Fill Your Cup First

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Photo Courtesy of Karen Dubs

By: Amy Phillips

With reduced stress, flexible strength, and improved mood, anything seems possible. Just ask Karen Dubs, a registered yoga instructor and holistic health coach.

Dubs has written a book entitled, “Find Your Flexible Warrior: Think, Stretch and Eat for Balance and Resilience,” that she hopes will convince others that taking care of themselves before taking care of others is important.

“You can’t fill an empty cup,” Dubs said. “You need to fill your cup first.”

With over 30 years of experience in the fitness world, Dubs has established an approach that can help men and women of all ages overcome their greatest physical and mental obstacles.

In efforts to balance the resilience of yoga with the challenge of sports, she started a business called Flexible Warrior.

She has also created a series of athletic yoga workout DVD’s. She continually updates her website with blog entries and weekly challenges for her followers.

“I do everything myself,” Dubs said.

Her days start with waking up around 5:30a.m. to take care of her two dogs, Stella and Luna. If she is not in the mood to complete a full yoga routine, she will happily do sun salutations that awaken her body and mind. She typically leaves her house around 6:15a.m. to begin appointments with clients from 7-11:00a.m. Lunch comes next in her schedule, followed by a series of appointments on the computer. She finishes her work day with some office work before her husband comes home for the evening.

In order to keep up with her sometimes crazy schedule, Dubs relies on her inner ‘calendar addict’ to get her through.

Although she is active now, Dubs was ill for two years with an undiagnosed case of Lyme Disease. She described it as an autoimmune, and recalled her years of fatigue and feeling sluggish.

“I had obstacles, but I could pick to be the victim or embrace them,” Dubs said.

In order to combat her illness, Dubs made an important life choice: to give up sugar. Sugary foods were her go-to when she started feeling sick, but she knew the sugar was not helping to fight her illness. She removed sugar, coffee, and alcohol from her diet and she was able to regain control over her body.

“The little choices we make make the biggest difference,” she said.

Since yoga and healthy nutrition were ways for Dubs to practice her own forms of self care, she felt confident in taking steps to begin helping others as well.

Dubs is passionate about rescue dogs and she supports BARCS, a Baltimore animal shelter that helps 12,000 animals a year. She donates to Believe Big, a local organization that provides complimentary therapies for cancer patients. She has donated thousands of dollars from her yoga classes to these causes to help them succeed.

“You can’t donate to everything,” she said. “But picking one or two organizations that mean something to you is important.”

Her efforts to fill cups around the world are continuing with her decision to give free yoga DVD’s to those who donate at least $25 to an animal rescue fund in Texas after Hurricane Harvey.

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Why does Lynsey Addario choose to be a conflict photographer?

Whenever she is away from the action of war, she feels she should be there. When photojournalist Lynsey Addario was climbing a mountain with her boyfriend while vacationing in Mexico, she felt a void because she was not climbing the mountains of Afghanistan. She felt uneasy not being able to look down to see history create itself. Her work was truly her choice.

Addario’s passion for her career takes passion to a new level, which is clearly described in a book entitled, “It’s What I Do.” As she discusses her trials and successes, Addario captures her commitment to chasing conflicts around the world through photography.

She wants to connect with people from around the globe, form friendships with fellow reporters, navigate foreign territory, practice translating interviews, and experience circles of humanitarianism.

She began selling her work when she was just 22 years old for $10 each, and she now covers some of the most dangerous places like Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria. Addario deems her job as a way to capture people’s stories and tell the truths to the world about what problems they are facing in today’s society. Behind her camera is the only place in the world where she wants to be. Addario cherishes the life she returns to after working abroad, but she thinks being able to contribute to the world’s database of photographs is more important.

Addario’s fearlessness and ability to never give up on chasing her dreams are inspirational. She discusses using her $15,000 wedding fund to buy a camera, lenses, and tickets to travel places around the world. With her hard work and sacrifices, Addario is able to touch thousands of souls with the images she captures.

Addario is an inspiration for journalism students. She is brave on the front line and endlessly determined to fight for the best stories to become one of the best in her field.

Throughout her book, she stresses the importance of being objective as a conflict photographer, an important lesson for aspiring journalists. She acts as a “messenger and conduit of ideas for the people (she) photographed.” Addario’s main purpose was to be the eyes for the viewers to let them form their own opinions on current situations happening around the globe. She also touches on obtaining as much background information as possible before interviewing or photographing her subjects in order to not misrepresent their culture or personal stories.

Addario is an inspiration as she speaks of her job and her kidnappings. She has been placed in situations where she was sure she was going to die. Learn more about the life of a conflict photographer who will do anything to get the best shots, even if it means being on the front line. Click: