Monday, March 28, 2005

Yoga...

I've been practicing yoga in some fashion for almost 6 years. I gave yoga a try after years of lower back pain followed by lower leg problems due to over training. Before moving to Iowa, I lived in the KC, Kansas area and worked for a hospital based fitness facility. Makes sense since my BS is in exercise science/wellness. I was teaching 2-6 aerobics classes per week, running 3-12 miles a week and weight lifting 3-4 days a week. Granted, I was in much better physical shape than I currently am...like a full 30 pounds lighter...but at an expense to my body that soon became more pain than it was worth. In came yoga. I was amazed at how weak I felt...I mean I was lifting more weight than I have ever been able to lift. I've always been pretty flexible, stretching was always my favorite part of any exercise, but yoga takes such functional, coordinated strength that I never expected it to challenge me the way that it does. After several weeks of practicing I felt taller, stronger, healthier and I noticed I carried myself more confidently and took better note of what I was putting in my body nutritionally. I was hooked.

Now, almost 6 years after starting my practice, I'm on my way to becoming a yoga teacher. A goal I've had for several years after learning just a fraction of the benefits that yoga has to offer. Most of the schools of yoga are some type of residential program...and since I have a family and am quite settled in my community, I didn't know how practical a pursuit it was for me to become a yoga instructor. Then a year ago, a fellow instructor told me about YogaFit. I have to admit, I was at first leary. I mean, was this going to be watered down yoga that was designed for the appearance/gym minded? How could one seriously learn to teach yoga in weekend sessions. I was pleasantly surprised after attending my first weekend of YogaFit training. Not only did they teach some modifications that were more in line with my exercise science back ground, including explaining contra-indications for special populations,I learned that while teaching the YogaFit style of yoga, I could incorporate some of the more traditional practices of yoga including the release of personal judgments, the creation of a place of love and safety, fostering of positive energy, and the introduction and practice of simple meditation. Not only did I love the judgment, positive style of instruction that we were guided towards, but it is possible to work through the YogaFit trainings to qualify for Yoga Alliance teacher certification...something I never envisioned I'd be able to accomplish unless I attended a residential training program. YogaFit also stresses the importance of providing service to your community...something I feel very strongly about myself!

I've been teaching a regular yoga class now for around 9 months, and I can honestly say I've never felt more at ease, more at home, and more inline with the forces of the universe, than when I'm deep in practice. Some poses have become easier, I have become stronger and more flexible. Some poses are still very challenging and there are many I have yet to even attempt, but even if can never perform some of the asanas you see so beautifully posed on the pages of Yoga Journal, I know that I'm honoring my body and my spirit by practicing and teaching yoga. Class is a lesson for me every day. Whether it's learning how others can (or cannot) move their bodies, watching as a student learns personal awareness, gain confidence, and freely challenges themselves in a save and nurturing environment, or learning how to guide and accept the practice habits of those who come to class mearly for the physical benefits of asanas, a lesson is reveled to me each day on the mat.

I may not be the "perfect" size according to current societal trends. I may never again be able to sport a bikini, but I love my body, it's abilities, and I honor my spirit...and that to me is a major step down a long path of health. Over the next 6 weeks I'll be attending 3 weekends of yoga training on my journey, in no small way thanks to the loving support of my husband. I don't think I could ask for a better blessing at a point in my life when I feel like so many things are in question. Yoga in my life helps me to better deal with the other uncertainties that come along. I feel so fortunate to have learned that at such a young age.

PEACE!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Taxes....and other stuff...

Ok. One would think that after loosing a written post 3 times trying to spell check before saving, I would learn to SAVE first. But no! Once again, thanks to all the pop up blockers on my Dell (which I love but really, how much security does one need?) my computer can't sneeze first without checking with McAfee.

So, to restate my accomplishment for the night....I have officially submitted our taxes to the IRS and the state of Iowa. I could have done this a month ago. However, in one of my over zealous "I can't live in a house this cluttered" cleaning fits, I shredded a student loan interest statement and had to wait for USPS to deliver another one, which happened this weekend. So, we're filed, hopefully correctly, and now we wait for that small amount of return to come back so we can give it to someone else.

Yes, bills...the ever present monkey. However....after several years of irresponsible spending (read: we were in college and thought we'd magically have fabulous, high paying jobs as soon as we graduated that would pay off the crazy amount of consumer debt we were racking up) FOLLOWED BY twice as many years stressing out and pinching pennies and having to get professional financial guidance to get everything under control and on a plan that will eventually end with us relatively debt free (which should happen in approximately 12 more months! - minus the house of course)...paying off a debt is about as exciting to me these days as a trip to the candy store is for a 3 year old. Yes, sad, but true. If there is ONE thing I hope to teach my child/ren as she/they prepare to go out into life...it's to be more financially responsible than I was during my 20s!

Speaking of children...this weekend I took my three old daughter on her first mommy daughter weekend vacation. Now, I don't know this for a fact, but I highly doubt I ever had such as weekend when I was 3. We drove the 3 hours to Omaha to meet a college girl friend and her 3 year old for Blue's Clues Live!, a couple nights in a hotel with a swimming pool (the highlight of the weekend according to Lexi), a little shopping, good food (duh!), and nice, easy conversation with a good friend. It was SOOO nice. Blue was fun. I never thought I'd be the type of parent who would pay to go see one of those type of shows, but it was fun for a special treat. It's amazing what they can do with some printed stage curtains and big, funky costumes. Really does feel like you're watching the show. We even got a Handy, Dandy Notebook which is now full of all sorts of drawings from the weekend, including my 3 attempts at documenting the clues from the show. Our hotel room was a little scary. Not the room so much, but the over all hotel experience was disappointing considering the potential. The hotel staff were rude, we were in the furthest corner from the pool (and the first night had some scary neighbors down our hallway), we had to be very careful to make sure the door latched and locked when we left (special little wiggle to the handle), and you'd think towels were worth their weight in gold! But I HAVE STAYED IN WORSE HOTELS...so I guess I can't complain too much. Funny how our standards change over the years. In college, even with the quirks, this room would have been luxurious...now, it seemed pretty sub par. BUT I DIGRESS...so the weekend was great. It lasted an extra day as we returned home on Monday, me having the day off due to the fact our day care provider was in Vegas, and today I had to rejoin the world of the working. SIGH!

So, a month or so ago I treated myself to a new Dell DJ. Not just the Pocket DJ...oh no...the 20G, because you never know when you need to have 9,900 songs at your finger tips. Point of the story, our trip to Omaha was the first "long" trip that we've taken were we've actually been able to use it to provide in car and in hotel musically enjoyment. LOVE IT!!! I mean, up until this weekend I've been pretty happy with my purchase and have to be careful online shopping for music as it's so each to just click that "buy it for 99 cents button," but this trip proved that this summer when we travel the 634 miles to visit my mom (one way) across the lovely state of Nebraska (where finding a good radio station is like growing citrus in the desert) that lovely little piece of technology is going to be our best friend! What is slightly alarming is that when playing the childrens genre...we have 116 songs to choose from....that's a lot of The Wiggles (and various other silly songs!)

A little wordy tonight, but I was informed maybe I'd have more regular visitors if I updated more regularly (that's for you JenY)...so does one long post every couple days count? I'll try to update again tomorrow...got some YOGA stuff to share.

PEACE!

Friday, March 11, 2005

30...

This weekend I turned 30. Now some (those younger than me I'm sure) would make a big deal out of being so old. Some (those older than me) remind me that 30 is still very young. My take, 30 is not scary by any means, but it does make you sit back a bit and look at your life and take note of your accomplishments and failures. I suppose any "major" birthday does that.

For me, 30 is hope. I mean your 20s are great...lots of fun...but for many of us unpredictable, transitional years. I married 3 months after my 20th birthday. Would I do it again? Yes and no. Do I regret it...NEVER. See first of all, when you marry your high school sweetheart, there's something in your life that stops at that point...other than a bit more responsibility (and debt) I still feel 16 many days. My 20s consisted of ups and downs, discovering new passions in life, and really finding myself as I left the awkwardness of high school behind to go recreate myself at college. Then there's the whole transition to adulthood after college that (why doesn't anyone warn you of this) is tough. You make these wonderful life long friends in college and then you graduate and spread out all over the country in search of gainful employment. I'm glad to say that today, more than 5 years out, some of my closest, more precious friendships come from those college days. The twenties were a time of reward and let down. I discovered my professional passion, yet I took a job totally unrelated to help pay the bills. I found a job I loved, in a city I didn't followed by a job that drove into a bit of depression and uncharacteristic behavior...in a little town I love. But life in the 20s wasn't all about my profession, that's just an easy focus at this stage in life. My 20s marked the decade I became a mother...the BEST "job" anyone could every have in life. I know it sounds cheesy, but you other parents out there will understand. I'm happy to say I found my "home" in my 20s and purchased my first house. And other than that short depression funk (totally situation related I'm glad to say) my 20s were a very healthy decade for me and my family.

So what's ahead in my 30s? The sky's the limit baby! I have more financial stability...which means I can take a few more gambles in pursuing my professional dreams. I look forward to adding a second munchkin to the family...always a blessing. I'm teaching yoga and participating in a fitness community that I'm happy to say I've had a key role in developing. I feel strong, healthy and proud of my body. And I love my husband in so many deeper, more complex ways than when we married 10 years ago this June. I have a great group of loving, supportive friends both close at hand and only a phone call away. I have family who are healthy, loving, and happy in their respective lives. Overall...I think 30 is going to be a great year...and a great decade.

Cheers to all as we celebrate life!

PEACE!