Little Surprises – Guest Post

I wish I had found yoga sooner in my life. I think that I would have been a better person for longer. I would have been far more grounded. I would have been happier and made different choices. However, part of the practice of yoga and self-discovery is not to look back and wish that things were different….they are to take what you have and what you learn and turn it into something good.

Because of where I find myself in life I am teaching yoga and have two amazing children. I am happy with what I do and who I am now. I am trying to be a good person and trying to give that same gift to my students. I always want them to walk away from these sessions feeling like they know who they are and what they need to do…..just as this student “unexpectedly” did.

During the course of Yoga 1 I have learned a lot about Yoga and myself. I first realized I was completely tensed up. I could feel it after the first few classes, at first I thought about it being soreness but then it hit me that all the stress or things piling up in my life were just sitting in a different place in my body instead of my head. I wanted to get more into yoga to help relieve that stress but halfway through the semester, my car broke down, that was the point were I wanted to give up. Unfortunately, I did give up for a bit. I’m not so sure I’ve managed to pull myself completely out but I’ll get there. What this in overall aspects has taught me about my self is that I need better personal reflection; I need to create my own space and schedule. No more pushing things off till the last minute (except this paper).

What I intend to do is take these Yoga skills and use them more and more in my daily life. I really did enjoy this class, especially for a 9am class. It helped me wake up and be ready for the day. I would like to take Yoga 2 in the fall but if not I will take it again at UNCW when I transfer. I hope to use the breathing exercises and the restorative poses the most because I do need to find a way to calm down and I enjoyed the many different ways we could breathe. Woman doing lion pose (simhasana)However the Lion pose happens to be my favorite in general. Its quite hard to be in a bad mood and force yourself to cross your eyes and make a growling/breathing sounds. Although my attendance may not reflect it, I did feel as if this class helped me get through this semester. Yoga isn’t easy but while feeling that sense of vulnerability I felt safe. I felt as if I had any issues or anything I needed to express I could. The affirmation card assignment to remind ourselves of something was a great one. It forced me to break through a few walls of my own to discover what I know, what I need and now I don’t have to mindlessly search in hopes I’ll find it. It feels good to have a sense of direction come from a class you wouldn’t have expected.

 

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.

Wellness Wednesday #7 – Changing My Mind

I haven’t been as successful as I had hoped with posting weekly Wellness Wednesday posts, but I feel like I have been better about reflecting upon these elements of wellness. When last we “talked” we were discussing Feelings. Today I chose to combat some of my negative attitudes and emotions toward chiropractors and I went to one to have my shoulder evaluated. If you follow my training on Map My Run you will have seen many posts this past week about my shoulder clicking and popping. I may have an injury, but… Continue reading “Wellness Wednesday #7 – Changing My Mind”

Wellness Wednesday #6 – Under Pressure!

It’s been 15 days since my last post. However, I’m not too bummed about it. I’m still being far more regular than I was last fall and that is an improvement by anyone’s measure. The last Wellness Wednesday post was about Eating. That can cause a lot of stress for anyone to handle in the best cases. For me, my eating of late has been all over the place. I find myself choosing and wanting to choose more things that I consider “healthy”….although I hate using that word.

Recently I read a post on Fit is a Feminist Issue about tracking the variety of foods you eat. We are kind of in a rut at our house with meals and produce and other plant based foods. Tonight will be one of our favorites….burrito bowls. This usually consists of rice and beans and avocados and salsa and whatever else we dream to put into the bowl. I know, I know….the last post was about EATING, so why am I still talking about it? Well, because Eating tends to lead to stress for some people and stress is one of our FEELINGS, and that’s the main focus of our discussion today… Continue reading “Wellness Wednesday #6 – Under Pressure!”

Fave Reads Friday #14 – May I Be Happy

The last time I wrote a Fave Reads Friday post was in August 2018…..it’s been awhile. And now I just finished reading a book (another one about happiness, but oddly not Gretchen Rubin). This time the book was called May I Be Happy: A Memoir of Love, Yoga and Changing My Mind by Cyndi Lee who also wrote Yoga Body, Buddha Mind (something else I think I might want to read).

In the book there is a story of Buddha. The story talks of Buddha’s ascetic practices and how he eventually learns that

…torturing the body wasn’t the way to relieve suffering, after all. (p.63)

Continue reading “Fave Reads Friday #14 – May I Be Happy”

How We Live Our Yoga

So, I’m reading this book called How We Live Our Yoga which is edited by Valerie Jeremijenko. I picked it up a few weeks ago because it’s been on my reading list at the library for some time now. But, honestly it’s not been that enjoyable. The stories are supposed to be about teacher and practioners’ journey into yoga, but they haven’t been inspiring to me. I haven’t learned anything. So, I didn’t bother saving this book for a Fave Reads Friday post. I’m tempted to give it up altogether, but I’ve only got 70 pages left. So, I will finish it out.

Today was my first yoga class in awhile. I’m back at CFCC and sooooo entirely thrilled about it! I had a few bumps in the road today because I haven’t been there in a year and I forgot to do a few things in prep for the semester. There was the usual cleaning up of the storage closet (aka moving Brazilian Ju Jitsu Club’s stuff out of my way), setting up mats (forgot the cleaning wipes and am missing mats and and blocks), and the awkward quiet as students filter in to my insanely warm room (either I sweat a lot more now or it’s just that I forgot to put in the work order for the temp to be low). But I got through two classes and I had a few smiles by the time everyone left. Continue reading “How We Live Our Yoga”

Fave Reads Friday #13 – Defining Yourself

I’m reading a lot this summer. I find it easier to encourage the kids to complete their summer reading if I’m also doing my own. One book that I needed to read this summer was Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin. If you’ve read my blog over the last few years you’ve probably heard all about many of her books by now (just click her tag at the bottom of this post), but reading Happier at Home was like a refresher from The Happiness Project.

The big take-away for me in this summer of turmoil is that I need to just be me to be happy. It’s okay that I’m different from a lot of my friends and definitely my family. I have to stop letting the way others label me define how I feel about myself. I need to just go back to doing my thing in order to be my best me. Continue reading “Fave Reads Friday #13 – Defining Yourself”

Getting Better – Tracking

It’s Monday and I only have a few minutes to write this post. One thing I should be better about is scheduling posts, but I’m not and that’s just something that I’ve come to accept about myself. I am a planner, but I’m not a pre-planner.

In Rubin’s book she starts to talk about the things that make a habit stick. The first thing she writes of is TRACKING…..although I’m pretty sure she calls it monitoring. However, for me tracking is the best word for it.

I track lots of things….my mileage and performance on my runs (see my MapMyRun page), how many people view and comment on this blog, my hours working on projects for NETA, my students’ grades…..I’m even guilty of keeping score sometimes in relationships. Tracking progress is supposed to help habits form. So, you’d think that I’d be pretty successful at forming new habits……

The problem is that I don’t always track the things that I’d need to in order to create new habits. These are all things that I need to track for work or want to track because they’re already habit (like running). But, because of my nature as an Obliger, I think that tracking for future progress is harder than anything. If I don’t have someone accountable (like my boss or students) or don’t have a long standing tradition of something (like running), then it just doesn’t happen.

Part of the reason for me picking up this book is because there are some things I need to change about myself. It’s not that I don’t love myself; I do. I just find that I need a change, but maybe haven’t put my finger on which of my habits yet that it is that I want to and need to change.

What kind of tracking do you do in your life?

What habit of yours would you like to change?

Time, Values, and Habits – The Big Questions

This is my last post for the week on the subject of Rubin’s book Better Than Before. I’m still in the section on Self-Knowledge which is a big theme for me always. I’m a big believer in knowing yourself and the yoga Niyama of Svadhyaya.

At the end of the chapter Rubin talks about the big questions that don’t always seem big until you ask them. She breaks down questions into three categories:

  1. How you spend your time
  2. What you value
  3. Current habits

Some of these questions are easy for me to answer; like would I like to spend more time with friends or by myself? With friends. Would I be happy to see my children have the life I’ve had? No. If the people around me could change one of my habits, what would they choose? My controlling nature.

It’s hard sometimes to own up to the truth as in that last statement. I am totally type A and I’m a first born. I find that those are often my excuses for liking to be in control and from time to time I’ve wanted to change that about myself. However, I’ve come to realize that it’s part of who I am and that there are times when I need to be take charge and stand my ground.

Other questions were harder to answer; like do I like racing from one activity to another, or do I prefer unhurried transitions? Here I’m stuck and do not know myself. I think I like unhurried transitions. I like to take as much time as I need to explore a place or an event. But, at the same time, I like to have a lot going on. I’m not much for traditional “down time”. I don’t particularly like days of doing nothing and hours of watching tv or laying around. When I do spend a lot of time sitting and reading I feel productive because I’m usually learning something along the way.

What’s most satisfying to me: saving time or money or effort? Well, I’m always interested in saving money, but I feel like doing things right also saves time and effort. Sometimes researching the best and cheapest option will save time and effort in the long run. Also under that same category was: do I like to listen to experts, or do I prefer to figure things out for myself? Another hard one because I believe people are “experts” for a reason. I wish more of my friends and family would listen to me about living a healthy lifestyle and exercise because I have been an “expert” in this field for some time now. I’ve been a certified fitness professional for 13 years and had my master’s degree in the field for over 6 years. I work in the field and I live most of what I teach and know. But, I’m also a kinesthetic learner myself, so there are somethings that I need to try and figure out for myself. I’m also keenly aware of the fact that there is no “one size fits all” for anything in life other than Be Nice to Others.

And, if I could magically, effortlessly change one habit in my life, what would it be? Oh man, where do I start? I can imagine changing whole scenarios and situations and feelings and thoughts, but not one habit. I guess, as far as habits go, I wish I were more organized. My desk is constantly clutter and I have a lot of unfinished projects (despite being a finisher) that are of the crafty and memorabilia nature. I wish I could find a way to relax and give myself more time. I wish that I didn’t always feel the need to be on the go. And I wish I could work faster so that more time would appear to me.

My favorite question she asked throughout this all was:

What daily or weekly activity did I do for fun when I was ten years old?

Read, write, run.

I have always been an avid reader. I used to carry a notebook around and write in it. I used to run as did most of my family. And now, I still read, write and run. It’s telling of who I am. It’s an answer to the question: Of my existing habits, which would I like to see my children adopt?

With this in mind, I’m going to read over the weekend. I’ll be back writing on Monday. I plan to run again this weekend and all next week as regularly planned. I look forward to your responses to these same questions!

Head Problems

So, it’s Thursday and I’ve debated whether or not to link up with the Think Out Loud crowd and decided at the last minute to say yes I will. I’m still writing today about the Distinctions in Rubin’s book that I started talking about the other day. You can read the first part here and the second part here if you like.

Today (and yesterday) I have been suffering from a bout of depression and a migraine that is threatening my sanity. I don’t get them often enough for anyone to do anything about them. For the most part I can keep them from getting bad. I usually down a Mt. Dew at the first sign of a smaller headache and I’m good. But I know when the big one is coming and a caffeine laced drink isn’t going to stop the storm. So, I am suffering through with the feeling that part of my head is going to pop off and roll away. I hate all noise. I hate all light. I hate standing up because I feel like I’m about to collapse. I hate food as the smell and taste make me nauseous.  But I taught today and I’m eating and drinking and pretending to be normal.

It’s part of my baby steps. And one of those steps was a goal I had last year….to get back in the pool. So, today I donned my swim suit for the first time that I can remember (probably since before my first son was born over 6.5 years ago) and I got in the pool. The tightness of my cap and goggles aggravated my migraine and I almost gave up before I started. But I told myself that I could do 20 minutes….and I did. It wasn’t pretty, but I did it.

Why? Because I’m a finisher. I know that about me. I’ve had that same swim suit since I coached swimming in Colorado. I left that job in 2007. I like to wear things out….to see things through to the end. Starting new things on the blog and in life are always a little tumultuous for me. I think I’ve passed that trait on to my oldest. He cried today over old tennis shoes. I know the feeling….sometimes new isn’t as exciting as old is comfortable.

And that’s the last distinction… I think, that oddly enough, I’m a little more of a novelty lover. This seems to go against the idea of being a finisher and wearing things out, but I like things to be new in certain categories. This is part of the field I’ve chosen. I teach at colleges and universities…..each semester means new students. I might teach the same thing over and over again, but I tend to teach it slightly different than the semester before (or even the hour before). I like both the familiarity of teaching and the novelty of new ideas and experiences that it brings. I like the novelty of the ever changing fitness industry.

I like the novelty of moving to a new place and new faces and new running routes. But, it’s all the same at the same time. I like to see my same furniture in a new house against a new wall in a new arrangement. I like to see my same books on the shelves of a new office. I have had 20 residences in my lifetime, and yet, I still have the comforter that was on my bed in high school…..it’s been at all my residences since and still hasn’t worn out. I’m definitely a finisher.

What this tells me is that probably part of the reason I’m feeling down these days is because I have been in one place for longer than I’ve ever been before. My “new job” isn’t that new;  I’ve taught this class before….new school….same class….new students….same problems. I am still a little antsy about wanting my PhD and I feel like I haven’t been traveling much lately. Perhaps I just need a new adventure? Maybe it’s just a symptom of the moment?

What are your thoughts on familiarity vs. novelty and finishing vs. opening? Tomorrow I’m going to work on the next part of Better Than Before. I hope you’ll join me then.