Meditation Monday #24 – Signs

Yoga is surrounding me lately in my work and my personal life. It is lifting me up and moving me forward….as long as I pay attention to the signs it is showing me.

I am re-reading the Rebecca Pacheco book Do Your OM Thing again and I’ll give it another once over on the blog here soon. But last night I read,

Happier people do not have easier lives, with less hard work, grief, divorce, or financial strain than the rest of us. They’re simply more grateful for what they have and choose to be conscious of their contentment more often. p.37

And today in Gates:

Who among us has not spent months or years believing that when this or that happens, we’ll be content, only to find that contentment we seek is somehow beyond our grasp? p.99

Yoga, I see the signs. This is my path.

Meditation Monday # 23 – January 2nd and Finding Contentment

Happy 2017! Today I decided to stick to my plan of just doing what I can do each day. I put a minimal amount of things on my schedule for today and I’m slowly taking care of each of them. One was to try and get this post in and that meant also doing a meditation today. It couldn’t have been a better one!

Gates’ Day 72 post opens with:

Gates asks, “What else is there, after all, than the stuff of our daily lives?” (p.98) So, I too asked myself that same question. Today I had alone time with my oldest at breakfast and as I drove him to school. I love how smart and kind he is in the way he sees the world. Today my youngest asked me to watch him as he did ABC Mouse, then helped me with my workout. He and I had a tickle fight over whether or not he’s wearing pants today. I love that he is crazy and sweet in his interactions. And today I ate food that tasted great without concern for what it was; I wrote and meditated; I worked and exercised and cleaned and organized…..I did my regular daily tasks, but truth be told….I’m happy to be back to the mundane from the holiday season.

It may be raining here today, but I am enjoying my work, my life, my days that I have been given.

How has your 2017 started out?

What makes you most content in the world?

Meditation Monday #22 – Love that Moves the Sun

The publication of this post was delayed due to my poor scheduling habits and stomach flu suffered by my children. I’m behind again, but I’m taking a different stab at it this time around….I’m not stressing and I’m moving through my list as it was written instead of jumping around and falling further behind.  Without further ado…..Expanded Meditation Monday, this time on Thursday!

I’ve been trying to figure out what to write about my meditation on Santosha this month, and then the thing happened last week and I wrote something and my meditation changed. It changed in two ways. First it stopped and then my perspective shifted. Continue reading “Meditation Monday #22 – Love that Moves the Sun”

Day 2 – Hermine Stole My Run and Yoga Cures

Good afternoon….it’s raining here. Yep…..rain…..like lots of it.

I woke up to thunder and lightning at 3:15am this morning and my first thought was:

THE KITCHEN RUG!

Which sadly had been set outside yesterday afternoon to dry and was now drenched. It has since been moved under our covered patio to get less wet until it can dry out.

My second thought was:

Turn off the run alarm…

Because I knew I had a busy day ahead of me so I was getting up 30 minutes earlier to run, but Hermine stole my run today. I may brave the dark and random leaves that roll across my path and scare me to death. I may run blind sometimes and worry that every sound is an animal coming to eat me and every person is about to stab me. But, I don’t mess with lightning.

But on to the real reason for today’s post…..Day 2 of my 30 Days of Yoga Challenge.

Today I taught yoga at CFCC and we covered the Half Series and also talked more about the Yamas and the Niyamas and how they fit into our lives. The entire time I was teaching I was having a problem with my back….not to mention that it started raining in my class during the second section! 😦

My hamstrings were also cramping up on me and my legs kept falling asleep when I was cross legged. This are all problems I’ve dealt with individually before, but never all at once. I started to panic internally and think that maybe something ominous was going on because that’s where my brain has been of late. However, I decided to Eventually I decided on two things:

  1. I am probably sore and stiff because I run on Friday mornings and I didn’t today, so I need to adjust my practice for this afternoon to include some poses that will work on these areas.
  2. My practice this weekend needs to be self-study focused.

So, today my 5 minutes will be spent doing a little series of poses I love that includes Lizard, Half Monkey, Gate, Side Plank, Pigeon, Down Dog, and repeat opposite side. And this weekend I will pick up the Gates book for each of the next three days and get back to a little inward focus.

Is your fitness routine suffering from Hermine?

What does your practice look like today?

Have you ever had a minor panic attack while teaching and kept it to yourself?

Does it rain in your house?

Did you read that Yoga helps back pain?

Review Examines Clinical Trial Evidence on Complementary Approaches for Five Painful Conditions

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 #8: Relations

I apologize for the long absence from my blog posting. My mother came to visit for a week to celebrate my son’s 4th birthday which I will post all about later this week and then my family was struck down with a variety of sicknesses that all prevented me from blogging and reading other blogs. However, I was able to finish reading something else:

No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson.

I was lucky enough to get a copy of this book from my local library, but it was in high demand and I ultimately returned it late with a fine because I just had to finish it. This book made me cry and laugh and cry some more. It spoke to me as more than just a parenting book and I recommend you check it out whether you’re a parent or not. Here are some other praises for the book:
Time Magazine Online
Goodreads
Parents Magazine Online
Huffington Post

Usually in a Meditation Monday post I write about a way that yoga and the teachings of yoga can help you to be a better person, but today I want you to look back at who you are and think about if it’s all you could have been if things had been different when you were growing up? Not everyone has a perfect childhood and not everyone has a bad one either. Neither determines 100% of who you will be when you grow up, but I do believe there are some things that I missed out on that have led me down a certain path in life.

I have an incoherent core self caused by the many times my internal feelings were not validated in my many relationships over the past 34 years. I do believe that it’s always okay to feel how you feel. People who love you should be there for you even when you’re at your worst. Behaviors may be right or wrong, but not feelings. It is sometimes hard for me to trust and open up or share my feelings because I have been told too often that they are wrong. And when I’m falling apart, all I have ever needed was human contact and validation. I think the worst thing you can do to a kid is to shut down their feelings or not let them cry. I have felt disconnected over the years from my parents for various reasons and all of them emotionally related. I have been told to suck it up, pull it together, it’s no big deal, etc. I have been told as an adult in relationships that it’s not fun to be around you unless you’re happy. These are damaging statements to a person at any age.

I have been using my yoga to put myself back together, but I’m finding that there’s more to it than just my yoga practice. And, after reading this book, I am trying not to break my kids for whomever else they decide to love in their future.

Toward the end of the book there were two things that really stuck with me and I share them with you here:

P.203 You don’t have to get stuck in a negative experience. You don’t have to be a victim to external events, or internal emotions. You can use your mind to take charge of how you feel, and how you act.
(See Meditation Monday: Mind Over Matter)

P.211 Recent studies are suggesting that simply holding our bodies in various postures can actually shift our emotions, along with the way we view the world.
(See my post about resting into postures

Each of these things tells me that my yoga is a part of my healing process and so is positive thinking. So, each day I practice to not just be a better me, but to be a better wife, mother, friend, daughter, etc. I hope to heal myself and to prevent my children from ever needing to be healed. Check out the book and tell me what you think.

Namaste.

Meditation Monday #7: Mind Over Matter

“…energy is like a muscle; it grows when we use it.” p.65
My run yesterday got me thinking about this portion of the Day 49 reading in the Gates’ book. I started thinking, while I ran, about my motivation for a lot of things in life. Then my thoughts changed to what I was going to do for the rest of the day and what I would write about on Monday (today). I was planning out my time with my mom (she comes in tomorrow afternoon) and then came the chance to choose on my run route to go 1.71 miles or 1.91 miles (or so I thought). I chose to go further and then felt drained as I went through the rest of my run. My mind said, why did you do this? I wasn’t ready yet. And all kinds of other negative talk to my body and my body listened. I tried to bargain with my body and said that I would just run a little further and then I could walk a certain portion. I started yelling at my mind and my body to work together. I started thinking that maybe I’m too old to run as fast and as far as I’d like. I started remembering what it was like to run high school cross country and wished again for 2 miles in under 16 minutes. I think my best time ever was 15:40…I looked at my watch and I wasn’t going to make it.
In the Day 49 reading Gates talks about how we have to believe that we are good or we believe that we are not and that every moment of your life you are making that exact choice. It’s all about how you experience yourself. In wanting to see myself as stronger this year, I need to choose each moment to believe that I am strong. If I keep using that belief over and over again, that belief, like a muscle that is trained, will grow. When I finished my run my husband asked (as he always does), “How was it?” And I said, “Awful.” I recounted how I feel like I’m getting faster, but I’m also getting older. Neither of those qualities has anything to do with stronger in my book.
Later on in the day I mapped my run and found out that I had taken a different course than I had in my mind and that I had actually run 2.08 miles in 17 minutes and 25 seconds; a pace of 8:22/mile. Not only was it my second furthest run of 2015, but also my second fastest and the fastest at that distance. This made me feel a lot stronger about my running and about myself in general. I have doubting moments like all people do. However, I need to remember that in order for me to view myself as stronger, that has to come from within. That belief needs to be cultivated and chosen every moment of every day. The belief and the viewpoint that I am strong in all of the elements I measure myself in will take hold if I choose it to.
The first Half-Ironman I finished; days after graduating from college.
How do you choose to experience yourself today?

Meditation Monday #6: Buckle Up; It’s a Wild Ride!

You know that huge cliche: Life is a Journey….blah, blah, blah… Yeah, I’m that tired of hearing it and saying it. I feel like, as personal trainers, it’s one of our regular vocabulary phrases ingrained into our minds so that we can spit it out as regurgitated motivation. Only, after you’ve heard or said it that many times….it stops having any effect.

It’s been almost a whole month since I last posted a Meditation Monday and today I sat down to really think about some of the readings in Gates book (Day 45-48). The message was the same over and over again…

  • Respect the process, not the progress
  • Let go of power and control
  • Check in with reality; live for the moment

And my favorite, “we must constantly adjust our ideal in order to accommodate real life.” p. 64

In all honesty, I needed to hear exactly these things. It’s the beginning of the year and I needed my own wake up call to remember that I need to check in with where I am at and to enjoy the ride as I continue to try and change my life to be more of what I’d like it to be. I’m not one of those people with delusions of how it will be so peaceful and serene and the world will be easy once I have “achieved a yogic lifestyle”. No, life is hard and it’s always going to be that way. But, I have it within me to do great things and to be happier as I approach each and every challenge.

As you approach the new year and any possible resolutions you may or may not be making, consider the following:

Why do I have to get something out of this in the end?
Why can’t I get something out of making the change?
Where am I?
Am I lost in something else or am I here, experiencing life?
What am I passionate about?
Can I feel joy from being of use and serving a purpose?
Am I flexible to change?
Am I okay with the fact that it’s not going to go exactly as planned? 
 
Namaste

Tone It Up Tuesday #7 – Is your Fitness Routine too Rigid?

Gates’ Day 41 reading asks the question: “Am I practicing yoga as a means to show up for my life, or to hide from it?” (p.54) He then goes on to talk about how routine or rigidity is usually driven by fear. So I ask you:

Is your fitness routine rigid and inflexible?
What drives you to do the exercise that you do?
I started thinking about my own answers to these questions in preparation for this post. In regards to the yoga question I think a lot of my yoga practice is dedicated to becoming a better teacher. I wish that it were a means to hide from my life, but I find things about myself in my practice which I must always confront. I have not yet met the moment of blissful zen in yoga at which all of life just exists and I am at full peace. This time of year it would be particularly helpful if that were the case. My yoga practice often revolves around need and is squeezed in where it fits. I hate that I don’t have designated times for expansive practice outside of teaching. I feel that that makes me not as great of a teacher as I once was and also, many times, disconnected from my practice. I can honestly go through the motions of the pose and feel only what my body is telling me, but not connect it to my brain as an enjoyable experience. This disappoints me.
My fitness routine is rigid in the sense that it is limited. Earlier this year I was offered an opportunity to start teaching classes at a fitness center here in town. I jumped at the opportunity. Since that time my relationship with that company has dissolved and I no longer get contacted to teach. I’d like to say that it’s through no fault of my own, but I have prioritized feeding my children and paying off debt over owning a smart phone or other digital music player which I can program for teaching purposes. I am old school and use cds and this has limited my options for teaching. I was so excited to teach there for the opportunity to get a free membership (something I cannot readily afford to any place in town at the moment). It would have offered me the option to work out more freely on cooler and rainier days as the kids could have gone to the children’s area. I would have been able to sit in on other instructor’s classes and learn different styles of teaching. (This is a good thing for instructors to do from time to time.) And it would have allowed me to break free of the few things I can do at home with my limited fitness equipment. Mostly I walk, run, or now bike (with the kids). I also do Pilates, yoga, other body weight exercises, and some things with the physio ball. I have no weights to lift and no pool to swim in. I get bored with my options sometimes and also get frustrated at the lack of freedom to workout by myself. In the spring I will not be teaching at the college for the semester and can reallocate “work hours” to workout for mom hours. This may create some more consistency again for me and perk me up some, but it will still be limited and thus feel very rigid.
And the honest answer to number three is that a long time ago I decided that I didn’t like the fate I saw in front of me. Many of my family members struggle with weight and health problems associated with excess weight. I got into this industry to prevent that from happening to me and to help anyone else who wanted the help. So, my workouts are driven by a desire to stay healthy and not just lean.

Why is all of this important on a Tone It Up Tuesday? Because of one of the training principles I was just teaching about this weekend and do on many weekends….Variability. The variability principle basically states that occasionally we need to tax our bodies in ways that we don’t normally tax them in order to see adaptations. So, if all you ever do are body weight squats, you will eventually plateau and never get any stronger in your glutes and quads. But remember when I showed you all of those different ways to do squats and planks? That’s variability. Try to think of your favorite exercise and please list it below. Then, think of 3 different ways you can do that exercise to change it up and please list your ideas for that too. Then, give it a try and see what happens. Break free from the mold now. Don’t wait for a new year’s resolution to try out something new, let’s do it today!