Life Lessons from the Mat

There are many moments in life when we feel like we’ve slid down a slip & slide to the bottom of the Grand Canyon…ok, maybe that’s a bit of an overstatement, but sometimes it does feel that way. But tonight, when I popped into eka pada koundinyasana (not me), I realized that no matter how many times we stumble, slip, fall into an abyss, we’ve still made some movement in a forward direction.

When I first started practicing yoga, koundinyasana seemed crazier than handstand to me (and I still fear handstand without someone to support me), so I kept practicing yoga and working on other poses (bakasana also not me). Then, one day, one of my teachers walked me into koundinyasana without me noticing.

Then I stumbled. It wasn’t a consistant pose for me yet. So I kept practicing yoga and working on other poses. But now, I knew what it felt like to be in that pose!

It’s been about a year since Crista walked me into koundinyasana for the first time and I’m still not sure I have it 100% of the time, but I definitely have it more times than I don’t. And every day that I don’t have it, I keep practicing yoga and other poses and moving in that forward direction towards it being a 100% of the time pose.

Take this lesson off the mat, in your career, even if you’ve never had the feeling of pure passion for your career, you’re learning and growing and developing towards that position; or, if you have felt that passion and slipped, you know what it feels like and are moving in that forward direction yet again.

In love, even if you’ve never fallen in love, you’re laying the foundation to build a strong, meaningful relationship by spending time working on yourself, or dating duds, or experiencing bad relationships that you don’t want, or good relationships with someone who just isn’t quite The One. But, inevitably, one day, it’ll just be there for you (at least that’s what I keep telling myself).

Even if you don’t think you’re heading in the right direction, or if you’ve forgotten about the goal for a moment, it’s still there and you’re still doing things that are leading you towards it so when you remember it, or when an opportunity to try it again presents itself, you’ll be that much more ready for it.

Oh Yoga, the Great Teacher!

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Monkey Mind…time to get honest

Recently I’ve felt my mind is scattered — too much to do and absolutely no focus on anything! So this post will be an attempt at focusing in preparation for the beginning of 2013. 2012 has been a year of goal crushing, but with the year coming to a close (much faster than I had expected), I’m finding myself spinning trying to wrap up loose ends, and getting nowhere fast.

With the holiday season upon us, my teaching schedule is winding down, leaving me with more time in the week to work on my goal “homework”. Ok, I put that in quotes, but really, it’s real homework.

There are two key things left on my 2012 goal list:

  • Start dating someone with the potential to become my husband (it’s been an intention, but I haven’t made any steps to actually meet anyone)
  • Complete my Personal Training certification (this is where Monkey Mind is coming into play)

Also, I will be in Aruba January 19 to complete my Yoga Teacher Training and have A LOT of homework to do BEFORE I leave!

So…the plan…as always, dating is being pushed to the back-burner (much to my family’s dismay).

Here is my commitment: I spend a minimum of 1 hour per night AND 2 hours per weekend day on work related to attaining my Yoga and/or Personal Training certification until December 31, 2012.

This can include:

  • Observing a yoga class
  • Teaching a yoga class
  • Watching an online lecture
  • Taking notes on human anatomy and systems
  • Reading a book related to either of these goals (I have to do a book report as part of my YTT)
  • Creating personal training programs
  • Doing a Home Practice

Outcome: by committing to the above, I will be confident in my abilities to write and pass both my Personal Training and Yoga tests in January 2013.

This is my pre New Years Resolution.

What do you want to get accomplished before 2013 begins? Maybe we can encourage each other to finish 2012 even stronger than we started it!

Remembering to feel inside and out

I started this post a couple weeks ago and wasn’t sure how to wrap it up and put a pretty bow on it, so I’m coming back to it with a different view…maybe…trying to…

A couple weeks ago I kept catching this cute guys’ eye at yoga, and we’d smile at each other, but that was it. Then, a few Saturdays ago, we were at the same class and during the class, this thought popped into my head:

Yoga is a wonderful tool to help us Western-World-Busy-Bodies remember to slow down and turn inside; to feel what our body is trying to tell us and to, maybe, listen; however, I’ve become so good at looking inside that I’ve actually forgotten about what the people around me are feeling! I’m not talking about what their yoga practice looks like, but, more, what the emotional state of the class is.

Or, in this case, if he’s just a smiley guy, or if he was specifically directing those smiles at me. It doesn’t seem to matter how old we get, it always comes back to a boy…whatever it takes right?

I try to focus on what I’m projecting into the world, but, in that attempt, sometimes I can forget to tune into what those around me are projecting.

I wish I could say it was me he was specifically directing those smiles at, but, to be honest, I haven’t really seen him much since that class so who knows! No matter what, it was a good reminder to be aware of not just the aura I’m emitting, but also what those around me are projecting.

Image isn’t everything

…being human is everything!

I’ve been a bad little blogger…so much has happened, but this small thought is what made me find the time to sit down and start typing.

I am so thankful that I am learning (it’s still a work in progress) to live without worrying about what every single person out there thinks about me! That would be seriously stressful! And I know a lot of people who do worry that others are judging their every move/word/comment/choice…you name it; you probably know them too, one of them might even be you…and that’s ok! Just try to be aware of the extra stress you may be taking on.

I’ve been learning this for about six years now…I was thrown into this lesson when I started teaching fitness; I had to learn that not every student who came to my class was going to like me. Since then, I have been reminded of this many times over, but there are students that do like me 🙂 Hopefully more than those who don’t!

A yoga teacher of mine told a story once about the first time he did a challenging posture, and no one in the room cared…ah Yoga, the Great Teacher! Every time I feel really strong (or really weak) in a pose, I remind myself that no one in the room is looking at me, so I smile to myself and carry on 🙂

No matter who you are, what your title is, how much money you make, how many people recognize you, what you’ve accomplished…we’re all just human and we’re all here to help each other out!

Fear is a funny thing…

2012 has been a goal-crushing year so far: I got laser eye surgery, ran my first 10 km race, maintained a strong (almost) daily yoga practice, paid off my Visa, completed my first half marathon and jumped out of an airplane! Here’s the thing, I’m STILL terrified of losing control; this fear severely limits my ability to crush my goals of feeling comfortable in forearm balance and handstand, not to mention falling in love.

I recently ran into an old yoga friend of mine from Kelowna and we got talking about yoga and my recent goal-crushing and I had an ah-ha moment during our conversation. I realized that I’m happy to be in control or completely hand over control to someone I trust, but I can’t LOSE it. Here’s the difference: when I went skydiving, the person I jumped with had already earned my trust and had already proven his ability to maintain control so I was perfectly comfortable handing him full control of the situation; however, when I go to invert, there isn’t someone there to take over control; it’s me, and only me.  Here’s the sad part of this realization: I don’t trust myself enough.

My distaste for losing control is partly positive; it means that I don’t have the desire to try drugs and won’t allow myself to get drunk. On the other hand, I think it might have something to do with my fear of commitment and falling in love. Oh, and it is obviously hindering my yoga ASANA practice; however, not my YOGA practice as working through this IS my yoga practice.

I had hoped that jumping out of an airplane would help me break through my fear of losing control, but because I was able to fully hand control over that didn’t happen; so now it’s up to me to build up my CONFIDENCE IN MYSELF instead of being scared or putting my trust completely in someone else.