Yoga love, my yoga love

Yes, I’m singing “Baby love” by The Supremes while typing this, and YES, I know. Another post about my love for yoga? Yep. Because last night in yoga, well, it was amazing. A-maz-ing.

No one else in class could hear me silently cheering for myself as I did not one, not two, but three things I had never been able to do before. I wanted to stop the class and say “Look what I can do!!”. And I was in Savasana, I was already taking mental notes for this blog post. And thinking about how things in my life have changed so much in the past 2 and a half years since I began this journey that I never ever ever thought I would.

This practice has taken me from overweight to fit, from insecure to confident, from anxiety to (mostly) calm. Oh I still worry about stuff I can’t control, and have moments of complete freak out, but I also don’t stay in that space for long. I’ve learned to control what I can and let go of what I can’t.

I know a lot of non-yoga people get sooooooo sick of hearing yoga people talk about how great it is. But has anyone stopped to realize they’re singing yogas praises for a good reason?? It’s a body, mind and soul transformation. Not a lot of things can claim all three. I have a few runner friends who feel that way about running. I tried running. I know I can run, which is something I never thought I’d say either. But I had too many injuries and not a deep-in-my-soul love for it. So I get runner love. I hope they can appreciate my yoga love.

And in an effort to remain honest about my practice, yes I almost did fall over last night in a pose I’ve done a hundred thousand times. And I also know why. Because in that moment, that second, my mind drifted and I wasn’t focused. Of course I laughed with Julie because, well, hello? I almost fell over! But after I regained my balance and was realizing what I did wrong, it occurred to me that so many things in our lives are just like that pose and potential fall.

How many times have you lost focus in what you are doing? Things are going well, maybe you start to feel like you can coast a little instead of furiously pedaling, and then you start to swerve. Your resolve starts to waiver and you quickly get jolted back to what can happen if you lose that concentration. Hopefully you can correct your thinking and start again toward your goal. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a hard fall to see that you’ve totally lost your previous determination and it takes a scraped knee or elbow to see how far you fell.

This could be with anything: exercise, diet, anger, dating, addiction, career, kids, spouse, anything. Anything you are trying to change about yourself to make you a better you. Change isn’t easy. There is resistance, sometimes from others who don’t want to see you change, but most of the time, the resistance is right between your own ears. We think things of ourselves that we would never say outloud or to another person. We allow our bad thinking to take over and self sabotage our progress. “I’ll never lose that much weight” or “I’ll never get that promotion” or “I’ll never find someone who will treat me better. I deserve what I’m getting” or “I can have just one (or two or five) and no one will know.” We SAY these things to ourselves!! ACK!

What yoga has taught me is that what happens outside of my mat has nothing to do with me and if I focus on myself and what I can do, nothing can stop me. I can look inside and praise my little victories, even if no one else does. It’s MY victory after all. I can look at how far I’ve come and not be bogged down by how much further I have to go. I can control my mind, my actions, my day by how I respond to my own thinking. Basically, I can get out of my own way.

And by getting out of my own way, I’ve empowered myself. Even if I have a swerve. Or I lose concentration for a second. The more I practice, the stronger I am. The more you have people around you, supporting you, understanding what you’re doing and going through, the easier it is to acknowledge the slip and get right back up. And LEARN from it. Isn’t that what life is all about anyway?

yoga love

New Year, New Yoga, New Mindset

Today was the first yoga class of the new year. I had decided as one of my New Years goals was to push myself a little harder, try to do the smallest thing a bit better and truly appreciate what my body was doing and is capable of doing during class. It’s still so difficult for me to see how much progress I have made. I know that sounds silly. It’s not me fishing for compliments either. It’s just me being honest about the way my mind works sometimes. I think we all have a tendency sometimes to be overly critical of ourselves and focus on the flaws instead of the progress. So I’m making a conscience effort this year to do this as the part of the year of me! 🙂

By the way, every time I think of that phrase, I think of Seinfeld and the “Summer of George”. It cracks me.

So with today’s yoga practice with my new mat, new yoga pants and my renewed determination, I set out to push a little farther. Hold my pose a little deeper, stretch myself juuuuuuuuust a bit more. And I’m thrilled to say I did just that. Through the entire practice, I was able to push myself and bring my leg all the way through without touching the ground. Vast improvement in my book! And even though my arms still tremble during side plank, I rocked that baby on both sides the whole entire time, even when we flipped over, top leg behind and arm reaching for the sky. I refused to fall or come out of the pose before instructed. Again, major progress in my book. Beautiful wonderful progress.

Yoga is such a personal journey. It’s graceful, delicate, but strong, determined and focused. I think each of us exhibits those features every day. Some days we show one side more than others. Some days we have to. But it’s always there. Finding something that shows all of those characteristics in for splendid hour is a Godsend.

So while the year is still new, resolutions or goals are still fresh in our minds, try to find that something that is yours. Something that can bring focus and clarity and challenge and renewal to your mind, body and spirit. Because no matter what it is you achieve, it’s yours. No one can take that away from you.

Namaste.

white yoga

Reminiscing

So far it’s been a crazy day, and it’s only 9:30 in the morning! I’ve been up since 4, I had workmen FINALLY show up after I called them Monday and they were to be here Tuesday. Yea, it’s Thursday. I know. I had some funky pop-up thing telling me my cable provider had suspended my outgoing email because I’m sending large quantities of mail. (Say WHAT???) And my garage door, which was just fixed last month, is making some horrendous noise. So yep, another call to another workman who will probably ignore me for a few days. Seems pretty typical and again, I say, maybe they don’t need the work if people are actually contacting YOU to give you money and you can’t return a call or do the job? Life must be pretty damn sweet for ya!

After talking with my sister-in-law yesterday, I decided going to one of our lovely metroparks around here was a great idea instead of my normal routes that I take around my house. I have about 3 or 4 regular routes I do, because doing the same one every day gets boring to me. If I’m not going to look around and check things out, I might as well be running on a track in circles. But that’s REALLY boring to do alone.

So with fall here and leaves starting to change, I thought she had a great point and headed to the park. Beautiful. Quiet. Hills, and bridges and nature just all around.

I’ve developed this weird little habit when I’m by myself I only put one earbud in so I can hear if a biker is coming up behind me, or whatever and it doesn’t scare the crap out of me when they zoom by. But in doing that, even though I have music on, I find myself lost in my own head quite often. Which is fine, because I swear a lot of life’s problems have been solved when people are getting their exercise on! As long as it can be remembered AFTER you’re done. I don’t carry paper and a pencil with me.

So in this time when I’m not solving world peace or poverty or addiction or the financial crisis, I have time to think about other things. Other people. Friends from the past who I’ve lost touch with for one reason or another. Things we used to do. Places we used to go. And it’s funny to me how the bad things, the bad times, the bad feelings always fade. It’s the laughing and the silliness and crazy-stupid things that stick in my mind.

I know they say time heals all wounds. Yea yea. I know. But what time doesn’t steal away are the good memories.

I think I’m at about the halfway point in my life. I hope I am. I hope I have another 40+ years to go. I should be so lucky. I really hope that as the years roll by, it continues to weed out the bad and only leave the good. Because there is so much good and beauty and love and hope in the world if we can just see it.

So I’m going to a different park today, and I’ll be looking at the scenery as I go by. Taking it all in. But also in my head, I’ll be doing a little reminiscing.

Blogging – Making it a Habit

When I first agreed to start blogging, I thought I would be fun. I checked out some friends who were doing it to see what, when, how and to get some starting tips. Some friends did it once a week. Some were doing it multiple times a day, almost like an online version of Dear Diary.

I figured I would do this when I had something I really needed to say. Something to get out, or vent over, or I thought was just oh-so-important that I was just sure the rest of the bloggesphere would want to know about. And that was great, until I started to get a cold last week. I wasn’t sick, just…..blah. I couldn’t think of anything remotely interesting to write about, so I didn’t. And a day turned to a few days. I did go to yoga last Saturday and felt better that day, but by Sunday afternoon, it was back. But worse!

So I didn’t blog a few more days. By Tuesday, full blown cold or sinus infection or something is going on. And the last thing I wanted to do or felt like doing was writing. And then it dawned on me this morning as I was blowing my nose for the 8, 945th time, I need to blog about THIS! How many other newbie bloggers are there who are probably feeling the exact same way? Bet I’m not the only one! One thing I have learned for certain in my, um, mid 40s, it that the more you feel like you’re the only one feeling a specific way, you are NOT the only one. It’s wonderful to meet kindred spirits who say “I thought I was the only one!!!”

So here am I, sick, blowing my nose again (count 8, 946) and am very glad I decided to do this today. Because this isn’t meant to be stressful. Or tedious. Or guilt-filled. It’s supposed to be fun. Light. Hopefully slightly entertaining even to those who don’t know me. So I vow to make this more of a habit than not. To be more engaged even if I don’t feel like it. To decide that if my topic of the day isn’t life shattering, that’s ok, because really, who needs their life shattered every day?? I would get tired of picking up the pieces!

I need to get more tissues……..

Thyroid and cold

I live in Ohio. All my life, I have lived here. One thing has never changed, it gets cold here in the winter. Some years are colder than others. Some are snowier. Even in years like this where we have broken a record high of 67 in January, it snaps back to reality quickly. In the same week that we hit the record high, we are now experiencing wind chills below zero. Yep. Craziness.

I also discovered this past fall that my thyroid is out of whack. I had started running to lose weight, and it was working, but WOW, I had to work hard at it. Running every other day and limiting calories to no more than 1000 per day was the only thing that seemed to work. It was very frustrating to work so hard, be hypervigilant, and only lose a pound in a week. So I went to the doctor to discover I had hypothyroidism and he prescribed synthetic thyroid medication.

It kicked my weight loss into a more normal mode, where I was losing 2-3 pounds in a week and making steady progress. Fantastic. I had dropped 35 lbs in the fall just by running and kind of watching what I ate. Woo hoo! Yea me!

But then the cold kicked in. It’s hard to describe the feeling I have without sounding cliche or exaggerating but it goes into my bones. It actually hurts the very marrow of my bones. The thought of running in this makes me feel like my legs would literally snap in half. My hands and feet are constantly cold, even in the house, and yes even with socks on!

I decided to do some research and found that this coldness is a very common issue with those of us suffering from hypothyroidism. I’m hoping that perhaps my medication needs increased, maybe that will help. I’m thinking by the time that happens, spring will have sprung around here and it won’t hurt so badly.

In the meantime, I’ll be found in my house, under a blanket as much as possible.