Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Yoga Journal - Old School Craft

Yo - guess what?! I crafted!

Ok, well, I crafted back in August and am just now blogging about it. :o)

When my yoga teacher training started, I took some time and covered a basic composition notebook to use for my note taking in class. I had a couple of large sheets of pretty paper I'd purchased years ago, so I busted those out, trimmed them to size, spread some Yes! paste and loved the results.

I placed a piece of wax paper between the cover and the book page until the paste dried to keep them from sticking together.

And I attached a couple of strands of ribbon to use as bookmarks by punching a hole in the top of the front cover and threading them through.

Truth be told, the ribbons kind of get in the way and aren't as handy as I thought they'd be, but I think they look pretty.

I'm 10 weeks in to a 19 week program and this book is almost full of yummy yoga notes. How can I ever go back to using a plain ol' composition notebook for volume two? Can't. Time to bring out the Yes! paste again...

Monday, October 20, 2014

This Weekend's Color Dash 5k

"I've always wanted to do a color dash," she said.
"Not me," I replied.

"It looks like so much fun," she said.
"What's in the colored powder that they throw at you?" I asked. "Is it safe to breathe? Will it wash out of our clothes?"

"I won't be able to wear my contacts because of that powder," I told her. "I won't be able to see."
"I'll drive," she retorted. "You won't have to see."

Carrie caught me in a weak moment back in July, and I had barely agreed to participate in this color dash when she quickly purchased tickets for this event. For the past three months we have gently fussed about this - me resisting and Carrie convincing me that we'd have fun.

And for the most part, it was fun. Just being able to hang out with my girl was fun, participating in an event to benefit Down Syndrome awareness was a worthy cause, the weather was beautiful (though a tad on the warm side), and up until the end when one of the powder-throwers tossed a handful of blue powder smack in Carrie's face (why?!?!?) it was a different kind of fun to participate in something like a color dash.

{photo taken before the dash began, pre-powdered faces}

"In the long run, I think you had more fun that I did," she said.
"Probably," I replied. "And we can check this off our bucket list because I wouldn't do it again."

And at last, we agreed.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Just a Quote for Friday

"We are all mortal until the first kiss and the second glass of wine."

~ Eduardo Galeano

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sedona Rocks

Happy Thursday, blog friends.
I mentioned in my Monday post that Carrie and I had made a little trip to Sedona over the weekend and that I'd share some photos later in the week. Turns out that I didn't take a whole lot of photos that day, other than of a bunch of cairns along the trail at Crescent Moon Park.

The purpose of our trip that day was, well, first just to be in Sedona - it's our favorite place in Arizona. And second, so that Carrie could take some photos of me doing yoga poses with red rocks as our backdrop. {I used one in yesterday's post.} I'm not sure how many of the yoga photos I'll share, I suppose I'll do that here and there, but I don't want to make a spectacle of my yoga self so I'll be discrete.

The number of cairns stacked along this trail is mesmerizing - photos don't do the vibe justice.

Combine the magical feel of the cairns with the stunning scenery of Sedona, and you have yourself a fantastic afternoon and a beautiful stroll!

I seriously want to go back again this weekend...

Thanks, Sedona. We'll see you again soon...

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

10 Yoga Myths and Misconceptions

I'm using my blog to document part of my yoga teacher training and also as a means to collect written pieces for my final graduation package. This post contains information inspired by the yoga survey I posted on my blog a couple of months ago. Thanks to all who took the time to participate in that survey!
~ photo by Carrie in Sedona last weekend ~

Myth #1 - I can’t do yoga because I’m not flexible.
Everyone has varying degrees of flexibility. Years of sedentary habits and lack of stretching will result in some tight muscles and you’re right, you just might not be flexible. Yet.
Now let's make one thing clear: the goal of yoga is not to be able to bend yourself into a pretzel shape. The goal of yoga is to begin to move your body in ways that are new and different – to stretch and release your muscles of tension and years of not being challenged. I think I need to write a whole blog post on the benefits of stretching, but I will just say that if you are not flexible, yoga is exactly what your body is craving!
Myth #2 - I can’t do yoga because I’m not strong.
Guess what? Strength does not happen all by itself. When the heaviest thing you ever lift is a gallon of milk, it makes sense that your body isn’t prepared to support you in a full handstand. But how awesome is it that yoga doesn’t expect you to be able to do that?! Oh sure, if you practice long enough you might do a handstand one day, that is, if that’s what you want. But how about we just start with building enough strength so that your muscles can support your spine the way they were designed to do? Just like flexibility, yoga will build strength in ways you can’t even imagine.
Myth #3 - I might pass gas in yoga class.
I read a blog post recently that was titled something like, “What to expect when you go to yoga” and the very first item on the list was “You will fart.” I could hardly believe my eyes because that is totally not true. Does it happen sometimes? Sure – you are twisting and moving and human. It happens sometimes but not often (like, hardly ever), and certainly not enough to be the very first item on the list of things to expect when you go to a yoga class. If this is on your list of stuff to worry about – trust me – cross it off!
Myth #4 - I’m embarrassed/afraid I can’t keep up in yoga class.
Here’s the thing about this life: we are all beginners at something. No one starts anything as an expert. That person on the mat next to you doing the advanced version of the pose you are struggling with? They started out just like you! Yoga teaches us acceptance and appreciation for what our own bodies allow. Yoga is not a competition! The more you can hold that thought the better you’ll feel when your time on the yoga mat is done - I promise you this. Keep your eyes and thoughts on your own mat, and be grateful for everything revealed to you there!
Myth #5 - I can’t do yoga because I have arthritis/fibromyalgia/an injury.
You absolutely can do yoga if you have arthritis/fibromyalgia/an injury, but you should do so with caution and with the right teacher. And I believe that yoga is definitely an avenue to help overcome those issues. Obviously, you won't be signing up for an intermediate class or a hot vinyasa format, but there are plenty of other types of yoga to choose from! I would recommend yin yoga, or a gentle yoga class (restorative is good but is a very passive practice). Rather than spending a lot of time explaining, I found a couple of informative articles that I'll link to. Here’s a link to a great article on dealing with fibromyalgia and chronic pain. And here’s a great article on the benefits of yoga for folks with arthritis.

Myth #6 - Yoga is a great workout.
Now, I’m not saying that yoga isn’t a great workout because it certainly can be, but yoga is not only about that. Depending on the teacher and the class you land in, you may notice some sore muscles the following day, but the benefits of yoga go way beyond just a workout for your body.

Yoga teaches us to focus on how we are breathing, what our attitudes look like, to pay attention to posture and alignment, and how to take the right action at the right time. Holding yoga poses and breathing through them teaches us to breathe through stressful situations off the mat. Focusing on our breath means we aren’t focusing on a stressful work situation. Yoga teaches us to know our bodies, mind our thoughts, and to honor our limitations with gratitude.

If you want to tone your body and build strength, yoga can - and will - help you with that! I’m just hoping you will discover more benefits from yoga than a toned bottom.
Myth #7 - I don’t have a yoga mat.
Most studios have mats that you can borrow or rent, but I’d recommend that you invest in your own mat. Having your own mat will encourage you to roll it out at home, plus you always know whose feet have been on it. ;o)
Myth #8 - I don’t have cute yoga clothes.
For real? Now you are just being silly. Show up in comfortable clothing that is easy to move in and you’re all set.

Myth #9 - Yoga is a religion {or it's against my religion}.
Yoga has been practiced on the planet before Christianity even existed, and was practiced as a way to enable the body to be able to sit comfortably in meditation (read: prayer) for hours at a time. Yoga connects us to body, mind and spirit by bringing our attention inward. However you relate to your own spirituality, yoga honors that and can deepen your spiritual connection. And even though we practice yoga in group settings and allow yoga teachers to lead our practice, it still remains a very personal experience. Yoga is for everyone and knows no religious boundaries.

Myth #10 - I tried yoga once and I hated it. The end.
Hm. That’s like saying you tried Chinese food one time and hated it – you’ll never try another dish for as long as you live. Maybe you went to a yucky restaurant? Maybe you ordered the wrong dish? Maybe you weren’t with the best company that night?

There are so many different styles of yoga and so many different types of teachers. I feel fortunate that the very first yoga class I ever took was led by a teacher that I immediately felt safe and comfortable with. In hindsight, I’ve had a few teachers that I know would have completely turned me off from yoga had they been my first experience with the practice.

Now, as a seasoned yoga-class-taker, I know that every teacher – no matter what my opinion of their teaching style is – has lessons for me. I try to go into every yoga class with an open mind and heart, ready to receive what is being presented. If I don’t care for the teacher’s style, I just find another teacher next time.

So if you've tried yoga and didn’t like it, I hope you’ll try again and keep trying until you find a class and a teacher that works for you. Oh, I really hope you will…

Monday, October 13, 2014

Our Saturday morning in downtown Phoenix

Monday morning sure rolled around quickly this week, but I'm not complaining. I had one of those weekends that was packed with non-stop cool stuff to be thankful for. I got up at 5:00 a.m. this morning and at 5:15 I received a sweet text from my 23-year old niece in California - just to say good morning and that she loves me. {Hi Brit!} How could I be grumpy on a morning like this?
Doug and I met some friends for breakfast in downtown Phoenix on Saturday morning. We ate at Matt's Big Breakfast (highly recommend!!!) and then after our meal Doug and I strolled around the area to check out the latest wall art. I've blogged about this part of Phoenix before here and here - I love it. These photos were taken around the Roosevelt/3rd Street area within a 10 block radius.

This string "art" was random and somewhat lost on Doug (haha), and while not all of the art is really to my taste, I'm always amazed at the creativity of the pieces. Like this next piece - the subject matter is dark, but the vision and the execution - all on the sides of a building?!?! Wow...

♥ ♥

So cool, right? And that was just Saturday morning! Yesterday I spent the day taking a little road trip to Sedona with Carrie. Loved that so much and will have photos of that adventure later in the week.

And with that I'm off to see what this week holds in store.
Have a great one, my friends!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Just a Quote for Friday

{bird's nest in ocotillo cactus}
"Endurance is not just the ability to bear a
hard thing, but to turn it into glory."

~ William Barclay
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