I think I’ve finally solved my email issue….I’ve learned to hit unsubscribe. Just this morning…Highlights magazine….unsubscribe. This afternoon….Inside Hook Nation…unsubscribe……some random realtor….unsubscribe. It’s something I’m considering in regards to blogs as well. I have a few that show up in my reader that I just keep scrolling past. Why? Because I never get responses to my comments or their content seems to be going in a direction that no longer interests me.
Jen at Chase the Red Grape had a great post last week that prompted me to want to hit delete on a few blogs that I follow. I think that writing a blog means that you’re opening your ideas up for discussion. At least that’s the type of community I have always wanted to create with this blog….the kind where all voices (minus spammers) are welcome to share their opinion….even if it doesn’t jive with mine.
Last year in April I set out to write about my yoga journey. I intend to keep updating that each year and as of now I have been doing yoga, off and on, for 13 years. It doesn’t mean that I have been living my yoga throughout that whole time, but living yoga is a process, just like much of life.
I intended last week to publish a Currently post, a Workout Wednesday post, and then end on Thursday with my 13 Years of Yoga post. But, something happened on that Tuesday afternoon that changed my life. I was in a car accident that totaled my car.
I was driving to pick up my oldest from Kindergarten, with my youngest in the back seat, when my brakes failed. I do not know how fast the car was traveling when it stopped, but before I turned off the cruise control we were traveling at 55mph. We slammed into the back of a stopped car and there was nothing I could do to stop it.
For the last week and a half I have seen the back of that car flying at me every time I close my eyes. I watch the airbags come up so quickly, yet so slowly. I feel it hit me in the face and toss me around. I feel the air knocked out of me and the panic take over as I jump out of the car trying to figure out what to do next; as I pull my youngest out of the back seat and rush him to the side of the road away from it all. I still see and feel it all.
I had to get into a car to drive the very next day and it’s been hard and slow going since. I feel distracted by paying attention to my full surroundings. It’s one time that I wish my mindfulness would let me be and let me relax. No one was seriously hurt in this accident, but it still changed me in a profound way.
My yoga practice over the last year has helped me grow in so many ways. I am better at listening to my body; I am performing poses better and with more strength, stability, and focus; my meditation is deeper and more purposeful with better outcomes. My yoga this year has been enhanced by the depth of connection to my students (especially my Yoga II group this spring) and the other community of yogis that I have connected with this past year.
In 13 years of yoga this has been my best and most committed. Through writing on the blog and reading Bad Yogi and other blogs where people share their yoga journeys; through my practice with Meditations from the Mat and teaching more of the tenets of yoga; through the curriculum writing for NETA’s new 200hr RYT and through listening to my students as they too travel the yoga path…..this year has been a yoga blessing in disguise.
It has been this connection that has led me through my best year of yoga and at the end of June I will be leaving my teaching for the City of Wilmington due to a change in structure at the organization. In August I will teach my last yoga class for CFCC for awhile as I move on to a new venture at UNCW (more about that later). My yoga practice will change this year….year 14….but I know it will stay strong. My accident affirmed for me what I know about myself:
I am stronger than what happens to me in life. I am only one, but an important part, of all that is bigger in the world. My yoga has served me well and will continue to be a guiding factor in my life.
Thank you for continuing this adventure with me and Thank You to Amanda for an open space to share each week! For the next 4 weeks I’ll be sharing some of my Yoga II student’s journeys on Thursday posts. I hope you’ll join us in practice & life.
Do you remember the Dr. Seuss book that everyone quotes at high school graduation?
The Waiting Place
Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come,
or a plane to go or the mail to come,
or the rain to go or the phone to ring,
or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.
Excerpt from Oh,The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss
Well, currently I am in a waiting place. Today I am waiting
to get paid
to get my blood work results back
for the rain to stop
for food to grow in my garden
for registration to open for the race I want to do
to have enough money to register for a yoga workshop I want to attend
for the motivation to finish some writing projects
to get some email responses
for donuts on the beach this Saturday
You know, just waiting. April feels like it’s going to fly by due to the large number of things I have scheduled for us, but today it feels slow. Today it feels unfinished and lethargic.
What are you waiting for?
Thank you to Amanda for allowing me a place to let my mind wander! You should wander over and see what she’s up to and maybe order her new cookbook….
Hello Thursday and THANK YOU to Amanda for hosting another TOLT! If you’ve been reading the blog the last two weeks you already know about MY BEST BODY Happiness Project. In my reading of Gretchen Rubin’s book I came across mention of the Happiness Toolbox and so, intrigued, I attempted to visit the site. The book is a few years old, so the site had changed and kind of been dismantled. However, Rubin is publishing a new book called The Four Tendencies and recently posted about it here:
She offers a link to her quiz to tell you which of the four tendencies you fall into. I took the quiz and found that I am an OBLIGER: Meets outer expectations/Resists inner expectations. Basically, I’m really good at following the rules, but find it hard to do things that benefit myself. I’m better at taking care of others than myself. This is evidenced in my resolutions I’ve made over the years. Often when it’s something centered on benefiting me (either primarily or only) I put it to the back burner and focus on the things that benefit the whole. In some ways this is very “YOGA” of me, but the words of a long ago Dr. Phil episode still linger in my ears You can’t fill other people’s tanks if yours is empty. (or something of that nature)
One of the keys to success offered up by the quiz is to have external accountability in achieving a change. Wow! That’s definitely something I need. I’ve blogged before about walking with friends and the sadness that I have from lack of a true workout partner. Just Tuesday my friend mentioned the women that she runs with on Saturday mornings. However, she’s across town and I am often gone on the weekends. I am going to have to take time to ponder how to create a sufficient support network on this journey and to remember that I want this for me and that’s okay.What is your Tendency? Do you think your results are an accurate representation of your tendencies in making decisions?
I’ve spent a little more time considering my post and my goal and what I will do moving forward and I’ve come up with only three things so far that I promise not to do:
Take before and after photos
Go on a diet
Use exercise as punishment or food as a reward
These are three things that align pretty well with my own living principles as well as some of the tenets of yoga.
Ahimsa – Cause no harm
I, as a fitness professional, know that dieting is harmful to the body. I hate the fact that this simple little four letter word that means all of the food you eat has become something so vile and negative that I have to make a statement about how I won’t go on one. Technically we’re all on a diet…..we all eat. I decided not to harm myself in other ways during this adventure by being mindful of my workouts, checking in with myself on the regular through meditation, and keeping in mind that this is a journey of my whole body getting well….not just trying to get thin.
Santosha – Contentment
I need to remain content as I travel this path. It’s okay that right now I am battling my body, this too will get better. It’s okay that I will never again be a size 2 Juniors. I’m 36 and have two children and care more about being able to someday do a pull-up than to bare my midriff for attention. This is a project and a process, I have to be ready each day to face the challenges with an air of contentment: I AM.
Svadhyaya/Satya: Self-Study and Honesty
I paired these two together because they both also encompass the idea of non-judgement of myself and others by living who I am and by learning about that. This is why I don’t need before and after photos…..I have before and during and after blog posts. I have my meditation journals. I can track my fitness and all of the other measurements I will use along the way. However, as I track I need to go back to Santosha and remember to be content with the progress that does and doesn’t come.
On a side note, I found myself trying to do number three a lot this week. Yesterday I ate a snack with my little guy. I had a super hungry moment (most likely fueled by the Prednisone) in which I ate the snack so mindlessly and then had the thought pop into my head “Thank goodness I’m going for a run now”. Bad me! But I also need to be kind with myself in my thoughts…..I need to avoid falling into the disordered eating traps of rewards and punishments that come with food and exercise. This project needs to be about me being well and functioning.
I can’t guarantee that this is going to work and I’m still in the process of defining my plan, but this was the next step.
Have you ever entered into a Happiness Project?
How do you incorporate the yoga principles into your life challenges?
In the past I have been very upbeat about my weight. Part of this has been due to the privilege of being “thin” for most of my life. I didn’t come by being thin easily, but I have been thin for most of my life due to periods of restrictive eating and periods of taking care of my body. No matter what, I’ve always fallen at average or lower, so weight has not concerned me that much….until my recent doctor’s appointment.
This time around, for my yearly physical, I weighed in at 145lbs. I am about 5’8″ tall, so if you do my BMI that puts me in the average category….no biggie right? Well, normally I’d agree except this time it wasn’t a moment of normalcy for me.
Before I go any further, I want to state that I know that weight is a touchy subject for a lot of people and I am by no means overweight or obese, so the question will always come, “Why am I complaining?”. I’m not. I’m just taking notice of a few things. Continue reading “TOLT – Why Numbers Matter Part 3”→
I haven’t done a TOLT in awhile and I thank Amanda for continuing to host these great round-ups of talented bloggers! I’m writing this post in advance because of the week I’m having. What kind of week is that? It’s a birthday week for my oldest who is officially 6 as this posts! I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting lately on what it means to be the kind of mom who stays at home, works part time, is a fitness professional, etc, etc. All of the roles I play. I’ve written about roles before and you’re more than welcome to read those posts here:
Instead of bragging about all of the things that I can accomplish this week; today I’m going to play a game: What I thought it would be like vs. What it’s really like.
What I thought it would be like: Soooo much time to get everything done and lots of time for myself. My children would play and interact with me and life would be bliss.
What it’s really like: Nothing gets done on the schedule I expected. When all I had was my one infant son I could easily clean our small apartment, walk the dog, and make dinner for my husband and I sometime before midnight while also breastfeeding, doing laundry, etc. But now, with two headed in two different directions and with the stay-at-home part dwindling little by little each year, I don’t know how things will ever get truly finished or caught up. Some of this is my natural ability to procrastinate and some of it is that we expect too much of any one person in our household. The kids don’t always play when you need them to, they want your attention when it’s least convenient, there needs to be time for you alone, you and your husband, you and your friends (not just during play dates) etc.
Working From Home
What I thought it would be like: Nap times are the perfect time to sit down at the computer and magically get it all done in about 2 hours….right? And I would get so many job offers because of my ability to work so thoroughly and quickly.
What it’s really like: Sometimes nap time doesn’t happen and Word World has to babysit for a few minutes while I review a course, type an email, post grades, etc. I used to teach online courses and my students would complain about the amount of work I gave them….as if I didn’t understand what it was like to work, have a family, have a life, and do schoolwork……who do you think is grading all of your assignments people? And developing them? And answering your emails/texts/phone calls when you have questions/complaints/computer errors?
Working Outside of the Home
What I thought it would be like: Total sadness and missing my babies at every waking moment. They would cry without me and no one would take care of them as well as I could. Something bad would happen at every moment and I would be riddled with the guilt of being away from them.
What it’s really like: Well, part of that is true for me. I do feel guilty and sad when I miss things that I enjoy with them, like tucking them in at night and reading to them. I do not think that anyone feeds them as well as I do and I’m sure they watch way too much tv when I’m not with them. However, there’s a flip side to that. I actually get to be grown up me when I’m at work. There are people who see me as me and as a professional in the field that I have worked in for so long, gone to school for, and care so deeply about the standard of! There are moments of bliss when I’m meditating and imparting wisdom to others. There are moments of bliss when I’m learning from others.
Being a Fitness Professional and a Mom
What I thought it would be like: Because I have all of the knowledge, I would be incredibly fit throughout my pregnancy. I would feed my babies all organic and homemade food. We would do Mommy & Me yoga together from Day 1. I would jog with them in the jogging stroller and win races and still have a beautiful two piece swimwear body….forever…..with no softness or stretchmarks or signs of aging…..EVER!
What it’s really like: I don’t know how the women who meet that ideal do it, but I know I ate Taco Bell more than once with each of my pregnancies. I napped a lot during the first one and gave up running during the first trimester when I thought I would throw up and have a migraine headache from listening to my mp3 player while I ran. I did exercise and teach until he was born and I did make him baby food (most of the time) and I did start back to jogging with him as soon as I was cleared to. What didn’t happen was my stomach never returned and was even more destroyed with the second child (see here) and we did Family Yoga with the big one, but the little one hates it. I do have two very active kids and I have pushed them in the stroller, pulled them behind my bike, and encouraged them to help me with my workouts as much as humanly possible. I lost a lot of weight each time due to breastfeeding, and currently weigh in around 140lbs (more than before each of them), but I’m okay with that (see here). Having “all of the knowledge” means squat in the middle of labor and cravings and tired mornings when your baby cried and nursed all night while teething. It means nothing when it means not putting yourself first in other ways.
I guess this is the one area in which blogging has helped me to realize, it’s okay to not be perfect….
I mean, Who is this mythical Superwoman of a Mom anyway?!
I’m back! Well, sort of. I’ve been away from my blog for a full month now. Why? By choice mostly….I’ve chosen to prioritize other things that I had going on. Also, because I’m pretty sure that I’m suffering from a little holiday depression. It’s almost the end of the year and a lot of people are looking back at their 2016 and reveling in the things they’ve accomplished. Others are looking forward to what will happen in 2017. I am in a third group…..somewhat less optimistic and trying to wrap my head around what comes next.
See, I didn’t accomplish everything I hoped to do as far as my 30 Days goals went. I even tried scaling back on numerous occasions. I tried to maintain a fitness streak through the holidays and had to abandon that due to my unwillingness to run in this cold this year. Yet, I don’t quite feel like a failure. I determined awhile back that this would be the year of self study….Svadhyaya. And I’ve learned a lot about myself this year, so check that off the list!
And the summary of it all is this….I am one girl, aged 36, on a mission to live the best life I can and to instill in my children the best confidence and values that I can while I am here. I am not perfect, nor do I aspire to be. I am a fitness professional who sometimes struggles to make exercise a priority. I am a yoga teacher who sometimes yells and loses it. I am me….I am still here….taking it one breath at a time; and I will be for some time more.
So, 2016, Thank you for your service. And as for 2017 I’ve decided this:
Each day I will arise and say not “what needs to be done today?”, but rather, “what can I do?” and then I will do what I can and be happy with the results. I will strive for a more minimalist approach to expectations, work, and things that don’t give me joy. I will stop looking around at all of the unfinished and feeling guilty, but instead look at what has been done and feel successful.
How will you live your 2017? Which are you: The kind that looks back, forward, or stuck in between?
Thank you to Amanda for allowing me a place to dump my thoughts!
Yesterday I wrote a post about the election that has garnered at least one email response. It’s a post that is not the usual for this blog and I second guessed myself several times as I wrote. I still think that it reflects the use of Yoga in my life and I am glad that I penned it. Today, though, I plan to talk about things I’m considering in my life that are keeping me from thinking about the election and the impending future of this country.
A HUGE THANK YOU TO AMANDA FOR GIVING THIS OUTLET THIS IS SO NEEDED AT THIS TIME!
Things that are distracting my thoughts:
1. What to do about gray hair?
So, it’s finally happening….but don’t tell my sister. I’ve started to notice gray hairs appearing where they “shouldn’t” be and I’m contemplating what to do about it. I’ve always thought it would be nice to have the Stacy London single sexy silver streak….but now I’m thinking about doing something a little more drastic. Why? Because who gets their gray hairs to all grow in in one particular and well-groomed location? No one! That’s who!
I’ve considered the all-over hair dye method (although I’ve had bad experiences with hair dying in the past) as well as the highlights route. My mom has been dying her hair for years and is now “progressing” toward a “natural gray look”….whatever that means. My sister has tons of gray hair and is younger than me, so she has been doing the all-over dye method for some time now. I’m 36 and I feel like a little gray is okay. But I also fear that I’m not as ready for that as I should be (see more on my Santosha battle this coming Monday). So, I’ve come to the conclusion to both embrace the gray and go crazy at the same time. I’ve always been one to express myself in whatever way I see fit and I feel like, as I approach 40, that my hair may be a version of that. Silver-type hair colors are very trendy right now and this is what I’m considering doing along those lines….either silver/purple or silver/blue highlights. I like this woman’s example because it’s not too much nor too little. Am I crazy?
2. Does anyone really care about “Dad Bods”?
I keep hearing about this research on the radio regarding the longer living men who have what has now come to be known as the “Dad Bod”. Here the NY Times more blatantly calls them “Fat Dads”. What I don’t like about this discussion is that it seems like a cop out to taking care of yourself by taking care of your family first. Women are constantly being told not to do that, while at the same time….doing just that. And yet, we’re also told not to body shame and yet we’re body shaming. I have so many issues with this discussion and I’m really over hearing about it on the radio. Please, Mr. DJ, stop encouraging men to go out and drink a few extra to be “more attractive” to women!
3. Go Cubs Go on the Billboard music charts?
And finally, because I listen to the radio all the time in the car….today I heard that Billboard Music Top 100 now hosts the “Go Cubs Go” 1984 song written by Steve Goodman. Are you shocked? I was and had to confirm it. Great job Cubbies! My grandfather would be proud and since he didn’t get to see this or your World Series win in his lifetime….this is for you and him (a Chi-town native and lifelong fan):
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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. 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. This photo was taken at 12 midnight….it looks like morning is already trying to get in!
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.
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!
A collaborative, open online space maintained by the graduate students of the Physical Cultural Studies research group at the University of Maryland, College Park. Dedicated to critical discussions of physical culture in all its sociocultural, historical, and everyday material forms. Public ideas/writings welcomed and encouraged.