Modeling

Well, it’s Thursday and I still haven’t finished How We Live Our Yoga, but I did start to find some anecdotes that spoke to me. Maybe the back portion of the book is meant to be the best so that if you actually stick with it it will be worth the time?

There was one passage by Judith Hanson Lasater in which she talks about how her yoga changes over the years and about being a “Swami Mommy” As my youngest is starting Kindergarten on Monday and I move into the next phase of my own life, I realize why my kids need me to do my yoga just as much as I need it. They need me to be patient and ever evolving along with them. My life is changing and so is theirs. They also need a mom who is flexible both mentally, emotionally, and physically. I need to grow and change and listen and able to keep up. Continue reading “Modeling”

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Meditation Monday #51 – Impromptu Meditations

Last Thursday my youngest didn’t want to go to school….it’s preschool and to some people that doesn’t “really” matter. However, I have to go to work on the days that he goes to school. I specifically scheduled work while he was in school so that I don’t have to have childcare any more. I also pay for his preschool and it’s not cheap. At preschool he’s learning A LOT of important lessons and by making him go to school (even when he doesn’t want to), I’m trying to teach him another lesson: sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do.

On Thursdays I usually workout after I am done teaching. Sun salutations or swimming are the norm, but this Thursday I had another matter to deal with: parking ticket. I went to the parking office and appealed my ticket. I won. It was a good day. This left me some extra time before the little guy was done with school. Because he hadn’t wanted to go in the first place I had promised I would pick him up early. Once I arrived at his school I thought about the importance of two things: keeping my promise and his need to be in school the full time. I opted to pick him up only slightly early (I’m usually one of the last parents to arrive for pick-up) to meet both.

So, I took a seat on the bench outside the school. It was a nice day and no one was around. I sat in Sukhasana (easy pose), closed my eyes, turned my face up to the sun, and started an impromptu meditation. I haven’t spent enough time meditating lately. I’ve done a lot of journal writing, which has been good for my soul, but is not the same thing as meditating. I decided that day that I needed to just listen to the world around me and within me.

In general I recommend that you have a focus for meditation before beginning. However, I know the need for impromptu meditation is strong; especially in the world we live in today. So, I encourage you to take the time today to be in the moment. Give yourself the present of impromptu meditation…..maybe even this minute. Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and listen. Listen to the sounds around you (or lack there of) and be aware of your present surroundings. Listen to the voices in your head (don’t think about them, but hear them passing through). Listen to your body and all the things you ignore that are both good and bad. And, if like me, allow yourself to smile or cry or both.

Life is tough for me these days….hence the reason I stepped away from the blog mostly. However, life is also life and being alive is good. Impromptu meditation reminded me that warm sun, the sound of garbage trucks/traffic flowing by, and the ability to breathe freely are all great things in life because it’s life itself.

Happy Monday! You’re alive!

Please feel free to share your impromptu meditation moments or any other thoughts in the comments section below.

A Week Unhinged

It’s Thursday again and this week has been a little up and down. I missed yesterday’s Workout Wednesday post because I ran out of time to write and load. The video is all done and ready to go, but it will have to wait until next week.

As I’ve been writing about my schedule I notice a few things that I need to work on:

  1. Timing
  2. Fluidity
  3. Fun

Let’s start with Timing. I mentioned recently that I probably should have gotten a calendar with time slots in it because I need to start ordering when I am doing things. Timing also means knowing how much time an activity will take. This blends into Fluidity. When planning my activities I need to figure out what I can do when to make things flow. So, I don’t want to be out and then need to come home before I go back out again. I used to be much better at this when my kids were smaller and had certain nap/feeding times. It was easier to map out what needed to be done when and to pack accordingly. Now, I feel like I run here and there and am constantly shuffling things to the next day.

Fluidity and Timing have had a big impact on Fun. My word of the week is PLAY and that was almost like bad permission to throw the schedule out the window….

On Tuesday I taught a pumpkin workout with medicine balls. Because I had to carry them all over the place and did 62 Sun Salutations, I skipped weight training. (permission to play and not to work out) Yesterday I ran with T and then she and the kids stayed over to play which pushed back the time I went grocery shopping and therefore made me skip posting and….because my arms were dead from Tuesday….I also skipped Sun Salutations. (too much permission to play) Today I am still feeling DOMS from Tuesday, but will be conquering my 64 Sun Salutations as soon as this post goes up. I skipped my swim today to come home to a “sick” kid (just reflux) and now I will not hit 108 SS on Thanksgiving Day.

Fluidity to me also means going with the flow of things. So, a goal has been missed, but that doesn’t mean that I’m dropping it. Part of the Sun Salutation Challenge is part of me forming the habit of a more regular yoga practice. I feel like I need to renew my commitment to yoga now that I’m not currently teaching it.

So, a few things have thrown me for a loop this week and my timing is off, but it’s only one week.

One final thing to announce…..I had applied for that full-time position and found out on Monday that I was no longer in the running. This is a good and a bad thing for me, but I’m not quite ready to talk about it in full this post. It’s probably what set me off track this week.

Tomorrow I have a few more notes on habits in the Fave Reads Friday post…all I can say for now is IRONY!

What do you do with off weeks?

How do you maintain commitment?

A special Thank You to Amanda for the TOLT space to share.

If; Then

Apparently I didn’t push “Publish” on this post yesterday, so here it is today. What I just sat down to write today will get schedule as a post for tomorrow. Back to regular “almost daily” posting on Monday.

In the latest section of Rubin’s Better Than Before book she talks about a strategy for improving good habits called “If; Then”. We use this same language in yoga, but in a much different way. In yoga we say that IF you feel a certain way in a pose; THEN adjust this way. Rubin’s suggestion is more along the lines of a planned strategy to avoid “failing” at your good habits. So, IF I can’t go outside to run today; THEN I will do a HITT workout instead.

Rubin also talks in this section about planned exceptions to the rule that don’t really break the rule. So, on Tuesday I did my first “weight training” day in a long time. And therefore, I chose (in advance) not to do sun salutations that day. Partly because I wasn’t sure how weight training was going to go and partly because I’m trying to stop putting things on my schedule when I fill each line. There’s no need for two things per line! (or so I’m currently telling myself….it’s not going so well) And partly because I’m not trying to streak with sun salutations, but rather slowly build the habit of doing them until I can complete my goal of 108 consecutive sun salutations. This didn’t make me feel guilty about skipping a day of sun salutations and then, yesterday I did them again right after my run.

Planned exceptions are not the same as spur of the moment exceptions. For example….yesterday I didn’t read in Rubin’s book nor post. This made me feel guilty and behind today. Today I have other things to do, like writing a different post on the material I was supposed to read on Wednesday. I really wish those two items were checked off in my calendar or that I had not put them on there anyway. But…..I started to rationalize this to myself using what Rubin calls a Loophole Excuse.

My word of the day for Wednesday was ENJOY! I spent the day trying to enjoy each thing I did…..including grocery shopping with a 4 year old! I tried to enjoy my run and our playdate at the park, bill paying, and eating. Then it was time to have an afternoon playdate and I enjoyed that too……so much so that I left myself without time to read and write. I was embracing my word of the day….that’s what I told myself…..but really I was making a spur of the moment loophole excuse to ditch something else that also gives me joy. Doing this also made me feel guilty the next day and not as “THANKFUL” (the WOD for Thursday) as I should have been.

Today I am thankful that I have another chance to check off my list. It’s not a fail nor a fall….just a stumble. IF I cannot complete my checklist one day; THEN I will try to pick up the slack the next day. IF I cannot “catch up” on my checklist; THEN I will make peace with what was left undone and move forward from there.One thing that was very painful to read was about Obligers and their ability to come up with loopholes….especially when the habit has no accountability to others. Yep, I’m an Obliger through and through! But, that doesn’t give me permission to use it as an excuse. Rubin comes up with 10 different loopholes that people create and a great deal of them are the excuses for why I haven’t yet applied for the full-time job posting that’s up right now……

How do you feel about unfinished work?

What excuses do you make?

How do those excuses make you feel?

Do you have “IF; THEN” strategies?

Thank you to Amanda for a place to share ideas!

Meditation Monday #40 – How to Meditate: The 5 Koshas (Annamaya)

Welcome to another rainy Monday at the beach. Do you know I haven’t taken my kids to the beach at all this summer? How terrible is that?! Last summer our beach days were play dates and there were many of them, but this summer our beach buddy is also my running buddy and play dates have been of a different nature. *Sadness*

Alright, enough about the rain….today I’m here to talk to you about meditation again. Why? Because it’s something that I’m making a priority in my life these days. Over the weekend I was in Asheville teaching the NETA PT Review Workshop to a great group of people at the Woodfin YMCA. They were wonderful to hang with and chat with and to work with. I love it when I have great weekends away like that!

I had intended to go and scout the 8K course for the race this fall after I got done teaching on Saturday, but it was raining….and I had left my car windows open….and my lunch from Whole Foods was disappointing. I had also missed breakfast and hadn’t drank hardly anything all day. I think the run would’ve sucked if I had attempted it.

Instead I chose to go back to my creepy hotel (don’t stay off of Tunnel Road) and work on the Inclusivity Training and some NETA writing. I experienced some seriously great meditation practices in this course that I cannot wait to share with you! And that motivated me to start back up with the How to Meditate series again today.

So now, after that seriously unnecessary introduction to this post, I want to talk to you about Koshas….which is not a slang way of talking about Jewish foods or pickles. Koshas are the five layers or sheaths of the body; the outermost of which is called Annamaya or the “Food Layer”.

First off, this has nothing to do with the food you’ll eat (we’ll talk about that layer later), but rather with the fact that we all must die someday and (if buried) eventually become food for the earth and other creatures on it. We liken these layers to nesting dolls with each successively deeper layer representing a deeper part of the self. However, unlike nesting dolls, the layers cannot be separated.

Annamaya is most often cared for where people start their yoga practice….with Asana (postural practice). Both Asana and Annamaya deal with the muscles, the bones, the flesh. Consider your Annamaya layer and ask these questions from Rebecca Pacheco’s book:

  • What physical experiences nourish me?
  • When am I most comfortable in my skin?

For me the obvious answer for both is exercise. But, during meditation I often find more.

When am I most comfortable in my body? When I’m taking care of it. And that includes eating well, getting enough sleep, making time to move and rest. Not just exercise, but when I’m playing with my kids and when I’m not thinking about the body and all the ways in which I’ve judged it in the past.

What physical experiences nourish me? The little things like putting lotion on, brushing my hair, brushing my teeth with a new toothbrush, drinking warm tea, wrapping up in a cozy blanket, hugging my children, snuggling close to my husband, holding his hand, laughing with friends.

My Happiness Project is all about my body and I started with health and now I’m working on eating (again), but I am not neglecting the Annamaya layer in this process. Perhaps you should give your Annamaya layer a little more attention this week?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on/response to the questions posed above.

Meditation Monday #37 – How to Meditate: The 5 Kleshas

Ugh! What a weekend! I arrived home….to my house….around 4am and got the minimum 3 hours of sleep before my day started as usual. This is one trip that I’m not all that excited to write about. Instead I’ve decided to leave it in the past and move right back into Meditation Monday!

How is meditation going for you these days? Mine is a little strained. I started thinking about how hard meditation can be for some people. For some it’s the sitting still, for others the quiet, for yet others the being alone with their thoughts that gets them. If you read back to the first four posts on How to Meditate you learn a lot about how easy it can be to start small. But, what happens when we’ve been working at it for awhile and we can’t seem to find the answers we’re seeking?

In the last few segments of this series we’ve talked about the Four Aims of Life, but there’s something that can get in the way of understanding and living your path and that is a Klesha. Continue reading “Meditation Monday #37 – How to Meditate: The 5 Kleshas”

TOLT: But I Won’t Do That!

You all remember the Meatloaf jam from back in your middle school days…..I will do anything for love…..but I won’t do that!

Well, welcome to another TOLT hosted by Amanda at Running With Spoons. Today I want to expand off of my post from Monday and continue with a series on my own Happiness Project: MY BEST BODY.

I’ve spent a little more time considering my post and my goal and what I will do moving forward and I’ve come up with only three things so far that I promise not to do:

  1. Take before and after photos
  2. Go on a diet
  3. Use exercise as punishment or food as a reward

These are three things that align pretty well with my own living principles as well as some of the tenets of yoga.

Ahimsa – Cause no harm

I, as a fitness professional, know that dieting is harmful to the body. I hate the fact that this simple little four letter word that means all of the food you eat has become something so vile and negative that I have to make a statement about how I won’t go on one. Technically we’re all on a diet…..we all eat. I decided not to harm myself in other ways during this adventure by being mindful of my workouts, checking in with myself on the regular through meditation, and keeping in mind that this is a journey of my whole body getting well….not just trying to get thin.

Santosha – Contentment

I need to remain content as I travel this path. It’s okay that right now I am battling my body, this too will get better. It’s okay that I will never again be a size 2 Juniors. I’m 36 and have two children and care more about being able to someday do a pull-up than to bare my midriff for attention. This is a project and a process, I have to be ready each day to face the challenges with an air of contentment: I AM.

Svadhyaya/Satya: Self-Study and Honesty

I paired these two together because they both also encompass the idea of non-judgement of myself and others by living who I am and by learning about that. This is why I don’t need before and after photos…..I have before and during and after blog posts. I have my meditation journals. I can track my fitness and all of the other measurements I will use along the way. However, as I track I need to go back to Santosha and remember to be content with the progress that does and doesn’t come.

NUMBER THREE

On a side note, I found myself trying to do number three a lot this week. Yesterday I ate a snack with my little guy. I had a super hungry moment (most likely fueled by the Prednisone) in which I ate the snack so mindlessly and then had the thought pop into my head “Thank goodness I’m going for a run now”. Bad me! But I also need to be kind with myself in my thoughts…..I need to avoid falling into the disordered eating traps of rewards and punishments that come with food and exercise. This project needs to be about me being well and functioning.

I can’t guarantee that this is going to work and I’m still in the process of defining my plan, but this was the next step.

Have you ever entered into a Happiness Project?

How do you incorporate the yoga principles into your life challenges?

What won’t you do?

New Foods

We’re now on the backside of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. It’s something that I think a lot of people I know struggle with from time to time and I thought it pertinent to mention. Also of importance is this great post I read over the weekend:

I was looking at my calendar the other day and planning out meals through the end of March and into April. I like to rotate things, especially our staples: Mexican food, something grilled, something seafood, something pasta, and breakfast for dinner. We usually eat something from each category each week because I try to bring a balance of what my kids will already eat to exposing them to a little something new and also a dash of what I WANT from time to time. Continue reading “New Foods”

Meditation Monday #29 – The Best Laid Plans

About a week and a half ago I had a private discussion with one of my yoga students who has been with me for over a year now. She said somethings that really stuck with me about my weight, which is something that I’ve been struggling with for a little bit now. She asked some of the usual questions like, “Are you just eating too much?” These are questions that I sometimes avoid being honest about because I like to believe that I know the right balance for my body. However, I haven’t run hardly any in 2017 and I knew this was a big part of the problem. So, I resolved to get things back in gear and started thinking hard about what changes I wanted to make for myself.

Out of My Hands

Then the weekend came. I was already being more mindful of what I was eating and I had gotten active that Saturday walking my kids to the park near us. We played, we hiked through the disc golf course in the woods and walked back home. Sunday morning, though, I woke up with some spots on my neck. I thought nothing of it and my husband and I went out for our date day. We shared an appetizer and a pizza and opted out of snacks at the movie. The spots got worse in the afternoon after I moved a tree in our yard. I figured I’d gotten into something, but didn’t think much of it as I’d spent a good part of the weekend working inside. See, I was on this medication for the cyst in my leg and didn’t want to risk sunburn.

By Monday I was in full blown hives! I started Googling hives and joint pain because my hands had started to hurt, then my feet, then one ankle became unable to bear weight. I ended up in the doctor’s office again on Tuesday.

Health Comes First

I was taken off of the antibiotic and placed on Prednisone this past week. This plus a combination of Benadryl to help me sleep. It made doing most things very hard for me for much of the week. I skipped out on teaching yoga in the early morning both days and didn’t exercise much at all. The hives kept coming back, so I limited my teaching even during my one day at CFCC. I was able to get out and walk again on Friday with some friends and have been struggling with the eating this week.

Two things I have learned about Prednisone are that it makes you want to eat….everything….and it makes you very angry.

Angry Sleep

Angry and agitated during my day is not the only hindrance to my yoga outlook this past week. I am also dreaming angry. I woke up this morning angry at all of the people in my dream. I fought and yelled the whole night in my head. I feel like I am fighting a person inside of me right now that isn’t me. While the hives and joint pain have subsided, I still feel like there is something not quite right inside of me. I have 3 more weeks of Prednisone treatment and I’m hoping that as the medicine dosage tapers off, so too do the side effects.

Moving Forward in Yoga

So, for today I am waiting for a chance to go for a run, alone, because I need that space in my head today. I need to meditate with activity. I need to eat to fuel and to fuel happiness. While my plan is to focus a lot on being more mindful and getting back on the road (I mean, it’s been almost 80F here lately!), I realize that being mindful is knowing that the best laid plans can sometimes be interrupted. This is a temporary state of being and I’ll look for my contentment in the time being, knowing that things will be different soon.

Have you had a health set back? How did you deal with it?

TOLT – Why Numbers Matter Part 3

In the past I have been very upbeat about my weight. Part of this has been due to the privilege of being “thin” for most of my life. I didn’t come by being thin easily, but I have been thin for most of my life due to periods of restrictive eating and periods of taking care of my body. No matter what, I’ve always fallen at average or lower, so weight has not concerned me that much….until my recent doctor’s appointment.

This time around, for my yearly physical, I weighed in at 145lbs. I am about 5’8″ tall, so if you do my BMI that puts me in the average category….no biggie right? Well, normally I’d agree except this time it wasn’t a moment of normalcy for me.

Before I go any further, I want to state that I know that weight is a touchy subject for a lot of people and I am by no means overweight or obese, so the question will always come, “Why am I complaining?”. I’m not. I’m just taking notice of a few things. Continue reading “TOLT – Why Numbers Matter Part 3”