The Era of the Mat Sandwich Ends

Last night I did a class for a college sorority. A friend of mine is the advisor and thought it would be good for them. So I had to set up the studio for a crowd. I put down 19 mats with blankets under them for added cushioning on the hardwood floor.

Then I sat on my mat and looked at my studio. This will be the last time I will see it like this. No more am I going to have everything all set up like this when my students arrive. Starting with this Challenge, the studio is going to be bare when my students walk in.

It’s going to be strange.

For the past 8 years it’s looked liked this

From the teacher's seat

But starting tomorrow, just floor.

All day I worked in there. I picked up all those mats, all those blankets, and the base mats under the blankets that keep the whole “mat sandwich” from sliding along the wood floor like a magic carpet.

I then mopped and laid out a template for where mats should go.

Tomorrow at 8 AM I teach the first class of the month. It’s going to be awesome, but I felt nostalgic last night when I took that picture from the teacher’s seat. I hope some people decide to continue to make mat sandwiches.

I’m not going to miss washing all those mats, that’s for sure, but I am going to miss the color that those blankets provided, and the satisfaction of knowing that my students were always as  comfortable as I could make them.

Feeling Torn

So. It’s late and I’m tired and I am thinking about what I am going to do with this blog once April rolls around (the day after tomorrow).

I have this other blog I write on in April called Virtual Yogarians.  It’s a “multi-user” blog in which anyone who is attempting the Challenge is invited to comment and even post. I intend to write on that blog every day in April, but I don’t want to totally abandon this blog during that time either. (Plus, it is my Lenten challenge to write everyday until Easter, which is April 8th, so I am committed for at least that long.)

So I am trying to think of a way to compartmentalize my life so that I restrict “yoga talk” to Virtual Yogarians and everything else to this blog.

Trouble is, in April, my whole life is yoga. I will be teaching 67 classes in 30 days. When you teach that much yoga, yoga kinda dominates your mind, and your life, if you catch my drift.

So I am wondering: what kinds of things might I write about here that don’t have anything to do with teaching yoga, yet will still be of interest to my readers who don’t really give a rat’s ass about yoga.


Eating Out

There’s something great about eating out: ordering from a menu, having a cocktail, choosing a dessert. And the whole thing about having someone else cook your meal, bring it to you, then whisk away the dishes, leaving you to linger over your wine, or a coffee? Yeah. I’m all about it.

So tonight G suggested we eat out.

I didn’t teach today, her game was postponed until Sunday, and we both are going to be spending a lot of time in Crazy Town in April, so this might be our last chance for a nice dinner out for at least a month.

But where to go? That was the question.

The local brewpub where we usually go? Or to the place where we used to go, before the brewpub opened.

It was a hard call because the local brewpub serves locally sourced meat, but I was in the mood for a martini and a nice dessert, and I couldn’t get either of those things there.

So we went to the place where we used to go. I am about to go back on the Clean program starting Sunday, but even if I wasn’t, I’m still concerned about where my food comes from and how it’s prepared. That’s why it’s often hard for me to eat out.

I am never really happy with any place we go. I want a place that will make me a delicious meal with locally sourced meat and produce. I want a place where I am confident that the chef is conscientious about getting fresh ingredients, and preparing them with care and attention. I don’t need to have as much info as these guys from Portlandia did, but I need some reassurance that things in the kitchen are cool.

So tonight we went to the Nest and I had a martini and the crabcakes, and we got the chocolate peanut butter mousse pie to take home.

It was lovely. But I wish we had a restaurant like this one around here. If we did, I would be eating out a lot more, methinks.

167 Day Yoga Streak Ends

yoga journal

The other day my 167 day yoga streak, the one I kept track of in that journal up there, came to an end. That’s almost 6 months of daily practice. Over.

I’m sad about it. Really sad.

If you’re a regular here, you know I write about streaks a lot. I am, by nature, a streaker. I like to say “streaker” rather than “disciplined,” because while it takes discipline to keep a streak going, I don’t like to focus on all that grit-your-teeth, nose-to-the grindstone kind of stuff, because the truth of the matter is that I’m not a grindstoney person. Hate grindstones, in fact. And grit? In my teeth? Please. My periodontist just complimented me on my excellent hygiene. We will have none of this grit.

I only streak things I really, really love, so to be all solemn and hair-shirt about it would go completely against the grain.

Because a key tenet of my life philosophy is this: “If it’s not fun, it’s not done.”

By “fun” I don’t mean laugh my ass off, piss my pants kind of fun, (though I stand for that, too.)  But fun in the “interesting, ” intriguing,” “fascinating,” even “challenging” sense.  Like climbing a really high mountain is “fun,” or running a marathon is fun.

So I had this 167 day love-fest-streak-thing going with my daily yoga practice: the private practice I do in my home yoga room in my crappy tee and baggy harem pants that have stains on them.

The practice I do when no one is home to become alarmed at the crashes and thumps of my body flailing about, hitting the ground, crashing into walls, or at the moaning, groaning and heavy breathing that sounds more like I’m having hot sex with myself than doing a “spiritual practice.”

But then I caught this this cough/cold thing and I felt crummy in the mornings. I’d drag myself to my mat for a “streaker keeper” practice: the barest minimum I could do with integrity to keep the streak in tact.

Then, the other day I over-did it cleaning the studio and came home dragging my cough, cold AND a really cranky QL (quadratus lumborum) aka: low back pain. I did the Advil thing, but I couldn’t sleep without waking up, so the next day…

I did not practice.

Streak ended.

So per my own rules about streaks, I now confess publicly that this one is over, and it is time to start a new one. Building from scratch. Day after day, for as long as I can.

And with the Yoga Challenge starting at the studio on Sunday, the timing couldn’t be better.

How’s It Going?

I had to see my accountant today for the dreaded doing of the taxes.

Hagar wears his hair in a gray crew cut, military-style, that, oddly enough, looks kinda cool on him. He does it stick-straight up like a newly sprouted lawn.

After the initial handshake and how-di-do’s he says, “How’s it going?”

Now, when your accountant asks you “How’s it going?” you have to assume he means  fiscally.  As in, are you making a profit? how’s your bottom line?” But not with Hagar. “How’s it going?” could mean, “Are you happy doing what you’re doing?”

So I answer that question. I say:

“Great. I’m happy. My students seem happy. Everybody’s doing well as far as I can tell: learning how to breathe, stay cool, vanquish the stress monster, like that.”

That’s what I say, because the Excel spreadsheet gives him the other side of that, which is: I showed a loss.  But even showing a loss he said what I did this year was “remarkable, really great.”  He said given where I am, the county I live in, where my business is located, what I am doing is “incredible.”

And this from a financial perspective.

Never has loss felt so nice.

Spring Decorations

One reason I could never be an elementary school teacher is bulletin boards. All teachers spend a lot of time making their rooms interesting and stimulating environments for their students, but elementary teachers go hog-wild, changing things around based on the curriculum and the seasons.

It’s nice. I approve. But I could never get into it, personally. I’m not “crafty.” I don’t sew or paint or quilt or macrame or cross-stich or, you name it. (I am also not “crafty” in the sly, devious sense either, just so you know.)

But I have to admit that I like it when I see seasonal changes in decor when I go places, and I especially like it in my own house.

G is into “changing things up” for the season in terms of little knick-knacky things around the house. These things make me smile when then just magically “appear.”  Here’s a little glimpse of what showed up this week:

This is what greeted me in the mudroom:

Spring mudroom


















And these spring towels hung from the stove:

Spring kitchen

And on the dining room table, daffys in a blue vase. (Love daffodils in a blue vase!)

Spring table

On the sideboard:

Spring sideboard

And on the mantle, Kwan Yin sports bunny ears:

Spring mantle

It made me smile. G could have done bulletin boards! She would have totally rocked them.

Maybe we should put one up?

Yoga Challenge Preparations

A week from today the Yoga Challenge begins. Yikes!

I’ve been collecting registrations and trying to figure out how many mats will fit, and if I need any more stuff to make the experience better for the participants.

Today I went to the studio and moved all the props into the lounge in “stage one” of Challenge Prep.  It’s making me excited to see the studio space open up again. This year, for the first time,  I am not providing mats. I am making my people bring their own.

I think this is a good idea, not only because it will be way easier for me to clean the space, but I think everyone who commits to doing this much yoga needs to have their own mat, their own piece of spiritual geography.

Lots of things happen to you on a yoga mat: you sweat, you cry, you fall, you rest, you even have little epiphanies on them (if you’re lucky!) So doesn’t it makes sense that this thing be  yours? That you take it home with you? Put it in a bag that you like? Wash it with stuff you like to smell?

Who wants to have an epiphany on a mat, and the next week see some schmo sweating all over it?  Not me, I’ll tell you.

I have also been inventorying my yoga clothes. If I am going to be teaching 3 times a day for the next month,  I need to make sure I have enough clothes so that I don’t have to do laundry every 3 days.

I am cheap when it comes to clothes, though.  I hate spending big bucks on yoga togs, but sometimes I’m forced to. I try as much as possible to shop places like T.J. Maxx where they have overstocks of name brands. But the other day I was cruising the Lululemon site which is the “IT” place among fashion-forward yoga teachers, apparently, but its appeal has always baffled me. Most of their stuff looks boring, style-wise. Big yawn.

The only thing that makes my eyes pop are the prices. Yowza! Ouch. No.

But I have been looking, without success, to replace my fave crop pants which have seen one too many seasons (not yoga crops, just hike, bike, mess around crops) when I saw a cool-looking pair on the Lulu site that got rave reviews. I blanched at the price, (as usual), but ordered them anyway, thinking that I would probably send them back once I was validated in my belief that nothing was worth that price.

Well, they came yesterday, and oh lord. I freakin’ LOVE them. I could (and probably will) live in them all summer. (I wish they came in tan, too.) I got them in “Coal,” and I may have to get them in gray, too. They’re these.

I’m keeping them.