Before and After Reveal: Getting Healthy Week 2

fertility yogaIn this series of blog posts, I share you my personal month-long effort towards sustainable change and also reveal personal before and after photos.  To get caught up, read Week 1: 28 to Great, Cyber Purging and Meditation

Listening to My Body

As I count the days to DAY 19 on my cute 28 to Great barre3 calendar, I am impressed with myself but also acknowledge how hard the last few days have been.  I’m tired. Despite my B vitamin shot last week with Dr. Elise, all of the great sleep I have been getting from the meditations I have been doing, and all of the amazing food I have been eating at home, I am just plain tired.  Running a business, seeing 20+ patients a week, raising two amazing children and supporting/loving a husband, takes a lot of work.  And a bundle of energy.

Today I took a rest day.  There were multiple times when I *almost* ran errands or sat down to do administrative work, but I made an effort to stay home and do relatively nothing.  And I am going to eat a big fat steak tonight.  I consider myself an intuitive eater and that is what my body wants.  Give me steak or hear me Roar!

An Early Reveal of a “Before” Picture

Ok, so let’s get to it.  I can’t believe I am about to post pictures of myself in a sports bra.  But I am inspired by these ladies on my friend’s Another Mother Runner blog (if they can do it, I can do it).  Also, there is something cool I want to show you.  If you are a secret anatomy geek like me, you will probably find it cool too!

What I didn’t mention before was that in one of the “before” pictures, my scoliosis was so apparent, it was shocking to me. I kept on taking the picture over and over again to see if it was the way I was standing. But I was crooked despite the fact that I felt like I was standing balanced on two feet!


28 to great BEFORE picture


Check me out on day 1.

The picture I show here was the best of the bunch because I got a little freaked out and deleted the rest.  In this picture, you can see that I am leaning on my left leg more because of my anteriorly rotated pelvis and my right shoulder is higher than my left.

After 16 days of Sadie Lincoln’s 28 To Great, a great yoga workshop with Tiffany Cruikshank and a blow-your-mind massage with Shaney Aalbers, I decided to see if I was still crooked.

28 to great


Check me out here on day 16.

See the difference?  I took a few photos to make sure it wasn’t the angle of the shot, but my body does indeed look longer, leaner and straighter.  My right shoulder isn’t hiking up as high and my pelvis is more balanced.  Yahoo!  I am curious what will happen after a whole month of taking great care of myself. Now, tell me that’s not cool.


One More Thing: The Cyber Purge

Remember last week I mentioned that I unsubscribed from a gazillion email lists?  Well, my inbox is finally clean!

At first I missed all those emails but then I had a realization that I had spent a lot of time browsing emails, clicking links, and exposing myself to consumerism in excess.  For instance, every time I clicked open that Pottery Barn email I would think,

Oh, I want that.  I want this.

And then I would see the price, dream for a second or two longer and then feel bad and think,

I can’t have.

By exposing myself to all of those emails, I was constantly subjecting myself to the negative feelings that they elicited and this repetitive thought loop. Releasing myself of that exposure has been freeing on so many levels.

My recommendation is to unsubscribe to those emails. Recycle those catalogs. You know where to go when you need or want something. You do not need to be reminded of it every day.

That’s all for now.  See you next week!



28 to Great, Cyber Purging, Meditation and Exercise: Week 1

Barre3’s 28 to Great, Cyber Purging, Meditation and Exercise

contributed by Liz Richards, L.Ac., owner of Blossom Clinic

stress and acupunctureI started out the New Year on a roll.  I engaged in what I call Cyber Purging: I blocked a person on facebook who continuously posted negative diatribes that verged on paranoia and I unsubscribed myself from nearly 40 emails lists that clogged my inbox.  I was so inspired by this that I decided to challenge myself to greater physical and mental health in 2013.

I am an acupuncturist and live a relatively healthy life, but I have recently slipped into some bad habits and my sleep has been terrible.  So I decided to challenge myself to even greater health in the New Year.   In this series of blog posts, I will take you through my month-long effort towards sustainable change. Continue reading

Barre3 Review: Blossom Biz Shout-Out

Liz Richards, Acupuncturist and Blossom owner, taking a leap with her barre3 core ball.

Liz Richards, Acupuncturist and Blossom owner, taking a leap with her barre3 core ball.

Barre3 Review: Blossom Biz Shout Outs are a series of heartfelt blog posts covering local businesses in the health, fitness, food, and fashion industries. This is my review of barre3, a full body 60 minute workout that combines the best of yoga, pilates, ballet, and modern fitness physiology.

“Once your physical core gets stronger, the rest of your life will naturally follow suit.”

I had this thought as I walked out of the barre3 studio and into the glorious sunshine last week. This thought was not just inspired by the endorphin high of exercise or the feeling of peace after doing something that felt so good.  I was reflecting on how doing something regularly over a period of time had long-term benefits and how those benefits had naturally spilled over into the rest of my life.


barre3 childcare fun! 

I began my barre3 practice in November, 2012.  My initial goal was mostly vain- to feel OK in my bathing suit for an upcoming trip to Mexico.  As a 38-year-old woman with a full life, I needed to make a solid commitment to exercise or else excuses would find me begrudgingly participating in domestic duties.  So, I bought a class package, scheduled my classes online, brought my kids with me two-thirds of the time (they have childcare!) and within 6 weeks I had attended over 20 classes.  The end result? I felt pretty damn good and I didn’t look bad either.

I continued classes when I returned from my trip and by February I started noticing that the classes weren’t necessarily getting easier.  That is the thing about this kind of fitness work: the deeper you gain strength, the deeper you can delve into the practice and the harder you work.  I also started becoming aware that the coccyx pain I had endured for years was no longer present!  And I was having fun.

Liz Richards Portland

My photo in Oprah Mag by Je Suis Belle Studios, Portland, OR

In May 2013, I had a tiny feature in the age issue of Oprah Magazine. I felt proud to be part of such an inspiring issue and I was happy to share what I love most about getting older- the mental strength and confidence that comes with time.

By the summer, things were coming together for me on multiple levels.  I was faced with a challenging family circumstance that could have easily swept me up in its drama.  I was able to gauge my internal reactions and stay strong and neutral.  My husband and I were a great team and felt like we survived something big! (I also have to thank my Archetypal Pattern Analyst for the amazing foundation work that we had done over the past year- Thanks Shannon!)

I have come to realize that I am not the only barre3 student who has recognized this: Once your physical core gets stronger, the rest of your life will naturally follow suit. 

I look around the room sometimes during class and wish I had a camera to capture the beautiful, strong (and sweaty) women around me!

My girlfriend, Uma, says,

“I came to Barre3 after three years of infertility treatment, a twin pregnancy, and finally, an abdominal hysterectomy.  I was emotionally fragile and physically disconnected, and felt so embarrassed after my first class due to my intense body shakes that it took me six months to come back.  It’s been over a year now of regular classes and I feel like a different person – plus I can actually feel my core!  Being someone who lacks the discipline to work-out on my own, I feel so incredibly grateful to have found a discipline that brings so much balance and satisfaction to my life. “

I witnessed my friend, Jennifer, go through some challenging times while maintaining her barre3 practice.  She says,

“Barre3 taught me how to be present in mind and body during a time of true chaos and struggle in my life.  That was a true gift!”

My other friend, Sarah, was able to support Jennifer in her tough time and shared a similar sentiment:

“Barre3 has been an anchor that’s grounded me in a journey towards taking better care of myself.  Getting stronger physically and making time for myself inspired me to eat better.  Physically, my body thrived, and physical wellness made way for emotional wellness.  All of my relationships- with my husband, child, friends and family are richer.  I am more able to give to others because I have made time to take care of myself first.”

barre3 pearl district

My peaceful view from the mat at the Pearl barre3 Studio

Don’t be intimated by the barre. Think of it as just another tool to get you where you would like to be.  You do not need to have any ballet background to enjoy the class and benefit from it.  My athletic husband comes with me on Saturdays and he loves it not just because he is surrounded by “the ladies”, but because the class allows him to effectively access and strengthen the smaller stabilizing muscles. Barre3 has made our yoga practices stronger too!

Life is a journey and you never know what might help you find stability.  For me, my trusted barre3 classes have made me stronger and for that I am grateful!

barre review




Liz Richards and her husband, Joe, in a Barre3 Online Workout!


Summer MediClear Cleanse

The MediClear Cleanse is user friendly.  In this cleanse, you eliminate foods that are commonly allergenic or inflammatory for 15 days. Continue reading

Acupuncture for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Acupuncture for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome:

Click here for a link to a recent study conducted by Elisabet Stener-Victorin at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.