Tag Archives: healthy eating

Holiday Reconnect

Happy Tuesday, everyone! It has been a hot minute since I’ve had an opportunity to blog. Since I moved I’ve been running around, unpacking, traveling, etc. and quite frankly I’m so happy to be able to be home for a few weeks before the travels start again. I need this time to ground myself. Focus. Hang out and just breathe!

I have had a blast running around though. I went to New Jersey to see my friend, Olga, and her family. Her oldest daughter got married and the wedding was beautiful! Spending time with Olga was much needed. I hadn’t seen her in 8 years, since I moved out of NYC. It was just like old times though. The only the that had really changed was she moved, and she got a cat. Everything else, the same.

Upon returning from Jersey I had to work one day and then I was off to visit my family in the North Carolina mountains. I drove way too much, but I was happy to get the time to see everyone. I like hearing what they’ve been up to. It was also my cousin Jon’s 26th birthday on Thanksgiving. I can’t believe he’s 26. Scares me that the youngest (he’s 3rd from the bottom age wise with the cousins) group of kids in our family will all be in their 30s very soon.

I spent Thanksgiving evening with my parents at their house. Mom had to work, so she was unable to go to the festivities at grandmas, but it was nice to see her and spend time with both of them. I broke the news that I had been seeing someone, Zack (just in case you didn’t know either). They were quite happy and look forward to meeting him. It won’t be over Christmas, because he has to work, but none the less, one day!

So here it is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. December will be here Friday. My lovely yogi sister, Starr, has a birthday on Friday too! And it wraps up the end of the semester for me. I’m excited to have time off from teaching. I get to focus my time on doing some academic writing for myself and studying for the GRE. Hurray! Christmas break is so fun! I have planned on doing a yoga tour of Wilmington. Spending time learning and practicing from those around me. I am excited to experience some new things and really push myself to get outside my comfort zone. I’m stuck there, and I have to stop it. So, naturally, I am going to go to my mat and try all the things. There are so many wonderful teachers in this town (it’s legit over flowing with amazing teachers) and it is silly of me not to take advantage. I think I might start on Friday morning, since it is the first day I have ‘off’ from work. And I know just who’s class to take. Alexis, I’m coming for you!

In addition to my yoga tour, I’m excited to study. To spend time expanding my knowledge and working toward a larger goal. I have been anticipating this time off so I could focus and just work on stuff I want to do, instead of stuff I have to do for work. Not that I don’t like that stuff, but sometimes I find it really hard to actually split the two and I know that I need to learn to do that again. I plan to pursue some big things, and push myself again. I’ve done a lot of pushing this year, and I want to wrap up the year itself with one last one. It will lead me into 2018 and help me stay focused next year. Because, I’m not doing all this stuff to not keep at it. Dreams are worth chasing. And I’m trying to focus on some short term goals for now, that will possibly lead me to that bigger dream. Dr. Deirdre. It has a fantastic ring to it, no?

In closing, here’s to the last week of classes! I look forward to the month off. I look forward to the holidays with friends and family. I look forward to pushing myself outside of this comfort zone so I can grow and prosper in a different way.

2017 has been an awesome year. 2018, I hope you’ll be the same.

Namaste!

Solar Plexus Chakra

I’m focusing my classes this week on the Solar Plexus Chakra. Mine is out of whack. Being down on myself because of my weight and negative body image. Feeling exceptionally fluffy these days. I was at the gym yesterday and working out around mirrors I was in shock of how bad I looked. And it started that mind worm about my self worth and such. I had been thinking about the solar plexus this week and usually when I fixate on a chakra it is because that is not balanced in me. I started stressing about finances and how was I ever going to be able to afford all of the things I need when I’m moving in a month. I started getting anxious because I am trying to better my situation. I had an issue with work too. I realized they were paying me too much. So I spoke up. Now the rest of my checks will be docked until the money they have already paid me gets paid back. Such bullshit. I love how being honest can come back to haunt you. But once I realized it, and I thought it was just a minor fluke at first, they were so thrilled that I was honest. Makes me feel like they never would have noticed. But then I would have been living in fear of paying it back when they did figure it out. There’s the throat chakra. The speaking the truth. In addition to the Yama, Satya. Which is truthfulness and honesty.

I’ve been having a bit of a soul searching party lately. What do I want for the future. What do I need to do to grow and become a productive individual in my community and the world. So, I’ve decided since my funding is going to be rather limited the next while, I plan to study. Study for various things. The GRE. Yoga. Reading more and finding my way into something that I’m currently working on. Something that I haven’t figured out just yet. I have some exciting things to work toward and I know I can be successful in doing so. I just need to spend some time grounding myself and finding my self esteem again. Not doubting my ability. Not allowing the standard that society has created to justify who I am and what my life should look like.

I’m working on not worrying about expectations and just letting things happen as they happen. Most of the time it is not that hard. Sometimes shit is real hard. Like when it comes to my students. I expect them to do their work in a timely manner. I expect them to try hard to be successful. And this week all of those expectations have been shot straight to Hell. A simple assignment has turned into a shit storm of excuses and poor choices on their part. I’ve given them more than enough time to accomplish this assignment, and it was fairly simple. Actually, it was really fucking easy. But alas, I got so many emails last night about it. Waiting until the last minute. I just can’t even deal with them anymore. So, for part 2 of this assignment I won’t have expectations. I have provided them with more than enough guidance for this, and I plan to expect nothing. That’s the best I can do right now. Because they’re killing me. And I refuse to allow them to cause me grief. It’s their grade, not mine. I’ve done my job. Got my degree. And That’s all I can do.

In yoga I’m working on perfecting my Sun Salutation B. I am tired of Sun Salutation A to be honest. Everyone uses it, and I would rather be a little different. The movements were far more difficult than they should have been, because we did animals at the gym. Lots of bear crawling and shit like that. My shoulders are sore. Considering I hadn’t been in forever too. Makes it more difficult on the body to get back into the serious stuff. Planning on getting some good practice in tonight and tomorrow before teaching class at 3, and Saturday morning. I’m learning how to get off my mat more when teaching. One of my mentors suggested “Have you ever just thought of leaving it?” And I know it is that simple. I do. But sometimes I can’t bring myself to do it. I want to be the teacher who is always on the move. Changing the dynamic of the class. Finding more confidence in my teaching. I know it comes with time and it will come around eventually! I just have to give it time and not have expectations for myself. I need to have faith in my power. And balance this damn solar plexus!

Wish me luck! Have a great weekend y’all! I’ll be grading bibliographies and doing yoga while I house sit and host a book club!

Risk it.

Good Morning avid readers! I have been up since long before the sun and I have been pretty damn productive. Fighting off a cold that keeps trying to creep in–Elderberry syrup (that mom made), a boat load of vitamins, hot tea, water, and good foods are what I’m using to keep it at bay. So far nothing beyond just feeling a bit icky and run down. It is not going to take root! I refuse to allow such things to happen. I have a lot to do these days. So, the big news.

I’m moving. Not leaving the Port City, but I am making my way to a different dwelling that isn’t Hell. Long story short, because the apartment employees, and some 3rd party hires, my living room flooded 3 times since July. Because of that, I decided to officially break my lease and get the hell out of here. Their negligence is inexcusable and my personal things were destroyed on more than one occasion. I can’t take it, nor should I have to! So, here I go on November 1, 2017 I am moving to a far better place. I am beyond excited. I am also really thrilled at what the process of moving has helped me get rid of in addition to helping me understand that is okay to take a risk and try something new.

I’ve been taking a lot of risks lately. Taking on a rent that is higher than what I am currently paying. I am taking on more responsibility in the yoga community around town. I officially work for 3 different institutions and I really love it. You can find me on Carolina Beach at Salty Dog Yoga and Surf on Saturday morning at 10:45am. Starting in October you can find me Monday morning at terra sol sanctuary at 9:00am for a 90s themed flow (this one is going to be off the chain!), and then I am doing some work with Yoga Village, a local nonprofit taking yoga to underserved communities. They all offer me a completely different perspective and give me the opportunity to grow into my own place. Figuring out who I am as a teacher is going to take time and i know I will evolve in a variety of ways! Finding comfort in my role as a teacher is vital, in addition to growing my own practice.

That being said I decided to take another risk. This one is leaving my gym and my gym family. Sadly, money is a real thing and I couldn’t afford it anymore. However, I will take the lessons I have learned over the years and apply them to my own style of working out. Doing so much yoga on top of heavy lifting isn’t something my body is used to doing. I am in a lot more pain that I am used to being in and as someone that uses their body to instruct and make a living, I have to be careful. And while it is bitter sweet for me to leave the gym, I know it is what I have to do right now. Hopefully I will be able to go back one day, but right now my priorities are in growing my yoga practice–which can be pretty strenuous! And I am having to remind myself that it is okay to stray away from things as we grow. Some things are put in our paths to help us toward another one. TFW has taught me so much about myself since day 1! The coaches that I’ve had are amazing and while I may have hated one day or another I still pushed through. Yes, I did complain while I did it too. But it was all part of growing and expanding. If it wasn’t for the confidence I got in TFW I probably never would have gone on to try yoga or gotten certified. Through the training program I learned that things I never thought I could do are things that are well in my grasp if I get rid of the fear surrounding it and actually try!

And on top of it all I am learning so much. Not just about yoga and the practice and how to build effective classes and such, but about who I am and who I want to be. Each day I learn a little more, I get a little deeper, and a little smarter. I am also going to be putting together a workshop in the near future, but that is still VERY much in the infant stages. I’m going to be attending some lectures this week and next about Hindu art and Buddhist art which I plan to somehow bring into the studio and create a class around. Life is so full of adventure right now, you can understand why I don’t want to get sick!

I suppose I should find my way into doing some more work this morning before the day gets away from me. Before I go, can I just tell you how thrilled I am that my trips to the laundry mat are officially numbered! Just a couple more weeks and then I will have the ability to wash things in my house! It’s the little things. While I do appreciate all of my loads finishing at one time, I still like the idea of not getting there at 8am to make sure I can get my shit done before I have to be somewhere else. And being able to just warm up a towel in the dryer or something like that. Oh the things we take for granted.

Well, y’all wish me luck. The tides are changing and I am ever so excited about this change! Sometimes the risk is worth it. OH! I almost forgot, Autumn will be here next week and that alone is worth celebrating! I cannot wait for sweaters and boots and snuggling by a campfire. ❤ Namaste!

The First Month…

Y’all it has been a freaking month since I became a certified yoga instructor. August has flown by and I have been so incredibly blessed to have had the opportunities that have been presented to me. I’m working for two studios and one non profit. I have taught 15 different classes ranging from kids to various kinds of flows. I’m pretty thrilled with the idea of doing more of this. Getting to connect with people and learning from the seasoned teachers around me has been such a beautiful experience.

I am making my way to take more classes this week. That is my goal. I’m aiming for 3 classes in addition to the 4 I’m teaching and going to lift 3 days this week too. I may die from all of the physical activity, but it will be a great way to go, right? 🙂

I was looking on my Facebook memories and I saw an interesting thing that I had done 3 years ago. It was saying 3 things that I am thankful for which I picked my parents, my sisters, and my grandma. My grandma is 93 years old as of this past July 11. She amazes me so much, but the memory was talking about a card she had sent me. The card is nothing fancy, just a garden scene painted by Renoir. Inside it says “Cheers to you!” and she wrote a personal note in it. She said she couldn’t wait to see my name up in lights one day. Writing those words makes me tear up. I feel like this is that time in my life. The lights have been being installed, and now they are going to be turned on. Maybe each light will flicker on in its own time, maybe they will all shine at once, but I genuinely feel that things are pressing in that direction. I feel more fulfilled now that I may have ever felt.

As a teen I didn’t know what the hell I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to be so many different things. I wanted to be a chef and a singer and a lazy bum. In college I wanted to teach. I wanted to be able to connect with people over a subject matter that I loved, like my teachers had done for me. I wanted to some how keep the legacy in my family to be a teacher. My aunts were great teachers (retired now). I felt it was genetically possible for me to do the same. I also always wanted to help the less fortunate.

Growing up my parents always encouraged my sister and I to give to those who had less than we did. My grandparents always, still to this day, ask us to bring donations for the food pantry at their church when we come to visit. Because of their examples my sister and I would spend gift certificates on toys for kids in the hospital. We watched as our parents donated time and money to causes that they showed us were important. That is what sent me to the Bronx to work, the drive to help others. That is what drove me to connect with Yoga Village, a local nonprofit that takes yoga to underrepresented groups. That is also what drove me to become involved in activism and politics. I don’t ever plan on running for office, but I do plan on spending the rest of my life fighting for those who have less than I do.

Not only has yoga given me confidence in myself and a whole new banquet of knowledge, but it has also given me the opportunity to connect in ways that I always longed for. Yoga is activism. It is helping others who have less. It is teaching. It is connecting to my community. It is all of the things I ever wanted in life, and just never knew it. I am beyond grateful for the experience. I am beyond grateful for the opportunities that I have received in just this first month of being official. I am grateful for the continued support of my family and friends. I am grateful for all of the blessings that have been given to me this year. The growth that I have experienced as an individual. The friendships that I have made. And all of the personal confidence I have acquired.

Thank you all for being on this journey with me. I am humbled at the opportunities that I  have been given and I couldn’t imagine my life going any other way. I suppose it is time to flip the switch and see what my name looks like all lit up.

Namaste! ❤

Dedication

I just made myself a smoothie. Blueberries, mango, celery, basil, spinach, hemp seeds, honey, and almond milk. Blend blend for a delicious breakfast. The basil really makes it delightful and cooling. I was reading about the health benefits of basil. Lots of good stuff come out of this little herb, and it really tastes delicious in a predominantly veggie based smoothie. It adds its own sweetness.

So, dedication is a real thing. It is so hard to dedicate time to yourself for the benefit of health and wellness. My first coach said to write it down in your calendar. Schedule it, like you do everything else. It’s a great idea and worked well for me, and still does. I’ve had the same workout/exercise routine for a couple of years now. It was hard to get that routine down pat. It was hard to dedicate the time to making myself move, but I did it. I was paying for it, I will make time. So I did. The hard part for me now is making time to add stuff to the already routine I have. I have been gaining and losing the same 20lbs for the past year and I am over being on this yo-yo plateau. Yes, I still see changes in my body, but I’m ready to dedicate the extra time it is going to take in order to actually get off this back and forth.

Can I be completely honest here? I have no freaking idea what it is like to be an average sized person. I’m not even talking about being skinny, but just like an average size 12. As long as I can recall I have shopped in the plus sized section. I know this sounds terrible, but I find comfort in this section. Because I don’t have as many options. Because I don’t actually have to change anything to achieve this section. Yes, I have gone from being a size 28 to a size 18/20. Right now I’m more toward the 20. And yes I am approaching the end of the size spectrum in this section, but I’m still not gone. I linger. Holding on. But what am I holding on for? I tell myself it is because my body just likes it here. My body just likes to be fat. No, my body would probably love it if I wasn’t overweight anymore. Then my skeletal system would get a little bit of a break. My knees especially. What’s the real reason? Because it is easier to just be fat.

Because it is easier to just be fat. The food makes you feel better because it’s loaded with sugar and salt and chemicals that play with your brain. I also really love vegetables and things that are good for me, but sometimes it is just too much work. Sometimes it just doesn’t matter and I’m hungry now. Eat a peanut butter sandwich.

As someone suffering from PCOS, which makes me insulin resistant (I do not have diabetes though, thank God), I should live a very clean food driven life. I should be focused on avoiding grain and things that react as sugar in the body. Grain, alcohol, sugar, and fruit. I like fruit so i will never give it up, and it is good for you, you just have to know when to eat it. There is fruit in my smoothie, just not much in comparison to the vegetables.

I have the tools to accomplish this stuff. I was well on my way in June, but then I got 5 days of IV drip steroids and blew up like a puffer fish. The 15 pounds i lost turned into 20 gained. It is still here. And I’m done with it. I’m getting more work teaching yoga. I’m going to need the proper fuel to sustain throughout the day and keep myself healthy. I have the tools. I have the knowledge. I know what I’m doing because I’ve been doing this for a long ass time. I just have to put the elements together and dedicate the time. So here goes.

I made a new workout schedule. I’m making a grocery list of low carb, satisfying food that I can be happy with. I am taking things one day at a time. My goal is to lose 35lbs in the next 150 days. That will be the end of 2017. I know I can do it. I’ve done it before. I can do it again. Only this time we’re going to keep moving down. It will be mostly food oriented. I’m going to give 100%.

I really try not to pay attention the scale. But sometimes it tells us the truth, even though we don’t want to see it. I know that this is a big long journey and that I should honor that and how far I have come. I do honor that, believe me. I am quite proud of who I am and what I have accomplished. This year especially! I will probably come here to complain about how much I want a cupcake. I will also complain about the heat or something similar which will make me not want to go for a walk. Then I will get mad at myself. Then I will go on a walk. But I will probably stop and write about how mad I am in between.

Today, I would normally be heading to the gym, but I have to go take a tour of a facility where I will be teaching yoga on Thursday nights. It’s apparently an involved building complex. So, I am skipping it to take this tour. I will be coming home to practice my yoga routine sequencing for the week. I have a class Thursday evening and on Sunday morning.

I hope the day is full of magic and positive changes. ❤

Wiggly

I have been in a state of bliss the past couple days, just because of the weather. The heat is still around, but the humidity has been really low. Last night there was a magical breeze as I sat outside with friends. It felt like Fall had come early. But here I sit and it is only August 1. Also, can you believe it is August 1? Only 15 days until I have to start teaching again. Yikes! But the weather makes me wiggly inside. And I start to long for jeans, boots, and scarves. Soon.

I’m going back to the after school program today to hang out with the kids. I have a fun story to share with them. At least I think it is fun! And I have a new partner to help me out. The original lead here couldn’t keep the job because of a schedule issue, so it’s my baby now. I think today is going to be an awesome day for some yoga. Going to a local yoga thing tonight at the studio where I did my training. They’re celebrating one year of being open. I’m excited to celebrate with them. Love the ladies responsible and the instructors that I have met. I have yet to meet all of them, but maybe as time goes along.

Starting my first Sunday yoga installment this weekend. Looking forward to getting a regular practice with two of my best friends. It’s yoga then brunch and some pool lounging. How could you go wrong? Also, they’re going to help me learn a lot about transitions and adjustments. Not sure if they know it yet, but it’s real.

In other yoga news I have a 30 day pass for a local yoga center that I really need to use. I am in need of more of it, and I want to do my best to actually benefit from it. I’m hesitant to do it because it is another commitment to myself and sometimes I’m afraid of making too many commitments to her. I know that sounds completely silly, but it is true. I’m always afraid that I’m going to over extend myself. I should reconsider thinking that going to yoga for 30 days is an ever commitment. Because that’s honestly just bananas. I also enjoy being lazy during my time off from work.

I need to write down my routine for today and work on my routine for Sunday with the girls. I also need to handle some administrative stuff. Being an independent contractor is really a lot of work. I see why people just don’t.

Have a lovely rest of the week!

And the Adventure Begins

Yesterday I was super tired, but crazy productive. I did manage to do some chores around the house, thankfully, and handled a lot of business stuff. I managed to get signed up with Yoga Alliance, get insurance, ordered business cards, sent out some emails to potential places to work, started a spreadsheet for tax purposes, and bought a new planner.

I have more things to do today that are administrative in nature, but I also get to go to work. Doing yoga. There is a local non-profit called Yoga Village that puts teachers in high needs communities (schools, shelters, etc) for people who could benefit from yoga. The director called me yesterday to ask me if I wanted to be a teacher for an after school program that starts today. Of course I jumped at the opportunity. I have a very special place in my heart for high needs kids. If I am able to give to my community, then I am all about it. And it is quite beneficial for them. So for the next 4 Tuesday’s I will be hanging out after school with K-7th graders and teaching them some yoga. She was so pleased that I was available. But honestly, I would do anything to get to work with these kids. It really does wonders for the soul. I don’t even know them yet, but I am so excited to get to know them. And hopefully give them some tools to help them off the mat.

I have been working with high needs youth since 2008, off and on. I started when going to New York University for graduate school. I did a work study program called America Reads, America Counts that put students in different schools throughout the city to help teachers and students. I ended up at Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School in the South Bronx. I worked with two teachers, who were so amazing, that taught 9th and 10th grade humanities. I had never been the minority until the first day at that school. It was quite shocking to my sheltered southern self, but I grew to know the students and I adore them to this day. They taught me so much about life. The best day in that experience was when one of the girls told me that I was officially one of them. It took most of the semester, but that was fine. I still keep up with a couple of them, and I am proud to say that they are doing great things in life, and I like to think that maybe I had a little something to do with that. Maybe I didn’t, but even if that is the case they gave me so much more than I could have ever anticipated.

My friend Marah introduced me to Yoga Village last spring. She was working for them, and wanted to get me involved. I had already started my RYT-200 training so it was okay that I went. We went to a local elementary school, also high needs, and had a blast. They are the sweetest little kids. We worked mostly with the autistic kids and watching them adapt and grow in their practice each week was magical. Getting to know all their little personalities was humbling and exciting. Sitting and thinking about them now I can’t help but giggle remembering little things that happened. I hope to see them again in September to see what has changed and hear their stories.

As I mentioned before, I’m totally stoked to go and hang out with these kids. One of the most important things to do as a yoga instructor is to give to the community. Providing service not only helps the community grow and evolve, but it is good for the soul too. I hope to do more and more as the weeks and months pass.

So here’s to the beginning! So much beautiful opportunity out there that is ripe for the picking! All you have to do is find it. I didn’t think this would happen so fast, but I’m so grateful and thankful that it has! Let the adventure begin! ❤

 

 

The Beginning

Yesterday I pulled 3 cards from 3 different decks. One from the “Teachings of Abraham Well-Being” Cards, one from the Magical Unicorn cards, and one from another deck that was out at the sanctuary. The first card I pulled said “All is Well”. The second one I pulled said something I cannot remember and had a swan on it. The third one said “Grandparents”. All very powerful cards. All had something to do with the moment. I sit here and smirk, but I fell like yesterday I became a swan, and all is right where it is supposed to be.

Ok. I’m going to get real for a minute. A little back story, and probably being way to honest with the internet, but here we go.

Born and raised Catholic until somewhere around my dad’s kidney transplant when I was in the 6th grade. I took to some books about witchcraft as a teen. I was a goth kid, it was par for the course. I didn’t really care about it though. I didn’t really care about anything. As a kid I liked plants, but I didn’t really care to know anything about them. I didn’t want to spend the time learning. I didn’t want to spend the time to get into my own head long enough to figure out what I liked or was interested in or whatever. Nothing sparked my interest. Singing was where I got my high. I had a Soprano I register, and a love for Broadway Musicals. There were a couple of solos in high school chorus and chamber singer (I got a Letter in btw), I competed in some things, but after high school the outlets aren’t really there for more. I didn’t want to study music. Because what can you do with a music degree? Teach it or be a professional. I didn’t want to do either, not that there is anything wrong with either, just not what I wanted. So in college I found art.

Y’all. Art is the thing that makes us who we are. It is the one thing that connects us to the world and our very essence of existence. We get to look at the pain that someone felt and maybe we felt that pain too. You can get something similar from written words or music, but it isn’t the same. They are different kinds of connections to the senses, but visually connecting is something that is harder to do. It also isn’t as readily in your face as music is in your ears, or words are in your mind. Art hits you in the core. It might be sheer pain, or utter bliss. Sometimes it just comes to you when you don’t even expect it to. I remember when I moved to NYC and I went to the MOMA for the first time. I knew that Van Gogh’s Starry Night was in that building. I had a map, I didn’t use it. I went strolling from gallery to gallery, floor to floor, and while I saw some things I loved and wanted to see, the minute I turned the corner in the last gallery and came face to face with it, I never knew what emotions felt like. I cried. Right there in that room. Surrounded by people chattering and snapping images of images. It was like he was showing me a secret world, that I thought I understood, but had never truly seen. Even now, thinking about that moment makes me tear up. That is the kind of power that art can have on someone. The only other time something moved me to a sense of awe was setting foot inside Cologne Cathedral in Germany. The building that I had studied and knew everything about was surrounding me, and it actually felt like God was in the room. Art found me, and never let me go. I am lucky enough to get to teach people about art. I always wanted to do it, and I was given the opportunity to start 4 years ago. This August starts my 4th Fall semester teaching, and I have learned so much.

I was so terrified to teach. My first day, with my first ever Freshmen, was not as horrible as I thought it was going to be. We grew together, and learned that college thing. They taught me a lot, as each and every class as since then. Good and bad.

Going into my Yoga Teacher Training I was not afraid of teaching but more afraid of being judged than anything. Judged by everyone, including my friends and family for doing something so hokey. It is also hard being the fat girl in the yoga class. People are very quick to criticize even though yoga is an inclusive practice. But despite my hesitation I took a jump and all that worry fell away. I started reading books again. I started finding more time for myself. Quiet time for meditation or just time to sit and think. Nothing major, just little things that we don’t do anymore. I started learning about chakras and how they balance the body. I started reading about Gods and Goddesses from other religions and how they played a role in yoga. How their stories shaped the practice and help us tell stories with our bodies. I no longer felt the world judging me but supporting me. There is singing involved too. That part was really exciting for me. It was like yoga brought all of the aspects of my life together. Singing, art, and mixed it together with some exercise that strengthens your body and your mind. How could it not be awesome?

Today is the day after my first class as a yoga teacher. I have been awake since like 5:30am. I had a restful sleep but my mind turned on this morning, trying to remember and process and absorb the experience of that first class. It took me a couple days to put the routine together, but it took me so much longer to figure out what to say. I didn’t say any of it. I came to my mat open and honest with everyone including myself. I don’t think I ever felt more comfortable. I don’t think I have ever been so confident or humbled at the same time. Even as I sit here I am very calm, but there is a buzzing going on in my body/mind that is incredible. I can’t explain it, but this might be the first time I’ve ever felt what it feels like to be alive. I know that sounds mildly insane, but it’s true. We go through our lives with so much expectation of how things should be or go or whatever that we don’t take the time to be here, alive and thankful. We sit and complain and become the “victim” all the time, but rarely sit back and actually take a minute to exist and be thankful for that existence.

Today I am ever so blessed. My cup runneth over. And this is only the beginning.

Santosa

Santosa is all about contentment. It is a Niyama from the Eight Limbs of Yoga. I’ve been reading in “Light on Yoga” by Iyengar. I’m re-reading it for the 3rd time now. Trying to pick up pieces that I didn’t catch along the way the last time I read it. Santosa stood out to me last night. Iyengar states “A mind that is not content cannot concentrate.” I’ve been stuck here for a while. Thinking about what it means to be content. Americans aren’t taught to be content. They are taught to consume and attempt to make their lives flashy on the outside, but really just encourage a terrible cycle of things that exploit the earth and its people. Our honest lack of Santosa is upsetting.

I sit and think about how I have never wanted for anything. I have sat around, hoarding energy and objects that could be going to help someone else. Earlier this week I spent time cleaning things out. I threw away a bunch of old toiletries, papers, mail, and I even went through my “box of important sentimental crap” and threw some of it away. Love notes, trinkets, mementos. I went through my clothes and tossed a bunch of stuff that I haven’t touched in a year or more. Things that just keep moving with me, but never get used. Like, who needs all this crap? Why are we so driven to consume it? We all know better.

I’ve been debating on trashing the mattress I have in my guest room. It’s over 10 years old, and no one uses it. Not often enough for me to justify keeping it anyway. I want the space. Yet, I’m still apprehensive about tossing it all because of stupid “What If’s” that play out in my head. Sure I have friends come visit from time to time, but I still have a couch. It’s so weird to be so nervous about trashing something. Yet, I had no problem throwing away “important crap”? Says something, doesn’t it?

“Contentment and tranquillity are states of mind. Differences arise among men because of race, creed, wealth, and learning. Differences create discord and these arise conscious or unconscious conflicts which distract and perplex one. Then the mind cannot become one-pointed and is robbed of its peace” (Iyengar, 37).

Can you imagine a world where men were content with their own way of being, their own actions, their own resources, their own land, etc and just allowed the world to exist? No, I can’t imagine it either, but it sounds nice.

Having conversations with friends about life sometimes you’ll catch yourself saying “I’d be happy if I just had enough to do XYZ.” Whether it is to live in a beach cottage in Key West, get new tires for the car, take a vacation to Europe, or whatever is just a false sense of Sansosa. Of course, you should always strive to improve yourself, but you don’t always have to strive for more. Does that make sense? And there is no harm in wanting to move into a beach cottage in Key West, but where you are right now, as you work toward that dream, are you content? Thankful? Do you respect the journey more than the destination? It’s all about the moment and appreciating what you have right this second. As they say, tomorrow isn’t a promise. If that is the case, how can you be content in the moment? In this day and time?  I find myself stopping and thinking more. Writing more. Feeling more. I try to make an effort to be in the moment more. Doesn’t always work, but it’s a work in progress.

I’m still as guilty as anyone for over consumption. My worst thing is with art. Here soon I’m going to have to incorporate gallery practices and let some rest for 6 months and allow the other ones to hang. I’m okay with that though, because art makes me happy. But a lot of the other things do nothing for me. So, what’s the point?

“There is contentment and tranquillity when the flame of the spirt does not waver in the wind of desire.” (Iyengar, 37-38)

Even if it isn’t in your ability to purge and get rid of unnecessary things, or to even stop consuming at a rapid rate (believe me, I like shopping it is hard to stop) at least take the time to be content. Because that leads you to a place that provides far more than a place full of material possessions. Finding contentment creates peace, and who doesn’t need a little bit of that?

It isn’t just applicable toward the objects we have, but how we see ourselves. Are we content with how we look? Are we content with our small nose or flat chest or thunder thighs? For me I am content with how I look. I feel like I’ve looked this way the majority of my life, but I am probably the only person that believes that. The fact that I’m content with myself, doesn’t mean I’m just hanging out not attempting to become better. I did that enough already. I can be content and strive toward something at the same time. I know it doesn’t seem like that should work, but somehow it does and it is oddly satisfying.

Just some thoughts….<3

The Wagon…

I hate the wagon. Getting on and off of it from time to time is super hard on the soul. When you’re on, you feel amazing and love everything. When you’re off you think you love it, but really you just feel tired and gross. Yet, it is so easy to stay off the damn thing. You know why? Because off the wagon there’s cake, or whatever you guilty pleasure is. Mine is cake. Or sugar in general. I wish I had never developed a sweet tooth, as it is the biggest issue I have.

So today is the day I’m putting my self back on the wagon. Yesterday, I made sure to go to the grocery and stock my fridge with yummy things. Lots of veggies, a watermelon, some walnuts and dates (I have to make some date balls asap!), etc. All things that I love to eat. I made a bunch of vinegar salads yesterday. What I mean by that is tomato salad with balsamic vinegar and basil. No cheese for me though. I also made fridge pickles. Just a nice flash pickling of some cucumbers. I made them spicy with red pepper flakes. I hope I don’t burn my face off. It is important for me to have things made and ready for when I get hungry. After I go to the gym today I plan on finishing the rest of the food prep. This morning was a total win. I made cauliflower hash browns, wilted spinach, and scrambled eggs. I need some solid fuel for my workout later. Oh, and it can always go without saying there is coffee. Lots of coffee.

I’m very excited about starting my journey as a yoga teacher. Like, an official one. July 16 I will lead my first class. There is a lot more going into it than just a first class, it is a project. I am so thrilled to be working with the group of ladies that I am to organize our day of teaching together. It makes my soul feel good! I won’t divulge anymore here now, but there will be more in the future!

Graduation day is July 23. I still feel like I know nothing! But I know that a lot of it comes with practice. It is so much fun to anticipate what the future will bring now. I wasn’t really sure what was going to happen in my life, and I still have no idea, BUT I do know it will involve yoga. In some way, shape, or form.

One last thing before I wrap this up. My dearest friend and her family have come upon some difficult times. Her step father, a really amazing man, has been diagnosed with a very serious type of cancer. Things are uncertain right now, but he could sure use some loving and healing light sent in his direction. Because he’s such a gem, he’s been handling the news with grace and laughter. I admire him for his courage. And I thank you for any efforts you make.

Everyone have a beautiful weekend. ❤