Feeling Yummy and The Fcuk it Bucket

I took a yoga class tonight at Moksha. The teacher, Alie, told us to feel yummy in our bodies as we stretched and let go of the day. I like that idea—feeling yummy in your body.

What does feeling yummy in your body mean? It means getting the yuckyness—the stress, the negativity— out of your body and mind so you can let the yummyness—that peaceful easy feeling— in. Ultimate yummyness for me is the aaahhhh moment when it all gets let go, when my breath flows freely through me.

A pig getting his/her inner yummy on:

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I guess this is a gender not-specific pig!

Where does it all go? All of the crap? All of the stress? All of the yuckyness? All of it goes in the fcuk it bucket (another phrase I’m stealing from Alie tonight).

So try throwing all of the yuckyness in your life into the fcuk it bucket to let the yummyness in. Feel yummy inside and out.

Namaste,

Sarathlete

Flip It Upside Down

My world was flipped upside down, quite literally, when I did my first headstand in yoga class last Monday evening.

I’ve been doing yoga regularly for a year. Last Monday evening was the first time I kicked up into headstand on my own. It took me a year of doing yoga consistently to build up the core strength to support my body in that upside down position.

I’ve been in assisted and spotted headstand, but today was the day I took my first steps on my own. It has taken me baby steps to get there.

My biggest fear of this pose was going upside down. It took me a year of courage building to face my fear and just let go. I realized tonight that I had the physical and spiritual strength to grow and let go of my fear of going upside down.

Flipping my world upside down has happened so many times to me since I lost my job in May 2014. Losing my job was the best thing that could’ve happened to me. The six weeks I spent without a job was a hard time because I had to face my fears and find the strength to kick up into life. I had to be willing to go upside down in order to find peace and new life.

There’s a beautiful, glorious and joyous life out there people! Flip your life upside down. Bend over into a forward fold and see how fabulous you feel. Let the blood rush to your head and enjoy whatever feelings bubble up. They will be new feelings perhaps. New is good. New is fabulous. New can be scary too. If we take baby steps we can build courage overtime to face our fears and eventually kick our fears in the face.

BOOM…..I just blew up my fears. I’m walking away from the fire to go do more headstand to get more head rushes and feel inspired and empowered to give, love and create.

My world was turned upside down today was amazing. Newness is fabulous! Keep learning and doing whatever it is that makes you uniquely you! You are fabulous and glorious, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Life turned upside down is a beautiful thing!

Namaste,
Sarathlete

The Gift of Movement

A wiggle. A waddle. A bob and weave. A hand stand. A walk in the park. A bike ride. A foxtrot. A cartwheel. It doesn’t matter how or where or when but we were made to move.

Dancing and yoga and walking in the city and biking down paths and country roads are the forms of movement I’m most into right now.

I am sarathlete! I’m on the move!

I’m so grateful for the ability to be able to move. I was inspired to write this post today by my mother-in-law. My mother-in-law can barely move. I had lunch with Pete’s side of the family today. My mother-in-law is in her early seventies. She’s so overweight she couldn’t walk from the booth to the front door of the restaurant today without being out of breath and having to sit down before she walked out to the car. Her back hurt. She was out of breath. Want to know why? Because she barely moves. She will tell you that she cannot move. She sits in a chair all day and chooses not to move. Instead of trying to to things for herself my mother-in-law chooses to order her husband around all day having him do simple tasks like getting her food or whatever.

I don’t feel sorry for my mother-in-law. I’m not taking pity or making a judgment of her. This is my observation of her.

Watching my mother-in-law today made me so grateful for the gift of movement. I don’t envy her choice not to move at all. I’m also grateful, as a friend once said, that I still have all of my original factory parts! My mother-in-law was such an inspiration to move that I came home and went on a fast 20 mile bike ride. I pushed myself harder on that ride than I ever have when I’ve ridden in the past. Why? Because I could.

I can move. You can move. The choice to move is up to the individual.

For me movement gives me freedom, provides a means of transportation, gives me a form of emotional and physical expression. Movement fulfills me and helps me sustain my life. Movement makes me joyous.

I hope you choose to move because movement makes like so beautiful and interesting, in my opinion! I love it!

If you choose to move then honor yourself and your movement by moving right now. Get up and do a happy dance. Do tree pose. Go jump in a lake. Make a joyful noise. Why? Because you can. You made your choice. Relish in that fact.

Life is a gift. Live it. Move it. Shake it up a bit! Get out of breath once in a while! We can’t choose to move when we die. So move now and celebrate the wonderfully fabulous gift of life!

Namaste!

Sarathlete

Me after a glorious 4 mile walk in Chicago! So happy!

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Project Prius C: Pranayama–Huh?

Before we hit the road with yogic driving, I want to teach you how to meditate. Meditation is a part of yoga that we are going to be applying to driving. Meditation will teach you how to breathe in a way that will calm the body and clear the mind. Remember my theory: the calmest driver makes the best driver.

Yoga references many words in Sanskrit. In the title of this post I refer to the word “Pranayama” which is Sanskrit for “extension of the breath”. In Sanskrit the word “prana” means “life force”, specifically meaning “the breath”. Breathing is how our bodies survive—we draw in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. In Sanskrit, “ayama” means “to draw or extend out”. At the beginning of a meditation practice the breaths are short and brisk, in the middle the breaths are medium length and by the end of the practice the breath will be long and deep. The longer and more drawn out the breath, the calmer driver.

Here’s what you need to meditate:

  • A quiet place with no distractions—yes the back seat of your minivan parked in the garage where your kids cannot find you definitely counts!
  • A soft surface to sit on where you can sit up tall with your legs crossed in front of your body—I recommend a pillow to sit atop on your floor.
  • Music (optional)—I highly recommend the Soundscapes Music Channel #743 on the Comcast Cable Network (for more about this see below). Music is a great transitional tool to use to help you sit still when you first start to meditate.

Explanation of Soundscapes

Soundscapes is a combination of sounds from nature like waves crashing, thunder, or birds chirping with a peaceful melody played by a pianist, flautist or violinist. I find the combination of sounds from nature and music creates a relaxing background for my meditation practice.

Here’s a great way to start using music and meditation together: sit and meditate to just one song. Then work your way up to two. Perhaps you will start to find that you need more than two songs to feel calmer—you want to go deeper. Try three songs and so on!

Once you have your meditation spot and (optional) music you are ready to meditate:

  1. Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position.
  2. Turn your music on.
  3. Take a deep breath in.
  4. Straighten your spine by rolling your shoulders down the back, lift your chest towards the sky, keep your chin parallel with the floor and pull your belly button in towards your spine. Do not lie on your back because you might fall asleep.
  5. Close your eyes.
  6. Place the palms of your hands on your knees with palms facing up.
  7. Start to breathe in and out.
  8. Be present. Be in the moment without thinking of what you did in the yesterday or what you have to do afterwards.
  9. Once you feel you’re finished (perhaps after a song or two), stand up and go back to your day.
  10. Notice how you feel afterwards. If you felt good today then you will feel good after meditating tomorrow too. Make meditation a part of your daily routine.

Here’s how you will look just before you’re done meditating:

Keep calm, stay strong and keep driving on!

Namaste,

Sara

Namaste–A Beautiful Greeting

Namaste is a greeting used in yoga.

“Namas” means “bow” in Sanskrit. “Te” means “to you” in Sanskrit.

Namaste means “I bow to you”. Other ways to say it are “I greet you” or “I welcome you” or “I honor you”.

With that, I hope you have a wonderful Wednesday!

Namaste,

Sara

I Swore I’d Never Teach Again

That’s a big deal to me—to swear I’ll never do something again. It’s also a very closed off way to approach and deal with whatever it was that made me decide to swear off the something—in this case, teaching.

Despite my vow to myself that I’d never teach again I’ve come to realize that teaching is one of my strengths. Since I swore off teaching at the end of 2010, I’ve since trained a co-worker how to do my job at my workplace. We also now have a new employee that is starting in our department. It’s looking like the co-worker I trained is going to train the new employee we have at work. It’s very exciting when you see that little piece of yourself and the knowledge that you imparted upon someone else be passed on as they teach the skill you taught them to someone else.

When I said I’d sworn off teaching what I really meant to say was that I’d sworn off teaching ballroom dancing ever again. I wasn’t quite so detailed in my description. I’m a really good, patient teacher. I’m also a really good ballroom dancer. Both fit me and they are both things I really miss. However, what I really miss about ballroom dance is the movement. And what I really miss about teaching ballroom dance is teaching movement to people. What I do not miss was the excess garbage of things I had to deal with as a professional ballroom dance teacher. I’ve never had a thick skin and mean comments about my weight, my makeup, my clothing, and my lack of money to commit to more ballroom gowns, and the constant competition between myself and the owner of the studio, became things I no longer wanted to deal with. These are things that go with teaching ballroom dancing. This dancesport is not about the quality of movement or quality of teaching. It’s about what you look like, how much money you have, and how little you weigh. I couldn’t deal with the pressure anymore because it was making me paranoid and getting through my thin skin, and was contributing to depression and constant anxiety to the point where I said, “I’m done and will never teach again.”

Nearly 4 years later, I found myself sitting on the wood floor of the yoga studio at which I’d been practicing hot yoga intensely for about the past 6 months. I was at a teacher training meeting. I was only there because I wanted to deepen my practice of the different poses or asanas. The teacher trainer told us that if we ever wanted to teach to do the teaching practicum of the course. There was an option to just audit the class and not get the teaching certificate. I figured I would go for the teaching certificate because if I was going to go I wanted to go the whole way. This time the teaching option would be on my terms. If I want to teach I can and if I don’t then I won’t but at least I’ll have the knowledge.

I went home on Friday night March 7, 2014 with assurance that I wouldn’t ever be pitted up against another teacher, I wouldn’t be criticized for my weight or my looks, and most importantly that I wouldn’t need a particularly thick skin. These were my biggest fears and I asked my teacher trainer Catherine about these fears and she assured me that none of them would come to fruition.

Since that Friday night I have had time to really think and I came to realize that I needed to not bring into teaching yoga what made teaching ballroom dance so hard for me. My fears were a typical residual effect of ballroom dance. Those are things that almost every teacher in the ballroom dance industry face and it was my choice to give them up. Oddly the things I was never criticized for were my skill as a dancer and as a teacher. No one ever told me that I was a bad teacher and no one ever criticized me for my dancing. In fact it was quite the opposite. Those were the two things that I always got complimented on. I just couldn’t look past that and all I chose to see and still see today are the negatives. Ballroom dancing is something I would love to get back into somehow. However the glamor addiction fallout of the sport sends me reeling.

Looking forward, I decided to do the teacher training for yoga. I like yoga a lot but it’s not something I’m naturally good at like I was with dance, which I had been in since childhood. I’ve practiced yoga on and off here and there since I was in college. Yoga has always presented me with a way to calm myself down since I tend to be a person that gets hyped up about everything and anything. I’m hoping that by learning to teach the postures that I will learn more about the spiritual side of yoga and the connection of mind and body.

Going forward in my journey in life I hope I never say that I swear off anything again. Swearing anything off is a closed-minded way to be in my eyes. I hope I can fall in love with yoga the way I did with dance. I’m hoping to enter a less competitive world where glamor and money are not the most important thing on the playing field. Irsquo;m hoping my teaching skills and new knowledge of the postures are what will shine through for me on my journey of learning more and more about yoga. Who knows, maybe it will be a healthy way for me to rebuild my love of dance that I set into flames 4 years ago. I hope that I can rebuild bridges and become a stronger person in the outcome.

On Saturday March 15, 2014 I start my journey. I will be posting regularly on here as on my blog as form of journal-keeping so my readers can grow with me.

Peace,
Sara