Archives for posts with tag: lifestyle

I really didn’t want to go to the gym, again. My movement had been restricted for the last 5 weeks and I’d had more than my share of elliptical and stair step workouts. I decided to go home and roll out my yoga mat. It felt a bit like that scene in Eat Pray Love, where she rolls out her mat and just gives it a good stare down, wondering ‘what exactly are you going to put me through.’

Nonetheless, I folded into child’s pose. I began to move, honoring what my body was telling me and noticing all of the shapes and poses I couldn’t quite perform to my ‘norm’. I remind myself “healing takes time Sara, just keep moving.”

As I arrived in crescent lunge I went to lift my arms over my head and discovered how much work it takes to simply lift my arms. The tears began to fall.

The truth is, I had taken for granted, after healing from snowboard injuries, half marathon training, 2 natural child births of particularly large babies and several other small burdens, that I would ever need to heal again. I was sad for the version of me I was having to let go of, and I was anxious and overwhelmed not knowing who I would next become.

I continued through my modified flow, reverse warrior (no arm lift), extended side angle (my legs burning), the smarter version of me inside my head chose to skip the modified chaturunga- upward dog- downward dog, as I was terrified of laying on my stomach. I performed several rounds of the poses and the tears began to dry up. As I closed my practice in a meditation for peace, I was left with the residue of a thought… ‘Here I am again, healing, modifying, doing my best to say sane and to not be too hard on myself, as I respect the time it will take my body to HEAL.’

How many of us have forgotten that a few of the many gifts offered by a yoga practice are presence and healing. Sure we get to our mat because it’s part of our routine, we enjoy the exercise and even the community. But how many of us have forgotten the safe haven that yoga provides when we just need to heal. I believe at this point in my practice I need more than two hands to count the number of times my mat has caught my tears, and done so without any judgement or explanation necessary.  In that healing process we receive the reminder that our bodies are impermanent, our physical strength and flexibility are  fluid to our circumstance. We are reintroduced to the concepts of self- compassion and empathy.  And if ever there was a time when we could see into another person’s eyes and relate or connect with their pain and suffering, it’s when we can recall our own time of healing.  Let us not forget these precious gifts.

 

 

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In 2014 I’m looking forward to exploring more of The Middle Way.

After several shifts and awakenings this year, I can honestly say that I think my soul is starting to rub her eyes, inspirate and move. Its a looong, slooow process. Like when my little guy rises with the sun, he jabbers at the dark for a few minutes, then I go in and say ‘good morning’. He then likes to tell me about how he slept and what first came to mind when he woke up, like ‘reach the lights’ (meaning that he can now reach the light switch and turn his bedroom light on… and off… and on and off again… at 5:30.

At times I’ve been reluctant to my own arousal. Maybe even tried to slip back underneath the veil of my ego and chase the things I’m used to chasing. I’ve tried for money, fame, status. All of which have led me back to the same realization. The Middle Way.

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Its certainly tempting to want to push my career to a place where everybody knows my name. And its just as easy to follow the same trance that so many other people seem to be in: that you should work your life a way, make a bunch more money than you need and attain the stuff that makes you who you are. But again, when I find myself on the ledge that plummets to that same spot, something in my gut always guides me to stillness. And in that stillness I recall contentment and the truth of what MY happiness.

And now, I know, you are just waiting for me to tell you what that is. Like if one more person were to tell you what their happiness came from you could go after it and you would find happiness too… but would you?  So today I refrain from sharing my happiness. With the intention that 2014 be THE year that you find your own sense of truth. That you and everyone around you be guided by that inner voice that guides us all home.

May we all find happiness, and the root of happiness.

namaste.

If you’ve taken my class or know anything about my professional background, then you’ll know how I feel about Plank.

Its such a fundamental pose, yet SO many students, clients and yogis have a hard time with plank.  This is a challenging pose… but why is it so hard if all it takes to create the proper alignment is to stand up straight? Yea, its that simple (not easy), plank pose is the same as standing tall with a neutral and erect spine, except we turn it on its side.

Most commonly what I see is that people are not able to draw in and up through their core. This creates a sagging effect through the lower back, and puts more strain on all of the joints in the upper body. Another challenge people usually have, is to not let their head pull them down. A human head weighs upwards of 10 lbs. Letting it hang down pulls the whole pose in to a collapsed state. Keep your head in line with your spine, eyes forward and up with the back of you neck long.

Here are some tips for you the next time you are in plank pose:

1. Engage your WHOLE body! Fingers, forearms, biceps, triceps, chest, back, core (front and back), glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves. Yep, thats one of the main reasons I love it so much- its a full body workout! When you are engaging these muscles, do so in such a way that makes you feel like you’re pulling the muscles into the bones, rather than bracing for some kind of impact.

2. Keep a buoyancy in your shoulder girdle. A lot of times this is where things start to fall apart, and unfortunately I hear a lot of instructors cueing this incorrectly. You’re not trying to only round your shoulders NOR only squeeze them together- you are doing BOTH. The shoulderblades should be in an in-between state to create the strength and buoyancy I’m talking about.

3. USE your legs! So many folks try to hold their body weight in their arms- which will be eternally challenging in this position. Your legs are super strong and can help to distribute the weight more appropriately. Try this: when you are in plank, pull your hands and feet toward each other. Then when you move to Chaturunga you’ll feel light as a feather! (well, almost!)

4. Mind over Matter. Without any training or pre-run I held a 4 minute plank. I’ve had students who trained and held plank as long as 20 minutes! Its ALL in your head. Consider what comes up for you when the pose gets challenging. When you want to give up, take one more deep breath… then maybe another… and another…

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For fun, set a timer and see how long you can hold plank. Then start doing 60 seconds every day. On the 7th day- don’t rest, time yourself again 😉

See if you’re able to hold it longer. Then set a goal- after 3 months of training how long would you like to be able to hold plank?

My goal: Dec 21- 8 minute plank!!!

http://willpowerlife.com/galleries/world-plank-2013/

I know, I know, its been 3 weeks… so much for consistency!

I’ve been in the throws of single-working-parentdom while my husband has been traveling for work. While I’ve been focused on the survival of my little one and making sure the house doesn’t burn down I let my blog take a back seat. And it KILLED me!

Not because I think my blog is all that important- hell I don’t even know if anyone is reading it because no one leaves comments 😉 but I find it challenging these days to let things go. I struggle with the overwhelm of it all. Even though becoming a parent was a very conscious decision (as I try to make most decisions consciously- which you would probably be able to piece together from my other entries) I had no way of anticipating just how much of myself I would automatically let go of. Yet I hold a tight grasp on things like checking off my to-do list, and having a big career.

I get wrapped up in all of the things I have to do, yet I don’t do them because its more important to be present with the little guy. When he finally goes to sleep I steal 45 minutes or so to get some ‘work’ done before I settle down for the evening with my hubs, whose favorite pasttime with me is watching tv. So when does my cup get refilled?

I know I keep writing about the same thing over and over again, but I’m starting to see it as part of my process. I struggle with letting go of these things that I think I need to be fulfilled: meditation, exercise, work etc.  What I’m starting to realize is that when I became a mother I somewhat gave those things over. The first foreshadowing of this was when we started the baby’s room. This was a bedroom in our house that I had turned in to a very sacred space. My desk, alter and bookshelf of books were in this room. My sanctuary of sorts. When I got pregnant we decided to turn it in to the nursery. I moved all my stuff out and the baby stuff moved in. I remember the heaviness of that day, that was directly followed by excitement and anticipation. I remember thinking how I’d given something up, but then realized that this sacred space was just shifting, not going away completely.

So these things that I hold on to so tight, that perhaps define me in some ways, actually still do, but in different shapes and experiences. My meditation is in observing my handsome boy, watching him learn, and seeing things through his innocent eyes. My exercise (some of it) is definitely in chasing after him. My work is in being a mindful mother, making sure he grows in to a mindful man.

Like I would imagine so many of you do, I tend to not give myself enough credit on a far too consistent basis. Sometimes it takes someone’s outside perception of you and the whole picture to help you see what a good job you are doing. When you have that opportunity to see yourself as you really are. thank that person.

Thank you sister! You’re the best.