Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Here it comes...

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” 
~ F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

The calendar says summer doesn't begin until June 20th, but here in our lake town Memorial Day marks the start of the summer season. We welcome back our seasonal residents, who take advantage of the long weekend to open their Adirondack homes, mow their lawns and launch their boats. This year, Schroon Lake is marking the start of summer with a weekend-long celebration, including a non-motorized boat chain across the lake, a motorized boat parade, live music, and, one of my favorites, a rock climbing wall. Plus there is an Expo in the park and on Main Street on Saturday afternoon. I'll be in the park manning True North Yoga's booth, which will host a bellydance demonstration by Natalie, who is returning for another series of workshops this summer, and leading a "welcome summer with sun salutations" mini-class.

The Expo runs from 2:00 - 8:00 pm on Saturday. The studio is also open for all regularly scheduled yoga classes during the long weekend, so you can take a break from lawn-mowing and boat-launching and enjoy some serious relaxation. Be warned, though. Yoga has been known to inspire hammock-hanging and nap-taking, leaving the lawn growing until June.

It always seems like a mad dash to reach the lazy days of summer, and this year was no exception. Determined not to leave anything until the last minute, I've been frantically getting everything ready at not-quite the last minute. It's been lots of work, and I'm short a few hours sleep, but there's some wonderful stuff lined up at the yoga studio for June, July and August.

Now I can give some thought to my family's summer plans, including plays by the Adirondack Shakespeare Company, musicals at Seagle Music Colony and performances at the Boathouse Theater sponsored by the Arts Council, all right here in Schroon Lake. And there are mountains to climb and rivers to paddle.

Do you make plans for summer? Back in the days when vacations needed to be scheduled in advanced and day camps arranged, I usually had my summer calendar filled in by the end of March. Now that we live where we used to vacation, I've let summer unroll on it's own. But I've found that without a plan, or at least a clear intention, the hours and days fly by and I feel like we didn't do much of anything. Last year I started Wednesday adventures with my eight-year-old, to make sure we at least climbed a mountain each week. This year I'm setting more intentions and I'm going to formalize them a bit more with a fun e-course called "My Summer Manifesto," led by Kelly Dahl, personal coach and editor of Sparrow Magazine. (Speaking of Sparrow Magazine, look for an article by yours truly in the summer issue, which goes live on June 1).

There's lots to do in Schroon Lake this summer. I'm looking forward to seeing all my summer yoga students and enjoying the time between classes with my family. Get ready, because here it comes!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mother's Day

I've encountered some difficult things during the 45 years I've been alive, but my greatest challenge has been being a mom. There was no training plan to prepare me for parenthood and even having been through it once didn't mean I knew what I was doing with the next kid. I have developed a deep appreciation for all mothers, especially my own.

It is with that deep appreciation that I wish "Happy Mother's Day" to moms everywhere, and hope that each one honors not only the mothers in her life, but herself as well. You are doing a very difficult job and you deserve a special day. The True North Yoga studio will be open for classes on Mother's Day. Treat yourself to gentle yoga at 9:30 am or Hatha at 11:00 am. And why not bring your mom to a yoga class too?

Self-care has become May's theme at the studio. Our first Reiki circle was a wonderful, powerful sharing of energy and love. Anyone who's interested in learning Reiki can join Joyce Vanselow for level 1 training on May 19th and 20th. This month's Women's Circle will nurture our need to play and will feature mandalas. The self-care continues on June 3rd when we present a free seminar on how to lower your cholesterol without drugs. And, of course, you can give yourself lots of time on your yoga mat.

May has become all about self-care for me as well. In addition to my yoga practice, I'm finding new ways to relieve pain and reduce stress. I tried acupuncture for the first time at the Acupuncture Studio in Glens Falls, New York, and I think I might be in love. I'd hesitated to try acupuncture because I'm not fond of needles, but after talking to Kevin, the acupuncturist there, I knew what to expect and wasn't surprised by what I felt when he put the needles into my skin. What did surprise me was how fast I felt relief. I've combined acupuncture with regular visits to my chiropractor and I can turn my head farther than I've been able to in years. Yes, I mean years.

After a Reiki session with Joyce followed the next day by the Reiki share, I've become reacquainted with my Reiki self-practice. I'd dropped that years ago, but, like someone said at the share, "it's like riding a bike." It's true that the energy never goes away.

I made some changes to the yoga studio schedule and not everyone is happy about them. Dropping my Thursday morning classes was a hard decision for me, but it supports my commitment to my family. Teaching yoga is very important to me, but I am a mom, too, and I needed more time to spend with my son. Just as I wouldn't be an effective mother without the peacefulness that yoga gives me, I cannot be an authentic yoga teacher without caring for the other parts of my life as well. An extra morning off may be the best Mother's Day present I've ever given myself.

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Sunday, May 6, 2012

A Change of Plans

It's an ill plan that cannot be changed.
-Latin proverb

Supermoon over our house May 5, 2012
Seven days ago I would not have written this post. Actually, seven days ago I couldn't find an uncluttered horizontal surface on which to put my laptop, so I couldn't have written this post even if I'd had a mind to. Which just goes to show how much can happen in a week.

Something's been wrong for awhile. I couldn't put my finger on exactly what was wrong, but I've had the overwhelming desire to hide under a blanket in a dark room. Physically, I'd recovered from the flu except for a lingering cough, but my neck and shoulder had seized up for no apparent reason and my cervical vertebrae were painfully out of alignment. Plans for the yoga studio came together, and then fell apart, then came together again. My father was hospitalized briefly. The house fell into disarray. I napped. I blew off almost all my triathlon training but daily played with the training plan in my calendar trying to find a way to fit 4 hour bike rides in between the other things I wanted to do this summer.

Then, this week, the universe sent the perfect storm of self-care. I had an incredible first experience with acupuncture at the Acupuncture Studio in Glens Fall, New York. The physical release enabled my chiropractor to do a really good adjustment a couple of days later and I am now almost pain-free. That, plus a Reiki session, followed by a Reiki share with a great group of practitioners at the studio, created a big energetic shift. I feel like I can think clearly for the first time in months.

The storm kept building. I finished the inspiring book Wild by Cheryl Strayed, a Women's Adventure Magazine book club suggestion. I watched the equally inspiring movie The Way with Martin Sheen. I had a great talk with my life coach. I cleaned the house. And, last night, I stood outside at 11:30 pm while my husband tried to get a perfect picture of the big full moon, soaking in all the energy flowing down.

When I came inside I laid my moonstone pendant on the windowsill to absorb some of that energy - the pendant I had been wearing when I labored and gave birth to my son - and as I held it I realized that the training required to complete a 70.3 mile triathlon conflicted with other things I valued: freedom, adventure and time with my boy. By the time I woke up this morning the decision was made: I would switch to the Olympic-distance triathlon and enjoy my summer.

A huge weight lifted off of me. I shed a few tears for a dream that I was letting go. I felt like a quitter, briefly, but when I made the plan to do that race at the beginning of the year I didn't know what was coming: changes to the yoga studio's business plan and a flurry of activity around that, weeks of illness and injury, a new venture, and, most recently, the decision to homeschool my son beginning in September and the preparation that would require.

The Yoga Sutras tell us that we must practice compassion toward the suffering (1:33) and I often remind my yoga students that we must begin with compassion towards ourselves. I've been forgetting to apply that to my own life lately. Dropping the race is the most compassionate thing I could do for myself right now, even if it means feeling a bit foolish because I told so many people I was doing it.

Oh well. Sometimes the best plans are plans that change.

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