May You Bloom and Grow…..Forever – Guest Post by Lauralaine Thiers

 

Through this class I have gained skills that I will carry on with me long after I leave Cape Fear. I think I’ve learned a lot about my physical capabilities like balance and strength as well as opening my mind and exploring things like patience and compassion. I believe I’ve grown since beginning this class in that I notice myself more often being mindful of my words and actions and how they affect others as well as being mindful of my place in the universe and continuously trying to only put out good energy and good karma. I’ve learned that yoga goes beyond stretching and posing on a mat. Yoga is a way of life and practicing yoga only paves the way to manifest a more peaceful lifestyle. 

I plan to continue to practice yoga on my own in a self-taught manor and push my boundaries as I explore new poses and meditations. Hand-in-hand with yoga, I have found meditating incredibly useful especially in stressful times to collect myself and stay grounded. A combination of continuous yoga practice and meditation will only continue to move me closer to true enlightenment, the ultimate goal. Although at the moment I have no set destination, yoga has proved to be a practice that has rightfully gained a spot in my life indefinitely. I plan on utilizing yoga as I do now, and hope to blossom through practice just as I hope to blossom as an individual.

 

Have a yoga story you’d like to share?

Contact me to do a Guest Post of your own.

And Then March Happened

Sixteen days ago I was Thinking Out Loud about how excited I was to be on Spring Break and getting time to recover from bronchitis and get back to life as usual. But, we all know how that has turned out. So, now I am sitting here on a Saturday evening prepping for my first week of teaching online and my second week of homeschooling. We are all healthy and somewhat happy at our house, but mostly just thankful.

Choosing Peace Instead of Panic

I saw an interview the other day with a minister in Italy who is American. She and her husband and their two children are in the lock down there. She said something really profound, that they’re “…choosing peace over panic…”. I loved that saying so much that I have been using it as a personal mantra this week. I have not panicked when:

  • I learned that I would be teaching online for the WHOLE rest of the semester
  • I realized that my kids may not go back to school this school year
  • I gave up on the hope of completing my half marathon this spring
  • Technology fails have happened
  • We made a beautiful dinner and then the kids only ate half of it
  • All of the toilet paper disappeared from stores
  • The school science experiment called for heavy whipping cream and all I could find was half and half
  • I heard my neighbor outside on the phone which seemed like she’s talking to a doctor…..

Adjusting to Temporary Normal

I am thankful that my kids and I are adjusting to this temporary normal quite well. We have talked about what is going on, why it’s not time to panic, why we are staying home and how we don’t know what comes next. We’ve talked about what everyone needs and created a way to communicate that is factual but not scary. Emphasizing the reality and severity of the situation, but not over dramatizing it.

Our temporary normal means that right now we can go out in our backyard and play, we can video chat with our family, we can watch a little more tv, we can cook more food and bake more things because we’re home more. Our temporary normal means that the kids don’t have to go to the grocery store any more and that we have more time in our day because we’re not traveling around town. Our temporary normal means no play dates and no baseball practices and no trivia nites out. Our temporary normal is just that….temporary.

Maintaining a Schedule

One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that schedule is key. It’s key for me completing my work, maintaining my fitness, and when I keep a blog writing schedule, it’s key to that success as well. So, even though it’s only been a week so far, we’re maintaining bed time and get up time. We start homeschooling at 815am and take snack and lunch and recess and finish school around 3pm. We’re making up “specials” work. And this coming week, when my students “come back to class”, I will be holding a Zoom meeting for each course section at regular class time to start to create some kind of consistency for them.

A tiny Bit of Anger

I have to admit that things aren’t all unicorns and rainbows over here. Life is real and I have a little bit of anger about this situation. The things I’m angriest about are those who are judging others. I have written about this topic before (see here). I just can’t stand people who can’t respect other people’s choices.

Two areas that have irked me are people who are upset with others who are wearing masks. While I believe that the masks should be reserved for those who need it and especially medical personnel, I can’t stop you from wearing your mask. I don’t know who you are or what your situation is. I am not judging you and I won’t; but I am sure as hell judging those who “can’t stand you wearing your mask”. UGH!

The second area that has rubbed me the wrong way is people demanding free things. Look, it is WONDERFUL (in my opinion) that the utility companies have canceled disconnections and that internet providers are offering connections for students who need it to maintain school, but people…..these people need to get paid sometime too. I get it. We’re all under a lot of stress right now. Some of you may not have income at this time, some of you are suffering from anxiety of all sorts. I hear you, I see you, I feel you. However, that’s no reason to deserve something for nothing.

I guess this area hits hard for me because my brother works for a utility company. He is still out there doing his job with the mask, gloves, and hand sanitizer that his company gave him to protect himself. Does he not deserve a pay check too? So, when your disconnection happens in a few more months when all of this lifts and you can’t pay your bill because you didn’t work, I AM SORRY and I hope that there is a way for you to find the assistance that you need to get back on your feet. However, I don’t think that the utility companies shouldn’t charge during this time. They need to pay their employees who went in to work and came into your homes and provided you with the service that you needed to make it through this time…..however long it may be.

YOGA

In all of this YOGA keeps floating into my mind…..

Yoga means to yoke, join, or unite. It’s what we all need right now; to come together while staying apart.

Check out this Coping Calendar from Action for Happiness:

Colorful calendar from Action for Happiness with daily tips for how to cope with this public health crisis

One of the first things it suggests is to make a plan for how to stay calm and connected. So, here’s my plan:

  • Keep going as I am while following all of the guidance and rules out there right now
  • Keep active and start retraining for my half marathon which may not happen in 2020 depending on how things turn out
  • Keep in contact with my friends and family via text and video chats and phone calls at least once a week
  • Try to get back to this blog because someday it will serve as a record for how we all came through this…..together

I sincerely hope that you and all of yours are safe and well during this time of uncertainty. Keep checking back in as I hope to have more videos of yoga practice, fitness in the home, and ideas for keeping ourselves together throughout all of this!

Namaste

Opening the Bottle – Guest Post

Have you been there? Were you the type of person who was too tough for yoga? I was. Sometimes my students resist yoga because they believe that it’s too easy. Others come to the practice hoping for that ease and learn a lot more about their strength. Sometimes the strength is not in the body itself….

Starting off in the class, I thought that it was just going to be easy and something that I could easily breeze through. I believed that coming to this class would relax my inner mind and calm my soul. But oh was I wrong. I found out that yoga connects your mind and soul and it kinda made me take a deeper look into my life and into the things I needed to change. It helped me grow with not only my flexibility but as a person that is now in touch with the outside world. I thought that yoga would just have helped me with being able to touch my toes but it did more than that when it showed me another part of the world. I have learned multiple things about myself in yoga. One of the largest things is that I need to listen to myself. So many times I have pushed through pain and suffering mentally and physically and that made me in a worse state than I already was. Yoga really showed me that it’s okay to hurt and it’s okay to let those feelings free. It taught me not to keep things so bottled up and on my chest.

In the future I will probably not practice yoga on a daily basis. Mostly because it makes my joint hurt. But I think I am going to keep in my mind the practices that I learned about connecting with my inner body. I have become more aware of myself and the people around me. The most important thing to me is that I have become more happier with myself and learned not to be so upset all time. Yoga has made me grow and taught me new things that I would have never imagined. I am so forever grateful for the experience I got to have with my friends of feeling the opening and connection of the heart and soul but also seeing them perform ridiculous poses. Until next time, Namaste.

 

Have a yoga story you’d like to share?

Contact me to do a Guest Post of your own.

Heavy Lifting

I just finished lifting packages that said “Unassisted lift can result in injury”. It’s pouring down rain and they were delivered while I was out getting my kids from school. When I got back they were just sitting there, in front of the garage, soaking up the rain. I knew they needed to get inside the garage, but we don’t have a garage door like other garages. We have barn doors that we built and that have to be manually unlocked and then unlatched and then latched and locked shut again. It would have taken more time to open and close the doors than to work around them.

So, why am I telling you this very detailed story about moving packages?

Well, today I had planned to do a track run and then swim. I am about 5 days behind in my training; which means that I’m actually about a month behind in my training. Hence all of the two-a-days. I got up, did what I needed to do to get out of the house. Dropped the kids at school and ran two errands. After being almost an hour behind I ran a third errand. Then, I looked at my schedule for the day and it was basically blank. I just had a few easy computer things to do…..no serious commitments.

And then I thought about how my legs ached and it was kind of chilly and gloomy out. It wasn’t raining right then, but it had been and more was coming. I thought about a lot of things…..

I thought about how I haven’t spent much time with friends lately, not even talking because I’m not in a sharing mood.

I thought about how my relationship is going through a rough patch and I feel like everything I do to calm it doesn’t work but everything I do to fight for things makes it worse as well.

I thought about how upset I am with my sister and how our relationship is bad right now too.

I thought about how helpless I feel to change my current situation and how helpless I feel to help my family through some tough times they’re having.

I thought about my grandmother who is currently in the hospital with CHF far away in Iowa.

I admitted out loud, to myself, that I AM DOWN.

And then, I got in my car, ran one more errand and went home. I skipped working out today because I can. I did my computer work and then got some water, crawled under a blanket on the couch, and watched a little HULU. I took a me day, not to be sad and wallow, but to take care of myself. Today was not my day for working out, but tomorrow will be…..or so I thought.

And then the boxes arrived…..in the rain.

I tell you this story because I have one main goal behind this blog: Honesty. I am a fitness professional who sometimes struggles to exercise. I am not perfect and it doesn’t always come easily for me. And because I can be honest about this struggle, hopefully you too can be honest about the days when you struggle. And when we can be honest, we can also be compassionate. Today I took all of my heavy heart and let it sit and rest. I treated myself well and honestly recognized that today was not a good day to push any more than what I had.

A lot of bloggers I read write about the spoons…..about running out of them by the time they get dressed. I didn’t run out of spoons today. I still had enough left to lift those boxes and drag them into the garage through the rain that was pouring inside and out. I have enough left to parent my children and to be an active participant in my life. I am strong and not just physically.

Tomorrow will be another day and I will be out there running the streets with a smile on my face as wide as it will reach. But, for now, I’m going to go and dry off and get back to my snugly blanket + two kids.

 

What do you do when it’s a heavy lifting day for you?

How much honesty and compassion have you given yourself today?

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.