Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Svadhyaya

I thought I'd give a little update of where I am, since I haven't blogged recently. I am now almost 22 weeks pregnant and kind of stagnant in my yoga practice.





I'm planning on doing a post on Prenatal Yoga soon, so please keep an eye out for that. I went to a Prenatal Yoga class recently, but it was focused so much on stretching which is exactly the opposite of what I need to be doing. So, I haven't been back. I haven't really been even practicing at home because when I do, I get a little pain in the front of my leg and it hurts to walk. My yoga teacher, Karen Noonan, used to always say, it should feel good unless it doesn't. This didn't, so I have stopped. I guess my exercise at this point is chasing around a toddler and picking her up. I used to hate when celebrities said stuff like that because I was like, whatever, but it's true. I actually do get some exercise doing that. I'm not saying it's a crossfit workout or anything, I'm just saying it's not sitting at a desk 10 hours a day. 

I actually feel so much better this pregnancy, which is amazing considering my last pregnancy was so good. It's probably because I'm about 40 lbs lighter so I am not carrying as much weight. I've also been eating a lot healthier. The first pregnancy, I craved and could only eat McDonald's, which I realize is disgusting. This time, it's a lot more veggies, and lean meat. I will confess that yesterday was one of those days though, and I had a frosted lemonade from Chick Fil A and a hot fudge sundae from McD's. I've only been there twice though! I mainly eat at home and I have been craving healthier stuff. 

I have blogged about this before, but I am feeling stagnant in my yoga practice as well as in my teaching. I am inspired in my teaching from my practice, so when I don't have an active practice, it trickles into my teaching. I'm just having to learn how to adjust to the phases of my life, though. Growth isn't always a linear, diagonal path. And really, who's to say I'm not growing. In fact, I'm growing tremendously, but it's more focused in areas off of the mat. One challenge I was facing was a head full of thoughts that was bringing me down. I think a lot, and sometimes, I can create all kinds of drama in my head that just isn't real. I get bogged down in my thoughts and it affects my actions. I'm like a computer who has too many pages open. All of the information gets jumbled and I can't see situations clearly. I felt myself getting emotionally drained, so I made a decision to do something about it. I made a commitment to myself that I was going to read two meditation books in the morning and then journal. I have a little trouble with commitment, so I promised myself that I would focus on two meditation books and journal, every day. I've been doing this for a couple of months now, and it's been amazing the changes I've seen, mainly in my thoughts and actions. These are the two books I'm using now:







Both have been excellent to read in the morning, even if you're not Christian or in recovery! There are so many meditation books out there that are wonderful to help keep you grounded, I'll have to list my favorites one day. Back to my point, the journaling has been really great to get all of the blah out of my head and work through what's bothering me. A friend told me about a little process called R.A.I.N. by Tara Brach. It talks about identifying what is really bothering us, allowing ourselves to feel the emotions surrounding the situation, and coming up with a solution to help us come back to ourselves. Here is a link to Tara's website and more information about the technique. I've done this so many times since I've started this whole process and it's really helped me work through some stuff. The thing is, when a situation in our lives is bothering us, it's almost 100% of the time not related to the present moment. It's some kind of past transgression that's never been fully healed. Each day, we're presented with these little healing opportunities, but it's up to us to dig in and figure it out. It can be quite painful, because many times, it's something we've done to ourselves. That's the point of self study, though. That's how we become better. That's how we learn to love others, through loving ourselves and taking the time to be a better person. Yogis always seem to get so focused on Ahimsa and being vegan, I never hear them talking about self study, Svadhyaya. Svadhyaya is THE most important thing one can do because it's our way of helping the world. Through identifying our pains, our wounds, and fixing them, we can become better people. I can't control what's happening in the Middle East, but I can control whether I'm harming the people in my life. It's very normal and natural to act out sometimes, and we're going to do it because we're human. I have a choice, though, and that choice is to explore where that pain is coming from and do something about it. 

So, that's where I am today. The past two days, I haven't even really had anything to say in my journal, but I'm still writing because I want to stay in that habit!

I have been taking some photos lately, so I'll leave you with one of my most recent favs. Thanks!







Wendi

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Loving our Bodies





Since I'm teaching a workshop on Saturday about this very topic, I thought I'd do a little blog post as well. This won't be a substitute for the class because I'm doing some cool meditations so please come if you're able!

In today's society, specifically America, we are obsessed with looking fit. I say "looking" because I don't think we actually care if you're healthy or not, just that you simply look the part. As long as you have "lean muscle" and "abs of steel", you've achieved your goal. If you're not throwing up in your workout, you're a wimp and you're not doing it right. It's a very aggressive attitude towards fitness and doesn't leave a lot of room for nurturing our bodies and, quite frankly, our specific needs. There are a lot of diet trends that include terms like "whole foods", "organic", "paleo", "low carb", etc. It's an interesting time in the diet/fitness industry and it's been elevated to a whole new level thanks to social media.

I actually am not saying that any of our fitness crazes are wrong, that eating healthy or whole is bad, or that we aren't supposed to try to be healthy. I'm saying that marketing is better than ever and it's captured us in a way that we've never been captured before. We've all become experts with knowledge of nutrition and how our bodies work. Are we overthinking it? I actually don't know the answer to that. I think anything can become an obsession and what's scary is the disordered eating that seems to be coming from that area of focus.

So what am I suggesting? I'm suggesting that we can actually love our bodies, no matter what size. I am suggesting that our bodies actually can guide us to what foods work best, if we take care of it and listen to it's needs. We don't have to take on some Biggest Loser mentality in order to learn how to care for ourselves. All we need to do is quiet our minds, connect with the present moment, and listen. The challenges that we face as people on the diet merry go round include things like overeating, compulsive overeating, severe restriction, mental obsession with health, rigidity in one's diet/exercise plan, and then also, the majors like Bulimia, Anorexia, etc. What are the steps we need to take in order to move towards a healthy relationship with our body?

1) Stop the negative self talk: I catch myself saying negative things all the time internally. It can be about my physical appearance but it can also be about anything I'm doing. It's like I'm wired to constantly beat myself up. That kind of sucks right? The good news is I can change it. I can stop myself mid sentence and decide to do something differently.

2) Give myself freedom: This used to sound really scary to me. I mean, if I just eat what I want, I'm going to eat a bunch of crap and become really fat. And you know what, that's what I did at first. I had restricted for so long that I had a lot of catching up to do. I got it out and then you know what, it got old. I started feeling poopy again and I realized that eating healthy actually made me feel better. I found that I really do crave veggies, lean meat, all of those things that make me feel good and strong. My diet started to even out and now it's a very healthy, non restrictive mixture of veggies, fruit, whole grains, and dessert.

3) Accept myself for how I am in this very moment, without feeling the need to change anything: Yep - accept that there may be some higher purpose for me to be where I am and allow myself to fulfill that goal. Stop trying to change who I am and just participate in things that make me feel good about myself. That is going to be different for everyone. For me, it's yoga, meditation, walking, hanging out with family and friends, and occasionally Zumba :)

I can really go much deeper into this topic, but I'll reserve it for my workshop. I have included the details below so please come if you can!

Workshop: Learn to Love Your Body
Location: Yoga East, 4510 Old Spartanburg Rd, Taylors, SC 29687
Cost: $20
What to bring: paper and pen and yourself

Thanks so much!