Do you Dare to Bare?

Yesterday, I soaked in the sunshine + rode in celebration of self-love. Movemeant Foundation’s Dare to Bare is truly epic. This was my 3rd year participating in the event + it gets more energizing each year. Read my top 3 moments.

1)   Witnessing community. No matter what, we are stronger together. When we join forces, it’s pretty mind-blowing what we can accomplish. Strangers high-fiving, holding hands as we rode + big hugs. If you have an idea, tell a supportive person in your life! They can hold you accountable + journey with you as you walk towards your dreams.

2)   Feeling the body-positive vibes. There were humans all shapes, sizes, colors rockin’ + rollin’ + sweatin’ in just a sports bra. Not long ago, I was completely bald + fighting for my life. I adored my hair + losing it made me feel like an alien. Aside from fighting for my life, I didn’t feel beautiful. Yesterday was amazing, because I felt the positive vibes, the sweat from hard work + no one gave up.

3)   Giving Movemeant founder, Jenny Gaither, a big squeeze! This badass truly energizes all humans that she comes in contact with – spreading her message + sunshine from coast to coast (she used to teach at SoulCyle NYC but moved out to SF a few years ago). Jenny embodies what it means to turn thoughts into action. She’s created a dynamic movement (pun intended!?) with Movemeant. The mission provides scholarships to disadvantaged youth + runs body positive programs in schools.

If you’re still interested in donating to my ride, I'd love your support. Thanks for reading + don’t forget, give yourself a big SQUEEZE today!

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You Can’t Do It All.

I say this to myself + others all the time but for the past 6 months, I haven’t really been abiding by this sage advice. I want to do it all. Plain + simple. I want to help everyone, be supportive to everyone + soak in the magic of life (i.e. show up for celebrations, mail birthday cards, send good luck reminder texts, connect with new students, go to concerts, visit people in the hospital, hold everyone’s babies, meet with fellow cancer thrivers + more). I want to scoop up every opportunity to be successful in my business – both with experiences + financially.  Since starting Chi Chi Life in January 2015, time management has always been an issue. And I’m finally learning it’s not possible to do it all. Here are my struggles + how I plan to get back on track.

Exercise.

Issue: Many days, I teach anywhere from 3 hours to 6 hours. I’m leading rockstars in the studios at exhale + Flex Studios, I train people one-on-one + I guide employees in a corporate environment to move + groove. Lately, I haven’t been able to exercise very much at all. Instead of my 1-2 rest days/week, it’s more like I am exercising 1-2 days/week. It’s not good for my body + mind + I’ve been super down about it.

Solution: Reduce my hours of teaching + carve out more time to ensure I am getting some sort of exercise in. Find creative solutions to squeeze in movement – maybe it’s a quick run to /from one of my appointments.

Nutrition.

Issue: I’ve been pretty lax with my diet this summer. I haven’t made the best choices consistently + I rationalized them (the worst!). There’s been a good amount of ice cream, candy + other treats – and in turn weight gain. I haven’t been planning my meals + often find myself grabbing something quick or just not eating all that much – which leaves me depleted + with low energy to navigate my days.

Solution: Food is fuel. Dedicate time to shop on the same day each week + plan (most) meals so I have yummy, healthy food easily accessible to me + Russ.

Stress.

Issue: Simply put, I am overwhelmed with my current commitments so much that I do not feel like I am nailing any of them. I feel like I can’t get ahead. Though I am never unprepared, I find myself scrambling to get organized before next appointment.

Solution: Take an assessment of how I spent my time + energy. See what commitments excite me + remove those that don’t. Build in more prep time into my days to avoid the scramble.

=== The Takeaway: Life is certainly not easy but I believe in supporting each other through shared experiences. What have you been struggling with lately? Comment here + let’s help each other!

With heart,

Lauren

Learn Always.

Sunrise Volcano Climb: Mt. Batur - Bali, Indonesia

Sunrise Volcano Climb: Mt. Batur - Bali, Indonesia

Last month, I squeezed the JUICE out of LIFE exploring Asia for 2+ weeks. When I sent an email inquiry to Karen at Sharing Bali, we both took a leap of faith. I dreamt of visiting Bali since I was 16 + I was ready to make visiting a reality - in the form of Heart, Soul + Barre: an adventure, culture + fitness retreat. On June 29, seven of us boarded a plane to discover the tiny village of Singaprang to experience "simple luxury" at this magical place! There are truly no words to describe our week together but I'll try my best by sharing my top 9 lessons.

  1. Welcome Others. Upon arrival into the tiny 95-family village of Singaprang, we were instantly accepted + immersed in village life. We moved right into our beautiful bungalows with the sounds of nature serenading us to sleep every night. The bungalows were designed + crafted by Karen's partner, Wayan.
  2. Live Close to the Moment. Though we had a schedule, Karen shared that that the planning for our Community Day wasn't really possible until a few days before. Imagine how the event planner in me felt - lol. But that's just how it works in their small village - Bali time!
  3. Keep Your Faith. Hinduism is the main religion + the homes are actually family compounds with temples - the cultural nuances showed me that there are so many ways to live this beautiful life.
  4. Teach + Learn. We were super fortunate to have local guides who were genuinely energized to teach us + laugh with us. I'm a life-long learner who is a forever sponge, soaking up all the new knowledge.
  5. Smile + Laugh. During our visit to a family compound, our guide spoke about how the Balinese are always smiling because they believe it spreads good karma. And I completely agree. When our group rafted on the river, we had deep belly laughs as we jumped up + down underneath the strength of the cascading water. Felt so alive!
  6. Build Community. I had the beautiful honor of leading a Strength + Stretch class to 75 women who work in the fields. To my surprise, it actually didn't matter that our languages were different, we connected through movement + laughter -- many of the women hadn't ever tried / seen the exercises + stretches!
  7. Eat Clean. Every single one of our meals were prepared with care + heart from in-season, local ingredients - mostly rice, fruits, veggies + nuts. The dragonfruit juice, corn fritters + coconut sambla were standouts.
  8. Think Creatively. We had an outdoor bamboo gym so I wanted to make the workouts super fun! Some classes included a Partner Coconut Toss, Coconut Burpees, Balance Beam Tricep Dips + Bamboo Rings = TRX goodness!
  9. Disconnect. There was no wifi at Sharing Bali, which I decided to carry into most of our time at Vietnam. It felt really good to revel in the present moment.

Keep learning - it's one of the main ways we can stay connected + shine bright together.

DREAM IT + DO IT

As you read this, I am in the midst of leading my first-ever fitness + adventure retreat – Heart, Soul + Barre in Indonesia at Sharing Bali. It feels surreal. I saw a travel show when I was 16, I’ve dreamt about traveling to this amazing island ever since. Here’s how this all came to be.

In September 2015, I stumbled across Sharing Bali on social media. Someone was leading a “Bali Barre” retreat. How fun, I thought! I’d love to do something similar. A bit of doubt started to creep in. I hadn’t been teaching very long, I had never done something like this + I had never been to Asia. Let alone, caravan a group sheer across the world.

I signed up for Karen’s newsletter + about 6 months later these same pieces of doubt were what encouraged me to write to Karen, the owner of Sharing Bali. Here’s an excerpt of her email back to me:

Wow you are one very inspiring lady, Lauren.

First off, my apologies for taking so long to reply, but as I live in a small village my internet power is somewhat intermittent and I wanted to wait until I could open all of your links and take the time to fully understand this amazing life you are living. I will confess that I still haven't been able to open all links as I haven't been into the town for a few days and it happens to be a period of woeful internet connectivity right now. But reading your email gives me a great start. Thank you.

Karen’s email went on to talk about how she partners with trainers/coaches/leaders to co-create each retreat. One of my favorite things about my first interaction with Karen was that she’s authentic. I loved how she immediately painted a picture of how her life is in Bali + how curious she was to learn about mine.

We continued over email, then Skype + countless more emails until Heart, Soul + Barre was created! What makes my heart so happy is that we were able to craft a stretch of days that combine fitness, adventure, culture + community service. A portion of the retreat fee is supporting the Bumi Sehat Foundation International – their mission is to reduce maternal + child morbidity + mortality + to support the health + wise development of communities.*

Giving back is ingrained in all that I do + I was overjoyed that Karen was so receptive to the idea.  She wrote: My first thought is that we could set up a Retreat that supports your fund raising efforts. This would give the retreat even more purpose.

More purpose. Exactly! Even though Karen + I had only one email exchange, I knew we were going to create something magical.  Karen understood; she took the time to read through my email carefully + responded with thought + a lot of heart. NEAT FACT! We are the first group of Americans traveling to this property!

There’s a group of 7 of us here + I can wait to see where this next week takes us. I am already in love as I listen to the birds + the waves sitting outside of my bungalow on the beach in Legian. 

--

*Toward this goal, Bumi Sehat provides general health services, emergency care, prenatal, postpartum + birth services + breastfeeding support; in addition, healthcare + youth education, environmental + disaster relief programs. If you're interested in learning more about Bumi Sehat's mission + donating, visit their website.

 

Find Balance.

Finding balance is a constant dance. I’ve finally admitted to myself that I have been working too much lately. It’s difficult for me create boundaries. I love to do so many things within my business + I truly struggle with how to divide my time, energy + efforts. That said, I am energized to share a few helpful tactics I’ve used recently.

1)   PRIORITIZE. I’ve written down my 4 core values / goals + I try to align all of my efforts to match these values / goals. No matter what, there will never be enough hours in the day to accomplish everything I’d like. I’ve learned to say “no” to opportunities that do not align with my values / goals.

2)   FEEL. I ask myself how do I feel while I am in the midst of preparing or doing the task at hand. If I have an anxiety pit in my stomach, I notice that feeling + try to investigate the why. I am trying to direct my efforts to endeavors that feel super energizing + uplifting.

3)   PAUSE. Instead of immediately saying “YES!!” to a new, exciting opportunity, I try to take a few hours to reflect. I look at my schedule + current bandwidth holistically in order to decide if the time is right.

I hope these tips are useful for you. Keep on shining! Create the magic that you were destined to create – we are all waiting!

XOXO

Lauren

PS, you might like this NYT article on Turning Negative Thinkers into Positive Ones.

Just Breathe.

If you come to class, you know I often ask, “Are we breathing?” In exercise + in life, sometimes we can simply forget to breathe. I manage my anxiety to the best of my ability with my breath. Over the past few years, I’ve been curious about meditation. Sit still? Ugh. Not me. I still struggle with it but here are a few ideas of how to get started with conscious breathing.

1)   Listen to Guided Meditations.

a.     Kayleigh Pleas. My dear friend, yoga/barre/meditation teacher, positive psychology + nutrition coach + overall dreamy human (…PHEW!)…has amazing meditation recordings on her website. They range from 5 to 20 minutes with themes including: loving-kindness, compassionate visitor, willpower pause + gratitude practice.

b.     Headspace. This meditation app / website is a subscription based model that gain you access to a variety of meditations. Headspace offers a free 10-day trial.  The idea is to “Take 10” – take 10 minutes to meditate each day for 10 days.

2)   Attend a meditation class.  Here in NYC there’s a studio specifically dedicated to meditation called MNDFL with an array of meditation methods – for all levels. MNDFL has an intro offer of $75 for one month of unlimited sessions. There are three locations: UES, Greenwich Village + Williamsburg. Check your local yoga studio - often times meditation classes are offered!

3)   The 4-7-8 Breath.  I use this one often to manage anxiety + help me fall asleep. This method is super effective + I highly recommend it. Here’s the dealio: Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four. Hold your breath for a count of seven. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight. More here from Dr. Andrew Weil.

Science shows that meditation + conscious breathing helps to improve focus, sleep, eating patterns while also reducing stress and worries. Yes please!

Try a few approaches from above -- I’d love to hear about your breath adventures!

With heart,

Lauren

Show Up.

I’ve always loved being on a team. The camaraderie, collaboration, the common goal – working together to make magic happen. Two heads are better than one. Since joining the fitness world, one of my favorite aspects is the teamwork + the willingness to help each other out. In difficult times + in exciting times, I often wonder if people understand the sheer magnificence of showing up. Life isn’t easy + showing up for one another is so vital to surviving this rollercoaster. Here’s why.

1)   When you show up for someone, that person feels SUPPORTED. I recently had my audition class for Pilates at FLEX Studios, and nearly all of my fellow trainees showed up. Even if I messed up, I knew I had an entire cheerleading squad on my side ready to lift me up. By simply showing up, you’ve expressed you care + are rooting for that human.

2)   When you show up for someone, that person feels LOVED. When I was in the midst of my 6-week stay at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, my sister organized a blood drive – dozens of family, friends + even friends of friends showed up in Manhattan to donate blood + platelets for me. Because people disrupted their schedule + carved out time to trek to MSKCC, I knew I was deeply loved.

3)   When you show up for someone, that person feels VALUED. Everyone has different passions + interests. Since working within the fitness space, I’ve met so many incredible creative, talented performing artists – singing, dancing, acting – you name it. Even if I’m not intrinsically SUPER into what the person is up to, I stay curious. I show up to their shows / performances – their passion for their purpose in life is so contagious + inspiring. My hope by showing up is to let them know that their craft is valued.

I invite you to: Stay curious. Show up. For Support. For Love. For Value. Keep on shining your light bright so that others may shine on right next to you – together as a team.

Seek Inspiration

It goes without saying that the past several weeks have been rocky.  My heart is heavy to see the divide that is happening (no matter what side you’re on). In times of challenge, I devour inspirational passages + words. I have 3 favorite humans that instantly lift my spirits (aside from my love snuggled next to me in this New Zealand honeymoon pic!). Read more.

1)   Ralph Marston: If you’ve ever taken class with me or I’ve taught you in a private session or corporate wellness class, you know I adore Ralph’s The Daily Motivator. He has a special knack for saying the right thing at the right time. The topics are fairly broad but each nugget of wisdom nestled within can be applied to so many aspects of our lives, regardless of what we have going on. Read a classic here.

2)   Molly Hahn: Molly is an artist that sends daily “Buddha Doodles” sketches, often with inspirational quotes baked within. She’s extremely talented + nearly every day her messages resonate with me. I adore this one.

3)   Alexandra Franzen: This professional writer’s spirit literally leaps off the page with each word she writes. You feel like she’s sitting on your couch + talking with you as a dear friend would. She touches on so many life moments + challenges + ALWAYS KEEPS IT REAL. A straight-to-the-heart article here.

I feel like even the air feels heavy. However, I ask that you try to support one another; I am confident we can rise together + brighten our world together as a team. Every. Damn. Day.

"The time is always right to do what is right." —Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Take Action

I give my whole heart + soul into everything I do. I’ve been asked – how do you get all of these different opportunities? The truth is, I take small steps every day. I recall my dad saying something along the lines of “you have to throw a lot of sh*t up against the wall + something will eventually stick.” And that’s exactly what I do. Every day, I wake up unemployed. I take 5 action points each day toward my ultimate goals (which can often change!). Here’s how.

1) Seek. I am always reading up on what’s going on in the industry – events, fundraising + fitness. I specifically search for potential opportunities that excite me + that I’d like to be a part of.  I think, Why not me?  All of my outreach comes from an authentic place. If I truly want to make something happen, I stay patient + understand it can time to build relationships + make awesome things happen.

2) Share. I adore sharing my knowledge. I am a life-long learner + now feel so privileged to be a teacher.  Whether I am in the studio teaching class or training someone 1:1, I try to educate the people I am working with. It’s so important to know the WHY behind what we’re doing + I try my best to inform my rockstar students.  When you are open + share information, most people tend to feel comfortable enough to share back + POOF – there’s a beautiful connection!

3) Be Passionate. I literally light up when I am talking about the projects I’m working on or classes I am teaching.  When you do what sets your soul on fire, people can see that + often want to be a part of whatever you’re up to!

4) Stay Consistent + Fail.

I put coals in the fire every day. Sometimes it’s cold outreach, trying a new class, going to an event or chatting up a stranger. I stay consistent with my efforts in gathering more knowledge + connecting with others.

In terms of failure, I always like to think – what’s the worst that can happen. Someone says “no”? Meh. That’s ok! Remember that Michael Jordan didn’t make his high school basketball team + there are LOADS of opportunities out there.  Regardless, you want to ensure you have a good match on both ends.  Sara Blakely,  CEO + founder of SPANX, has a brilliant take on failure.  Watch here.

5) Connect + Follow Up.

I deliver Chi Chi Pulse within the first few days of the month – no matter what.  As I pour hours into thoughtfully crafting the newsletter, I am going to be honest here– I’ve paused + thought, does anyone actually care?  But then I hear feedback from people who devour each section -- and this makes my heart happy! This goes back to #2 - Share. 

When I meet someone new, I like to find a common ground + a reason for me to get their email to stay in touch.  I send a note within less than 24 hours – sometimes connections are formed, others I never hear from the person again!

So, my friends, I encourage you to TAKE ACTION. We have this one beautiful life, let’s live it to its fullest -- each moment, each day, each week, month + year. Cheers to a magical year filled with love, laughter, adventure and, of course, ACTION. 

Gather The Energy

In class I’ll often say, “gather the energy from your neighbor”.  We step into each day with varied levels of energy + that’s totally cool. Why? Because it’s real. I often get asked, do you workout every day? Do you always have this much energy? 

The answer is NOPE.

It’s true that I do lead a scheduled life but I need to if I want to maximize my time in the most effective + efficient way.   That said, I firmly believe in rest days – at least 1-2 days per week. Everyone’s body is different so you need to find the right balance of pushing yourself + resting your body so your muscles can recover. I also don’t always have energizer bunny-like energy.  Sleep is super important to me so I do my best to keep an early bedtime which marries well with my early mornings.  There are days that I need to shift a few appointments / meetings around because I simply don’t have the energy to make them all.

The amazing thing about “energy” is that it is quite contagious. Which brings me back to my opening line, “gather the energy from your neighbor”. I adore group exercise classes because you have the opportunity to inspire each other. When you feel like you cannot continue, you do – because you have another rockstar next to you, laying it all out on the line. 

After teaching a class, I often leaving with MORE energy than I left because I had the beautiful privilege of soaking in my student’s drive + determination. So, I encourage you to share your energy.  When you are bursting with it, find someone who may need a bit of a refill.  When you’re depleted, reach out to those who you can count on to give you a boost. 

You make the world go ‘round my friends, let’s make this world shine bright!

Holiday Gift: Private Class Experience for 4 Rockstars!

Rally your pals for a 60-minute in-home Sweat Sesh with NYC-based Barre, Pilates, HIIT, TRX teacher, Lauren Chiarello of Chi Chi Life NYC. This gift makes a super fun mindful movement experience for any fitness lover!  Class will be tailored to the students interests / needs.

PRICE: $400*

*20% off using WE Rule Dreamers // Doers code. Must be located in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Jersey City or Hoboken. Must be redeemed by December 31, 2017.

Heart, Soul + Barre // July 2 - July 7 in Bali, Indonesia

Sunday, July 2 - Friday, July 7

Sharing Bali - Bali, Indonesia

>>>Websitehttp://sharingbali.com/chi-chi-life/

>>>The Why

Ever since I saw a travel show on Bali, I knew I had to visit this majestic land. It's been a dream of mine to visit. I stumbled across Sharing Bali owner, Australian Karen Willis, online + fell in love with her story. Karen is married to a Balinese man, Wayan + has spent the past 7+ years developing a jungle oasis for lovely souls --  to recharge, take time for themselves + enjoy simple living in their small village. Most of the exercise equipment is natural - coconuts, bamboo! We've been crafting this retreat since earlier this year via Skype + loads of emails.

>>>Summary / Highlights

  • 2 daily mindful movement classes (Pilates, TRX, Barre, HIIT, Stretch)
  • Sunrise Volcano Climb / Hot Springs Visit
  • Cultural Bike Tour
  • Day of Service in the Community
  • Massage
  • Yoga / Meditation by a Balinese superstar
  • Reflexology / Body Scrub Workshop w/Pedicure
  • Jungle Trek
  • A portion of your retreat price supports the Bumi Sehat Foundation
  • All meals / accommodations
  • RT airport transfer

Get the full lowdown here.

>>>Accommodations

There is a fantastic drone video showcasing the village where Sharing Bali is located which you can view on the website. There are 9 bungalow(ish) units on the property, 5 are 1 double bed, 1 is 2 double bed, 1 is 2 twin bed, 1 is 3 double beds. Accommodations will be assigned on a first come, first served basis and you can note if you prefer your own room. Important note: We will be in a remote village. Basic first aid / CPR / AED is available on-site but we will be 20 minutes away from a doctor + 90 minutes away from an international hospital.

>>>Estimated Price / Flights

$ 1,300 Retreat Price - Everything that's mentioned above Summary - FYI on website, price is listed in Australian dollars of $1,750.

$ 1,000 Flights* As of 11/3/16

Unknown - Fri / Sat (2x) night in Denpasar - will not be too pricy

$ 35 Visa Upon Arrival

$ 100 Travel Insurance (Estimate)

$ 2,435 Total Estimated Cost

*I am hoping we can all plan to book the same outbound flight; I know people's time-off / additional travel will vary.

Thursday, June 29

China Southern

11:15am - 3:15pm (Thursday, June 29) - 16 hours

JFK - CAN (Guangzhou, Hong Kong) -- layover 3 hours 35 minutes

6:50pm - 11:59pm (Friday, June 30) - 5 hours 9 minutes

CAN - DPS (Denpasar)

Saturday, July 8

China Southern

1:00am - 6:15am - 5 hours 15 minutes

DPS - CAN (Guangzhou, Hong Kong) -- layover 13 hours 20 minutes**

7:35pm - 11:00pm (Saturday, July 8) - 15 hours 25 minutes

CAN - JFK (Still Saturday, July 8 - We gain the day back on the return)

**This layover in Hong Kong is perfect for a full day exploration of the city; ideas here.

>>>Weather

July is dry season + high lands around low 80's + low lands around low 70's.

>>>Secure Your Spot Today!

  • Step 1: Complete the form below to let me know you're IN! + include any additional information.
  • Step 2: Send me a check (Made Out to Chi Chi Life) for $380 (USD)
  • Step 3: Book your flight.
  • Step 4: Get excited! 

>>>Questions?

  • Fill out the form below + ask away!
Name *
Name

Open Your Heart.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been open + honest. This used to get me in trouble at school when I was super vocal in class + shared my opinion perhaps not the most diplomatic way.  I used to think that my audacity was both a blessing + a curse but now I truly see it as a blessing - as this trait has cracked open my heart + the hearts of others. Here’s why.

We are so much more alike than we often think. Strip away our financial status, race and gender – and you’ll find that we all have basic human needs.  And when we are open + honest + share, we connect.  We need a strong community to survive + thrive.  Teaching has allowed me to build beautiful relationships and hold space for others.  When we speak of struggles and endeavors that set our souls on fire, we have the amazing opportunity to be vulnerable + grow.

In the studio, my students share their ups + downs of life – from engagements and pregnancies to injuries and miscarriages.  I hear it all + I feel honored.  My heart is always so open …like, I literally want to hug everyone I meet…and sometimes do!  Ultimately, I want to ease people’s pain. We show up (in class, in life, in wherever) because we know we can depend on each other.  My students lift me up. I keep my class tough but light. I love class participation. And when my students make some noise (in whatever capacity!) – I know they are alive.  My latest favorite line is: “You have to MOVE IT to CHANGE IT!”

Recently, I shared my experience with cancer to the entire exhale community (and 300,000+ people on their mailing list around the world!) in the hopes of making someone’s life easier. We all have our own challenges. Mine happened to be cancer + I came out on the other side.  We face so many different challenges in life + when we provide support, we have the ability to shine bright together.

So, I encourage you today + everyday to open your heart – maybe even just a tiny bit – then, sit back + watch the magnificence of life unfold.

From the core,

Lauren @ChiChiLifeNYC

 

Move Past Resistance

If you’ve asked me for a book recommendation lately, I am sure I RAVED about Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art. It’s essentially all about Resistance, turning pro + getting out of your own way. Ever since I had a miniature thought in my mind that I wanted to teach, there was always part of me that was fearful + doubted my abilities. Steven makes several great points in the book that sing to me + I had to share them with you.

But first, let’s chat about how Steven defines Resistance. “Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance. Have you ever brought home a treadmill and let it gather dust in the attic? Ever quit a diet, a course of yoga, a meditation practice? … Then you know what Resistance is.”

Essentially, how can we push past this Resistance to lead the lives we know we are meant to live.  How do we eliminate the excused + make the changes we know we must make. How can we start today?

One of my favorite sections is titled “Resistance and Procrastination” + it states “Never forget: This very moment, we can change our lives. There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny. This second we can turn the tables on Resistance. This second, we can sit down + do our work.”

I mean – who can compete with that? The external forces, the inner dialogue, the social media – all of that can derail us. But you have the choice everyday to pave your own path. I used to sit behind my desk at work + know I was meant for more.  I am a dreamer; I am a doer. It just took me awhile to find my stride.

The next one has been a tough one for me: “A Professional Endures Adversity.” As a people-pleaser, I want to make everyone happy. Um, this is not possible – ESPECIALLY in New York City. Ha!  Steven states, “The professional cannot let himself take humiliation personally. Humiliation, like rejection and criticism, is the external reflection of internal Resistance. The professional endures adversity. He lets the birdshit splash down on his slicker, remember that it comes clean with a heavy-duty hosing…The professional keeps his eye on the donut and not the hole. He reminds himself that it’s better to be in the arena, than to be up in the stands or out in the parking lot."

Standing up in front of hundreds of people per month in a group fitness setting can be intimidating. Feedback will happen – and not all of it what you might want to hear. I learned quite quickly to develop thick skin + teaching has taught be to become more self-confident. My motto in the studio became, “As in life, not everyone will like you.”  You gotta take the good with the bad.  I try my best to tune out the bad. Instead, I listen to my students who tell me I inspire them + have changed their life. If I’ve accomplished that, I can die happy.

Toward the end of the book, Steven dissects the concept of “Fear”.  He says, “Resistance feeds on fear. We experience Resistance as fear. But fear of what? Fear of the consequences of following our heart. Fear of bankruptcy, fear of poverty, fear of insolvency…Fear of Failure. Fear of being ridiculous. Fear of throwing away the education, the training, the preparation that those we love have scarified so much for, that we ourselves have worked our butts off for. ..These are serious fears. But they’re not the real fear…Fear That We Will Succeed. That we can access the powers we secretly know we possess. That we can become the person we sense in our hearts we truly are.”

This is the big kahuna, eh?  I am terrified + anxious every day. The hustle is real, especially when no one is sending you a consistent paycheck.  Each day is a fresh start. But I move forward because I know there are beautiful connections to be made + lives to enhance. Sometimes I look at my 15 hour stacked days + wonder how I will get through it. But I often surprise myself.  When I work with people who are raw about life + that moment, I am energized because it’s so real. I work with amazing people training them 1 on 1 and in companies. We all arrive as we are. And that’s all anyone can ask. When everyone keeps it real + honest + authentic, we develop a bond that creates a community of support.

So, let’s move past Resistance together. Every. Damn. Day. Why? Because you are worth it.

Surround Yourself with Life-Lovers.

Last Saturday, I married my best friend -- a fellow Life-Lover. We had the most magical weekend ever. The energy was electric + I have never felt so loved. The entire celebration was filled with dancing, feasting, laughter + endless joy. Even before I got sick, I was a life-lover but recently, I only seek out meeting other Life-Lovers + here’s why.

Life-Lovers will help you:

·      Grow + Learn:  I love meeting new people with different passions + background. When people are passionate about something, there’s an excitement that sparks a fire in your soul, too… don’t ya think?

·      Push Yourself Past Your Comfort Zone: Fellow Life-Lovers will encourage you to try new things, even if you’re afraid + unsure. When we try new things, our world is limitless.

·      Stay Positive: Everyday is not sunshine + roses but I firmly believe attitude is integral to the trajectory of your life. If you have a positive attitude + get rid of the negative chatter in your mind, you may surprise yourself to see how much magic you attract. I truly have no room or patience for negativity in my life. My friendships have changed over the years because of this.

·      Think Why Not? In his wedding speech, my dad mentioned that before taking on a new challenge – I never ask “Why?” My approach is always “Why Not?” Believe you can + you will. Dream it + then go + do it. It may take longer than you think. You may fail, but oh gosh – that’s where the goodness lies. I promise you.

Join me + other Life-Lovers at this month’s #ChiChiSweatSesh in Central Park – you have TWO JUICY chances before #ChiChiSweatSesh retires for the winter:

THURS 9/8 + WED 9/21

$20. Recruit 2 friends + you attend for FREE.

Sign up here.

I hope to see you at one of them! Lots of love. Cheers to you, my fellow Life-Lover!

XOX
Lauren

Cultivate Community + Connection

Since I started teaching fitness, my most favorite part has been community + connection. As the person who stands in front of the room leading others, I have a magnificent  + unique opportunity to impact lives – in mind, body + spirit.  I’ve always been a connector who loves to build community. My students are the best! Recently, my fiancé, Russ, teased me, as I was hopeful he would make it across town quickly without traffic saying, “You’re a dreamer” + my response was: “Is there any other way to be?”

My ideas usually start with “well, why not?”  From a super young age – and I have my parents to thank – I always believed anything is possible if you put your mind to it.  Time + dedication = you will get there. 

After a summer internship as an Auditor, I quickly realized that role was not the career for me. I graduated college with my Accounting degree + was a bit stumped as to what should come next. I looked at how I spent my time outside the classroom -- volunteering, fundraising + planning events. Then, someone told me more about the nonprofit world + told me about how organizations have “development” departments. Wait. I could actually plan awesome events in which people pay to attend to support a mission? And make a living?  I treasured the time that people gave me to share their insight + knowledge into the field.  I didn’t know much, so I was like a sponge.  Over the years, I have informally + formally mentored many young rockstars in + out of college. I love to give people a chance, an opportunity to take the steps needed to move toward their passion.  I remember my eager spirit + I feel blessed that I can give back to others in that way.

Over the past few years, I’ve met incredible teachers + the seed was planted for #ChiChiSweatSesh to further cultivate community + connection.  Bringing together like-minded people literally lifts me up. At #ChiChiSweatSesh, we move our bodies + enjoy a potluck picnic post-workout.  It’s super fun with everyone swapping recipes + stories – learning + growing by sharing knowledge.  I’d love for YOU to join us for the AUGUST #ChiChiSweatSesh in Central Park – details below.

Wednesday, August 10th at 7:15PM: Barreless Barre with Jessica Bailey @sassygirlfit

Wednesday, August 17th at 7:00PM: FLEXPilates on the Mat with Jenn Seracuse benefitting Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. @jennseracuse

BUY TICKETS HERE.

LEAD WITH YOUR HEART.

If you’ve ever taken my class, you know one of my favorite cues for push-ups is “lead with your heart”. I firmly believe that we must live our lives with our hearts guiding us. Often times we can feel stuck, knowing that where we are in work, life, relationships -- {the list goes on} -- is not quite where we would like to be. When I am feeling overwhelmed or unsure of my next plan of action, here are THREE things I do. 

ONE)   I divide my year up into “semesters” – think seasons: Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring. Often times, I want to do everything but there is simply not enough time. If a juicy opportunity comes along, I may need to shift priorities around if I feel like the opportunity cannot wait.

TWO)   I sit with my potential decision for a few days + try to feel with my heart. When I think of the next step, does my heart beat faster with excitement or anxiety? This helps me figure out if I say “yea” or “nay”.

THREE)   I look to others for support. I recently attended a “Self-Care” workshop led by Hannah Bornstein (@hanroseb) for fitness professionals + learned useful tools to keep my mind, body + spirit shining bright. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Another piece of leading with your heart is touching other people’s lives. I strive to live my life in service of others. Recently, I attended a yoga class where this passage closed out Savasana. Today, I will leave it with you as I hope you will dive into July with purpose and of course, lead with your heart. // 

Whatever our hands touch,

We leave fingerprints... On walls, on furniture

On doorknobs, dishes, books

As we touch we leave our identity.

Oh please, where ever I go today

Help me leave heart prints.

Heart prints of compassion,

Of understanding and love.

Heart prints of kindness

and genuine concern.

May my heart touch a lonely neighbor

Or a runaway daughter,

Or an anxious mother

Or, perhaps, a dear friend.

I shall go out today

To leave heart prints.

And if someone should say

I felt your touch... May that one sense be

YOUR Love.

-- Author Unknown

LIVE YOUR PASSION.

Today – June 5 -- is National Cancer Survivor’s Day. A day dedicated to celebrating life. I have always been a lover of life but after battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (2x!), I found a deeper meaning. For me, loving life is finding + living your passion. No day but today. We owe it to ourselves + the world to find the things that make our soul shine. Nearly 2 years ago, I decided I wanted to try to teach. I was terrified + full of doubt. Who was I to teach? 

Trudging through my fears + doubts was not easy. Step by step, day by day, I slowing gained the confidence to take action. Initially, I had a tough time deciding which training to take – I loved barre, yoga, cycling and running. So many things! I researched lots of options, gathered information + asked friends + strangers oodles of questions to try to figure out the best fit – which lead me to the barre teacher training at exhale. I completed my 40-hour barre training while I was working full-time. Once I auditioned + got accepted into exhale’s 200-hour teaching program, I knew I needed to take a LEAP of faith + start Chi Chi Life.

The past 1.5 years has been a wild ride – finding the best balance of my passions: fitness, events + fundraising + cancer advocacy.  Teaching core fusion barre at exhale has literally been a dream come true. I am grateful to learn from the best in the industry: exhale’s founders Fred DeVito + Elisabeth Halfpapp + Barbara Boolukos + Tyler Ingram.  My teachers have been teaching for nearly 35 years. They live + breathe this work. It’s not simply a job -- it’s their life, their craft. They are passionate about the method because they’ve seen it change lives. It changed mine.

At the encouragement + recommendation from my childhood friend, Michelle, I stepped into my first Core Fusion Barre class about 1 year after my stem cell transplant. Even though I had steadily been gaining my strength back + felt pretty strong, I literally wasn’t sure if I could make it through class. Bit by bit, I fell more in love with the method + I discovered strength within me that I didn’t know existed. Nearly every Saturday, you could find me at 980 Madison at Catherine Hesse’s 10:30a class. Catherine’s energy + passion for the work literally lights up the room. Catherine is the reason I wanted to become a teacher. She knows how to work hard, encourage + motivate her students – all while having a great time + cracking some jokes.

I am blessed to have crossed paths with many cancer fighters, survivors + angels. My friend “M” recently won a competition for honorary batgirl for a MLB team. My friend “A” went back to nursing school, got married, had a baby and started his own business. My friend “I” ran a half marathon + fundraised for The Leukemia + Lymphoma Society, had a baby and just celebrated her 5-years cancer-free with a HUGE bash. We are all bursting at the seams to soak in all of the goodness of life. We live our passion. Today + everyday, I honor each + every one of my cancer rockstars. You hold a super special place in my heart.

At my core, I want to serve others. In my fundraising + event planning work within the nonprofit space, I raise money to help others. But teaching gives me an incredibly dynamic platform to directly impact others. I never take it for granted + I am honored each time I step into the studio. I am alive. I live my passion. And in doing so, I hope to inspire others to live their own passion.