Category Archives: My own practice

I’ve Finally Decided To Stop a Habit That Is No Longer Serving Me

I haven’t written in a while, but things have mostly been going extremely well.  Everything except one thing in my life has been close to perfect since October turned into November, and the weather has gotten colder.

This one thing has kind of been a “thing” for a while.  But I’ve been ignoring it, and coming up with excuses as to why I don’t need to change it.  It’s a habit, and something that I’ve done daily for some time now.  And, something that has no longer been serving me for a while, even though it use to bring me happiness in my past and serve me greatly.

So I decided yesterday that I was going to slow down/cut out this habit completely, so that I could feel good about everything in my life, and not just almost everything.

This morning was a little rough for me.  My body was sweating.  My mind was growing more and more anxious.  I didn’t feel good, and it was hard, and challenging, and I needed to throw myself into something.

So I got onto YouTube and watched yoga tutorial videos of how to get into crow pose, and then I went to my living room and proceeded to practice crow pose.  And then I started practicing tripod headstands, and then went onto practice my handstands and forearm balances.

For the first time ever today I took a tripod headstand.  I took several of them, and held them for long lengths of time.  I didn’t even know that I could do this pose.  Before today, I’ve only done classical bound headstand.

For the first time ever today I also held a few crow poses! I’ve never really been in that pose, not like I was today!

And it just all blew my mind! What I was capable of, and what my body was capable of, when I stopped a habit that was no longer serving me and threw myself into something that serves me greatly (my yoga practice.)

After close to an hour of practicing these inversions my body was no longer sweating and shaking.  My head felt clearer.  My heart was pumping, and I felt great.  Ecstatic.  Proud.  More confident

So I decided to continue this trend and head to a yoga class that I’ve been putting off going to for over a month because I’ve been too busy lazing around at home and feeding my habit.

I invited a yogi friend to go with me, and I’m so glad that I did.  I told him in the car about my addiction, about my weening, and about how it’s no longer serving me.  Sometimes just talking with someone, and getting the words out, and getting it all out into the universe helps.  It definitely helped tonight, and taking that yoga class tonight cleared my head even further.

Now I can say that I’m finally working with crow pose.  Now I can say that I can do two types of headstands instead of one. Now I’ve just spent a day doing great things with my body and my mind, instead of curled up on my couch in the fetal position crying, sweating, and shaking.

Wow.   What a beautiful day this turned out to be.

Thank you for reading if you read to the end, but I needed to get that all out.  I need to get this habit, this dependency, out of my system, but I’ve got a strong headstart on it by making some good choices today.

What Happens When I Go A Week Or Longer Without Taking a Yoga Class

I haven’t taken a yoga class in ten days.  I’m going to take one tomorrow morning before work,  and it can’t come soon enough.

My yoga journey started thirteen months ago, and within those thirteen months I’ve definitely noticed patterns.  One of the biggest patters I’ve noticed is how terrible I start to feel on the rare occasions when I go a week or longer without taking a yoga class.

So I’m going to use this blog and write out a list of just how unbalanced and icky I start to feel when I’ve gone a week without breathing through my thighs, bending, and twisting.

  When I go a week or longer without taking a yoga class:

  1.  I start to lose the huge sense of gratefulness and thankfulness that yoga teaches and gives to me.  I’m not saying that I become completely ungrateful, but the level of gratitude and overall thankfulness that I have for my life, my friends, my car, etc, starts to diminish.  Because of this, the mundanity of life starts to become more apparent.  The reality of things like constantly paying bills and working for forty to fifty years starts to cave in more.
  2.   I start to feel more sluggish, more sleepy, and my digestion slows down.    Yoga wakes me up, it wakes my mind up.  I feel the most rested, energetic, and high-spirited on the weeks that I take two or more yoga classes.  Yoga improves my sleep, and the constant twisting and rinsing of the digestive muscles allows for optimal digestion.  My practice gives me a sense of euphoria and accomplishment, giving me the feeling of a “natural high”, and chasing away both fatigue and sleepiness from my mind and body.
  3. I start to become less honest with myself.  My yoga practice gives me myself.  I can’t hide from myself in certain yoga poses.  My practice inspires me to be honest with myself, and to recognize the negative feelings, thoughts, and emotions tucked away into the crevices of my mind.  When I go a week or longer without taking a yoga class I’ve noticed that I’m less likely to admit to myself when I’m feeling negative, undesirable emotions such as fear, jealousy, frustration, and bitterness.   I lie to myself, I make excuses to and for myself.  I feel less genuine, less authentic, and this shows up everywhere, such as in my work, in my thoughts, and in my reactions to things and people.
  4. I don’t feel as calm, cool, and collected.  I become frustrated more easily.  I’m more likely to get into tiffs or arguments.  I second guess myself more, and I start to become more aware of others judgements of me.  I sometimes feel less connected to the people around me.  I become more impatient with ordinary things, such as traffic and long lines.  I stay upset about things longer, and I’m not able to “let go” and move on from a frustrating situation or annoyance as quickly.
  5. I don’t feel as plugged into the Earth, as present, and as grounded.  I start lose the ache of ab muscle or the feeling of tight hamstrings and quads being stretched out through asana.  I’m less aware of the breath in my lungs, and the aches and cues that my body gives me to signal when it’s in want or need of something.  I type on my phone more and listen to the conversation around me less.  I lose the amazing anatomically corrected-ness feeling that yoga gives me, of my tailbone being tucked and my shoulders sitting perfectly on top of my hips.  I’m more likely to withdraw and to not reach out to people.  I start to think about myself and my problems more, and less of (the problems of) the world around me.

All of this being said, when my alarm goes off at 7:00 tomorrow morning I’m making a straight beeline for the shower.  I’m ready to unroll my mat.  I’m ready to spread my toes and plug my hands into the Earth.

I shudder to think about where my life would be if I hadn’t found yoga thirteen months ago.  I know that both my life and I would be in a very different place right now.

Namaste.

Tales of Inversions, Lost Car Keys, and Long Distance Friendships

This week has felt like an absolute dream.  It seemed like a piece of cake, and it passed by so calmly.  It’s like I barely felt the work days, the hours upon hours of labor, and the wishing of it all to just be over.

Having Monday off all day with the love of my life helped, I’m sure.  Tuesday was fun and joyous.  Wednesday morning, on my day off, I decided to practice forearm stands and handstands.  I almost never practice any yoga at home.  97% of my practice happens in a yoga studio, and only about 3% at home.  I especially never work on my inversions or challenging poses that I’m trying to master.

So I was extremely surprised and bewildered to find that I was able to hold both a forearm stand and a handstand…for several moments at at time!  It was a first for both, and I felt elated and strong.  My body, going into them, felt like a different body from the one I had this past winter when I was practicing my headstands at home.  Both of these inversions were just so much more….available to me.  It wasn’t hard to find the strength.  Because of this it was easy to trust myself to hold my body upside down while playing around with finding that balance…that precious balance where your body is perfectly aligned, hips over shoulders, belly engaged, head below heart, mind free and wild.

This experience showed me that I need to practice at home this Fall.  My body has changed over the Summer with all the yoga classes I’ve attended weekly, and its time to get playful.  And to set new goals for myself.

Afterwards I trekked over to Ayanna’s and we exchanged massages.  I haven’t seen her since she went on maternity leave in March (and never came back to work!) Her baby is beautiful, just like her older son.  We hadn’t traded massages in probably a year, and it was nice to catch up and laugh while we rubbed out each others knots.

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Afterwards I traveled far North to have dinner with one of my very best friends, Jesse, who is in town from Georgia for a wedding.  She only comes to town 2-3 times a year, and so it’s only then that we get to see each other.  She’s going to be our second bridesmaid when we get married next Fall, and her daughter is going to be one of our flower girls. We had dinner with a few of her other friends, and we all ordered drinks and laughed and stuffed ourselves silly.   It was an amazing evening to an already amazing day.

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I lost my car keys for the second time in two weeks at work last night, and at first I was upset, and panicked, and frustrated.  But, Alana picked me up from work last night and dropped me back off again this morning (I keep a spare key at home).  My car didn’t get stolen, broken into, or ticketed.  Everything ended up okay, and now the weekend is here.

Alana and I have plans to start it out with a restorative yoga class tomorrow morning before celebrating the birthdays of three of our family members this weekend!  All these birthday festivities are going to require lots of money and lots of driving, but it’ll come with family, love, and laughter.  I’m feeling grateful for friends, especially long distance ones.  Or ones that I haven’t seen since there was snow on the ground.

I’m feeling grateful for the strength of my body, and for it’s healthiness and it’s progress.  As I am every week, I’m grateful that I found yoga last Fall.

I’m grateful for my fiancé, and for her willingness to pick me up from/drop me off at my job when my scatter-brained self lost my keys once again.

I’m grateful for both our families.  I’m grateful that it’s the weekend.

I’m grateful that I survived another week, and for my ability to find bliss in the small, everyday things.

Namaste.

Tales of Fertility Testing, Engagement Photos, & Wide-Legged Forward Folds

  It happened.  The day has finally come. This morning I went to the laboratory before work and I had day three fertility testing done.

The fact that Alana and I are at this point seems somewhat surreal and crazy to me. We’ve been talking about starting a family for what seems like a very long time now. We’ve discussed the steps we would have to take in order to make that happen for well over a year. So the fact that step #1 was taken today has me in a mild state of disbelief! There’s definite excitement bubbling in the bottom of my belly, but it also still doesn’t seem quite real.

I won’t lie. I definitely have anxiety about the test results. Ever since I was young girl I’ve been harbouring a fear that I’m completely barren and that I won’t be able to conceive children. Even though I’m nervous for the results I’m happy that we are finally going to have them. I want to stop fearing that I won’t be able to give my future wife the kids we talk about having some day. I want that awful feeling of fear gone from my belly as well as my mind.

I’m just hoping that when we do hear back the results will be positive.

Alana and I have been talking with an engagement photographer this week. I’m super excited for us to have engagement photos taken sometime this Fall!

The lady doing the shoot for us is extremely professional. We haven’t scheduled a date to shoot the photos yet because she wants to see when the leaves are changing color this year. She wants the leaves to be perfect. She’s asked us to think about whether we’d like to incorporate any themes or props into our shoot, especially anything that’s important to us as a couple.

We decided we wanted one shot of our engagement rings, one of us drinking coffee out of mugs, and one of us with all seven Harry Potter books in it! That last one is totally geeky, but its undeniably us. After being engaged for fifteen months already I’m excited that engagement photos are finally happening for us!! =)

I’ve been wanting to change the banner picture on this blog lately so I asked Alana to take a picture of me in upavistha konasana (wide-legged forward fold). When she handed my phone back to me with the picture on it my jaw nearly hit the floor.

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I took ballet for thirteen years and I’ve never been this close to being in a split before. I’ve never been anywhere near this close! The three yoga studios that I tend to practice yoga in either have no mirrors or just a few mirrors. In short…I don’t practice yoga in front of any mirrors! I don’t know what my poses look like, I only know what they feel like. I know I’ve gotten more flexible in the eleven months that I’ve been practicing yoga, but I didn’t know my wide-legged forward folds look like this!

Just yet another thing that goes to show how amazing yoga is and how much it changes your body, not just your mind, your soul, and your entire being.

I haven’t taken a yoga class in a week, which is unusual for me. I hardly ever go this long between practices anymore.

I’m going to go to hot yoga these next two mornings before work, and I know it’ll be great. 99% of the yoga classes I go to are great.

I’m going to throw myself into my practice these next few days and try to let go of fretting about the fertility test results.

There’s nothing I can do, and it’s all out of my hands. But I can push my hands into my yoga mat and breathe through it all.

Namaste.  I hope you’re all having a lovely week.

I Wish There Was A Written Guide To Same-Sex Parent Family Planning

I went to hot yoga on Tuesday morning before work, which is nothing new.  I always go to hot yoga on Tuesday mornings before work.  There are times I miss my Friday practices, and times I miss my Saturday practices….but never my Tuesday ones.  It’s like something in the universe calls my body to breathe, bow, and rise to greet the sun every Tuesday morning.

Anyway, class this Tuesday was more amazing than it usually was.  After the yin/yang class I took on Sunday the Baptiste power flow felt so dramatic and dynamic.  But in the best way possible.  My hamstrings feel more stretched out than they have in months, and I, just in general, feel more loose than I have in months.

I’m going to take N’s yoga class on Saturday morning.  She considers her yoga classes to be “restorative” yoga, so it’s quite different from both Baptiste power flow and yin yoga.  I have a feeling that I’m to feel blissed out after taking a third type of yoga for the week.

I’m starting to wonder if my “yoga lesson” for the Summer is to consistently take different types of yoga classes.  I’m still less than one full year into my yoga journey, so I’m still finding out what types suit me and what mixture of yoga classes allows me to feel my best.  It’s definitely one of the deepest journeys I’ve ever taken inside myself.  =)

Tomorrow morning I have an appointment with an OBGYN to discuss, well, getting a fertility test/getting a referral to the fertility center near us that offers LGBT family planning.  I’ve got so many little nerves and apprehensions making my body tingle right now just thinking about the appointment!

What if the doctor is against gay marriage? What if she is absolutely disgusted that I’m looking to find “the doctor for us” as we start the journey of starting our own family?

I can’t possibly be the first lesbian lady to have these fears.  I’m not even quite sure what to say to her when I first see her.

But I guess all I can do is show up tomorrow and just take it from there, yeah?

I wish there was a written guide to same-sex parent family planning.

Though I suppose the journey is going to be a lot more interesting without one, yeah?

Namaste.

Art Museum-Hopping And Yin/Yang Yoga Dates

Today Alana and I took a yin/yang yoga class at a yoga studio close to our home.  This was the first yoga class I’ve taken in over ten weeks that wasn’t hot yoga.  I normally take two hot yoga classes during the week and one restorative yoga class on Saturday mornings.  Because I’ve had to “adjust” five of those restorative yoga classes on Saturday mornings to complete my hours for yoga teacher training I haven’t actually taken the class since mid May.

I don’t think I realized just how long I was going without non hot yoga.  I was aware of it, of course, but I didn’t realize it was nearing the two month mark .  It honestly didn’t matter.  I was getting all that I needed to get out of yoga.  My practice was changing, I was experiencing new things, and I was challenging myself in new ways.  My body has gotten more flexible and stronger this summer.   I’m aware of the changes in so many ways, both inside and outside of my yoga practice.

The yin portion of class today was absolutely amazing.  It was such a change from the fast-paced power yoga I normally do in ninety-five degree heat.  I enjoyed holding poses for five minutes at a time, letting my body round and letting gravity push me to the Earth as I breathed and let go.  My friend Natalie met Alana and I for class and the energy around my practice was calm and comforting as the two of them practiced around my mat.

Alana and I went to D.C. with a few of her friends yesterday and we museum-hopped through different art and sculpture museums. It was nice to be out and about and I thoroughly enjoyed the art.

All in all it was an amazing weekend.  I’m not quite sure what the point of this post was.  Maybe it was just to say that yoga constantly amazes me, whether I’m doing it in heat or out of it.  Maybe it was to express wonder and gratitude that I’ve found an amazing woman who loves to trample around to art museums and take yoga classes with me.

Either way I hope you all have an amazing week.  Namaste.

Dhanurasana

What Am I So Afraid Of?

Last Saturday I adjusted my fifth yoga class for yoga teacher training.  We only had to adjust five classes before being given our teaching certificate, so as long as the director of the program approves the yoga class hours that I’ve sent her….I’m all done!! I’ll be mailed my certificate soon, and then I’ll be a certified yoga instructor!

There are currently two sets of married couples in my life who are asking me to start going to their houses to give them private yoga lessons.  The wives of one of the couples wants me to start private yoga lessons with them this Fall, and she also wants to see me for Reiki healing.

In the last month I’ve been offered several jobs teaching yoga through a second person contact! My childhood dance teacher called and told me she had spoken about me to a program director at her church, and the program director wanted to know if I would like to come teach child yoga there! A coworker ran up to me at work just Monday of this week and told me she had a friend in D.C. looking to hire a yoga instructor for a project next month, and her friend wanted to know if I was interested.

So many opportunities to teach yoga are at my fingertips.  So the question I ask myself is….why do I feel myself hesitant to take them?

The same could be said for my massage trade.  Every month I get text messages from someone in my life, be it my Mom, or my brother, or my best friend, or someone random, saying that a friend/coworker/uncle is looking for a massage therapist to come to their home.

I never take any initiative with all of these invitations that I constantly receive.  All year I told myself that as soon as I finish yoga teacher training I would buy a new massage/reiki table along with lotion, aromatherapy oils, yoga blocks and straps, etc, to get a side business going.  Have I been done with school for several months? Yes.  Have I done any of that? No.

So many people as me about Reiki.  So many people ask about yoga.  So many people ask if I offer massage outside of my job.

Why don’t I? I have so many gifts in my hands, and I keep them to myself.  I can feel the knowledge base and experience of these gifts strengthen in me over time.  My body gets stronger and stronger every month that I continue to practice hot yoga.  The concepts of deep breathing, tissue manipulation, inversions, and meditation take on a new meaning for me as time goes on.

Why don’t I share these gifts with the world? Why do I hold myself back?

I’m going to dedicate to rest of this Summer to finding out why I just can’t take this step.  Every time I practice yoga I will set my intention to find this truth.  I’m tired of holding myself back.  I’m tired of feeling like I’m not good enough.

It’s time to really throw myself out into the world, and see if I can make it.

Namaste.