Friday, February 17, 2012

Knowing what you want

I recently attended a great donation based workshop/ event hosted by Charm City Yoga. It was called Karma Yoga and the proceeds were donated towards the Africa Yoga Project. Originally I had signed up for this event because my instructor from the Teacher Training program was teaching the class and I knew I would love whatever she put together.

At the beginning of this work shop cards were passed around and we were asked to select the one that spoke to us. The purpose was to put the cards at the top of your mat and allow the card, for whatever the reason you chose may be, to be part of your practice that evening.

The cards had artistic images from the Bhagavad Gita on them as well as some script at the bottom and a description on the back. The card I selected was Overcoming Fear.

This has been a huge goal for me this year. To be my own warrior against fear and doubt. I
am my own worst enemy when it comes to criticism. I believe I use this criticism as a way to avoid things that intimidate or scare me. Like the little voice that for years said to me, "you don't have enough yoga experience to sign up for a yoga teacher training program." Well, I proved them wrong!

Through my teacher training program I am learning to be kinder to myself. To quiet or override the voice inside that puts doubt on my drive and desire. In yoga one of my favorite postures is Warrior II (as shown above). "What’s really being commemorated in this pose’s name, and held up as an ideal for all practitioners, is the “spiritual warrior,” who bravely does battle with the universal enemy, self-ignorance (avidya), the ultimate source of all our suffering." (source)

This year in an attempt to battle my fear I've chosen to simply not allow it to stop me from going for what I want. When I am in a warrior pose I hear my teacher's voice reminding me that Warrior postures are about knowing what you want and going for it.

I have done just that. I've been true to myself. I did not let the voice whispering doubts and fears override my desire to become a yoga teacher. It is because of this that I believe I will continue to grow not only in my practice but also as a yoga teacher.

I'm very happy to announce that I was offered my first teaching job! I will be teaching the Beginner Series for Charm City Yoga starting March 13th.

"No effort on the yoga path is ever lost, nor can any obstacle ever hold one back forever. Just a little progress on this path can protect one from the greatest fear." - Bhagavad Gita

Friday, January 20, 2012

Balance and Excuses

According to the following are definitions and synonyms for "unbalanced":

Definition:not even, stable
Synonyms:asymmetric, asymmetrical, disproportionate,irregular, lopsided, not balanced, off-balance,shaky, topheavy, treacherous, unequal, uneven,unstable, unsteady, unsymmetrical, wobbly

Can we take a moment a giggle about the fact that Top Heavy is a synonym for unbalanced. I mean, really?

I am feeling unbalanced this week and I'm not quite sure why. Usually when I'm feeling offish I can pin point my reason:

1. its that time of the month
2. a holiday
3. family emergency
4. a cold

But I have experienced none of these things.

This week I have missed out on my yoga practice. I have even stopped knitting. If you know me, even a little, you know that yoga and knitting are my healthy vices. They are like taking my daily vitamins. They keep me mentally and emotionally balanced. But I missed them this week. Somehow, the week has gone by and I've neither practiced nor knit. And I can't pinpoint why I chose to do this. It started on Saturday and now we're on Friday.

During a yoga class you usually find yourself practicing at least one balancing pose. I tend to like Tree pose the most. It is often in this asana (pose) that I tune in with my body and discover where my balance is or isn't. Sometimes its all on the left side, sometimes its on the right, and sometimes its just not there.

For me this week it has not been there at all. Last Saturday was thrown off by an extra beverage which lead to me feeling less than energetic on Sunday. Then on Monday I told myself I would go to practice after work but then after work I told myself I'd go Tuesday, and so the story went until I found myself on Wednesday convinced when I woke up that I was going to practice that night no matter what. But then my phone and IPOD were stolen. Yup, stolen.

If my balance was a little "wobbly" earlier in the week this threw it way off. I found myself questioning if I had lost these items myself or if someone had actually come into my place of work in the 20 minutes I was not at my desk and swiped them. I was convinced I must have misplaced them and I retraced all my steps. I started to doubt my memory which is a terrible thing.

And so, I came home and thought... well I can't focus, if I go to yoga I'll be thinking about my phone and not be able to find balance. So again, I did not go. And I did not knit. I just sat on the couch and watching TV thinking and rethinking that 20 minutes. Thursday I did not practice either, I had dinner plans with my husband and although he would have happily waited for me to practice I didn't even give him the option.

Its funny because I know how to find my balance. Its to stick with my routine. For me, routine is very important and healthy. It calms me and yet I did this to myself this week. I made excuses and that is never balancing.

The good news is that I am always able to find my balance. I get back to my routine. I get back to the mat and I pick up my knitting needles. My new phone should be delivered today, I will be back on the mat tonight, and I've already planned out my next two knitting projects (they are quite juicy!).

"Yoga cultivates the ways of maintaining a balanced attitude in day to day life and endows skill in the performance of one's actions." B.K.S. Iynegar.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Resolve, its not just a carpet cleaner

Today I was reading a friend's blog and she had listed out some great and reflective questions regarding the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012. I know every year many Americans across the country vow to change, make improvements, kick old habits, and in general resolve to alter their current state. They join a gym, join Weight Watchers, sign up for marathons, buy self help books, attend a new yoga class, and then they update their Facebook status to let everyone know they've done it, they've resolved to change!

What you don't necessarily see in the social media forums is why. And most likely, that is none of your business. Why do you need to know the reason behind a girl you knew in high school but haven't talked to in decades deciding to drink only water with every meal. As Salt N Pepa used to sing, "Ain't none of yo' business".

So I thought I'd share the questions my friend, CamieKarma, listed on her blog and answer them in a MeMe sort of style. If you are making resolutions this year and care to share on your blog the reasons why feel free to take this meme and do the same.

what you want to accomplish in 2012:

  • What lessons did I learn in 2011?
In 2011 I learned to overcome some of fears. I believe I truly realized that I'm the only one who holds me back. I spent year's fearing yoga studios. I thought I was not skinny enough or strong enough. I thought I didn't have the right clothes or that my lame Target mat would get laughed out the door. None of that was true. In 2011, I joined up, bought a membership, got a work-study position and began attending classes 3x a week!

I also learned that while I loved my wedding, I never ever want to go through the planning process again. haha

  • What was I grateful for in 2011?
I am grateful that I married a man I truly love, who makes me laugh every day, who feels like home, and whom I look forward to growing old with.

I'm grateful that I finally signed up for a yoga teaching training program and that I found an amazing studio.

I'm grateful that I got a work-study position that allows me to have a free membership at my yoga studio.

I'm grateful for my wonderful family and friends who supported me while I became a terrible version of myself trying to plan a wedding in 5 months.

I'm grateful I got to go to Ireland (a life long dream) and that I went with an awesome travel buddy, my husband.

I'm grateful that I participated in a 10 day detox that allowed me to realize what my body's natural rhythm is. Turns out I'm naturally perky and don't really need coffee.

  • What dreams came true in 2011?
Married my husband
Went to Ireland
Signed up for a Yoga Teacher Training program

  • What would I like to learn in 2012?
I would like to learn how to utilize my core more to move through my yoga poses. Crow, you will be mine in 2012! You hear me!

I would like to learn how to get over my fear of failure and rejection. Its silly really, I've never died from rejection and I've failed a lot, so why do I get caught up in it like its the plague coming to end everything? Silly, Sara.

I would like to learn more about my taxes (sorry that is boring but true!)

  • Who do I want to spend time with this year?
I want to spend more time with my awesome little brother. He'll soon being going off to grad school and he'll be hours away. He's been just 45 mins away for 4 years and I have not made enough effort to just share time with him.

I want to spend time with the people in my life and those I have yet to meet who are full of life. Who make me laugh. And to balance that I do not wish to spend time with the debbie downers, they are weights people. Anchors in a dank ocean. I prefer to sail up high and see the sun :)

  • How do I currently spend my time?
I currently spend my time either with friends and family, reading for yoga, practicing yoga, or catching up on TV while knitting. (watch out, someone's life is supa crazy! Knitting is cool guys, come on.) Oh and I work, blah, not interesting.

  • How do I want to spend my time in 2012?
In 2012 I'd like to spend my time smiling, laughing, and living life. I do not want to spend it worrying.

I hope to teach yoga for the first time in 2012 and while I know I will get nervous/ anxious (palms are sweating thinking about it) I will not allow fear to stop me.

I want to spend some time detoxing. More than once. I read that it was healthy to detox at least twice a year. Clean the liver out a bit, you know? Its not easy but its so good for my body and I can feel a world of difference.

Mostly, I want to spend 2012 focused on my health and well being through a consistent yoga practice and a habit of conscious eating (aka: making smart food decisions).

So, that's it. Those are the questions. Have you asked yourself why you made the resolutions you did?

Much Love,

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

You Gotta Know When to Hold 'em, and Know When to Fold 'em

I've known for years that its important to listen to my body. I've also known for years that I am great at the listening part but really crappy at the responding part.

When I was about 16 and a member on my high school's Dance Team I continued to tie my shoes too tight and practiced a move that caused my shoe to dig into the back of my ankle. Even though my ankle would be sore later in the evening I would show up at school the next day and tie my shoes tight again. It wasn't until the day before a big competition that my ankle fought back and declared that not only would I not being tying my shoes tight today but I would also not be wearing shoes that day. I had bruised my Achille's tendon. And I was actually going to have to take a break for the rest of the season.

If you've ever hurt this area of the human body then you know why the Greek's made such a big deal about it. It can be debilitating. To this day when anyone touches that area of my body I can feel the same pain from 15 years ago.

So you would think I had learned my lesson. But apparently not. Apparently my mind has a funny way of saying "Ok, body, I hear that you are in pain. But let's be real, you're a young body. A healthy body. An invincible body. Right? Atta Girl!" Then somehow my mind is always shocked when my body rebels a day or two later screaming, "Well now you've done it! We tried to warn you. Did you feel that pinch of pain? The nice little suggestion that perhaps something was wrong? You did, didn't you? But you didn't listen and now we're worse off. Well that is just great!"

What happened recently you might be wondering?

Well, 1.5 weeks ago I was in my Teacher Training class and was practicing Vasisthasana (Side Plank) when my Anatomy teacher came around and pointed out that I was hyper-extending my elbow (lucky me, I'm flexible which means my body has the ability to just hyper-extend things and hurt itself.)

This woman to the right is hyper-extending her right elbow, it should not pop out like that. The woman on the left is practicing this posture correctly.

So I listened to my teacher and released the pose without actually inquiring as to what to do or how to fix it. The next day I talked to another teacher about what I had done and that I was feeling some sensitivity in my right elbow so I was going to modify some poses. The teacher suggested that after Sunday I should rest and not practice on Monday. Did I listen? Nope.

On Monday, I went to a hot vinyasa class and talked to the teacher before the start of class just to let her know that she might see me doing a lot of modifications because I had injured my elbow. She nodded and informed that if I start to notice tension in my jaw or in my shoulders I should take a break from yoga for a bit. Ok, I thought. I only have to get through tonight and Tuesday night and then I'll take a break.

Again, on Tuesday I go to a yoga class, talk to the teacher ahead of time, blah, blah, blah. I barely get through the class and my elbow is pretty much screaming at me. I was definitely doing a dis-service to my body. But my mind had a goal to attend my 3 classes that week so I was showing up and doing what I could.

That is till my body quit.

At 3am that night I was awoken while I attempted to roll over to sleep on my right side. All of sudden I felt a warm pinch on the right side of my neck and my entire upper body was rendered useless. I laid there in bed waiting for the sharp pain to go away and for my neck to loosen. Four hours later I woke up my husband and told him I had been awake for 4 hours and could not move my neck. Final diagnosis is a pinched nerve which resulted in 2 days off from work, no driving for 4 days, and 7 days later I'm still in pain.

The image above shows what I hurt and kinda displays how its all connected.

In the end I learned to not just listen but to react. To take a break. Take a breath. My yoga practice will always be there waiting for me to show up when I'm feeling better.

To all my yogi and yogini friends, please practice responsibly.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Welcome to my new blog


I've just started this new blog to share my yoga journey. I'm currently enrolled in a yoga teacher training program with Charm City Yoga.

I hope you enjoy sharing this journey with me!