Tuesday, December 14, 2010

PEACE workshop series

i'm sooooo excited to lead my first intensive workshop series. i seriously cannot stop talking about my excitement. i think about things that i'll incorporate into each session nearly every day. i read things, i look up things, i meditate on things... it is possible that i'm obsessed. but in a good way!

i'd love to have anyone near sydney join! and, if you aren't near sydney, we'll feel you there in spirit.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Micromoving Meditations

This blog post is inspired by some journaling done after a meditation in Twee Merrigan's Fluid Power teacher training this weekend. One of those rare moments where my crazy mind shushed itself.


expressions of my soul seeping out through my body: some twisting out, some seeping out, some exploding out.

i found myself slowing to almost a halt... and then my body would begin to move again; knowing where it was going without me deciding where to put it. the inner wisdom was present, and i didn't even need to try to pay attention to it, because i was in a state of being it.

my me was me. and i was me. and there was no effort.

while in that space, i didn't recognize that as what was happening. but as soon as i began to reflect back on it, i felt amazed, in awe, and infinitely lucky to have experienced those sensations--that being, if only for a short time.

there were points when my brain began to talk: to say "my arms are tired..." or something. but, then my arms would stop moving. without me deciding it. and i would be back in the me.


Wanna do it? Wanna feel some peace? Pick a playlist of calming music that goes for the amount of time that you want to spend meditating--try ten minutes or so for the first time. Begin by sitting still in an easy cross-legged position. As you sit, begin to draw your attention to your breath, slowing the breathing and taking long, full breaths. Then, as you feel inspired, begin to move your torso--wiggling it, weaving it, whatever feels good. Spend a song or so only doing that. Then, as you feel ready, begin to add the arms to the mix--reaching, raising, rolling, or even relaxing. Do these micromovements throughout your set meditation time. Once your music ends, ease yourself to a lying position and release. If you feel a little floaty, bend your knees and put your feet on the floor, with knees pointing toward the ceiling and relaxing in toward each other, to help ground you. Spend a few minutes on the floor before easing yourself back up and back into your day.

Luck and love.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Raining, Pouring, and Being

In our society, we are faced with constant choices. Which is amazing! It is fantastic to be able to choose what you want, when you want it, how much you're willing to pay for it, and (if you live in Australia) how much you're willing to pay for shipping. However, constant choices can also feel overwhelming, and sometimes we default to a previous choice, for the ease and comfort of that choice, regardless of whether that is the appropriate decision for the given time.

Much like the constant choices we find all around us, we constantly need to choose how to experience our surroundings and ourselves. I find these choices to be much harder to make--mostly because I often forget to actively make these choices. I allow the Spring-default settings to take over. I might be late for a train I planned to take; I begin to run. Someone offer critiques on my work; I feel judged and inept. I miss a workout; I feel bad about my day. It starts to rain; I get cranky and look for shelter or an umbrella.

Those don't have to be the choices I make, though. Yoga teaches us that we can choose how to react to everything in our lives. On the mat, when I notice a strong stretching sensation, I breathe through it; I slow my breath, my mind, and focus on being in that moment. Off the mat reactions are much harder for me to consciously make, though.

I was running last weekend. It began to rain, first a little, and then suddenly much harder. I had no rain gear with me, and was only just getting started on my run. I felt the Spring-default settings kicking in as I thought: "I'll just go home, get in the car, drive to the gym, and run on a treadmill. I'll hate it. I'll be cranky. I probably won't even have enough time to run by the time I get there." ...but then I realized I could make another choice. I could choose to be in the rain. And so I did. I chose to feel the raindrops, to feel them on my skin and feel them soaking into my clothes. I felt the cool water pooling in my shoes, smiled at drips hanging from my eyelashes, and enjoyed the soft slaps of my hair whipping my neck and cheeks. Where I expected frustration, I was able to find joy in being present: nothing was so wrong with getting a little wet.

The fact that I chose to be present, and enjoy and experience the rain, was a difficult choice for me to make. But the fact that I made that choice changed the rest of my day. I was happy that I got to run and I was happy that I was able to enjoy the rain. That happiness spilled into the rest of the day and evening and I noticed (with some surprise) that I was able to go with the flow of unexpected plan changes, unexpected train delays, and unexpected restaurant choices quite easily.

Making conscious choices in our be-ing can be hard. We have to choose to create space for these choices. We have to allow for the option of overriding the default settings we've created.

Our choices of how to respond to our surroundings and ourselves may feel easy at times. And that's fine--it's good practice! Because when the next rainstorm comes, I might not have my umbrella, and I want to be ready.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I'm in recovery from an eating disorder. And have been for a long time. Lots of people don't know, except when I do silly things like write an article to all the PSU fitness instructors, or post it in my blog's "about me" section, or even write a blog post about it. I don't like to talk about it because I don't want people to see me as "that girl with bulimia," or to be constantly concerned that I'm going to throw up the birthday cake they make me, or to analyze my every food choice and relate it back to my psychological state. It could be true that I'll be in a state of recovery forever; many people with an addiction say they'll never be completely free of their longing.

But I believe that I can completely heal. The reason I think I can heal is because I have yoga.

For years I've eaten carefully, but will then try to make up what I've deemed an over-indulgence with an extra hour of running or a day of diet soda and veggies. There is this lingering fear that, even on a non-binge, I may freak out about the number of calories consumed and want to purge, or, that I'll punish myself through another over-exhaustive workout. Living in a state of constant counting, calculating, and planning of food and exercise is exhausting. Literally.

Group, individual, and art therapy were all helpful in their own ways. But none of them gave me the peace of mind I've been able to find in yoga. Yoga has helped me connect to my body, and that connection is so important that I can't bear to go a day without it. The old me that started yoga did it for stress-relief as a college freshman, for exercise as a grad student, for self-betterment as a young adult, but finally I do yoga for me. And if I can't do asana practice on a certain day, I still set aside time to practice pranayama (breathing) and/or meditation.

The reason that I think I may be able to completely heal is because every day I do things I thought would never be possible for me. Last week, while on a yoga retreat/vacation in Bali, I only went running 3 times, each time less than an hour. True, I did other active things on vacation, and yes, I did asana practice each day, sometimes quite lengthy and intensive. But, for me, only about 2 hours of intense cardio in a week... that's crazy talk! I prefer to have 7-9 hours of intense cardio a week (which I am able to recognize as excessive).

The exercise is still a struggle. The eating is still a struggle. But the little improvements in the lovingkindness I show myself, the compassion I'm able to offer to myself and others, and the little achievements all add up. Every time I do something I once considered impossible, I feel the miracle in it.

I feel like my vacation behavior last week was a miracle. Usually, on vacation, with no time set aside for work, I would do more activity. But I didn't. And I only felt a tiny ache inside. I know people are supposed to have huge shifts during yoga retreats, and I thought my shift would be in my yoga. Turns out it was in my yoga, just not my asana practice.

I feel lucky at my miraculous experience. But, even more, I feel the hope and possibility of "complete" recovery. Of being fully present and mindful. Of union of my mind and body. Of yoga.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Past/Future Union

I heard a quote recently that went something like this: "Your body lives in the past, your mind lives in the future, and yoga joins your body and mind in the present." Except I think it was a little more beautifully put. The quote has echoed in my thoughts constantly over the past few days. I've returned to this quote over and over: when my knee pops as I'm walking; when my mind races to plan all I need to do before I go on vacation, I think of how true the quote really is.

It's a constant challenge for modern life to live in the present. As yoginis and yogis, we can find that fusion of body and mind on the mat. But where does that mindfulness go when we're off the mat? For me, it still seems to evaporate as fast as any moisture on a hot dry Australian summer day. How can we harness that mindfulness cultivated on the mat and express it in our daily lives? Practice, of course.

Little pieces of practice we can do anytime, anywhere: A moment of peace and breathing on the train on a stressful day; A stop for a freestyle free-standing yoga pose when a stretch is needed; A quiet thought or meditation in the office to bring the mind and body together.

I'm certainly not enlightened. I don't have all the answers. But as I practice mindfulness on and off the mat, I'm noticing more and more changes in how I react to things. I notice people who look uncomfortable in their skin, and I respond by sending them thoughts of compassion. I notice myself running for a train when I know there's another in a few minutes , and I respond by slowing down and offering compassion to myself. I notice learning in my yoga students, and I respond by offering joy and friendship out to the world.

And most crazily, last Friday, I drove an hour and a half to have a root canal, went through the pain of the root canal, had my car break down, waited for a rescue van, waited for a second van to come fix the car, paid several hundred dollars, got home several hours later than I thought... and I smiled and joked through the whole thing. Two repairmen that came to my rescue separately commented on how happy I seemed throughout disasters. And I realized they were right. I wasn't worried about the work I was missing out on doing, the yoga class I wouldn't make it to; I was accepting the situation, making the best of it, and being fully present in the place that I was in.

These instances of mindfulness and peace are not continuous. But the fact that I can even recognize these instances is proof of mindfulness in my life. Proof that didn't exist before. So, I offer my scientific mind this proof: practice, both on and off the mat, cultivates the ability to be mindful in my daily life.

And so I return to practicing my breath, my meditation, and the joining of my mind and my body.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Body/Breath over Mind

I'm a thinker. I've always been a thinker, which is probably why I spent gazillions of years in school. The phrase "mind over matter" resonates with me; I know I can do anything if I put my mind to it. And I feel I've proved it several times. But what happens when I'm in my yoga, and I need to have my mind take the back seat, allow my breath to take over, and let my body experience itself through my practice? Well, sometimes my mind gets in the way.

And so that has been one of my greatest challenges: listening to my body, feeling what is happening, experiencing it as it is, and being at peace with these things. I feel that I've made great strides over the past 10 months. I've been able to notice more when my mind is over-thinking. I've taken steps to be more present in everything I do. I've begun to try to live in the fullest version of myself, offering my most heartfelt self to my life and those I encounter.

But there are still times when my mind just won't shut up; when all I can do is listen to my mind rationalizing, explaining, and planning. Which is probably one of the reasons I've been so drawn to yoga: when I found the peace that I could experience in my breath, that's when I was really hooked; I had no trouble creating a regular practice and making more and more time for yoga. But sometimes, even in my practice, my mind keeps taking over.

Tonight I took a class with Kelly where she suggested that our bodies had way more wisdom than we knew (as she's finding through her pregnancy right now!); in fact, that our bodies had infinite wisdom. I internalized that thought and consciously tucked my mind in my back pocket for the class. I let my body take over, as my breath flowed through it. I experienced the class. Twice during the class I got nervous about a pose and began to lose it. But I was able to immediately return to my breath, feel my body, re-hide my mind, and go back to the practice.

My mind was so tucked away that I didn't even notice it was quiet until I got on the train after the class. I was sitting on the train, looking for my phone to call Billy and tell him I was on my way home, when my mind started working again. And I was like WOAH! What is going on? And then, I realized that I had been at peace. And it had even lasted 15-20 minutes after class. It had seemed so easy cheesy. Body over mind. Or, I suppose, breath over mind.

And so I go back to practicing. Trusting my body. Quieting my mind. Not so easy for a thinker, but I know it's possible. There's samadhi on the other side of that rainbow.

Monday, September 20, 2010

marathon meditations

i ran a marathon yesterday. i was feeling good, proud, happy, achieved, ...and a little stiff today. i talked to my sister this morning during our weekly skype yoga session about the race, and she told me that she feels like she runs a marathon everyday. she teaches preschool.

we all run marathons every day, don't we? whether it's working long hours on a project; racing against a deadline; or just feeling the pressure to achieve something that seems impossible. i practiced a million methods of positive thoughts while running the marathon, from "i can do anything!" to "my shoes are magic and have a special force that propel me forward!" to "if i finish this in under 4 hours, i never have to run another one!" and, of course, "i'm wearing my sister-superhero sash; i can just fly to the finish line!"

i talked to my sister about these things, and about a lovingkindness meditation, to offer that kindness back to herself and to help in her feelings of compassion and happiness. at the end of our practice this morning, we practiced a lovingkindness meditation from this month's Yoga Journal that says "friendliness toward those who are happy; compassion toward those who are not; equanimity toward all."

all day i thought about the meditation we shared, and tried to keep practicing it throughout my day. on the train on my way to teach yoga tonight, i began reflecting back on what got me through the race, and how i can use those same techniques in life.

i took these thoughts with me to the yoga class i taught tonight. i used the example of my sister's "marathon" and my own as the struggles we encounter every day to set an intention for mindfulness for the class: mindfulness we could use off the mat to combat stress, anxiety, and self-doubt. we began class by practicing mindfulness, and i offered gentle encouragement to return to these thoughts throughout class. amazingly, i saw my class learning and listening today. at one point, we were on our bellies resting after a reminder of mindfulness, and i offered the 45 students an opportunity to kick it up--to take an optional vinyasa if they were feeling it. not a soul moved. there was peace, rest, and beautiful stillness. i was in awe at the energy, focus, and mindfulness we had created during our practice.

at the end of class, i used the mindfulness meditation from Yoga Journal this month that focused on the stability of the individual through swirling thoughts: a mountain surrounded by clouds and storms. upon breathing in, we meditated on being the mountain; upon exhaling, we meditated on the stability we possessed. i felt the synchronicity and harmony of a class in tune with themselves and each other as we meditated and closed. it was beautiful!

on the way home from my yoga teaching tonight, i was posting about and reading all the nice wishes on my wall related to my marathon--heartwarming and truly an example of others showing "friendliness toward those who are happy." i felt blessed to have friends that can give such beautiful offerings. seeing this outpouring of "likes" and comments on my status updates set a great example for me.

my day full of reflections on marathons, meditation practice, experiencing beauty and accepting it from friends, ...and making it through a marathon of a day of my own... prove to me that marathons are constantly thrown at us. and that we can probably meditate our way through any of them.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Balancing Change

The world is constantly changing. Nothing is the same as it was last year, or even as this morning. This is one of those things that is true, whether or not I want it to be, whether or not I admit it on most days.

I like to be in control. I plan what minute I’m going to wake up, how many minutes it takes me to shower and pack my bag, how many minutes to walk to get coffee on the way to the train station, and, as soon as I’m at the station, I start planning the tasks I’ll cross off my list at work that day. I rarely leave things to chance. Sometimes it’s easier for me to pretend like I’m in control and that I can dictate what will happen in my life, and when. But, when things go off-plan, which happens every day, it is hard to deal with the disruption if I am trying to control everything.

In yoga, I often prefer my own practice or teaching to another’s class, because I’m in control of what we’re doing and at what pace. I’ve been learning, though, through my yoga, to accept what is. When I think I have the energy or the strength to do something, and I can’t (for whatever reason), I’ve learned to let go of my control, my preconceived expectations, and roll with it. I try to attend other classes at least once a week, to force myself to practice the discomfort of being in a class led by someone else: out of control.

Dealing with this in my yoga practice has significantly affected the way I deal with hang-ups in my life. I’m much more able to accept unexpected events than I was before I began a daily practice. Delving further into yogic teachings and readings, I find myself comforted by the idea of constant change. Even though things are changing, there is some continuity—things are CONSTANTLY changing.

Our breath is constantly flowing. Our blood is constantly moving. Our life force is constantly pulsating. Without these constant changes, we wouldn’t be alive.

If we need change so much, and if it is constantly surrounding us, then why is it so hard when we experience a schedule change, a body change, a haircut? Meditating on the constant change we’re surrounded by has begun to help me accept these sometimes seemingly radical changes in my day-to-day life. Gradually, I’m noticing the acceptance become easier. I felt really sad on Sunday, though I didn’t really know why. Even though I felt really low, I found myself experiencing it and accepting it for what it was, knowing it would pass. Even though I didn’t feel good, I knew that my experiences and feelings would change. I’ll feel better, and then I might not; it will continue to change.

After writing notes on this blog on the train, but before typing it out, I read an article in Yoga Journal online about balancing control and lack-of-control in our yoga practice. As has so often happened to me this past year, I felt a moment of awe. The article was dealing with the same thing I was writing about, was offering ideas similar to mine, and I felt a strong sense of connection to the rest of the world. A gorgeous example of some out-of-control beauty falling into my controlling lap. I’ll smile and go with it. For now, until it changes again.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Happiness Levels

i've been reading the dalai lama's "the art of happiness" and working on creating a higher baseline level of happiness. while i do consider myself to be pretty happy, i get frustrated and upset pretty easily, so i think that it's worth my time to work on upping my baseline levels.

i'm obsessed with the book, its ideas, and am constantly spouting it now, even though i'm only a few chapters in. i find so much resonance in it. the dalai lama talks about letting go of feelings of frustration, guilt, shame, jealousy, etc., because they only further negativity in yourself and then are fed back to the world. by focusing on creating your own happiness (which he claims is totally possible), you can respond to others with compassion.

i've been exploring some of these issues through my yoga, as that was the first way that i found to personally create happiness. yoga is the only way i've ever found to calm my crazy mind or to be completely happy with my body. through the daily practice of yoga/breathing, i have found this intense connection to myself/my body, and i'm more able to connect to things around me. and i am more able to focus on things and people in my life, like billy, and be fully present when i'm with him.

my yoga practice has been blossoming, but i still struggle with how to incorporate yoga throughout the rest of my life. for example, when i take the train each day, i feel pangs of anger as people shove past me, or elbow me in their haste. i think things like "what's wrong with you?! look where you're going!" but as i've been reading "the art of happiness" i've been able to shift my responses. as i got off the train this morning, and was shoved away from the door, i thought "we're all trying to get where we're going. we're all in a hurry." i noticed the change in my response, from anger to compassion. i felt compassion for everyone's hurry, and i felt connected to all of the other people on the train.

i get stressed every day, and i can't change the world. but i can change my outlook ... and i think that can actually be done pretty quickly. the dalai lama is right: we all want to be happy: treating others with compassion allows that happiness.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Ready or Not

As a teacher, I want my classes to experience what I experience from my personal yoga practice. I think this is a universal yoga teacher feeling, and seems simple enough, but is probably the loftiest goal one could imagine. My friend and co-teacher Sarah asked me for advice on getting college students to relax, like, really relax, in a yoga class. When I read her question, I smiled to myself, remembering experiencing this frustration while teaching. And then I smiled again, remembering myself as a student just a few years ago.

How do you make someone relax? The easy answer is, you can't. Until someone is ready, they're not ready. Just a few years ago, I would've walked out of a class that wasn't dynamic or sweat-based. I would've laughed at the thought that I wasn't getting the full benefits of yoga. And I probably ignored several teachers' instructions to relax.

In fact, I went to a class this morning that was sooooo slow, I found myself really struggling to stay present. In a 75 minute class, we did about ten poses. And most of the time was spent getting into each pose, with only a few breaths once we were completely in the asana. I ended up really enjoying the class, though it wasn't what I'm used to, nor was it what I expected. Mostly, I was struck afterward with my progression of my practice. I did it! I stayed through the whole class! I stayed present and committed to the experience! I'm finally ready to explore myself and my practice.

But if a student, or class, isn't ready, that doesn't mean you can't try to get them ready. My main point is that teachers can't take all the responsibility for their students' practice. We can only lead and offer what we have.

I think one good suggestion for teachers is to be patient and to keep repeating things class after class. I remember saying to an instructor after a class "I loved that cue you used; it really helped me move further into that pose," to which she responded, "I always say that cue; you just weren't ready to hear it before." I walked away thinking, "woah." But it's completely true: students will hear things as they're ready to, and we can't force them to hear things before that time.

Okay. So, other than breathing and progressive relaxation, how can we help people center themselves? (Sarah's question.) I think that providing visualizations works wonders. It can be really hard to focus and center yourself by concentrating on breathing when you're new to yoga. I have found that students really respond to mind-pictures, though. One of my recent favorites is to guide students to picture an old ghost town (a la the wild west). I then ask them to picture dust blowing through the town, to imagine their mind as that town, the dust as a visual representation of their breath, and that as any tumbleweeds, or troublesome thoughts, blow into the picture, to let the wind-breath ease them back out of the picture.

Guiding through pictures gives the mind an easy focus point, something that can fall away as students progress in their yoga practices. But give them (us) time. We'll hear when we can.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Meaning of Life

Yes. I'm blogging on the meaning of life. Easy cheesy.

Martine and I have added some readings to expand our yogic knowledge and deepen our discussions on yogic philosophy. The first book we read was "In the Company of the Wise" by Swami Sivananda Radha. Throughout the book, she talks about the lessons she has learned from her teachers. She also talks about the lessons she has learned about incorporating yoga into a western life. The main lessons that I took away from the book were related to how I could incorporate yoga more fully into my life.

Each time I read the parts of the book, whether it was on the train, bus, or in my bed, I felt that I was connecting back to myself and my purpose in life. My favorite part of the entire book is when she said "By the time Dadaji had finished talking I had learned another lesson: no matter where we are, it is our duty to remind people of the purpose of life" (p.92). What I found most interesting about that sentence is that she either assumes that the reader knows the purpose of life, or she has intentionally left it out to allow more room for the reader's exploration. Either way, that sentence had the most impact on me than any other in the book. I thought to myself, do I have an answer for that question? Do I really know what I'm doing here?

And, funnily enough, I found an answer hovering just below my consciousness. I thought, yes, I do have an answer. I decided that my answer was, "to make life better for others." To me, that answer made immediate sense, and felt right. As I thought about it over the next couple of days, I felt happy with that answer. And, even more strange was that I had someone ask me what the meaning of life was within 24 hours of reading that. I felt these little pieces of my life coming together, I felt that the world was sending me messages, and I felt that my yoga has really become more entrenched in my life.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Full Expressions of Offering

Saturday afternoon I went to a 2 hour workshop with Kelly. I could not have been more excited about the topic (which was a surprise when I got there) or the approach she took. She taught a class on backbends, especially focusing on inversions into backbends and dropping back from camel and standing into backbends. These are some of my favorite things, and some of the things I wanted to work on deepening in my practice. The approach she took was one of being our fullest selves--puffing out our hearts and fully expressing ourselves in an offering. This approach was also exactly what I was aiming to do in my practice and life (see last blog post!). When I realized what she was saying, about what the class was and the approach we were taking, I felt the alignment of the universe; I felt like that was exactly where I was supposed to be at that time. It's amazing to have those glimpses of samadhi; I felt the perfectness of being as I set my intention for the practice.

The class was beautiful, and I enjoyed meeting a new friend and working with her as a partner a few times throughout the class. I tried some new things that I was afraid to try, and I tried some new things that were challenging and fun. The class exhausted me, but I still felt full of energy when I left. Through Kelly's direction, I was able to stay fully present and fully offer myself to my practice and to a greater offering of love and being.

The practice on Saturday was just what I needed to kick-start my want to incorporate more offering into my practice. The excitement I felt around the opportunities created in the class were radiated through my practice, and I was able to continue that sense of offering my fullest self when I left the mat.

Throughout my weekend, I've been practicing being full; offering what I have in each situation and to each person. I'm sure I haven't done it constantly, but I have continued to go back to that intention. I did a short practice Sunday afternoon and again this morning, but both practices felt full as I kept pushing myself to offer fully.

Thank you, Kelly. And I offer my thanks back out as an offering to anyone reading this. Be full and offer back.

Friday, August 6, 2010


The most intense teaching experience I've had recently was when I taught the class while on vacation in State College: I felt like I was back home. I was teaching in the room where I had begun a regular practice, where I first began my yoga teacher training, and where I had often escaped to after a hectic day. I was there with one of my best friends and my sister, and I felt intense emotional connections surrounding me. The class felt easy to teach. I was in a small room where I could easily jump on and off the mat, offering personalized attention to each student several times. In this class I was really able to feel as if I was giving, sharing, and experiencing all that yoga is. Teaching a class that feels good on multiple levels is extremely rewarding.

In contrast, I've also recently covered a few classes that were not my own, and so the individuals coming to the classes were also unfamiliar to me. Teaching this type of class, where I am unfamiliar with the room, the students, their practice, and their expectations is extremely confronting. When teaching these classes, I try to be authentic to my teaching style while reading the class and their responses to the practice. Regardless, I tend to feel a little uncertain after these classes.

I'm continually trying to deepen my practice and thus my teaching. Working with Martine, reading various texts, and continuing my daily practice all contribute. But after teaching my class this past Monday evening, I felt a little off. I had practiced reading my class, I gave them what I thought they could handle and needed, and I think that the class went well overall. However, after the class my personal well-being felt a little challenged. I reflected on the class, couldn't identify a reason for my feelings, and then went to do some reading on Yoga Journal's website to work toward an answer.

The article I was drawn to was one on surrender. I read about shifting my perspective from my own inner-world to the larger big-picture. I know I'm often an emotional person, but I started to cry as I read this article. I felt like my own practice needed more "heartfulness" practice (similar in concept to "mindfulness," but in a spirit of offering). A practice as an offering is a hard concept for me to grasp. I'm used to practicing for myself and to better myself; which in turn will be reflected in how I live my life and interact with others. However, shifting to think of my practice as an offering to the world made me feel excited. I felt like I had been drawn to this article to deepen my practice (and teaching) to allow the next "breakthrough." I think that the feeling I had Monday night was one of stagnated contentment. I was happy with the class, but I felt a little stuck.

I know that not every practice or every class I teach can feel like the class in State College. Every practice, every class, and every day is different. But I really like the idea of heartfulness, and hope that heartfulness in my practice, classes, and life will assist in creating experiences similar to the one I had at my "home" studio, where heartfulness was natural.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


it's true, i've always been a fan of periods. but if you take the first (or heaviest) day of your menstrual cycle as a HOLIDAY, you'll looooove your period. martine has been telling me this. and today it happened.

today i was planning to work from home, because of a meeting in the city in the afternoon. after a short run this morning, i did a little work, decided to get my hair cut (since i desperately needed it and my hair stylist was conveniently available), and then went into my meeting. instead of strictly planning meals and snacks for the day, i ate when i was hungry and enjoyed my day. (i know, i know, this doesn't sound so holiday-ish to you, right?) in the afternoon, i realized billy could come to the cafe with me to do work. we enjoyed sitting, sipping coffee, and dueling w our computers until i had to go to my mud wrap appointment.

now, this was pure coincidence--but an amazing one. i had a coupon for a 70% off mud wrap, and i had scheduled it for today about 6 weeks ago. luckily, this was a HOLIDAY.

i went to the mud wrap a little nervous--i've never had one and wasn't so sure about what would be involved. first i was scrubbed with salt, next the salt was removed with hot towels, then warm mud was spread all over my body and i was wrapped up in foil like a baked potato. i lay in my mummy wrap being heated. while lying there, i practiced some yogic breathing. i did several cycles of a few different breathing types until i was so relaxed my brain started seeing beautiful images of exotic places and people. i could feel happiness and warmth throughout my spirit.

finally, i was taken to a hot tub-bath tub where i was given a glass of champagne to relax with while the jets assisted in removing the mud. when i exited the bath, my skin was soft, my body was relaxed, and my mind felt free.

the mud wrap experience was fantastic--something i'd do each month if i could afford it! i felt as good as i do after an amazing yoga class. i enjoyed the wrap so much, and i didn't really expect to. i often have a hard time enjoying relaxing, or just being. but this experience showed me that maybe i haven't been doing relaxing things that i enjoyed as much; or maybe that i wasn't opening myself up to the experience of relaxing as much before. or maybe i just needed a good excuse to allow myself to enjoy it (HOLIDAY!).

... whatever the reason for the bliss i felt this evening, i feel grateful.

Monday, August 2, 2010

July Reflections

I've been feeling pretty bad about myself because I haven't been blogging. I have so many things to say! Where's all my time gone? Today I was reflecting about July, and feeling unaccomplished because I hadn't blogged about things. But as I started to think about July, I realized that I had done a lot: I successfully presented at an international conference; taught several fitness and yoga classes; gone on vacation; submitted a few papers to journals; reconnected with old friends; made new friends; celebrated my 2nd wedding anniversary; celebrated my 30th birthday; spent quality time with my sister; and ran 200 miles somewhere in between. But, most impressively, I kept up my daily practice throughout all of the (good) life disruption.

Keeping my practice going while traveling all over the US and while prepping and then catching up from my trip was difficult at times. Making sure that friends and family I was spending time with understood my needs was important--and sometimes difficult, because I felt like I was "cheating" them out of time with me. Some of my friends (and Sister) wanted to do yoga with me--and that was a bonus: I felt glad for the time available to do yoga, and I also felt excited to share such special time with my loved ones.

This past month of yoga, and my experiences with it on my trip, have given me further depth in my relationships. Sharing my yoga practice with those closest to me feels like ultimate intimacy. And having those people respond positively feels better than I could have imagined.

My sister paid me the best compliment while on this trip: she told me that I was the best yoga teacher she has ever had. I didn't believe her, but then I realized she was serious. When I was able to really hear the compliment she paid me, I began to cry. I think that I cried because I don't often really accept compliments--only I didn't realize it until now. I often smile, nod, say thank you, and then think to myself, "oh, they were just being nice." Accepting the compliment was a big step for me.

Reflecting back over July, I realized it was the opposite of what I had originally thought. I accomplished things, I deepened relationships, my yoga practice blossomed, and I learned something about myself.

Growing occurs when you don't expect it. Keep practicing, and all of the sudden, bam! Growth! Amazing.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

23-24.06.10 A little cleansed

Wed: 90 min guided class; Thurs: 30 min personal

Yesterday I was cleansing. I was juicing and souping all day--eating and drinking all of those liquids seemed to take most of my energy. I felt more tired than usual, but I went to a yoga class yesterday afternoon that I had been wanting to go to. It was a "progressive" class, which means that it was for more advanced yoginis (and yogis, I suppose).

The class was a good choice. The instructor was from Canada, and I felt like I was at home as I listened to her voice. I enjoyed the class and felt appropriately challenged. But I did begin to get a little frustrated as I felt like I wanted to go into deeper backbends or inversions. But then, to my surprise, she allowed us to do both of those things. Either she read my frustration or she was very in tune with the class. I don't know that others in the class were dying for a bigger backbend than floor bow or dying to do a bigger inversion than shoulder stand... but I really appreciated the freedom within the class to do what my body was craving. I felt like I had a little more trouble with balancing than usual, and I was thinking that could be due to the fasting effects.

And then, upon arriving home, I began to think that after one day, I'm not so sure the juice/soup fast thing is for me. I felt good, I felt full (which I didn't think I would), I didn't crave anything... but I didn't really like it either. I didn't feel like I was doing something super special for my body. I felt more like I was forcing myself to down these juices and soups that I didn't really enjoy, which is the opposite of how I had just felt in my yoga practice. It was a lot of effort to eat each one, and I felt like I was forcing myself to do it just for the sake of saying I did it.

I decided last night that I would put Days 2 and 3 of the fast in the freezer and use them as single day fasts over the next several weeks. I didn't feel like forcing myself to finish the fast was what my body needed. I was proud of what I was able to do on Day 1 and that I didn't cheat at all.

However, just about 30 minutes before I was planning to go to bed last night, I started seeing flashes of lights and my head felt like it was being jackhammered. Billy said "I think that's a migraine..." and I dashed under the covers to sleep before the pain intensified.

When I woke up, I felt like I had a hangover. My head had a dull ache that seemed like the memory of a much more extreme ache. I wanted to practice yoga before work, so I went into the living room to see what I could manage. I couldn't do any flow because of the pounding in my head, so I went and had a half cup of diet coke (what? no caffeine for 36 hours?!). And then I began again. I started with some static holds and gradually began working a little harder, as I began to feel better. By the end of the half hour, I was able to go up into handstands and feel ok.

As I showered and got ready this morning, I had to admit that I did feel like I was glowing a little bit. Whether it was the day of fasting, or the excitement over my approaching morning cup of coffee, I'm not sure. But I felt good. So I won't hesitate to do the one day fasting again... but it may be awhile before I want to do a 3 day fast.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

18-22.06.10 WHiiiiirrrrring

Fri: 15 mins; Sat: 35 mins; Sun: off; Mon: 40 mins personal with sister via skype, 60 mins teaching; Tues: 20 mins

This past weekend was full of planning and stressful, but mostly wonderful. I had surprised my Billy for his birthday, and wanted everything to be happy, easy, and smiley all weekend long. Mainly, I knew he would prefer a lack of planning, but that meant I still had to do a lot of planning on the front end so that we wouldn't have to do any planning during the celebratory weekend. But, even though we didn't need to plan during the weekend, I still felt a lot of worry about things going well.

Once the weekend was over, I still felt lingering worry. Stress at work on Monday and then anticipatory anxiety toward my upcoming juice/soup fast on Tuesday added to the lingering worry.

Several times over the past several days I've tried to stop, relax, focus on my breath, and halt my brain's constant activity. I haven't been very successful at relaxing the constant whirring during my day, but I've found peace through my yoga--in my personal practice, in my sharing yoga with my sister, and in my teaching. I feel grateful for my practice and what I'm able to find through it, but I'm frustrated at my inability to tune in to my body and breath at other points in my life.

Over the next three days I'll be doing a juice/soup cleanse. I'm nervous about how stressed or anxious I may feel and how I may be able to respond to those feelings while on the cleanse. I'm afraid that my mind may freak out during this time and that I may not be able to calm it. I've tried to prep my mind as much as possible, as well as planning my days and how I'll transport the juices while keeping them cool. So, in trying to prepare to not feel anxious, I've done a ton of planning--which has kept me from being present thoughout my day today, and has increased my anxiety.

I'm hoping to focus on cleansing my mind as my body goes through this cleanse over the next three days. Cleanse time starts as soon as I wake up. Mind and body: whirring out the whirring.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

15-17.06.10 Reflections

Tues: 30 mins; Wed: off; Thurs: 1 hr guided w/Martine

I've done new things this week: kicking up to my headstand with my left leg, and going in and out of headstand with straight legs--in the middle of the room. I'm doing things I haven't done before; things that amaze me every day. I can't believe that I do new things almost every week. The effect of my daily personal practice is easy to see in my asana development. I see it other places too, but it isn't as obvious.

However, today I got an email from a friend who had read my yoga blog. She said that one of the entries really gave her something to think about, encouraged her, and "touched" her. Reading that message from her felt more amazing than any recent advancements in asana... reading that made me feel like my yoga practice matters. Or, rather, it reminded me of the number of levels on which my yoga practice matters.

Sometimes continually trying to grow and deepen as a yogini and as a person is hard. And sometimes it is so easy and natural and endlessly rewarding that it more than balances.

To my spatially-far-but-lovingly-close friend: thank you for your response; I love and support you.

Monday, June 14, 2010

14.06.10 Billytime

45 min early morning skype yoga w sister; 90 min guided class (w Billy in attendance!)

Today was a public holiday in Australia; hooray! It is so exciting to have holidays that I've never had before. Even though today wasn't a super exciting holiday to me personally, being able to spend the day with Billy after he's been out of the country for two weeks was a special treat.

I got up early to do yoga with Shayna on skype, like we normally do after I teach Monday 6am cycling class. Even though I didn't have to get up for the 6am cycling (because of the HOLIDAY!), I still "met" Shay for our yoga date. I had considered sleeping in a little, but when I got up and saw her smiling Sunday-afternoon self, I was glad I had made the effort to spend that special time with her.

Then, after I had finished yogaing with sister, Billy got up and ran with me to Rozelle for a yoga class. When we got to the yoga studio, Billy wasn't feeling so well after the long early morning run. He wasn't able to enjoy the heated yoga room, and ended up spending most of the class in resting positions. I felt guilty for dragging him to the class, but tried to concentrate on enjoying my practice. I did enjoy the class, and spent the final savasana with my right hand extended to rest on Billy's arm.

Afterward, I talked with Billy about how he had felt during the practice. Even though he hadn't personally enjoyed his physical experience, he was glad to spend the time with me. I told him that he was practicing yoga by allowing me to do what I needed to do and appreciating my need for that time. Even though he wasn't engaged in a full asana practice this morning, he did his yoga with me. And that's one of the millions of reasons that I love him.

12-13.06.10 Pregnancy Yoga Training

15 hours training over the weekend!!

i honestly don't know how to blog about the experience i had over the weekend. i deepened my understanding of pre- and post-natal asana, of what it means to be pregnant and give birth, of the support available (and not available) to pregnant women, and deepend my convictions of the type of pregnancy and birth i would like to experience. the course i took was amazing, eye-opening, exciting, inspiring, and... did i say amazing?? i loved the energy i felt in this training, the women i shared time with, and the content of the workshop.

my favorite things that i learned/realized/was able to internalize:
1. it is a ridiculous idea to propoes that women must "carry on as normal" while pregnant
2. yoga tachers can offer a strong context of support to pregnant women
3. i can create space and give permission to pregnant mothers to relax and NOT do
4. not all pregnant women are excited about their pregnancy; react to new pregnancy admissions with "how do you feel about that?"

what i got from the workshop personally: (besides "a lot")
one of the exercises we did was to map out the physical, emotional, and psychological changes a woman may be going through during her pregnancy, as well as all of the different types of support she may have available to her. after this exercise, we were asked to respond with our impressions of the activity. i was surprised that this activity didn't increase my anxieties. in contrast, it really helped me to see all of the issues laid out on paper, and it helped me to know that other people think about these things; they are universal anxieties. and seeing all of the types of support a woman has available made me feel supported as a woman who is nearing a pregnancy.

additionally, as katie (our instructor) was talking about the need for pregnant women to slow down, i was able to HEAR what katie was saying. while many people have told me that it is OKAY to not do so many things, either when sick, injured, or during a future pregnancy, i haven't really HEARD what they have been saying to me. i know that billy has been anxious about an impending pregnancy because he is afraid i will still run 1.5 hours and then do 1.5 hours of yoga each day without exception. he's nervous i won't be able to slow down for a pregnancy or a child.

but after this weekend, i noticed myself saying, "yeah, that would be ok. i don't need to do crazy backbends and inversions and twists and one-armed balances for a few months. i have the rest of my life to do that." and i was pleasantly surprised. i shared these new feelings with billy, and he told me that it was as if a 10 pound weight had been lifted off of him.

after this workshop, i feel more confident in myself as a practitioner and teacher of yoga... and as a wife and woman. i'm glowing with possibility.


update (first two weeks of june)

4.25 hours total personal practice; 5.5 hours teaching; 2.5 hours guided classes

i've kept with yogaing the past two weeks. but i've been slack on blogging, and i know reflecting back on my yoga practice and teaching is important. but even though i haven't been writing, i've been talking. i've found that i discuss yoga with most people in my life now. i talk about my personal practice of the past few days, or how a class went; i talk about meeting my sister on skype and how our yoga session went; i talk about how i felt after taking or teaching a class.

i remember that i used to keep my yoga to myself. i would occasionally mention that i teach yoga classes to someone, but i didn't talk a lot about it. i think that i talk more about it now because i'm more confident. constantly talking about yoga, and getting words and support from others has really supported my development also.

over the past couple of weeks, the love of my life has been out of the country. yoga has helped me through the highs and lows i've experienced while he was gone. i found myself a little less confident in my teaching while he was gone, but i didn't really realize that it could have been due to the anxiety/lonliness i was feeling until reflecting back on the past 2 weeks. that could also be why i didn't find the time to blog during that time. i did use my other supports a lot, though. and i did talk a lot about my practice and my teaching over that time with those people as well.

so i'm just updating the blog. saying that things have been well, and even though i haven't been keeping up with the blogging, i'm forgiving myself for that. i'm allowing it to be ok, and being kind to myself. now that's living yoga-y.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

21-29.05.10 Never-ending Week, Circling UP

Fri: 20 mins; Sat: 1 hr w Martine, 1.5 hr teaching, personal day off; Sun: 25 mins; Mon: 25 mins, 1 hr teaching; Tues: 20 mins; Wed: 45 mins; Thurs: personal day off; Fri: 1 hr guided class; Sat: 25 mins

I've had so much trouble being in my body the past week. I've been depressed and lonely, mostly because Billy is going to the US for 10 days and he's had to be super-productive and worker-bee like for the past couple of weeks. I'm very sad that he is having to work so hard, but also that I haven't gotten to see much of him in this time before he has to leave. I've found that I have struggled to find time to complete anything, including my yoga practice. Everything has seemed hard this past week, hence the pause in blogging as well.

My life this past week has felt like Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)... but continually moving toward the centre of the pose. But yesterday I came around the bend. And today is not pouring rain, and I'm on the upswing. I found myself finding my reserves of energy yesterday and today--stopping to talk to people, offering kind words and encouragement to colleagues, and smiling at the world.

Last night I went to new type of yoga class--qi yoga. Only I didn't know that's what I was doing when I went to the class; I went to an instructor's class that I'll be covering for a couple of months to see how she led her class. I liked that it was flowing. But mostly I didn't like it at all. The class seemed much more Pilates-esque than yoga, and I didn't have the same feeling of connection with my body when I finished the class. I felt out-of-sync after the class, which I attribute to the breathing patterns we used. Instead of inhaling into updog and exhaling into downdog, we did the opposite. And cat/cow used the opposite breathing pattern that I'm familiar with also. After breathing in that way throughout the class, I was left feeling wrung-out as I left the room... but not in a good way.

Because of the experience I had last night, I spent my practice today in very long holds, really connecting to my breath and body. I also spent time doing alternate nose breathing to help balance myself back out. As I balanced myself today in my yoga practice, I'm seeking to balance the rest of my life over the next week. The past week of difficulty ends as I'm circling my way up today. Ending and beginning, circling, balancing.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

17-20.05.10 Resting and Shining

Monday: off; Tuesday: 1 hr guided class; Wed: off; Thurs: 30 mins

Monday I was tired. TIRED. So I decided to take the day off. Which was unusual. I didn't know why I felt so tired, but I knew I needed a break. Tuesday I felt uninspired and tired, and I knew I wouldn't be able to practice on my own, so I pushed myself into a lunchtime yoga class. I didn't really enjoy the class, but I remained present and stayed with it. When I tried to go to the gym Tuesday night, I only managed 20 mins of cardio before I felt extremely dizzy and had to stop. I was confused about what was going on, but I knew my body needed a break. So I went home. I started thinking that maybe I was premenstrual. And the next day I discovered I was right.

So, as Martine suggested, I decided to take Wednesday off as a first-day-of-my-menstrual-cycle holiday. I felt indulgent. Especially since I had taken Monday off as a pre-menstrual holiday (though I hadn't known that was the reason at the time). But it was like I was secretly giving myself a present; like no one else even knew about the present... but I still loved it.

I considered taking today off as well, but I felt energetic and wanted to do some more practice at dropping back. I did one against the wall and then two in the middle of the room. I felt so amazing after doing those dropbacks. I was giggly and ecstatic. The energy I saved over the past few days, and the energy I created in my practice this morning shone through my day today. I had a 1.5 hour presentation to give this afternoon and a cycling class to teach after it. In both situations, I had several people express their appreciation of me. I felt humbled and amazed by their comments. I really heard what they said, and I felt the reflection of their comments shine back out of myself.

The productivity and accomplishment I felt at everything in my day today was overwhelming. The positivity was a stark contrast to some of my days recently, and I felt like I was reaping the rewards of my yogic sowing. Maybe the resting contributed to the subsequent shining?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

13-16.05.10 Courage

Thursday: 1hr w/Martine; Fri: 45 mins personal, 45 mins guided class w/ Byron Yoga @ festival; Sat: off; Sun: 1 hr w/Martine, 30 mins personal

I've shown some courage through my yoga over the past few days, and I'm psyched about it!! Friday I went to a body mind spirit festival in Sydney. I hated the festival and thought it was terrible, but I went to see Byron Yoga and to take a class with them. Unfortunately, John Oglivie wasn't able to attend the conference, but I signed up to take the Friday evening class with the teacher who was there. I was nervous to participate in the class because I didn't know what type of class it would be, or how it would go. I went to the festival to try something new, though, so I did. The class ended up being very beginner since half of the class had never done yoga. I had no problem with the class, but most of the other students did. I really felt for the instructor because she had to say cues ten times in ten different ways... and the participants still weren't hearing what she was saying. I could see her struggling with how to get the participants to understand the class. After the class, I talked with her for a while about the struggles she had and discussed some strategies. I really enjoyed getting to know the instructor, and I think that we might get together to take some continuing education yoga courses in the future. So being brave on Friday resulted in a new friend!

Being brave today resulted in turning my mood upside down. I was really upset today after a fight with some loved ones over the weekend that still hasn't been resolved. I spent time with Martine this morning and then did my own personal practice later this afternoon. I found that I was so eager to escape my life today that I was totally inside of my yoga. I felt like I could do anything... and I did! I did dropbacks for the first time, and did three in a row. Then I worked on some handstands and on taking my legs straight up into headstand. I think I would've spent a few hours doing these things if I hadn't had to teach a Pilates class. As I walked into the Pilates class, though, I felt like a rock star. I felt like I was walking on air and suddenly there was no heaviness anywhere in my body.

The courage through my yoga has been rewarding. And now the next step is to take the courage back to my loved ones and talk some things out. I've seen what that courage can do, and I know it's worth it.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

12.05.10 Planning

asana: 15 mins; practicing yoga: all day

I'm reporting on my practice of staying present today. I planned to quiet my mind to ease my anxiety today. Each time I noticed myself moving ahead and planning, I said to myself, "Oh, planning mind!" What I found most amusing was that I told myself that at least 15 times before I even got to work.

On the walk and train home from work, I found myself saying it over and over again as well. As I laughed at myself and quieted my mind, I found myself thinking, "But what am I supposed to think about if I'm not planning?" Sure, it's easy to stay present when I'm focusing on breathing through an asana. But what if there isn't anything to really stay present with? That's much harder.

I did enjoy the halting of the planning. And I think that my day was probably less stressed than it would have been if I had been constantly planning. Tomorrow I'll try again. And I'll try to stay present even when there's "nothing" to stay present with.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

06-11.05.10 Stressed... behind on "life"

Thurs: 1hr yoga with Martine; Fri: 1hr yoga with Ruth; Sat: personal day off, 1.5 hr teach and 1 hr teach; Sun: 1 hr teach, 30 min meditate; Mon: 40 min skype yoga with sister, 1hr teach; Tues: 30 mins

My life could, at times, be a case study on stressful living. The past week I've been overextended, overworked, and have been teaching and participating in so many classes that today was the first "me" time I've really had in my yoga practice in a week. I love going to classes: learning new things and being guided toward further advances in my asana practice. However, when I'm part of a class, I don't have as much freedom to listen to what my body wants and needs.

After feeling stressed for the past week, I skipped a meeting and stayed home to do work today. I got more done than I have in several days. I felt good about what I had done and I also felt glad that I didn't need to teach any classes today. As I pondered how I would express myself yogically today, I found that I really just wanted to have fun and play. I wanted to try a few asanas I hadn't done in a while and explore where I was with some of my inversions.

I fully enjoyed all the yoga I've experienced over the past week--the classes I've taught, the classes I was in with Martine and Ruth, and especially the yoga I did with my sister via skype. But this time with me really released some of the stress over the past week.

I read an article in Yoga Journal later this evening about living life without worry and learning to ease anxiety. Practicing yoga and meditation are obviously part of this equation, as well as learning to dismiss external thoughts that enter my head while practicing those things. But what about doing that during the rest of my life? The article recommendation that I really liked was to recognize and dismiss those anxiety-producing thoughts as they enter my head with a mantra such as "oh, planning mind!" I don't know that I'll be able to do this in practice, but I *plan* to try.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

04-05.05.10 Trying new things

Tues: 25 mins yoga; Wed: 20 mins guided meditation

I've tried a few new things recently. Yesterday I tried a one-handed dropback (meaning I took one hand down a leg while diving the other hand over my head toward the floor). I did it on both sides and made it to the floor without falling. I couldn't believe that it worked, that I actually made it to the floor successfully!

Today, I was feeling physically tired. I decided to try the guided meditations that came with the most recent issue of Yoga Journal. I found that I was able to fully relax and enjoy the meditations. I didn't think that I would be able to; I was skeptical of how much I would be able to trust the CD and relax.

After both sessions where I tried new things, the main feeling I was left with was one of bravery. I felt like I had just made a life-changing decision or attacked a project I had been afraid to try.

As I reflect on these little mini acts of bravery, I realize that I can do things that I'm afraid of, that I am not sure I can do, and that I may not want to do. Realizing that I have courage, even though it's sometimes hidden or invisible, makes me feel more confident. Ready for tomorrow.

Monday, May 3, 2010

30.04-03.05.10 Yoga with Sara Kooperman!!

(Wed & Thurs off, travel); Fri: 60 mins guided, 30 mins personal; Sat: 75 mins guided; Sun: 75 mins guided; Mon: 30 mins peronal, 60 mins teaching

Friday through Sunday I attended FILEX (fitness conference) in Sydney. During a yoga session on Friday, Sara Kooperman (rockstar fitness instructor) used me as a model in the front row. She then asked me if I would demo with her at her sessions on Saturday and Sunday. Ummm, yes!

I felt so lucky to work with Sara while enjoying her teaching and company. She was so complimentary toward my yogaing, too: I'm sure a little too much ego was added to my practice. I felt prideful, excited, and empowered after talking and then teaching with Sara.

But I think that we all need a little dose of ego now and then. Wednesday and Thursday of last week were difficult for me--I had traveled all day Wednesday and taken a redeye home Wed night/Thursday morning. I was so tired Thursday that I had no energy for anything. That meant I had taken two days off from yoga--something I haven't done since I began a daily practice. When I went to the fitness conference on Friday, I wasn't feeling as strong as I normally feel. But hearing nice things from someone I really respect (Sara), and then being asked to co-teach, made me realize my strengths.

I think the universe was looking out for me and saw my faltering steps on Friday. And the universe sent me what I needed. Now (again) it's my turn; I'm aiming to pass things on to those who need it. I found one opportunity this morning: a barista was mocked and scorned by a coffee customer who thought that she "always made the coffee too strong." As I watched this woman roll her eyes and complain to the manager, I felt like hugging the girl behind the coffee machine. I couldn't reach over to her, but, as she handed me my coffee, I made sure to tell her, "Don't listen to that woman; I think you make great coffee." I saw the tension she had been holding on her forehead for the past three minutes dissolve. I saw her smile gratefully at me. And I felt like maybe her day was just a little better.

I don't think my karma debt is repaid yet; I doubt that karma debt is ever finished being paid, for that matter. And even if there was a finite amount of good karma that I could put out into the world, I wouldn't want to know when I reached it. The world is a better place when we all give as much of ourselves as we are genuinely able to share.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

21-27.04.10 Classes with Twee Merrigan

Wed: 90 min guided class; Thurs: 30 min personal, 60 min teaching; Fri: day off; Sat: 2 hr guided class (Twee), 1.5 hour assist; Sun: day off; Mon: 2.5 hr guided class (Twee); Tues: 20 min personal

So a majority of my yoga time over the past week has been in the bodymindlife studio with Twee. Almost 5 hours of my past week has been in that room with her, and I'm grateful for the time I spent there. I went into the classes not knowing anything about Twee, her teaching, or her personal philosophy. I took a chance on her class on Saturday, and felt my life changing in the class. I felt ignited and empowered. I found my inner superhero. And I'm pretty sure I bunnyhopped my hips right over my head (at least once!).

Her class left me feeling inspired as a teacher. I wanted to study more and learn more because of my experiences in that room. I also wanted to experience another class with her. So I also went to her Monday night class--a flowing meditation. This class was much more subdued, and didn't ignite anything inside of me. But it did open me up to myself and my emotions. While I didn't "like" the meditation class as much as the igniting class, I learned from it.

After the long meditation class last night, I was tired. I was still tired when I got up and went to an early meeting this morning. After the early meeting, I got bad news professionally. It was all I could do to make it back to my apartment later that afternoon. As soon as I got inside, I laid in my bed and spent an hour crying. After my cry, I went to the gym and then came home and practiced some yoga. I found myself returning to child's pose and putting my forehead to the floor, asking the universe for what I wanted, as we had done in last night's class. I offered myself to my practice, and thought about what else I could offer out into the world.

The first thing I did after that practice was walk in to hug Billy and thank him for all of his help and support. I thought of how I wanted to offer more of myself to him before I offered more to the rest of the world. He deserves the best of me, because he is always giving his best to me.

Reflecting back on my day, and what I made of it, I'm astonished at the way I was able to give into my emotions, experience them, and then move through the rest of my day and think about giving, instead of focusing on what I felt like I wasn't receiving. I think part of that is because of my daily practice, but I also think that the intense meditation last night was influential in my experiences today. Thank you for your guidance, Twee.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

19-20.04.10 Experiencing Disappointment

Mon: 30 mins personal; 1 hr teaching; Tues: 15 mins personal

I'm so tired. It's only 8pm and I slept nine hours last night. I have no reason to be so exhausted, but I am. It was certainly reflected in my half-hearted attempt to practice yoga this morning. I did a few sun salutations, tried some hamstring and back stretching, attempted some handstands, felt so tired I went to the floor for some reclining poses, and then just had to move to rest.

I intended to teach a class tonight and two tomorrow night. The two tomorrow night were part of a new organization's yoga start up. And someone else who was considering teaching for the organization was going to teach a class tonight and I was going to cover her old class this evening. However, today the new organization decided not to offer yoga classes. Thus, the other yoga teacher didn't need her class covered tonight. That meant I had a sudden night of freedom. But that's not how I saw it.

It was really hard for me to deal with this disappointment today. I have spent so much time investing in getting hired and ready to teach for that organization. Since I was so physically tired, I didn't want to practice more yoga this evening to help ease my disappointment. So instead, I challenged myself to think about my yoga-related disappointment from a yoga standpoint. The following thoughts resulted:

I don't have control over most things; I need to accept what is here and now. The disappointment is over. It has occurred and is in the past.

I have the ability to explore what I'm feeling inside and recognize, accept, and experience these emotions. It is uncomfortable to fully experience unpleasant emotions. But being present through all of my emotions is important in acknowledging my place within my world.

I need to be kind to myself as I wait for guidance to come from within. Tomorrow may bring new opportunities if I am open to them.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

13-18.04.10 Highlighting Paschimottanasana

Tues: 30 mins; Wed: 1.5 hour guided class; Thurs: 1 hr guided class; Fri: 30 mins personal; 1 hr teaching; Sat: 1.5 hour assisting (personal practice day off); Sun: 1.5 hour Mysore

The reason I try to blog every day is because I learn from each day of yoga. Each time I practice, I realize new things about myself or about the world; each time I assist I appreciate new things in myself and others. I am sad that I haven't had a chance to blog for almost a week because so many things have presented themselves to me.

However, I noticed something really interesting tonight since I was forced to think about the past week of yoga, instead of the past day or two. There has been a central theme to the yoga I've practiced this week: paschimottanasana (seated forward bend). All of the guided classes I took this week had people performing adjustments and helping the participants get further into asanas. Oddly enough, I received an adjustment in paschimottanasana on Wed, Thurs, and today (every class I attended). I feel the need to explore the roots of this asana some in my blog tonight, because I feel like there must be a reason for this asana's theme in my life.

Going to Yoga Journal's description, I learned that the following are benefits:
  • Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
  • Stretches the spine, shoulders, hamstrings
  • Stimulates the liver, kidneys, ovaries, and uterus
  • Improves digestion
  • Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause and menstrual discomfort
  • Soothes headache and anxiety and reduces fatigue
  • Therapeutic for high blood pressure, infertility, insomnia, and sinusitis
  • Traditional texts say that Paschimottanasana increases appetite, reduces obesity, and cures diseases.
And, maybe not-so-ironically, I was having significant trouble with some of these very things this week: stress, mild depression, menstrual problems, anxiety, and fatigue (yes, it has been a rough week!). I suppose that I could find that I need cures offered by most asanas. But other asanas were not central to my body this week. Paschimottanasana was.

I don't think that those symptoms have been cured because of the practicing of paschimottanasana. But I do think that the repeated assists that I've received this week are highlighting my need to pay attention to these symptoms.

We can all learn by paying attention to cues and clues in our yoga and in our world... I'll be on the lookout for my "next" paschimottanasana.

Monday, April 12, 2010

9.04.10-12.04.10 The upside-down cure

Fri afternoon: 1hr teaching; Sat: 1.5 hr assist; personal day off; Sun: 25 mins; Mon: 30 mins

So I'm about 99.9% sure that my lowered mood over the past few days is due to my swiftly approaching period. I actually hate admitting that, because I don't think that people should allow the act of menstruating to dictate what they can and cannot achieve. But over the past couple of years, I've noticed that I have a significant increase in number of episodes of agitation and sadness in the days approaching my period; my hormone levels are increasing or I've become more sensitive to them. While I don't like these effects, I know that they are natural and normal and that they are part of my body's response to being fertile. And I'm grateful for that and for the fact that I can recognize the emotional responses that I am experiencing.

All weekend I've been self-medicating, mostly with exercise, though I've also sprinkled in friends and treats. However, out of the numerous things I did and tried, only one had a significant impact: upside-down-ness.

Teaching Friday afternoon was one of the highlights of the weekend. Three young women attended the class I was covering. One was pregnant (probably 5-6 months), and I was pretty anxious about making the class a positive experience for her as well as the two other participants. I racked my brain to change the class plan over and over and add more options so that the woman who was pregnant could better participate. I noticed throughout the class that the other two women were both relatively inexperienced with yoga (though they both said they practiced regularly) and relatively unwilling to try things they hadn't tried before (as they stared and smiled as I suggested trying different options). Near the end of class, I decided to try to challenge them a little and suggested that while the woman who was pregnant took her legs up the wall, that I teach the two of them to do headstands. They were both hesitant (and made sure to tell me that they couldn't do them), but I took them through the steps and had both of them up in headstands within a few minutes. Neither of them verbally said anything about going into the headstands, but I could tell by their body language and energy that they were thrilled with their attempts. Once the class had ended, I was left with a little anxiety about what else I could have done to facilitate full class involvement at certain points. But I was also beyond ecstatic at the success of the headstanders. I left the studio smiling and couldn't stop. I told Billy all about the class as soon as I met up with him for dinner afterward.

The other highlight of my weekend was the numerous handstands I attempted and the few I succeeded at holding for a few or several breaths. Of course the wall was there, but since I've only been able to get my hips over my head for a little over a week, holding handstands against a wall is still super exciting! I worked on handstands Saturday with Martine, Sunday, and then today. My wrists actually began hurting this morning after all the time I had been spending with my weight on them, so I finally rested on the floor and massaged my wrists and hands.

So every time I got excited or was able to feel better this weekend, it was due to inversions. Shifting my perspective literally cured my premenstrual mood swings over and over. Good to know.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

09.04.10 Seriously

Thurs: 1 hr with Martine; Fri: 20 mins

Yesterday morning I had a beautiful practice with Martine and I felt rejuvenated afterward and was able to finish a huge amount of work that I had to finish. I worked until past midnight on things last night. Today I was depleted and out of gas; when I woke up and tried to work, I felt stuck. My mood was low and I was still feeling very stressed.

I went to the gym this morning and then spent 20 minutes doing some yoga. I tried to kick my energy up by focusing on some backbends. Then I worked on my handstand. I must've tried kicking up a million times. I knew I was close, because I kept feeling my hips catch. I've never kicked up and stayed up by myself; just with someone standing there to help me catch my hips (and only that over the past week!). All of the sudden, there was nothing else I wanted to do . I couldn't move on; I couldn't try something else. I KNEW I could do it, but I felt really frustrated. I just wanted to get my legs over my head! I had to stop and rest a few times. After resting one of those times, I started to laugh at how serious I was being, at how hard I was pushing. The next time I tried, still laughing, I kicked right up. I stayed upside down for several breaths, smiling and still laughing at myself.

What a good lesson for the rest of my life. Sometimes I just need to back off a little, relax, and then ease slowly back into it.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

07.04.10 Vacation and Un-vacation

Fri: 20 min; Sat: 40 min with Billy in park; Sun: 60 min in park; Mon: 40 min in park; Tues: 25 min; Wed: 25 min

Fri through Mon was a long weekend. We drove to Coff's Harbour for the weekend and stayed in a hostel there. We spent most of our time exploring, but I also got to spend time exploring my yoga practice in a beautiful location. Each day that I was in Coff's Harbour, I practiced in a park right next to the ocean. I could see, hear, smell, feel, and even taste the sea around me. I love practicing outside, and especially next to the ocean. I feel like I'm connected to the earth when all of my senses are experiencing it as I practice. It is so easy to get into a practice and to feel connected with everything around me.

Since I've been back, I've felt overwhelmed, though. I've been trying to get a lot of work done, haven't had time for a long yoga practice, and haven't been able to make it to a yoga class at my favorite studio. I feel like the yoga I've had time for has been stressed as well: I'm trying to cram it in, enjoy it, and find time to reflect back on it as well. Sometimes it is hard to carve out spaces of time for everything I need and want to do in a day.

To counteract my hurried feelings, I tried to pause several times throughout my day for mini-vacations. I took a few opportunities today to reflect, meditate, and breathe. Even though I only did this a few times, I noticed the effects pretty significantly after each attempt. Incorporating yogic philosophy throughout my day (not just during asana practice) seems hard when I think about it as another task. But it turns out it's pretty easy: it takes the "un" out of un-vacation, even if just for a few minutes.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

01.04.10 Frustration, relieved

1hr class with Martine; 45 minutes personal practice with Martine

Can I just say, "OMG!"??? Because that's what I feel like today: pretty freakin' excited. I've been working on "breaking" my handstand for quite a while. I definitely did not "break it" today, but I had a breakthrough! I kicked my legs up over my head to the wall--and got them to stay up! All thanks to Martine's trick: bend my second leg as I kick up so that the weight of the straight leg doesn't pull me back down.

I have never been good at getting my legs over my head. When I was in gymnastics as a pre-teen, I had lots of strengths, but cartwheels (one of the "easier" tricks) were never one of them. I went through all of my childhood, adolescence, and adult life without ever completing an actual cartwheel. There is some mental block that keeps me from kicking my legs over my head. I've been able to tackle headstands, but that doesn't involve any kicking. So kicking my legs up over my head today was a (if I may borrow a now infamous quote) big fucking deal.

As Martine and I sat meditating and sealing our practice, I began to cry. I think the tears resulted from relief of a lifelong frustration. Although I recognized that I had been upset by not achieving a handstand yet, I didn't realize how much it had been bothering me until the frustration was relieved. The weight that was lifted left me feeling softer; like I could care for myself and ease other frustrations in my life.

Tonight, before blogging, I was talking to a friend about some disappointments in my life. Now, as I write this and reflect back on my day, I see (again) how lessons from my yoga practice translate and are applicable to everything I do. I'm so thankful that I'm able to practice every day, because where would I be without my practice?

Stuck standing on my feet instead of my hands, that's where.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

24-31.03.10 Sisterly

24th: 45 mins with sister; 25th: off; 26th: 35 mins with sister; 27th: 90 mins class with sister and Martine; 28th: 30 mins; 29th: 30 mins with sister on beach; 30th: 30 mins with sister and 20 mins alone, cardio day off; 31st: 20 mins

Ahhhhhhh! I feel very overwhelmed. I have so much to write about from the last week of yoga. Since Shayna and I were packing every day full of sisterly bonding, I didn't have a chance to blog about what was going on; I really missed the blogging aspect of my practice because it allows me that extra period of reflection. Over the past week several amazing yogic events occurred: I helped Shayna do her first yoga headstand and handstand, I broke my walk up & down the wall wheel, I practiced yoga in beautiful places and with beautiful people (SEE PHOTOS OF SISTER AND I!!), and I was able to turn to my practice when I felt anxious and upset about Shayna leaving.

Shayna and I practiced yoga yesterday morning before I had to take her to the airport. We spent half an hour practicing and ended in savasana. I talked us through a meditation where I had us visualizing our spirits hovering above our bodies, reaching out through time and space, across oceans and mountains. After we completed our practice, we came to a seated position where I immediately began crying. We then talked about practicing yoga together over skype, or by practicing at the same time in different hemispheres. Knowing that these things were possible gave me the strength I needed to take her to the airport.

However, the rest of the day was pretty difficult. I had trouble concentrating on work; I didn't have the energy to go to the gym (shock!!); and I felt lifeless and lackadaisical all evening. As I was nearing my bedtime, I got up and started a short but energetic yoga practice. I needed to sweep out some of the emotions that had been building throughout the day, and exhaust myself into sleep.

Today I found myself feeling Shayna's absence everywhere. I felt stressed being back at work and panicked about getting to everything I wanted to do today. After going to the gym tonight, I attacked my practice in the same way I did last night--with zeal and vigor. I spent time clearing the cobwebs out of my head.

Now I find myself enjoying the time of reflection of the past week and reliving my sister experiences. Missing her still, but enjoying the memories and feeling her presence in my home and my soul.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

21-23.03.10 Ignoring and its Consequences

21.03.10 Yoga Time: 30 minutes with sister in park
22.03.10 Yoga Time: 30 minutes
23.03.10 Yoga Time: 25 minutes + 15 minutes adjusting on sister

Walking through the Blue Mountains is exhausting; especially when I haven't walked for 6 weeks. I realized over the past two days that my calves have been very underused over the past 6 weeks. Even though I've tried to remain active, my calves just aren't used to walking. After arriving home from the Blue Mtns today, I used my yoga to focus on stretching my legs and relaxing my ankle and foot. Shayna was also sore, so after I practiced, I assisted her in some leg-stretching asanas before dinner.

My practice has been going well over the past few days, and the visit with sister is amazing. However, I have had a lot of trouble dealing with the calf soreness yesterday and today. I've noticed that my mood has been profoundly affected by this minor frustration. After spending time meditating on it after my asana practice, I came to the following: 1. I expected to be able to walk without hesitation after 6 weeks on crutches, and 2. I expected that if anything would be sore, it would be my foot. I can recognize that these may not have been realistic expectations. However, the discrepancy between these expectations and my sore calves is harsh. I suppose it is a reminder that I need to take things slowly and experience my body as it is; to stop ignoring things that I'm feeling and tune in.

My goal for tomorrow is to listen.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

18-20.03.10 Welcoming Sister

18.03.10 60 minutes with Martine
19.03.10 25 minutes
20.03.10 25 minutes with Sister

I've been preparing for my sister to arrive since I found out she was coming a few weeks ago, but I have been really prepping the past two days. I have been so excited, but I have also been very anxious. I wanted Shayna's trip to go well, I wanted her to feel rested when she arrived, I wanted to make sure that she felt comfortable and had fun while here, and I wanted my foot to be healed so that we could hike and explore Sydney. Even though I wanted nothing more than to see her, I was anxious about so many things.

On Thursday and Friday I was doing little things around the house to prep for her arrival while trying to accomplish a lot of work so that I could relax over my week off next week. My yoga practice over the past two days was distracted but powerful. I didn't feel really connected to it, but I was aiming a lot of energy into it. I felt strong throughout my practice, but a little off balance at times.

This morning we picked Shayna up. Everything went smoothly, and we ended up having a beautiful day. Shayna practiced yoga with me this evening before dinner, and we spent some time exploring a few yoga asanas together. I felt more relaxed than I had in a while, and I began to ease into the practice and enjoy seeing my sister there next to me. Like the practice I shared with Natalie a few days ago, I enjoyed the role of teacher-participant. It is one of guidance-- but in a more casual and personal way; it is sharing a part of myself with someone who is important to me. Sharing my personal practice with people that I'm really close to feels very intimate to me, and I look forward to practicing with Sister several times over the next week.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

16-17.03.10 Reflecting on Yogic Life

16.03.10, Tuesday: 90 mins Guided Class
17.03.10, Wednesday: 75 min personal practice with a friend

Last night I practiced at my favorite studio (bodymindlife--Rozelle). I especially liked it because there were 2-3 people assisting in the class. I haven't taken a class that had an assistant in it since I've begun assisting in Martine's classes. It was nice to experience the assisting from the other side of the class. I didn't focus much on the assistants, since I was practicing, but I did tune into them a few times to notice how they touched participants during the sun salutes. Since I always feel uncomfortable touching people during those, I watched to see what they did. (They walked around and gently touched heads or caressed spines.) Something else that I realized throughout the class was how little I noticed them (even though I was trying to pay some attention to what they were doing). This actually reassured me that I am probably not as intrusive as I sometimes feel while walking around a class.

Today I wanted to share my yoga practice, and so I talked aloud through my personal practice with a friend, Natalie. I didn't focus on her practice, because I wasn't really teaching her; I was practicing with her. It was really enjoyable to just share my time on the mat with a close friend. I noticed that the time flew by. We had 75 minutes until we needed to move on with our evenings, but it seemed to me that we only spent a few minutes on the mat. When I checked the time part way through our practice, I was shocked at how much time had passed. I think that the time seemed to go especially quickly because of the positive energy I felt radiating between Nat and I.

Last night I spent time reflecting on my yoga practice and how I've been feeling lately. The conclusion that I came to was that I am not feeling yogically balanced in how I am living my life. Nothing specific sparked this feeling; rather, I observed the critical lens through which I typically view the world. I often analyze people, including myself, and judge them (& myself) harshly. I don't often do anything with this judgement but hold it in my head. Last night I recognized that my act of judging is un-yogic. It hit a little hard; I felt like I had slammed into a wall. Having to continually hold all of these judgements is a heavy practice.

Tonight, reflecting back on that realization, I also see the harshness with which I judged myself for judging. And so I go back to the need to treat myself (and others) with kindness. Coming out of my practice with Natalie tonight, I felt light and uplifted. Through the practice with her, I was able to release some judging I had done throughout the day. I also paid special attention to not judge the practice: when I felt unstable in my attempts at headstand during our practice, I told myself to release the instant critical thoughts that arose. And, for the most part, I did.

Like all aspects of yoga, practice makes perfect.

Monday, March 15, 2010

15.03.10 My Edge: bared

Yoga Time: 20 mins
I read something from Yoga Journal today that I really connected with:

"The real measure of practice is whether, little by little, we can find our edge, that place where we're closed down in fear, and allow ourselves to experience it. This takes courage, but courage isn't about becoming fearless. Courage is the willingness to experience our fears. And as we experience our fears, courage grows. Noticing our edge and trying to meet it also allows us to develop compassion, not just for ourselves but for the whole human drama" (http://www.yogajournal.com/practice/932?utm_source=Wisdom&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=wis148).

I know that I have places inside that I ignore, push away, and refuse to deal with. Traditionally, my go-to coping mechanism has been avoidance. However, over the past couple of months, I have noticed that I'm not avoiding so many things. I'm actively tackling problems and talking through issues to find solutions. Or finding a place that I can be comfortable with something.

I can directly relate this courage in my life to my progression of headstands and in my attempts at handstands in my practice. And I think the only reason that I've reaped the benefits of practice in my daily life is because of the time for contemplation that I've been taking in the blog. I usually look forward to my practice, but sometimes I feel annoyed at having to write about it. But after sitting down and beginning to write, I often find that I have something important to say or to relate from my practice.

I realize that this meditation on my yoga is a necessary part of cultivating a daily practice that means something in my life. What good is finding an edge, or facing a fear, if there is no identification or reflection?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

13-14.03.10 Jealous much?

13.03.10 Teaching time: 1.5 hr; Personal Practice: day off
14.03.10 Assisting time: 1 hr; Meditation: 30 mins; Personal Practice: 20 mins

I taught a class I felt really proud of yesterday. Which is probably something that a yoga teacher shouldn't feel. But I felt like the class went really well, and I felt like I was in tune with participants and challenged and pushed as appropriate. Maybe instead of "proud" I should say that we shared a rewarding practice.

Then I assisted Martine today. After watching a few of the people in her class as I was assisting, though, I felt that old feeling of jealousy creeping up. I noticed it as I felt it arising. I tried to determine whether I was really jealous, or whether I was just admiring the students. I decided it was admiration. But then, later that afternoon, I felt the urge to practice a few of the things that I saw others doing so well today; I felt the need to improve on some of my poses.

After working toward dropbacks, handstands, and headstand options, I laid in savasana. Reflecting on my practice, I felt angry at myself for practicing things because of jealousy. I felt like I shouldn't have let the jealousy get to me the way that it did.

Reflecting on my practice now, though, I can also recognize that other people probably feel some amount of jealousy when watching me teach or in classes I participate in. I know everyone has different strengths in their practices, that everyone's practice is constantly evolving, and that it doesn't make sense to compare my practice to anyone else's. So I've decided to be unjealous. From here on out. And to let my practice evolve in its own right.

Friday, March 12, 2010

12.03.10 Back

Yoga Time: 30 mins

After my yoga practice today, I spent a few minutes meditating. I practiced the meditation I taught last Sunday: the one where the senses are cut off from the outside work by focusing on 12 points up and down the body. I was amazed at the amount of concentration it took, and about how I lost sight/thought of everything else in the process. I ran up and down the points pretty quickly, and I felt exhausted afterward. After going up and down quickly about 4 times, I spent a few minutes just blissed out in savasana. My mind was completely still, and my body felt at ease.

Since yesterday was such a stressful day, I spent most of today recovering. I worked, but from home. I worked out hard--quieting and softening the intense thoughts in my head. I got my hair cut, and almost fell asleep while sitting in the chair. I think that the intense emotions of yesterday really hit me hard. After running through the meditation, it was like I was just... done. Then, when I got up from savasana, my whole body felt like jelly, and I felt like I was finally tuned back into my body. It took a lot of craziness, but here I am. I'm here; I'm back.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

10-11.03.10 Breaking the Cycle?

10.03.10 Wednesday, Yoga Time: 20 mins
11.03.10 Thursday, Yoga Time: 90 mins (class with Persia)

Yesterday (Wednesday) I continued the 20 minute physical thing I had done the past couple of days. After the practice I didn't feel super refreshed, and I was mad at myself for continuing the cycle I wanted to break out of. I couldn't bring myself to blog about the practice, and that made me feel even more out of touch with myself.

Today I wanted to totally break out of it, so I went to a class in Rozelle that I could drive to. Persia started the class by talking about her mother's recent beginning yoga practice and her success and weight loss after years of being obese. She was tearful and encouraged us all to find a little of our dreams in the class today. I thought about the power I wanted to harness and use i the class. Persia taught a pretty strong class, and I felt confident and strong throughout it. I tried a new variation of bow pose, and that was exciting. When she saw me on crutches after the class, she commented on the grace of my practice, and I felt accomplished and yogi. I felt like I had broken the cycle of the past few days.

However, after class several bad things happened, including my car's brakes quitting. I made it home, but spent most of the afternoon crying. I couldn't seem to shed enough tears. I was feeling really frustrated about several things, but especially about not being able to get around (again).

I had to leave the house later in the day and had to allow twice as much time to get around on crutches, and then had to use a cab from the train station. When I got home, I caught my reflection in the mirror and saw how sad it looked. I remembered my challenge to myself from a few blogs ago: to turn something really upsetting upside down.

So here I am, tryig to figure out how I can turn my day around. I spent some time meditating about karma in the universe. Since I was feeling like I've had so many negative things occur in my life lately, I thought about how I could try to continue to put out positive vibes while waiting for my life's energy to correct itself. I know that negative things cannot continue without end. So I'm sending warm fuzzies out. And hoping some come back.