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Hiking Everest and 450 Miles Across Spain Helps Kay Cherryholmes Find Her Way to Health

By Kay Cherryholmes

One day I googled myself and I was caught off guard by a blog link that had me tagged as one of his Top 10 Most Inspiring Athletes of 2010! I had met the guy while hiking and considered him a dear friend. At first I smiled; feeling like I had somehow been a positive in his eyes, then almost immediately it read that he met me while hiking in Nepal to base camp of Mt. Everest and that my BMI was that of a mack truck!

everest kay

Instantly real tears fell. Not tears of his writing, but tears of truth about my struggle to achieve fitness. Who was I kidding? Mostly myself it seems. I grew up a competitive gymnast. I was always on a scale and measured my success based on a number that ranged between 114 and 119.

Fast forward from age 14 to age 44 and I had been married, divorced, raised two children as a single mom, and was completely disconnected from the fitness I knew as a young adult. My mind, however, continued to crave challenges, even in a 230-pound body. For all the struggle that it took to walk up into the Himalayan mountains 80 pounds overweight,it never began to stop me. He wrote that it was my perseverance that got me on his Top 10 Athlete list.

I always describe myself from the shoulders up as a ‘Michael Phelps type‘ and from my shoulders down more of a ‘John Belushi type’. I am part extreme athlete, part party girl. Too much brie and wine and not enough cardio.

After more than a decade of athletic events where I have fought with the struggle of weight in competition I decided that my next adventure would be a 450-mile walk across Northern Spain; the Camino de Santiago. It is a spiritual pilgrimage that took me through the heart of many regions in Spain. Once again I would carry the extra weight on my body and an additional 30-pound backpack with all the necessary gear I would need in my 40 days of hiking.

camino santiago

I wanted to remove myself from all of the excuses at home that get between me and a stronger, more fit body. I left behind the wine, cheese, friends, family, dishes, laundry, job, dog, television and my comfy new couch. They’d all become specks of home reality in my rear view mirror as I landed on Spanish soil. I would be forced in to my own mind and body for hundreds of miles and countless days. I wanted answers and to be accountable to myself. I would have no other choice but to face the dragons in my head, that for decades have defined my mindset and impacted my choices.
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Ali Vincent and Chez Starbuck Live Big in the Present and Get More Out of Life

I can’t tell you how many countless people I have met throughout the years who share their stories of when they were younger or when they were in high school. They speak of the times when they were succeeding in different ways either through athletics, academics, social experiences, young love or all the above. Trust me, I get it. I was probably one of the biggest culprits of starting statements with “When I was younger…”.

I bring this up because last week on Live Big With Ali Vincent we met Chez Starbuck, a man who had a pretty incredible childhood but found as he entered his adult years it was somewhat hard to live up to. As he lived in those feelings the pounds just started to pack on. Chez was a child Disney star. As you can imagine for Chez, it was difficult going from a kid in the spotlight to becoming an adult uncomfortable, even in a group setting, with any eyes on him. He even felt embarrassed because he was supposed to “make it” in showbiz like many of his fellow Disney stars, yet felt he couldn’t because of his weight.

I think like Chez, many of us (at least I’ll speak for myself), feel our childhood experiences were supposed to contribute to us becoming something more than where we might be now.
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Yoga Blog Tells Stories of Life Transformation Through Yoga

We all know the health benefits of yoga deliver a mighty punch in the form of increased vital energy, flexibility, and physical strength. Time on the yoga mat, whether it’s the maiden voyage or a decade or more of down dogging, offers mind altering and heart opening experiences for all who surrender to the power of the practice.

These experiences can be extremely transformative. And for some, they bring us from a place of darkness into a place of light, love, and genuine inner peace.

Stories of transformation through yoga are some of the most inspiring to read. From the depths of despair to the heights of bliss, yoga has a way of enhancing the lives of people all around the world.
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Add Music to Your Yoga Practice

Traditionally, no music other than the sacred sound of chanting or flute playing was tolerated during a yoga practice. Yoga playlists were certainly not sought after, as secular music did not have a place in this ancient method of self-discovery.

Today there are countless songs, CDs and soundtracks made specifically for the enhancement of a yoga practice, and as the popularity of yoga increases, the range of music played in classes broadens.

In some styles of yoga, music is still not played in class, however it is increasingly more common to hear uplifting tunes that awaken the spirit no matter the genre. While some say this is a distraction, others say this is an integral part of the practice, as music can be a pleasant compliment. Music invokes passion, reflection, empathy and satisfaction, which are some of the same familiar feelings that arise when we practice yoga.


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