Sunday, April 21, 2013

108 Sun Salutations

Thursday April 18th was day 108 of 2013 and the yoga community of Montreal set up a practice of doing 108 Sun Salutations from 7:30-9:30pm. Two full hours of yoga. More specifically two full hours of sun salutations.

I was both excited and terrified to participate in this practice. I have been practicing yoga for under a year, and only two weeks ago did I finally feel like I was able to do modified chaturanga properly. I took on the challenge though as part of my commitment to do yoga daily and my intention to deepen my practice. 

I arrived at the studio for 7:15 like I was instructed to, and went to the back corner of the room where there was still space, rolled out my mat and sat. I had thoughts of, "What if I cannot do all 108? My flow is not that great. Can I lay in shavansana or only in child's pose if I have to break? Are all these people really going to do all 108?!" I looked around the room and realized that I also had the thoughts of, well if they can do it so can I and wow there are a lot of people here and I wonder if any of us really knows what we've gotten ourselves into. 

We finally began our practice at 7:45 after some technical difficulties occurred with the webcast of the other yoga studios around the city. We began slowly for the first 12 salutations and then the owner of the studio was up for her 12 and she was not nearly as easy on us. There were six instructors there that evening to guide us through the 108 salutations. I am sure that we lost count more than a few times and we actually were guided to do more than 108. 

I was very impressed with myself. I did what I could do and surprised myself because it turns out that what I can do is more than I tend to give myself credit for. I completed my practice, drove home and had myself a candle lite bath. The next day wasn't too bad. I could move with ease still and then Saturday came and I could have sworn I had participated in a heavy weight lifting competition my body was so sore. I am still feeling it and have therefore not been doing yoga over the past two days. I intended to go to class this morning and could not bring myself to face a downward dog pose. 

I am however realizing that I miss doing yoga and being in a flow and connection with my breathe. Therefore I will do my own slow and relaxed practice tonight before bed because I enjoy it. I will go at my own pace and hold my poses for my desired length of time, allowing for more or less stretch. I know from experience that in the end I will be very thankful that I took time for me. 

I'll be back on my mat in class tomorrow morning!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Media Images

I posted this video to my Facebook page earlier today after watching it once. With that post I wrote "I feel like I do not often re-post videos unless I was truly moved by them in some way. This is one of them."

I have chosen to look at the positive side of life for years now and I honestly did not analyze this video anymore than my initial viewing. I got so tired of critiquing the media and all their faults long ago while I was in school, studying and doing exactly that.

Then an article about the video popped up on my newsfeed which you can read here about how there are flaws in this ad as far as who is depicted and focused on. I will be the first to admit that I did not even look at this video any deeper than the intended, most pure message that it was aiming to get across: women, you are more beautiful than you give yourself credit for. 

Is it that I am just that person who sees the bright side of things? Is it that I am naive? Is it that I am white? I am not sure that's it's any one of those reasons, nor is it not any of them. I am a person who has a sunnier deposition and outlook on life, I am also a little naive and I am white. Do all these things mean that I do not see the need to reflect the beauty of every woman and man, for that matter, of every race, sexual orientation, religion, age and nationality?! No.

Beauty is everywhere. It is all around us and it lives within each of us. The fact of the matter is that beauty is not about outward appearances. Beauty is about how we feel, act and present ourselves. The better I feel about who I am and what I stand for the more confident I am, even when I have no make-up on, my hair is a mess and I am in my sweat pants at the grocery store in search of a pint of Ben and Jerry's Chunky Monkey ice cream, because I feel like eating it while I watch a romantic comedy on a Saturday night!

As far as I'm concerned I'm still beautiful, because of the person I am. Is this not the message that we want everyone in the world to hear and understand and live into?! The media is just another reflection of you, me, us. I choose to watch this video and applaud the women who agreed to be filmed in a vulnerable position of completely re-framing their own self-image. I cannot imagine what that was actually like for them to experience. I also choose to watch this video and experience my own re-frame that I am beautiful.

Does the media still need to work on what they constantly portray to 'us' as beautiful? Sure. They are not aliens producing this stuff, they are people just like you and I. They are not perfect. Are we farther along on the quest of portraying real people as beautiful and not just models? Yes. Do we still have a ways to go? Yes. I am, however, extremely grateful that we are at least on the right track.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Creating Habits

April 1st was the first day of the 30 to follow in the month of April. My yoga studio, the one I go to, decided to do a 30 day yoga challenge. A friend of mine wanted some assistance in testing for an app that he is developing which is designed to empower you to create habits you want and needed people to test it for 30 days. 30 days seemed to be a thing for the month of April...

I was hesitant and excited, all at the same time to tackle this app testing. I created a list of things that I wanted to do every day or every week. Robert then took my list and made it visual, he put really beautiful pictures to each item and arranged them both vertically, for my phone, and horizontally, for my computer. I have been looking at my board everyday MULTIPLE times a day, as you can imagine. How many times do you look at your phone or computer screen?!

I needed to be able to track my progress and give myself 'stickers' so I downloaded an app called Lift. I added in the habits I wanted to work on and every time I do one I click the big check mark on it and the app tracks my progress!

As you can see I am running a streaks with these three items on my habit creating list! My water has been harder to track so if I think I may have missed the 2L by a glass I do not count it- that being said I am drinking more water daily then before! Yoga I have missed one day. I applaud myself for creating and sticking with my daily habits! I have even added some as the days have gone on and I am doing well with those too!

My weekly habits have not been as successful. My blog has it's weekly check mark, swimming has one check mark for each week vs. two, my walks have none, my bath has one and being creative and expressive in the way I had in mind may not have happened however I have been in ways I had not expressed, which means that one has it's proper check marks!

Has this building habits been a little challenging? Yes. Has it been rewarding? YES! The biggest difference? I feel more grounded and in control of my life. I am committed to completing things everyday, which was not the case before. Does this require a little extra time and effort than I am used to? Yes. Is it worth it? YES!!! I feel more confident in my abilities to commit to something and see it through. As a matter of fact perhaps that is what this month of April in 2013 is really all about for me... follow through of commitments.

I HIGHLY recommend creating your own building habit list and work through them. They can be small- like flossing everyday, I did not do that before- or they can be bigger and more time consuming like yoga everyday. Make them yours and make them achievable and fun for you! Contact me if you'd like the images done and I'll see what I can do :)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Frustrating and Beautiful Realization

I am honestly not even sure where to start.

This past weekend was torture for me. I have not been in a student chair at a workshop in a long time. I will admit that I have become pretty used to being at the back of the room or at the front of the room. That is in no way to say that I am not learning when I am not in the middle, I actually feel like I am learning more. However, it was time to sit in the chairs again.

I attended a workshop called Personal Mastery Intensive, produced by Pathways Institute. It is impossible to tell you what happens or what you get or, well it's impossible to tell you anything about it actually because there is no structure. For a person who thrives on structure it was ridiculously challenging to deal with a weekend in full lack of it!

There were many times throughout the weekend that I wanted to walk out the door and not come back. That being said I had made a commitment. On the first evening the 'conductor' established ground rules and one of those ground rules was to be on time and to complete the workshop, all the way through until Sunday evening. Being committed to respect, integrity and confidence I could NOT bring myself to leave. I had given my word and that meant more to me than wanting or not wanting to be there.

I am extremely conflicted about that. I have two ways of showing up. The first is that I commit to something, it does not feel right- my gut is telling me perhaps this is not what you really want or need right now, I stick it out a little more because I committed and then somewhere along the way I get slapped in the face and I have to de-commit before I want to strangle someone. The second way is that I commit and I stick it out to the end regardless of how I feel, determined to stand by my word.

When do I do each?! Sometimes a situation requires me to walk away because although pain is inevitable, suffering is optional! At other times, like this weekend, I was so ready to walk because I didn't 'like' it. Had I walked away I would not have experienced and realized what my truest longing really is.

When I began the workshop I said that my deepest longing is to be in an intimate romantic relationship with another. Yesterday a beautiful older women who has lived much of her life in predominantly masculine energy stood up to share. The 'conductor' asked her to move, just dance to the music. Then she called up another woman, and then another, and then all the other females in the room were offered the option to join in. I stood up right away. I moved and was connecting, although I noticed that I was on the outskirts and I felt like I was also holding the container for these women who were in the center. I was neutralizing my own energy and balancing myself out, not fully feminine and not fully masculine.

Then the men were asked to stand and form a circle around the women, create the container for us and witness us. As SOON as the men were standing I began to cry. Even as I write this now I am overcome by emotion. I felt so held, cared for and safe in the 'arms' of these men that I allowed myself to fully step into my feminine energy.

My big AH, HA moment? I am longing for sisterhood connection and I am longing for a strong masculine container.

My even bigger AH, HA? I AM BOTH!!! I can be both of these for myself. This realization was HUGE! I can create my own very safe and support and loving container AND then I can free myself into full self-expression and creativity. I have been working on the creativity, however the container had been missing and now? Now I can begin to implement both in order to be more connected to myself! Which also means that I will no longer be looking outside for a man to hold that space. Will I be happy when one shows up? HELL YES! I just will no longer be dependent on that.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Egg Hunt

At what age are you too old to ask your parents to hide Easter eggs for you to go find?!

Is never a possible answer?!

As many of you who read my blog know, I am a giant kid. (Well I'm not an actual giant but by kid sizes everything is relevant.)

When I was younger my parents used to hide Easter eggs all over the main floor and give us clues as to where they were so we could go search. My brothers and I would have an equal number of eggs to find. I remember this process being really fun.

I am now 27 years old. My parents house is still my home base. My two younger brothers are basically moved out. I asked my parents to hide eggs for me this year because I just wanted to find them. I wanted to be a kid and enjoy searching. I did not actually anticipate them hiding them for me.

Sunday morning I awoke to do yoga and while I was in warrior pose I saw a yellow egg sitting in one of the candles on the windowsill. I had to really focus on completing my practice before running around searching for other hidden eggs!
My wonderful father woke up early that morning to hid eggs for me to find! He hid 10 eggs in total all around the main floor. It only took my about fifteen minutes to find all of them, without clues. I had so much fun! Although the best part about this whole thing is that my parents still humor me and acknowledge that their 27 years old daughter is sometimes 5 years old. I can imagine that it's also very entertaining for them to watch me get that excited about finding colored eggs!

The lesson I learned in this event; it is a really magical experience as a child when your parents really do honor you and allow you to show up however you want to! Thank you to my awesome parents who have clearly continued to allow me to just show up as me, as unique as I am :-)