To honor the month of LOVE, February, that is. I thought it would be very important to talk about self-love and in order to have a deeper understanding of what it is, how we can grow into self-love and how we can achieve this day by day, I decided to interview my dear friend and founder of Eco Fit Yogi, Sarah Wolfe.
Sarah is an amazing young woman, she is finishing college and graduating in Marketing later this year, she has two amazing jobs, one as an intern in marketing in a very competitive firm in Chicago and the second at one of my favorite stores of all time, Crystal-Life Technology, all this while she manages and inspires us through EcoFitYogi!!. She is a yogi, a strong advocate of self-love and a beacon of women empowerment. I feel honor to call her my friend and I am delighted that she accepted to answer a few questions for us on self-love.
Thank you so very much for answering some questions for us, first of all, we would love to know what motivated you to found EcoFitYogi?
As a fitness lover and someone who battled with body image issues since I was in elementary school, I was very sensitive to the fitness message of “look like someone else.” I found it difficult to find workouts via online, that focused on empowerment rather than losing weight.
I saw fitness be a positive gateway into understanding the body, a time to be selfish and honor yourself. Working out shouldn’t be a chore; it should be something that empowers you, a type of life force that allows you to connect your mind and body. I work out six days a week because I have established a relationship with myself that allows me to look forward to my workouts, it’s time that I take out of my day to really understand how my body is feeling.
I’ve learned to establish a sustainable relationship with food and my fitness routine by focusing on loving my body as a whole. EFY is a lifestyle and community, a blog where women and young girls can go to get advice, inspiration, and expand their knowledge on living a life through self-love.
How do you grow into Self-Love? With that I mean how do you give up the battle within yourself?
Great Question! I talk about this on EcoFitYogi, it all comes down to forgiveness. You must forgive yourself in order to fully begin to heal, it is a process. I feel like a lot of the time people think that in order to gain self-love we must take certain steps. But a lot like life it isn’t that simple, there are no levels or directions, it is all individual. We have to create our own process. What I’m trying to say is that in order to come to terms with ourselves and how we feel about our bodies me must truly let go of everything that is holding us back. It’s like a detox, we must rid the body and mind of this negativity and self-doubt that is embedded in us.
Media, as in advertising, television, social network, magazines, and films, all of these forms of communication are one of the leading causes of body image disorders! What or who we surround ourselves with, is an influencer in how we view ourselves. Getting back to the idea of detoxing negativity, we must look at what we are surrounding ourselves with and choose what to get rid of and what to keep.
In order to grow into self-love, we must dissect the pain of our past, get to the root of what’s holding us back. I always suggest to stand in front of your mirror naked, to take that moment of vulnerability and look yourself. To see yourself in that exposed way gives you perspective that your body is your home, it’s a living breathing life-force. You would never walk into your house with muddy shoes, say mean things about it every single day, No you wouldn’t, it is your sanctuary. So, why would you do that to your own body? The place your mind, heart, and spirit lives in. Our culture focuses on the physical, so when we being to peel away that layer and get to the core of it all, it all comes down to emotion. When we see ourselves as beings of feeling and creation rather than physical, we can honestly begin to love ourselves.
How can yoga help self-love and self-image?
Yoga is very powerful when it comes to connecting with the mind on a deeper level. It allows you to get into this space of acceptance and flow with body and honor how it is feeling that day. Yoga has taught me a lot about listening to how I feel. During yoga I take a pause and place one hand on my heart and the other on my belly, it allows me to establish a sense of awareness of respect for what my body does for me each day. Within the yoga culture I’ve noticed that a lot surrounds the “yoga body,” this focus on physical perfection with formations and body ideals. But taking a step back and realizing that perfection is unachievable and that being yourself is realistic, it allows you to have more fun on the mat.
What are your self-love practices?
Self-Love is about giving back to yourself, being proud of your body. I take time each day to be selfish, I love to read, write, and paint. Spending time in nature is a great way to give back to the mind and body, nature heals. I also have fun create new recipes, taking a lavender bath once a month, and trying a new workout routine every week.
I also practice self-love by filtering my media. I don’t watch Bravo and E, instead I watch shows like The Mindy Project, Parks and Rec, Outlander, and Grimm. I love getting my news from Smart Girls, Lenny, Hello Giggles, and Girl Up. I also read books that empower girls like Throne of Glass, Red Queen, The Falconer, Why Not Me, and Yes Please.
These are my Self-Love Values:
- Mantras: A statement repeatedly frequently allows the mind to establish a focus and the body to form an understanding of the goal. It allows the mind and body to find a connection through thought and movement. I created my own mantra, I am Strong, Smart, and Beautiful. Each day I tell myself that and I am able to manifest positive thinking.
- Sustainable Goals: By having establishing goals that have roots and evolve, provides the ability to grow through your practice.
- Healthy Eating: In order to connect to the body organically we need to fuel ourselves with foods that provide energy, nutrients, and happiness. Food is our connection to the earth and gives us the clarity needed to live a life of balance.
- Open Mind & Heart: In order to truly grow you need to open yourself to accepting change and learning to flow with it.
- Strength: Connecting to your inner warrior allows you to tap into the power of being a women and allowing that emotion of pride guide you through your journey of self-love.
- Breath: When you inhale and exhale you are finding the simple moment of being present and at peace, a time where silence fills the gaps of our thoughts and allows us to truly understand ourselves.
How do you create space within yourself in a day when you don’t feel as empowered?
I usually turn to vegan dark chocolate, green tea, and a good book. I also take a deep breath, prayer to my goddesses, and repeat my personal mantra. I try to do something that makes me happy when I’m having an off day, I tend to paint when I get home from school or take a hot shower. Yoga is one of my favorite ways to just release my negative thoughts and let go of the frustration I have. I have to balance my last semester of college, internships, work, and two blogs. I tend to get overwhelmed. But by taking a step back and honoring all the hard work I do and taking some time for myself, I tend to feel a lot better when I remember to stay mindful.
Are there any stones that can help with self-love?
There are many stones that help improve self-love, by working at Crystal Life Technology I am able to be surrounded by their positive energy all the time! Her are my top three:
Aquamarine: Allows you to let go, detox, become sensitive to your body’s feelings, and allows you to reflect.
Rose Quartz: Unconditional love, comfort, heals the heart, forgiveness.
Garnet: Empowerment, strength, connect with self, and courage.
Could you tell us a little bit about your Manifest the Self-challenge that is coming up?
I was inspired by my favorite saying, “The Future is Female.” This challenge will focus on creating determination, courage, and confidence. We will be learning to mindfully manifest personal, spiritual, and career goals. In honor of National Women’s History Month, we will be honoring the power of female energy. When you sign up you will get a weekly schedule that has daily tasks to build up your inner strength to manifest your goals. The schedules will also include vegan recipes, fitness & self-love advice.
I want women to connect to their feminine energy and to empower themselves and others to create their own change, that they control their futures. I find it very important that women embrace their inner warriors and face their fears head on; this challenge provides them with the tools, advice, and motivation to do so.
The winner* of the challenge will be chosen on April 1st. They will receive a small holistic care package and also be featured on the EcoFitYogi blog! The winner will be chosen based on their efforts to #ManifestTheSelf via Instagram, Tumblr, & Facebook. I will keep track of how you are growing from the experience every time you use the #ManifestTheSelf and tag EcoFitYogi.
What is your super power?
Determination. I want to create positive change, I know exactly what I want to do with my life and I will work hard every day to manifest my life vision.
Thank you so much Sarah for your time and for joining us today! I love your super power, that is an awesome power to have 🙂 I am sure you will move mountains!!
Dear reader, we hope that you enjoyed this interview and if you have any questions and comments please leave it below, we would love to hear from you!
DO WHAT YOU MUST
What itches inside of you, let it out! It might be the most recondite gift.
You might not even know what talents and gifts you have if you do not act from you inner most desires.
What is itching inside of you that wants to come out?
Do what you desire the most!
Do you want to paint? Paint!!
You want to make music?? Start making music!
You want to build? Then built!
You want to make videos of bikes jumping?? Make videos!!
There are no limits in this world but the ones you put yourself.
You are boundless opportunity.
You have the gift to do anything you really desire to do. Anything, really!
And that itch is your cue.
That itch that you cannot get rid of, that dream that you had at age 2 and then age 5, and then at age 12, that dream… that dream is your cue!
That itch is telling you what you came to this world to do…
So do it!
We all benefit from you being happy and doing what you came here to do. Not only would you spread joy because you will be so happy doing what you love and what you came to do, but you would also motivate others to do the same. Can you imagine? Can you imagine how fantastic that would be?
We are all unique, we all have unique gifts. So please! Share them with us! Share your gifts, share your talents, and share what you love! Share the magic that is within you.
We all came here to create and no matter what it is that you want to create you should create it, because it is important, it is important that you express yourself and share your talents with all of us. You might be depriving the world from the best next thing, the best next song, the best next work of art or you might be depriving us from our collective evolution.
So do what you must! Do not wait more time to earn more money, do not wait to get a vacation, do not wait to retire, just do not wait…
One thing is certain, we all have an expiration date and you know what?? We do not even know when that expiration date is… So!, what are you waiting for!?
It is time to do what you must! It is time to ease that itch, time to sing, time to dance, time to make art, time to cook, time to get on the stage, time to lead! And please!, Make no reservations, do not restrict yourself, what ever it is that you must do, do it fully. If you are going to paint, paint all the corners. If you are going to sing, do it with your guts and all the air from your lungs. If you are going to dance, let the music lead you!
So, this is what this New Year 2016 is about, it is about creating, it is about unleashing your desires and sharing them with others, it is about doing what you must!
I am aware that the world is suffering, we are suffering and in turn our surroundings, our environment, Mother Earth is suffering. We are suffering because most of us have forgotten. As we grow up and as time has gone by we have obliterated an innate understanding, leaving us empty. We are left with an insatiable hole within our hearts.
Later on, as adults we want to fill this emptiness, but by that time we have long erased this knowledge. We then seek to fill that void with material things, with transient pleasures, with power or possessions, hurting in the process other beings around us.
We forgot… we ache, the pain is unbearable and the thirst unquenchable. There is only one thing that can satiate and ease this pain, yet some of us go to destroy populations of other humans or to annihilate other species like trees or animals with the agenda to fill this void.
In our amnesia we have been lead to believe that we are the owners of this world and that we are the only conscious intelligent beings. It is lonely here and our emptiness and thirst for more has us wandering like a lonely wolf without its pack, destroying our surroundings left and right hoping to restore the peace inside us.
We have forgotten that we belong, that we belong to something greater than us, that we are made of the same cloth than the birds, the animals, the trees, the rocks, the rivers, the clouds, the soil. We are all made of the same essence. We, like everything else in this world are made fist and foremost of Sprit.
Or bodies, our material substance are mere containers of our Spirit. Like everything else in life, the Spirit goes where it is loved and welcomed. The moment we forget that we have a Spirit, the moment that our Spirits start retracting, moving away from ourselves and we are left with a huge emptiness, an insatiable hole that can only be fed with our Spirit, with The Spirit.
Some who remember sometimes forget that everything else has a spirit too. Yes I said everything such as the trees, the rocks, the animals, and the soil. Just because they do not respond or act the way we do does not mean that they are not conscious or that they lack a spirit. In fact, they are more conscious than we are; they know that the whole Universe vibrates with Sprit.
When we remember this and feel it within our core, life changes completely and there is no way back. Things are not mere things, we realize that everything has life, and that everything is alive. We then start to see and feel what used to be objects as friendly companions, trees as wise grandfathers and grandmothers, rocks as aunts and uncles and animals as other siblings. We stop being alone, we start to feel this companionship and our Spirit starts to fill in, The Spirit starts to fill in. Then because of this realization we stop hurting one another, because we realize that causing others pain will only cause us pain. Compassion is born from the now somewhat filled heart, compassion for others, other creatures, and other things. Compassion turns into gratitude, which then turns into love. Ahhhhh..love. We realize that we are one with Spirit, one with everything, one with love, and the hole will never be empty as we have found our pack, as we realize that we belong, and as our Spirit returns home.
The past few weeks I have been mourning the loss of a magnificent tree that was standing almost in our front yard, but its trunk rooted in the property of our neighbors. They decided that they wanted to remove it, they complaint that one of the roots was starting to lift their drive way and the only way to fix this was to get rid of the tree, a magnificent pine tree that had been standing there for the past 30 to 40 years.
When I heard of their plans, I got very upset. I wanted to boycott their operation, but since we are new to the neighborhood, my husband did not wanted to upset them. Meanwhile I suffered in silence, went in my head over different scenarios on how to prevent them from cutting it down, from strapping myself to the tree, to paying the company for not cutting, to contacting the city environmental protection, etc, the only thing that I was accomplishing was to make myself more and more upset…
Then I decided to go and meditate with the tree. I sat in front of him, felt the cold breeze of the morning, took a few deep breaths and went within. Once I was still, I told the tree – they are planning to cut you, I do not know what to do… how can I stop them from doing this? – As I waited to feel what else I could tell this magnificent creature, to my amazement I received a reply. He said – I know, nothing is permanent, my time might be up –
My eyes swelled with tears; I felt his love and compassion. It was truly not what I expected to hear. There was no anger, no plotting against, there was only love. I sat there long enough and decided to honor his life by taking photos of him for the next few days and sat with him as many times as I could to meditate.
When the day came for him to be removed I was heartbroken by the unconsciousness of people, the same day the events of Paris happened and my heart sank in sadness for a good few days. I did not know how to react, what to do. I felt impotent; I felt that what I do is not enough and that I need to be more proactive. I realized then that it was time for me to step out of my comfort zone and my shell. I realized that it was time for me to share my thoughts and knowledge with the world. My hope is that if everyone in this world shines its own inner light, we can all bathe the world and the universe in light.
I have discovered through out my life that I am very fond of trees; I truly love them. They are amazing life forms and sacred to most cultures such as the Native Americas, Mesoamerican, Hindus, Buddhist, to name a few. Almost every culture has an image or form of the Tree of Life. Their wisdom lies in their selflessness, they are exuberant philanthropists, they clear the air, they provide a home to many creatures, they provide food, they provide medicine and if you listen closely… they provide wisdom and advise too.
I encourage you to go outside today and look at a tree, look how magnificent they are and if you feel incline to, give it a hug or sit and meditate with it. We can all heal the world together. Then share your experience with me. I would love to hear!
Sending you much love and wishing you a bright day!