One of my favorite things to do in yoga class is inversions and arm balances. I love the feeling of strength and balance and the playfulness of being upside down! I know, I know. Some of you are probably thinking about how much you HATE arm balances and inversions, right? They don’t seem grounded or they seem scary, or wobbly, or disorienting. Guess what?
But I kept at it. At first I kept at it mostly because my friends in yoga class liked them and so I thought I might as well try. And so I did. And I failed.
And then I went to an Anatomy and Alignment for Yoga class and it changed everything.
See, up until that class, I thought that one day these poses would just magically work out for me. Also, I didn’t really get how important it was to build the poses and work with my body to set it up for success. These poses had taken me to a place of insanity – you know, trying the same thing over and over while hoping for a different result. I wasn’t thinking ahead at all.
Once I understood how vital it is to make sure each pose is grounded well and then move from a strong and focused core – I could do it! As a result, these previously inaccessible poses were instantly at my disposal! I’m not saying I was perfect at them the next day. Not at all.
I knew how to build my strength and balance so that it was possible for me to do the poses. I knew that if I continued to practice with this new knowledge, that it wouldn’t be long until I could do these poses. Finally, it worked! Now I can do any arm balance or inversion at any time. I can do them in yoga clothes! I can do them in jeans or shorts! I can do them at the yoga studio! I can do them at the gym or in my house or at the park! (I do feel a bit like Dr. Suess, right now! Green Eggs and Ham, anyone?)
(Also, if you want more info on arm balances, Check out this article I wrote for the YogaFit blog on Crow Pose.)
When I am frustrated with something and it feels like I am not improving or can’t figure out how to get something “off the ground,” I am reminded of this realization from yoga. For a pose to “fly,” it must be well-grounded and there must be a plan! The two things go hand in hand.
And maybe a tiny bit impossible?
Well, it’s not impossible at all! Start with the center and core of the goal you want to accomplish. Once you start there and create a plan – you can do it!
Ahhh, summer. How I love thee. The endless days of sunshine, the radiant heat that warms all the way to my bones, the lemonade, the pool, the release of the school-year schedule. So relaxing. So wonderful.
You see, I have the amazing privilege of being able to relax my schedule a bit in the summer. A little less work, more time with the kids, a little sleeping in from time to time. And it’s such a nice break from the super early busy-ness of the school year and all the after-school activities, etc.
As I look at my planner and see that school starts again next week, I find myself feeling like I am ready. Ready for the excitement and a new schedule. Ready for increased productivity. Even ready for the change of the weather! Although I LOVE the ridiculously hot summers here in the desert, I know that the variation in the weather keep me appreciating my favorite times of the year.
I also love having my daily routines and more things to do on my schedule. I enjoy that I get more things done during the school year. The change in the air also leans into a change in me.
For the last couple of weeks I have been kinda hard on myself. Feeling like it has been way too long since I have gotten much done. Too long since I spent a few hours doing the work that I love to do. As I was telling my friend about this, she helped me to re-evaluate. She showed me that while the outward productivity has been down, I have spent a good deal of time and energy doing some internal work and also laying foundations for projects I am working on launching in the fall. So, while there’s not a lot to show on the outside, yet…. I am doing valuable work nonetheless. And even if I all I had done for the past few weeks was rest and enjoy summer, that’s great too! We all need times to pull back, take our minds off of work and do something different. When we do, we come back to our work with a new creativity and refreshed love for our work.
With my new schedule starting up next week, I am in preparation mode. You know, dusting off my calendar, getting my pens and pencils all in order and thinking about how I want to spend my days. Because the nature of my work ebbs and flows with the school year, I have a built-in opportunity to re-evaluate and re-construct my daily routines if I so desire. And I usually do change things up a bit.
I start with the things that are important to me – daily meditation, exercise, business goals, reading, etc. And time with family, rest and time with friends DEFINITELY makes that list! We all need things in our weekly routine that give us joy and a chance to connect with our loved ones.
Then, I look at the things that are beyond my control (school start times, class times for the yoga classes I teach at the local country club, family time, etc.) and then begin to put things by most important first. So, I start with meditation. I know I am the best me when I start (and usually end) the day with meditation. It’s super easy for me to hit the ground running in the morning. But when I stop for 20 minutes to center myself and connect with the Divine, I handle my day in an entirely different way. Need a meditation? Grab this one – it’s on me!
Next up is exercise. Also too easy to let it slide through the cracks if it’s not on the schedule. I also make a point to tell my friends and family what I plan to do and when I plan to do it. If I don’t, then I will push it aside if someone wants to plan a get-together. Telling them helps me keep it a priority. How about some yoga? Check out this simple practice.
You get the idea, right? I know I’m not telling you anything new. I just know when I’m ready to start fresh, this is my process and it helps to review it! Start with the big things – what’s MOST important to your health (spiritual, mental, physical, AND emotional)? And then go from there. That way, if you find yourself running out of time blocks before you have all the activities on the calendar, then the things that don’t make the cut are the LEAST important things instead of the MOST important things!
Do you like this, but wish there was MORE? I will be doing a series of webinars this month where we will unravel the mysteries of relieving mid-day stress, creating mindful daily plans, and designing a restful sleep strategy! Click here to get the updates so you don’t miss a thing!
I know it’s happened to you. And it happened to me just last week. Let me take you there:
The week has been kinda busy, but not too bad. I am heading out for a yoga training, and truly excited to be going. I gather all my stuff and a good friend arrives to take me to the airport. As we open the door to take my luggage out, my dog Finley, who is typically very well-behaved, decides this is the best possible time to run out the front door! Seriously?!?! She’s off like a shot and we can’t find her anywhere. We walk down the street, we drive around the neighborhood. No dog. And it’s time to go! I can’t spend anymore time looking for her, so I call my husband who’s at work and THANKFULLY someone has already found her and just called him to let him know. Whew. We make it to the airport in time and I get on my flight. I arrive at my connecting airport, have a fantastic dinner and get on flight number two. Once I arrive at my destination, I get my rental car. I can’t locate my phone charger right away, so I opt to use the car GPS instead. This creates the first snafu (that I’m aware of). The darn thing doesn’t work very well and I end up getting lost three times. Ugh. It’s late and I need to get to bed! I (finally) arrive at my hotel. As is my common practice, I get all my materials ready before calling it a night only to realize that I have left MULTIPLE items on one flight or the other! Including my phone charger (brand new, of course) and other items that I could really use this weekend. Sigh. I won’t bore you with the rest of the weekend, but suffice it to say that this first evening on the way to my hotel was only the TIP of the iceberg!
So what did I do? How did I survive the craziness (mostly caused by myself)? It took all my efforts and, honestly, it has taken me a few days to recover. I took out all the stops and went immediately into nurturing mode!
If you have felt this way, and wondered what to do, perhaps some of these ideas will help as you develop a nurturing environment:
I know this list isn’t exhaustive, but hopefully you found at least one tool you can use to help you get over “one of those days!” It has taken concentrated effort, but I am definitely on the mend and I am feeling very nurtured by my steps towards this level of loving care.
I’d love to hear from you! What’s your favorite way to care for yourself in the middle of a crazy day, week, or time of life? We have all discovered ways to work through difficult times. Let’s share them together!
As I recognized patterns in my own body that had me clutching my quads and toes in every pose, I wondered what my body could be telling me. Here are some of the things I wondered about:
One of the most common things people say to me when they walk into yoga class for the first time is this, “I just want to warn you, I can’t touch my toes.” Or even better, “I shouldn’t really be here, I’m SO inflexible.” I always try to reassure people when they feel unsure. These things just take time.
A few weeks ago, I could have said the same kinds of things in a different arena…
I am learning something new right now.
I am learning how to start a business that is primarily virtual. I’ve had a couple of those party-model businesses (Creative Memories, anyone?) and even a brick-and-mortar type business (yoga studio), but never a business that was pretty much dependent on the world-wide-web (the information super-highway, the internet) for its existence.
But, I didn’t know how to do it at first (and am still learning). As I looked at what it would take to get the thing up and going and making money, I was stumped. So I read a bunch of stuff and talked to some people. Then I realized that I still didn’t really know enough to make it fly. So, I enrolled myself in a course on how to create an online business (with Hibiscus Moon) because I needed some help and some guidance.
On the first day of the course, I wanted to scream (virtually, of course) that “I don’t know what I’m doing! I shouldn’t really be here because this is my first time at online business and I don’t know how to set up my online marketing!”
It’s felt kinda like walking into yoga class and being worried that you can’t touch your toes.
OF COURSE YOU CAN’T TOUCH YOUR TOES THE FIRST TIME YOU WALK INTO YOGA CLASS! (well, actually you can…but that’s another discussion for another day)
It’s kind of funny how we come to class expecting to already know or be able to do what the class is teaching. We expect ourselves to be experts at everything.
I would like to suggest that we be gentle with ourselves. Like the kind of gentleness we would have for our best friend or our child as they try something really hard for the first time. When it’s someone else, we absolutely give them room and permission to fail a million times in the trying. We encourage them and give them helpful advice (if we have any) and know that they will get it!
What if we took that same encouraging spirit and applied to our self the next time we walk into yoga class, or a business training, or trying meditation or whatever it is we want to do? Imagine the freedom we would feel if we knew it was ok to not already know how to do it! Imagine how we wouldn’t feel pressured to perform if we truly believed it was ok to mess up the first zillion times! My goodness, I dare say we might even ENJOY learning something new!
I have learned a ton and know I will learn a ton more. And I am having a GREAT time – with the trying, the failing, the trying again and everything in between.
What new thing is coming up in your world? Where can you show yourself some grace and support as you learn?