Thursday, August 16, 2012

Toes on My Mat and Hope in My Heart




Hope is a concept so hard to understand. You can’t see it or touch it. You can only feel it. Deep down somewhere, in your heart or your gut; in your soul. Many people choose to ignore it, thinking it a pointless feeling. For some, hope is all they have.

For me, right now, I am clinging to hope. I am pregnant. For the sixth time. I can’t say it was unplanned, but it certainly happened sooner than we had planned for (I guess condoms work better if you use them).

I’m really scared. I have suffered many losses, the most recent still bringing me to tears when I think of our baby Nate. I couldn’t have lived with that “what if” feeling though, if we hadn’t tried just one more time.

So here I am, livin’ on a prayer (Oh Jon Bon, your words got me through high school and beyond).

I am turning to yoga to help me get through this. My relationship with yoga has been sketchy at best these past few months. But I know she’ll always take me back with open arms. I need only sit on my mat before I start to feel its healing powers.

I’ve had to start slow, going back to level 1 or 1-2 classes that had become unchallenging for me. I don’t want to push anything being pregnant, so I’m already doing prenatal classes. Though the movements make my body feel good, I am really doing it for my mental health. While on my mat, I can look at myself and my life and know that I am doing everything I can to make this pregnancy work. Nothing I do will cause adverse circumstances.

This has helped me to remain fairly calm, early as I am into this pregnancy. I cannot look ahead and plan for another baby yet. But I can take comfort knowing there is another little soul growing inside of me and, if only for a little while, I have a baby.

I hope that things will work out the way I want them to. Yoga helps me to understand that they will work out just the way they should.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Something Old, Something New

For the past two weeks, my family and I have been living with my parents. It has been great. I find that I am going through a whirlwind of different emotions.

Being back in my hometown, where I grew up. So many things are familiar to me, and so many things have changed. I don’t recognize a lot of people, and they probably think I’m just some new stranger moving to town.

Shopping at the grocery store I’ve been to a thousand times before, but it was so weird to be walking through alone, buying groceries for my family.

Meeting up with old friends that I went to school with. We’ve seen each other a lot since I left, but it’s different now that I live here. We don’t even say goodbye, because we know we’ll probably see each other the next day.

Taking my oldest daughter to watch the dance recital in town. The last time I lived here, I was on that stage dancing. I didn’t know ¾ of the girls dancing.

Living in the house I grew up in. It certainly is a different life I lead now than when I was a teenager (I’m still pretty immature though).

All of these new experiences have so much familiarity to them that I find myself really enjoying the ride. I walked into the high school gym the first day we arrived. It was like a warp zone, going back in time. But while there I tried something new. Zumba! It was certainly a stretch from my regular yoga practice, but it was a lot of fun!

Life takes us in so many different directions. Some things about us change, some remain the same. I think that if we are always true to ourselves, then the changes that happen will be positive ones and what we value most - love, family, friendship - will remain constant.

This will be my last post for a while, until we can get settled and life becomes routine once again. Any extra time I have will be spent practicing yoga or being with my family.

Namaste

Friday, April 20, 2012

Where Has My Yoga Gone?


If you haven’t noticed, I’m finding it really difficult lately to find time to write my blog. I’m finding it difficult lately to find time for myself. Life is incredibly busy and hectic right now.

Have you ever noticed that, when life gets busy or things get tough, your well-being is the first thing to go? As soon as life demands more than what we’re used to, we tend to automatically drop things that are important to us but that we consider to be secondary, to make up for the change. I went from practicing yoga almost everyday to maybe once a week. I’ve been eating out of a box for the past few weeks (or extending the indulgence of Easter weekend into Easter week).

Guess what happened? I got sick! My daughter caught a cold from God knows where and I was next in line. I’m not saying that if I had been exercising and eating well I wouldn’t have gotten sick - I’m not invincible. But I have been fighting this bug for over a week, and am just today starting to feel better. I know that if I had been taking better care of myself, this cold would have been gone days ago.

It is easy to get mad at myself too. If I wasn’t so distracted all the time, maybe I would plan a healthier meal instead of throwing some crap together last minute. If I made time for my yoga, I wouldn’t be so sick. Well, what’s done is done. Getting down on myself will only make things worse.

So I am trying to get back on track. I’ve practiced yoga every day this week, albeit they were fairly restorative practices considering how I’ve been feeling. I only got halfway through my practice today when some unexpected visitors arrived. I haven’t done great with the eating part, but better. I’ve made a hearty stew for tonight, full of nutritious veggies and lean beef. I will attend yoga practice at the studio tomorrow for the first time in weeks.

When you slip, it’s easy to just say “Fuck it” and give up on what you are working on. Instead, just say “Yup, that happened”, forgive yourself, then get back on track. If it’s important enough to you, a healthy lifestyle will naturally come back to you.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Very Best Home For Me


In a little more than two weeks we will be leaving the home we’ve been in for the last 3 years and moving back to our hometown (well, pretty close anyways). While trying to sell our home, I had begun to feel a certain resentment towards it, blaming it for all of my stress and the reason why our family isn’t all living together right now. Now that we have sold our house (pending removal of conditions!), I know I will start looking at it with a reflective mind and will probably weep daily at the idea of leaving a place where we have formed so many wonderful (and heartbreaking) memories.

There are many things I will miss about our home and the city. To name a few:

- My BFFs. Though I will take them with me in my heart, I will sure as hell be missing drinks at the Cornerstone, Splurge nights and intimate coffee dates with you bitches.
- Safeway and Wal-Mart. I’m not much for shopping, but I will miss the convenience of being able to go grab whatever I need, whenever I need it.
- My yoga studio. Though I don’t know a lot of the yoginis I practice with, I will miss the community we form together and my instructor Tracy.
- The restaurants. I love dining out. Though our current hometown doesn’t really have top-notch food, I will miss having a choice of places to go out.

There are so many things I look forward to when thinking of our move back home:

- Being closer to family. Both sets of grandparents will only be 10 minutes away, which is so wonderful for our kids (and pretty sweet for the occasional babysitter!).
- Living in a community where everyone knows you. Yup, people will surely somehow know things about my life I prefer they didn’t. But they will also be like family and have your back in a heartbeat.
- Freedom. Being away from the city life. The loud traffic, the busy streets, so many people. I can’t wait to sit in my backyard and hear nothing.
- Starting a new job. I will be working for the first time in seven years, doing what I do best - taking care of kids and running the show!

Soon we will move in with my parents until our new home will be ready for us. Again, there will be a mixture of joy and resentment, a sense of adventure. But mostly just gratitude towards our parents and the Universe for everything falling into place so seamlessly. In the end, I know I’ve always been right where I belong. Home truly is where the heart is, and with my husband and two girls beside me, I know I already have found the very best home for me.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Yogahhhhhh

I am sitting in a coffee shop right now sipping on the newest hot drink, having some "me" time. If it was up to me, I would be at home doing one of the million things I need to get done before the long weekend. Pack our bags, clean the house some more, do some food prep for the holiday. But our Realtor is having a Realtor's Open House in our home right now, so I have been forced out. So here I am, being forced to relax and enjoy myself, and finding time to write my blog.

Life has been pretty crazy lately. If my head wasn't screwed on I'm sure I would have lost it weeks ago. Last night my youngest had an "accident" on the couch. She's still in diapers, well Pull-ups (same thing). But it turns out that if you don't change it for the entire day, they eventually reach capacity and begin to leak. My poor kids. They think Mommy has gone crazy with my obsession with keeping my house clean. I can't seem to focus on anything else.

They miss their Dad too. So do I. Being a "single parent" blows. I don't know how people do it. I miss his company more than anything, but am realizing how much easier life is when you have a partner to help you wash the dishes, walk the dog and play Mouse Trap with the kids (that game will be the death of me).

After another very full day yesterday, I was wiped out, exhausted. With another two hours before bed time, I decided the best thing for everyone would be a movie. I sat the girls in front of Lady and the Tramp. As much as I love the classic Disney movies though, I needed to step away. So I stepped onto my mat. Being so tired, I had a hard time convincing myself that exercise is what I needed. The beauty about yogaglo.com is that you can choose the perfect class to fit your mood. I chose a class by Elena Brower made specifically for your tired feet. Perfect. I felt so much better afterwards. Just enough energy to get my girls ready for and into bed, and to settle into a mindless TV show myself.

After sitting here for a while sipping my African Nectar Fog, I am feeling much more put together too. Ready to take on the day and whatever it throws at me. And tonight I will settle into another relaxing yogahhhhhh practice.

I got this.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Keep The Faith


I come from a background of church-goers. Being of the Catholic faith, every Sunday morning (or sometimes Saturday night, much to my chagrin as a teen) my whole family would go to church. I can’t say that I have fond memories of being in church as a kid (although that one time I farted and it echoed through the whole place was pretty hilarious). I saw it almost as a punishment. A long, drawn-out, boring punishment. As an adult, I swore off church and for a while even felt resentful towards it and mocked those that attended.

Even up until recently, I have had a hard time understanding why people go to church. To subject themselves to something so unpleasant (in my view) seemed ridiculous to me. If you want to praise God and be thankful, why do you have to sit in an uncomfortable pew and listen to a monotone priest read from the Bible? My mom always tells me that going to church makes her feel good. I couldn’t understand how that could be. Until I started to practice yoga.

While driving by the hospital the other day, I noticed a few ladies outside that were holding signs that read “Please pray to end abortion”. Now, I am neither claiming to be Pro-Life or Pro-Choice (that’s a whole other blog post), but it struck me how amazing it was that these women had so much faith in what they believed that they were confident that simply praying would resolve what they saw as injustice in the world. I was jealous. I want to have that much faith in something.

I looked up the definition of faith. It read: "Complete trust or confidence in someone or something”. I’m starting to realize that it is not necessarily the church that my mom and my grandma love so much, but their faith in a higher being. In this case, God.

When I started to practice yoga regularly, I noticed a difference in myself. I felt good. I started to see things more clearly. When I’m practicing yoga, I feel that I can remove myself from any situation and have a good look at it, from a non-judgmental point-of-view. I feel that practicing yoga generates this energy inside of me and that I can use that energy in my life to make positive things happen. Yoga allows me to remember all of my blessings, even at the darkest times, and to know that life is good. Yoga has given me faith. In myself and the Universe. And God.

So, people who go to church must get the same feeling … ? Holy shit Mom, I think I’m praying.








Thursday, March 22, 2012

Worry Not


(First of all, I’m sorry. I apologize to my loyal readers for not posting last week. Life has been crazy busy, and I just couldn’t find the time. My yoga practice suffered, and I even forgot to bath my kids. Yup, my mother-in-law decided to bath them because they actually looked dirty. How often do kids actually look dirty when you bath them? I guess 5 days without bathing will do that. OOPS! Moving on ….)

I am a worrier. It’s like my job. If you are not worried about something, it’s okay, ‘cause I will worry for you. I lay in bed at night and literally think of all the horrible things that could go wrong in my life. I also have a very vivid imagination. Thus, I have come up with some serious horrific images of bad things happening. Which worries me.

After 2 years of waiting for a job position for my husband to come open so we can move back home, it’s finally happening. We are moving back to our hometown and couldn’t be happier. But with any change, even ones made on purpose, comes the stress. Which is perfectly natural. It would be unnatural not to be stressed out a little bit during times like these.

I am a fucking stress ball though. I want to sell our house NOW. I want to have our new home ready for us NOW. Neither of those is going to happen.

Through my yoga, I have been trying to teach myself to think more positively and to learn to kinda go with the flow. While practicing my yoga, just as in life, I have come up against some obstacles. Some days my body decides it’s just not as flexible as usual, or I can’t do tree pose ‘properly’ and can’t figure out why, or my daughters just don’t want to leave me alone for a half hour.

I have been coming up against a lot of challenges in life lately too. Trying to sell our house quickly, being a “single” mom for the next month as my husband starts his new job, making plans to build a basement for our new home, and living with my parents/in-laws for the next three moths until our house is ready (bless their hearts for taking us in).

Yes, these changes are exciting. Yes, they are also stressful. I have decided to put my yoga to it. If I can address my life challenges the same way I face challenges in my yoga practice, I think I will be okay.

And so, I am working on acceptance, PATIENCE, an open heart and mind, perseverance, and positive thinking.

I WILL sell my house soon. I WILL enjoy planning our new home. I WILL be a gracious guest in our parents’ homes. I WILL learn to do Tree Pose.

Nothin’ to worry about.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Dear Nate,

It’s been 1 year since your body came into this physical world, longer since your soul left. I didn’t know you were gone. Maybe I did. Maybe the pain I felt that day was you trying to tell me you were already gone. Maybe all the movement I felt from you the night before was you saying good-bye.
How can I miss someone I never met? You have changed me in ways that nobody else in my life has. How can someone that only existed inside of me have such a profound effect on who I am?
Sometimes I wonder if you were my brother’s spirit. I miss him too. Life would be better with him here. I always felt he and I were soul mates. Kindred spirits.
You were my baby. My child. I carried you. I felt you move. I heard your heartbeat. I remember.
There’s no way it could be a year already. It was just yesterday that I held you in a blanket and sang to you. We laid you in the ground with a teddy bear.
I didn’t know what to do. How do you bury your child? A child most people didn’t even know existed.
Your sisters are beautiful. Am I greedy to want you as well?
It’s been 1 year tomorrow. What am I supposed to do? Cry and scream? Lay in bed and let depression take over again? I want to, in a way. I want to.
Maybe I’ll kiss my girls instead. And make love to my husband. And be thankful for what you brought into my life. And miss you.
And maybe these whisky’s will make things go away for a little while.
And maybe someday I will meet you.
For now, I have to let you go.
I need to move on.
But I will always carry you. I carry you in my heart.
Baby boy.
Love, Mom

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Five Things Yoga Has Done For Me (that I didn’t expect)

When I first started practicing yoga, I expected to get out of it what most people do when they start a new exercise regime - a tight ass and a lower number on the scale. I could never have guessed that yoga would give me so much more. Here, what yoga has done for me:

1. A higher number on the scale. I expected to lose weight when I started practicing yoga regularly. As the numbers pretty much stayed the same, I wondered if I needed to work harder. Then the numbers started going up and I realized what was happening. Muscle weighs more than fat. As my “mommy tummy” shrank, my muscles were getting stronger, resulting in a slightly higher number on the weigh scale.

2. Peace of Mind. I really started to hit the mat when I realized how good I felt emotionally after a practice. I became aware that yoga was so much more than just exercise, but a state of mind. During stressful times, I am able to remember to not clench my jaw and to look at things from an outside perspective. I have even been able to embrace my spiritual side, something I’ve always struggled with.

3. Better Sex. Things were actually pretty good in that department in the first place (wink-wink nudge-nudge), but after practicing regularly, I realized how much better it could be. Yoga is known to increase libido, and my hips no longer want to seize up half-way through Reverse Cow-Girl. TMI (too much info)? TFB (too fucking bad). J

4. Faster Recovery. Being on immunosuppressant drugs, I can get sick pretty easily. But I haven’t been. My immunity is way up there and I haven’t needed as much sleep as I used to. If my kids keep me up all night for one reason or another, I’m actually okay the next day. I’m freakin’ tired, but I don’t have that “I’m gonna die” feeling like I used to.

5. A Better Curler. Okay, not really. I curled six games in a Ladies’ Bonspiel on the weekend. Let’s just say curling is not my forte. But I did have one random girl tell me I was quite flexible in my hip flexors. Which allowed me to have a nice delivery coming out of the hack. And then it was all down-hill from there, but the point is, yoga is making me better at other sports.

What has yoga done for you?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

I’m Sexy and I Know It

Okay, I don’t think I would classify myself as sexy. Maybe if I tried really hard, but I think I would more likely fall under the categories ‘cute’ or ‘pretty’. Just like Maria from West Side Story, yes, I think I’m pretty. Partly maybe because “I am loved by a pretty wonderful boy”, but there is more to my (perhaps) puffed up ego than that. Confidence in and love for myself.

I have always been a confident person. I guess I was born that way, though my parents are both fairly confident people as well. I’ve never been too concerned with how I look. I hardly wear any make-up and really couldn’t tell you the names of the popular clothing brands. I can wear bright red sweat pants in public, and really be okay if someone gives me a sideways glance.

Don’t get me wrong. I have my insecurities just like anyone else. Like, really? Do my arms have to be that hairy? After I was done with breastfeeding my first daughter and my breasts looked like two fried eggs nailed to a wall, I had some serious issues to work through (luckily my husband likes eggs). But, throughout my life, I have been able to accept my body the way it is and even feel some love for it.

I mean, my body’s been through the ringer. Five pregnancies, two c-sections and Crohn’s disease. My daughters often ask what all the lines on my stomach are from. Though I want to say “You did this to me you little ……. !”, I like to just tell them I am a tiger who has earned her stripes (whoever wrote that is genius). But, fried eggs, stripes and all, I still am happy with the way that I look.

I don’t know what the secret is to being happy with your body. I think it’s a combination of love, acceptance and respect for yourself. It is a choice. Ya gotta love the skin you’re in. I choose to love my body. If you don’t love your body, then you need to ask yourself why you feel that way. And then something needs to change. Either your way of thinking or the way you live your life. Or both.

To me, as long as you exercise and eat well, your body should look exactly as it was meant to. Whether you are a size 4 or 14.
 
 
 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Feed Your Soul


I apologize. Perhaps my post last week was a bit harsh. I was just pissed off. As I told one of my readers, I have a love affair with food. I love to cook, and I love eating even more. For me, food nourishes my body and my soul. So, when somebody tries telling me that what makes me happy is bad for me, I get defensive.

I found a fantastic website from the Dietitians of Canada with some great evidence-based resources on food. It also includes some great recipes for a healthy life-style. Check it out.

My girlfriend, who’s whole family is dedicated to educating others about healthy eating habits, has a page on her website that I would like to share with you. Though I may not agree with everything they believe, I like the way Chanelle presents her opinions - with an open mind and attitude.

And because I am sort of on holidays and lazy, that will be my post for this week J . Bon App├ętit!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Are You Really Gonna Eat That?!

I am a meat eater. I like drinking milk and eating cheese and I damn sure like sugar! And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I also love a well-prepared fish dish, a vegetarian chili, almost all fruits and vegetables and green smoothies. And I know there’s nothing wrong with that.

There is a huge movement right now towards being very aware of what you are putting into your body. Which is so, so good. Obesity has literally become an epidemic, especially in kids, which is so very sad.

I do feel though, as is common with a new trend, people are going way overboard when it comes to what we should eat to be healthful and what we are pushing onto other people. There are people who would shudder to know that my kids probably ate their weight’s worth in sugar on Valentine’s Day (it‘s one day people!). There are those who think I’m a bad mom for giving my children milk to drink and red meat for supper. Those people can suck it.

What once was good for you, now is bad. Milk will cause extra mucus in the body, leading to inflammation, causing any number of ailments from acne to respiratory diseases to IBD. Fruit is full of sugar and will lead to yeast infections, diabetes and cancer. Whole wheat bread has gluten in it and will certainly cause you to have nerve damage, IBD and even brain disease. (These are all “facts” I just found on Google).

Okay, slow the fuck down people!

Yes, if I have seven glasses of milk a day, shit’s gonna go wrong in my body. If I eat nothing but fruit, I will likely get diabetes. And if I consume a whole loaf of bread in one day, I will most likely be backed up for a week or two and perhaps not be able to feel my fingers and toes. But who eats like that?!

People need to get smart about what they eat, and especially about what they read. Milk, fruit, lean meat and whole wheat are good for you. As long as you don’t eat too much of them.

I like to compare the occasional “treat” that I eat with alcohol, a substance that has no nutritional value whatsoever. If I have one drink, my body is fine. The ol’ liver processes it and it leaves my body with no harm done. If I have 5+ drinks, my body feels GREAT for a little while, and then really not so good after that. If I eat healthily on a regular basis, then take my kids to McDonald’s for a night out, my body will be fine. If I eat that crap 2, 3 times a week, shit is gonna go down hill fast.

My point I’m trying to make is, Everything In Moderation. Most people, including me, do not eat as well as they should be to support their bodies. This growing trend of awareness is going to help change that. According to Canada’s Food Guide, a healthy adult should be eating everyday, on average, 8 servings of fruits and vegetables, 7 servings of grain products, 2 servings of milk and alternatives, and 2-3 servings of meat and alternatives. I don’t know about you, but I personally eat too much meat and dairy, and not enough fruit and vegetables. I am working on changing that.

If you choose, for whatever reason, to cut out from your diet dairy products, or meat or all sugar, then all the power to you. But please don’t tell me that I will be in poor health because I choose to keep those foods in my diet.

Or I might have to slap you with a beautiful rib-eye steak … covered in sugar … with cheese on top.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Try Something New

Today my yoga instructor and I and two other ladies from the studio are taking a yoga road trip. We are heading into Regina to the Bodhi Tree Yoga Studio to try something new. They teach Hatha yoga there, a style of yoga I have never practiced. I am a little bit nervous, but quite excited.

At Body In Mind Yoga Studio, I practice what is called Core Strength Vinyasa. It was founded by Sadie Nardini, my instructor’s instructor. It is a vinyasa flow, which means each pose flows into the next, built around the idea of the core as the foundation for everything yoga including the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects.
  
My first thoughts are “I don’t think I’m going to like Hatha Yoga”. From what I’ve been reading on Yoga Journal Online, “The word hatha means willful or forceful”. I don’t really like to associate the word ‘forceful’ with any form of exercise, especially yoga. I don’t think anything should be forced when it comes to your body.

But, what do I know?! Maybe I will love it! I will never know if I don’t try it.

Such is life. We will never be able to expand our minds and our hearts if we are not willing to try something new. New and different can be scary. Same same is safe and comfortable … and BORING!

Try something new today! Accept that exciting new job offer; have a baby; take that trip to India you’ve been thinking about!

Or maybe just try a squirt of chai flavoring in your latte instead of your regular vanilla. You crazy cat.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Right Here, Right Now

As I write this, I’m thinking about what I’m going to make for supper, how long I have before my kids get sick of their show and come disrupt me, and that I should have myself a cappuccino. I find it really hard to stay in the present moment. To focus on what I’m doing right now, and not think about a million other things that I did yesterday or need to do tomorrow.

The art of meditation asks the practitioner to empty his/her mind and concentrate on only one thing, such as their breath, an inanimate object or an action such as walking. To just be. For the most part, learning the skill of meditation has eluded me. I haven’t even really tried, to be honest. I don’t think I’m “there” yet. I find it a challenge to clear my mind in a 5 minute savasana, let alone a 15 - 30 minute meditation.

But I really think there is something to be said for really being where you are and doing what you’re doing. Multitasking has always been touted as a positive thing, but I think that if we could all concentrate on one thing at a time, it would get done more efficiently and with a higher quality. Yoga is perfect proof of this. Pop up into a handstand. Go ahead. Concentrate. You’re doing it! Now think about what you’re gonna wear tomorrow. Bam! You’re on the ground.

Yoga instructors speak a lot about staying in the present moment during one’s yoga practice. I’m usually pretty good with concentrating on my practice and have been trying recently to really focus on and experience each pose and not think about which pose I’ll be doing next.

The same can be said for life in general. One minute you’re changing diapers a hundred times a day and rocking babies to sleep, the next you’re taking down the crib and putting change tables into storage. As I watch my babies grow and the years roll by, I hope that I can remember often to, as with my yoga, really focus on the right now and truly experience the wonder of everyday life, today.

Ferris Bueller had it bang on when he said “Life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it”.
 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Yoga Away From Home

As I write this, my hubby is sitting in the Toronto Airport with about an 11 hour layover (barf). And he’s flying stand-by (double barf). I asked him last night if he was anxious about all the waiting and possibly not getting on his flights. He said he was a little, but I think I am anxious enough for him. I loathe flying (especially stand-by) and waiting in an airport for hours. His situation got me thinking what I would do if I had all that time alone in the airport. Of course, I thought of yoga.

For many people, going away on a trip, either for business or pleasure, is a perfect reason to not exercise. There are hundreds of excuses, but it really boils down to whether it is important to you or not. I hope that if we thought about it honestly, we would all agree that our health, and therefore exercising regularly, is very important to us. It’s about commitment, I suppose, to yourself.

I love yoga, as you know, so to not do it when I’m away from home really isn’t a “treat”. For that reason, I bring my mat with me almost everywhere. It is certainly a challenge to keep up with my regular practice while away, especially during holidays. But, I find sneaking away even for a short 30 min. practice is an excellent way to just check-in with myself, re-center, and gather my thoughts.

Yoga while travelling is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your body. It eases cramps and kinks from being in the same position for hours at a time, and relieves any tension built up from the stress of driving, sitting, standing in line or flying. Flying involves A LOT of waiting. Yoga is a great way to pass the time. There is usually plenty of space to find a corner of the area you are in at the airport to do a couple of asanas to loosen yourself up before and after a flight. There are some great practices for travel on yogaglo.com that you could stream right to your Smartphone or iPad, or you could just do your own thing.

For many people it is really not practical to haul your yoga mat around with you everywhere you go, especially if you are flying. There is actually a yoga mat you can wear right on your hands and feet. They are super rad as they are just like gloves and socks, but give the same traction as a full mat.

And don’t worry about what other people think! Seriously, who cares?! You’ll be the one laughing when they get a Charlie Horse halfway through the flight and you are sitting back enjoying the ride.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Take Care of You

A friend posted a quote on Facebook the other day that made me think. It read:


“Motherhood is a choice you make everyday to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing, even when you’re not sure what the right thing is … and to forgive yourself over and over again for doing everything wrong” - Donna Bell

Parenting is hard. Really, fucking hard. Sometimes I feel like I do more things wrong than I do right when it comes to my kids. I’ve had to forgive myself again and again. It’s a great quote, and I agree with what the author is saying … except for the first line.

“Motherhood is a choice you make everyday to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own” … A year ago I would have whole-heartedly agreed with that statement and actually been proud to say that is exactly how I live. A year ago I put my children’s happiness and well-being ahead of my own - not anymore.

When I went to Sadie Nardini’s yoga workshop she held last spring, I didn’t know what to expect. I still thought of yoga as just another form of exercise. Then she opened my eyes. We had a group discussion (which I thought was weird for a weekend dedicated to “working out”) and, with a group made up almost exclusively of women, the topic of motherhood came up. A few of us boasted proudly that our children came first, no matter what. She asked us why. How could that be that you would put someone else’s well-being ahead of your own?! I went home thinking “Oh, she’s not a mother, she would never understand”.

But her words resonated with me and I thought about them for a long time afterwards. I remember her saying, to some degree, “If you are not happy, and well-taken care of, how do you expect to take care of these little people whose lives depend on you? When your children see you putting everyone else’s happiness before your own, they learn that behaviour, and will grow to also please everyone else but themselves.”

I remember saying, shortly after we lost Nate, when asked if we would try again, “Well, I don‘t care about myself, I just don’t want to put my kids through that again.” I actually said that. I don’t care about myself.

I don’t want that for my kids. I don’t want that for me. I started putting myself first after that. I started caring about myself. And you know what? I’m a better mother because of it.

When you take care of you, it is so much easier and fulfilling to take care of someone else. So, yes, it is a choice. What will you choose?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Yoga At Home

I attend a yoga class at the studio once a week. I feel that it’s unfair to my kids and my husband for me to go more often than that. So, I practice A LOT of yoga at home. Though it has many challenges, I find I almost (almost) prefer practicing yoga in the comfort of my own home. Namely because I can wear whatever/look however I want. Hell, I’ve done naked yoga in my home before on a hot July day (much to husband’s approval). I don’t care what my hair looks like or if I need to fart half-way through. I can practice any time of day I choose. It’s just me and my mat. Well, sorta.

There is one small (okay, two) factor. A little 5 year old, and a little two year old. They are very interested in my yoga practice, which is great. Except when I’m actually trying to practice yoga. My youngest thinks it’s super fun to crawl underneath me (and stay) when I’m practicing such poses as Downward Facing Dog or climb on my back while trying to perfect Cobra pose. Because I use yogaglo on my iPad, they find it nearly impossible not to touch the screen. As my legs begin to shake from holding a pose so long, I look at the screen to see how much longer I have to go and notice it’s been paused for the last 45 seconds.

So, my advice to you on how to enjoy your practice at home.
  • Do your practice when your kids are busy doing something else. Ie. Playing outside with Dad, sleeping or (my favorite) watching TV.
  • Use a mat. Even if you’re practicing on carpet. I didn’t use a mat at home for a long time, until I realized how much easier it is to get into, or deeper into, many poses with a sticky mat underneath me. I also love the feeling I get just by stepping onto my mat. Like, “Yup, this is where I want to be”.
  • Use props. One of the best investments I’ve ever made was on a yoga block. At home you have the luxury of having all sorts of props all around. Pillows, blankets, belts, even books. Props can help you get into poses you may never be able to get into otherwise. Think Hanumanasana with two blocks under your hands.
  • Always practice in the same spot. I would love to have my own yoga room with a mat floor and my own little meditative knickknacks on an altar, but it’s not possible in this house. Instead, I always use the same spot, so when I go there, my body immediately slips into ‘yoga mode’. Try to find a bright, happy place. Try not to practice in a cold, dark basement if you can.
  • Find a means to bring yoga to you. I used to just freestyle my practice at home, doing poses I remembered from class, etc. Then I changed to doing some practices from a magazine like Yoga Journal. I’ve done a few practices from TV and now I subscribe to yogaglo.com and am able to choose the duration of my practice, the style and the level from hundreds of sweet classes all taught by big-time yoga instructors. Find what suits your style and your budget and get to it!
Well, the kids are at school, so I’m off to do a little yoga. Or maybe I should just watch Ellen … J

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Resolutions

I’ve never been one to make New Year’s resolutions. I find a lot of people just make something up spur of the moment, without much thought, so they don’t appear to be lazy or have no ambition. Or they have good intentions, but drop back into their old habits within a couple of weeks.

Don’t get me wrong. I think it a brave step for someone to resolve to change themselves or their habits for the better. I just don’t think it has to wait for the new year to happen. We should all try to better ourselves every day. That being said, a new year is a great time to remind us of this.

So, I’ve been thinking about what my resolution could be, if I were to make one. I know that everyone has room for improvement, and I am certainly no exception. Quitting smoking is always a big one, but a severe case of mono had me quitting in high school before I really had even gotten started (thank God). I don’t think I need to lose weight really, and I already maintain a fairly regular yoga practice.

As I pondered different resolutions people make, I began to think about that wall most people hit a couple weeks in, often stopping their progression in it’s tracks. And I realized that just being more conscious of why they made the resolution in the first place would be a big help for them to stay on track. To be more conscious …. hmmmm.

Yup, that’s it. My New Year’s resolution is to be more MINDFUL of everything I do in my everyday life. To be more aware of my actions towards others. To be conscious that everything my girls hear and see me do, is teaching them to be just like that. To be more attentive to the foods that I put into my body and how they directly affect how I feel and act. To be conscientious as I practice yoga and only go as far as my body will allow, on that specific day, in that specific moment. To be vigilant in treating the earth with love and respect, and heedful of treating myself in the same way.

I don’t expect to transform overnight, nor do I want to change who I am. But I believe I can be better. We can all, in all ways, be better.

What can you resolve to be or do better this year?