Meditation Monday #39 – Training

Welcome to Monday afternoon! For many of you tomorrow is the big American holiday in which we celebrate our forefathers’ declaration of independence from a tyrant ruler. For others of us it is an excuse to get drunk and eat grilled food while ignoring the fact that you didn’t put on any sunscreen and are wearing a flag. Still, for others of us it is an opportunity for reflection on what it means to be an American. I plan to do some of that last one especially with all that has been in the news of late.

Since last week I have been working slowly through two trainings that are helping me with my meditation goals. The first is an Inclusivity Training offered by AIM Healthy U and Dr. Chelsea Jackson Roberts. It is a yoga training to help me better discover the ways in which I have privilege, power, and bias in my teaching; and how to turn that into more inclusive yoga teaching. I’m a little more than halfway through the course and hope to do a full evaluation when I am finished, but one greatest things I’ve written down from this course is:

No matter how your body gets there; you’re still doing the yoga

I am also doing a Wellness Training in preparation for teaching this fall. I plan to write a lot more about that in the coming weeks. For this week I have set three action goals:

  • Do something active every day (I have successfully been active for 13 days straight including a run this morning)
  • Meditate 3x/week (I’ve been doing a lot of meditating and self reflection with these two courses)
  • Play a game or go for a bike ride with my kids at least once per week (we did a bike ride last week and I need to spend more time in play in my life)

All of this has fed into the work I did last week in the Meditations from the Mat book with Tapas and discipline. To create discipline is to create health the reading told me, but it also makes you feel like you’re going backwards. You mourn the things you lose during change, even if you want to lose them. Each of these three goals, by completing these two trainings, by just doing the yoga….I am creating a structure of health in my life. This, along with my slow food changes, are leading me to the point where I feel like I in the moment of allowing true self to emerge and burn brightly. I am leaving behind so much more than I could write about in one post.

Next week I hope to get back to writing about the How to Meditate series, but before then I ask you….

What are you changing in your life?

How are you creating discipline: health?

What will you never have again if not this life you once knew?

Meditation Monday #38: Living by the Books

It’s been 11 days since a new post went up on the site. It’s been even longer since I wrote. Why? Because of life. That’s the usual reason. This isn’t my only priority in life and during the summer other things come into play. Additionally, and kind of also as usual for me, I’ve gotten off track with how I handle life. One thing that I know to be true about myself is that I like order and I thrive with a schedule and structure. I’m like a toddler that way…..I need it, but sometimes I try to get around it even though it fails every time.

So, I’m back to living by the books:

  1. My planner that keeps me on track and allows me to check off what I’ve accomplished, but limits my list so that I don’t feel like I’m falling under an ever crashing wave with no room to breathe. It allows me to schedule in and make a priority of play dates and exercise, meditation and meal planning, and limits me to 10 things per day. So, if cleaning the bathroom doesn’t fit onto the list that day; oh well….it can wait.
  2. My reading list at the library and everywhere else. I started reading my emails again and the occasional blog post. I found myself recently with a lot of down time and no books to fill it with. What should I do when I’m caught up on work and the house is fairly clean and the kids are playing by themselves? Well, I can always sneak in a few more push-ups, but I also LOVE to read! I’ve found that I haven’t read a book for myself in ages now and I decided to hit up my Book List for 2017 and saw it to be lacking. So I went to my Saved List at the library and checked out the first one on the list….more about that later.
  3. And finally, Meditations from the Mat. It has been years now that I have intended to finish that book for the third time and it hasn’t gone very smoothly. I was doing other things for meditation, but every time I come back to it there is a renewal of my love for yoga and meditation and a way of living my life that is introspective. This week my yoga teaching for the City of Wilmington ends….no more 530am risings. So, this week, more than ever, I seek that connection to this book….to my meditation practice.

I wish that I had more about meditation for you today, but I woke this morning energized to write and then to read, so I promise more in the future, but for now I ask:

What book(s) keep you on track?

Finding a Rhythm – Obliging Myself

I’m sitting at the Charlotte airport again. I had a lovely and brief weekend in New Jersey at the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA teaching the NETA PT Workshop. It was one of the best groups I’ve had in awhile, so I’m glad that I got to share that time with them.

The trip was a little precarious in that I got in late on Friday night and had to navigate Newark and the surrounding highways in the dark. Let me just tell you…..I’m not used to New England drivers and being just over a month out from my accident it was an added challenge! I even felt my left arm going numb at times and worried I was having a heart attack. Some good Ujjaii breathing helped me calm down, but it didn’t help that I had chosen the Toyota Yaris from Hertz that had no cruise control. Yikes!

The weekend was a success in that I tried to spend a little time thinking about why I’m away from the blog so much at this time. I thought about my training routine lately (or lack there of) and my general situation in life. I came up with a few things that I’ve been meaning to write about while seeing beautiful deer grazing in someone’s yard this morning. It almost made me consider moving to New Jersey….but don’t jump for joy yet Tina!

So, I’m an OBLIGER. This is something I discovered in my research on Gretchen Rubin’s work and Happiness Projects. What does it mean exactly? It means, something that I’ve kind of known all along, that it’s much easier for me to commit to something if the outcome is for someone else.

In what ways am I an obliger? With my kids, especially. If something is necessary for one of them, it’s going to get done at my own sacrifice. For work I’m pretty good at making sure the work is done (maybe not always in the time frame I’d planned, but always before the deadline).

In which areas of my life do I not oblige? Ugh, I’m probably not the best obliger in my relationships…..

I read this interesting article on NBCNews.com the other day about why it’s so much harder to be married in 2017 than it was before. One thing that I hit on was the whole “getting married later” and “finding it easier to be single”. I was married once before and while I liked being married both then and now, find it harder this time around. I didn’t spend long being “single” (about a year), but the independence that came at that time in my life was refreshing in a way I didn’t know it could be. There are still times in which I wish I could have things only MY way (not a very Yogi Attitude).

In my friendships I’m probably a decent obliger and currently more so with one friend than others. I am training with a friend for an 8k in September. My 2017 birthday present to myself. And that’s probably where I’m the worst obliger….in my own yoga practice and fitness (especially right now).

I can get up at 530am twice a week to go and teach yoga to others. I can make my body do 4 or more classes per day. I can run 6 miles with a friend. I can’t seem to find the rhythm that keeps me going on my own.

You may say, with all that other activity, why would it matter? It does. It matters a lot to a fitness professional. I understand, after many failures in life, how hard it is for people to create behavior change. I understand the struggle to “stay healthy”, to “get in shape”, to “be fit”. I understand the ups and downs of this journey more than a lot of other fitness professionals. I feel like Obligers are not often found in the fitness realm. My colleagues tend to be highly driven toward working out for themselves and, while I’ve had those moments in my life, I’m finding it easier to commit to others and their needs right now than my own.

One thing that used to help me was my schedule. My planner set the rhythm of my life….10 lines for each day dedicated to what I wanted/needed to do. I put in exercise as a priority, play dates with friends, intentions to catch up with people, dates, household obligations, and work commitments. However, I haven’t used my planner since the beginning of May and it shows in many areas of my life. I am surprised by how many ways the accident has impacted my life. So, today, on my flight from Newark I busted out the planner and started writing in it. I made a list for this week of all that I’d like to accomplish, but didn’t put exercise on it. Why? Doesn’t that seem counter productive to my goals and my Happiness Project? Yes, but it’s also more productive for me to find my way back to exercising on my own organically.

I have this big fitness goal that I’d like to achieve this summer….108 Sun Salutations. I was inspired by Tracy at Fit is a Feminist Issue awhile back, but haven’t found the way to commit to it yet. I even tried to wrangle my friend I’m running with into it. But I don’t think she was exactly game. I’m going to keep running with her twice a week and see what happens. I finish teaching for the summer on June 29th and then it will be all on me. Fingers crossed that I pick up again before then!

Have you been over to the quiz yet to find your tendency?

Have you been to New Jersey before?

What is your summer fitness goal?

What keeps you in your rhythm?

Meditation Monday #33 – How to Meditate: The Four Aims of Life (Dharma)

Last week I started back up with the How to Meditate series on the blog. I’m giving you a little insight into the deeper content of Yoga that we cover in my Yoga II course at CFCC. So, for the next four weeks we’ll be talking about Purusharthas or the Four Aims of Life. Some will translate this Sanskrit word to mean the soul’s purpose or the goals of human existence….so we’re going to take them one by one in meditation as they hold so much weight.

How do you have a successful, satisfying, and balanced existence in this world?

Our first signpost on this path to human fulfillment is Aredharma (more commonly referred to as Dharma) or our DUTY in life. This element of our study also refers to our ethics, our truth, and our responsibilities in life. This ties in nicely with our third chakra and our power to choose and to stand up for what we believe in…..but that’s a discussion for another day. Continue reading “Meditation Monday #33 – How to Meditate: The Four Aims of Life (Dharma)”

Coming Down

It’s been awhile since I’ve written on the blog….a little over a week. On Monday I had every intention of posting about how wonderful it was to have taken my last dose of Prednisone, but the truth is that this week has been a little of ups and downs. In my health journal I have seen my first smile on Tuesday when I went for a run with a friend and didn’t have to take the meds, but also my first frown because Wednesday I was so fatigued and couldn’t get off the couch to go exercise.

I am pretty okay with the neutral face days because that means that I’m still getting life done. I had another smile on Thursday while getting to experience Goddess Yoga as taught by a former student of mine. Things are looking up, but coming down from the Prednisone has meant that I’m more tired, my mind has slowed down, and I’m adjusting to the old eating patterns again.

And today? Today gets another smile! Today I am in Rochester, New York at one of my favorite workshop sites (Rochester Athletic Club for Women) teaching the NETA Pilates Specialty Certification. I love this place because the women are amazing, the facility is super clean, and the host, Nikki, is fabulous! I would work for her if I lived in this area.

I’m also getting the opportunity to eat at one of my favorite restaurants….Root 31. Today I had their Mediterranean Flatbread for lunch and it was so good that I ate it before I could snag a photo for you. For dinner I had to indulge in my go to Beets and Sweets salad. At first I thought it was a little smaller than last year, but it still hit the spot after my 4 mile walk on the treadmill. I wanted to run, but seriously….the treadmill is so close to the ceiling at this hotel that I was afraid of going through the roof!

Now I’m just prepping for another great day of Pilates training, one last meal at Root 31, my trip home, and a better week ahead. Check in with me on Monday for a full recap of my weekend away plus the start of a new Meditation series (think How to Meditate); Wednesday we’ll be breathing together in a different way; and Saturday I’m back doing another race for RTE.

How is your health holding up?

What is on your agenda for the week ahead?

What was the best part of your weekend?

Meditation Monday #30 – My Best Body: A Happiness Project

I’ve been reading Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project book this year. I haven’t quite finished it yet and that’s why you haven’t been privileged to a Fave Reads Friday post on the book yet. But, I thought that it was time for me to define my own Happiness Project. The book has been very inspiring in many ways and made me consider many aspects of my life and ways that I have chosen to live in regards to a yoga lifestyle. Yoga has helped me in my relationships, my professional career, my parenting, and with my mental and physical health. It’s help me define who I am and what I stand for. Now, after a weekend of teaching yoga, I have the ultimate goal of my own Happiness Project….MY BODY!

Continue reading “Meditation Monday #30 – My Best Body: A Happiness Project”

Fall in Baltimore and Final Notes on Voting

Happy Sunday! I’m waiting for my flight back to Wilmington and thought I’d take a moment to write a few things about my trip before tomorrow’s Meditation Monday post.

I’m in Baltimore, MD (actually worked in Columbia this weekend) for the NETA PT workshop and it’s my first time in this part of the country. It’s actually FALL here, unlike back in Wilmington and that makes it feel light years away. I was just there on Friday and now I’m here preparing to go back and I almost don’t want to go! Leaves are falling and changing color, the air is crisp, I mean….what more could someone ask for in NOVEMBER?

20161113_073903This trip I stayed at a Hampton Inn. I like these hotels because they always have unique decor. I’m kind of in love with the wallpaper from my bathroom this trip, but I’m still confused as to how I’ve had handicap rooms two weekends in a row at two different hotel chains? One of my favorite things about Hampton Inn is the oatmeal bar. They cook their oatmeal well (not soggy) and offer up dried fruit, brown sugar, and sliced almonds to top it with. I skipped the brown sugar and added cream cheese instead. It makes for a unique combination of sweet and tart, creamy and crunchy.oatmeal

My workshop site was about a block and a half away from my hotel, so I debated walking there each day, but ultimately “freezing” temps kept me in the car. Plus, I had a lot to carry and no coat/gloves/hat. Also close to my hotel was a lake with a trail around it. I planned ahead to run there Saturday evening and get in my 5 miler since I was lacking this week due to emotions and failed motivation. Lake Elkhorn would have been a beautiful run had I not forgotten about the time change and wasn’t left running in the dark. I still got in 3 dizzying miles at a “decent” jog pace.

I stuffed myself full of burrito from Qdoba last night and then relaxed by Skyping with my mom and catching up on blogs I haven’t read in forever! And now it’s over. I taught to a wonderful group of people who were engaging, energetic, and made the shouting I had to do (over external noise) worth the almost lost voice. I am not yet sure if I will brave the 530am alarm in the morning or do my 5 miler with the little guy in the stroller later in the morning. My weekend has just been enjoyable.

whole-foodsToday, I even discovered the most unique Whole Foods I’ve ever seen! Look at this place! And it was next to a lake/pond. fall-in-baltimoreI was mesmerized and spent almost a half an hour walking around the store just marveling at the design. I mean, it’s Whole Foods, I’ve been there before….

Well, it’s time to board, but I wanted to drop off one final note regarding the election and state of our country and then I will go back to not talking about it until January-ish. If you’re unhappy with the election results, it’s important to know this – our constitution does not guarantee us the right to vote for president; thus the electoral college exists. If you want your vote to matter (just like all of the people who come to your door and beat it down to get you to vote tell you) you need to make sure that your state changes the law. Please visit NationalPopularVote.com and find out what I’m talking about. I have already sent my letter…..my first step in getting more involved and making change happen in this country.

This is your wake up call: will you answer?

Where is my Donkey?

I’m in Columbia, South Carolina right now and awaiting the latest participants in the NETA PT workshop to finish their exam. It’s been kind of an unexpected week this week and since I missed TOLT with Amanda this week, I figured I’d just tell you all of this in that sort of brain dump format.

Parenting

On Wednesday I remembered something that my oldest son said to me not that long ago. I cannot remember the context of the conversation, but it began with him asking me a question about why someone was doing something. Do we ever really know why others choose to do what they do? So, naturally my response was “I don’t know”. To which he replied, “So you don’t really know EVERYTHING do you?!” Wow! You’re right and thanks for calling me on that bluff at 5 years old!

Politics

Why was this memory important? Because on Wednesday I decided to take my sons with me to vote. Many of us are ready for the election to be over and I, especially, will be glad when I can watch the news in the morning without exposing my children to political campaigns. However, it’s my civic duty to vote and I thought it was of most importance this year that my 5 year old has listened to the news, seen the political ads, and has such strong feelings about what is happening in our country and state. I won’t ever tell you who to vote for, but please get out there Tuesday and get it done if you haven’t already!

Health

On Thursday morning around 4am I awoke choking….because my tonsils were swollen almost shut! This has happened to me in the past and has always been tonsillitis (except for the one time it was mono). This time, though, it was STREP THROAT! Ew! I spent the entire day laying on the couch shivering, sweating, in aching pain, and attempting to drink juice and swallow massive horse pills.

Teaching

By Friday morning I was better, but chose not to go for a run and instead just taught and packed up my stuff to head for SC. I was off my game while teaching….mentally and it carried over into my packing. I forgot things this week, but nothing that made a huge difference on my weekend. My scatterbrain also prevented me from doing my 5 Yamas Friday post this week, so in the interest of keeping it on Fridays, I’ll save #4 for this coming Friday as I travel to Columbia, Maryland.

Traveling

cib
I might know why this sign was outside….

I arrived at my hotel, the Comfort Inn Blythewood, on Friday night and anticipated taking a shower before I went to bed…..that didn’t happen because there was a ball of hair and a used bar of soap in my shower. I called downstairs about it, but they couldn’t do anything until morning as they were all sold out. I had skipped dinner that night because I was feeling nauseous from my meds and the post-nasal drip. Luckily I had a fig bar that one of my students had given me and this special drink.turmeric I didn’t think to take a picture prior to drinking it and honestly I won’t be getting it again myself, but I will say one thing….Turmeric is supposedly really great for inflammation and it really did help. Although, the taste was not my thing.

I will not recommend that anyone stay at the Comfort Inn Blythewood as breakfast consisted of something that looked like it might have once been eggs, the usual waffles and other dry bread products, some sugary cereal, and a coffee bar. Where was the fruit?! The yogurt?! The oatmeal?! Well, some of that appeared on Sunday morning, but it wasn’t worth my trouble. My food options this trip in general were less than stellar.

Finally, Saturday night, the wonderful extra hour of sleep in a hotel night…..was ruined by the fact that there was a flood light outside of my room and the curtains wouldn’t close. curtainsThis photo was taken at 12 midnight….it looks like morning is already trying to get in!

Training

As I said, I’m in SC for a workshop and I’ve been training future PTs and they have been wonderful! If I could ever stop getting lost on my way to the Jeep Rogers Family YMCA I would love to come here more often. While I’ve been here I’ve also had the opportunity to catch up on some work (YAY!) and get in a Saturday run (DOUBLE YAY!). This is where I met my Donkey.

On Friday night, as I was driving down here, I was listening for a moment to the John Tesch radio show and he mentioned something about looking at a point in the distance as you run instead of the scenery in order to run faster and smoother. I disagree John Tesch! I tried this on my Saturday evening run and I had to keep running off of the road to avoid cars which kept me in the sand, dirt, and straw. I ran uphill so much that my calves burned. And, my motivation was very low by not enjoying the scenery around me……until I saw him.

Now, I’m not an animal expert, so I’m not sure he’s a he or a donkey, but what I saw before I reached the turn around point was a pasture with horses, goats, and a donkey. The goats were butting the donkey and he was chasing them around so playfully that I smiled and wished I could join him! To my great fortune I was able to run right past him on my return and……he ran with me! Over and over again this little horse ran over to me and lifted his head to race. He took off down the side of the fence leaving me in his dust, looked back, circled around and played his game again. I almost decided to stay there with him for the rest of the night.

where-is-my-donkey
One of those little dots is my donkey!

I went back today to see him and take a little video, but they had moved pastures and were not around. Sadness.

The Week Ahead

So, it’s the end of my time and I need to pack up and hit the road again. Come back tomorrow for Mini Movie Monday #4 where we tackle Pigeon Pose! I will also have a post this week about Santosha and all of the great meditation I’ve had this week. Friday will have my 5 Yamas Friday and if I have a chance, I’ll link back up with Amanda to share what’s on my mind on Thursday. I hope you had a great weekend and DON’T FORGET TO VOTE!

Have you voted yet?

Do you have a donkey?

What did you do this weekend?

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”

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