Thursday, October 11, 2012

thinking myself happy

sometimes i get really freaking stuck in my head. like not just a little stuck. but like really. freaking. stuck. my mind spirals a bit, and i get sucked into its little loop-de-loop, and before i know it, i'm trapped. when it happens, sometimes i'm at a loss for how i got there, and everything seems a bit like dorothy's front yard.

but then, about a month ago i started keeping a gratitude diary (there's totes an app for that!), and i've become obsessed with it. every night i make sure to enter at least one thing that i've been grateful for that day. some days it is hard, i admit. i have to get a bit creative some days like "thanks for.... cancelled meetings." but some days it is super easy, and i have several things that i'm thankful for.

even on the hard-to-find-gratitude days, though, reading back over the previous few days' posts makes me smile and remember that i do have awesome things in my life. even reading the little ones (pumpkin soup! scented nail polish!) gives me a little more buoyancy.

today is an easy day. i'm thankful for some freaking amazing friends today. i'm thankful for my mostly-recovered health today. and i'm super thankful for the ability to keep being thankful.

Friday, June 29, 2012

fear is just fear

"fear is just fear," someone said to me last night. well, duh. what else would it be? fear is fear! and it is scary. it gets in your way. it holds you back. in fact, it can be pretty fucking crippling at times!

but, then i thought about it a little more. she was right. fear is just fear. fear is... just fear. fear is: just fear! it isn't reality. it isn't happening. it isn't even more likely to happen than the alternative!

which is weird, because the amount of attention that we focus on fear would imply that it is a definite--that it is something we need to prepare several months for. but, in fact, whatever fear we have about a situation is only one side of the coin. what about the other awesomeness that might happen--the other awesome outcomes that we haven't even considered?

i'm not saying we shouldn't fear things. because the absence of fear isn't exactly a good thing. fear is an evolutionary mechanism; we need fear. but over-analyzing and focusing on fear can be counter-productive.

so, my new challenge: every time you feel fearful of a decision, a situation, or a possibility, consider the amazing outcomes that are also possible. ...and then, every time you feel the fear creeping in, balance it out with the amazing and awesome possibilities.

balancing fear with awesomeness is just one more step of moving our yoga asana practice into our lives and being a little more balanced in general.

because, after all, fear is just, well, fear.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

results vs cost

this morning, after teaching a yoga class, a regular in my fitness and yoga classes came up to ask me some questions about losing weight: what was my routine; how could she drop those last couple of pounds? this isn't unusual, and i have a standard response i usually give. but, knowing that this woman was one of the most fit participants i work with, i was a little concerned. as i began to answer, i sensed that there might be a little more behind the question.

she explained how she was trying to lose weight for an important upcoming occasion in her life, and how she has been eating 1500 calories a day and spending 2-3 hours at the gym (before and after work) for the past several months. her frustration was apparent as she explained that she had initially lost some weight, but that she hadn't lost any for the past couple of months, and that she had actually gained a pound this past week.

i took some time to explain to her fluctuations in our bodies, and the fact that muscle weighs more than fat. i also explained that she actually needed more calories to sustain the amount of activity she was doing--even to lose weight, her body actually needs more calories. i cushioned this information, telling her i knew it was hard to hear.

that's when she started crying and told me about how her partner wanted to see "results!" he expected to see a change in the scale numbers if they were paying so much for her gym memberships and losing out on so much time together. i suggested that a scale wasn't the best way to see these "results" and reminded her of the story she had told me the week before about how she had out-adventured her partner while they were on vacation. she has stamina, endurance, is healthy... and looks great. can the scale measure that? there are many better measures of fitness... and of happiness.

the story she told me about her partner brought tears to my eyes, and i was reminded of a hurtful experience in my own life. at one point in my life i had gained some weight and then worked hard to lose it. i had lost more weight than i had put on, and was feeling happy with my body. i was with my boyfriend at a large mall and i was trying on a dress. i couldn't decide between two sizes, and my boyfriend said "well you might as well buy the smaller one, because you're going to keep losing weight, right?" i didn't NEED to lose any more weight, but that comment burned itself into my brain. i didn't let it upset me outwardly, but that now-ingrained sense of "why not lose just a little bit more?" feels strongly connected to that day.

having a partner suggest that you need to change is hard to hear. but when it is unfounded, or perhaps spoken from a place of alternate purpose, it can be devastating to hear.

so when i heard this beautiful woman sharing a piece of her story with me, a piece that resonated so strongly with harmful consequences in my own life, i felt my heart breaking for her. i hugged her. i told her to cut back a little on the exercise and sneak in a few more calories. i told her to look for a little more balance... while saying i didn't have the answers, and i still needed more balance. my heart was breaking for her, but it was also re-breaking for me. for that part of my inner self that i am not very compassionate with. for that part that i don't forgive and hold accountable for every calorie. for that part that doesn't ever get a day off.

talk about a hard start to the day! i began to notice my inner rage at the expectation of perfection. of people expecting their partners to be perfect. at media teaching us there is only one acceptable size and shape. at society for reinforcing that message.

but mostly at myself for buying into it. no matter how much i outwardly shame the thin ideal, the dieting culture, the fitness crazes, my brain is still stuck in it.

oddly enough (or perhaps not coincidentally at all), the yoga class i had just finished teaching when this conversation happened had a theme of balance and inner stillness. this morning we worked on balancing poses throughout the flow, looking for bits of stillness in our breath and our practice all along the way. so now i can go back to that theme, and look for the pause between the thoughts. look for that little bit of space that will soften the thoughts and the anger. i know this will offer compassion. that this will bring some peace. (need some inner peace or compassion? meditate with me!)

and my fingers are crossed for every other individual who is struggling, in whatever way. my compassion is with you today. x

Saturday, January 21, 2012

all shook up (schedule)

billy and i moved to a new area of sydney. as part of the move, i transitioned all of the fitness classes i was teaching to be near my new home. talk about a shake up. while new things are exciting, they're also many other things... potentially scary, stressful, full of unknown.

so far, i'm loving my shake up! if you're in the mood for shaking things up, the new classes and locations are below. i'd love to see you at one sometime soon!

New Schedule!!
Mondays: 7pm Yoga, at Genesis
Tuesdays: 6pm Yoga, at Gold's
...and lots of covering...

and, if you can't make it to a class in person, or if you feel a bit too shaken already, you can always visit one of my online offerings: spring teaches online! because, after all, what's better for treating a shake up than a little bit of yoga bliss?

love to you all!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

newy newness

omigoodness. it's 2012, a new year! how did that happen?!

confession: i'm not one of those amazing environmentalist yogis who repurposes every single thing and only buys what she needs. i reuse, i recycle... but i also buy a lot of clothes, shoes, accessories, you name it. i love new things. new, shiny, shimmery things.

and now it's a new year. hooray! it's new: un-damaged, un-tarnished, and un-dirtied. i can put it on, strut around in it, and make it my own. i love the anticipation of wearing a new dress or a funky new ring. i love seeing how people react to it. i love finding out how the fabric feels and drapes over the course of the night.

and, as much as i love new things, new things can be a bit scary. there are so many unknowns. how will it wear? how will it stand the test of time?

one of the ways we deal with unknowns is to plan and to make alternate arrangements, just in case. in some ways, that is what new year's resolutions are. they help you plan what you'll do in the new year, where you'll go, and how you'll get there.

but let me posit a counterpoint. new year's resolutions are also expectations. and, in yoga, we try to let go of expectations--to just breathe and enjoy the ride.

i'm not saying that resolutions are a bad thing, or that they aren't helpful. but i'm someone that really struggles with letting go of expectations; i like making plans. i live on lists.

and so this year, i'm not making any resolutions. not because i'm perfect, and not because i don't have things to work on. (although, there aren't enough messages telling us how amazing we are, or that we don't need to change to deserve to be happy and loved. maybe i should be writing a manifesto against resolutions!)

the reason i'm not making any resolutions is because i want to just try this year out, and see how it fits. i want to explore this new year as it unfolds. i want to see what happens. i want to enjoy the newness and watch it glimmer.

so no resolutions for me. i'm just going to breathe.