Saturday, January 30, 2010

on balance and happiness

The theme for the year continues. I'm keeping a running log of things I do and where they "fit" into the purusharthas. Here was how the last week shaped up:

Dharma (duty):
*Had a meeting with an instructor about more opportunities for karma yoga
*Planned yoga session with the girls at Florence Crittenton
*Two great private yoga sessions. Enjoy the one-on-one time for yoga
*Researched trainings for the year. Ordered info about Ayurveda training at Kripalu
*Cleaned the house
*And the studio
*Taught classes. Made an effort to "raise the vibration"
*Planned my week as far as work and fun
*Donated to Haiti

Artha (prosperity):
*Coordinated and had reports ran for banking
*Thought more about MindBody University, training held by the software company I use
*Made a plan for getting things in place for taxes
*Paid bills
*Andy and I decide to make a few changes for our household budget
*Make projections about income for the year
*Brainstorm about teacher training in eastern Kentucky
*Fix student accounts

Kama (pleasure):
*Have a midweek date in Louisville with Shelli
*Weekday dates with Andy for dinner and library
*Hang with my sis at Barnes and Noble. Enjoy chats, drinks, brownies and books.
*Talk to my mom about plans for Mexico
*Twenty minute yoga sessions in morning and early evening.
*Brunch and sticker shopping at Hobby Lobby with Liz
*Decorate planner with said stickers and watercolor paints
*Work from bed on Tuesday till 3:00 then leaving to teach.

Moksha (liberation):
*Attend meditation workshop
*Meditate in the morning
*Chakra balancing session
*Sunday journaling at coffee shop
*Self Inquiry on beliefs
*Practice being present with being uncomfortable
*Phone session with life coach
*Re-reading Anatomy of the Spirit

In looking back over my list, I felt like I was lacking in the prosperity department so the plan is to do some work here over the next weeks. It was however a great week for pleasure...hence the picture. ;)

Happy happy weekend to all of you.....

no class today

Mornin' Yogi's,

We will not be having class this morning at 9:15. Stay indoors....snuggle up in bed with a good book, sip hot cocoa with lots o' marshmallows, watch a movie, journal about your year thus far, do five sun salutations, meditate on the question "who am I", make snow angels with your kids, make soup and peanut butter fudge, use the snow as an invitation to get calm, quiet and still and observe what arises.

winterly & warmly,

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

risk your significance

I will not die an unlived life.

I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire.

I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise.

I choose to risk my significance, to live so that which came to me as seed goes to the next as blossom, and that which came to me as blossom, goes on to fruit.

- Dawna Markova

Sunday, January 24, 2010

emotions, haiti , who we are, and what exactly does "stress" mean

It's been an emotionally charged weekend for me. I spent Friday in Louisville with my best yogini friend Shelli. We had a great time eating brunch, sipping mimosas, drinking latte's, making plans for the new year, and exchanging thoughts about how lucky, how blessed, and how brave we are in living these yogini lives. Friday began with all the makings of a really fabulous Friday.

Don't get me wrong. It's been a good weekend. I can't really complain. I didn't get a flat tire. Or a speeding ticket. All is well with health and family. I have a roof over my head, a few cute clothes to wear, good food to eat. And enough money to indulge in tasty coffee drinks.

Friday I returned to the house and had the evening alone. The emotions started with watching "Brokeback Mountain." I had never seen it. As my friend said, "It's like a train wreck. You can't stop watching." I kept watching....waiting for a high point. A happy ending. Or at the very least, a happy moment. I can't say that there really was one. The movie ends and I sit crying on my couch. Alone. On a Friday evening.

I was excited to watch "Hope for Haiti". I thought it would pull me outta the dumps. It had the word "hope" in it afterall(yeah I know...what in the heck was I thinkin'). Wow...Could I have ever been more wrong? About the third song in with Bruce Springsteen singing, I'm sitting on the couch, phone in hand, texting GIVE to donate money to these people, these souls, for this sad, sad disaster. And crying. Tears streaming down my face.

Hello Friday night. I couldn't decide if I should go for the Internet, the wine, or the phone. Surely there was a distraction to pull me out of this wasteland of dumps. I knew that all three could momentarily help get rid of this yuck. This sadness. These low feelings that I'm not a particular fan of.

Today Teresa taught an amazing, and I mean really amazing workshop on meditation. She is gifted at this. There were 18 of us present. We took a few moments to introduce ourselves at the beginning. Without Teresa prompting us, I think two thirds of the group stated their name, what they do for a living, and how stressed their lives and jobs are. (I'm planning to ponder and write more about this for the newsletter).

We did a great "who am I " meditation. The idea that we are more than
* a job
* a mother
* a wife
* a sister
* a teacher
* a friend
* a body
continue to insert.......

So good. I finished feeling really good. Didn't think much about it till I was driving home and I was so deep in thought that I didn't even know where on Man-O-War I was. Really. I actually did a U-ey caused I thought I'd passed Nicholasville Rd. Then ended up having to do another U-ey cause I hadn't actually passed Nicholasville Rd. After I slapped myself in the face to shake the thoughts outta my head (kidding, mostly) I focused on just getting myself home. Preferably safely.

Now in thinking (safely about this without fear of hurting myself or some poor soul on Nich. Rd) about this I can see how we do this everyday. We talk about the weather, what we do for a living, our kids being on the honor roll, the success of our spouse, other people's struggles, our fave new products, the great new restaurant, (again insert a number of things here) how things are tough but they'll look up.....when at times what we're really feeling/thinking is...
"My god, this sucks."
"My job is sucking the life out of me."
"My relationship is sucking the life out of me."
"The confusion is too much."
"I'm tired of making adult decisions."
"I can't quite take control of my health."
"I'm exhausted."
"Family life ain't all it's cracked up to be."

Is this true all the time? I hope not. Sometime? Uhhh hell yeah. I think we have a general tendency to not talk about
Our stuggles.
Our pains.
Our confusion.
Our anger.

Am I being a Debbie Downer? I have to say I don't think so, cause clearly I don't enjoy that place so much. Honest. Too much emotion for the weekend? Not sure. I'll let you know in a couple of days. ;)

Really, are these some of the things that mean "stress" when so many of us are mentioning it? We use that word all the time. We toss it around daily. What does it reeeallllyyyyy mean? For you? For me? For all of us?

Definitely thinking out loud on this one. Gonna hit the "publish" button before I go back and censor.

**Teresa looks pretty sweet in the photo huh? Love the smile.**

Thursday, January 21, 2010

on pleasure & freedom----purusharthas cont...

Looks like one day has turned to several. :) But here I am reflecting on last week's moments (or lack thereof) of pleasure (kama) and freedom/liberation (moksha). Don't you love that word.....moksha. I do.

Kama (pleasure) - What was my greatest pleasure this past week? Surprising, it was all about the recent pleasure I've taken in cleaning, organizing and redecorating our bedroom. It's been a work in progress for a couple of weeks. I'm making a strong effort to balance work and home. I decided that I needed to invest time, energy, and a little money into revamping our bedroom.

With a $500 budget, several hours of work, shopping trips to Ikea and Home Goods Andy and I now have a much more peaceful space that we get to enjoy. Who'd have thought it would be so much fun for me? Certainly not me. And it's been fulfilling in a sorta way that's new to me. I can feel a tiny pull towards nesting at home, which is again....a little new to me. I'm just embracing it and going with the flow.

Moksha (liberation)- What activities did I engage in for the sake of liberation? Not as many as I would have preferred. The new year has been busy, mostly with the beginning of teacher training. I haven't found the amount of time that I prefer to do the things that feel so freeing. Liberating.

I have been quite consistent with my morning meditation. Do enjoy this time. Feels yummy. And divine is the smallest of ways. The other recent biggie has been self inquiry work that I've been doing with my life coach and on my own. A portion of it is based off on Byron Katie's "the work". It's interesting and challenging. And giving me a little more space around strong beliefs that I've created. Not sure where I adopted some of these beliefs. But boy, they've been strong and around for quite some time. And I've seen them as truth. Now they are exposed. I'm investigating them. One by one. With the hopes of course....that I can feel a little more mental/emotional freedom. Ahhhh, the work. :)

**Why the pics from Mexico if I'm enjoying nesting? Well no matter how much I love nesting, I'll always always love and long for Mexico. And I'm at the studio and the pics are on this laptop. Plus, aren't they so appropriate for pleasure and freedom? And it's possible that my sister may kill me for the pic above. But it totally looks like the epitome of pleasure to me ;)**

Monday, January 18, 2010

desperately seeking balance...or the purusharthas

In this month's yoga journal there is a great article on the purusharthas, or yoga's four aims of life. I read this article while I was retreating at Snug Hollow Farm and it couldn't there couldn't have been a more perfect time. (Aint Sung Hollow sweet?)

At this time I was also reflecting on my theme, my word, and/or my focus for the year. Nothing was feeling right. I knew that I wanted to put more focus on my homelife, broaden my definition of adventure, practice the art of contentment, be giving, be happy and more. I knew I would need a big plate to fill all of these.

When I flipped to this article it really spoke to me. Again I love yoga for all of it's mystical, philosophical ways. But I also love it for it's use-fullness and good ol' fashion tools for life. I felt like the study of and living of the purusharthas was another mind boggling and useful tool. I did three collages at Snug Hollow. One was for the purusharthas:

Right away I went and decided that 2010 was to be the year of balance and happiness. And then I wanted to jazz it up...desperately seeking balance and happiness. It sounds a tiny bit dramatic, eh? But fun none the less.

The four areas for the purusharthas are:
1. Dharma, or duty
2. Artha, or prosperity
3. Kama, or pleasure
4. Moksha, or liberation

Each week I plan to spend some time reflecting on each area, with the hopes that I'm attending properly to each area. So here we go:

1. Dharma (duty) - What were my obligations and did I meet them with ease? This week is was all about the starting of yoga teacher training. I made a strong effort to get everything ready and doing the things I needed to be prepared physically, mentally and emotionally. I feel like I did meet this obligation with ease. The weekend went smoothly, thanks to the great new group we have, wonderful teachers to share their knowledge, and prep work to have it all in place. Yep, we're definately off to a good start!

2. Artha (prosperity) - What did I do for the sake of my livelihood? I made efforts in three different areas:
1. Studio
2. Students
3. Teachers

Studio - As far as the studio I went back to the honoring the importance of providing a safe and clean environment for students to practice yoga in. In an effort to clean the salty mess from the studio floor. The snow was certainly pretty. The salt in the studio not so much. I bought a steam mom (the shark, highly recommended) and cleaned the entire floor. Still have a little more work to do, but it's much better.

I'm also feeling the need to get the studio desk more organized and to keep the clutter clear as students can see it as they go the restroom. I've started taking some steps to fix this and with the help of Teresa, I'm sure it will all get de-cluttered.

Now I need to figure out the plants. I was certain that my thumb was turning green....but it appears that some plants and not doing well. No green thumb just yet. I'm certain I suck at this when I have students volunteering to come and take care of them. :)

2. Students - First off gratitude. In this past week I found myself feeling deep appreciation for the students at Barefoot Works. I took the time at the beginning and/or end of class to thank students for choosing to do yoga at BW's and for allowing me to do what I love the most, teach yoga. It's all because of you that I feel so darn lucky in the "work" department.

And secondly being flexible. We're getting a lot of new students at the studio. It's really quite exciting to see all the new faces come filing into the studio and take their place on the mat. We did have one gal that wanted to do our awesome new student special. Typically we only offer this package on the first visit in. But she was going to be moving and traveling. I decided that we would still offer her this package after she came back. She took Lisa's (phenomenal) class at noon and ended up buying a five class package. Since I was supporting her, she wanted to support me. Love when that happens. Take care of the student and the student will take care of you. :)

3. Teachers - It's been a couple of months since all the BW's yoga teachers have gathered. We've also added two new teachers since getting together last. Lisa and Beth. We now have six teachers! Clerly the teachers are super important to me, the studio, and our students. I try to make a true effort to show them how much I appreciate all they do. At the end of this month we're all gathering at Sarah's to watch the documentary "Enlighten Up", have a pizza party, and talk yoga. It's always a fun time to gather with them and get their feedback and suggestions concerning the studio.

**This post is turning out to be much longer than I had planned. I'll write on my happenings for the last two purusharthas tomorrow. I imagine this is enough for you to know tonight. ;) **

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

music of possibility

Watch this short video about a Louisville student and prepare to be amazed.

**Have a tissue handy**

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

self care for busy days

I've been working from the big blue house the past several days. I'm finding it a good working space during this busy time. With a mind full of thoughts and a pocket full of to-do's, it's easy to put ourselves on the back burner. I know this all to well.

I just told a friend yesterday, when I get busy, I'm less mindful. When I'm less mindful I eat crap food and generally don't do so good at self care stuff.

So this busy week I'm taking a few steps just to make sure I stay clear of feeling overwhelmed and have healthy practices to keep me feeling good in mind, body, and spirit.

Here is what I've been doing:

1. Not taking on extra to-do's or overbooking myself. I have a session with a life coach today and a lunch with my sister on Thursday. Both of which will be good for me. I think the important thing is not taking on stuff that will add to feelings of overwhelm. Things we feel like we can't be fully present for, or we do it out of fear of saying "no". Or perhaps it things we simply wont be able to fully enjoy because of the other stuff we need to do.

2. Meditation. I practice at least a 20 minute meditation in the morning immediately after my shower. And yes I stay put right in the bathroom. It's not glamorous but it does the trick. I roll my yoga mat out halfway, sit on the folded edge of the other half. Light my copal incense from Maya Tulum that I love, and breathe my way to a few moments of bliss, stillness, and/or quiet. I always get up feeling better and start my day.

3. Yoga. My sessions have been shorter in the past week, but that's ok. I'm taking breaks while working at my computer. The sequence I just did was:
yogic squat
standing forward fold
roll to standing, roll shoulders three times
extended mountain, interlace hands behind back, hold for five breaths
extended mountain, take a steeple mudra overhead, and side bends to each side.
Do sequence three times.
This is making the long hours at the computer much more do-able.

4. Asking for help. This has always been a challenge for me. But on Monday I did run to the studio to get a book (that ended up not being there). I go in and I see that the studio floor is a mess because of the snow and the salt. There are papers on the desk that need to be filed away and plants that need to be watered. Ahhhh, I thought "too. many. things." So I call Teresa and did the unbearable...ask her for help. She was happy to lend a hand. So grateful that I am surrounded by the teachers that I am. **thanks again T**

5. Making time to cook. Yesterday I wanted to make a nice meal for Andy. But with the work is wasn't going to happen. So off he went to the grocery store to pick up a few things. I made grilled apple sammies and mac and cheese. The cooking provided a fun relief from work and the meal was more satisfying than picking something up.

6. Quittin' time. In the old days I worked morning, noon, and most of the night. I'm not doing that anymore. And even now while I'm busy, I'm off the computer away from work and downstairs reading, relaxing and/or watching basketball with Andy.

What about you..what's your routine for self care of busy/overwhelming/general crazy days?

Friday, January 08, 2010

welcome twenty ten

Hi All! It's been a few days since I've blogged. I know it's been a few days when I'm speaking to my bf on the phone and she says, "Gosh, you still haven't updated your blog. How am I to know what's going on with you?!"

The new year is in full swing. Me, Andy, Liz and Tony traveled to Whitesburg to ring in the new year with family, friends, and good hearted folk. On the drive there Liz had gone above and beyond and created festive little cards for us to write our wishes out for the new year. We also had our cards on which we wrote our wisehs out the previous year. The car ride gave us a chance to go over those and see how each one panned out. I was certainly very pleased to see that almost all the things I wanted to happen did.

At Summit City there was a dance floor with disco ball and the dance tunes flowed throughout the evening. I danced with my mama, my brothers, my best friend, my sister in law, with Tony and with Andy. There were hats, and noise makers, glitter and sparkles abound. There were eats and drinks. More drinks. The next day I was reminded of why I no longer drink this much on a regular occurrence. But boy for that one night, it was completely worth it. Welcome 2010...twenty ten. It has a nice ring to it.

The new year's day retreat was a great day. I was surrounded by 15 lovely yogini's and there hope-full energy throughout the day. We sweat and worked it out to a two hour detox practice, ate some fresh and healthy food, shared our challenges and struggles, confronted our fears, reflected on what we wanted more of in life and wanted we needed less of. We got creative in crafting our vision for the year, ate fruit, and went through the eight steps to create and commit to a yoga practice that would help sustain us throughout the year. We juiced. We toasted. And we danced.

I learned from them. They learned from me. We all learned from each other. Something so sweet, so simple, yet so very powerful about all of this. We women has the creative power to change our lives and the lives around us. We must learn how to harness this power and use it for good. For ourselves and the world.

I retreated into the woods of Estill County for two days. Giving myself some time and space to sit quietly, to relax, to reflect on what I hope this new year will bring. I'm hope-full in my heart and feeling content knowing that those things that will help me to learn, to grow and move forward on my path will certainly present themselves.

Snug Hollow Farm is a small piece of paradise. Actually it's 300 acres, so maybe small isn't the word I'm going for. The Appalachian mountain gal in me really resonated with this place and with Barb, the owner and innkeeper.

Barb herself is from Jackson (Breathitt County) and she is a breath of fresh country air. The farmhouse felt like so many homes I've been in in Appalachia.... old, lived in, loved on, unique, and simple. You look at the pieces of furniture, the books, the lamps and you just feel some story behind them. And Barb is a success story on her own. I won't share too much. You'll have to take a trip down to see her and discover her wisdom and beauty for yourself.

And her food. Oh my. Oh my. AND she has a cookbook. "Hot Food & Warm Memories is a 123-page treasure that includes the author’s inspiring insights along with her best-loved recipes. “Stuffed green peppers, pot pies, bean soup, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese or even a good cheesy pizza are my favorites,” she writes. “I stick to my Kentucky roots where we grow it, cook it, eat it or can it.”

Everything Appalachian food should be. AND everything vegetarian cooking should be. How is that possible, right?! Yeah I know. I was completely surprised too. She has an organic farm, cooks with cast iron skillets, uses tamari and nutritional yeast in most everything. Her food...completely and utterly amazing.

I returned on Tuesday and this week I've hit the books and the laptop, preparing for our upcoming teacher training that begins next Friday. It's a great joy. A great love. And a lot of work. In years past we've worked from a binder. This year I'm making a bound manual. With the plans of using it more than the binder and continually working from it throughout our six months together.

Compiling all the info together and adding some new content. We're now up to 116 pages. Excited to see how it works out!

Alright I think that's for me! I hope the new year is treatin' each of you delightfully well. Adios!

**I have tons o' pics to share, but for some reason the camera isn't cooperating for now.**

Thursday, January 07, 2010

this evenings classes

Greetings Yogis,

I've decided to cancel classes for this evening (Thursday, Jan 7). Be safe on the roads, make some chili, enjoy a hot cup of tea, sneak in a down dog, standing forward fold, and yogic squat (my go to mini sequence) and cozy up on the couch with a good book, a cute dog, or a sweet spouse. Or all three. ;)

See you soon....