose and fancy free afterward! Reaching, twisting and grounding into the mat in that kind of heat bears confidence and strength into you like no other practice can.

Strength
I know I’m strong from traditional resistance and TRX training, but yoga strength is a whole other story! Stabilizer muscle strength is needed to successfully launch and hold inversions as well as to balance on your hands and feet. There was one moment I felt truly ‘yoga strong’ during Lauren’s PodFlow class. She is an energetic instructor, her music had me grooving, tunes definitely help guide me when I exercise. She told the class that crow pose was the ‘inversion of choice’ per say for the month. I tried side crow for the first time that day and was successful on both sides. I felt like a total rock star and am not ashamed to brag thanks to Lauren’s guidance!

Body
While I teach around ten fitness classes a week I still have to exercise on my own because my focus while teaching is not on my output or form, but the participants in class. It feels so nice to step into someone else’s class and focus on my own practice. I was sore after many of the workouts, which tells me that my body responded to the alternative workout and that stepping outside of my comfort zone was a positive choice. Holding new poses and stretching my limits cultivated improvement in my flexibility and posture. That is a success in my book!

Heart
One of my big goals for this year was to open my heart. Even though I write about happiness I still find myself feeling down and depressed at times. I know in those moments that I’m guarding my heart, especially when meeting new people and while facing adversity. It is easy to lock yourself away from the world and choose to not participate. But then I wouldn’t be sharing my joy with others and learning about what makes people giddy. Every instructor at YogaPod speaks to the heart. Most commonly saying ‘Lift your heart’ during practice. This is so needed in my life and in our world.

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Mind
One of my favorite elements of yoga is the fact that instructors typically invite you to set an intention, which elevates the mind/body connection, during the practice. Life is better when you have a reason to work, move, and find contentment. I recently wrote that my life is far less stressful than in years past, is it a coincidence that I connected those dots during my month of yoga exploration? I think not!

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Don’t try Yoga Pod The Woodlands because you want to buy a pair of yoga pants, go to a class because you want more. More from your body, your life, your heart. Try it out, giddiness is guaranteed, namaste!

Scare Your Soul Challenge: Because Courage is Contagious

What do you think of when you hear the word courageous? Perhaps a super hero comes to mind, maybe active duty soldiers, or an Erin Brokavich type of character. But what about you?

This Friday is the first official Scare Your Soul Challenge, which is a three day courage challenge created to help you bust our of your comfort zone by letting go of fear and trying things that SCARE YOUR SOUL!

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INSPIRE

Because this giddy gal is committed to authenticity, I’ll share my three challenges with you.

1- Be present in scary social situations (AKA a rehearsal dinner where I will only know a handful of people), do not use my phone as a crutch. Make eye contact and ask open ended questions to get to know people.

2- Live on the dance floor at my gal pal Christine’s wedding EVEN if my feet are killing me! Inspire others to ‘get down on it’!

3- Strike up a conversation with a stranger on an airplane, maybe even promote Guaranteed Giddy!

Come on, you know you wanna join me. While you’re at it you should invite a friend or two to join you, there is safety in numbers! Click here to sign up for the Scare Your Soul Challenge!

Tennis Court Work Out

I have played tennis my entire life, my dad even submitted a photo to our local newspaper when I was just a few months old holding a baby sized tennis racket! So, yeaaaaaa, I pretty much know what I’m talking about (!). Wimbledon is my favorite grand slam to watch, attending the yearly tournament is definitely on my bucket list. I will be there one day. Sporting a gorgeous yet subtle hat along with oversized sunglasses while elegantly eating strawberries and cream, of course!

Even if you’re not a tennis fan there may be a court or two in your town or neighborhood. Maybe you’ve hit against the backboard a few times or walk past the green surfaces while out with your dog. You don’ have to be a tennis player to use the court for a great workout! Check out the following video to learn a quick workout that uses the perimeter of the court!

Complete 8-10 sets of the perimeter workout with 20 seconds rest in between for a heart pumping cardio workout!

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PS-Go Federer!

 

Your ‘Ness’

I was rifling through my far too large DVD collection (side bar—what do you call so called collections of crap that are now completely useless?!) the other day and stumbled across ‘You, Me, and Dupree’. I can’t say I’m proud to own this DVD but I know for a fact I saw the movie twice in theater and bought it as soon as it came out. That’s kind of a big deal for a broke college student, so back then I must have really loved it! Today, the only thing I could remember about the film was the Coldplay song used in the big search scene at the end of the movie and Dupree/Owen Wilson’s motivational tool, your ‘ness’!

As you can see by the clip, you ‘ness’ is what makes you, well, YOU. It’s your spirit, your essence, your very being. How fun is that? Plus I totally buy Owen Wilson as a motivational guru. Thanks to his Dupree character I remembered thinking about my Alli-ness back in college, but I kind of like this kind of branding activity for a giddy exercise today!

What is your ‘ness’? What character traits are so unique to you that all of your friends would undoubtedly choose the same descriptors when asked about you? The traits you choose should be your strengths, they should inform your one of a kind brand. I more think of athletes and actors when I think of a person’s brand, but you don’t have to be famous to have a brand or a ‘ness’.

Let’s try it out. Hone in on three words or phrases that inform your personality. I’m thinking…

BUBBLY MOVEMENT!
aka I bop around, sometimes aimlessly, but make I the most of it by channeling it with creative acts.

NERVOUS ENERGY!
aka I’m unsure of myself at times (cue a too loud laugh) but keep on keeping on.

FLIPSIDE OUTLOOK!
aka I can sense others’ struggles and desire to help them, answer: life coach training.

Finding Your Ness

Thanks, Dupree!

Really though, what is YOUR ‘ness’?!

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