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. 🙂

Happy Yogaversary to Me!!

The last time I blogged about yoga I was broken. That was a rough two-ish weeks. I didn’t write about it all during that time because I could feel myself slipping into a bit of a depression and I knew that if I wrote about it it wouldn’t be good. There was even one day when I thought I would never bend over again. It was that bad. I’ll sum up… (edit: once i started I couldn’t stop. So if you want to just read about the title, skip down some)

I broke myself by sitting. I kept joking, “Remember that time I broke my butt by sitting on it?” For real. I had a muscle spasm in my muscles surrounding my tailbone. On a Friday night, I watched a bunch of movies and sat with my butt sunk down into my couch for hours. I woke up the next morning sore but not worried. By Monday I couldn’t bend forward at all. By Wednesday I couldn’t sit. I trained myself to squat down to do everything. On top of that I had a cough and was sneezing. Let me tell you this… sneezing and coughing with a muscle spasm is the absolute worst shit ever. I don’t wish that on anyone. It’s crippling. I had to hold onto a wall or else my knees would buckle and I’d fall on the floor. I’m not exaggerating. I went to the ER Thursday and was put on pain meds, steroids, and a muscle relaxer. They said it was both good and bad that I was a healthy and active person. Good because I would recover just fine. Bad because I would have to rest. HA! Being a mom and wife, I don’t know what rest is. By the next Monday, I really didn’t think I was going to get any better. So I doped myself up on the pain meds and prescribed myself bed rest. I basically slept for two days. And I felt a little bit better. I could at least sit down to pee without dying. But it wouldn’t be until that Friday that I could do some sort of yoga again. It was devastating. Like I said, I was getting depressed. But Friday came, and by accident I bent forward. But it didn’t hurt. Hallelujah!!

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I posted that photo to my Instagram talking about how this was the one thing that was keeping me from doing what I loved. And although I wasn’t 100% healed, my soul was on the mend.

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I posted the above photo to show me bending forward again. It’s funny because I have seen people post photos like this one and I always thought, “Why?” And then I folded forward and it hit me. Now I understand. This was something I could not do while I was broken. And this meant I was back.

Not doing any sort of exercise for 2 weeks really weakened me. There are still, now almost a month later, several things in yoga I cannot do. I try, and then my back reminds me that it isn’t quite healed yet. It’s weird. One thing I lost was pincha. I lost the strength. But I was determined to get it back.  And then I did.

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At this point I’d say I’m 90% back to normal. At least I can teach again… which brings me to the main idea of this blog post.

Today, one year ago, I taught my first yoga class!! Happy Yoga-versary to Me!!!

I never knew I would be a yoga teacher. That was never ever in my mind. Then one day during a class, the instructor said she would need a sub at some point. I asked if there were any qualifications needed, and she said, “Nope, just yoga knowledge.” So I volunteered to be her sub. In the weeks leading up to it I was nervous because I had never taught yoga. But the day came and it was awesome! Flash forward to now, I teach a beginner/chair yoga class every Tuesday and teach regular yoga every other Thursday. I also teach a Saturday class once in a while.

Last Saturday I had 7 people in my class! And a guy! That was a first! It was sooooo amazing! The fact that I can share yoga with people brings me so much joy! But right behind that, these people are coming to class because I teach it. They keep coming back because I’m there. And then they bring more people!! They’re telling more people to come to MY class. Man, that is a cool feeling.

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We cancelled Tuesday’s class this week because there was a special program at the community center, but one lady said she was going to try my Thursday class instead. One lady said she’d come, but she bought 3 others. And those are my beginner ladies coming to my other class. Gah!! I cannot explain how awesome this is! And it makes me soooooo incredibly proud of these ladies for going way out of their comfort zone when they come to my class.

Like I’ve said before, I never ever saw this road coming on my journey I call life. Yoga Road detoured me when I needed it, not even knowing I needed it. And then Teacher Avenue appeared out of nowhere but I took that road without even thinking about it. Life is weird. Life is crazy. And I’m having a ball!!

So what’s next in the yoga journey for me? Online teaching! A TON, like literally a good 10 people have asked me to teach online. I have always been hesitant because of data issues (we live in the middle of nowhere). But, the stars have aligned and Verizon is now offering unlimited data again. So…..March 1st I will video chat with a friend and for the first time I will teach via internet! I am also thinking of making cd’s with videos but I haven’t started that yet. How weird right? To go from student to exercise video host? LOL!!! Again, life is weird.

I’ll end with this photo of me doing pincha in my jeans from last week. Happy Saturday!

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I’m Broken. #NamasteTuesday

My back is injured. This has seriously got to be one of the stupidest, most embarrassing injuries ever. I didn’t have bad form during a workout. I didn’t bend too far during yoga. I didn’t fall. I hurt my lower back from being a lazy ass and lounging on the couch. I am not joking.

About a month ago we bought a new couch. It’s one of those that has the chaise on one side. This last weekend my daughter had a birthday party and I spent quite a lot of time watching movies while she and her little friends stayed up all night. I wasn’t always laying on the chaise. A lot of the time I was sitting and the spot I chose to sit in made my butt kinda sink down into the couch. Imagine my body in a little bit of a V shape. Just enough to cause strain on my lower back. Only problem is that I had no idea I was injuring myself until it was too late.

Let me tell you, this is no laughing matter. I cannot do normal stuff. I can’t bend forward, I have to squat. I can’t lean at all. You should see me trying to go to the bathroom; I have to sort of lean to the side and lift my feet up just so that I can reach my underwear. In the shower I have to have one hand on the wall to hold me up while I try to reach down to dry off. If there was any one thing worse than all this… I can’t do yoga. This could possibly be the most frustrating thing ever and it’s totally driving me crazy.

I think what is frustrating me the most is that yoga SHOULD be something I can do to stretch out and heal myself. But I think I did something to my bones not my muscles. I try so hard to breathe and fold a little deeper but I get to a certain point and I can’t breathe anymore because I am in pain. I can’t reach down to touch my toes, and if I do try to slowly make my way down, I have to squat and put my hands on my knees to get back up. Basically, I cannot use my back. It’s really terrible.

So why am I telling you all this? One, I am just being real and venting a bit. But second, I am telling you because it’s important to know how critical posture is to your everyday well being. If I had just sat up straight, or even decided to lie down, this post would not be titled “I’m Broken” and I wouldn’t be mad that I can’t do yoga. My advice to you today….sit up straight, stretch, be active. Enjoy yourself but don’t get too lazy.

Ugh, enough bad crap. Here’s some good yoga stuff.
First, I got a new tapestry in the mail yesterday for my yoga room. This will surprise you…doing that backbend didn’t hurt one bit.

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You guys know I was doing a pincha instagram challenge this month. It was so much fun. I learned all kinds of things and tried sooooo many new things. I have a ton of new goals to work towards this year. Below is me doing the splits while inverted (with a Georgie cameo). I need to work on my splits while sitting. I actually had a dream last night about being able to do the splits.

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This was my favorite from the challenge. The last day’s pose was “yogi’s choice” and I chose scorpion. I tried a number of times to get it where I wanted but I just wasn’t satisfied. I read a post from one of the hosts that said, “Give it all you got today.” That was all I needed. I switched to the front-facing camera so that I could see myself and BOOM! Best scorpion ever!!

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I even felt a little piece of my hair on my toe.

And just to connect this with the title…how did this not break me but my effing couch did? GAH! Can you tell I’m frustrated?

Tonight I teach my chair yoga class but I think it will be a lot more talking and a lot less actual yoga. I’m thinking also that tonight will be the last time we do our regular routine. I have been sticking with the same routine each week to get everyone comfortable with yoga, most are newbies, but I think it’s time to add in more stuff. I think it’s getting close to the time where we may be able to stop using the chair as an actual chair and more of just a crutch. We shall see.

Happy Tuesday!!

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.


 

12 Days of Yogamas #NamasteTuesday

Happy New Year, everyone!!! Welcome to the first blog post of 2017!!! Right back at it!

Over the holiday break I wanted to do something fun with yoga. I decided to do the #12DaysofYogamas where I did a pose that sort of went along with the “12 Days of Christmas” song. I cheated and looked online for help when I couldn’t figure out what to do but it ended up pretty awesome. The best part? My good friend Shari joined me! She’s a new yogi and is already embracing yoga and is doing awesome. I cannot wait to watch her journey. I think this must be what Isis feels like with me.

On the first day of Yogmas my true love gave to me, a partridge in a pear tree.

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On the second day…you know the song… turtle doves. We did pigeon for this one and like always I took the king variation. I love it too much.

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Our French hens look like crows. 😉

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For calling birds we did bird of paradise. This was only my second time trying this pose. I think I did fine but I did not stretch. Let me tell you how important warming up and stretching is when you’re doing yoga. I pinched something and had a knot in my back for a week. Not cool. Warm up, people!!!

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Fiiiiivvveeee golden rings!!! Wheel of course!

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Geese-a-laying was one of those hard ones where you can’t quite figure out what to do. I thought about doing a low squat so it would look like I was laying egg but went with child’s pose instead. Do I kind of look like a sleeping goose? LOL!!

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Swans-a-swimming! Swan is a neat pose. Lots of balance.

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The ONLY time it’s okay to associate milking a cow with a mom. Just sayin’.

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Dancing ladies!!

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For Lords-a-leaping I really had no clue what to do. I also got really busy this day and never posted or text Shari to tell her what the pose was. So she picked one and told ME what to do. So proud! And she picked a great pose!

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How do you do yoga to look like someone playing an instrument? You don’t. You just choose a pose like Warrior 1.

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For the 12th day, Christmas Day, I didn’t do yoga. But I did post a photo of Isis and I decorated as trees! (Hers is so much cuter than mine)

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Something I forgot about was this challenge that was floating around about a month ago called #WriteinPincha. You actually have to write something while in a forearm stand. Seems easy right? Not one bit! Holding a pen and focusing on writing rather than balancing totally throws you off, you guessed it, balance. I started by getting up and then grabbing the pen. Every time I grabbed the pen I’d fall. It didn’t even occur to me to hold the pen and then get up. But I did manage to put the pen to paper and smile. I didn’t actually write anything but I smiled.

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Right before the new year I did that #BestNine of 2016 on Instagram thingy. Not surprised that all 9 photos were yoga photos. 2016 was the year of backbends. I predict this year will be the year of arm balances. We shall see!!!

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Annnndddd….before I go…my first pose of 2017. Chair on a chair! This is a giant chair outside Duck Donuts where we enjoyed hot, fresh, custom donuts. MMMMMM!!!!!

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Naked Yoga (No Actual Nudity) #Nameste Tuesday

I have wanted to write about this for a while but wasn’t exactly sure if I could express my feelings, but I’m going to try anyway. Backstory…

I follow the a lot of yoga people on Instagram and a lot of them post naked yoga photos. They are unique and they really show a different side of yoga. One poster is Tattooedyogimama. Everything she posts is unique! And every single photo she posts, naked or not, has a positive message about body image and/or soul image. I look forward to her daily posts. That said, I don’t really understand some of the other nude or scantily clad yoga posters. Some are definitely beautiful and tasteful, but there are soooooo many other people who post wearing tiny shorts or underwear and I get the feeling that they just want to show their butt on IG and look sexy. Not all, but some. For me personally, not wearing a shirt or posting a photo in my bathing suit is a bit risqué. Maybe it’s the mom in me, maybe I’m just not comfortable, maybe I like to keep things to myself. Maybe it’s that I don’t see yoga as sexy. So the thought of ME doing yoga while naked never really occurred to me.

Flash forward to a couple weeks ago when I had an arm balance breakthrough!!

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That’s me doing EPK2 or Eka Pada Koundinyasana II. After I sent the photo to Isis I sent it to my husband who was away for work. Because he’s my husband he replied with, “You should do that naked.” So I got naked and did it again. I really did not expect what happened next.

You know how when you post photos online or even send one to your significant other, you always pick the best one. You edit it to make yourself look better. You highlight it to hide imperfections. And you ALWAYS add a filter. My husband has seen me naked a gazillion times, but I still make sure that I hide the zit on my chin and take a photo of the other side of my face when I want to share a smile with him or show him my new shirt or something. He has seen my imperfections and still loves me but I continue to edit photos and send him the best angle because that’s just what I do. Maybe I have some deep seeded model aspirations because I have always been too short to be a model. LOL! Point is, I/we are always striving to look our best in photos. Here’s where the naked yoga photo comes in. I sent it to my husband without a single edit. I didn’t lighten anything, I didn’t retake the photo, I just attached it and sent it on it’s way. And I didn’t even think of editing it. The thought never crossed my mind.

Of course afterwards I started to closely examine the photo and look for imperfections, but guess what? I didn’t find any. I saw nothing but beauty. I saw a strong woman. I saw muscles. I saw a mom. I saw myself doing something I love. I didn’t see someone sexy. Even though the initial thought was me being sexy for my husband, it ended up not being that at all. So a few days later I did it again.

This time I did a little naked flow first. Not wearing clothes during yoga feels so much less binding. You don’t have clothing getting in your way. That alone makes the whole flow better. You aren’t worried about your shirt moving up or your pants riding down. You can focus better and concentrate.

I took a photo of myself doing full dancer this time. I looked at it and my first thought was, “I look just like my painting!”

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The artist in me got giddy and excited. A few months ago I painted this figure doing full dancer. The figure isn’t necessarily naked, but it’s a depiction of the raw pose; no clothes, just the pose. This is what I saw of myself. Raw, free, unbound, exposed, gah!! I can’t really even describe it. I am sitting here trying to think of more words to describe the feels I was getting but I just can’t. It’s like I was saying in my Thankful for Yoga post… “it isn’t about using your body to learn a pose, it’s about using a pose to learn about your body.” Maybe that can help with understanding the feelings.

I sent this photo to my husband and I said, “isn’t it fantastic?” I then told him thank you for asking me for a naked yoga photo. It did more for me than I ever thought it would. It opened up a new door in my yoga world. Again, it wasn’t about being sexy. It became more about, look at my body! Look what I can do with this body! Look at what the mother of your child can do. I made a human with this body. I was an unhealthy girl and have become a strong, healthy woman.

Of course now I am trying to get Isis to try this so that see can experience the same feelings I have. She has a friend that only does naked yoga when she’s alone and has even gone to a naked yoga retreat. The thought of doing this in a group did in fact cross my mind. Not sure if I’d ever actually do it, but I know it would be life changing. I know that everyone there would be feeling the exact same way as me and it’s something we would spiritually share. Maybe that’s another way to try to describe this…spiritual. Maybe I should stop trying to explain it. Maybe I should just tell you that I recommend it. Don’t do it for the IG followers. Don’t do it because you want to be sexy. Don’t do it just because I tell you to. Do it for you. After all, one of my favorite things to tell people is “yoga is for you.”

Namaste.

 

 

 

 

LDYBFF #NamasteTuesday

LDYBFF= Long Distance Yoga BFF. That’s what Isis and I call each other. Once I moved away and we couldn’t play anymore, we had to come up with some way to continue our yoga friendship. Most of our time is still spent talking about yoga. We share each other’s successes and failures and constantly send each other pictures and videos of what we’re doing and trying. But how do we show the world our love for each other and yoga? By doing fun yoga mirror pictures to share all over social media, duh.

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I am not sure which one of us came up with the idea first. I think she sent me a photo of some girls making the heart and we just thought it would fun to do it. Now that I think about it, I know exactly how it started.  (forgive the poor quality photos. I am copying from the interwebs and reposting and it takes away a bunch of quality each time you save)

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Before I moved, we went on a mini trip to San Diego together and tried the above photo. I just had to make a meme out of the awesome fail. I’m going to go on record and say that, that is when this started. We also did this one…

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The above ones aren’t yoga related but we finally got around to that. Here’s our first yoga one.

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Before I was doing inversions and arm balances, we started with something a bit simpler. Isis was at the beach when we talked about this one and we loved the idea of her being a mermaid at the beach, plus we love the idea that we live in totally different places now (desert vs forest) and we like to show that in the comparison photos.

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In this one we were clinking wine glasses of water. We kept looking for friend photos like these and we saw one of ladies clinking wine glasses. We are both mimosa drinkers and were going to do that but at the time of photo taking, Isis was at a yoga studio without champagne access so we went with cleansing, refreshing, rejuvenating water.

Before the next set of long distance photos, we got to see each other!!! So we did lots of stuff together!!!

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Talk about fun!!!!! But then I left again. Now we’re doing them sort of seasonally.

This was our first arm balance photo!! Eight Angle pose for summer!

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Next was our end of summer pose. Scorpion!

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For our fall pose, we made another heart, but this time while doing a backbend (my fave).

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And now that it’s Christmas time, we had to do something with a Christmas theme!

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It’s so awesome to be able to continue to do yoga “together” even though we live 3000 miles away from each other. We still learn from each other, well, I learn from Isis, and we grow together. And look at the progress in these photos. We went from standing up and  leaning to the side to inversions! I can’t wait to see what the new year brings for our LDYBFF posts. And maybe the military will bring us closer together again and we can do more together, like for real together. You just never know.

 

Thankful For Yoga #NamasteTuesday

If you don’t follow me on Instagram, here’s what you missed!!

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Everyone is doing “Thankful” challenges so I decided to do my own. I’m going to be thankful for yoga and all the things it has brought me!! To start off day 1, I’m Thankful for Yoga. Period.

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Today I’m thankful for the opportunity to share yoga with others in the form of teaching/guiding. I get such a thrill out of people coming to my class and experiencing yoga with me. I never thought this road was on my path, but I’m so glad it was.

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Today I’m thankful for the community center where I practice and teach yoga. I happened upon the building looking for the library when I first moved here. At the library I learned of the yoga and exercise classes. I immediately became part of the community. We frequent the community center as often as we do Starbucks (if you know us you know this is a LOT) and we get involved as often as possible. If I didn’t see the yoga sign that day, life here would be very different.

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Today I’m thankful for the opportunities my yoga teaching/attending has given my daughter. When the hub is home I go to yoga alone and the two of them get dad/daughter time. When hub is gone the daughter comes with me and spends time in the library. It’s so awesome! I don’t think about her the entire time. I know she’s reading, crafting, or busy gabbing with the two librarians, 60ish year old Ricky and 32 year old Mary. Gwen even says Mary if her bff. The opportunity this gives Gwen is so much more than library time. It’s time away from me and time for her to be extremely independent and adulty. Annnnddd, if one lady hadn’t ever come to my class, we wouldn’t have been invited to a Hoe-Down at a horse ranch and we wouldn’t have ever gotten Gwen involved in the FREE horse therapy/riding lesson program. Annnnddd I wouldn’t be the new craft coordinator for said program. All thanks to the yoga classes in a tiny community center. p.s. my money tree isn’t dead. She’s sad because she was outside in a freeze.

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Yoga in the biggest, comfyest (totally a word) pair of sweats I own. Today I’m thankful for what yoga has done for my soul. I feel like the philosophy of yoga (there’s so much more to yoga than being stretchy) unlocked a part of me that was always there but maybe not right on the surface. Ever since really embracing the yoga lifestyle I feel 100% myself. It’s a missing piece I didn’t even know was missing.

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Today I’m thankful for what yoga has done for my body. Not only am I stronger and more flexible, I love my body for both it’s flaws and awesomeness, and I’m more in tune with my body. I read somewhere that “it’s isn’t about using your body to learn a pose, it’s about using a pose to learn about your body.”

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I tried something new today. I’m continuing to try to figure out new things to do with my legs while in pincha. This was tough but I held it for a couple breaths.

Today I’m thankful for what yoga has done for my spirituality. I’m not religious, never have been. But I am spiritual. Not believing in one specific idea allows me to be open to a gazillion others. And yoga philosophy has really opened my mind and made me feel, again, like I am finally 100% me. I’ve been living this life for 30+ years but I am finally living it fully.

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Today I am thankful for what yoga has done for my marriage. I know that seems weird. But yoga gives me time away, mini breaks, time for myself. Yoga has taught me not to sweat the small stuff. Again, it’s one of those things that was there already but yoga has enhanced it. Yoga has really taught me that there are so many other important things in my life and to really enjoy everyday things. Which in turn has helped in the marriage department. Been married 13 years today (11/22)

#ThankfulForYoga

 

Yoga in a Chair

I had no idea that this yoga road was on my path called LIFE. The very first time I took a yoga class I loved it. It was slow and calming. The poses were easy. If I got tired I could just go into child’s pose and rest. But the second time I tried? I hated it. Like, super hated it. They did planks all the time and down dog was a resting pose. How is down dog a resting pose? It would be about 7 years until I decided to try yoga again. The only reason I did was because a new friend was the instructor. Boy, am I glad I did. My life is forever changed because I got over my yoga fear and took a chance.

Flash forward to another road on my path…teaching yoga. I never ever would have thought this would be something I would do. I never thought I would get such a rush out of people showing up to my class and letting me guide them through a practice. And I really didn’t think that I would have my own beginner class where I teach yoga while sitting in a chair. It continues to amaze me how life works. How one little thing can lead up to so many bigger things. How one trip to the local library to print something in a town with no internet would help mold me into the yogi I am today.

The town I live in is in the middle of nowhere. Lots of farming, lots of open space, no neighborhoods, no sidewalks. It’s also an area where houses are occupied for generations. You don’t find a “new” family living in the houses. Well, I take that back, because we are THAT family. You don’t normally find that because these houses aren’t normally rented out. Families have lived on properties for generations and they continue to. The people I meet at the library/community center all know each other and their kids know each other and their grandparents all knew each other. The reason I am telling you all this is because it paints a picture of the yoga community, or lack there of. There are no fancy studios. There are no expensive memberships. And there aren’t too many youngsters. I think I might be the youngest person who comes to the classes.

The other yoga teacher, who also teaches an exercise class, practically begged me to teach. She had mentioned needing a sub someday and I volunteered. I thought my teaching days would just be that; the occasional leading. I taught one class and she was telling me to have my own class. I thought about it, tried to tell myself not to do it, and then I was like, “F*** it! Let’s do this!” Sometimes that’s the best way to do things; jump right in! I found out later that part of her agenda was to try to get more people to come to the community center. Not only that, she knows the benefits of yoga and knows that yoga can really help with strength and balance for the older community. She wasted no time trying to recruit people to my class.

The downside? They see me, young yogi, and get scared. It does not matter how many times I tell someone that I didn’t look like this when I started or that you don’t have to be flexible. I can shout all day that I won’t fold you into a pretzel but they just won’t hear it. That’s when the idea of chair yoga came up.

Do you know that you can do a ton of yoga while sitting in a chair? It’s true! And you still get a really good workout while stretching and breathing and working on balance and flexibility. We decided to try the class for the month of November to see if we got any fresh blood. We advertised a bunch and talked to a ton of people about it. November 1st was the first class. I walked in and there were 8 people in my class! 8!!! My normal class usually has between 1 and 3 people. I walked in and shouted, “Oh my gosh! I’m so excited!!!” It was so fantastic! This week will be my 4th class and people are still coming back! It’s not 8 people every time, but it’s not 1 or 3 either!! People coming back is such a huge compliment!! And the feedback is all positive too. One lady says that she can already feel her balance getting better and (don’t tell the Tai Chi teacher) she likes my class more than the Tai Chi class! Ahh!! So awesome!!

My Tuesday class is now going to be Chair Yoga every week. There has been such overwhelming enthusiasm that there is no way I would switch it back now. And it gives me a chance to continue to share yoga with others. That really does bring me joy each week! And I get to see people’s progress. Once I start adding new things into our routine I am excited to see how everyone starts to gain more flexibility. I’ll bend these ladies into pretzels in no time!!

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!!

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