The Most Epic Yoga Transformation

Guys!!! This is going to be awesome! I hope you feel even just a little tiny bit of what I am feeling after accomplishing something in the yoga world today! I am so excited! But I also want to tell you guys how long it took me to get here.

You know when you’re browsing Instagram (and other various sites but a lot on that one), you see people in these super difficult yoga poses and they make it look so easy. You know what you don’t see? YEARS of practice leading up to that point. Yes, some people are more flexible than others and just have a naturally bendy back. Yes, some people have incredible arm strength without lifting weights. But most of them, most of us, have been practicing over, and over, and over, and not always posting the fails or mistakes.

I am guilty of posting all the “good” stuff but I have also posted quite a few fails or work-in-progress photos. So you shouldn’t be too surprised to know that I have put in the work. I have practiced the same poses over and over and thought that there were some I would never be able to do. Let’s look back at one of those.

April 14, 2015. I was hanging out with Isis and doing fun yoga stuff. She had just mastered “flying lizard” and asked me to try it. Look at this train wreck…

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We joked that we should have a safe word in case I got stuck. I used the safe word!!! LOL!! I was so stuck and didn’t even know how I managed to get into this half-eaten pretzel predicament. We even made a collage of she and I to show off our “skills.”

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Since then I have tried this countless times and was never able to get it. A few things…I could never get my bottom foot around my arm and off the floor. I SWORE that my calves must be too big and I’d never get it because I couldn’t wrap my leg around. I also couldn’t ever get my back foot off the ground without my head being on the ground. This takes so much strength in so many places. Even though I was 100% sure I’d never get it, I stuck it out. I kept trying. In the meantime, I also worked on other arm balances to fill the hole of flying lizard.

So here we are. 2 whole years later. That’s a long time. I have been able to stick some other arm balances and so I thought I’d try this again. Well, today was the day. 2 effing years later. Scroll up to look at the fail photo again just so you can really appreciate the transformation…go ahead….I’ll wait….

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Here it is! In all it’s flying glory!

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AHHHHHH!!! I DID IT!!!!! OMG OMG OMG!!!! Seriously!!! I can’t even!!!!

Basically, guys, don’t give up! Practice makes progress!!! Keep going! Practice til your arms fall off!! DON’T STOP!!!

Namaste. 🙂

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Aspire to Inspire #NamasteTuesday

A couple days ago in my health support group, a friend posted a fill in the blank status that said, “I am inspired by________. I aspire to__________.” The answer came to me easily…

I am inspired by other yogis and their journeys. I aspire to be as inspiring.

I think I am in the right track. I get so much positive feedback from my IG posts and the people that come to my yoga classes. I am also getting a bunch of friends and family members asking me how to get started with yoga. They all tell me that I inspire them to get started and that I am very encouraging. And that all makes me so happy. Seeing other people discover the beauty of yoga is inspiring!

I got this message from my cousin last week…

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The Mexican angry is the best part! One, I totally get that, and two, it’s such a yoga thing to become less reactive. I continued the conversation telling her about a recent Facebook post I commented on and how not reacting was something I was so proud of. The post was political and while everyone else stomped on me and told me how wrong I was, I stood my ground while being positive and never getting mad or speaking down to the other commenters. A couple years ago I would have started a “Facebook War” and definitely would have gotten Mexican angry. I eventually left the conversation quietly because I “let things go.” That really made some of the commenters mad, lol.

My most favorite philosophy in yoga is “Practice make progress.” I love to teach that idea to others. I love when people tell me that they can see differences in their balance, posture, poses, and mood. That all comes from practice. Here’s one of my most recent progress posts.

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The bottom photo was a neat morning. I was just doing my yoga thing, not planning to practice kapotasana (full pigeon), but it happened in my flow and it felt right.

I am doing another IG challenge. This one is called #PinchaQueens. A couple weeks full of all kinds of forearm stand prep and actual pincha. Today is pincha with bow and arrow legs.

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A couple days ago was pincha with a prop. Most people used a yoga wheel but since I didn’t have one I decided this was a great time to do some yoga with my chickens. (Watch my video here or check the side bar for the video on my IG.) It was a great morning. I tried so many times to get a good take but my balance was way off and Hagrid was just over it. The video was around take 5 and it still didn’t work. Hagrid was a great sport though so she got lots of cuddles.

That evening my daughter found my farmer Barbie and said, “Look, mom. I made you!” She is really my number one fan with yoga stuff. She makes fun of me and likes to tell me I’m showing off, but I know one day she’ll understand it all.

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While so much of my yoga is for me, I do hope to continue to teach others and inspire. It really does bring my happiness.


 

Bend it Like Chrissy #NamasteTuesday

This has been a pretty big week in my yoga world. Hopefully it will get even bigger today! Read on.

Yesterday was the last day of the latest Instagram challenge I was participating in. This was #BentYogis2, and while #BentYogis definitely challenged me, challenging may be an understatement for this one. I tried new things and most of them were difficult for me.

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These may look easy but they are not. I don’t recommend trying any of these without REALLY warming up first. The middle one on the right was totally weird. One of the hosts of the challenges demoed it and said, “it looks deceptively easy.” That was 100% true. You go in thinking it’s going to be simple but it’s not. I am not even in the full pose there but that was all I could do.

The last day was yesterday and the pose for the day equally excited and scared me. It was something I had never done before. It’s called Hollowback. The point of this inversion is my have your hips behind your shoulders. Again, when you see the hosts giving examples it looks easy (that’s part of the problem with pictures). Since I am pretty good at forearm stands I wanted to try it that way. We were encouraged to use a wall if we needed but I was determined not to. I used to rely on the wall and my bff, Isis,  would say, “Fu** that wall!!” So when I thought about using a wall this time, I was emotionally blocked to allow myself to use it (that seems like terrible grammar. Sorry, English majors). I felt like I would be going backwards in my progress. So I tried, approximately 47 times, without the wall and COULD NOT get it. I kept bending too much and going into scorpion. I kept texting Isis telling her that I needed her!! It’s very difficult to learn new things while you’re alone. She gave me some great tips and I tried another 47 times without sticking it. She reminded me that it was the very first time I was trying and that I have a lot of time to practice. I needed to hear that. We are very similar in that when we want to learn something we want to master it that first day. Yoga doesn’t always happen like that. I need practice. I ended up using the wall and going with the handstand variation. It was still incredibly difficult. Good stretch? Yes. Am I sore as shit today from all the trials? Hell yes.

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For now I’ll stick with regular pincha, forearm stands. I like those. And I like to get festive with them!

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Somewhere in the middle of last week, Isis and I decided to do another long distance yoga post. We went with backbends making a heart with our legs. This was out first try lining it up and I love it so much. It’s perfectly imperfect!

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Tonight is my first night teaching my super beginner yoga class. Most of the practice is done while sitting in a chair and we’re sticking to very basic poses. I am really excited. I didn’t realize just how much you can do from a chair. It’s pretty fantastic. I am hoping to see some new faces and get a nice new crowd to class. Not only will it benefit me and my teaching, it will also bring new people to the little community center. Win, win!!

Yoga Thursday

Just like with all creative endeavors, you start with a plan. It may work out, it may not. When I decided to revamp the blog (again) and have certain days to write about certain things it was a great way to get me started. I’ve enjoyed writing my #NamasteTuesday posts all about my yoga journey. But sometimes yoga happens when it isn’t Tuesday and I want to write on a different day. So…I’m not saying goodbye to #NamasteTuesday but I’m going to allow myself to not stick to it and have freedom with my posts. Which brings us to today.

Today is a pretty significant day in my yoga world. Facebook reminded me that two years ago today was the first time I took a yoga class taught by my bff and yoga bff, Isis. That day I did not think my life would turn into what it is today. I am forever grateful for that class.

I am also doing the second backbend challenge, #Bentyogis2, and today’s pose is pigeon. Of course I had to take the king pigeon variation.

But before I show you that, I want to show you my very first time trying king pigeon. If you don’t already know, this is one of my super fave poses. It’s also the first pose I ever wanted to try and progress in. I wanted to be able to bend, reach back to grab my toes, and not fall over. There is a lot of balance in this pose. So last year in September I grabbed my strap and started.

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There’s a few things to say about this photo. One, my left leg is practically underneath me; in a perfect execution of this pose, that leg would be perpendicular to my body. Two, I’m barely bending back. I’m thinking at this point I didn’t realize it was a backbend. And last, I clearly cannot get my arms back to grab my toes let alone balance.

Flash forward two months and me practicing this pose…

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One, that front leg is still underneath me. Two, I reached back but look at my hilarious face! I’m not at all comfortable. I’m staining and hurting myself.

Just about a year later… (Today)

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I am so incredibly comfortable in this pose now. You can’t see, but my front leg is much straighter now (not perpendicular yet but getting there), I can reach back with ease, and look at that backbend. My head dips down below my toes. Whoa!

This is why I always add the hashtag, #practicemakesprogress. It’s so true. You can see it! I can see it in so many poses. Even in the simpler Warrior poses, I can see how my lunges are deeper and my hips are more flexible. My shoulders… As much as I complain that my shoulders need work, they’ve come a long way since the start. This is what yoga practice does.

But I must say, yoga did not just make me more flexible. Yoga has made me into a better version of myself. Yoga has made me incredibly comfortable in my skin. I could go on all day about how powerful yoga, breathing, and meditation is, but I’ll just say its just that. Powerful.

Namaste.

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