Connections – Guest Post

I finished teaching at CFCC this past month, but I still have several yoga stories to share from my students. I hope to post them each Monday for the weeks to come. This particular student reminded me that yoga is about community and that sharing our stories is an important part of that unity. I am glad that this class helped the student to join together her mind and body as well as herself to her yoga community and ultimately lead to connecting her yoga life into every day life.

Coming into the semester, I thought that I was entering a class that was just an easy ‘A’, however, I think I needed this class more than I had realized. This class has had a positive impact on my mindset. There have even been some things said in the sessions that I would recall back to during the day or even week. This included the sharing of personal stories or other tips for different topics. When personal stories were shared, it made the class become more relatable and it showed me how yoga can impact everyday life like stories about family, driving, events, and more. When we were given tips on yoga stretches at home, or different eating methods, I brought those tips home with me and practiced them. As a result, I learned to really listened to my body more and understood how it worked. At the beginning of yoga, it was hard for me to sit down and really focus on not thinking about anything. However, as the semester went on, I realized it was not about “silencing” the thoughts but to reflect on them instead.

In my other classes, I have struggled with sitting down in one spot for a longer amount of time, and paying attention to the topic that is being covered. Having a physical education class that deals on meditation and focusing has helped me immensely. This class keeps my attention by being hands on and interactive, so I found myself enjoying the class more and more each week. Yoga has taught me how to not only find out my limits physically, but mentally as well. I faced some hardships throughout the semester but having this yoga class during the day, helped me to have a sort of mental “break” and I could just focus on the class, instead of what was going on. I have really enjoyed this class and I would definitely recommend it to every student.

 

Have a yoga story you’d like to share?

Contact me to do a Guest Post of your own.

TOLT #? – End of Another Semester

Another semester is over and done. Each time one ends I wonder how I could have done better and what I will change the next time around. When the next semester starts I have high hopes and ambitions and nerves like crazy! There’s always a little bit of….what if they don’t like me? In that same moment I think, it doesn’t matter if they like me or not.

For me, my self-esteem is not caught up in my image of how I teach. I know that I am a good teacher. To some I am a great teacher. For myself I am satisfied in my work and my work makes me happy. Every semester I get both bad and good reviews. This semester was no exception.

However, in grading one student’s paper I read something that has really struck me as wise and something I want to remember. She wrote:

My goal is consistency, not perfection.

It couldn’t be more simple than that. Life, for me, is about consistently being in a place where I can be content. I want to know I’m doing a good job and that someone is benefiting from my existence. I won’t be able to make all of my students happy. I won’t be able to get to everything I want to do. I will miss workouts and kill workouts; not send some emails on time and send too many emails sometimes; be tired and cranky some days and overly perky some days; let the laundry pile up and have a completely spotless home; spend hours grading or skip grading to be with my kids; eat too many snacks and forget to eat lunch; write on my blog and then abandon my blog for work or a nap or a workout or to read……I am not perfect and my life is not perfection. But, really, that’s what makes it kind of perfect for me.

At every point in my life I am consistently where I need to be….striving for my best, but accepting that each day is what it is. I am content and balanced.

What does consistency look like for you?

 

TOLT #? – If I Could Turn Back Time

It’s been a hot minute since I posted on the blog and even longer since I posted a Think Out Loud Thursday post. I mostly stopped doing those because Amanda at Running With Spoons just suddenly went MIA after my last post. I still haven’t been able to find out where she disappeared to in Canada and if she’s ever coming back. So, on I press with my summer and my blog….. Continue reading “TOLT #? – If I Could Turn Back Time”

Finding a Mindful Approach to Exercise – Guest Post

I haven’t gotten around to posting the stories from my Spring yoga class yet, but I’m starting today. Here’s a great one from someone who wasn’t a stranger to yoga on the first day, but still walked away with something new.

Yoga has always been a familiar concept to me since I can remember. My mom and dad both have done yoga since I was little, and we were always very active as a family. I danced my whole youth, and loved it, but got burnt out about half way through high school. I had began running cross country and track and was fully immersed in the team and decided to quit dance. My body took naturally to running, and it came easy to me. I loved it! After running extremely hard for four years my body began to show it. My ankles were shot, and I had developed some severe asthma and cardiovascular issues. I knew that I could not continue running at the level I had been, and just decided to forfeit any kind of physical activity. As I started college, I knew that I had to start moving my body again. I felt jaded towards running, and a friend told me about thirty dollars for thirty days of unlimited yoga at Wilmington Yoga. I had never personally practiced yoga, but I committed to myself to going every day for the full thirty days. I was shocked at how easily I transitioned into developing my own practice. Not only that but I was surprised at how strong my body felt. I had always seen yoga as more of a stretching, and meditative exercise. My arm strength was the best it had ever been, and I felt so confident. I continued to practice yoga on my own, but less and less as the years went by.

This past summer when I was signing up for classes I saw yoga offered, and remembered what a great experience I had had with yoga in the past and signed up! I felt very welcomed in the class and comfortable. Coming into the class I had practiced yoga before but never really understood the different kinds of yoga, which poses were helpful for flexibility or strength, I was just told how to do them. I think as with anything you can develop a deeper level of appreciate if you know why you are doing something and how it can benefit your body and mind. I learned so much more about the mental aspect of yoga in class than I expected. It was helpful to connect the poses with focusing my mind on my breath. I also enjoyed how we were guided through different exercises and meditations, like the affirmations and mindful eating. It helped to experience it on my own than just being taught about it. Since the class was only once a week, I did not practice as much as I would have liked. I still felt stronger in my body and more mindful and knowledgeable after taking this class. It has encouraged me to think more about my words, actions, and thoughts towards myself and others. I feel that I also really benefited from the mindful eating exercise and gained a lot of awareness about some disordered eating habits I was beginning to develop. I have also made it a priority to move my body every day in a meaningful way. Even if that doesn’t look like going on a five mile run that’s okay. I have been able to listen to what my body needs and come to terms with that. More than anything this class has just challenged me to think differently about what “exercise” looks like, and how to be mindful of my thoughts on health.

 

Have a yoga story you’d like to share?

Contact me to do a Guest Post of your own.

Fave Reads Friday #15 – Devoured

Things I write about from time to time are the food that I eat and the books that I read and occasionally books about about food. Back in March and April when I was traveling a ton for NETA I was able to get some serious reading done. One book I completely destroyed in a single weekend was Devoured: How What We Eat Defines Who We Are by Sophie Egan.

 

Continue reading “Fave Reads Friday #15 – Devoured”

Hannah’s Total Body Sync – Guest Post

Last fall was the semester of the Hannahs for me. I had a Hannah in almost every class I taught. Each Hannah was unique in her own way and I enjoyed learning about each of their own personalities. This Hannah was quiet in voice, but expressive in many other ways. I was always delighted when it all came together for her. Here is another great student guest post:

I took this yoga course to start being more in tune with my body. I have struggled with my health most of my life and I have been told yoga would help me live a more healthy and full lifestyle, physically and mentally. In this course I hoped to learn how to better understand and be in tune with my body. I also hoped to learn how to use yoga as a de-stress-er and to decrease anxiety.

 During the first lesson we learned how to regulate and control breathing. We controlled where the air flowed into our bodies and became aware of aspects we do not often acknowledge. In our second lesson we worked with awakening poses, which I have learned help back pain throughout the day and help me focus before work. I have also started to be aware of what I fuel my body with. Fitness yoga was hard at first and would hurt for days after, but I would feel better after class; as if my body was completely in sync.

 After a semester of yoga I am starting to live a healthier lifestyle. I pay attention to how my body feels and understanding that every feeling has a reason and trying to fix the bad feelings in a healthy manner. I took a class at Salty Dog Yoga with my boyfriend and we both wish to continue exploring yoga and improving our well being. Yoga is more than physical, it is also spiritual.

 

Thank you Hannah and I hope you’re still exploring!

Have a yoga story you’d like to share?

Contact me to do a Guest Post of your own.

Intentionality – Guest Post

Here is another great student guest post!

Fall semester 2018 was the single most progressive few months of my entire life in terms of personal growth. I enrolled in the 9am Monday morning yoga class because I have always loved practicing yoga and I thought it would be a great start to my week. The semester began calmly and was wholly unsuspecting to the entire upturn my life was going to take starting in September. The practice of yoga, mindfulness, and meditation helped me cope with losing my house, my belongings, my relationship, my car, and coming to terms with some unexpected medical diagnoses all within 4 weeks. Not only was I able to take away at least 2 hours of required self-care a week, I learned valuable skills that helped me take my practice with me back home.

I have, since beginning that class, practiced yoga at least twice a week every week and I even branched out to the yoga studio next to where I work and found a perfect fit in a twice-weekly class that I absolutely adore. My goal at the beginning of the semester was to become more flexible, and although I’m not sure if I’ve noticeably achieved that yet, I have gained back upper body strength that I haven’t had since before I had cancer. I can do push-ups now! Thanks to sun salutations! And one of the biggest personal growths I’ve experienced is practicing intentionality. If I haven’t been mindful of taking initiative and being proactive this semester I would have had to move back in with my parents 4 hours away and recovery after Florence etc. would not have been possible. I genuinely adored this class and every time I had to be absent was really devastating to me. I truly look forward to continuing my practice for the rest of my life taking with me with the knowledge I’ve gained in how and why we practice.

Thank you for your strength and wisdom!

Have a yoga story you’d like to share?

Contact me to do a Guest Post of your own.

Wellness Wednesday #5 – Food for Thought

Last week I was only able to crank out a Wellness Wednesday post on the topic of Sensing. I had hoped to also sneak in a Meditation Monday post and a Fave Reads Friday about a book I’m reading….and then I didn’t even write a travel post about my time in Sheboygan! Isn’t that just fun to say? Sheboygan. Try it. Anyway…..Six inches of snow and below freezing temps and now, here we are again at Wednesday and it’s time to talk about EATING…. Continue reading “Wellness Wednesday #5 – Food for Thought”

2019 Wellness Wednesday Reset

I’m not making 2019 a year of anything right now. I am just trying to let life flow, but I feel like a blog still needs structure and a predictable format. So, I want to still do Wellness Wednesdays (and eventually alternate them with Workout Wednesdays). In 2018 I tried really hard to focus on my wellness and I did a great job of learning more about myself and standing up for things that made me well from time to time. This year I’m continuing that trend and stacking my wellness bit by bit. My body may not be a bank account, but I am definitely investing in my wellness.

So far I have been consistent in working out for the past 7 days. I had started a new routine before Christmas and quickly put it on hold that day. Why? Because I chose not to stress about my physical wellness at that time. Wellness means so many things that I needed to make sure that I was giving the correct balance to the areas that needed it during that time. I took Christmas Day off and then drove to Iowa the following days and spent time with family and drove back after the New Year. Then, the day after I returned….I started back up again.

Another area of wellness that I am working on this year is being more financially well. I have stopped using my credit card for anything that’s not A- work related for which I will be reimbursed or B- a serious emergency that I can’t cover at the moment. Knock on wood, but B hasn’t happened in a LONG time. Unfortunately, A hasn’t been happening as much lately either. Stopping credit card spending isn’t the only area I’m venturing into in this category, but I’ll write more about my attempts at #adulting as I go along.

My mental wellness is an area that was in major turmoil from about September 2017 until just recently. Mental wellness encompasses so many of the dimensions of wellness that it’s hard to define just one way of making yourself well. For me, as a fitness professional, it also has a lot to do with my physical fitness and my intellectual stimulation. If I’m not moving and not learning new things, then I suffer.

In the coming weeks I begin teaching Wellness Lectures again. I hope to keep pushing forward past just the posts on Moving, Self-Love, and Breathing that I’ve already written and to watch my wellness continue to grow this year.

Which parts of your wellness will you invest in this year?