Wednesday, November 25

Let's give thanks

Give thanks in all circumstances. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Thanksgiving is a great reminder to give thanks for all the blessings in your life. Even if the chips are down, you can still find aspects of your life to be grateful, even if it's just your breath.

So on your next inhale, say THANK YOU and smile.

Saturday, September 19

Just do it!

As you can see, I haven't written a post in a while. I could blame several components of my life, including new ones taking up more of my time, but are they really to blame? I've obviously had some free moments (hello, TV?) where I could've logged in and written a little ditty, but I haven't. So why haven't I? Is that the proverbial procrastinator's question?

After doing a bit of yoga this morning, I made the connection that writing is a lot like yoga. Just like you have to return to your mat on a regular basis in yoga, you have to return to your pen, keyboard, etc. to write... and I haven't been. Call it what you will, but I haven't made time for my writing, and like yoga, it is another outlet for me to connect with my passion and my higher self. I believe it's one of my callings. So if I don't use it, I kind of lose it.

Therefore, today I'm returning to my yoga of writing, one keyboard stroke at a time. It may not be pretty, but at least I'm doing it. ;)

Have you been procrastinating or avoiding something you love? Tell me about it.

Friday, August 7

How to Meditate Anywhere

By Guest Blogger Mary Ward

Meditation is what helps to keep many people centered and focused. This is the most basic form of relaxation and though it is simple, it can take some getting used to at the beginning. Many people have a spot in their homes that they like to meditate and that they are quite comfortable in. It usually takes a special designated spot to get started so that you can tune out the outside world and focus on your breathing. Initially it may seem that meditating anywhere but the quiet sanctuary of your own home is virtually impossible. However, once you get into meditation and understand how you can make it work for you and your mental well being, you will quickly see that it can be done anywhere.

It’s All About the Focus
The key to meditation and what makes it such an excellent relaxation technique is that you can focus. You can get in touch with your inner self and concentrate on nothing but your breathing. Once you determine and understand that it is truly all about the focus, the location becomes far less important. If you can learn to tune out the outside world, no matter how distracting it may be, you can master meditation from anywhere. This takes some time and serious discipline, but you will quickly find that meditation can take place from anywhere that you allow yourself to truly focus.

Make a Safe Spot
Whether you’re at a friend’s house for the weekend, at a hotel, or in an unusual destination, the key is to find an appropriate spot to meditate. A spot in which you can tune out the outside world, focus without outside interruptions or distractions, and do nothing but breath. There is always a spot to do that, even if it’s in a bathroom or hallway, and as you practice meditation you will quickly see just how easy it is to tune out the distractions of the world around you. Initially though, finding a spot conducive to meditation can be quite helpful.

Breathing Makes a Big Difference
Meditation is not only about gratitude, but also about the breathing techniques that you practice. Learning to breathe deeply and hold these breaths can come in handy in the most stressful situation. You will quickly see just how meditation can help with the stressful situations that present themselves in everyday life, and you may just find that you are meditating in the most unusual spot without even thinking about it.

Mary Ward writes about various healthcare career topics, including how to choose among online surgical tech programs.

Friday, July 31

Blessings in unexpected places

Good quote today from Abraham (receive the daily e-mail here). Reminded me of where I'd been that seemed so in despair and horrible at the time and now it's led me to the open house party of Yoga Patch. Without being in the car accident, I probably wouldn't have discovered yoga and fallen in love with it so deeply, now sharing it as an instructor in a brand new studio right by my house.

During a Unity sermon I sat in a few years ago, the reverand once said "horrible" events in our lives are either to bless us in some way later or for us to be a blessing. Maybe both happened in this situation.

If you're in Kansas City, hope you can join us for one of the events this weekend.

"There will be a time, not so far from now, that you will look back on this phase of your life and instead of condemning it or beating up on it... Instead of blaming or guilting, you will feel appreciation for it, because you will understand that a renewed desire for life was born out of this time period that will bring you to physical heights that you could not have achieved without the contrast that gave birth to this desire."
--- Abraham

Friday, July 24

Book Giveaway - Enlightenment for Idiots

Comment about your favorite yoga book and have a chance to win a copy of Enlightenment for Idiots.

After you make your comment with your first name included, send me an e-mail to Rama.Mama@live.com. There will be a drawing of all commenters, and I will e-mail you if you win to ask for your postal address. I'll do the drawing in two weeks, Aug. 7 and will announce the winner afterwards.

A few months after having Brijin, I finally read a fiction book again. For those of you who have small children, you understand how difficult it is to fit a small pleasure like reading a novel into your life.

To multitask, I read Enlightenment for Idiots; not only was it about yoga but was silly and entertaining like a beach novel. A perfect combo for this yoga teacher / gossip magazine addict (I actually don't have any subscriptions anymore, but my friends keep giving me their old copies of USWeekly and People. What's a girl to do? It's recycling.).

The author, Anne Cushman of Enlightenment, contacted me via this blog and said she'd give me a copy of her book to give away to one of you. So tell me about your favorite yoga book, fiction or nonfiction, now.

I'm also giving the copy of the book Cushman gave directly to me away at the grand opening of Yoga Patch at 7108 Wornall Rd., Kansas City, Mo., next Friday, July 31. Read more about Yoga Patch, the new studio I'll be teaching at beginning August 10 (see the schedule).

Saturday, July 11

Yoga or running... you know my choice

Cute newspaper column comparing running and yoga. Totally from my perspective, as someone who prefers the ease and relaxation of yoga to the anxiety and tension running long distance gives me (Sorry Dad, who has long coached cross country, but you know I can't run longer than a 400.).

Figure if you're going to exercise - and yes, yoga is much more than "just" exercise - might as well do what you enjoy, right?

Friday, July 3

Celebrate your OWN Independence Day!

"If we were talking to you on your first day here we would say, "Welcome to planet Earth. There is nothing that you cannot be or do or have. And your work here—your lifetime career—is to seek joy.

'"As you think thoughts that feel good to you, you will be in harmony with who-you-really-are. And in doing so you will utilize your profound freedom. Seek joy first, and all of the growth that you could ever imagine will come joyously and abundantly unto you."'

~Abraham-Hicks


As the USA, the land that I love, celebrates its Independence Day tomorrow, it reminds me to celebrate my own personal freedom by choosing to think thoughts that feel good, no matter what's going on in the outside world.

NOTHING is so horrible it's worth feeling bad because it throws you off your connection to higher power, whether you call it God, Source, the Universe, etc.

This week at my "corporate gig," things have been tumultuous; co-workers are scared, sarcastic, angry, mean... all of the above. I admit to letting it get to me, which obviously felt horrible. Yet, I give myself some credit because in the past, before practicing yoga and knowing what I do from teachers like Abraham, I would have let it destroy me completely and attract even more negativity. Now I know that it's my indicator this is what I don't want so now focus on what I do. It is my choice. My independence to choose.

So make this upcoming Independence Day a reminder of your OWN freedom. You have a lot of power in that mind of yours. Choose your thoughts wisely and think on the empowering, joyful, uplifting side of life.

Monday, June 29

Make Mondays Count

If you have a "typical" work week, you're probably guilty of dreading Mondays. At least every now and again... admit it!

What if you did it EVERY Monday? That would be wasting 52 days a year or a one seventh of the calendar. That's a lot of dread, and where is it getting you? Probably into hating Sunday evenings and maybe even all day Sunday. It's a slippery slope, and is it really worth it?

What if you could find advice on how to make Mondays a little more tolerable and even count? There's a site called http://everymondaymatters.com/ that gives 52 ways to make Monday into the new Friday. All right, maybe Monday can't ever be quite that cool (Could you imagine TGIM?), but maybe it could be a decent Thursday.

Every Monday Matters suggests everything from writing a letter to a U.S. soldier to donating books to creating a back-to-school backpack.

Even if you don't hate Mondays, this Web site gives tons of inspiring actionable tasks to make your life and this world a little better, one Monday at a time. I do have a suggestion if we had 53 Mondays - try or do some yoga! ;)

Friday, June 26

Ten reasons I do yoga

  1. Makes me happy.
  2. Feels good. Plain and simple.
  3. Helped me out of depression, anxiety and a bad back.
  4. Connects me to ALL of me – body, mind and spirit.
  5. Releases stress, anxiety and tension.
  6. Connects me to all other human beings in a more compassionate and loving way.
  7. Tunes me into source or God so I may receive blessings more easily and frequently.
  8. Helps me sleep soundly through the night.
  9. Is my prescription for living a fuller, more even keel and healthier life.
  10. Offers a philosophy that resonates and guides me in making daily choices.
  11. Aids me in being the best mom, wife, daughter, sister, teacher, worker and friend I can be.

Tuesday, June 23

Yoga with or without music? Plus win free Yanni Voices CD!

Be one of the first three commenters on the question below AND win a free Yanni Voices CD. Include your first name in your comment and send an e-mail to Rama.Mama@live.com with your name and mailing address.

Do you think music goes well with yoga or would you rather practice postures to the rhythm of your breath? If you like the combo, what artists, songs, etc do you like?

Creating a mixed tape (i.e., mp3, for you youngsters) is such a joyful process for me.

When I first began contemplating becoming a yoga teacher, one of the first thing's I did to prepare was create the ultimate, yoga mixed tape because I felt it was that important to the mood and ambience of my students' practice. And you know what, I received TONS of compliments on it! (Hint: lots of Sacred Well.)

So I was very excited when Universal Music Group contacted me to giveaway three of Yanni's latest CDs, Yanni Voices. Honestly, I was never a Yanni fan and was worried I wouldn't like it. Yet, I thought it was quite lovely, especially with the variety of voices (operatic to Sarah Mclachlan like) and styles.

Lots of tracks work well as a backdrop to practicing yoga postures, including all of the instrumental and some of the "voices" songs such as track #5, Before the Night Ends. Even made a new yoga mix for my class with five songs from Yanni Voices, which surprises me because I wasn’t expecting to resonate with it so much. He's currently in tour with four singers who contributed to the the 17-track album (now I'm really dating myself!).

So make sure to comment to win a free CD. It's that easy.

Friday, June 5

Need some summer reading?

Looking for some reading material for the summer? If so, read "Best Yoga Books," which has a list of nine great suggestions to build your personal yoga library. Or better yet, check them out first at your local library and see if they're worth buying or not.

The list has several books I've either read, thumbed through or have been recommended. I personally discovered that my personal yoga practice really developed when I began seeking more information on my own and off my yoga mat about the philosophy of yoga.

What are some of your favorite yoga books?

Tuesday, May 26

Being one is fun!

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined."

- Henry David Thoreau

Today is our daughter's first birthday, and she had her first bite of sugar this weekend - yum. Seems like just yesterday she was born.

My hope for Brijin Joy on her first birthday is that she learns she can follow her dreams and can make them happen! Life is your oyster, kiddo, and it's just waiting for you to find it's precious pearls!

We love you baby girl! Thank you for bringing so much joy and blessings into our lives. We've had an amazing first year with you and are eagerly anticipating watching you grow and bloom right where you're planted, just like your daisy birthday cake. ;)

Thursday, May 14

Enlighten Up is coming to the Midwest in June!

I wrote about the movie Enlighten Up over a year ago after discovering its trailer and am so excited it's scheduled to be released and will be playing in my city, Kansas City, beginning June 12! It will also be playing in Minneapolis and Omaha in June, for my college and hometown friends. View the schedule so you can see if it's playing in your town.

Basically, Enlighten Up is a documentary following a 29-year-old man who has never practiced any aspect of yoga before, and the film follows him over a period of six months to see how it transforms him.

If you're into yoga, watch it. If you're curious about yoga, watch it. And if you can't comprehend whatsoever why people spend 90 minutes "wasting" their time doing yoga, you DEFINITELY need to watch it.

Wednesday, May 13

Meditations to try

Go to Oprah.com's "Meditations for Rejuvenating your Body"and view six audio meditations to try by Thich Nhat Hanh and Jon Kabat-Zin.

I'm currently reading Kabat-Zin's book "Where ever you go, there you are." If you're at all intrigued by meditation, I think it's a wonderful resource that is simple and easy to read.

Wednesday, April 29

Make a joyful noise

The purpose of my blog is to show how to be joyful in your everyday life. I just read an article on Oprah's site called "Awakening Joy" that has awesome ideas that are so simple to do yet so powerful and effective.

One of my favorite suggestions in the article is to sing. Sing in your car, the shower, WHEREVER. Just make a joyful noise (isn't that in the Bible?). You don't have to join the church choir to sing. Just SING whenever you get the chance, and your mind and body will thank you!

When I do sing, I take it a step further and sing happy songs. I even made a CD of happy songs I already had available to me.

Here's my HAPPY playlist:
  • All I wanna do - Sheryl Crow
  • Light in your eyes -" "
  • Good day sunshine - The Beatles
  • Walking on sunshine - Katrina & the Waves
  • Shiny happy people - REM
  • Beautiful day - U2
  • High Tide Low Tide - Bob Marley
  • Fidelity - Regina Spektor
  • Groove is in the Heart - Deee-lite
  • Smile - Madeleine Peyroux
What are some of your happy songs?

Monday, April 27

Stop resistant thought through meditation

"That's why so many of us teach meditation. Because when you stop thought, you stop resistant thought. When you stop resistant thought, then you let it in."

~ Abraham-Hicks

This quote was in my daily thought from Abraham-Hicks a few weeks ago and reminded me why meditation is so important and useful. It helps you to stop attracting what you don't want and allows you to quiet your mind so you may be in the vortex and attract all that you want into your life.

"Be still and know that I am God."
~Psalms 46:10

Tuesday, April 21

Watch author of Eat. Pray. Love.

Found this video via twitter of author Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote Eat. Pray. Love., one of my favorite books, talking about creative genius. She's one intelligent yogini.

Monday, April 20

Random thoughts during meditation

Watch the brief video below where Ellen Degeneres talks about her mind prior to bedtime. This is kind of what meditation feels like at times... like your mind has a mind of its own! This is your EGO (edging God out) trying to distract you.

When meditating, sit or lie in a relaxed position and use your breath to anchor you to the present moment. When thoughts interrupt, just label them thought and don't beat yourself up. That's exactly what your ego wants you to do!

So breathe and focus on your inhalation and exhalation and know that your mind may act like a wild horse. It's normal, but continue to breathe and steer your mind to a calmer place.

Wednesday, April 15

Almost ONE and having FUN



video


I can't believe Brijin will turn ONE at the end of next month! We've enjoyed this last year and are so grateful for her in our lives.

Watch the short video to see how much she's grown.

Monday, April 13

I am where I am, and it's OKAY

"I am where I am, and it's okay. I am where I am, and it's okay. I am where I am, and it's OKAY!" - Abraham-Hicks

I was reminded of this frequent saying by Abraham when writing this blog post. Lately, I haven’t been able to practice yoga as much as I'd like or should, and I definitely feel the lack of it in my body and in my teaching.

My body doesn’t feel as “good” as it did when I was practicing every day; it's more tight and feels like there is stuck energy. In my yoga instruction I feel stale. Yet it’s odd,when I'm feeling really low, then a new student will come in and rave or an old student will let me know how much they still enjoy my classes. I’ve been trying to go to another live class at least once a month, which has helped, but that’s still way less than what I did before. I also did more recorded sessions at home, but who has time for a 90-minute practice when they have a baby?? So I try to squeeze it in when I can to keep me inspired and fresh, but it hasn’t been easy.

But, I am where I am, and it's okay.

Thursday, April 9

Tapas yoga with Jamie Elmer

A few months ago, I attended a two-hour yoga session with Jamie Elmer at a local studio Yoga Gallery. I believe she studied with Max Strom. It was a tapas practice, which means discipline in Sanskirt, but do not make the mistake that it means it's a difficult practice.

Judith Lasater described tapas on YogaJournal.com:

"A better way to understand tapas is to think of it as consistency in striving toward your goals: getting on the yoga mat every day, sitting on the meditation cushion every day—or forgiving your mate or your child for the 10,000th time. If you think of tapas in this vein, it becomes a more subtle but more constant practice, a practice concerned with the quality of life and relationships rather than focused on whether you can grit your teeth through another few seconds in a difficult asana."

Before we moved into the asanas or postures, Elmer led us through a meditation so we could find our own personal affirmations that we would carry and silently say to ourselves throughout the practice. First she had us choose something we were in need of and made us think of the one word every time we inhaled. Then she instructed us to pick a word that encapsulated what we needed to remove from our lives and then say in our mind with every out breath. I ended up choosing "source" on the inhale because I had just "attended" a virtual Abraham-Hicks presentation via Hay House and they are always referencing tuning into "source," which bascially means God and all that is good. On my exhale, I said "fear," which is all around us right now. I did change it sometimes to "worry" since Elmer said we could check in and alter our affirmations if needed and at anytime. She also moved very slowly and had us hold the poses between one to three minutes; she stressed backing off the poses instead of attacking them at 100 percent.

Afterwards I talked with Jamie about her meditation and tapas practice and how it tied so much with what I've been studying in Louise Hay, Abraham-Hicks, etc. It was very simple yet powerful. During my studies on the power of affirmations and thoughts, I’ve been wondering how I can tie yoga and this together, and Jamie did a beautiful job and definitely inspired me to create my own practice utilizing the power of our thoughts and minds.

I’d like to incorporate affirmations and the law of attraction to my yoga classes, but I don’t want to run people away either. Any thoughts?

Monday, April 6

Dear Yoga Mama-Rama Mama ... ask & I'll answer

Lately I’ve been feeling like the "Dear Abby" of yoga due to receiving lots of questions, especially via Facebook, about yoga. Not that I’m an expert on the topic, but I have been a yoga instructor for two and a half years and have been practicing consistently for over six years. So I know enough to be dangerous, and if I don’t, I can always Google it. ;) Thought I’d share some of the questions and my replies.


Dear Yoga Mama-Rama Mama,
Hey! Have you ever done Bikram Yoga? I was reading about it but I don't know what is so different about it!?!?

Jacquie

~~~~~~

Dear Jacquie,
I have done Bikram about 10 times or so, and I enjoy it but it's not my favorite. It's also called Hot Yoga (room is over 100 F) so people can get around the trademark of the style and not pay the fees. I sweated like a pig, which was actually kind of exhilarating and everyone else does it too.

I liked it but it gets redundant because it's the same 26 postures, in the same order with the same instructions practitically every time, and it lasts 90 minutes. I like more creative and unique, flowing yoga.Supposedly it is good due to the health benefits. All yoga has benefits but I guess due to the specific postures having compression and stretching, it is awesome for the cirulation.

Found this on its Wikipedia:
"While performing a specific asana, the body is stretching or compressing a certain part of the body; thus, cutting off circulation temporarily. This restriction of circulation causes the heart to pump more blood in the reaction of the shortage. The pumping of excess, fresh blood is called extension. Once the asana is complete, and the individual comes out of the posture, then the new oxygenated blood is able to rejuvenate the arteries that were being compressed. It is said that because of the volume change and influx of fresh blood, any infection, bacteria, or toxin can be released."(Choudhury, 2007)

Namaste,
Yoga Mama-Rama Mama

_________________________________

Dear Yoga Mama-Rama Mama,
Thank you for taking the time out to show me the correct yoga moves. I realized on Wed. that when i think i'm in the right position, i'm not. When you moved my shoulders back i could really feel the difference.. I felt so much better the next day. I don't think i have been doing alot of the positons correctly because it has not felt challenging until you correct me. I don't know why but i just cannot hold a balance, I know one side is weaker than the other-- any suggestions?? Please continue to show me, i am totally not embarrassed- because i feel like all of that time that i have been going has been somewhat of a waste to me not getting the full effect when i thought i was! I appreciate you!

Loyal student

~~~~~~~~

Dear Loyal student,
It's so nice to receive feedback. Don't beat yourself up though - you're on a journey and you won't ever truly reach a final destination with yoga. You'll constantly learn new things and new tweaks to poses. I still am myself!

I try to give a lot of verbal comments on engaging various muscles such as your core and quadracepts because that's what's going to make the poses more challenging and useful to you. So focus on really doing those things I say like picking you your kneecaps and pulling in your core.

I'll continue to give you hands-on adjustments when I see you may need them. Trust me, no pose is being done perfectly by anyone. Or maybe it's better too look at it like this; we're all doing the pose as perfectly as we can in that moment with the knowledge we have. Enjoy the moment and ride!

Namaste,
Yoga Mama-Rama Mama

___________________________________________

If you do have any questions concerning yoga, motherhood, babies, pregancy, etc., feel free to comment here or send me a direct message via Facebook, Twitter or e-mail me, and I'll address you back on my blog or directly back to you.

Wednesday, April 1

You can CHOOSE to be HAPPY!

As a Rama Mama, rama meaning "source of joy" in Sanskrit, my ultimate goal is to lead a joy-filled life. Especially in the last few years, I've made a concerted effort to do so, and it's really made an enormous difference in my life.

Isn't happiness the ultimate goal of all of us, yet it seems to be eluding many. What if I told you that you create your own happiness, no matter what is going on in your life? Would that enlighten you, scare you or tick you off? No matter what your answer is, I hope you consider reading the book "How We Choose to be Happy: the Nine Choices of Extremely Happy People."

Last week I had the opportunity, through the Kansas City PRSA chapter, to meet one of the authors of the book, Rick Foster. Before Foster's three-hour session, I finished reading the book, which resonated very highly with other literature I've enjoyed on the topic of happiness, such as books by Louise L. Hay and Abraham-Hicks. For those not wanting quite as much spirituality, this would be a good option for you. Foster and coauthor Greg Hicks interviewed hundreds of people others had pointed out as being the happiest people they know. During their interviews, the authors saw patterns of behavior and thinking that added up to the nine choices they thoroughly covered in their book.

"How We Choose to be Happy" illustrates the nine choices by telling personal stories, quotes and practical ways to apply the nine choices into your daily life, especially through not-so-great times and happenings. I especially enjoyed the fifth choice, recasting, which talked about the way to convert problems into opportunites and make traumas into meaningful events.

So why not try to CHOOSE to be happy. It's worth a shot, right?

Wednesday, March 25

Listen to top yoga instructors



Yoga Peeps is a podcast featuring interviews with some of the leading yoga instructors of our time. One of the most recent I enjoyed was an interview with Seane Corn. Good way to squeeze a little yoga in while working or taking care of baby. Being a new mom is all about multitasking!

Speaking of being a new mom, thought I'd supplement this brief post with a recent pic of baby girl, who will turn 10 months in a day. Time flies when you're having fun!

Tuesday, March 17

Enlightenment for Idiots - really

I recently finished reading "Enlightenment for Idiots," which is a wonderfully fun fiction book for a yogini (or aspiring one!) to read. It's about a 29 year-old yoga teacher and writer (like moi, except I'm 31, but who's counting!) who is commissioned by a publisher to journey to India to write the book "Enlightenment for Idiots." Some surprises along the way that also highly resonated with a recent "adventure" in my life... but I won't completely spill the beans. :)

If you want to learn more about yoga, India and have lots of laughs while enjoying author Anne Cushman's prose, then this is a great novel to try. It was one of the first fiction books I've read since having baby (I'm such a nonfiction freak right now!). I think because it married my loves of teaching yoga and just plain silliness, it really struck home to me.

I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a witty and entertaining read, while also learning a little about India, yoga and enlightenment along the way.

Wednesday, March 11

Yoga is my Bailout

I've always said yoga is my prescription for living, but I guess the more timely way to phrase this is to say it's my bailout. What a clever and funny way to convey how yoga can help you turn inward and allow you to deal with the external in an even-keel manner.

YogaDork actually created a shirt called "Yoga is my bailout," which you may order on YD's blog. I learned about it on YJ's blog Yoga Buzz; interesting article.

Monday, March 9

Breathe In Calm and Breathe Out Smile

I've totally been a slacker when it comes to "Meditation Mondays," but I thought this was a wonderful poem or thought to share today.


Following the Breath by Thicht Nhat Hanh


Breathing in, I calm my body.

Breathing out, I smile.

Dwelling in the present moment,

I know this is a wonderful moment!

Breathing in, I know I’m breathing in.

Breathing out, I know

as the in-breath grows deep,

the out-breath grows slow.

Breathing in makes me calm.

Breathing out brings me ease.

With the in-breath, I smile.

With the out breath, I release.

Breathing in, there is only the present moment.

Breathing out, it is a wonderful moment.


Monday, March 2

Try some face yoga instead of botox

Now that I'm a smidgen over 30, I've noticed a few more lines on my face and some sun damage. Seems like being pregnant brought this on or I at least notice it more now. Has anyone else every noticed more wrinkles after baby? Maybe it's from lack of sleep! lol

Instead of worrying about the lines and causing MORE wrinkles (focusing on what you don't want brings more of the same), I need to incorporate more face yoga into my own personal practice and when I teach at the Y. Much cheaper than Botox, and in my humble opinion, looks better too!

Saturday, February 21

Rejuvenating my practice and life

I talked a few posts ago about feeling stale in my personal practice and teaching and desiring some yoga inspiration. Well I found some at Yoga Gallery in Overland Park, Kan. (The studio had the first mention in an old Yoga Journal article about local studios - now it's located in OP downtown).

When we first moved to KC three years ago, I was beginning to explore being a yoga instructor. Just the other day, I found an old notebook with my affirmations I made up to help me become one. "I am a powerful, healing yoga teacher with lots of students who enjoy and benefit from my classes." Within a month of writing that affirmation over and over, I received the job at a local Y in Prairie Village, Kan. Finding the job here introduced me to the quaint KC suburb, and I consequently fell in love with the town. Within a year, I manifested my first house in PV, but that's a blog post for another day.

The owner of Yoga Gallery at the time, Patricia Gray, had a post on her Web site that her studio gave tuition to those who couldn't afford the classes. I ended up writing her a letter about a car accident I was in that injured my back, which led me to discovering yoga. I spoke about how I wanted to teach yoga and share the healing it had give me and how I wanted to enhance my yoga practice with yoga studio classes. I knew taking them would advance my knowledge and also enhance my chances of finding a teaching job. Yet my husband and I had recently moved to KC and were still digging out of some debt and not doing as well financially at the time. We didn't have the spare money to spend on yoga classes. In response to my letter, Patricia gave me 10 free classes at her studio; one of the best gifts I've ever received. I learned so much from her creative flows. Her instruction is truly art in motion.

The last time I attended Patricia's class was when I was 10 weeks pregnant. Seeing I'm a mommy to a nine month old, it's been a long time! TOOOOOOOOOO long. When Patricia saw me enter the building to sign in, I could tell she recognized me. She was so sweet and made me feel very welcome. I told her about Brijin and how I haven't had as much time to go to yoga studio classes but I had some free time fortunately when she had a class. She said it was crazy because a ton of new mothers were in the class; one that hadn't slept a wink the night before.

My intention for the class was to enjoy and not take "notes" for my teaching. It was going to be my practice to cherish. Patricia made it tough because she has such beautifully worded transitions and pose combinations; ones I've never seen before. She also demonstrates how to get into more progressed asanas I don't have the opportunity to see all the time as well.

After class she asked me if I'd been continuing my yoga practice, and I replied to her yes and told her I'd been teaching at a local Y. Sometimes I feel tentative telling yoga studio instructors this because I worry they think I'm not tenured enough to teach. However, Patricia was encouraging and spoke about how she tries to take others classes to learn and keep her reservoir filled so she is inspired for new teaching material. I said, yes that's why I attended her class when I had the chance because I knew it would do just that since I was feeling stagnant in my practice. Then Patricia mentioned training session coming up at Yoga Gallery that would inspire my teaching. It's with Jamie Elmer, who has assisted Max Strom. I'd seen the flyer a few weeks ago when I took a class while the hub was at class and Grandma babysat. I had thought about attending, but I wasn't sure I'd be able to go. Hearing Patricia's encouragement nudged me to make the time, and I'm attending. Looking forward to more inspiration!

Tuesday, February 17

Whales + Yoga = Optimum tranquility

Yoga in itself brings me to such a tranquil and present state. How much more enhanced would it be if I practiced while viewing beautiful whales swimming right in front of me?

The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, which is the biggest aquarium in the world, recently began offering yoga classes while its beluga whales swim gracefully in the backdrop. Apparently it's a new concept and "billed as the first of its kind" according to the accompanying article to the video above. Such a wonderful marriage of two peaceful entities.

I may have to visit my Atlanta friends to witness this for myself.

'"The beluga whales are so slow and so smooth in their movements, which is indeed what this is about -- slow movements of the body," said Todd DeLaune, one of the instructors of the weekly sessions. "And I think the energy of the belugas corresponds with the practice that we do."'

Saturday, February 14

Frustrated over Stork Craft crib recall

I remember how excited I was when I first made my crib choice, but now I'm starting to regret purchasing a Stork Craft crib due to the company being unresponsive to its recall.

In mid January, our Stork Craft crib was recalled. I actually received e-mail notice from Target since I ordered it online from the retailer, which I'm so grateful for since I don't really seek recall info. Figure it's better not to seek the negative, right? So kudos to Target! On Jan. 16, I sent an e-mail to Stork Craft due to its 800 number being busy, and I still have not received a confirmation response or the metal brackets to fix the crib.

Several times I called the Stork Craft's 800#, and even two weeks ago I kept receiving a busy signal. I ended up calling U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the man helping me couldn't get through the number either so I did file a report, but I still haven't received the replacement brackets. Apparently I have to give them up to 30 days after filing this complaint, even though I had already waited four weeks.

Anyone else out there having this issue? My baby hasn't been able to sleep in her crib for over six weeks now, and I'm becoming impatient and frustrated.

Please link or forward this to anyone you think may be having the same issue; the recall included ALL Stork Craft cribs over eight years so it's affecting a ton of people.

I want my baby back in her crib! At least acknowledge that my request for the replacement brackets have been received, Stork Craft. Let me know you're listening. I am truly looking for a solution.

Wednesday, February 11

A positive spin to the economy... really

Sick of turning on the news or opening a newspaper and seeing that the end of times is here? First step is to turn the news OFF!

Second step is to get another view point. Watch this video posted on White Mountain Yoga's Web site, which is an interview of the yoga studio owner (a former banker) with the most calm and positive take on our economy.

Friday, February 6

Keep track, keep yoga

Before I opened my car door today, I realized it was "track weather." It's the beginning of February, and we're in the middle of a mini-heat wave in KC (60s to 70s) that will last through Saturday. Hallelujah! Good weather never seems to hit on the weekends (i.e., no work!) so I'm especially grateful for God's good timing and I seem to have a bit of spring fever.

The damp and wormy smell with the soft glow of the sun reminds me of track and field season, which ultimately makes me think of my dad. He's been a high school track coach for over 30 years so this sport was a big influence and piece of my life as well. As a little girl, I would race others, girl or boy, after the high school basketball games to show that I was the fastest, and I typically was, not to brag too much. lol! My dad started coaching me around 4th grade and teaching me various track and field events, such as hurdling, long jumping, throwing the shot, discus and even the javelin! Once I started to compete, I began not always being the fastest or the best, which was hard for me to accept. However, my dad told me, "You're competing against yourself and the watch never lies." So even if I came in fourth place, if I compared my new time to my PR (personal record) and came ahead, that's something to celebrate.

I think that's why I love yoga so much because it's like track, yet it moves this idea a notch more. When practicing yoga postures, you're working to improve yourself every time you walk onto your mat. Instead of competing with yourself, you're observing yourself and the variances from day to day, which ultimately helps you move more deeply into the postures or asanas and improve your mind and spirit. No matter if you didn't move your foot higher on your opposite leg in tree pose or you didn't fly in crow like you did yesterday. You're still showing up to the mat because you know you'll leave it better than when you first stepped onto it. In yoga, the point is not the end result; it's the journey of learning through your yoga asanas. And ultimately, that's what track (or any other sport, project, etc.) is, especially if you have a coach like my dad.

My dad signs his notes, "Keep track! So I'll sign this....

Keep yoga,
Yoga Mama

Thursday, January 29

Do you know?

"Do you know how close you are to God?" - Seane Corn

As a new mom, it's hard to work in my own personal yoga practice in between a full-time job and teaching a few classes a week at the local YMCA. So for Christmas, I asked Santa for the DVD series "Great Instructors:Yoga Journal" because it's so much easier to pop in a DVD at a home versus making it to a yoga studio or even another Y class. So thanks to my mom-in-law, I mean Santa, I got the set of three DVDs with Baron Baptiste and Shiva Rea! I was especially excited to try Seane Corn's class since I've read about her in Yoga Journal magazine but had never heard her teach a class.

The video was a live, 90-minute class she taught while at a YJ conference. It's helpful to me as a yoga instructor to hear her style and see how she deals with her students during a live class. I also love to hear how various instructors word things, and she definitely had her own style and was very conscious of alignment, which I love to fine tune myself. Sometimes I have to watch myself when I'm doing my own practice because as a yoga teacher, I love to hear different ways other yoga instructors say how to move into a posture or asana, but it can also take away from my personal practice because I keep trying to commit to memory all the new phrases.

Anyhow, I've done about half of the DVD now and definitely enjoyed it. She goes much deeper into the power of thoughts than I've heard other yoga teachers do, which is refreshing and interesting to me since this is definitely an area I explore on a personal level but haven't really included in my own teaching. However, I do think Seane talks a little too much about it, when I just want to be still and not think about anything.

Seane said the quote at the very top, right after instructing camel three times in a row and then having her students place one hand on their heart and the other on their solar plexuses. It was definitely a cool moment and one I may have to borrow, once I get ballsy enough to do it!

Namaste!

Tuesday, January 20

Hope won



In 31 years on this planet, I haven't lived through many historic days. Pondering what I have lived through... The Challenger .... 9/11 ... most, if not all, were negative.

Today's historic, presidential inauguration was positively different. It was a beautifully historic, uplifting and expanding day for my fellow Americans, nation and world. I'm proud of the U.S.'s 44th president for enduring the arduous campaign, and I look forward to watching him inspire "the change we need." President Barack Obama's feat shows, "Yes we can." Thank you, America, for waking up out of your complacency and showing hope can win.

"It's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new life for me - And I'm feelin good." ~"Feeling Good" by Nina Simone


Found the poem by African American poet Langston Hughes that seems fitting for this monumental day.


I, Too, Sing America by Langston Hughes

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

Tomorrow,
I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"
Then.

Besides,
They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--

I, too, am America.

(Part 2 of President Obama's speech)

Friday, January 16

Etiquette of yoga

With the new year, comes new yoga students. Perhaps someone is attending yoga for the first time in my class, which can be quite daunting, but I feel very honored to be a yoga ambassador.

New students seem to also bring up old, yoga etiquette issues. My biggest pet peeve is when people arrive late to class. The beginning of class is when I steer everyone to turn inward and quiet their minds. The other day, I think I had seven people arrive five minutes late to class. Completely distracting and not in line with yoga whatsoever!

So what's a yoga instructor to do? I'm half tempted to pin up a list of etiquette on the bulletin board outside of the classroom that I found in this month's Yoga Journal magazine. I've also read you could hand the student a list of expectations directly, but I could see that hurting the person's feelings and hindering them from ever returning which is obviously not my aim.

New students aren't the only ones to blame for this etiquette misstep. One woman has been attending my classes for almost three years, and she still seems to come in late EVERY time. It annoys me to no end, as well as many other regulars, I'm sure! Don't get me wrong, I understand the OCCASIONAL tardy, but when it consistently happens, it's just downright annoying and rude.

Any advice on how to address yoga classroom etiquette is greatly appreciated.

Sunday, January 11

Got inspiration?

I've been teaching a few yoga classes at a local YMCA for about 2 1/2 years now, and for the past few weeks I've been feeling a little stale and feel like my students sense this. Perhaps a lot of it has to do with being overwhelmed with being a new mom and not getting enough sleep per baby girl. I also know not having much of a home practice in conjunction with not attending live, studio classes since I was in my second trimester of pregnancy last year hasn't helped. But I'm not sure if I can change this because there are just not enough hours in the day, especially to go to a 90-minute yoga class.

So what's a yoga teacher to do when she isn't feeling as inspired as she once was? I would love to hear any and all feedback.

I searched Yoga Journal's Web site and found an article called "Teaching Spiritual Practice" that gave me a different perspective on how I can change things up and find another way to inspire myself. Maybe I shouldn't focus so much on the asanas or the creative way the postures flow but increase the spiritual side of my class. The author had also been a YMCA instructor and gave very insightful ways to include spirituality without offending, such as "instruct the students to breathe in goodness and other universal virtues in order to more fully embody Spirit. Regardless of their religious background, students embraced these yogic teachings as a way to deepen their connection to God."

Breathe out stale, breathe in inspiration.

Thursday, January 8

I was reviewing life since Brijin Joy arrived - check out tag "Brijin Joy." It's cool to reminisce - we've had quite an adventure since our little peanut joined our team, and we've been loving every minute of it.

One of the comments on a particular post, "Happiness is the seed we Sow" received this comment below, which was a great reminder to hang in there and focus on the good. Happiness is truly a seed we sow. We have to tend to the good in our lives to watch it multiply. It's just a law of the universe. Take advantage of it and enjoy the life of your dreams. And of course the quality of what you plant day in and day out - are you a half empty or full - makes the BIG difference with the quality of your life.

I watched Oprah's Spirituality 101 episode that aired on Wednesday, Jan. 7 from my DVR this morning. The first guest via Skype was totally focused on everything wrong in her life. No matter what Oprah and her spirituality trio said about focusing on what was going right, she wouldn't budge and rolled her eyes. Oprah caught the eye roll and called her out. "Let's start with this. You are thankful today for your breath. Thank you God for my breath." Beautifully said; think Oprah may need to attribute that to Louise L. Hay.

Comment:

"When we invest in good things, we will get our money back with interest. But there is always a pause between the sowing of the seed, and the harvest. So don’t get weary, don’t become discouraged, and don’t give up. Endurance is the key to so many things in life. And remember that in the natural world, everything produces after its own kind. You plant a peach seed, you get a peach. You plant an apple seed, you get an apple. The same is true in the spiritual realm. You have to plant what you want to receive. You can’t plant anger, and get peace. You can’t plant bitterness, and get sweetness. So if you’re not happy with the crop that is coming up in your life, evaluate the seed you are planting, and make some changes for the better."Happiness held is the seed; happiness shared is the flower".---------------Gillberk

Monday, January 5

Meditation Monday - remember? ;)

It's been a while since I've had a meditation Monday post, but I thought it was fitting for the first Monday back to work from the holiday season. Coincidentally this is my first Monday back full time in the office (I've been telecommuting in the mornings to transition from my maternity leave and coming into the office in the afternoons.).

After watching this CNN video about the benefits of meditation my friend happened to send me this morning - did I look like a harried, disheveled mother who needed an OM? - I was inspired to take a deep breath and relax.

Can I get an OMMMM, please?

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