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I have finally lost the battle with this cold. Truthfully I don’t think that I was quick enough with my cider vinegar mixture. If consumed when that little tickle just makes itself known, colds seem to disappear before blowing up into the runny nose, tissue crumpling mess that this one has become.

My 5 mile run on Thursday didn’t seem to effect my condition. So thinking that the heat that the running generated went well I decided to take a heated vinyasa class Friday morning before teaching my pre-k yoga class. My body was flowing but then all of the sudden so was my nose. The faucet started to leak and that was it. Cold. Had one.

What do you fellow teachers do when struck with a cold? I didn’t have time on my side to find a sub and truthfully, I have a very limited resource of help. I used hand cleanser and went for it. We had a blast and I didn’t have much of a problem. Took the dog for a walk and then at 7pm all went down hill. My head felt heavy and full, my nose was completely clogged, my husband was waking up somewhere in Asia and the house was out of both tissues and Afrin. Argh.

I went to bed before the kids. My son (bless him) read to my daughter and I tossed and turned until midnight before finally waking up at 4am and then again at 7am when I heard the tv come on downstairs. Having high hopes that rest (inadequate but rest none-the-less) would repair my body so that I could teach today. I was asked to teach the JV soccer team of a local high school and was so looking forward to the experience. Being an athlete, I had so much to share and say. I was going to teach a vinyasa class and then add some partner poses and end with a guided meditation for athletes that I have downloaded by Stin Hansen.

As the morning waned so did my energy. I finally had to call my boss and friend and relinquish my class… I had such mixed feelings. What do others do? Do you teach when sick? Do you suck it up and find the energy? It was my first teen class experience. I didn’t want to disappoint them by not giving them my best, and at the same time, I didn’t want to be spreading this virus around. Please comment on how you handle these kind of situations.

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I recently read a post in the Yoga Calm blog about childhood stress. The ways that yoga helps relieve stress are numerous but today I am not writing about yoga. What caught my attention when reading this post though was a paragraph on how important it is to feel socially connected. Feeling alone translates to feeling helpless and feeling helpless leads to stress.

Last year my son had a socially tough year. Always thinking himself part of the soccer playing recess crowd, he suddenly had to find a new group when his asthma got out of control and the game became a negative experience due to running to the nurse struggling for breath repeatedly. Because of a couple of extra-curricular activities, my work schedule and allergy shots, play dates were just not possible which did not help the friend situation. After almost the entire school year of shadowing the tough kid in the class during recess, he decided to break away from him as he realized that he didn’t want to have that kind of reputation. So he was, by Springtime, more or less alone.

This feeling of lack of connection absolutely lead to feelings of stress. He would say his life was stressful and I would think about his school work and swimming and drum lessons and wonder how? Is he too busy? No, he was feeling alone.

Summer hit and he spent the first three weeks at sailing camp. He started to go to the adult sailboat races with his dad as crew and got to know some of the kids that raced at camp. He was accepted into this very cool group of sailboat racers. He felt connected to a new community. He then went to sleep away camp and was the youngest camper to race sailboats as a hobby and again was accepted by these older campers in their community.

By the time the school year began, my kid was a new boy. He has started this year with a confidence I have never seen before and has taken on student council, safety patrol and band. These new activities, although requiring extra time are not adding to his stress at all. The new activities all create new communities for him to feel a part of and he is off to a year of feeling in control and on top of his world.

Photo by Sal Petruzelli Marino

Photo by Sal Petruzelli Marino

I have the sniffles and am feeling a bit run down. I have been running (literally and figuratively) at full speed for a few weeks. Some big decisions were made (I’ll get to that in a later post) and no sooner than I finally get to take a breath and let down my guard the sniffles appear! Coincidence… I think not! So what is there to do?

  • My first line of defense is to down a couple of garlic pills and drink a combination of apple cider vinegar, honey and warm water. It usually clears up my sinuses pretty quickly… I’m hoping that I’ll be clear headed in the morning. Click here for more information about apple cider vinegar.
  • My second line of defense is to listen to Stin Hansen’s immune system and wellness boost meditation.
  • In the morning I’ll try some yoga aimed at increasing my natural immune fighting abilities.

I’ll let you know how things go… off to bed and hopefully wellness.

Here is the verdict. I woke up with a cloudy head but my cold has not progressed. I listened to the meditation once again when I woke up. I drank more of the vinegar concoction this morning and went out for a run and finished with some yoga asanas for helping strengthen my immune system. I’m going to add a long savasana later today and I think I may have won this battle.

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Photo by H.Koppdelane

There have been a lot of changes and opportunities these last few months for which I am immensely grateful. At the same time, each door that opens creates some anxiety and anticipation. I am finding that the new opportunities usually come with some small leap of faith that I will find my way. It is like lifting your feet off the floor in crow for the first time and putting trust in yourself — having faith that you will not topple over and embarrass yourself.

I also find that in my excitement, I can get overly caught up in the “possibilities” instead of focusing on the moment at hand. I find this energy which is intense to usually lead to disappointment. I try to remind myself that when a door opens or closes to be mindful and patient. That a missed opportunity may lead to another door and that a door that is opened and that looks like the right way may close unexpectedly or lead me astray. Change is inevitable either way and its often better to stop and just be grateful for what is.  I remember the story about the farmer which I may have posted before. The story is worth repeating.

There is a Chinese story of a farmer who used an old horse to till his fields. One day, the horse escaped into the hills and when the farmer’s neighbors sympathized with the old man over his bad luck, the farmer replied, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?” A week later, the horse returned with a herd of horses from the hills and this time the neighbors congratulated the farmer on his good luck. His reply was, “Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?”

Then, when the farmer’s son was attempting to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off its back and broke his leg. Everyone thought this very bad luck. Not the farmer, whose only reaction was, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”

Some weeks later, the army marched into the village and conscripted every able-bodied youth they found there. When they saw the farmer’s son with his broken leg, they let him off. Now was that good luck or bad luck?

Who knows?

In the spirit of gratefulness…

I’m grateful for the opportunities that I have to effect people through teaching yoga. Teaching my first Mom and Baby yoga class on Monday was pure joy. Seeing these new moms with adorable chubby babies in tow and knowing how much of a challenge it must have been for these ladies to get out of the house just to make it to class made this a very special hour for me. I remember how much yoga helped me as a new mom connect to my body and my self beyond my role as wife and mother. I look forward to next week to teach these inspiring ladies and babies again.

What are you grateful for in your lives? Please share!

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough. — Oprah Winfrey

Photo by Sharon Pruitt

Photo by Sharon Pruitt

The kids went off to school yesterday…

The night before the big day everyone actually fell asleep easily. My daughter did a little yoga in bed beforehand and it worked like a charm and my son read until he was tired and went to bed at a reasonable time. My husband who is a night owl even went to bed early…. it was just me who had the new school year nerves. Would my daughter like her teacher who is known to be great but strict? Will my son’s high expectations of the 5th grade be met or will there be first day disappointment? There were lunches to be made, notes to teachers filled, asthma medicine to be dropped off. How did school get here so quickly?!

I found myself taking some deep breaths-lying on my back with my hand on my stomach. I allowed those anxious thoughts to pass without bringing full attention to them. I slowed down my breath counting to five as my belly filled. I held my breath for a count and then let my belly fall… and soon I too fell asleep.

As parents, it is so easy to get caught up in the trials and tribulations of our children’s lives. We have hopes and dreams and try so hard to teach them the right things; nutrition, physical fitness, how to be a friend, how to be responsible, how to make good choices. The list could go on and on. At some point we need to just breathe. Accept that although we may have brought these little people into the world, they are individuals with opinions (sometimes different than our own). Like those anxious thoughts that I had last night, sometimes it is better to look at our children and their choices (as long as they are not life threatening) and put some distance between them and our feelings and beliefs.  Be with our children without always turning every moment into a learning experience or trying to control the outcome. Our children’s choices can seem to be a direct reflection of our parenting but sometimes it is just a reflection of our children’s preferences which are different than our own.

Three ways yoga can help parenting:

  • Focus on one’s own breath—let your child breath on his/her own.
  • Find one’s own inner peace so that your child’s life doesn’t become the main focus of your own.
  • Hone your Ahimsa skills by bringing an attitude of loving kindness and acceptance to your own life as well as your child’s.
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Photo by Thomas Hawk

I have just returned from a run – 18 miles – the most that I have ever traveled on foot in preparation for the Marine Corps. Marathon on October 25th. I was scheduled to run 16 miles, but I upped it to 18 in order to squeeze in both a 20 and 22 mile run before the big day.  This will be my first full marathon and I have been training since June. I know that I have been putting in the miles that Hal Higdon prescribes, but I believe that it is my yoga that will get me to the finish line.

How yoga comes into play in running and sports in general:

1. Yoga strengthens core muscles which provides one’s body with increased stability. Core muscles tie many other muscles together. Throwing, batting, twisting, crouching all are actions used in multiple sports that involve the core muscles. If one’s core is not strong, other muscles will compensate which can cause injury.

2. Yoga focuses on breath. When fatigue sets in, focusing on one’s breath by imagining each inhale as increased strength and each exhale as gray smoke or negative thoughts will tap into reserved energy. This kind of visualization technique is used by many athletes to help push past physical or mental fatigue to achieve success.

3. Yoga teaches us that our mind often controls our body, and that sometimes we must talk our mind into doing something it is resisting. I remember when taking a Baron Baptist day-long yoga immersion class that he told us to ignore those censoring thoughts in our minds (as long as we weren’t in actual PAIN) in order to allow our bodies to do things that they had not yet done before. There are many studies that confirm that our brain will tell our bodies to stop to protect it from harm. We can push our bodies harder and farther by teaching our brain that we will not be doing damage to ourselves as we reach new limits.

4. Yoga shows us how to get into “the zone”. By focusing on the moment while letting all thoughts pass, one’s mind becomes focused entirely on the task at hand. Similarly, yoga’s focus on the moment (the sun, the wind, the environment around you) can actually help you maintain a higher performance. According to Marc Allen, a six-time Ironman champion, he was able to win his first of six Ironman races in 1989 after failing six times previously by quieting his mind during this very intensely competitive race to beat his opponent who was in the lead.

I know the many miles that I have traversed during the last 5 months have helped me build up my physical endurance. However, it is my mental endurance honed by my yoga practice which I will continue to focus heavily upon during these last few weeks leading to my race which will carry me through the finish line to success.


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Photo by Grant MacDonald

I am writing with the window open and the air feels and smells like Fall. How can summer be over already? New school supplies and clothes have been bought, backpacks are packed, we head out to meet new teachers and see old friends tomorrow.

Although Spring may be the season for new growth, Fall always carries within its crisp air the feeling of new possibilities and a clean slate.

Add some yoga into your life this Fall. Start with these beginner poses. Remember to breath three full breaths through your nose as you allow your body to relax into the stretch.

  • Plank Pose: Strengthens the arms and spine. Holding plank is a fantastic core strengthening exercise.

If you are thinking of beginning a yoga practice at a studio, it is helpful to know what is expected of you when you get to the studio. This list of yoga etiquette will help ease any fears of the unknown.
  • Remove your shoes
  • Turn off your cell phone – even a phone on vibrate will make noise in class during savasana.
  • Arrive on time – try to arrive 10 minutes early and skip the class if you are running 10 minutes late.
  • Don’t skip savasana – the final relaxation is an important (and sometimes the most challenging) part of practice.
Sometimes starting something new can be uncomfortable. Take some deep breaths, fill your stomach as you inhale and allow your stomach to sink upon the exhale. Then take that step into the unfamiliar – see where opening yourself up to possibilities will take you this school year.

Exciting news… I came back from my incredible weekend of Mom and Baby yoga training on Sunday to an article that was written about me and Karma Spot in the local paper. Here is the link.

With my new training I am so thrilled to start teaching this new population of students (new moms). I remember taking yoga back up after my son was born and feeling that each class was a mini-retreat. I was able to come back to my baby who was often crying with renewed energy and stamina. I really hope to give other moms a nurturing experience while also helping them get back in touch with their bodies which have gone through so much change.

The other big news is that I am ready to launch my new yoga event business. I have always loved to throw birthday parties for my kids. Yoga parties are such a nice way to make a special day unique and one to remember. Check out my birthday event page for a list of all the themes available. The yoga possibilities are endless.

I will be posting on my training experience soon. Enjoy this last week of summer before the busy Fall season arrives.

Current Classes:

MIDTOWN ATHLETIC CLUB

Mondays:
6-7:15am Power Vinyasa (H)

Thursdays:
6-7am Power Vinyasa

Story Time Yoga
1-1:45pm

Sundays:
5-7 year olds
9:45-10:30am
8-11 year olds
10:45-11:30am

STUDIO MOVE!

Wednesdays:
10:30-11:30 Power Vinyasa

Fridays:
Yoga for Athletes
9-10am

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