Photography by Kayte Demont
I’m so pleased to introduce someone who has become a good friend of mine over the last two years while I’ve been living in Denver – Taylor Noel Jordan. I met Taylor through a mutual connection and it was clear from the start that we bonded over a lot of shared similarities. Since then, Taylor and I have grown together through yoga classes and coffee dates, mutual support and just general fun (trust me, the girl kills it on a dance floor!). As I’ve gotten to know Taylor better, and as I’ve seen her continue to grow in such an inspiring way in both personal and professional realms, it became clear to me that there was great potential for collaboration. The time has finally come and I’m so pleased and proud to introduce Taylor as the newest contributor to Mass Musings! Her resume is stacked with incredible health and wellness experience and I’m confident that her knowledge and thoughts will help catapult us all to the next level of our wellness game. Please head over to her IG to give her a follow and enjoy her first blog post! – Kayte
Butterflies in the stomach. Increased heart rate. Mild shortness of breath. Is it excitement? Is it anticipation? Is it anxiety? The body perceives them all the same way. A change of sorts is approaching. We’re far from the days of running from tigers, but we’re constantly under siege from external stimulus (sounds of the city, electronics, advertisements literally everywhere), so we’ve become sensitive to even the slightest of changes. So, what happens? We get sucked into an undercurrent of fear and worry? That is one option. Another option is to invite in the breath.
I was eighteen years old when I embarked on my professional wellness journey and started massage school. I’d been working in a spa environment already for a few years, but this was different. We were taught to incorporate meditation into our daily routine, we came face to face with the deepest, darkest corners of ourselves to have better empathy for others, and we learned how to breathe. Like really breathe. Most of us tend to breathe using only the expansion of our chest and upper ribs, keeping our stomach tucked in. The proper way is to relax the abdomen and inhale all the way into the belly (seriously, try it, and see how much deeper your breath gets), then chest, then upper ribs, and exhale ribs, chest, belly. I began my yoga practice around the same time I was in massage school, and finally completed a 200hr teacher training two years ago. One of my teachers repeated often throughout our training, “The only difference between fear and excitement is breath.”
As much as I’ve received support, taken classes, meditated, practiced yoga, given and received bodywork and energy work, I’m still a human being, and I still have fallen victim to anxiety. I tend to enjoy moving quickly and making changes, but only when my hand is turning the wheel. When life throws a curveball, let’s just say, I don’t always handle it with grace. I fall into procrastination, I get overwhelmed, I want to curl up under a blanket and stay there until everything is resolved in three to six months. I’m fortunate to have a community around me that can see when I’m sinking, pull me out, and get me onto my yoga mat. Going to yoga does not relieve my financial stress, or resolve weird family issues, but it DOES help me remember how to breathe. And when I breathe (like really breathe), that moment is mine. I can slow down, realize the world isn’t crashing down around me, and shift my perspective.
What would it be like if we walked around the world looking at the unknown like an unwrapped gift? We feel the rapid heartbeat and breathe into it like a kid on their birthday. We feel the butterflies and imagine the roller coaster we loved. There is no need to radically change who you are or how you operate in order to experience more joy and less fear. Start small, and when you can, just simply remember to breathe.
Photo by Haley Carpinelli