Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I had ideas of grandeur for a post today...

...and then I realized I had to be out on the field at 3pm- an hour earlier than usual since we have a 4pm game today.

Coincidentally, my Quote of the Day is this:

"Winning is not everything. It's the only thing." --Vince Lombardi


Babies LOVE bubbles. Cats too.

Five of 3pm. Time to win.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Veg. Lasag.

I have 30 seconds to blog.

I was inspired by Bobby Flay- see info about veggie lasagna here.

That's right, pasta-less lasagna- blasphemous, I know...

But, since I'm still doing Tim Ferris's slow carb from 4 Hour Body, and I'm down 15 pounds, why quit while I'm ahead?

I made a BANGIN' vegging lasagna and to replace the meat and cheese holding pastas I just cut the squash and eggplant I used in long strips.

It's. So. Good.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Yoga Life Institute: Paper #1- My Personal Yoga Journey.

I thought I was done school?!?

Well, I decided to start a new yoga teacher training. It's a year long and I have to write monthly five page papers as well as two pose break downs a month annnnnd take a load of classes. It should be decent.

Here's paper numero uno. Please don't feel obligated to read.

I consider myself lucky. I am an optimist at heart and I attribute that to my upbrining in a blended family. Looking around today it seems more common that not to have divorced parents but in 1980 I felt like one of few. My parents did a stand-out job sharing custody; I always sensed their differences with each other but never saw a separation in their union to raise their three children together.
One of the many differences was the tops of religion; my dad a Catholic, my mom a Presbyterian. I primarily resided with my mom but attended Catholic school from kindergarten up to and including my masters degree- that’s 14-odd years of theology classes as well as studying for and receiving the Catholic Sacraments. Every other weekend we went to my dad’s house which included a weekly trip to our Catholic church. The weekends I stayed home we went to church and Sunday school with my mom- a three hour affair.
Although I preferred to stay at home at my mom’s with all of my toys, clothes, my bed and other important kid things, there is no doubt that I preferred going to church with my dad. I knew when to sit, stand, kneel, and pretend to sing and was pleased, if not giddy when Dad wanted to leave after Communion- church might be as short as 35 minutes on those days. With mom, there was signing, more singing, hugging, “Amen”-ing, in retrospect, working- keeping holy the Sabbath, if you will.  A major difference to me was that mom always seemed so happy in church where Dad seemed happy when it was over. As an adult I can see my dad’s spiritual side from time to time but no where nearly as overt as my mother who exclaims, “THANK YOU, JESUS!” whenever she sees fit (and she sees fit often!) Although it was confusing going back and forth between the two kinds of services, it shaped the appreciation I have for other religions and paths in spirituality.
At some point in high school my sister and I were digging around the attic through some old things and we came across a yoga book from the 70s that we think belonged to my dad. In it, it offered 40 or so poses, and a menu of routines the reader could choose from if they needed to deepen their flexibility, improve their strength or accelerate their weight loss. I worked on some of the routines each weeknight and saw the physical benefits quickly- I sustained a knee injury in high school and left it untreated. I began to see my flexibility improve and pain subside after a few weeks.
At that young age, my peers were skeptics so I kept my practice quiet as it came and went over the years. While away on a youth group retreat weekend with my mom’s church I mentioned my experience with yoga with one of the leaders on the trip, the assistant pastor’s wife. Upon telling her of my physical success, she quickly spit back some canned answer about how dangerous yoga is because an “idle mind is the devil’s playground.” As I mentioned, I was practicing from pictures in a book. I was not getting in to the meditation aspect of yoga, just some of the poses so this tipped me off as an athlete she couldn’t know what she was talking about- had she ever seen how slowly people move in yoga?! But it also made me think that there was something more to yoga that I was missing.
These interactions shaped my relationship with yoga. Up until a year or so ago, I was very clear with anyone who started to get suspicious about my yoga practice that, “I wasn’t into all of that crunchy, hippy stuff with yoga- I just like the physical benefits” and they’d never catch me chanting any time soon. I was defending myself and assuming they’d have something negative to say about what I was doing.
I continued to keep my practice up in college by following along with some of Rodney Yee’s Power Yoga tapes in preparation for my senior year of lacrosse. A year before I tore my medial meniscus and the balancing poses coupled with the flow of the sun salutations helped cap off and injury-free senior year. My lacrosse coach commented on my physique, strength and confidence on the field and when I attributed it to my yoga practice he shrugged his shoulders and told me to keep it up.
Sometime later after college a friend of mine and I were both going through pretty rough break-ups. She told me that she started taking yoga classes every Monday night at a local studio. I was in my second year of teaching eighth grade and also doing what I could to stay away from anti-anxiety meds that I was on the year prior when I felt overwhelmed as a new teacher. I experienced a marked difference from Monday mornings to Tuesday mornings after my yoga class on Monday night. I felt more calm and better able to deal with the challenged any other middle school teacher faced. My teacher in their studio didn’t fill class with too much yoga philosophy but talked quite a bit about being centered and focused and taking deep breaths in stressful situations.
Life changed a bit when I started coaching and my priorities were more focused on getting to the bar with friends than they were getting on the mat. With the exception of working out every day (yoga or other cardio activities) out of my innate obligation to stay in shape this kind of lifestyle continued until when I went to an intensive conference for female collegiate athletic administrators in the summer of 2009. One of the speakers ran us through a brief class using the training she had from YogaFit. I was always interested in teacher training but thought that I wouldn’t be able to complete, let alone pay for immersion programs that were offered. At the time, YogaFit turned out to be a decent fit for my goals: they focused on the physical aspect and proper alignment. As a collegiate coach this was ideal for me. The schedule worked, too- one weekend at a time of intensive trainings seemed easy enough.
Shortly after I started my teacher training with Yoga Fit my husband and I decided it was time to start a family. Throughout my pregnancy, I followed along with Kurt Johnsen’s Yoga for Life on the Veria Cable Network (sidebar: most TV/video On Demand/etc. yoga videos are suspect at best- this one keeps me sweating and helps facilitate a respectable home-practice. Furthermore, I only gained 28 pounds throughout my pregnancy and I thank Kurt for this.) It’s obvious to me through writing this how important I find the physicality of my practice. What’s different now though is that while I was pregnant thanks to the suggestions of Yoga for Life’s Yoga to Go segments to try and take a different perspective of my practice. I decided that rather than working out because I “have to” it was time to work out because I liked the way I felt after practicing yoga and I deserved to take care of myself. I didn’t have to work out to fit in my jeans, although that was a sweet added benefit.
In my life when things aren’t going as they are “supposed to” and I’m on the wrong path all of a sudden a detour will appear setting me straight. Recently while trying to finish my 200RYT with YogaFit, I couldn’t find local classes to complete the three remaining levels I had. I also felt that my personal growth and daily practice had stymied and I was starting to harbor feelings of discouragement as a result. A quick Google search a few weeks back brought me to Yoga Life which I hope will allow me to delve deeper into my practice through classes as well as meeting and talking with people who are on a similar journey. So far, so good.
I want to practice yoga because it makes me feel good. I want to take care of myself because it helps me take care of others. Aside from the goal of completing my 200 RYT, I want to continue building on my foundations of the poses and take a deeper journey through the philosophies to help find my path to spirituality. I certainly appreciated learning about the chakras, Yamas and Niyamas when I learned about them with YogaFit but there is hardly any retention going on during a sixteen hour long weekend training while sitting on the floor in a cold sports club. Another area I want to focus on is how I handle stress. I have a tendency to duck my head back in my shell and only deal with what’s in front of me. I have difficulty planning and seeing the forest through the trees, so to speak. I talk a good talk with having a positive, healthy perspective on life’s dealings but I want to start to taking my own advice in situations when I’m feeling lost and frustrated. I want to work on times when I want to stress eat, stress shop and stress horde. I have a hard time being still- I overextend and over commit myself. In a conversation with my sister describing this upcoming year and training to her I mentioned that perhaps when I’m finished I want to go back to school and earn my law degree. She laughed and said, “Uh, how about you relax and spend some time with your husband and son?” I want to find satisfaction in what I already have and to feel safe and satisfied just being.
There have been moments with schooling, training and yoga that will always stick with me. I mentioned a few here. When I was finishing my master’s degree, upon each group presenting their final projects, the professor polled the room asking who achieved the original goal their project set out to examine. No one raised their hand. She continued on to tell us that although we didn’t achieve THE goals we set out to reach, we all achieved A goal, and in most cases, that was far better. She reminded us that we cannot get caught up in goals and expectations because they will cloud our otherwise excellent daily experiences. I thought about this (frustrated, nine months pregnant in a 3-14 lacrosse season) and was reminded how much those ideas are talked about in yoga classes.
Through writing this paper, I can see that I move around too much as an adult because that’s what I was trained to do as a kid- Tuesday and Thursday nights and every other weekend we were carted over to my dad’s and I brought with me all of the things I considered important -two days away from home and I would bring two suitcases. I also noticed that it was during this time in my life when I develop a keen ability to read people’s emotions and many times, cater to them. Dad is moody and mom was always dealing with the frustrations of being a single parent of three children. I would do what I could to try and make things easier for them- there’s a possibility the migraines I had from age 7-15 could be attributed to the stress from my actions. Although trying to comfort others isn’t a terrible thing, I often accommodate strangers’ and coworkers’ before I take care of my own needs and my families’. I’m looking forward to this year and I’m excited to take the time to get to know myself better. To take time to be satisfied with what I already have and take care of my own.