Perseverance – Guest Post

Last Fall Wilmington suffered the effects of a slow moving hurricane – Florence. My students were displaced and kept out of school for over a month. They lost weeks of instructional time and had to push through all of the same knowledge in a shortened semester. They were amazing troopers through it all and we were able to put our yoga into practice in so many applicable ways….

 

My personal journey into yoga was a little less successful than I intended. After the hurricane and multiple tragedies in my personal life I was unable to focus as much as I wanted to on my practice. I did successfully develop a knowledge of basic poses and the benefits they have on the body. So I am happy to say I did achieve the main goal I had when signing up for the Fall yoga class. When looking back at the beginning of the semester I assumed this class would be easy in the physical performance half. Now since we have reached the end of the class I have found that correctly practicing poses is much more difficult than it appears. Many different aspects of my practice have improved from the beginning, such as my posture, balance, and breathing. I have learned when it comes to yoga the little details make all the difference, things such as foot placement, continuously breathing, and raising my chest when curving my back, are all things that help that can help prevent injuries. I also learned that there are a few poses that I am unable to perform due to my back, knee, and ankle injuries, but there are also many poses that improve them. This knowledge is good for me in the long run, I am hoping to further physical improvement. I feel as if I grew mentally from this class when we reviewed the Yamas and the Niyamas. I feel as if for the most part I follow the Yamas, but the Niyamas are the ones I struggle with, mainly in the discipline and the surrendering areas. I have found myself now continuously using disciplines in my life, in addition to an attempt at more acceptance, thus surrendering my own opinions to accept others. I feel as if I have grown a fair amount since challenging myself with theses Niyamas.

I highly enjoyed the class, it was unfortunate how we were unable to fully attend due to weather disturbances, but for the time we did receive it was a fun time and was quite informational. I only wish that the class happened more than once a week. I do plan to continue my practice, not only have I signed up for yoga II, but I also plan to find regular yoga classes at my gym to get into more of a routine. I want to incorporate my yoga practice into my life by attending a class at least twice a week. This will not only add to the stretching portion of my workouts, but also will improve my flexibility and balance, both of which are constant restriction on my physical abilities. I intend to move forward and use my practice to improve my back pain, it  is a battle I have been facing my whole life, and with yoga I now have another weapon to use against it. I am thankful for my growth, and the knowledge I gained from this class, I cannot wait to continue my journey.

Have a yoga story you’d like to share?

Contact me to do a Guest Post of your own.

Awakening to Life – Guest Post

Some of my favorite yoga stories from my students are when they just become more aware of their own existence and power in life….as in this beautiful story.

The past couple of years I’ve thought of yoga to be more of a trend rather than a therapy. I would see posts on Instagram of friends doing difficult poses and thought it was cool, but I never really saw myself getting into yoga. Well, I am two years out of high school which means two years without sports or any physical training really. Because I was refusing to workout, this past year I started to notice my body changing into my “adult body” and I was hating it. So, this summer I decided to investigate healthy living. I read of different ways to live healthy with diets and different types of exercising. The one healthy living style that stuck out to me the most was yoga. As I read, I was shocked to read all the benefits. Toning and flexibility were the two benefits that urged me to start going to classes. Though I was interested, because of my work schedule this summer I never had time to go to classes. So, when I learned that CFCC offered a yoga class I had to sign up.

 

Throughout this Fall semester I have learned so much. I have learned of ways to relax, how to improve my understanding of others, and lastly, I learned how to truly appreciate my surroundings. Almost all my life I have let stress overcome me, whether it was because of something small or big, I would over think a situation until I was stressed. Yoga has helped me cope with stress through breathing exercises and different yoga poses. I never realized that stretching was so healthy, and that breathing a certain way could help with different emotions. Alternate-nostril breathing and sound of breath breathing are two types of breathing exercises that I use on a daily basis to ease my mind. The supine spinal twist and child’s pose also help me when I am feeling stressed. Taking this yoga class has helped me understand others through a statement that Mrs. P. said one day in class. She said, “a truth is not a truth but an opinion”. This is something I will always remember because it has opened my eyes to why there is so much hate in this world today. Now when I hear others talk about certain topics, I am not judgmental to their opinion as I was before, but more open to why they feel the way they feel. Lastly, in this class I learned the importance of tuning into your five senses. Since I started to do so, I have gained an appreciation for so many things in my life. From cooking and smelling the aroma of my food, to walking downtown and noticing how beautiful the history of Wilmington is. I now have a different appreciation to my surroundings.

Yoga has been a blessing in my life. I am thankful for this course this Fall semester because I have overall grown as a person throughout this semester. Learning different ways to make myself better not only physically, but mentally is the best kind of healthy living I could ask for.

 

Have a yoga story you’d like to share?

Contact me to do a Guest Post of your own.

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.

The Yoga Report

meditationI am still finding time to meet the demands of my self-imposed 30 Days of Yoga challenge, but finding it harder to make the time to write about it. Some of that is because it’s a personal practice and sometimes I just want to do it and not mention that I did it. Other times I just allow life to get in the way of writing.

So, here’s a quick recap of the practices I did last Wednesday through Sunday and my plan for this last week of September. Continue reading “The Yoga Report”

Days 10-12: Fear of Letting Go

I spent a little more time on meditation with the Gates’ book this weekend. I am still in the section of the Yamas regarding Aparigraha and I’m coming to realize a few things about myself. Last weekend, at the end of my meditation, I wrote down:

I am not the hoarder you think I am….I am worse

Maybe not the most positive thing I’ve ever thought, said, or written about myself, but truth none the less. Why is this truth? Continue reading “Days 10-12: Fear of Letting Go”

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

Scaling Back

I’ve been away from the blog for yet another week of trying to make decisions and get through the day. I feel this ever looming presence of a need to reflect and take inventory that keeps me from moving forward as I’d like to. So, to combat that heavy feeling, I’ve decided to scale back on a lot of my goals. The best part of this decision is that it makes me feel confident in what I can achieve and not like I’ve hit yet another set back.

This new frame of mind allows me a little more freedom in my life….. Continue reading “Scaling Back”

Meditation Monday#20: Turning In and Tuning Out

I started this post back in January on the old site as part of my 30 Days project, but decided to save it for later. When I was reading last Tuesday in the IDEA Fitness Journal an article struck me as something I needed to consider and therefore sparked the finishing of this post.

One thing I need more of this year and in my life in general is connection. Continue reading “Meditation Monday#20: Turning In and Tuning Out”

The Launch of Mini Movie Monday – Let’s Breathe

Happy Monday and Happy August! Today I  starting a new project that will hopefully grow to be a weekly installment in the future.  I’m going to aim for one per month at this juncture and see how it goes.

What is Mini Movie Monday?

Well, it’s going to be a series of short videos about yoga and fitness exercises. Some will be mini routines or meditations, but the goal is to be in and out under five minutes.

Want to know more?

WATCH ME!