Fave Reads Friday #4: Deep Thoughts

At the beginning of April I had this serious stack of books that I was going to read and have just finally finished the first one in the pile. Not because it wasn’t a good read; I just hadn’t been devoting enough time to reading or at least to book reading. The first book I finished in the pile was

I read an older version than this one.

Learned Optimism by Martin E. Seligman and it probably could be found under self-help, psychology, and yoga in the library because it ties in nicely to a lot of the principles of yoga we’ll be discussing on Meditation Mondays in June.

This book was a tough read for me emotionally because it dealt with some serious issues and was also a great read because it make me think…. A LOT! Here’s the best of what I got out of this book: Continue reading “Fave Reads Friday #4: Deep Thoughts”

The Gifts of Yoga

I have started this post several times over and then time got away from me. I had to postpone writing it over the weekend, so it’s going to be a compilation to reflect the last four days and my resolution for all four is the same:

Days 21-24: Enjoy and pursue further the gifts yoga has given me.

In Gates’ book he revisits the same quote by Einstein for several days; pulling a different message from it each time. I apologize in advance for the length of this post, but yoga has given me four distinct, yet intertwined gifts: Awareness, Balance, Flexibility, and Strength.

Yoga has made me far more aware of many things in my life. It has probably impacted me in this way more than the flexibility, strength, and balance it has given me. I am aware of my body and my breath and this trickles over into my every day. On Tuesday night last week, while teaching class, I was extremely aware of the fact that one of my legs is longer than the other. I was in standing forward fold and had to continually pick one of my feet up in an attempt to rearrange my position and make myself feel even. It didn’t work. I had to remind myself that this was not my practice.

I am inherently aware of my body landing and moving when I run; my pacing. Friday morning on my run I was very aware of my breath. I kept Truffle Shuffle turned down a little to hear the noises I make when I run. It was a lesson….it always is.

I am aware when I teach at the college that my meditations with the class are interrupted by my need to keep an eye on the clock. I am aware that they are watching me and that while I need not judge them, myself, or allow their judgements to affect me…..that I’m still always aware.

As I get older and more practiced I am more aware of what I need in life. Part of the reason for this 30 days of resolutions is to become more aware of what I do need more of and what I could do without.

On Friday, the gift of awareness spread to my running more than anything. I had run the same course 11 times over the previous 19 days. Only twice had I broken 9:00/mile on the run. I know that some of that has to do with my body, the weather, time of day, etc. But I think that not hitting it that morning was more about me being bored with the route than anything else. I have another route of the same distance in my portfolio of runs on MapMyRun, so I vowed to change courses. On Sunday I did and I crushed it. It was smoother and easier even though there were hills. It wasn’t as routine as the other course had become and that made it more enticing to run. It was a course I’d done many times before, but it was a change of pace that I needed.

My weekend was packed, busy, with birthday party prep. I picked my mom up on Friday and went nonstop until she left Sunday evening. I needed the strength to get through it all. There was cake making and cake pop making and cookie making and pie baking and dinner to provide. But more so than the mental strength, I needed the physical strength on Saturday. We constructed a new bed for the birthday boy that day; assembling the project that my husband had built and I had painted; now inside the house in pieces. There were challenges to surmount and heavy things to hold up. Thank goodness for all of the arm work I’d done that week to help me feel prepared for that challenge. I also stood most of the day and by the time it was over…….I was glad I’d skipped my morning run.

Sunday drew on my flexibility of character as well as body. I had to squeeze in to the back seat of my Honda Civic between two car seats for more than one ride that day. I felt like Elastigirl. It was a 5 year old’s birthday party at our house and the first time we’d done party games and a pinata. I kept hearing myself inside my head saying…..breathe……it’s alright if it’s not perfect…..if it’s not all done. I felt myself enjoying the time at the party more than I have at any previous birthday experience. I feel like I smiled more that whole day. Maybe it was the change in course on my morning run; maybe my yoga has finally started to invade all of the little spaces of my life I need it to touch? I even turned over the camera for the party in order to try and get in some shots.

Throughout the whole weekend I looked for balance. Balance in the way that I handled tasks and also handed them off. I really leaned on my mom and my husband to pull things together with me, but also tried to hold my own. Some of that balance meant not running Saturday morning so that I could ease into my day. Some of that balance involved not running this morning when completely exhausted from the weekend. It also involved me getting back into some semblance of routine today with the kids despite the actual birthday being today. There was lunch dessert and dinner dessert, but there was also quiet time at home instead of more exuberant celebrations from the day before. The day was special, simple, without confetti and fireworks, just calls and texts from family and friends and a lot of snuggling.

Yoga has given me the awareness to step back and realize how great I have it. It has also given me the awareness to look forward to the future; to examine the present and keep things in check; and to let go of the past where I cannot change things. Yoga keeps me balanced and teaches me to be flexible in life. Yoga has made me stronger, but has also allowed me to be me more and therefore cultivate strong relationships and perspective.

On this yoga journey, this path to enlightenment, the last four days have made me feel like the road ahead is not so long…..

What was the best day of your life?

What has yoga/fitness given you?

Responsibility and Forgiveness

We all make mistakes in life….and I’ve made my fair share. In fact, this morning I am going to court for my first ever speeding ticket. I made it 35 years, 1 month, and 4 days until I received my first speeding ticket. It was a mistake. I was driving in the early morning to work and let the passing of a truck lure me into thinking that I was out of the slow zone on a highway and back up to speed. I clicked on the cruise control and then the lights came on.

Why me and not the truck? It doesn’t matter why. It does matter that I broke the law. Some people would say that this a minor thing, everyone speeds, etc, etc, etc. However, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that minor. My ticket is for $218 (including court costs). That’s half of a month’s pay at one job and a full month’s pay at another. That’s almost the whole amount I made on the job I was driving to that day. It’s half of a workshop or 9 hours of curriculum writing. The money is a big thing for me in one aspect, but it’s something more than that financial burden.

It’s the fact that I always consider myself to be somewhat of a straight arrow. I always try to do the right thing. This is something I learned from my grandfather; who was the type of man that would return the extra money when a cashier counted it out wrong instead of just considering himself lucky. I try to follow the rules and to be a good citizen. If I am to be true to this, I should go into court today and pay my fine and accept my punishment. I should stand up and say “Guilty as Charged!”

I’m torn today as to what to do…..I would like to ask for a Prayer for Judgement and prove to the court that I will not be back in the next 3 years….or ever again….and sweep this whole thing under the rug. I would love to walk away without penalty other than that of my conscience. I am taking my kids to court with me today because I don’t have anyone else to watch them and because I want them to see that court is not the place they ever want to be….even for a “minor offense” like speeding.

Day Five: Not just this year, but forever, I want to take responsibility for my mistakes, but also be forgiven for them.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?

Did you own up to it?

Were you forgiven?

TOLT #22 – The New Nanny and Other Changes in August

I have so much to tell you all about, but I’m running out of time before we move over to the new site. I can’t believe August is half over, but here’s what’s been going down so far this month! Thanks Amanda for another

1. Another trip for NETA! I stayed in state this month and traveled to the Yadkinville YMCA on the other side of the state. The workshop was wonderful and hosted by a really great staff and very entertaining group of future fitness professionals! Thanks again to Missy and Cirilo (I got your name right this time) and the rest of the gang there for hosting! You can check out more about the workshops that I do (here, here, here, and many other places on this blog).

2. Moving Up the Ranks….Did I mention that I’ve moved up into a Lead Timer position with RTE? If you hadn’t caught on about them lately, I work for this wonderful company that times races all over NC. My boss James and I go way back to my graduate school internship and he has recently promoted me to handle some of my own races. My first race was the Temple Builder’s 5K and it was a small race with fantastic people hosting the event. My sister is now my Assistant Timer and it’s fun to be able to see her more often and work with her. You can find me at some races in the future either assisting James or running the show for the day!

3. PRE-SCHOOL – Oh yeah, Ike had his first day of school already. I can’t even tell you what that was like because he just walked right in like it was no big deal and then came back out at the end of the day and said, “I LOVE SCHOOL!” Eli, on the other hand, is having a little of a depressive problem with being away from his big brother twice a week. We will see how that goes in the future, but I’m trying to come up with new things to do with just him to make him feel special. For instance, Tuesday we went to the beach so I could FINALLY take his 2yo photos. Yes, I know his birthday was almost 3 months ago, but he’s still 2!

After pictures we were headed away from the beach and this woman’s poodle poo’d on the beach next to the boardwalk. Eliot was fascinated with what was going to happen to the poo and I kept reassuring him that she was coming back to pick it up. When she did come back he was watching her and she said, “Do you want to get it?” I thought she was being funny at this point, but his response was, of course, “No.” To which she replied, “Then don’t worry about what I’ve got to do.”

COME ON LADY! He’s 2!

I’m glad I continued to walk away, but she really ticked me off! Instead we went to one of Eliot’s favorite breakfast places (no judgement here….remember….good for you) for a special shared treat: Wake N Bake. It was on the way to the rest of our errands. We shared the Loopy Morning, his favorite. He only likes to pick the fruit loops off the top because he never gets cereal like that at home and it’s a novelty item.

4. The New Nanny….I know you’ve all scrolled right down to here to find out what the heck I’m talking about. I’m a stay at home mom….they don’t have nannies! Well, this one does now. Over the summer we have employed two different friends to watch the kids while I taught yoga in the morning and during various other situations that are more regular than just a babysitter. However, as fall was approaching, neither of them was really equipped (mostly due to scheduling and/or vehicles) to handle our Tuesday mornings. Starting next Tuesday I will be teaching in the mornings for the city, followed immediately by 4 hours at CFCC. During that time someone has to be in charge of the kids and get Ike to school. I will be home in time to get him from school.

So, we ventured into our first time finding someone other than a friend or family member to watch our boys. This was a nerve racking experience for me and I am happy to say that we all came through like champs. I used Craigslist (did not hire anyone on there), Care.com (also did not hire anyone from there), word of mouth through friends and family, and posted jobs to the community college and university’s student job boards. We had a variety of applicants and settled on one girl that the whole family loved, had amazing references, and who will be here for awhile. We don’t want to go through this again any time soon.

I will keep you updated as to how it all goes, but so far we’ve enjoyed getting to know her and the kids have warmed up to her quite easily. Fingers crossed!

5. This is my final note for today’s post, but expect another one soon. TRAINING Woes….If you’ve followed me on MapMyRun you’ve noticed that I haven’t done jack this summer! Why? Because it’s been too hot and humid here for normal training. I haven’t wanted to hurt myself or make myself sick. Although Monday I went for a run and had to do a funny walk home because the heat got to me and I thought I was going to be sick all over myself and the kids! I’ve written about training in the heat before and I just don’t recommend doing it! Instead I’ve spent more time with yoga, Pilates, and other resistance training. I’ve done a few extra HIIT workouts and used the cardio machines when I could be indoors at such a facility. I feel my training has really suffered, but I’ve not just stopped doing it. I’m also remembering to just remain active throughout the summer so that I don’t ever feel like I’m “off” my training.

My next post will be all about the new site and the changes coming for the blog. They aren’t drastic, just more personal and focused on why I started this in the first place. You’ll also get a preview of what the fall has to offer! Until then….

Where have you traveled this summer?
Anything new at work?
Are you ready for your kids to go back to school?
Was that lady a jerk or was it just me?
Thoughts on a nanny?
Did you run all summer or workout indoors?

 

TOLT #19 – Drop the Commentary; Not the Cookies?

I originally had this post ready to go for yesterday’s Think Out Loud Thursday, but after the documentary I saw the other night, I’ve had a small change of heart over the tone of this post. So, I pulled it and spent the day thinking about what I really wanted to say. This is a re-write of my original post. I also changed the exclamation point at the top to a question mark to reflect my change in opinion…..so, here we go:

I’ve been reading a lot of posts lately about external negativity. Here’s what I have to say to all of it:

This is my rant for today’s

Everyone around you at this moment is experiencing a different point in their life, but all the lives around you are happening at once.  So, who are you to judge anyone at all?  I’ve been thinking a lot about this question myself. It started a few weeks ago when I was in Statesville. There were two women in my workshop who each had teenage sons. In that same weekend one woman was sending her son to the prom while another was sending hers to a funeral of a friend who’d been killed in an auto accident involving drinking. Life is so fragile and yet, we treat each other so ruthlessly at times.

There are times to celebrate and times to mourn, but is there every really a time to out right hurt another person? These kids are growing up in a society that is overloaded with social media. My own kids will be far more exposed to the pressures of cyber bullying than I ever was. It scares me to think about what kids do with cell phones and all of the privileges they are allotted these days. It also scares me to think about how many more parents think that they are involved in their kids’ lives only to find out that they’re not.

There are kids whose parents want to be their best friend and kids whose parents want to give them everything so that they’ll never feel without. In my opinion, my kids will be just fine without a cell phone until they can drive and they don’t have tablets or every toy under the sun. They have more than I had when I was growing up, but I also believe that they should work for something in their life. It has made me appreciate what I have to work for it; my education, my car, my life in general. I even had to work at having kids.

When I read the Amy Poehler book a few weeks ago she made a great statement in it: Good for her; not for me. I wonder what the world would be like if we stopped mom judging? I wonder what it would be like if we stopped food policing? Or fat shaming or thin shaming or woman/man bashing? What if we didn’t care if someone was of this religion or that? What if it didn’t matter if you were straight or gay or transgender or any combination of the above? What if we could only see in one color and it was a beautiful blue? I wonder what the world would be like if we were forced to post comments with our names and addresses and contact info up there for the world to see? I wonder how you would respond to others if you had to go back to doing it face to face instead of through email or text?

I didn’t have a fairy tale childhood. I don’t expect that my children will escape the bad in anyway. But, as adults, as bloggers, as commenters, as people in our society in general….are we setting a good example? If you excuse your kid’s behavior when it is bad you are letting them know that it’s okay to treat someone poorly and that they should expect the same in return. If you judge others you should expect to be judged yourself. There are some of us that share some “privileges” as has been noted in some of the discussion I’ve read of recent. I am one of them. I am white, somewhat thin, and middle class. I have a good education, am in a heterosexual relationship and have two children who do not have any mental or physical disabilities. We are healthy and we live in a country with many rights.

But these privileges are not something that I take for granted. I have the kind of heart that wishes the best for almost everyone. I say almost because I am human and I know that I too have judged. The other day I went back to my meditations book before I went to sleep. I read a passage that spoke to me and then I dreamed about my grandfather. He was half Greek and half Native American. His family grew up around the midwest, but mostly in Chicago. His family was poor and not welcomed in any community because they were a form of mixed race according to those around them. He had major prejudices throughout his life, but he was a kind man who wouldn’t speak ill of anyone to their face without good reason. I loved him every day that I knew him and have missed him every day since. I know he would be proud of me for who I am.

The passage said something to the effect of looking inward to our negative thoughts (toward ourselves and others), our bad habits, our preconceived notions that may not always be true, and then taking them off as we would old clothes. Boxing them up and shipping them off. In my yoga class on Thursday morning I asked my participants to do the same. At the end of class we took the negative thing we’d been holding on to and lifted it off us like an old shirt. We inhaled the fresh new air as that heaviness was pulled off and we exhaled as we tossed it aside. We were relieved of that pain that was holding us back; that unfavorable outlook on life.

I want so much to live a life where I will not police others on their choices. I want so much to live a life where I feel connected to those around us. I want so much to raise my children in that sort of emotionally and environmentally healthy world so that they too can be promoters of the good life. I want to look at everything and say: Good for you; not for me. I want also to continue to preach moderation in life and walk the path of yoga. However, there are some ways in which I feel cheated in life. I feel cheated from the ability to protect my children when others around me think that the way they live and work is okay even if it harms another.

I saw this documentary the other night and it was one of many true statements that I make often in workshop about the sad state of the place in which I live. We lie to our citizens at the expense of their health and the gains of the economy. This is the only type of food policing for which I can get behind and I am totally okay with judging the food industry on it’s lies and poor judgement!

 The full documentary is available on Netflix if you’re a subscriber. It just reinforced things that I already know and made me mad. I am now looking for a way to let go of this anger, but wonder……
Is there ever a time you think it’s okay to judge?
Here are some links to posts that inspired this one and Thank You Always to Amanda for hosting!

Take a Deep Breath and Eat The Cookie: Reflections on Privilege (Guest Post) 

The Binge Eating Diaries: Dear Food Police

Reading Comments: The Truths In Trolls

Challenging the food police

New Cookies!

Happy Easter Monday everyone! Some of you may have forgotten that the holiday actually extends until today, but all religious celebrations aside….today is the start of my family’s detox from holiday season and it back into normal life. The Easter holiday is usually filled with lots and lots of food as well as CANDY! I love candy, I’m not going to lie about it and I haven’t yet. I also don’t believe that anything in moderation should be off limits. So today I will be bringing you something a little more substantial, but still a little chocolate to feed the sweet tooth fix as we empty out all the jelly beans, destroy those marshmallow animals, toss the cream filled eggs, and move back into our healthy happy spring routine!

These breakfast cookies have protein, fiber, and can be made in a variety of different ways to be gluten free or vegan if you so choose. Plus, Bananas, Peanut Butter, and Chocolate oh my! Who could resist?

Let’s start at the beginning….Step One: Preheat your oven to 325F and get out some baking sheets. Line them with parchment paper or a silicon mat or do what I did and spray some olive oil spray on them to make sure they are not going to stick.

Step Two: Get out your food processor or a good and sturdy food storage bag and a heavy duty rolling pin. We need to end up with 2 1/2c of these babies pulverized into a slightly “krispie” flour. This is how you make these babies gluten free. I’m sure regular Rice Krispies would work just fine, but my kids prefer these. A good rule of thumb is that you will need almost 2x as much prior to pulsing it in the processor as you will need in the outcome. I used 4 cups to get my 2 1/2c.

Step Three: Next we start mixing. Add into your “krispie” powder the following:

  • 3/4 t salt
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 cup of nut butter (we used 1/2c each creamy and crunchy peanut butter, although this next time we are going to experiment with almond butter)
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 2 large smashed bananas (about 1 c)
  •  1/2 c or so of chocolate chips….your choice
  • 1T flax seed

Step Four: Use baking judgement skills and determine if your batter needs anything else. Because we used both crunch and creamy peanut butter, we were good. I think some almonds would have been nice and if we’d used dark chocolate chips instead of the semi-sweet we had laying around I might also have added dried cranberries.

Step Five: Your batter should be thick and sticky at this point and pretty much look like something that belongs in a ruck sack on the Appalachian Trail. It does! This is one cookie dough you can just eat raw and not have to worry about! Scoop it up into balls of about 2-3T and plop it down on the baking sheets and press the tops down. These cookies do not spread as they bake. Pop the baking sheets in the oven for about 15-20 minutes until the edges start to get brown. Mine took longer because I had sprayed the sheets. This left them crispy on the bottom and edges, but softer and chewier on the top and middle.

Step Six: Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a minute, then attempt to not devour the ENTIRE batch in one sitting. (It makes about 2 dozen-ish)

Just remember your body is not a bank account and holidays are no exception. Fuel for the life that you live!

What was your Easter like?
Are you a cookie monster?
Have you ever been on the Appalachian Trail?
Peanut butter or almond butter?

Meditation Monday#12: More Aparigraha

Welcome back to the afternoon edition this week. I’m finally back to finding more time for reading and meditating and continuing with my study in Gates’ book. And that brought me back right at the moment of Day 50 and the start of Aparigraha again. I wrote about this tenet of yoga last month in regards to non-hoarding of an ideal of who you once were, but no longer may be.

Today I was thinking about how I really needed to get back to meditation for two reasons. The first is that the breath work has helped me before in my athletic endeavors and I’m finding some difficulty in my running with controlling my breath. In order to meet my goal for this year of feeling stronger, I need to get stronger in my breath as well. I do this mostly during my meditation time. Secondly, I was watching Brain Games last night on Netflix and they said something to the effect that people who meditate have better control over their brains and rewiring of it and making new connections. I really would like to feel more connected overall, so I want to make sure I’m finding the time to meditate.

So, meditating on the idea of letting go can sometimes be too vague. Aparigraha asks us to let go of so many things including hate and judgement of others and ourselves. It’s about not wasting your time and energy on unhealthy attachments when you could spend that effort on making things around you better. Gates discusses a very personal struggle he has with the women’s lib movement….he describes it as an “irrational fear” (p.67). This was a post I read over at the Bloggess today (I know I’m behind on all of the blogs) that melded with the idea of letting go.
And I thought that was very pertinent to some of the discussions I’ve been having here and on other blogs I like to read.

So, currently I’m trying to think of what long held prejudices I have that I need to let go of. I am not perfect, so this will be what I will spending my effort trying to discover about myself.

What prejudices do you have; irrational or otherwise?
What would your life look like if you let go of them?

Meditation Monday #5 – Courage

It’s Monday evening after a long and tiresome weekend. I traveled to Vermont this weekend via Connecticut and stayed in New Hampshire. You have to love how close and small the New England states are. But after the holiday it was hard to be away from my family for another weekend. I am happy to know that I won’t be traveling again without them for at least a month. But it’s back to Meditation Monday today and I actually have a whole week planned out for you that links well with Gates’ book and more on the study of the fourth yama, Brahmacarya.

The Day 40 reading (where we’re starting the next five days of passages) pairs perfectly for my thoughts today. And it says that in much of his research Gates came across Brahmacarya in regards to bravery and courage. Remember that this yama or moral restraint is that of moderation. I’m sure that many people in our society would associate being able to live a moderate lifestyle by choice with some kind of superhuman strength of will. However, his examination of this idea took me somewhere else entirely. He asks, in a sense, to consider what it is that you are in need of courage to do in life?

My workshop this weekend was at a very nice facility and I would be very happy to find out that any of the participants had stumbled upon my blog. I really enjoyed their company and would love to keep in contact with them. But, overall I had lower participant reviews than I usually receive. I know I can’t get all top marks 100% of the time, but as a type A person this is what I expect for myself and eagerly strive for. As much as I’d like to say that I’m 100% intrinsically motivated, that I’m finding a few situations in which I want recognition. However, I also feel that I want top marks because that reflects that I have helped someone and that is what I feel is my ultimate goal in life….Help.

So, I spent some time reflecting on this question of what I need courage to do in my life and tried to get over my self-doubt as quickly as possible. And my meditation brought me to this: I need to find the way to stop procrastinating and to go after my dreams. Because, what am I really waiting for? I have pretty much a 4 year plan in order at the moment. But what happens at the end of that 4 years and what I do with some things I’ve been working on at the moment are keys to answering the question on courage. The simple gist of it all is that I want to teach at the college level, but in more than a physical education class. I want to wear real clothes to work some days instead of just gym clothes. I want to be looked at as a faculty member and not a staff member. The question of it all is as follows:
Do I wait until the baby is old enough to start school and then start applying for jobs that may move us away from here?
Do I hope that the current school I work for works out and eventually I become full-time there or at the other school in town where we end up staying in Wilmington?
Do I work on securing us financially so that when it’s time for the big man to go to school that I can foreseeably head into a Doctoral program?

I think I am asking myself to find the courage to finish projects in the next 4 years and to push for my voice to be heard when I am ready to switch my career from full-time mom to full-time professional again. I need courage to put myself first at that point and time and to know, truly in my heart, what my path will be. I need courage and strength to know how hard to fight to reach those dreams, but at the same time, courage to be accepting of the great life that I have and the amazing family that we have created. I need courage to trust my judgement that I had before I started considering (and really only focusing on) others in my life.

Four years may seem like a long time from now, but the days go by as quickly as minutes. I won’t doubt my ability to affect change and to help. I won’t look to others for the answers. I will live in moderation and see, truly see, the beauty of what my life has to offer me at every turn.

What do you need to find courage to do in your life?

Release….or maybe NOT!

*Intended post for Wednesday, September 10th*
In yoga we practice a lot of letting go. Letting go of tension, stress, judgement, preconceived notions about ourselves and others, etc etc etc. Letting go and learning how to immediately set your body at ease are some of the goals of meditation and final relaxation in a yoga class. Sometimes we work with mantras, chants, readings, or other forms of mental cueing to allow the body to let go both physically and mentally. My yoga training has allowed me to be a less angry person in life by teaching me to exhale and let go of what was building inside of me. This allows me many times to avoid unnecessary confrontations and arguments over trivial matters.

The idea of releasing has also helped with tensions that build in my body physically. I’ve been doing a lot more running in the past ten days. A lot more than I did in August that is. And while I run, I often find little things that aren’t going so well. I may be breathing too hard or my stride may be off; I may find that there’s a twinge of discomfort in my shoulder or I’m just not mentally in the game at the moment. No matter what is going on, I’m using my mantras to help align my running pattern to produce the best results possible. Lately my right shoulder has been the one with that pesky twinge. I don’t know if I’ve been pushing the double jogger too much with my right arm or if I’m pulling it up as I run and allowing my shoulder to creep toward my ear? I remember back in my days of high school cross country often finishing an event with one arm that was numb because of the way I held it as I ran. I was pinching a nerve because my upper body was being carried too tightly.

When I feel this issue creeping in, I often say to myself….. RELEASE! I do this during difficult yoga poses, when I’m stressed and need my breath to actually leave my body, and when I feel like I’m about to grind my teeth. Teaching your body to release, no matter how you get there, is of great advantage when you’re running. If I can let go of the tension when it starts to build and let my body fall loosely into it’s natural and free movement patterns, I find that every other aspect of the training then falls into place for the day. My mind clears, my breathing eases, my strides lengthen and turn over more quickly. And then there is the one negative effect to all of this releasing…..my body doesn’t know how to let go of some muscles while holding on to others.

You know what I mean. That moment when you’re flying down hill at top speeds feeling your legs stretch out to their fullest and all of your muscles are relaxed yet working and then it hits you….

You have just released all of your muscles…even the ones that you don’t want letting go at that moment! Then you have a choice to make….do I keep going and let nature take its course?

Or do you do “The Walk”? You know the one I’m talking about right? The one where you clench your lady parts as tightly as you can and curse yourself for skipping your Kegels that week while you also attempt to take as long of strides as you can to get to the nearest facility as quickly as possible.Yeah, I always opt for the latter of the two…ALWAYS!

This has made me feel like many of my training runs are ruined because I have to walk it off or walk it home. But I need to start focusing on all of the reasons that walking during my run or at the end of a run are okay and good for me. I need to let go of that judgement of myself and my workout and accept it for what it is on those days.

Today I ran with a friend who was getting back into running. We did long intervals (~1 mile each) of walking and running. It was slower than my usual pace, but thankfully not interrupted by bathroom breaks for either of us (kids…yes, and of course it was mine). I didn’t judge my performance on the run or hers, we just did it and it was fun. Sometimes letting go is more than just the physical or the mental tension, but it’s also allowing yourself to enjoy an experience.

Friday Quickie

A short blog for you on this fine Friday afternoon.

One of the things I really enjoy about the Gates book is that he presents an idea and the continues to use that same idea for several days in order to give you different ways of looking at, thinking about, and experiencing a yoga concept. The first yama, Ahimsa, is that of nonviolence, non-harming, and non-judgement. In the Day 18 reading Gates suggests that we abandon the notion of separation from all that is around us. In Day 20 he tells a story about how his own fear of rejection kept him from meeting new people because it builds walls around us. Yesterday I read a really great blog post that I thought I would share with you here:

How to Make Mom Friends in One Easy Step

Two of my favorite internet people, Karen from Baby Sideburns and Elle from What’s Up Moms got together to tell a little story (a true story) about making mom friends.

via www.mommyshorts.com

I too find that I have a fear of rejection when it comes to meeting new moms and that that fear and those walls are causing harm to my children in that they are missing out on meeting new people. I want to be the mom that goes up to the other moms and not only introduces myself and my kids (I’m good at that), but follows through when I see them enjoying the company of the other kids. I want to be the mom that asks for the playdate more often than not. Next week, at all of our many activities, my goal will be to attempt to make at least one new mom friend for each of my kids.

Let yoga tear down your walls and attempt to approach some new people this weekend. Do not be afraid of others because they are different, see them as an extension of yourself and your oneness with all that surrounds you.

Namaste and Happy Friday!