30 Days of Yoga…days 7-12

And so it continues!

9/7:

  • Vinyasa 1-3 at Moksha Yoga West Bucktown, taught by Nina Gaglio (90 min.) That class was so good I couldn’t stand it! Definitely going to be a regular in my arsenal.

9/8:

  • Erm…today was a little light on asana, just a few sun salutations at home and a bit of reading one of my new books that I bought on Devon Street, where I had a lovely Indian buffet and bought some murtis for my home altar:

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9/9:

9/10:

9/11:

9/12:

  • Recover Faster (hatha, 30 min. with Darren Rhodes on YogaGlo) This was very helpful, as it was aimed for biking recovery, which I needed today.

Now that I’m looking over my past few days I almost feel like I’m not doing enough (see? wasn’t that what I was trying to get away from?) But, not gonna let myself fall into that trap. I’m proud that I’m committed and following through on what I intended. Plus, I’ve been biking loads. Today I did about 20 windy miles (and up a hill for part of it, yow!) I am having a great time with this little exercise in discipline, so it’s all worth it in the end.

30 Days of Yoga, 6 Days In…(Days 1-6)

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Alright, it seems that I’m hawking National Yoga Month like I’m getting paid to promote it. Sadly, this is not the case. However, what I am lacking in monetary return, I’m more than making up for in my goal of deepening my practice for the month of September. I thought it would be interesting, if to no one else except for me, to log my practices. So, on Day 6 (September 6, 2013) here’s where I am…

9/1:

9/2:

9/3:

9/4:

  • Vinyasa 2-3 at Nature Yoga Sanctuary in Chicago, taught by Wade Gotwals (105 min.)

9/5:

  • Hatha 1-2 at Moksha Yoga Riverwest, taught by Rich Logan (105 min.)

9/6:

  • Vinyasa 1-3 at Moksha Yoga W. Bucktown, taught by Kristin Urbanus (90 min.)
  • (TBD: restorative at Moksha Yoga W. Bucktown, taught by Katie Tuttle (90 min.)

I feel like I’m off to a strong start and hopefully this will give me that extra impetus to not slack off :) I’ll continue to update.

Gotta keep that heart open

This pose is called Wild Thing or Camatkarasana in Sanskrit. This backbend is one I really enjoy, especially as it’s a major heart opener, which I feel like I need these days. I have been feeling a little down about my yoga teaching prospects (kinda non-existent except for volunteer teaching, at the mo’.) I’m seeing some of my teacher training grad classmates getting some studio gigs and I so don’t want to admit that I’m feeling a little defeated and perhaps a touch jealous, but I am.

I guess part of the problem is that I’m letting my introverted side get to me. I haven’t actually been pursuing any jobs because I start getting a little terrified that I’m so new of a teacher that I’ll feel a little fraudulent, but that’s just so silly. Everyone’s got to start somewhere!

So, I’m gonna open that heart up to all the possibilities that may come my way and pursue ones that haven’t and get out of the way of my own fear.

I like this hand on heart version a la Kathryn Budig

I like this hand on heart version a la Kathryn Budig

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day! And not just in the fireworks, Fourth of July sense, but in every aspect of freedom.

As the yogis say, “Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu.” This translates to “May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.”

Can I get an A-Freaking-Men? Sing it with me!

Finding Yoga in Unlikely Places

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This beautiful shot was taken by photographer Robert Sturman. (Click this photo to get to his website.) Check him out!

Ok, I’m not actually advocating attempting down dog on top of a horse, but more power to this yogini. What inspired me to write this post is the massive amount of gardening I’ve been doing lately, which has started to feel a little like a yoga practice to me. For some reason, I just lose myself in the planting and re-potting and digging and mulching…Not to sound like a hippie, but it’s very much a “one with nature” sort of feeling. The reason it feels like yoga to me, besides the nature unity sentiment, is that when I’m down on the ground with dirty paws, all I do is breathe and move. My mind is free from worry and I’m not absorbed with anything but the task at hand. If I knew gardening would be this therapeutic and meditative, I would’ve tried it sooner! Better late than never and I’m grateful to have experienced the joy of gardening.

The times, they are a-changin’

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This post is not about Bob Dylan

Oh are they ever! Not only has the weather shifted from Winter into Spring (or at least it’s finally  feeling less consistently like Winter in Chicago), but my life is undergoing some major changes. I am equal parts excited and terrified. I’ve always been seduced by stability and very slow to warm up to change, but when it’s thrust upon you, you better embrace it.

A few years ago, I would’ve been an utter mess, but thankfully, I’ve learned the skills to cope with change as gracefully as I can. So, that is what I’m going to do! 

I do, of course, owe this attitude to all that I’ve learned from my yoga practice and teacher training. And for that, I’m truly grateful.

I AM (finally) A YOGA TEACHER!!

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That’s right, totally certified. I haven’t stopped smiling since my “graduation” ceremony last night. We had a fantastic gathering at the studio where we shared our memorable moments. A lot of laughing, some tears (of joy) shed…It was just incredible that so many of us had the same pivotal moments along the way. I’m sure I mentioned several blog posts back about my crying in kundalini class. Well, that class made several people’s lists. It really was an amazing bonding moment. I am fortunate beyond words to have been brought together with a group of people who are all so wonderful and unique, yet we’re all sort of “one.” One girl requested a rolling OM and pardon my french, but that shit rocks. It was awesome. Then, we went out afterward and talked and laughed and hugged and had a few non-sattvic adult beverages and had a really wonderful time. Another girl  had brought bindis, so we were all wearing them.  Numerous people stopped us to ask what the heck we had on our foreheads. A few people even asked for some. I took some great pictures, which I was very much looking forward to posting today after I’d edited them.

I woke up this morning, still smiling. Absolutely beaming. Glowing. Floating. I walked to the bus with the biggest grin on my face, which stayed there until I got off the bus and descended the stairs to embark my train. I put my  hand in my pocket to pull out my iPhone to check the time and wouldn’t you know it? GONE. Nuts. 

I had had it just minutes before and had put it back into the pocket of my long, puffy black Chicago Winter coat and this guy bumped me and sort of blocked my way, so I had to push past him when I exited the bus, so my gut tells me it was him. I had to file a police report, a report with the Chicago Public Transit Authority and my phone network carrier along with blocking and deactivating my poor missing phone. Even though it frankly sucked in a huge way, I just let it roll off my back.

I’m still completely cool as a cucumber. The only thing I am quite sad about is the loss of the photos of me and my beautiful friends on the evening of our new beginning. I so hope my photos somehow got backed up in the cloud. I am not eligible for an iPhone 5 for 10 more days, so I have this sad little $14 pre-paid phone. But, it does the job. I showed it to a colleague who made a funny comment that I had to “re-learn an outdated technology.” Seriously, I got a text as a test from the guy at the store and I was poking the screen trying to get something to happen and then I realized, yes, this certainly is no smartphone. At least he made me laugh when he said, “NO ONE is going to steal this one…”

All that said, I’m still absolutely ecstatic! I have several new possible opportunities that I’m trying to firm up. It’s all so exciting. I can’t wait!

My New Year’s Resolution….no resolution

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Year after year, I make resolutions. They generally involve the same things that I reckon most Americans put on their lists every January 1: eat healthier, exercise more, lose weight, etc…This year, I’m making no resolutions. Since the start of my yoga teacher training, I feel like every day, in small ways, I’m committing to resolutions that aren’t just fleeting list items. I should live every day with the omnipresent resolution to live each day to the fullest. To make better choices. To incorporate ahimsa into my life in every possible way. To treat people, even people I don’t like, with the kindness I’d like to receive in return. To make the most of challenging situations and envision them as another opportunity to learn and grow. I could go on, but you get the idea. So, this year for me, no resolutions, just to live.

Whoa! Such a slacker!

ImageI was so convinced that this year was going to be different….It seems like every year around the holidays my will is sorely tested. My will to eat healthy….my will to maintain a daily yoga practice…But, alas, I’ve fallen off the wagon. All of the wagons.

And my wee little blog hasn’t seen the light of day in a while either…

Since I haven’t been to a proper studio yoga class in an entire week, I’ve been trying to make do with some home practice. Thank goodness for Shiva Rea. She was my first and favorite home practice yoga instructor (well, I guess technically it was Rodney Yee, but once I got Shiva Rea’s Yoga Shakti, it was all over. Can we say matrix? Yes we can!) I hung out with Shiva yesterday and  rocked a few flows on her Daily Energy DVD. Good stuff.

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Home practice aside, I had intended to head to the studio today but instead got waylaid with plans for a teeny tiny New Year’s Eve party with family and a few friends. Confession: I hate cooking. For some reason, despite this flaw, I LOVE hosting a small party with appetizers at least once a year. I like challenging my culinary skills, trying new recipes, presenting the finished product, hosting…I’m looking forward to this year’s shindig.

As much as I’m anticipating a fun New Year’s Eve, this ol’ gal is looking even more forward to returning to a more disciplined January. More yoga, less sugar.

I’m willing to bet I’m going to be missing in action for a few more days, so until then, Happy New Year! I hope this upcoming year is wonderful and fulfilling for us all.