Saturday, October 29, 2011

That feeling inside

Shakira's got a sixth Chakra feeling inside...

Way back in 2010 we started a journey through the Chakra system and where it appears in pop culture. I seem to have gotten stuck after checking in with Helen Reddy's roaring fifth Chakra in February, which says quite a bit about my energetic blocks. Since next weekend some of my yoga students will be delving deeper into their own blocks at the Advanced Chakra workshop at True North Yoga, I thought it would be a good time to finish this series of posts.

We were last in the throat checking out the energy of communication. Now we find ourselves higher, in the carotid plexis, the area also known as the third eye. Here, between the eyebrows, Ajna, the sixth Chakra, shines it's deep indigo light of wisdom, intuition and imagination. It is the birthplace of ideas and the window to the spiritual realms.

Ajna is represented by the element of light and the color of the night sky. It gives us the right to see, with our physical eyes and the mind's eye. It is the sixth Chakra's energy that allows us to "know" something is happening when we are not physically present or gives us that "feeling" that we were meant to meet someone.

When you know who's calling before you look at the caller ID, that's Ajna at work.

Your local psychic is probably a bit overloaded with sixth Chakra energy, but too little leaves us without any insight, forced to analyze every last detail of our lives and to panic in the face of uncertainty. Headaches and vision problems signal a sixth Chakra imbalance. When Ajna is balanced our imaginations inspire us, we are intuitive and artistic and we have vivid dreams. We trust our own wisdom and are confident that our lives are unfolding as they should.

To keep the sixth Chakra light shining, get on your yoga mat and find a focal point. Let your gaze rest on your drishti and balance on one leg in Vrksasana (tree), Natarajasana (dancer) or Garudasana (eagle). Then roll your eyes just like a teenager. Those eye rolls are called Tratak and the muscles around the eyes need regular exercise to keep your vision clear.

Off our mats, we can create visual art, enjoy the visual stimulation of brightly colored holiday lights or fireworks, practice guided visualizations or try past life regression. Play with tarot cards or runes to exercise your insight. Color mandalas. Meditate.

And, like Shakira, look for those feelings inside, because your intuition might be telling you that your soul mate is across the room.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I'm so Excited!

It's never too late to be who you might have been.
-George Eliot

What do you get when a life coach, a yoga teacher, a freelance writer and a massage therapist/extraordinary cook get together at Witherbee's Carriage House on open mic night and start to brainstorm?

You get the Adirondack Women's Empowerment Retreat!

And when the owners of the Glen Lodge in Warrensburg, New York, let us rent the whole facility for the weekend of January 20th - 22nd, 2012, we knew we had the perfect place for a transformational weekend. In addition to the comfortable accomodations, the great room has a huge stone fireplace and is perfect for yoga.

I'm so excited to be co-hostessing this weekend with some really amazing women. I'll be leading four yoga classes during the weekend:

Yoga from the Ground Up
Get your feet firmly on the ground and get ready to reach for the stars! Set a firm foundation for the weekend's yoga practices with a series of poses that will help you feel your feet. With a stable base you can stand taller and reach higher than ever before.

Yoga to Fuel the Flame
Deep in the core of your being a fire smolders. Core-focused poses add fuel to the fire and get your inner flame burning bright. Start your morning with an energizing yoga practice and tap into that fire all day.

Playful Yoga
Changing your life is serious stuff, but yoga doesn't have to be. Discover how playfulness empowers you by exploring the edge of possibility as you reach for new heights. Laughing is very welcome in this fun practice.

Gentle Yoga
Ease into Sunday morning with gentle floor stretches and meditative movement. Get off your mat feeling relaxed, renewed and refreshed.

Of course, yoga is just part of the experience. There will be workshop sessions, journaling exercises, lots of healthy food and fun evening activities. Would you like to join a small number of women for a weekend in the Adirondacks that will jump-start your life? Check out the retreat webpage for all the details.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Training Vacation

a "low profile" sole provides a grea...Image via WikipediaWhen I get sick or injured, or life just gets in the way, I have a very hard time getting my training started again. I wish someone would shove my feet into my running shoes and kick me out the door. Being coach-less, there isn't anyone who will do that for me. I have to dig deep for my own motivation, and sometimes it's buried really, really deep.

Right now I'm sick (allergies are out of control), injured (still nursing a badly misaligned neck) and life is getting in the way. I haven't put my running shoes on for almost two weeks. It's very dark in the morning and it's rained almost every day. The Thanksgiving 10K is less than a month away. I need some inspiration, so if you've got some, please share!

Creating more frustration, my chiropractor ordered me to refrain from headstands until my neck is back to normal. One of my favorite ways to deal with life is to look at it upside down for awhile. I will have to find another way to change my perspective to get me through this rough patch.

Maybe digging the treadmill out from under a pile of summer gear will put an end to this training vacation.

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Gremlins and Glitter, Part 2

If you saw my last post then you know I was pretty excited about the prospect of playing with glitter yesterday. Unfortunately, my subconscious mind worked out the ramifications of me playing with glitter and Friday night I dreamed that the yoga studio floor was covered in glitter (red, white and blue - I must have been feeling patriotic as well) and I couldn't clean it up before the next class started. Luckily that was just a nightmare and the glitter I actually spilled on the floor succumbed easily to the vacuum.

It was fabulous creating with plaster gauze, a very user-friendly sculpting medium. Life Coach and artist Anne Gregson did an amazing job leading the workshop. I left with a gremlin that I've named Patsy, which is "past" scrambled. My gremlin is very fond of hindsight, starting most of her speeches with "if only you had..."

If only you had found yoga when you were a teenager, you could have done all those difficult asanas before your body aged too much...

If only you had become a forest ranger like that career test suggested, you might not have spent 20 years in a job you hated...

If only you were young enough to go back to school and major in something fun and creative this time...

If only you had saved lots of money so you could take off for six months to hike the Appalachian Trail...

Yeah, this gremlin needs to be tamed so I can focus on the present. And here she is...

It turns out that my gremlin looks a bit like my mother. (Sorry Mom! It was completely unintentional.) The horns (not the parts that look like my mom) were fun to sculpt and, although it's hard to see in the picture, are covered with glitter.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Gremlins and Glitter

Tomorrow I am going to meet my gremlin. At least, that's what Life Coach and artist Anne Gregson promised me. She's leading a workshop at the True North Yoga studio called "Make a Mask, Meet Your Gremlin."

We get to play with plaster and gauze to make a mask, then decorate it with color, glitter (I love sparkly stuff!), feathers and magazine cut-outs. Our masks will give a face to our inner gremlins, those voices that tell us we aren't good enough, we don't have enough time, nobody is interested...

Not only will we get really cool masks to take home, but we'll also have a plan to send our gremlins packing. Playing with glitter AND making potentially life-changing discoveries? I can't think of a better way to spend an afternoon.

Anne has a great mask that she made in the likeness of her gremlin, Howie (as in "How-ee you think you're going to be able to do THAT?!?!?!?").

Check out the blog Anne recently started called An Irreverant Whirl. You can also find her on Facebook.
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Trying to Train for a Turkey Trot

Bad deadlift form can cause spinal cord injuri...Image via WikipediaAll right, I won't practice my alliteration on you.

Up until last Saturday I was happily training for a Thanksgiving Day 10K. Saturday night my head started to hurt. Uh oh. That headache is my body's way of telling me that my neck is horribly out of alignment. Sunday the headache got worse. Monday I called the chiropractor. Wednesday he snapped my neck back into place. Whew.

I stopped training when my head started hurting. Maybe I'm a baby, but I'm not comfortable jarring my spine when vertebrae are in unnatural positions. A week's training, almost, was lost. It's only a 10K, so I'm not panicking about being able to finish the race. But I had a goal that might be at risk.

I'd really like to run a 10K in less than an hour. Yes, Speedy Gonzalez, I know an hour is not particularly fast, but, hey, this is me we're talking about. For me, a middle-of-the-pack half-marathon finish is something to be excited about. I want a similar finish in this 10K.

I plan to get back to training tomorrow, now that my head's on straight.
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Friday, October 14, 2011

Quieting Down

The road from Dornbirn to the mountain village...Image via WikipediaAfter Columbus Day weekend, Schroon Lake gets really quiet. The vacation homes have been closed up for the winter. Some of the snow birds are already migrating to Florida and the rest will soon follow. Other than a few die-hard leaf-peepers and a handful of hikers, the visitors are gone.

Like most of the local business owners who work very hard over the summer, my first reaction to the quiet is a sigh of relief. This is followed by a brief moment of panic about paying the studio's rent in the winter until I remind myself that this is my third winter here and the studio has done just fine during the lean months. Next is the serious stuff - deciding how to spend my time.

Compared to eight short weeks of jamming in everything I possibly can while the sun is out, the eight months of cold ahead should be flush with time, right? And yet I always seem to end up on the brink of summer not having accomplished all the things I was going to do during the winter so I'd be ready for the summer craziness. Other than losing a hour or two (or twenty) to shoveling snow, there should be lots of time for reading all those books, making some art and knitting. There should also be time for planning and preparing so next summer isn't a rushed blur.

Where does all that time go?

I spent my free time in September making lists. I have a pile of them, listing all the things that I need to start doing, or start doing again. My problem is that without a looming deadline, it's too easy to put stuff off. Just as I have a hard time sticking to triathlon or run training without an upcoming race, I can't seem to find motivation for tasks until failure to do them creates a crisis and, let's face it, most things don't.

Is there a part of your year that quiets down? Are you able to use your quiet times to move forward with your goals or dreams? Or do they get away from you?

I'd love to hear your thoughts.
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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Death and Life at the Chicago Marathon

Last weekend was a big one for endurance sports, with the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii on Saturday and the Chicago Marathon on Sunday. The Chicago Marathon proved the more newsworthy, marred by the death of a 35 year old, and apparently very healthy, firefighter from North Carolina. The exact cause of his death, just 500 yards from the finish line, is still unknown, but, as anyone who has been reading the (seemingly endless) chapter on determining VO2max in the personal trainer manual knows, the risk of cardiac arrest at maximum heart rate is significant. After 26 miles, could the sight of the finish line inspire even an experienced marathoner to sprint to the finish, pushing his heart past the breaking point? It's possible.

Chicago Marathon death: Autopsy inconclusive on Bank of America Chicago Marathon runner -

The universe, though, keeps everything in balance. A few hours after the news of the death reached my twitter stream, this story hit the internet.

Some will question the wisdom of participating in a marathon when 39 weeks pregnant and point out that it led to the somewhat early birth of the baby, but these are not people who consider running a normal part of daily life. My oldest was born at 38 weeks and the early labor may have started as a result of an afternoon spent walking around the mall, trying to finish my Christmas shopping. Shopping is certainly a normal part of life for many of us and not likely to be considered too risky an endeavor for moms-to-be. Amber Miller was a seasoned distance runner and had clearance from her doctor to run/walk the 26.2 miles last Sunday. The baby is perfectly healthy, although I've heard rumors she came out complaining about the bumpy ride.

Interestingly, this video about pregnant rock climber Carrie Cooper, also 39 weeks pregnant, was making its way around the web last week.

Neither Amber or Carrie took up their respective sports after they were pregnant. They just continued doing what they always did, reminding us all that pregnancy is not a disease or a disability, simply something that women's bodies can do in addition to all the other activities of daily life. If those activities happen to include running 20+ miles or climbing rocks, it's because these women are amazing athletes. We should admire them for that. I would like to be a fit and strong as either of these two, sans baby.
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