Spring Cleaning for the Mind, Body and Soul. Part 1

Part 1 – Clearing out the Clutter.

Spring is here, well at least in the south it is. The oak trees are making a mess of my yard, and the car (and everything else for that matter) is covered with a film of yellow pollen. The weeds in the yard are already taking over, and discussions of summer camp and the end of the school year festivities have already begun in our house. Spring Break has come and gone, and it’s officially time to clean up, clean out and move into this season of rebirth.

For many of us it’s the perfect time to reconnect to the goals you may have set for yourself back at New Years. Those aspirations of clean eating, increased exercise or just a life less complicated can easily be renewed now that the cloud of winter has passed. I find that many of us set the bar so high that it is very easy to just quit or walk away from personal commitments, especially if we are the primary caregiver to our children, families or businesses. I put myself last many times, working like crazy for the betterment of others, while allowing my health, fitness and sometimes happiness to fall by the wayside. It’s so easy to put yourself last, and I do it all the time, but by doing so I know, and you know, you aren’t helping anyone in the long run.

So what’s a girl to do?

Recently I was approached to review a book for LivePretty.com. And, the more I read, the more it got me thinking bigger. What started as a simple book review prompted a multi-part ‘awareness’ series.

As luck would have it, I re-connected with a former yoga instructor from my pre-mommy years in Los Angeles in the form of her newest book, YogaLean: Poses and Recipes to promote Weight Loss and Vitality – for Life! by Beth Shaw.  A ‘whole-life wellness’ reference guide. I first found yoga with Beth. It was during those first few years on a simple mat in her studio YogaFit in Hermosa Beach California that I discovered a new and very invigorating way to keep my limbs, joints, muscles and mind in a happy place. I had never sweat so much or twisted my body into so many challenging poses before, ever. It was fabulous and honestly I had forgotten how deeply I enjoyed and missed it. Life has taken over, and I have stepped away from my practice except for an occasional class here and there. My space has been cluttered with so many things. Obligations, work, life, house, kids, volunteering, schedules, stuff.. the list goes on and on. Many of these “things” are amazing, wonderful things that I wouldn’t clear out ever, and my family and children make each day overflow with meaning, but all the other stuff can and does get in the way.

So, where can we start and how can we find the time and space for a renewed commitment to our own personal goals, health and fitness? Start simply: clear out your clutter.YogaLean_TP_nospine1

Clean out the clutter:
Drawers, closets, garages, filing cabinets, glove compartments, wallets and handbags can be a great place to start. Open each dark space in your home and empty it completely. Clean it out. Throw away, or donate, what you aren’t using or haven’t used in the past 6 months and free yourself from it. Give yourself back that space and the time you spend in it or on it. In YogaLean Beth makes a beautiful and oh-so-true connection to the clutter in our homes and lives, to the inability to commit to and reach our personal health, weight loss and fitness goals. “Many times we become hostage to our own possessions. But all matter takes up space and energy. If we have too much stuff around, it can deplete our energy. If things are in disarray, we may be spending excess time trying to locate items or even move them out of the way. If cleanliness is our goal, it needs to translate to our physical space as well as our body… Your environment may be in need of this space.” Amen sister!

Those that know me know I keep a pretty tight home. Counters are clean, beds are made, bathrooms are neat and orderly. But, oh my, if you could only see my closets and drawers.. I confess they are a mess. For those of you that remember the sitcom Friends, you may recall Monica and her famous “closet.” The one she kept locked and hidden from everyone. Well, my dearest friends know all of my closets are “Monica’s closets”. They are epically messy.. They are filled to the brim, disorderly and sloppy. The antithesis of the rest of my neat and tidy home. They are certainly a barrier, and energy sucker so to speak, and one I will re-commit to clearing out.

Beth suggests on your journey towards health and wellness to first assess your living situation. Notice how your feel when you walk into your home. Is there anything that makes you cringe (like my closets)? Something that you avoid dealing with, cleaning or repairing? Growing up making the bed was one of those “not optional” chores my mother insisted we do each day before leaving for school. It was such a pain, my sisters and I would roll our eyes, throw our backpacks down, and head back to our rooms to “make the bed” each day. What a total pain, and waste of time I thought! We were just going to get right back in those beds the next evening and make them all messy again, why bother? But, bothering is worth it. Walking into a neat and tidy home makes a huge impact on how you feel when you come back each day. Entering a messy space after a stressful day only adds insult to injury. Entering one that is clean and clear of clutter give you space, peace and time to refill your cup.

In addition to cleaning out the clutter, Beth’s book covers a spectrum of topics for a better, healthier me. And ultimately us. From the practice of yoga to meditation to fitness training to eating lean (with an array of recipes) and giving back to your community. The book is a reference for a healthier you. Not just a one time read. I know for me, while all these topics are helpful, I can’t focus on all at one time. But, I can refer back time after time.

Looking forward, I will be writing about my plans for, as Beth Shaw puts it, “whole-life wellness.” From making more room for me and to my recommitment to yoga and fitness. I am also looking forward to trying a few recipes from YogaLean.

Happy Spring Cleaning! Namaste!

Elizabeth Montgomery James

After living in California for several years, Beth and her husband, Rod, relocated to Florida, to live, work, and play. They have two adorable daughters, and Beth is very involved with her children’s schools as a parent volunteer, Daisy troupe, and other community organizations such as the Junior League. Beth enjoys crafts, yoga and fitness, as well as a nice glass of Chardonnay. Beth is a graphic designer who has worked on national and international ad campaigns for top consumer brands, and now brings her talents to a variety of projects in and around Central Florida. In addition for bringing classic elegance to everything she touches, Beth has a natural talent for making everything pretty, from kids’ birthday parties to her garden.

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