August Whole30 giveaway + a really fabulous smoothie recipe!

Do Whole30 with me this August!!!
Giveaways included … read on!!!!!!!!!

Dear healthy pack,

I LOVED doing a Whole30 challenge during my pregnancy, so much so that I want to do another one now that baby #2 is here! (Did I mention? I had a baby last month. Second home birth, and it ROCKED. More to come on that.)

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We just passed our 6-week post-partum mark, and we’ve been eating [mostly] Paleo since the birth, but now that I am ably cooking, shopping and *sigh* housecleaning again, it’s time to get down and dirty and really serious about post-partum recovery [aka losing the baby weight]. As you all know, I worked hard on developing my body after the first baby was born, and I am ready to do it again!

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What is Whole30, you ask suspiciously? You know me, we just eat Real Food all the time, so I am not a fan of diets. Whole30 isn’t a diet, it’s more of a month-long cleanse. Read more about it on their website. A cleanse of habitual behavior, snack urges, food dependencies and inflammation. You can take it longer – to a Whole60 or Whole90 and beyond – if you want to continue seeing your physical successes. Then, you transition gently off into a Real Food lifestyle. This is not hard. In fact, it’s mad fun. And the results are mad good. The food is delicious, too. Sorry, no starvation, if you’re the self-flagellating ascetic type. [And yes, there are vegan and vegetarian options for Whole30!]

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Do Whole30 with me this August2015!  A few friends and I were planning to start Whole30 on August 1, and I thought – why not have you guys join in, too?! I could really use the support, and it’s fun to do something crazy like this TOGETHER! I wanted to make it even more interesting, so I threw a few giveaways into the mix. Everybody who does Whole30 this August with me will be entered into a drawing for a bottle of SliqueEssence, a dietary blend of herbal extracts and essential oils. Everybody who shares the challenge with three people (tag them on Facebook or Instagram or share this blog post) is entered into a drawing for NingXia Red samples, a blend of fruit purees and essential oils that is high in antioxidants and very detoxifying! And I have a few other giveaways, hitherto unmentioned, that I’ll be sharing!

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Ways to join the pack

My Facebook page  |  Find me on Facebook and we can throw ideas around, I’ll post giveaways, and of course – FOOD.

The Facebook event  |  Join the Facebook event for recipes, before and after pictures, tips from old pros at Whole30 and commiseration in case it DOES seem hard and, who knows, maybe more giveaways. I have a few cookbooks that you might be interested in!!

Follow my Instagram feed  |  There’s just so much delicious food in this world, it should be shared. Recipes and giveaways and the occasional cute picture of a kitten or a baby. @farmandhearth

See me on Periscope  |  Find me on Periscope (Andrea Huehnerhoff) for fast recipe ideas and encouragement!  Fun and short videos are available for 24 hours only, so download the app to your phone today!

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Get a few books, if you want – there are loads of recipes on the Internet (Pinterest is your friend here!), but I do wish I had the Whole30 book the first time I did it – some of the non-recipe practical advice and encouragement would have been GREAT.

The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom|  Great, fabulous, well-written and of course loaded with full-color pictures. So much good practical advice; so much.

Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle|  Not EVERY recipe in here is Whole30, but a lot of them are; and ALL of them are part of the Real Food lifestyle. Plus, there is a whole first half loaded down with solid information on the body, inflammation, and meal-planning.

It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways|  More Whole30 goodness so you don’t, you know, starve for the 30 days.

Inspiralized: Turn Vegetables into Healthy, Creative, Satisfying Meals|  I love, love this book for inspiralation [lol] and ideas, and recipes. Pasta? Sure. Take a zucchini and spiralize that bad boy.

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Are you in?

It’s time.

I can’t wait to see you join me on Whole30! Now, here’s that smoothie recipe!!

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Coco-Almond Dream
An absolutely splendid smoothie. The best I’ve had all year. They just keep getting BETTER!!

Printable PDF

2 frozen bananas, chopped
2 cups whole raw milk or nut milk
1/3 cup almond butter
2 large spoonfuls of creamy plain yoghurt
1/4 cup or less of aloe juice
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
2 tablespoons chia seeds
A sprinkle of Himalayan salt
Dash of cinnamon
Splash of almond extract

Place all ingredients in blender, in order listed. Slowly increase to high and blend for about one minute, or until fully homogenized. Serve, sprinkled with more coconut or cinnamon if you like!

Toodles,

Mrs H

I’ll be drinking an ounce of NingXia Red with 2 – 4 drops of SliqueEssence every day during my Whole30 – they are not necessary to the program, I am choosing to add them in! If you want to start out your Whole30 with these, you can order them here as a retail customer. Or, if you prefer, purchase the Premium Starter Kit for $160 (it’s on sale for $150 until August 13th, 2015), and add NingXia Red and SliqueEssence on to your order as a wholesale customer! Use 4321 as your PIN and I’ll be able to personally handle your customer service. Your kit counts as your membership card, so once you have it, you can buy anything at wholesale. The kit is valued at around $300, so it’s a sweet deal! It includes 11 of the top essential oils and blends at therapeutic [superstrong] quality, a few samples of NingXia Red, a diffuser, a bunch of mini sample packets of oils and blends, a pack of dram bottles and a few other odds and ends!  

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Start a Home Yoga Practice Today (with progress pictures! I am NOT naturally flexible!)

Dear Healthy,

After I posted the story and photos of my radical journey to health with the help of yoga, I received many e-mails from my beloved readers. Many were inspired to get a grip on their body and start a healthy practice of nurturing and physical fitness immediately – but where to begin?

Find a studio … My first and strongest recommendation is always find a wonderful studio close to home you can connect with – the community and support you will gain from this circle of trusted fellow practitioners cannot be underestimated! Also it is rare, but I am more and more frequently seeing studios that offer childcare for one or all classes.

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What if the studio can’t happen? For a military parent far from family babysitters, or somebody on a restricted budget with enough funds to visit the studio maybe once a week or once a month, or for some of my intrepid readers who live in fairly remote areas and have no studios within reasonable driving distance – what then? Just between us: If you are shy about practicing around other people or self-conscious about your weight and that is the only thing keeping you home, please do make an effort to go visit a studio anyway! Bring a friend who feels as inept as you, if that helps! We all start clumsy, awkward and confused, and we all “get it” when somebody walks in feeling the same way, and we’re all there to support you as you blossom into a confident practitioner. And there are a lot of fit people in yoga, yes, but that is going to be you, next – you can’t begin this healthy lifestyle for long without seeing some physical changes! 

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As a teacher who hears this excuse on an almost daily basis, this has got to be my favorite yoga meme of all time! If that fear, which can be paralyzing, had kept me from my first yoga class – then I would STILL be inflexible!

Backbend Progress: It doesn’t happen overnight, but it happens. The first picture is how my back-bend looked about 1.5 years in to practice in April 2011 – foolishly, I was too embarrassed to take progress pictures earlier, or you could have seen me standing straight up, staring at the ceiling!
Backbend April 2011

Backbend February 2012: There are periods of practice where change seems to leap forward exponentially! One year later, my back bend had advanced dramatically. This took continuous practice, not wishful thinking or natural flexibility. (For what it’s worth, I had also lost some extra pounds during this year. In the second photo, I am 20 weeks pregnant!)

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Crow Pose Progress: In March 2011, this was where my Crow Pose was. A few months later, I had wobbled on to my head without knees on elbows.

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Crow Progress April 2014, waiting at the pier for my husband’s Navy carrier to dock (OpLove photo by Sami Roy Photography).  I now find it very easy to slide gracefully up into a steady headstand, and easily come back down in to crow or, from headstand, shoot my legs back into chaturanga.

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Even in heeled boots, on a painful pebbly surface, and those exhaustingly tight size too-tiny jeans!

Just waiting at the gate for my plane to board!

Just waiting at the gate for my plane to board! I didn’t know it here, but I was already pregnant with #2.

Bird of Paradise, 2011: This is about how far I could get in Bird of Paradise, a gorgeous pose that I couldn’t believe the people around me were actually doing. Sometimes I could hop my one foot up off the floor a little! I kept working at it.

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Bird of Paradise, August 2014: To work on my fluidity and sequencing as a teacher, I started recording my own practice on the cellphone camera. I had been practicing without a mirror for so long I had no idea what my Bird of Paradise looked like, and I was shocked when I saw what had happened to the pose over the years of work! Years of work, not days of magical potions – it took a lot of effort for me to get this far, and I still have so far to go.

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Upward Facing Bow Progress, Spring 2011: I loved this pose, sometimes called Wheel (it’s not really Wheel – in wheel, you actually roll! Yeah, that’s cray, too.).

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May 2012: My upward facing bow had undergone some serious work by the time professional Matt Palalay took this photo in my 38th week of pregnancy. In the winter of 2013 it reached a new level when I achieved smooth and unassisted drop-backs and recovery (entering the pose from a standing position, and returning to standing immediately). I had a really cool video of that on my cellphone, but the phone was stolen and I cannot share it with you now!

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All of my poses have worlds of expansion and improvement yet to go, but I hope you are encouraged by seeing how I started out – clueless, inflexible and as unsteady as a drunken sailor on leave!

Start your practice today with the home practice!

I practice daily at home, and supplement that practice by taking group classes at my local studio. At home, I sometimes practice my own routines, testing out new playlists, new sequences, trying on new poses. And sometimes – and this seems to be more true during pregnancy – I just want to follow the words of an experienced teacher and not have to think! That is when yoga classes online come in handy.

Online yoga classes – where to find them? To start your home practice immediately, there are a number of options! You can find some of my favorite DVDs (see the list at the end of the post), or subscribe to YogaGlo or another online yoga studio for a minimal cost. I love YogaGlo for their simple layout, the way you can track and save your favorite classes or set a weekly practice goal, and all the master yoga teachers they have on their roster – Tiffany Cruikshank, Dice Iida-Klein, AmyIppoliti and many other names that are well-known in the yoga, sports, therapy and Instagram worlds.

Or, you can find some favorite videos on YouTube! There are a lot of yoga classes available on YouTube, and some of them are insanely annoying while others are delightful treasures. Here are a few of my favorites.

Prenatal Yoga with Lara Dutta


You don’t have to be pregnant to practice prenatal yoga, and in fact, if you are just a beginner, they are perfect for you: the poses are fluid and languid, and the pace will be even and usually more slow than a normal class. I find it very pleasant at the end that she doesn’t take you out of savasana – you can stay as long as you like as the movie fades out! Lara Dutta is an Indian actress and supermodel, and the Miss Universe of 2000. She and her teacher Tonia Clark put together this sequence for prenatal practice, which they made into a DVD for all pregnancy practitioners at home. Here, they wear very elegant designer clothes and have glasses of berry-infused water close at hand, as they discuss the advantages and reasons for practicing during prenatal yoga. If you are pregnant, I strongly recommend watching the video before embarking in a prenatal practice, especially if you don’t currently practice yoga.

Yoga Routine with Lara Dutta

This is a non-prenatal routine! You’ll notice that I prefer dubbed classes, where the teacher is not narrating the class while doing the classes. Sometimes the mic rubbing on t-shirt or hair, wind breezing by, panting and gasping all get a little annoying. I also get bothered by fuzzy audio and garbled music in the background – when you watch a video over and over and over (and I recommend doing the same favorite class over and over again as it will grow natural for you, and you’ll improve, just like with a dance), you really start to notice every annoying quirk!

Ashtanga Primary Series for Beginners 

This class is led by a man, and also dubbed with a crisp, clean audio. There’s no extraneous chatter, and I like that he uses the blocks. Achievable and challenging, this is a a great class, and at one hour it is the longest on my playlist.

Soothing Background Music


If you have your own routine or you’re following one from a book or magazine, this two-and-a-half-hour set of background music is a nice set to have streaming while you go through poses. It’s geared towards more of a relaxing, soothing class.

Best of luck on your yoga journey, and if you know of any great yoga videos or have one of your own, please share it in the comments so we can all benefit!

Mrs H
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Yoga DVDs as promised

You can find so many great DVDs on Amazon or at the bookstore, and I usually check them out from the library first or watch the teacher on YouTube to see if I enjoy their style. These are my favorites!

Candlelight Yoga: Excellent for beginners, and I enjoy doing this class in the morning to wake up. There’s a reason Sarah Ivanhoe has gone on to become a master yoga teacher, and well-known in the community.

Prenatal Yoga with Lara Dutta: You are now familiar with Lara, and this is her DVD.

Journey into Power: Power Vinyasa Yoga, Level 1: Appropriate for beginners and advanced students; there is a Level 2 DVD as well, but to be honest, you could spend a lifetime on this one and still have years to go.

The Ten-Pound Cleanse: Scrub out your insides and start fresh

I am not a doctor, nutritionist or dietitian. This post and these recipes have not been reviewed by any medical professionals at any point in time; never begin a cleanse without talking to your medical professional or nutritionist first. By reading this article, you take on all responsibility for your own well-being.
This cleanse is not for everyone. Proceed with caution. 

Dear skeptical reader,

I hope the title of this post was intriguing enough to pique your interest!

Since Why I Do Yoga, with dramatic before and after pictures, just about blew up my blog the day I posted it (instantly shooting to the top-viewed post of all time and quadrupling traffic!), I figured I’d better follow it up with a word on nutrition, too.

I call this the ten pound cleanse because everybody who follows it seems to lose around ten pounds, if not more. The reasons are many; but to start, sludging through the average Western digestive system are several pounds of what some nutritionists call “phantom” weight, pounds of crap and mucous that are settling and processing (or not processing) for way too long. There’s always lots of junk to offload, and then for anybody with extra pounds of fat that they aren’t using any more, some of that seems to go, too.

This is a cleanse I designed about two years ago after doing various versions of cleanses and finding what worked for me, and I use regularly for myself. So many of my friends have asked me for copies of it, and used it to their own success, that I guess I just got bored emailing it out over and over and answering the same questions again and again, and decided to post it here, online, for anybody to see and use. But, it’s just my own cleanse – not created or approved by any doctor. I hope I made myself fairly clear here, and now, let’s move on to the interesting stuff.

Keep reading, and then download the cleanse at the end of the post.

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What is a cleanse? “Cleanse” is a fairly relative term. For somebody eating a Standard American Diet, a pretty revolutionary cleanse would be just to cut out anything processed or packaged. For somebody eating a fairly clean diet of real food (nothing packaged, processed, but fresh, organic and whole ingredients), a cleanse like this one is just a gentle recalibration of the digestive system; some easy-to-process foods, a rest from eating solids, grains and meats, a purified regimen.

Who can do a cleanse? Again, it’s all pretty relative. Only you and your doctor, nutritionist, therapist, dietitian, holistic care practitioner, cat or whoever you get your advice from, can decide if your body is ready for a cleanse. I personally feel like pretty much everybody can use a cleanse at some point in time; I like a weekend cleanse every month, and a week long cleanse every year. I used them during my weight-loss journey to jump-start my weight loss, and then to regularly get past plateaus and see some increased progress. It perhaps goes without saying that breastfeeding moms and pregnant moms need to exercise extreme caution; losing weight during breastfeeding, for instance, or detoxing heavily, can send all kinds of toxins through your breastmilk. I will say that I do modified versions of cleanses even during pregnancy and breastfeeding – but again, it’s all relative – I am still enjoying lots of full-fat milk, yogurt and fruits whenever I want them, even having meat if that’s what I’m craving, but overall, it’s not that far removed from my everyday diet which is pretty clean – just put in a blender (not the meat, though. Ick)!

Will I be hungry? The biggest complaint I get from people is that they can’t finish all the food assigned in one day. That’s fine, obviously! One of the best things that is happening here is the stomach shrinks – I can’t prove that scientifically, but let’s just say that you eat less and less to get full, and after you start eating normal food again, you are still eating less. (It also works the other way – you can stretch your stomach out to eat more and more if you eat out at restaurants a lot, or generally take large portions! Beware!) Normally I can get through about two smoothies a day on the cleanse, even though three and a snack are allowed. Don’t push yourself to eat more if you aren’t hungry.

OMG I just looked at the recipes and there is fat in them!!!!!! Yeah, you betcha there is. A picture is worth a thousand preachy blog posts, so here’s me eating a standard low-fat, low-sugar, lean meat, high veggie and high-carb American diet designed for weight loss. Size 10 generally, or size 8 on a good day.  Pre-pregnancy, too.

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Kinda sick of seeing that picture of me so let’s fast-forward to modern times. Here’s me eating full-fat raw milk, fatty pastured bacon, free-range scrambled farm eggs, grass-fed and farm-raised meats, lots of lush organic vegetables and fruits, nuts, seeds, and a low amount of carbohydrates from grains. Please note that I shoehorned myself into a tight pair of size 1 [stretchy] jeans. Post-pregnancy. I could have cried! Maybe I did – you’ll never know … 

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I feel like there’s a difference! I attribute all this change in large part to hot yoga – again, you can read Why I Do Yoga to find out how it impacted my life and the way I look at myself – and then eventually, the way I look.

So … get back to the cleanse, lady… What I’m saying is I definitely had to start supplementing that hot yoga with a powerful change in diet, even though (surprisingly) that didn’t actually fully happen until a year and 25 pounds of weight loss in to my story (I started the change earlier, but slowly). Now, I find that with my current, more nutritious diet I can even maintain my weight fairly steadily, where before it was madly fluctuating and skyrocketing every time I ate a cheeseburger.

So the cleanse helped you to … ? It helped me to jumpstart more intense weight loss when I plateaued, and it made me feel clearer, better and even inspired. Any time I got off track, a day or seven of cleansing would bring my intestines back into order, and I wouldn’t lose ground.

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You want to try it, too??? Onward to the Cleanse!!!!!!!!!!! 

Detailz detailz. The cleanse can be done up to seven days (or longer, I guess, although I have never truly gone past about seven days). There is a Day 0 that involves eating no food at all (hungry does happen on this day, trust me). This day is really not for everyone (and it is definitely never for breastfeeding or pregnant moms, among other people!). I have a miraculous body that can store fat during the worst of morning sickness when I’m vomiting up all my food and barely eat a thing, and this body is made for survival in the harshest of times! I can go for a day (or up to five days, as I did during a spiritual fast once) with no food or hardly any food, and not be negatively affected. Hungry, yes, but not faint, nauseated, or suffering from headaches. This has not been the experience of all my friends. If you are heavily loaded with toxins, you will probably be feeling sick during Day 0 and beyond as your body goes through a more intense detoxifying process. If you are already at your ideal weight, a Day 0 may be too difficult as you might not have enough fat stores to fall back on! Personally, I feel like starting the cleanse with this Day 0 doubles the impact, and is a powerful attention-getter for me (yes, I still go to yoga on that day!).

I definitely don’t want to gain the weight back. You only need to do three days if this is your first time doing a cleanse, or if your diet is pretty heavily processed and you are graduating yourself into it. One of my friends lost ten pounds in the first three days, and then went back to eating processed foods and gained it all back by the weekend. You have to start cleaning up your entire diet – boxed, processed, packaged junk, and much of the white pasta and breads that are normal for us to eat, as well as sugary and sweet things need to find their way out the door while you’re in the learning and changing process. That’s all detail work that we aren’t getting in to here – there are books, doctors and websites to help with that – so let’s just focus on the cleanse.

What if I can’t buy all that stuff …? Swapping things out is more or less fine, as far as I am concerned. If you have certain allergies, you may have to swap some things for others. I chose every ingredient for a reason – based on it’s liver-cleansing, mucus-cleansing, probiotic or protein properties or a hundred other factors; some things may not be available to you where you live, and you’ll have to modify. Do so mindfully, and read up on your replacement first if you aren’t sure.

A note on ingredients: Using processed, packaged or pre-made food is probably going to ruin your cleanse effect. Honestly, if you use coconut or almond milk, you should either make your own (the cheapest version), or buy it fresh and raw. This isn’t always feasible, but it’s something we can work towards!

If you don’t have all the expensive ingredients, like maca powder, chia seeds or hempseed, you can still do a version of the cleanse using only the basic (large) ingredients in every recipe. Those are added as protein, enzyme and other boosters, and are highly beneficial and strongly recommended – but don’t let a cash shortage keep you from working on your better body, now. You can accumulate items as you go – one bag of maca powder can last for several years, and a ziplock of chia seeds from the store can last for months!  Buying them all at once would definitely be cost-prohibitive for me, but I wouldn’t let it stop me from starting the cleanse.

Best of luck to you in achieving all your goals! Please leave me a comment and tell me how you are doing!

Preview and Download the Seven Day “Ten Pound” Cleanse (yes, it’s free, duh)

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Happy cleansing!

Mrs H
Clean it up on Facebook
We post smoothies on Instagram

P.S. From time to time somebody points out a typo in a recipe or instructions –
I think I’ve caught most of them, but if you find any let me know and I’ll update the PDF!

Why I Do Yoga: Before and After Pics (Dramatic!! Graphic!!)

This pose got really popular, really fast. People are ready for CHANGE in their life, and seeing it in another person resonates big time! To read the follow-up post where I talk about how to begin your practice Today This Very Day, and to see some more pictures of my progress through the life-changing experience of yoga, check out Start a Home Practice Today (with progress pictures!)

Dear Gentle Reader,

What you are about to read is the Truth about myself that would be so much easier not to share. So much easier, in fact, that I have never shared it with anyone before today. You are going to see pictures of the Old Me that I would rather stayed in the vaults of hidden darkness (better yet!! Burned in an incinerator!!). I’m willing to share them because I want you to see what happened. I want to show what hot yoga did for me.

I’ve always been chubby. No, let’s just say fat. I was always fat. I was the fat kid. There, I said it; we’re being honest, right? Nothing seemed to help. As a 12 or 14 year old, I would get up before anybody else and go outside and run in desperate circles in the yard on the side of the house where there weren’t any windows, hoping to work up a sweat before anybody knew. I put off getting my driver’s permit for years because I didn’t want to put my weight down on a piece of paper, and face the horror my family would surely feel. Dad bought a cool, fancy new scale and everyone was playing on it, weighing themselves, and I was hiding in my bedroom pretending to be busy so I wouldn’t have to get involved in the game.

Yep, I pretty much hated my body for most of my life.

By the time I reached college (I finally got my license at the age of 19), I was a pro at wearing baggy t-shirts and too-big sweatshirts to cover up the embarrasment I felt about my body. I was good at making fat jokes about myself and laughing hysterically with everybody else about them. Leading up to my wedding, I went full-tilt in the fitness arena, running every other day for up to 15 miles in a stretch, and pumping iron with professional body-builders in the college gym for a dedicated two to three hours every day, getting up at 4AM just to squeeze it in before class. The trainers put me on a strict diet, and I was excited that results were just around the corner. But despite these efforts, results were not just around the corner. My body got stronger, but the fat was happy to stay packed on top.

A few months after the wedding, a friend casually invited me to a hot yoga class with her, Bikram style. 90 minutes of vigorous asana in a room heated to 105F or more, with humidity at at least 50% or more. I had no expectations, no knowledge of what was to come, and I definitely did not envision this hot yoga becoming a part of my everyday life for the next six years, that I would go to teacher training myself one day.

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I dripped, sogged and collapsed my way through class. Stand on one foot? You’re kidding, I can barely wobble on two. Stop drinking water? Lady, have you noticed how hot it is in here? Stop wiping the sweat, it’s cooling you down. Stop wiping the – listen, it’s pouring off of me in rivers, and ain’t nothing cooling in this entire room! And finally she said, to the class, “Come back tomorrow.”

Like a good girl, I came back. At the end of class, she said again, “Come back tomorrow.” So I did. I came back. And I came back again, and I came back every day for a hundred days, because by now, I couldn’t stay away.

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I started alternating the classes with Baptiste-style power yoga, a faster-moving practice that sometimes is accompanied by upbeat pop music, with different poses but just as much sweating, just as much torture, and just as many tears when I finally hit the mat for a final rest. Something about this practice was changing my life.

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There were no candles, no chants, no yoga speak, and no string of beads being flung in my face. But something weird was definitely happening. I started to embrace the figure I saw in the mirror, even before it started to change. I started to enjoy the poses, however imperfect they were, exploring how far my body could go each time, getting excited when I reached a breakthrough (there was always one, in every class). I started seeing muscles and shapes emerging from my body, lines and a figure that I never knew existed under there. I was confident, pleased, and I didn’t mind walking around in my body any more. I can never go back to who I was before.

Did the weight fall off overnight? No. I had to do the work. I had to put in the hours, the tears and the sore muscles, I had to lie quivering on my mat because I couldn’t stand up any more, and I had to learn to face my own self in the mirror, day after day, even when I didn’t want to. After that, after all of that, my body reacted to the first loving treatment I had given it by giving me back what I so desperately desired. 

This is me, a few weeks before my life was changed by that fateful hot yoga class. This is the girl who couldn’t even stand to be in her own body on any given day. And this is me after all that crazy gym working out and self-starvation – the pictures from before would have been even worse, but I am pretty sure none of those exist because I was quite good at hiding from the camera.

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Yep, that was me. Take a good hard look.

Now I’m going to show you what I looked like after hot yoga. I have to share this picture because I can’t show you what happened inside of me – in my mind, in my heart. I can’t show you how I started to enjoy being me, even before the physical change appeared. And I have to share it because sometimes, the visible, outside appearance is what speaks the loudest when we’re in a desperate place, not a lot of talk about self-acceptance.

People, change can happen. It is possible.

It’s your time now.

Your world can change. Are you ready?

Mrs H

Epilogue

Thank you to the dedicated teachers who showed up to those hot studios every day to bring a life-changing practice to somebody who needed it desperately. Thank you to the studio owners who answered emails and phone calls late into the night, and made their studio happen day after day, so people like me could show up and have their world explode with possibility before their very eyes. Thank you to everyone who made it possible for me to go on and get my teacher training, so that I, too, can now bring this empowering, revitalizing, life-giving practice to others who, like me, are desperate for something to change. Thank you to you, for reading this, and starting to change your world and your body for a better purpose.  

Professional photography by Urban Utopia Photography, a Seattle-based photographer who travels the country periodically to shoot different states. Usage of these pictures is thanks to her generosity and kindness, as she donated the digital rights for the purposes of this post.