Saturday, January 28, 2017

Home


There's just something about waking up in your space.
About being surrounded by the beauty that you spent hours collecting.
About knowing exactly where everything is.
What everything is.

There's just something about coming home to your space.
About plopping on your dream couch after a long day.
About filling your refrigerator with nourishing fuel.
Just for you.

There's just something about being alone in your space.
About cuddling up with homemade ginger/turmeric tea and Netflix.
About looking around and realizing this is all you.
This is just you.

And you have company over.
And you make dinner.
And you blast music.
And you make smoothies.
And you do yoga.
And you vacuum.
And you light candles.
And you serenade your kitten.
And you run out of paper towels.

There's just something about going to sleep in your space.
About losing millions of socks in the marshmallow you call your bed.
About going to sleep with a radiant smile.
Because this is all for you.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

A NOTE TO MYSELF


"don't stress, beauty. let the transitions occur so you arrive at your destination with integrity. trust the process. do what you can do, but don't put too much pressure on yourself. it will all work out. there is so much goodness in your life right now. so much love. so much opportunity. seize the day, you beautiful soul. bring the sunshine and dance with the unknown. open your arms to this beautiful thing we call 
life."

Monday, May 16, 2016

EIGHT MONTHS IN THE MAKING

I can barely touch my toes. My hips are stubborn and tight. I have zero shoulder flexibility. But guess what? I'm becoming a yoga teacher.

I took yoga as a physical education credit in high school. I've taken a few yoga classes at various gyms. I quit halfway through a breathtaking yoga class in Costa Rica. I tried hot yoga once. But yoga found me, for real, about six months ago. Since I've committed to my practice, I've noticed my strength and flexibility improve dramatically. I went from describing yoga as "stressful" to "calming."

The Funky Om is a studio that I stepped in and instantly knew I belonged at. Two particular instructors resonated with me from day one, and when I found out they were hosting a teacher training, I couldn't stop thinking about it. My friend Lauren invited me to sign up with her. I handed in my deposit, and the rest is history in the making.

10/9, 10/10, 10/11
Weekend One. Exhausting. Amazing.

After an hour of asana, twenty-three of us sat in a circle. Glowing. Excited. Anxious. Vulnerable.
We introduced ourselves and got to know our fellow trainees and teachers. An instant connection captured in our first selfie:


Friday: We learned the Gayatri Mantra (a mantra of physical, emotional and mental healing), got advice from last year's graduates ("Take one weekend at a time. Listen and absorb"), received all of our books for these next eight months, and our new mala beads. 
Saturday: Claire came in and led Kirtan. SO MUCH FUN. I love the drum especially. Leslie led us through a 10-minute morning meditation that felt like only 2, we learned the meaning of Om: the original sound that created the universe. Spoken by Brahma. Used to initiate a connection in the East. Sacred syllable comparable to 'Amen'. An impersonal connection to the divine, discussed the deities Brahma (creator of the universe), Vishnu (sustainer of the universe) & Shiva (destroyer of the universe), learned about reincarnation & Somsara (the wheel of life), had a killer heated vinyasa with Milard, learned a bit of Sanskrit, were introduced to the eight limbs of yoga, learned how to cue Virabhadrasana 1, Virabhadrasana 2 and Trikonasana, and gave and received amazing Thai massages.

Amalia got into a small car accident, thank goodness she was fine, so I was her chauffeur for Saturday and Sunday. We decided to go to the Riverhead outlets on Saturday night to get some new lululemon attire (because let's face it, we're going to be YOGA TEACHERS) & on our way back we watched a deer get hit by a car. This was heartbreaking for me especially, but Amalia's a social worker and she helped me get through it. I can tell we're going to be great friends already.

Sunday: We chanted with Milard (Govinda Damodara Madhaveti), meditated with our mala beads, had an amazing heated vinyasa with Leslie, learned about the Bhagaved Gita: a sacred text comparable to the bible with stories about how to be a yogi and the Maha Bahart: the great story of India & largest book ever written, learned about the importance of assisting in your yoga class and how it can change people's lives, learned how to assist in many standing postures & practiced with Virhabhadrasana 1, Virabhadrasana 2 and Trikonasana, and gave and received life-changing Thai massages: 

I was a bit reserved when we learned how to assist. You really have to get close to your students and make sure you are properly touching them. I was nervous I was going to hurt my fellow trainees, especially in the assist we learned for Trikonasana, where you balance on one leg and use your other to push into their upper thigh and straighten their leg while pulling their tricep and forearm towards you to create length in the upper body. But I know it's only the first weekend, and I will get more comfortable each time I practice. 
We are all getting really close as a group. It's amazing to see, and it's only the beginning. Everyone is extremely giving and friendly. Harry was giving Kim acupuncture during our lunch break, Lauren brought Sandy home to shower, and we are all having withdrawals from this weekend! I just know we will all be lifelong friends. In eight months we will all become registered yoga teachers.

5/3, 5/14, 5/15
Weekend eight. Exhausting. Amazing.

Friday: Leslie led us through a basic class. We learned about chair yoga. We wrote advice cards for last year's graduates. We talked about the business of yoga, because in 48 short hours, we will all become registered yoga teachers. Where did the time go.
Saturday: We chanted Radha Rani. We talked more business. We sweat our asana off with Milard. We giggled. We took our last Sanskrit quiz. We taught our last basic sequence and got our last critiques. We talked about private yoga clients, because in 24 short hours, we will all become registered yoga teachers. Where did the time go.
Sunday: We chanted. We danced. We partied. We cried. Gina was the first trainee to lead us through a chant. I could not hold back my tears. Then Amalia. Then Amanda. Then Caroline. We huddled. Jonathan held my toe. We had our last heated vinyasa class with Leslie as YTTs. So many tears. So much love. We shared our gratitude with our teachers. We partied at Stacy's. We became registered yoga teachers.

These eight months have been absolutely transforming. They have been stressful, beautiful, eye-opening, heart-opening, and absolutely transforming. Each and every one of us has learned so much about ourselves and each other. We have learned so much about this beautiful practice on and off the mat. When I started this training, I had no idea. No idea how much passion I would find in this practice. No idea how I would love teaching yoga more than I love teaching boot camp. No idea that those vulnerable souls that I sat with on night one would become my best friends. I love you all. So much.
























Saturday, January 9, 2016

REFLECTING & PROJECTING



Reflecting.
My 2015 resolutions:
to practice more yoga.
January 2015: "savasa-wha?"
January 2016: I'm 4 months deep into my yoga teacher training. I'm in love with this practice. I have learned so much about the world, about others, and about myself. I'm so excited to share it with you so soon!

to drink more water. 
Yup, killed that one too! I don't go a single place without my water bottle. I just got a facial the other day and the esthetician commented on how hydrated my skin was.

Projecting.
My 2016 resolutions:
to spend less time on social media.
No more mindless scrolling. I want to pick up a book, start a conversation, just be present.

to find a job.
Yup. I've got a BA in psych. Help.

to hold handstand.
For more than 4 seconds. But first I've got to work through this shoulder injury.

It's empowering to look back at your accomplishments.
What about you? Did you stick to your 2015 resolutions? What are your goals for 2016?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

YOU ARE NOT YOUR BODY



Tonight I went to heated vinyasa at The Funky Om. The theme of our class was "You are not your mind. You are not your body. You are the Divine." Throughout the class, I tried my best to really understand this idea. And I got it. But it wasn't until I got in my car to drive home that it really permeated my mind.

As a trainer, I find that the majority of my clients seek professional help from me for one common reason. A reason that is so sad. So unfortunate. So normal. Because they hate their bodies.

Whether it's a specific part of their body or everything in general, it's heartbreaking. I have had clients request to face away from the mirror during our sessions because the mere sight of themselves makes them upset. The sad truth is that nearly everybody can look at themselves in a mirror and point out something they wish they could change. Myself included. But not anymore.

It's time that we start appreciating our bodies for what they really are. We are not our bodies. Our bodies are the amazing temples in which our divine selves and our minds reside. Do you ever stop and think about all of the hard work your body does just for you? How your heart automatically beats to keep you alive? How you unconsciously breathe to let air in and out? How if you fall and scrape your knee, your body naturally heals itself? What about how your body silently produces white blood cells to fight off infections? Or how the muscles around your hair follicles contract when you're cold to create goosebumps in hopes of keeping you warm? It's time that we start noticing what's really important. Did you wake up today? Appreciate that rather than dwell on the pimple that developed overnight (most likely as a response to stress or greasy food, both of which harm the body).

I recently read somewhere that you should treat your body as if it is a baby. Fuel it with nutritious food. Hydrate it often. Ensure it gets enough sleep. Make sure it's happy. Teach it things. Challenge its strength gently and appropriately. Most importantly, love it unconditionally.Your body is your baby. It can't talk. It can only give you clues as to what it wants. What it needs. Notice those clues. Listen to those clues. Your body needs you, but you need it even more.

So next time you find yourself looking in the mirror and pointing out your flaws. Take a step back. Change those negative thoughts to positive ones. Every body, every mind, and every divine self is beautiful and deserves to be recognized as such. Next time you notice yourself breaking out, think about your body trying to communicate to you that it can't handle the amount of stress you're putting on it. Next time you have a stomach ache, think about your body trying to communicate that it doesn't agree with what you fed it (or the amount you fed it). Open your eyes. Open your heart. Love and appreciate your body for what it is and how much it does for you.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

4 THINGS YOUR FITNESS INSTRUCTOR WISHES YOU KNEW

I've been in this whole gym-scene for quite some time now. I've taught many classes -- hip hop, sculpt, cardio, spin, hiit, circuit, triple challenge, & muscleworks -- and I've taken even more. There is a clear distinction between a successful class and a class that everyone can't wait to get out of. Although each instructor is different, there are a few things that I know we wish you knew.

1. ENERGY. IS. EVERYTHING
Are you having fun? Do you want to be here with me? Am I doing a good job at keeping this class positive? These are questions that we all think, and when we can't read your facial expressions, we don't know what (if anything) to do differently. Don't just stare blankly ahead! Smile at me. Flail your arms. Woo for me. Count with me.  Energy is contagious, and showing me that getting out of bed at 7 a.m. was worth it makes me work even harder. 

2. I'M YOUR FRIEND
A lot of people tip-toe into class and stand in the back of the room, scared to approach me as if I'm some kind of alien. I'm not. I'm just the instructor. I'm here to lead you through an effective workout and make you laugh by muttering some fitness puns into my mic. I want to learn your name. I want you to stand up front. I want you to sing along to the music with me. Group fitness classes flourish when everyone in the room is united and working together. Let's all be friends.

3. THE COOL DOWN IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE WORKOUT
I can't stress this enough. The majority of classes that I teach are high intensity and require the body to work extra hard. After pushing your muscles to their limits, you need to cool down properly. This helps your body recover and reduces DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) that we all love to hate. I understand that some people have obligations that may make them cut out of class early, and I get that, but I also know that some people think that as soon as we put the weights down, class is over. Give your body that extra 5 minutes to decompress. Focus on your breathing and feel your muscles stretch. You deserve it. 

4. GIVE ME FEEDBACK
Did you like the music I used? Was the workout too easy for you? Do you want to focus on any particular part of your body next week? Tell me. The classes I teach are for you. They are your classes. I love when my clients come up to me after class is over and give me suggestions for next time. Don't be afraid to give criticism (but please do so politely); it only helps me do my job better. 

5. SPREAD THE WORD
Did you like my class? Bring your friend next time! Many gyms offer free guest passes so your friends and family can try out the various classes. The more people working out together, the merrier. A full room of sweaty people is one of the most satisfying things to be a part of. 

Don't be afraid to get loud in class. Smile. Say hi. Make friends. Bring friends. Give feedback. Stretch. You are doing so much good to your body by attending a group fitness class, why not make the most out of it?


Interested in taking one of my classes? Shoot me an email for my schedule! 
CharlotteSMuller@gmail.com

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

FITNESS INSTRUCTING 101

If there's one thing I've learned in my three years of fitness instructing, it's that anything can happen. And everything will. 
I forgot my sneakers. I forgot my water. I forgot my headband. I forgot my music. My hair tie broke.  My pants were inside-out. My microphone ran out of batteries. My microphone got sweat-logged. My microphone wasn't compatible with the gym's speaker system. My workout plan wasn't intense enough for my class. My workout plan was too intense for my class. Sweat got in my eyes. I lost my voice. I ran out of energy. And much, much more.

The truth is, when it comes to teaching fitness classes, everything doesn't always go as you planned. That's life. You just have to go with the flow, and be as prepared as you can be.My advice for anyone thinking of becoming a fitness instructor is simple. Preparation. Is. Key. What's in my gym bag?

1. Electronics.

What's a fitness class without music? I always make sure to bring my iPod, and a backup iPod, with prepared playlists that are specific to my classes. I switch up my playlists every month or so to keep my classes up-to-date with the hottest hits. My microphone headset and base come next. I always make sure to have a back-up pair of batteries, screaming to a class of 20 is no fun. Not to mention it's an automatic headache. Lastly, a bag of rice. After I teach, I submerge my headset in rice to soak up any sweat that may cause water damage (gross, right?). Wireless microphones are expensive, so it's important to take good care of them to keep 'em working right!

2. Class Essentials.

First off are sneakers that provide enough support for the type of class I am teaching that day. Nike Frees work great for a low-impact sculpt class. I always walk into the gym or studio with outside shoes so I don't get my sneakers wet or dirty, and I've forgotten to grab my sneakers on multiple occasions. For this reason, I keep two extra pairs in my car. Next, my workout plan. I keep a workout notebook where all my plans are written out, so if I see that one is not fit for my clients' ability levels, I can always flip back a few pages instead of having to come up with a new plan on the spot. Although, I often come up with new plans on the spot anyway. Teaching is fun. Lastly, I always keep a pen with my notebook to jot down any notes I have about my classes -- names, requests, etc. 

3. Personal Essentials. 

These are absolutely necessary. My classes are intense. We sweat A LOT, which is why a towel is key. I keep organic lavender yoga mat spray with me to wipe down the mats after a tough ab or floor series. My hair goes everywhere during burpees, so I keep headbands with me (colors to match my outfit, of course). The headbands also keep my microphone in place. And you can't forget about the hair ties. SNAP. I go through these things like chocolate-covered almonds, so I always keep a couple in my gym bag for when I or one of my clients needs one. 

4. Energy & Hydration.

With a quick 10-minute break between classes, I need to make sure I have enough energy. If I'm feeling depleted, I'll whip out an apple and have a quick bite. The natural sugar picks me right up. And, water. Water, water, water. Because I teach a lot of hiit (high intensity interval training), hydrating is ESSENTIAL. It's so easy for me to go through a full water bottle within two rounds of tabata, so I always make sure to have an extra water bottle in my bag. 

Are you thinking about becoming a fitness instructor? DO IT. It is the most gratifying and uplifting job I have ever had. I plan to keep teaching classes for as long as my body can physically handle it. Just remember -- prepare. Because anything can, and will happen. 

Do you have any gym essentials that you bring with you every time you work out? I'd love to hear in the comments below!