Woohoo! I’m so, so pleased to welcome another beautiful, inspirational special guest to the blog this week. This lady is beautiful, passionate and believe that everyone can have the health and vitality they want and deserve. I was slightly flabbergasted when I finished reading this interview- these words are so heartfelt and revolutionary, I was speechless!
Welcome to Conquering Fear Spiritually, Claire Obeid from The Wellness Project!
Claire is a Holistic Health Coach and Yoga Teacher. I know some of you are absolutely dying to know about CFS, nutrition and exercise, so in this interview, Claire answers all your questions on this and more. I absolutely love Claire’s evident passion for wellness- you can feel it running out of every word she writes. I don’t really want to to much more, as this interview’s so, so good and I want to pass you straight over to Claire and her amazing words of wisdom. (The phrase ‘Wise beyond her years’ springs to mind!)
Thank you so much to Claire for taking the time to answer some questions for us and for giving such comprehensive answers.
Enjoy my lovelies!
1) What was the inspiration behind your wellness journey?
It wasn’t so much an inspiration rather an epiphany that whacked me over the head.
In my late teens/early 20s you could say I lead a pretty destructive lifestyle. Around 22 I’d started to have an inkling that something wasn’t quite right. I was choosing to stay in and read, instead of party. ‘Quiet and Slow’ had become my new way of living.
Not long after my first Iyengar yoga class literally cracked me wide open. I spent the class with hot, wet tears rolling down my face as I dealt with physical pain and emotional release. It was in this moment that I realized something had to give.. IBS, adrenal fatigue, OCD, anxiety – they’d all found a home in me. I knew then in that yoga class I had to make a change
From there, every spare moment and spare dollar went towards yoga. I was googling yoga sequences at work and researching retreats.
At each step I started to feel more open, lighter, aware… happy, if I dare say.
Yoga then led me to review how I was feeding my body. I started to experience stillness in mind and a stronger body but I was still grappling with health issues. The more I played with and tweaked my diet the stronger and more balanced I felt.
Today, I am STILL on my wellness journey, or in the midst of my wellness project, as I like to see it. I am forever a student of wellness. Experiencing life, reviewing it, driving forward, sitting with it, opening up, embracing challenges, finding new ways, refining and retuning. It’s ongoing, and I love it that way. Wellness is a journey into yourself – to your true essence – and I adore feeling connected in that way.
2) What are your non-negotiables when it comes to your health
Firstly it’s what works for my body (or yours). Non-negotiables have to be tried and tested to know if they are right for you. My must-haves are good, clean, WHOLESOME food. If it’s not real, it’s not on. Lots of filtered water. Lots of good fats – I am all for fat and the traditional way of eating. Green veggies – as many as I can handle in one day!
Yoga, breathwork + meditation. Daily movement and quietening of the mind are by the far the most valuable part of my wellness regime.
3) How has fear appeared in your life and what do you do when it does?
We all have limiting beliefs ingrained in us from such a young age. I still have fears and insecurities, the difference is I SEE them for what they are now. I am aware when they crop up, I know they aren’t the ‘real’ me – but an ego-based reflection. Fear creeps into my life when I’m not trusting the universe and myself. I might start to question my place in the world and what I’m here for. Or I might start comparing myself to others.
First, I let myself feel the fear and then I move forward.
I used to fight it – a lot – and I was left with an ectopic heartbeat and a serious case of anxiety and OCD
I find that I need to move towards fear. Shake its hand, say hello, sit down with and say ‘so… what’s up?’. I acknowledge it and then, thankfully, it starts to dissipate, it becomes watered down and almost ‘silly’. When I ignore it and turn my back to it, it grows bigger and bolder and manifest into almost every part of my life. This takes repetition, practice, willingness
If I’m feeling truly overwhelmed and I need to reign it in it’s here that I usually practice EFT (check out my video on what this is and how to do it! http://thewellnessproject.net.au/2013/04/30/why-you-should-try-tapping-for-health/) or meditation.
Yoga gets me out of my head and drops me back into my heart and my body. Getting outside – sunshine, nature, earth beneath my feet – this reconnects me to something bigger and greater than my fears. And journaling – I’ve always been a writer, so the written word is very therapeutic to me. It’s cleansing to brain-dump.
4) What do you do or say to yourself if you’re having and off’ day?
I let myself have an off-day. I be OK with it. I say “Claire, it’s cool – you are human and you are having an OFF day “I then look into my heart, drop the story around my ‘off day’ and try and tune into what I need.
Drop my tools and leave work alone for a day? Yoga? A walk? A big green smoothie. Cry into a pillow? Laugh with friends. Dance?
I let it unfold.
5) You produce and publish some amazing, fresh and health recipes on your blog. What foods should we be incorporating into our diet to encourage healing and sustain our energy?
Keep it real. That’s my rule. Keep it simple and fresh. Have a predominantly plant based diet.
- Lots of Dark green leafy veggies. Lots of veggies full stop. They should be your best friend.
- If you eat meat – grass fed and pastured produce only. Be mindful of the source.
- Eggs are an amazing source of protein – I eat at least 6 a week.
- LOTS of good fat, especially if you’re a woman – fatty fish, coconut oil, real butter, avocados, nuts.
- Hydrate – don’t go mental, but at least 1.5 litres per day
- Reduce the sugar – even fruit. Preferably live a sugar-free life.
- Good sources of grains – brown rice is so incredibly healing but make sure its biodynamic and local
- Superfoods are fantastic as supplements but if you are low in cash don’t fret, real food is just as good, if not better. Superfoods are ‘add-ons’ they should be your bulk
- Probiotic foods – yoghurt and kefir are always in my fridge. If you are lactose intolerant go for coconut or goats/sheep’s milk based options
6) You’re a yoga teacher as well as being an inspirational health coach- is there a place for yoga as part of a healing process? Do you have any gentle yoga postures that people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome can adopt?
There is such a HUGE place for yoga in healing. I started my healing process because of yoga. In fact, I’ve decided to incorporate more yoga into my Holistic Health Coaching practice.
I have had clients suffering from Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia and all have incorporated yoga into their daily routine.
The key with Chronic Fatigue sufferers is to adopt a gentle ‘slowly-slowly’ approach. Yoga is such a special practice because it can be harnessed for the individual and their needs. It’s not a one-size-fits-all.
Balancing yogic breathing techniques are invaluable as are gentle.
Supported forward bends like pachimottanasana (seated) and uttanasana (standing) balance and calm the nervous system.
A supported downward facing dog (using blocks and bolsters) is key to increase blood flow, frees tension in the upper back and gently builds energy and reclining restorative postures like Supta Buddha Konasana (bound angle pose) over bolsters increases flow and circulation to the adrenals, thyroid and kidneys which store a lot of energy.
7) Describe yourself in three words.
Authentic. Passionate. Positive.
And a few more for good measure: Intuitive, present, loving, open and honest!
It’s hard in only three!
(I love this- Claire walks her talk alright!)
8) What projects are you working on at the moment?
Oooh – so many! I’m working on my first ever eBook. It’s all about learning how to surrender and let go of all the ‘stuff’ that holds us back or the situations we can’t control so that we can literally STEP into the life we want. I think Chronic Fatigue Sufferers would have a lot of experience in the challenge of surrender.
My own journey is peppered with countless challenges in surrender. All of which I am so grateful for, because I feel better equipped to help myself and help others embrace the art of letting go.
I’m also planning a new online offering based around yoga and wellness which I CANNOT wait to get off the ground.
On a smaller scale I’m going deeper into my video blogs and will be posting up little yoga how-tos and sequences to share this amazing practice.
9) Any other words of support and encouragement to share with my readers.
You a spiritual being enjoying a human existence. Embrace your story as a human being to an extent. Our body and how it functions is so important to how we exist day-to-day. But also willingly unattach a little from the body. You are more than just your body and it’s ailments. It’s important to not identify too much with the physical realm… even though it’s what binds you to this earth. You have layer upon layer – from the physical, material, spiritual, emotional, mental and energetic. You can lead the most fulfilling life WITH what you have. You can take what you have and make it better! You can make changes that nurture and support you, you can embrace the beauty of acceptance and you can also love the life you are in – with all its flaws.
Health and wellness is individual – it’s totally unique for each person… the recipe is different. This is exciting news because you get to own your wellness – branded under your name. Embrace it, wear it with pride and make it truly special. When you are ready to grow and evolve it’ll still carry your unique stamp and it’ll give you exactly what you need, when you need it. All you have to do is want more for yourself because you truly believe that it’s your birth right to live a balanced, happy and healthy life in mind, body and spirit!
Connect with Claire