Life · Yoga

Its a bit of a mind flip

Heres a little honesty to start off Friday. Teaching yoga looks/sounds like a lot of fun…and guess what?  It is! But it’s also a lot of work. And sometimes no matter how prepared you are for class, how much effort you put in to planning and practicing your sequences, how hard you try during class to be clear and succinct with your cues (but also funny and engaging) or how badly you want to stay on track, not skip postures and finish at the same time as your killer playlist…it just doesn’t happen. AND THATS OK 👌🏻.

I’ve taught a total of 8 classes so far. That’s all by myself, open the front door, turn on the lights, heat and music and guide students through a one hour class solo – not including the free co unity round robin classes I taught during training. I’ve forgotten whole postures (extended side angle in Sun B and Pigeon seem to be my kryptonite), I’ve been challenged by right and left (teaching at different studios make directions difficult), I didn’t set an intention (once) and I’ve been told that I get a little monotone in certain portions. AND THAT’S ALL OK! 👌🏻

This week, I taught a class at my home studio and a couple of my fellow teachers attended. As is the Corepower practice, after class we ask for feedback, which i’m all for…how else can you be expected to grow, right? But the problem for someone who’s as thin skinned as I am and who’s emotions are always right at the surface is sometimes positive, offered with the best intensions yet constructive criticism, still stings a little bit. As I left class that night, George was waiting for me and asked how it went. My  response (based on the criticism) was not so great 😪. But then, a guy who had been in that class and was walking just behind us said, “It was great for me! I made it through and I just started taking yoga.”

So, I’ve been harboring a little self doubt and I admit I brought some of those “stories I tell myself” into my class last night. Guess what? It wasn’t awful, it was actually pretty good. My students got a good 1 hour practice, were challenged and perhaps most importantly enjoyed themselves. AND THATS OK! 👌🏻

In a bizarre mash up of two of my favorite movies, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Pirates of the Caribbean, my intention for today’s 2 classes is a bit of a mind flip…The problem isn’t the problem, the problem is your reaction to the problem.

I don’t think I’ve ever quoted Riff Raff and Capt. Jack Sparrow in the same sentence before, but when you’re right, your right! 🙏🏻

 

 

 

Boogie · Life · Yoga

Boogie…Do You Wanna Do Doga?

So evidently, Doga is a thing. No, seriously, I found Yoga Postures to do With Your Dog  and More Doga on Pinterest (the greatest time sink of all time, maybe even bigger than Facebook). There are actually several books available on Amazon, but Doga: Yoga for You and Your Dog  looks to be the leading resource! I can’t wait to practice with Boogie!

I’ve been thinking a lot about yoga and professionalism. Coming from 30+ years in the corporate and non profit world, I’ve found one of my biggest challenges has been relaxing into the laid back (transient?) life of  a yogi. Namaste?

I found  The Yoga Teacher Manifesto (on Pinterest, of course). Here are a few of the points that really spoke to me, but the whole article is a worthwhile read for all yogis, new or seasoned.

1. Be prepared – demonstrate competency by being organized and professional.

2. Serve your students – it’s about them. Maintain student confidentiality and appropriate professional boundaries.

3. Make yourself available – connect with students after class, return emails and phone calls in a timely way.

4. Keep it real – Be a positive example of authenticity. Don’t just pretend to be a yoga teacher. Instead be yourself.

5. Remember this is not a popularity contest – stop competing with fellow teachers and avoid the humble brag or other ways of comparison.

6. Show up and be present – put aside your drama and tune in to those students in front of you.

In other news…The yoga goddesses had my back today! I started this journey last spring with the goal in mind that I would be a Sculpt teacher –  combo strength + conditioning with yoga. Well, long story short – the YS Teacher Training wasn’t being offered, so I took the full on 200-hour PYTT thinking I’d still be able to teach Sculpt. Unfortunately that’s not how it works at CPY and I just couldn’t  justify the expense of a second teacher training. I was teetering on the edge today of just begging George to let me take the course. With all of the YS sub requests, I’d more than make back the investment. And then, it happened…a weekend Intensive for YS teachers in Baltimore! Proof positive, if you put it ou there the universe takes care of you. Excited! Can’t wait to hear my “hooah” teacher voice!

Namaste for now 🙏🏻

 

Cooking With Gas · Life · Running Girl · Yoga

I’m back – and thinking about yoga and frogs and soup

Today’s the day that I realized what’s missing. I haven’t been blogging since PYTT ended in August and I miss the outlet of putting my thoughts to paper.

I’m sitting in my brand new “zen den” listening to music and working on sequences for my upcoming classes, in my favorite comfy chair that’s been buried under stuffed animals, abandoned blankets and once favorite, but not so much anymore t-shirts for almost 2 years. Ok, the zen den is really just the second bedroom, cleaned out, minus the lumpy mattress with the split box springs that I had to buy to fit up the stairs of the townhouse in Baldwinsville in 2011. It has a nice open space for me to practice, my comfy chair for reading and writing and all of our comforters folded in the corner that make a perfect nest for Boogie to keep an eye on me. It’s not the perfect home studio, but my little temporary zen den is perfect for now – it’s all mine and it holds the promise of a future zen den. A zen den that will have soothing earth tone walls with stenciled woo woo yogi quotes, a meditation pillow and blankets and a giant Manduka yoga mat. My future zen den will smell like essential oils, have lots of light and hardwood floors. I can’t wait.

So, I graduated from PYTT (and completed Extensions) and it was hard. Much harder than I expected; especially teaching the free community classes. Not so much because I wasn’t capable of teaching, but I put so much pressure on myself to compete with the other yogis2b (my OMies), that every class, every coaching session, every partner teach became an anxiety ridden practice in self doubt. Argh. I need to work on the stories I tell myself.

Nonetheless, I began teaching for real this week! Two classes at Vita and one C1 at CPY under my belt. I also have an audition/practice teach at Feels Like OM this Sunday. Right now, permanent schedule looks to be:

Sunday 2:30 Open Flow at Feels Like OM
Monday 7pm Vita
Friday 4:45 C1 at CPY Fairfax Corner
Saturday 8:30a Vita

Saturday – my first class at Vita – was a complete newbie. I can’t say I FAILED, but clearly I could have done more for her, especially since it was just us. What I did was power through the C1 practice. In hindsight, I should have just picked out the Sun A and Sun B postures and had a posture clinic. If she had mastered those she most likely would’ve felt more accomplished and empowered. I hope she comes back this week. Monday’s Vita class was better – 2 experienced yogis and a newbie. We got through C1. Then the real teat, I subbed C1 at Merrifield for Kimberly. I read a quote by Mark Twain once; “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day!” Merrifield was my live frog…Friday, my first class at Fairfax Corner can only get better!

I just made the most unbelievable pot of soup! I forgot to suspend the From the Farmer basket and ended up with leeks, potatoes and cabbage. Fortunately, I still had the leftovers and carcass from Monday’s “go to chicken!” Voila…homemade stock and a delicious pot of chicken/veggie/rice soup for dinner! I love being creative in the kitchen (and Boogie loves chicken).

Upcoming goals…just 4 more weeks till the Annapolis Half. Training runs need to be a priority, the Army 10 Miler was tough! I also want to test in to teach C2 at CPY; lots more opportunity to sub in C2. Designing sequences that I can practice with the Vita clients.

 

Life

Clothing and Title Optional

So its been almost 6 months since I “left” the full time, traditional workforce. I’ve bonded with our dog, gone on a couple awesome vacations, earned my RYT-200 certification and signed up for the Extensions and Hot Power Fusion advanced teacher trainings…now what? I know! It’s time to cobble together a plan for the future. I started to say “for the rest of my life,” but honestly I don’t want to think that far out.

I’ve learned a lot about myself over the last 6 months, both on and off the mat. My biggest takeaway by far? I am happier and healthier living in the present, honoring the moment, embracing the pause between actions and reactions and allowing myself the chance to breathe. I also learned that I love my freedom. I love the flexibility (and George’s support) to choose who, what, where and when I commit myself. I love nurturing my body, mind and spirit with things that make me feel whole and complete, rather than sweating my ass off (figuratively) to enrich someone else’s bottom line.

This week is a perfect example. George needed to be in Syracuse for meetings, so Boogie and I tagged along. We went to the New York State Fair with friends (I went twice!), I located and practiced at a super chill local studio (that I loved) and we spent time with George’s granddaughters (which was way overdue). I also had 2 phone interviews and an email exchange for my professional yoga practice (kids yoga? studio practice?), began the self study portion of Coach’s Training for the Girls on the Run team I’m coaching this fall and started a blog for the Trottin’ Oxen (our running club). Except for the junk food diet belly bulge and a little digestive distress, it’s been awesome.

I’ve also learned a valuable lesson or two about friendship. Months ago, I read an article on one of the yoga blogs I regularly visit about what happens after you make yoga a lifestyle. The author said “you begin to lose some old friends who just don’t understand or embrace your new life and gain friends who are part of your new yogi community.” When I originally read that, I thought that could never happen to me; I knew my friends (near and far/old and new). They are (were?) incredible and they support (supported?) everything I do. Guess what? Score one for the yoga blogger. I’ve lost a few friends. Some of whom probably weren’t friends as much as acquaintances and others that were no more than friends of convenience; people who I shared a common interest or professional connection. But on the flip side, my truest friends have shone even brighter and my new friends, “my omies,” well they are the real deal.

So back to my plan for the immediate future? More continuing yoga education. More researching all of the opportunities that my training can offer. More following the path as it unfolds to me. More me.

I know one thing for sure, clothing and title will definitely be optional.🙏🏼

 

 

 

 

Fitness & Health · Life · Running Girl · Trottin Oxen

Run, Daryl, Run

Two years ago as part of my journey to becoming a happier and healthier (post menopausal) girl, I started running.

Let me rephrase that. I started taking running seriously. From time to time in the past, I had toyed with the idea of “going out for a run” — a turkey trot with my Dad, trying to impress a “new guy” that I thought could be “the one” and when George and I first moved in together, the romantic notion of a Sunday morning run along the lakefront. I hated every minute of every run. Seriously.

But, this time, I didn’t just lace up my sneakers and take off. I downloaded the Couch25K app, I bought good running shoes and comfortable running clothes, I set a goal date for my first officially timed 5K and I ran the LM 5K to set a baseline (44:03), which for the record, I just barely finished. I wasn’t dressed to run, it was hot, my earbuds didn’t stay in my ears…it was all around miserable. But look at that smile. The endorphins had started to work their magic and I was hooked.

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I’m not going to lie, starting a running program in June in the DMV is probably not the easiest start; but I persevered. I ran 4 days a week in combo with strength training and yoga. Couch25K uses the walk/run method, gradually shortening the walks and lengthening the runs – I still remember the first day the app wanted me to run 10 minutes straight, I panicked. But when the bing bong signaled that I finished the 25 minute workout I admit that I was pretty proud of myself.

And just like that, it was August 8th and the Crimesolvers 5K, the day I had set as my first officially timed race. I was still about 25 pounds away from my weight goal and had only finished the program 3 days before, but I finished and I set my first PR (37:15). I loved it.

Two years later, I have newer sneakers, fancier running clothes and a dozen 5Ks and a couple 10Ks under my belt. My current 5K PR is 29:55 set last year at the Old Busthead Brewery 5K. The 3rd annual 5K to benefit Finley’s Green Leap Forward Fund takes place October 29th – join me Old Busthead Benefit 5K

I continue to evolve as a runner and am in training right now for my first half marathon (Annapolis Running Classic November 19). I ran the ARC 10K last year and had a bit of a snafu and ran about 7 miles instead of 6 after missing the 10K turnoff!

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This time, I’m just going for it with the goal of finishing all 13.1 miles in less than 2:30 hours (As an incentive, George said I could add a special charm to my Tiffany charm bracelet if I finish)! I’ve also signed up to be a community coach for the Girls on the Run program at a local elementary school.

Also, this past year, George and I joined a running (and drinking/socializing) club! Wait…what? Yep, we’re called the Trottin’ Oxen (in homage to the Ashburn-based Old Ox Brewery that serves as our start/finish host and hang out). Join us some Saturday morning or Tuesday evening – Trottin Oxen. We run the WO&D trail and “rehydrate” after! We’ve even done some local runs together.

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And, of course we “represent” when we’re running out and about!

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Next month, I’ll be riding along and blogging as the Golden Malts and Alpha Hops compete in the team’s first Reebok Ragnar DC!

I’ll be right there with the Trottin Oxen runners from the van decorating party at the brewery on September 15th through all 206.7 miles of the relay! From the 5am start September 16th in Cumberland, MD, through forest trails, scenic paths, charming historic towns, in the shadows of the Lincoln and Washington monuments and across the finish line at DC’s Yards Park sometime September 17th and I can’t wait! I hope you will all follow along on the new Trottin Oxen blog!

I guarantee it’s going to be epic! Who knows, maybe next year, I’ll be a Ragnarian, too! MAYBE.

Life · Yoga

Bringing it all together

This week, in C1.5 and C1, Diana introduced the concept of Stirrha and Sukha.  When to be strong and when to have ease. Sirrah and Sukha refer to the ability to find the strength and power (stirrha) or the softness and relaxation (sukha) within our practice. It is the balance that we try to achieve by finding “the edge” within a posture as we push ourselves to our furthest line of comfort. If out of balance, stirrha can make us too rigid; while sukha can mean that we do not have strength, stability or focus.

It all comes down to finding balance.

In just a few days, Power Yoga Teacher Training will be complete and (if everything goes as planned), I will be RYT-200 certified. Next week, we will teach our first community class, take our final written and oral exams and in 11 days, we will graduate.

In preparation, I’ve been practicing my teaching, reviewing flash cards and readings and finishing up the last of my written assignments. I’ve also been reflecting on the journey. In truth, it’s a little mind blowing how much I’ve learned so much this summer, physically, academically and about myself.

Thanks to an amazing group of yogis, I can gracefully and forcefully teach an entire level 1 Vinyasa yoga class. I can articulate the philosophy and teachings of yogis from the earliest inception of yoga to present day. I know the physical anatomy of the body and how our bones and muscles come together to perform asanas. I’ve learned adjustments and assists to help students reach deeper and experience their practice more fully. I’ve embraced the idea that our chakras can control the mind-body-spirit connection. I even learned a little Sanskrit.

But the most profound thing I’ve learned is the importance of living my life in balance. I’ve learned how to better manage the high and lows, the reactions and the responses; when I need to be strong and when its better to bend and go with the flow. I’ve learned where my grounding comes from and how to ask for help. I’ve learned how to express my gratitude.

The journey doesn’t end with graduation, of course. The learning will continue; there’s still several steps until I can officially be hired as a yoga instructor. Extensions, Sculpt Yoga Teacher Training, 30 hours of student teaching, auditions.

And, I am sure, so will the lessons learned .🙏🏼

 

Fitness & Health · Life · Yoga

Does it get any better than this?

Today is August 2, the day I use as my annual reality check.

Two years ago today in the picture on the left, I ran my first official 5K (my first “first” 5K 2 months earlier was a spontaneous burst of energy that was actually the catalyst for change). I weighed about 143.5 pounds and had been working with a strength coach and following the Couch25K app for 8 weeks. And, I had just quit smoking (a filthy habit I gave up over 30 years ago and picked up again when I moved in with George).

I was on my way after havimg pretty much given up on yoga and regular exercise the previous Fall, after a bout with frozen shoulder and the woes that come along with menopause.

Fast forward to today. I am a transformed “work in progress.”

On the right was my 54th birthday (July 11, 2016). Transformed through two long years of basically recreating the wheel in terms of diet and exercise. Today, I weighed 108.3, I have a daily yoga practice and am in the last 2 weeks of becoming a RYT-200 certified yoga instructor. I run a 5K in just under 30 minutes and am training for the Army 10 Miler in October and the Annapolis Half Marathon in November. I watch my caloric intake very carefully, one might say obsessively.

Work in progress because I don’t know where I go from here. I no longer need to lose weight or put on additional muscle. So, my challenge is how to motivate myself without a weight related or physical goal.

After I had started to write this morning, I went to practice – 2 different classes, 2 different teachers, 2 different studios and 2 different intentions. Ironically, both classes helped me to work through my goals for the next year. The first class (C1 at Merrifield with Lynn) offered the intention of pride. I am enormously proud of how much I have accomplished over the past two years. Not only my physical changes, but how these changes have effected me emotionally and psychologically. I need to remember to celebrate this success every day, by living life to its fullest. During the second class (C1.5 at Fairfax Corner), Diana offered finding the strength and the beauty in our practice; where do you need more strength, where do you need more beauty. Taking both of these messages in, I have come up with the following goals for next year….

Strive to be less dependent (obsessive) about monitoring; use fewer apps and wearables;

Continue to deepen my personal yoga practice as I transition from trainee to teacher;

Use the good habits I’ve learned to continue eating with good health and nutrition in mind;

Set a weekly running goal rather than training for the next distance race;

Accept that I am not perfect and that every day is different;

and perhaps most importantly,

If I don’t hit my goals today than tomorrow will be better!🙏🏼