Thursday, April 29, 2010

Left of Center

A beach after an oil spill.Image via Wikipedia

I spend lots of time teaching other people how to get themselves centered in their bodies. I also spend lots of time centering myself. After taking a moment to center every time I get on my yoga mat, it has almost become automatic.

But every now and then it isn't.

For a couple of days I have been anything but centered. My mind, instead of being with my body, has been with oil slicks, advertising and expansion. The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico just pisses me off. For years I have listened to BP go on about how much effort they are putting into alternative fuels and conservation. Clearly their PR department is greener than the rest of the company. I hope it costs them all of their huge first quarter profits to clean up the mess they made. Unfortunately, it will cost the environment more.

After a few weeks in uncharted territory, I've got ads for my yoga classes placed in a few publications, just in time for the summer vacationers. I'm hoping to fill my classes during the summer months, as well as introduce a few more year-rounders to yoga. It's hard for me to promote yoga classes like a business. I don't teach yoga to make a profit (which is good, because I don't). I teach because I love to share yoga. If running an ad will help me spread the word, then I guess it's the right thing to do. I can probably stop thinking about it now.

Just as I was making the final advertising decisions, I learned about a couple of places that might be in need of a yoga teacher. One isn't too far from home, the other is an hour's ride. Since my Schroon Lake yoga classes are just starting to build, I don't want to abandon any of them, but, if I am going to stay true to my desire to share yoga with as many people as I can, I want to work these other places into my schedule. Trying to juggle classes and still be home when the kids are home is challenging, and my mind is going and going trying to figure it out.

It hit me just how out of my body I am during my first yoga class this morning. I started to demonstrate the poses and realized that my entire left side was tight. Normally, my left side is my open side, so the resistance I felt was completely unexpected. How had this happened without me noticing it sooner? I didn't notice because my mind was elsewhere. This is what happens when I'm not centered.

If you were on your mat this week and spent alittle extra time in a pose while I was distracted, I'm sorry. If you didn't notice, just ignore everything I wrote.

And write to President Obama and your Senators and tell them we need less off-shore drilling and more clean, safe energy. Please.
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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sometimes a Run is Just a Run

Why won't my mind shut up? Bliss / 20080718.10...Image by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML via Flickr

Get a runner talking about running and he's bound to mention something called "the runner's high" or "being in the zone". Maybe others experience it differently, but when I get that high my running becomes effortless, as if my feet are barely hitting the ground, my mind goes clear and the time and the miles just fly by. It's a cool feeling.

Of course, not every run gives me a runner's high. Sometimes my mind is busy planning yoga classes, thinking of new blog posts to write, or trying to decide whether to turn around at this cross street or the next one. Other times I feel like I'm pounding the pavement, feeling every jarring footfall. If there's any pain, I try to stay in my body and see if I can adjust anything to make it go away. Every now and then nothing comes together and I walk home.

Does that mean I don't get anything out of those runs? Of course not. I am training for a triathlon. Every run in my training plan has a purpose and it's never to achieve a higher state of consciousness. Logging the miles is building endurance and (hopefully) making me run faster. Even the slow, torturing runs have value, although they may just be lessons in what not to do next time.

My meditation practice is like running. I may sit and not be able to settle down. I may fidget, unable to get comfortable on my pillow. My mind may chatter uncontrollably. Occasionally I find my meditative "sweet spot" and thirty minutes seem to disappear just as I've closed my eyes.

Once, my husband and I took a meditation class together. The class was held in a small room with no furniture and we all sat on pillows against the wall. Ten minutes into the meditation I was sound asleep, leaning against the wall. (I even snored.) Afterward I asked my husband if he got anything out of it. He said he had - while he was sitting there with his eyes closed he figured out how to fix our problem toilet!

Really, we both got something out of the class. The meditation teacher told me the thing I now tell my yoga students who drift off during Savasana, that sometimes what we need the most is a few minutes sleep. My husband's experience was also valid. In the quiet meditation room, free from distractions, his mind could finally work out the solution to a lingering problem.

Beginning yoga and meditation students, and some beginning runners, may be discouraged when they fail to achieve the activity's advertised state of bliss. It is this attachment to an expected outcome that does us in; not reaching the outcome is labeled a failure. We don't see the benefit in sitting uncomfortably for a few minutes, watching our minds run amok. We forget that just becoming aware of what our minds (or bodies) are doing is a great accomplishment.

By keeping at it, we may find our high. Or maybe we won't, and that's okay too. Sometimes a run is just a run.Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Party Food

This afternoon I hosted a Silpada jewelry party. I'm not quite sure how it happened. I haven't had a party in years, and I don't really know anyone in our new town except my yoga students. The Silpada rep's boys come to my kids yoga class sometimes, and one day "I think I'd like to have one of those parties" came out of my mouth. Next thing I knew it was on the calendar.

I ended up with my relatives and lots of my mom's friends on my guest list, but I came up with a decent amount of people. Once I put the list together, the rep did all the inviting and calling and whatnot. All I had to do was straighten up my house and make some party food.

I suppose I could have put out chips and cheese and crackers, but that goes totally against the nutritional changes I am trying to make. Yes, the ladies would have happily eaten chips while they sipped wine, but then it wouldn't be my party, would it? I decided to be true to myself and make food that I could eat and enjoy without feeling guilty.

It was just appetizers, so I figured I could take a chance and try some new things. If something came out awful, then I just wouldn't serve it. To meet all of our dietary restrictions, I've been cooking mostly vegan meals and one of my favorite sources for recipes is The Post Punk Kitchen.
There were some good appetizer recipes. I tried Hummus Amungus, Lentil Walnut Dip and Somewhere in Thyme Stuffed Mushrooms. The hummus was a bit too runny (I don't have a food processor and needed to add extra liquid to the blender to get it smooth) but tasted good. The Lentil Walnut Dip was too bland, probably because I forgot to put salt in it!

The mushrooms, however, were awesome. I used brown rice bread instead of the rye bread, but otherwise followed the recipe. There was one left after the party and my daughter ate it before I got to it. She's fast!

Nobody complained that there was no cheese and crackers, maybe because they were too busy looking at the gorgeous jewelry. (Except my mother, who came early to help me set up and actually offered to go get some cheese. Sigh.)

My friend Anne brought some fabulous bars made with chocolate chips, coconut and candied ginger, along with some other stuff. I've eaten five or six of them already. We decided they were healthy, so I am staying guilt-free.

If you'd like to check out the Silpada jewelry, here's the link. The party is still open if you see something you like.
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Friday, April 16, 2010


I really like working for myself, teaching yoga. It's great to be able to decide what hours I will work. I've arranged my schedule so that I can make my kids breakfast and be home when they get off the school bus. I've got a couple of mornings free for housework and errands. I've got afternoons free for triathlon training, writing in my blog and anything else that needs doing. It's a great schedule.

So how come I'm not getting any sleep?

I've been up considerably later than my normal 9:30pm bedtime all week because I've decided I'd like to build yoga class attendance a bit by getting the word out. In other words, I'm going to advertise.

My advertising budget is pretty small, so I won't be doing any four-color, full-page spreads. Just little business directory ads in the local paper, as well as a couple of other Adirondack publications. Oh, and I'm going to have an ad on 40,000 placemats. (They are given by our area Chamber of Commerce to the local restaurants and diners.)

These ads are all business card size or smaller. Not much room to put stuff besides the basics. Which explains why it took me three hours to put together a 1" x 2" ad, right?

Sigh. They didn't teach me how to write ad copy in yoga school. They didn't teach me this in accounting school either. In my next lifetime I will major in marketing before I give up my career to become a yoga teacher. For the remainder of this lifetime I will just have to muddle through.

My ad layouts are done, finally, and I am ready to watch a movie with my fami........zzzzzzzzzzzzz

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


red chardImage via Wikipedia

In my last post I wrote about working with the goddess of healthy eating, @holisticguru. Well, the guru has issued a Twitter challenge. Set a healthy eating intention (or two) for somewhere between 3 and 9 days and send a daily tweet with a picture of a great meal that meets that intention. With the #i8this hashtag, Twitter users can follow along and be inspired by all the good food.

I can't resist a challenge.

My intention, starting Friday, April 16th, is to have at least one serving of leafy greens each day for 9 days. My refrigerator is loaded with kale, chard, spinach and broccoli. I am ready!

This has been a good training week so far. In addition to teaching and training, I've been working on marketing and putting together some fun yoga workshops for the summer. Everything is coming together. The only negative for the past few days is not getting enough sleep, so I'm going to bed early tomorrow. Really.
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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Fuel for the Journey

After finishing my first triathlon last June, I got it into my head that I could do the Lake Placid Ironman. Yes, I know completing a sprint distance triathlon does not mean I'm ready for 140.6 miles. I won't be doing an Ironman this year. Instead, I've got my sights set on 2012 - the year my daughter graduates from high school and I turn *gasp* 45. (Oh, and there are some rumors floating around that the world will end, or begin, in 2012, or pot will be legalized that year thus ushering in the Age of Aquarius, or something like that. In any case, it will be an interesting year.)

I'd worked out a plan to get me there - more races and a season-finishing half-marathon this year, a half-iron distance triathlon and a full marathon next year. All I had to do was start training.

Just as soon as I could move.

You see, my body hasn't been very cooperative lately. I've been dealing with fatigue and joint pain, my head has felt cloudy, and I've been in a pretty lousy mood. The colds I've gotten have wiped me out. I haven't been training, nor have I been cleaning, writing, unpacking (no, I'm not finished yet) or anything else I would like to be doing. Even yoga has been painful. I almost quit. I was ready to crawl into bed and stay there.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on the circumstances) I am stubborn. I couldn't just give up. Since we started focusing on my son's food sensitivities I have learned lots about the way food can affect your well-being and I wondered if my body was getting what it needed.

One of my favorite Twitter follows is @holisticguru, a funny, feisty triathlete and brilliant holistic health counselor whose tweets often include tips on healthy eating. In her blog, Tri & Live & Eat Better, she shares some good healthy recipes as well as her triathlon adventures. She really seems to know what she's talking about (and I was dying to find out if she was as funny in person), so I called her.

As a result of that phone call, I have begun a new journey towards a healthier diet. With just a few adjustments to what I've been eating, I am already feeling better. Since the beginning of April I have been able to stick to my triathlon training plan, and I can teach yoga without feeling like I'd like to take a nap while the class is in Savasana.

I have learned quite a bit about food in the past few weeks, and I'm starting to look at what I put in my mouth in a whole new light. What the food can do for my body is becoming more important than how it tastes or what cravings it satisfies. Food is fuel for all the activities I want to jam into my life.

I can't take a drive through the scenic countryside without gas in my tank. How can I run through the the woods unless my body is similarly fueled?

Thanks to some very good fuel, I am excited about biking and running. I can't wait to get out there and move. If I can stick to my training plan, there's nothing to stop me from meeting my goals. You can look for me at the finish line.

Oh, and there are 46 high peaks just waiting to be climbed...Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
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