Why is it so hard to color in the lines all of the time? Sometimes it’s just too much to bear and ya just have to scribble in a wild color all over the page…and that is exactly what I did over the long holiday weekend.
Did anyone else wake up this morning feeling like a big fat baby back rib?
Let me illustrate…Friday night…chocolate chocolate chocolate…Saturday…too many boiled peanuts to count while out on the lake followed by hot dogs, corn on the cob, Cajun baked beans and blue cheese cold slaw punctuated with vinegar pie and fresh berries…Sunday….pork chops, mashed potatoes and lemon berry cake which I made and sampled a significant amount of batter from the bowl…and for the grand finale…..July 4th….breakfast began with homemade french toast,,,,club wrap with bacon-served with french fries..more boiled peanuts….and another cookout with buffalo chicken dip, homemade cheese biscuits, ribs, baked beans, slaw and fresh watermelow…did I mention a lot of wine, vodka sodas and a few beers? Oh my…I so wish I hadn’t written this out. *This post brought to you by Tums!
Feeling a little guilty, not to mention a little pressure on my stomach, I was anxious to get to hot yoga this afternoon to sweat it out. Did I mention that those ribs and boiled peanuts were much more delightful going in than coming out. OUCH…my body is protesting my irreverent behavior.
Note to self…color in the lines next holiday.
There are some days that ya just gotta force your inner zen to come out. Not everyday is naturally peaceful. Heck…most days are down right stressful and crazy. And I will be the first to tell you that there is nothing zen-like about I-85.
I seem to be making this stressful trip more and more frequently. So today, I decided to connect with my inner zen. I normally listen to shows like the Gayle King Show and Broad Minded, but today I tuned in to Spa radio and cruised along, channeling my inner peace. It was really hard not to get stuck on my work thoughts….which really creates stress. These thoughts tend to snowball and next thing ya know…its heart palpitations and frustration to be spending time driving rather than getting the to-do list done.
But on this trip, I guided my thoughts to a peaceful place and took the time to reflect and relax into the moment. AHMMMMMM AHMMMMM yogi breathing. Try it some time. It’s a challenge- but the reward is worth it.
Did you wear leg warmers? How about a sweat band on your head and your wrists? Perhaps you remember the Jane Fonda work out cassettes and videos? I think I had a Mouse-ercise cassette tape and I am pretty sure my 1st grade class did a Mouse-ercise demonstration at the half time of a basket ball game. And I being the fashionista that I am…even back then, wore purple leg warmers for the event. I was doomed for fashion tragedies from the get-go!
In the spirit of my 80’s diva, I purchased a purple sweat band for my yoga class. When I first began hot yoga, I barely glistened…now I sweat…..profously. My body has learned to cool itself. And now, the sweat burns my eyes.
I admit, I look like a COMPLETE IDIOTwith the purple sweat band across my forehead. They look so cute on the girls with long hair. My hair just sticks up over the band and looks weird. Not a good look. For once in my life, function over form.
A father told his son the story of two rival wolves. One wolf was unhappy, jealous, negative, and terribly sad. The other wolf was happy, positive, loving and full of energy. The son asked the father, “Dad, which wolf won?” The father answered, “The one that was fed the most.”
So goes the parable that my yoga practice was centered on today. We practiced to special music tonight- kundalini music to bring out the vital force within our heart. The music was composed to transform the spirit. My instructor warned us that the music is meant to bring us into a highly meditative state. I have honestly never experienced a practice quite like this one. At the end, I was both exhausted and exhilarated. During the practice I focused my spirit and energy on a specific point in my life that has been terribly troubling to me. This part of my life is causing pain and discomfort. But tonight, I took all of the energy in my heart, my positive energy, and I directed it to this aspect of my life. I imagined and visualized the light flowing from my heart to this darkness.
About half way through class, I felt an emotional flush rush through me. An exhaustion. A passing of the negativity. Though I am not so idealistic to think this darkness is gone, I do think that I felt the power of grace to open my heart and share light with this darkness. And I can honestly say- Thank You- to this part of my life. For without this darkness, the light would not be nearly as powerful.
Our world is so incredibly filled with noise. How often do we actually stop and enjoy the quiet of the moment? Silence is uncomfortable. It’s scary. What do we do when the music stops? How do we fill the void of the noise?
Today, I experienced a silent yoga class. While there was background meditative music, the teacher was silent. She was not calling out instructions for poses or encouraging us to go deeper into the poses, no encouraging words to tell us to try harder…there were no corrections or bits of wisdom and advice to help us. It was just me and the mat. Much like my first day without a watch, I felt a little naked at first. A little scared. There was this weird fear that I wouldn’t know what pose to do- that I would look silly in front of the group. My heart raced. I felt awkward-like it was my first yoga class. Then I gave in and went with the flow of the class. I breathed. I meditated. I silenced my own inner voice. I went with the flow of the class and felt the rhythms of the room. How freeing. What started as fear…ended as an energizing hour of self reflection. Silence is beautiful – open your heart to the possibilities.
We never seem to have enough hours in a day. And who doesn’t have a bottomless in-box? No matter how hard we try to beat the rat race…the rat always seems to win…if we let him! Over the weekend, I noticed that my watch was getting condensation inside. This, my beloved, 30th birthday present to myself…a ruged swiss army watch adorned with diamonds, was beginning to show its age. So this morning I took it off. At first, I admit, I felt a little naked.
I am addicted to time. My days are scheduled…like clock work. I am always the first on conference calls and never a minute late for a meeting- actually…you can count on me being five minutes early-ALWAYS. I bet I look at my watch a million times a day…even thought there is a clock on my computer, my office phone and my cell phone. I seem to be surrounded by time.
I have always dreamed of being the carefree girl who never knows what time it is…who eats when she is hungry and not when the clock says “eat”…who goes to sleep when she is tired….not when the clock says “night night time”. Today, my first day in the working world without a watch was an adjustment to say the least. I stared blankly at my naked wrist a few dozen times before lunch!
And my yoga class was really interesting. I usually carefully place my watch at the top of my mat so that I can glance at the time while in my downward dogs. I know that fifteen minutes into class my body is warm and I begin to sweat. 30 minutes in, I am feeling my groove, 45 minutes -I can slow down…cool down is coming. But today was difference. Wow…I felt the rhythms of the class. I listened to my body and let my inner self tell me what to do…rather than the restricting face of a clock.
What a liberating experience. I think I can adjust to this…and perhaps beat the rat! I plan to tuck my little watch into my jewelry box for a while and enjoy the rhythms of life.
We often take our health for granted. Me-Especially. I don’t even have a regular doctor. I rarely feel bad….and actually exercise to keep my bounds of energy at bay. I don’t know what it is like to feel pain everyday. I am very blessed.
But recently, my wrist has become inflamed and is very painful to move. Today for the first time, I couldn’t do a yoga pose because of physical pain. So I tried something NEW! Rather than putting pressure on my wrist and hands for plank and updog, I put my weight onto my fist. This prevented the wrist from being wrist and created a straight line between my hand and my elbow. It wasn’t the most comfortable pose, but it prevented the streaks of pain from running up my arm.
I think I may need to go visit a doctor….this isn’t good. I’ll go nuts without my yoga.
Life is filled with distractions. Some are positive. Some are not. Some are fun and frivolous. Some are challenging and difficult. And really…some are meaningful and some are meaningless. Finding joy in life means being able to navigate those distractions knowing which ones to go with…and which ones to ignore. It also means living life so that I am not a distraction to others.
Yesterday in my yoga class, we practiced letting go of distractions. Staying focused on the present. Not the worry of what pose is next, not the focus on the pain of the position, not the sweat dripping in my eyes, not the worry of past regrets, not the worry of silly things like what’s for dinner. It was incredibly hard to focus on the here and now. But, what today’s practice showed was that if I can focus on the present, I can harness my energy and not waste it on things that are not important to the present. Seems obvious-yes. But I challenge you to become aware of how many times a day you are distracted by external factors and internal thoughts.
So many times during a regular day, we let distractions zap our energy. Whether it’s a fun email from a friend or an unnecssary office distraction, centering oneself on the present prioritizes energy on what is most important. I have felt a little distracted lately and hearing this at my yoga practice was just what I needed. I left the practice feeling exhausted-mentally and physically. It takes extreme concentration to maintain a sense of presence in a yoga class and well, quite frankly, in life. And you know, it takes the same in everyday life. I brought this philosophy home with me and decided to give it shot.
I went to bed thinking about some of the distractions that I enable to have power over me and I woke up thinking about them…but thinking about them in a more conscientious way. Every time I felt a little distracted today, I took a deep breath and came back to my center. What energy this brought to me! Rather than the distractions having power over me…I had power of them. I found a wonderful, joyful energy throughout my day. I have never thought about my day in this way. This change in thinking could really be a paradigm shift in my outlook professionally and personally.
photo from wikipedia.com
Who knew there were several species that carries the name bird-of-paradise? There is an actual bird that is native to Indonesia. There is the flowering plant, Strelitzia, which is native to South Africa but can be seen growing in many tropical locations throughout the world. I have never seen the actual bird, but the flower is one of the most beautiful, stylized flowers I have ever seen. Often they are placed in flower arrangements to give depth and an angular, contemporary look.
Until today, I had no idea that a human could transform into a bird-of-paradise (via yoga, of course). In today’s yoga class we learned the bird-of-paradise pose…because it is yoga…we’ll just assume this pose was inspired by the actual bird from Indonesia. The birds are crow like in body form and some have curved beaks. They have a long feathery (go figure) tail. Though they are a pretty bird, they don’t really have the graceful, intriguing look of the namesake flower.
Coconut water…sounds like a perfect pairing for a little rum drink. But wait- it’s not meant to mix with rum (although I have yet to meet a beverage mixed with rum that I doesn’t amuse me). Coconut water is being tapped as nature’s energy drink. With the potassium of two bananas and 15 times the electrolytes found in sports drink, this little darling is almost like a little liquid miracle after a tough workout.
The summer heat and humidity makes hot yoga a killer. My body rids its self of all kinds of crazy toxins (like the hot dogs I ate yesterday) and I am not sure I always properly hydrate. I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about this drink and thought if Madonna drinks it…then so should I! I couldn’t find it in the regular grocery store, but found it at the Fresh Market today. $2.69 for a 17 oz box (2 servings).
Very interesting. It almost seemed to taste a little sour…bitter- kind of like a green banana. It was a taste I had never had before. I certainly couldn’t drink the whole bottle at once. It was far too rich. I think I had about 1/2 a serving before I called it quits. I think it must be an acquired taste. I will work on it. They say red wine is an acquired taste as well….and I seemed to have acquired that taste fairly easy. I’ll give her a shot! It’s so “in” right now and so good for you, I think I’ll learn to like the benefits.
The water is extracted from young green coconuts. The water inside the coconut is actually what turns into the flesh as it ripens. You would think it would be really sweet, but I guess like all fruit, the ripening makes it sweet…Duh. This drink has been enjoyed by Brazilians for years and actually is the second most popular fruit juice (second to OJ) www.vitacoco.com I also learned that it can help soothe an upset stomach and when paired with a proper diet, it can aid in weight loss. Sounds like a miracle…sign me up!