My yoga teacher said...

Joyfully be yourself

Recently my hubs and I talked about the best kind of days, and I mentioned the best days, for me, are joyful. He laughed and likened me to Mrs. Claus. Joy. Why is that such a funny concept?

“I just want to be happy,” we’ve all said or heard. But what is “happy?” Being happy sounds so hard! Happy means everything is good. But joy? Joy makes us feel good and can happen even when we’re not in a happy place. Broke, tired, sick, stressed… all of these things are normal and contradictory to “happy.”

But not to joy! You can be having a crummy day and find joy in a cup of coffee. You can be washing the dishes or folding the laundry and find joy in the birds chirping or the latest episode of Schitt’s Creek. Happiness is a state, but joy is an experience.

So today when my teacher’s reading during savasana included the phrase, “Joyfully be yourself…” I was struck. This is my goal! To experience joy, indulge in joy, and to joyfully be.

Image is a drawing by Dove, she drew this when she was eight.

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My yoga teacher said..., My YTT, Yoga for non-yoga people, Yoga on The Farm

You are right where you need to be

When I decided I wanted to teach yoga, I was unsure what that would look like. I knew the population I wanted to reach: “non-yoga people.” People who might not set foot in a yoga studio, or those in recovery, those who need healing.

I am nearly finished with my 200 hour yoga training, and I keep hearing my mentor’s voice in my head: “You are right where you need to be. Always stay true to yourself, because there are people out there that need what you have to offer.”

I have a small group of loyal, dedicated students who have been with me on this journey. These include one who have offered me their land to practice and teach on, one who has pledged to be a student for life and thinks I should open my own studio, and one who admits to not liking group exercise classes at all but loving my yoga classes. They all keep coming back.

My exam to complete my 200 hour yoga teacher training is coming up on October 20, 2018. This has been a voyage unlike any other. I am eternally grateful for my teachers, my peers in training, and my students. I still don’t know exactly what me being a yoga teacher will look like, but I’m pretty sure I am right where I need to be.

My YTT, Yoga on The Farm

Flexibility required, but not for asanas

Teaching yoga on a farm poses a unique set of challenges. Are the chickens cooped? Can’t set up there because of ants. The cat is under me in DFD, or he’s eating fresh kill (usually a bird) three feet from a student’s head during savasana. You’ve got to assess the surroundings before setting up, and let go of expectations. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This morning I taught my fifth class on the Farm at Rush Creek. Aside from my Bluetooth speaker not working (I thought it was charged!) it was another fantastic practice. What began as a toe dip in teaching yoga outdoors has grown into a passion. I am so grateful for my friends who have joined me to practice teaching, despite the heat, humidity, and early start time. We even practiced in the rain once, and only had to cancel class due to thunderstorms and soggy ground once.

I’m eager to continue teaching on the farm as the seasons change. We’ve got classes for September and October on the books. Contact me if you’re interested in joining us!

Mothering, Pondering

End of summer mehs

Texas summer is hot, hot, hot. And it is hot through October. But summer ends well before the heat ends. Pools close, Halloween candy covers the shelves, and school begins. Just like everyplace else.

There is an air of transition. It’s different than most seasonal transitions. I wouldn’t call it The Blues. I’ll call it, The Mehs. The indifference, the lack of happiness or sadness. That “I’m ready for this but I could take it or leave it” feeling.

This coming week, Dove turns 9, we go for sneak-a-peek at her new school, and we bunker down for fall. In our tank tops and shorts. Are we excited? “Kinda,” Dove says. Meh.

About Breathing, Mothering, Yoga off the mat

About breathing, pt 2: It will click when you least expect it

In and out. Those are the basics. Fresh and clean in, used and finished out.

There are a multitude of breaths, or pranayama, in yoga. Tools to calm us, OR, to speed things up, to cool or heat the body, with the ultimate end goal of stilling the mind. Some call this zen, but I’m not clear on the differences between Buddhism and Yoga yet, so I will plainly call it stillness.

This past Sunday, my son (who will be three in November) fell on our brick hearth. I was not there to see it, but my daughter ran in to me, pleading “come now, please, Strider* hit his head and there’s a lot of blood.” Her panic was palpable. I immediately kicked into stoic mode.

What is stoic mode? Probably not a real thing, but for me, it is when I shuck off my emotions and shut down whatever I’m doing to focus on what is happening at that precise moment.

Stop what you’re doing. Go with her. How is Strider (son)? Crying, Dad has a paper towel and is holding it on Strider’s head. There is blood.

“Everyone needs shoes,” I say. “Let me finish brushing my teeth.” Dad is sitting in the backseat with Strider. Dove (daughter) in the front with me.

“He didn’t pass out,” I think/say. I call Bluetooth calling Urgent Care. Didn’t pass out, no vomiting, bleeding stopped. Ok put us on the list. “He’s not even crying anymore.”

Dove is close to hyperventilating. I turn off the music. I start paying attention to my breath.

“We’re lucky the doctor can see us today, we’ll be there in ten minutes.” Just now I begin to pay attention to how I breathe. In slowly, three, four. Hold. Out, two, three, four. My right hand is on my daughter’s knee. She rarely gets to sit shotgun, but she needs to be here today.

Upon arrival, the staff at Urgent Care takes a look at him and tells us he’ll probably have to go to the hospital because you can see his skull and they aren’t capable of MRI. Please wait and the doctor will see us.

We sure did get transferred. Three hours and ten stitches later we were home. We set an early bedtime.

“Mom, how did you stay so calm?” Dove asked me at bedtime. I am not always even and calm. It takes awareness, focus, and patience… also time.

“I’m not always that way,” I admitted. “As you know. But I can really turn it on when I need to.”

“How?” She asked.

“It takes a lot of practice.” We both laughed.

I would not say that practicing yoga will make you immune to stress or the dramas of life. But with practice, you might at least be able to turn it on and glide through.

AND! Strider got his stitches out today!