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So, dear readers, I have to apologize for my absence. I was not on vacation. I was not taking some week-long yoga training. I was wallowing in my own misery a bit.

I will refrain from whining and  boring you with the details… but I was not feeling well. Nothing serious. A cough that kept on coughing. It’s going on 5 weeks and I am STILL coughing. So, as I said, I will not whine further. I see the light at the end of the tunnel though the tunnel has been ridiculously long.

I decided to break this inertia with a small list of things that I am grateful for:

1) Delicious and healthy cookie recipes. I was reminded by Mandi, the author of the blog Trainermomma, of a chocolate chip cookie recipe that uses chick peas. I had read it in the Deceptively Delicious cookbook, but never tried them until this week. They are amazing and guilt free! Whole wheat flour, applesauce, oats, chickpeas and dark chocolate. You can eat these for breakfast and feel like you’ve done yourself a favor.

2) Trail running with good friends and our beloved dogs. After being sick for 4 weeks and stuck to my couch, I realized that the majority of my social life revolves around being active with people who I adore. I am lucky to have joined a great running/fitness group called Moms in Motion. These inspiring ladies are motivating, fun, supportive and so generous. I started as a 4 mile neighborhood runner to running half and full marathons in different cities. I started to swim and bike again after a 15 year lapse and began participating in triathlon. I started exploring local parks—hitting those trails for running and snowshoeing. I am blessed to have such an amazing network of women in my life.

3) Some of my down time these last couple of weeks has been spent online. I found myself hitting the Sunrose Yoga blog for some yoga inspiration. I pulled some muscles internally from all of my coughing and have had to curtail my regular power vinyasa classes. Kelly at Sunrose had a 30 day yoga video challenge that I have been following. I find her yoga style and her perspective very uplifting.

3) Vegetables to plant in the garden. I am attempting to grow vegetables this year in containers around my patio. We had to chop down my husbands favorite pine tree last year to build our patio and now have much more sunlight. I am ambitious and hope to grow herbs, tomatoes, peppers… and corn. I know… I think I may be crazy. It is corn heaven here so I thought why not try a few stalks.

4) My dog Daisy. Even while I was feeling my most miserable, my lab got me up and out the door for a daily walk. Her visits with her neighborhood dog friends always make me smile. Seeing her run and chase and tackle her friends with such joy makes me happy. She also started to lie on me while I relaxed on the couch. She was a giant breathing buddy. Her breath, though faster than my own, created in me comfort and her heavy head resting on my chest helped me to relax and to calm down my cough. While everyone else was avoiding me—afraid that I’d contaminate and spread my misery —Daisy stayed by my side.

That’s all for now friends. I hope this will catapult me into a writing frenzy. I have been getting out finally to run with friends again this week. There is hope and sunshine and so much for which to be grateful.

Photo by Justin Price

Driving home from my sister’s New Years Day brunch (a tradition that I usually make at my own home but was thankful for this year’s change of venue), my husband stated to my six-year-old who was in the midst of a staying-up-until-midnight-the-night-before meltdown that she was in control of what was happening. She was able to make the situation better or worse by her own thoughts. That was a jaw dropping moment.

Let me back up a bit to say that my husband has become very serious about yoga. I admit that he has been taking more classes than I have lately. I regularly teach and have a home practice, but he is knocking my socks off as far as getting into the studio. I’m so proud of him. I know it makes him feel great both physically and mentally. But until this moment in the car, I didn’t realize that yoga was starting to seep into his life off the mat. After focusing on the physical asana and breathing during class, he was getting the “it” of yoga. Yoga is the unity of breath, body and mind. Through the breath (pranayama) and the body (asana), mindfulness can be found. Interestingly, studies show that through mindfulness one can actually increase spirituality.

I had another yoga moment today of my own. I woke up wanting to get a run in before doing an errand. I was planning on taking the dog to the park to run in my snowshoes. My son surprisingly wanted to come along. When we got to the park, I noticed that we’d lost a lot of snow over the night and that snowshoeing and sledding were no longer options. My son is not a fan of running for running sake so I readjusted my plan to walk with him and enjoy our time together.

The dog was having a blast running wild and the snow was perfect for throwing. Knowing how my son’s mind works, I stated TWICE that I didn’t want to be hit by any snowballs. TWICE. The next thing I know an icy snowball is dripping off my face. I did not take that yoga breath before raising my voice questioning him as to why after two very specific requests I still got a mouth full of snow. He stomped off angrily and we both felt disappointed that the morning was turning to the dark side. I then decided that it was up to me as to how this was going to turn out. I was in control of my thoughts, my actions and this very moment at hand.

One of my resolutions for this year is to laugh more. So I picked up a handful of snow, made a perfect ball and as my son sulked on the path in front of me, managed to hit him smack center on his back. After his initial shock of my sudden attitude change, we started running through the woods, hiding, throwing, laughing and connecting. By the time we walked back to the car, my son who hates to run, managed a mile in the snow with both a smile on his face and in his heart… and I did too.

Make this year a year of yoga both on the mat and off. You will not be disappointed.

Namaste and Happy 2010 to all.

Photo by D Sharon Pruitt

My sister forwarded this piece that author Anna Quindlen wrote awhile back. I had read it once before but it always seems relevant and fresh.  It was a gift for me today as I had one of those parenting days… driving back and forth to play dates, drum lessons, religious school and then onward home to deal with dinner and the never-ending “do your homework” struggle. All of that is standard operating procedure as a parent, of course, but there were moments today when I felt truly lost and ultimately drained. So here is the gift that arrived today in my email box. Enjoy. Read. Breathe.

Piece by Anna Quindlen, Newsweek Columnist and Author:

All my babies are gone now. I say this not in sorrow but in disbelief.
I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost-adults,
two taller than I am, one closing in fast. Three people who read the
same books I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with
me in their opinion of them, who sometimes tell vulgar jokes that make
me laugh until I choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel
and privacy, who want to keep their doors closed more than I like.
Who, miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their jackets and move
food from plate to mouth all by themselves. Like the trick soap I
bought for the bathroom with a rubber ducky at its center, the baby is
buried deep within each, barely discernible except through the
unreliable haze of the past.

Everything in all the books I once poured over is finished for me now.
Penelope Leach., T. Berry Brazelton., Dr. Spock. The ones on sibling
rivalry and sleeping through the night and early-childhood education,
have all grown obsolete. Along with Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild
Things Are, they are battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that
if you flipped the pages dust would rise like memories. What those
books taught me, finally, and what the women on the playground taught
me, and the well-meaning relations –what they taught me, was that
they couldn’t really teach me very much at all.

Raising children is presented at first as a true-false test, then
becomes multiple choice, until finally, far along, you realize that it
is an endless essay. No one knows anything. One child responds well to
positive reinforcement, another can be managed only with a stern voice
and a timeout. One child is toilet trained at 3, his sibling at 2.

When my first child was born, parents were told to put baby to bed on
his belly so that he would not choke on his own spit-up. By the time
my last arrived, babies were put down on their backs because of
research on sudden infant death syndrome. To a new parent this
ever-shifting certainty is terrifying, and then soothing. Eventually
you must learn to trust yourself. Eventually the research will follow.
I remember 15 years ago poring over one of Dr. Brazelton’s wonderful
books on child development, in which he describes three different
sorts of infants: average, quiet, and active. I was looking for a
sub-quiet codicil for an 18-month old who did not walk. Was there
something wrong with his fat little legs? Was there something wrong
with his tiny little mind? Was he developmentally delayed, physically
challenged? Was I insane? Last year he went to China . Next year he
goes to college. He can talk just fine. He can walk, too.

Every part of raising children is humbling, too. Believe me, mistakes
were made. They have all been enshrined in the, ‘Remember-When-
Mom-Did Hall of Fame.’ The outbursts, the temper tantrums, the bad
language, mine, not theirs. The times the baby fell off the bed. The
times I arrived late for preschool pickup. The nightmare sleepover.
The horrible summer camp. The day when the youngest came barreling out
of the classroom with a 98 on her geography test, and I responded,
‘What did you get wrong?’. (She insisted I include that.) The time I
ordered food at the McDonald’s drive-through speaker and then drove
away without picking it up from the window. (They all insisted I
include that.) I did not allow them to watch the Simpsons for the
first two seasons. What was I thinking?

But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while
doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly
clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There
is one picture of the three of them, sitting in the grass on a quilt
in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I
wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how
they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I
had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner,
bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and
the getting it done a little less.

Even today I’m not sure what worked and what didn’t, what was me and
what was simply life. When they were very small, I suppose I thought
someday they would become who they were because of what I’d done. Now
I suspect they simply grew into their true selves because they
demanded in a thousand ways that I back off and let them be. The books
said to be relaxed and I was often tense, matter-of-fact and I was
sometimes over the top. And look how it all turned out. I wound up
with the three people I like best in the world, who have done more
than anyone to excavate my essential humanity. That’s what the books
never told me. I was bound and determined to learn from the experts.
It just took me a while to figure out who the experts were.

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Photo by Andrew J. Cosgriff

I just completed my first marathon less than two weeks ago. I should be feeling invincible. But I don’t. 26.2 miles couldn’t stop me but the flu just kicked me in the pants. It was inevitable. The Tuesday after my race I found myself completely depleted after coming off of the final adrenaline surge of my accomplishment. I also found myself sitting in the waiting room of the pediatricians office – the dreaded petri dish. My son complained of a sore throat after having his classmate come down with strep the day before so I knew I had to take my chances. I didn’t touch anything. I used hand sanitizer. I found myself inside the same office four days later to have my daughter inoculated for the swine flu. It only took us one day after that for us all to come down with the fever, cough and terrible chills. Murphy’s Law.

There is a positive in this situation. Between shivering under the covers and the Tylenol kicking in, I had time to catch up on my favorite blogs and take care of some housecleaning and organizing that just never gets to the top of the list.

One of the things that I learned while stuck at home this week is that sometimes you have to start over.

I was reading some old posts from a new blog favorite, Mama-Om. Stacy gives great examples of being present in our children’s daily lives. It made me start to think about how I’ve wasted many connecting opportunities with my kids lately. I have always allowed the kids a little TV decompression time. When the kids sit to watch their two shows, I disappear upstairs to my computer. Time disappears for us all until we are in a frantic rush trying to get ready for whatever is next – dinner making, practice, lessons. This chaotic energy follows us through homework, getting ready for the next morning and all the way until bedtime.

I have been finding that my kids are always in a conflict and that interactions with my son have been ending in mutually frustrated feelings.

I decided to start again with a no TV rule on weekdays. It has only been two days but the difference is noticeable.

  • My kids (four years apart and opposite sexes) have started finding ways to play together again instead of squabbling.
  • More books were read and instruments were picked up and played.
  • The three of us spent time playing board games, reading together, laughing, appreciating and relishing the time spent together.
  • All of the sudden there was ample time to get everything done without that feeling of the clock ticking.
  • I was more present and able to see some teachable moments in school stories that were shared or during interactions between the kids.

It is not that the TV time took over the whole day (it was only 1 hour) but after being in school for 7 hours that extra lack of connection by zoning out in front of the screen created an energy that tainted the way we related to each other for the rest of the day. Habits are easily created and often hard to break, but it is possible to start over.

D Sharon Pruitt

D Sharon Pruitt

I began my day waking up early and meeting some friends for a run on the green trail which is one of my favorite places to run. The morning promised a beautiful day with the sun already shining and the heat building, wisps of fog dancing in the fields. I passed at least seven deer grazing while driving to the rendezvous point. One was the identical image of Bambi from the Disney film—it was tiny and had white spots unlike the other older deer wandering the fields. It is moments like that, which I would not have seen if my alarm didn’t wake me at 5:15 to venture out while my family sleeps, that make me feel grateful.

I had a great run with the  aches and pains d’jour not making a fuss and the conversation with friends flowing making the miles fly. I felt peaceful upon arriving home.

First day of summer vacation! The excitement for the fun to start created a frenetic energy that pulsed from my son. He was ready. The “for what” wasn’t planned yet. His sister wasn’t up yet and as the minutes ticked the frenetic energy began to turn into an unsettling grumpiness. When said sister did finally awaken, her surly brother was already waiting to bait and catch. My kids don’t wrestle or  fight physically. They are almost four years apart and that just doesn’t work. Instead they have developed other tactics that hurt—tattling, instigating, put downs. I’m sure these things are happening in every household but none-the-less they drive me bonkers and I just can’t have a summer of taunts, cries and whines. What can be done? Here are some ideas to help stave off the sibling rivalry. I will not hold them as fool proof, but give them a try. Let me know which work best for you and I’ll let you know how things progress here this summer.

If you have children that like to one up or put down their siblings, I found these ideas in the 10-Minute Life Lessons for Kid book.

One tactic to help cut down on put downs is to encourage the offender to say three compliments to the person that has been belittled before being able to continue with the activity that is taking place bringing awareness to the positive qualities of the sibling.

(I have a friend who makes her children pay 5 cents each time they tattle, whine or belittle their siblings. The money goes into a family activity savings jar. I like this idea but my children don’t get allowance yet so this won’t work for us.)

Another interesting activity for a family to do that demonstrates that a person’s love is limitless which may help with jealous siblings is to first give each family member a candle (the braided kind work best). Then mom or dad lights their candle and explains that the flame represents love. Each time you light a different member of the family’s candle discuss the love you felt for them coming into your life. After everyone’s candle is lit, ask these questions:

  • Did my light get smaller as I passed my light to each of you?
  • By giving love (light) to each child, was love taken away from the original child or spouse?
  • Is there more light with everyone’s candle lit than with just mine lit?
  • Do we have enough light as a family to share it with others who might need it — who may be sad or lonely?
  • What happens when all the candles are held together?
  • Does the light shine more brightly as a family or as individuals?

A great book that helps with all kinds of negative behavior is “1-2-3 Magic” by Thomas Phelan. The idea behind this book is that when your child is demonstrating negative behaviors such as whining, back talk, negotiating, sibling fighting you count them for each time the infraction occurs until three. At three there is a consequence. The consequence should be as closely related to the event as possible but taking away privileges works as well. In my house an earlier bedtime hour or reduced tv time are often used as consequences. If used consistently by both parents, this discipline technique really helps.

A final suggestion to temper heated summer moments between children would be to try some partner yoga. Did you actually think that yoga ideas would not be in this post! Partner yoga is a wonderful way to help your children connect and work together. It is fun and often ends in laughter. Partner poses to try can be found in this inspiring book called “Playful Family Yoga for Kids, Parents and Grandparents” by Teressa Asencia. Try these easy poses with your children or have them do them together.

Partner Boat Pose: Each person starts facing each other seated with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Grab ahold of each other’s hands on the outside of your legs while placing the soles of your feet together. Using core strength, lift both feet up and straigten your legs while balancing on your sit bones in boat pose.

Partner Lotus Pose: Starting in the same way as above, grab ahold of each other’s hand on the inside of the legs this time and lift legs up with your feet touching and while balancing on your sit bones.

Sunbathing on a Rock: One person starts in child’s pose. The other person stands at their partner’s feet facing away from their partner. Gently, the standing partner lowers themselves down so their sacrum (lower back) is resting on the sacrum of their partner in child’s pose. The partner on top then drapes their body over their partner so that both of their heads are next to each other. Partners must talk to each other and respect each other. The partner on top then opens their chest up by extending their arms to the sides. When the bottom partner is ready, switch.



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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