The Lone Nut No More

IMG_1638Today I slept in, wrote, took a walk with G and Boomer, taught Happy Hour yoga.

It was a soft day. It is the first of May and the weather is finally, starting to drastically improve.

The Challenge is over and while it was wonderful, it was still exhausting. At the end we sat around eating  Cauliflower Maranca and Kale Quinoa cakes and a Vegan Chocolate Cake and a Gin and Tonic cake. There were also veggies and dip and a variety of crunchy food for grazing.

There was white and red wine, Stella Artois and Guinness draft and Sparkling Cider and a bottle of Maker’s Mark for the bourbon lovers.

It was good to sit around in a circle and talk and listen to my tribe. Vince was there and he said, in relation to my remark that Mansfield is a very difficult place to live, something to the effect that it’s only in difficult places that it is possible to be a pioneer.

He called me a pioneer, and I guess I am. I saw what I thought the town needed (a yoga studio) and made it happen. It took a long time for it to “take” but it did.

His words reminded me of this “leadership” video on my Facebook feed this week. I love the idea of the “first follower.” If you don’t get that first follower, you are just a lone nut. But once you  get that first follower, then you are leader, and from there, if other people join, you can start something pretty great.

I feel so grateful to my first followers: Brynne and Aleta and Judith. Then close behind them, a whole slew of other people who have been practicing at MSY for at least 10 of its 11 years.

It feels very good not to be the lone nut any more.

At least when it comes yoga.

(If you catch my drift.)

I Never Know What to Write About

The question of the moment is: Should I sit here and continue to eat refined carbohydrates and drink coffee, or go to Wegmans for green juice supplies?

OR: Should I stop eating refined carbohydrates and go up and meditate first, and then go to Wegmans for green juice supplies?

OR: Should I put on a James Altucher podcast and clean the house, then go for my Power Walk, and then go to Wegmans for green juice supplies?

OR: Should I write about how there were 22 people for Happy Hour Yoga last night and I had a freakin’ blast?

OR: Should I write about the Yoga Challenge which is in Day 5, and how I heard someone ask another person: “Are you yoga challenged?”

(“Why, yes. Yes I am.”)

This is what the wall looks like in the lounge:

Yoga Challenged

OR: Maybe I should complain write about the weather. Now that would be novel and interesting.

Winter face in spring

OR: Maybe I should write about how Spring lifted up her skirt and let us catch a glimpse of her panties the other day, and I saw it and captured it:

Snowdrops

But then she put her long johns back on and pretended like it never happened.

OR: Maybe I should write about how we found a new place to eat in Corning that serves green food and we were so happy!

(This is G pounding wheatgrass shots and my salad.)

Pretty salad

G drinks wheat grass

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And what would a post be without a picture of the miraculous Obie? Em took him to “Mommy and Baby” class and clearly he had too much to drink.

 

Obie: Done.

OR: Maybe, now that I’ve procrastinated long enough by writing this post and my  blood glucose levels are dropping precariously, I should go to Wegmans for green juice supplies.

Day 1 of the Yoga Challenge

This winter I was on pain-killers, and I got addicted to them. I hated taking them but I needed them to deal with the pain after my wrist surgery. I hated that I needed them.

One day, I decided: Fuck it. I am not taking these things that make me feel like crap. So I stopped. And that was a big mistake because I got BEHIND the pain. Edie kept on warning me, “You’ve got to stay AHEAD of the pain, Kath. So even if you’re not feeling pain, take your meds anyway because you have to stay ahead of the pain.

I learned the hard way. I got behind the pain and it took me a long time to get ahead of it again.

This was the worst winter of my life. I was addicted to pain meds. I was depressed. I dropped to 100 pounds. I lost my yoga practice. I never went outside because it was always below zero. I couldn’t ski. I couldn’t do downward dog.

In short, I was a mess.

Today the April Yoga Challenge began. I am no longer addicted to pain killers. I am Power Walking. I can do a Sun Salutation (albeit badly) again. I am starting to want green leafy vegetables again. I have turned a corner.

Today the day got ahead of me, or I got behind it. One or the other. I taught the first classes of the Challenge feeling that I was BEHIND. Tomorrow will be better.

This is going to be fun, but I have to keep ahead of it.

Just for the month of April

In the month of April I run a “Yoga Challenge” at my studio, Main Street Yoga. It’s a “30 Days for $30” yoga extravaganza.

I run 3 classes a day Monday through Thursday, and 2 classes a day Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

70 people are signed up this year and it’s intense, let me tell you. The energy in that room is something I have to surf or get swamped.

I also have people who are committed to a daily yoga practice for the month of April who are doing this “virtually,” meaning that they practice on their own and then check in at a website I set up at www.virtualyogarians.com.

I post there every day in April, and so do a lot of other people. (I have set it up as a “multi-user” blog.) So, if you want to read about what’s going on with me and the challenge, or if you want to join as a “virtual” head on over there. Otherwise, I’ll see you back here in May.

Later, ‘gaters.

Surf’s up!

2013 Yoga Challenge, Day 1.
2013 Yoga Challenge, Day 1.

Crazy Town

This was the view this morning from Grant Science Center about 8 AM.

view from grant science

I was walking Boomer this morning, which I never do, because G usually walks Boo in the morning, but this morning she was boarding the bus to Crazy Town, so I found myself trotting the Corgi through the sleepy campus as the carillons banged out the first eight gongs of the day.

“Crazy Town” is what we call softball season/yoga challenge season because it is now that our fairly orderly, routinized, and ritualized lives start to go completely haywire, and continue wiring that hay until about mid-May when we both “come to,” scratch our heads and go: What the hell just happened? 

Every year we think: Nah, this year we have it. And every year, we lose it.

I lose it due to sleep deprivation. She loses it due to…pick one: weather, losses, player melt-downs, or some wild card event that no one could have predicted.

So as the carillons pealed out across the campus this morning and the Corgi found an old pizza crust and scarfed it down, and G was loading the bus with players and Gatorade, I took a picture of the sky.  Because the sky was quiet.

And I needed a picture of quiet today.

April Recap

River Towns Half Marathon "Trybe"

What a weekend!   Here is our running “Trybe” before we approached the start line for the River Towns Half Marathon.  We all look so happy and fresh and smiley and clean, don’t we?

Yeah, we didn’t end up looking so pretty, but we all finished!  We have been training since January in temps ranging from the high 20s to the high 50s.  Race day temp?  High 80s. Ouch.

But it was all good (I actually like it warm, given the choice) and this time I hydrated before, during and after, so the next day I was a bit sore, but fine.

The April Yoga Challenge ended with a big class, and a party.  Cindy Meixel, one of the “Virtuals” actually came!  And she took some pics, including this one:

End of the Yoga Challenge

We had great food, I raffled off some mats and other goodies, I got to meet the families and friends of some of my students, and had a blast.

And then, on Saturday, when it was all over, I went blotto. I  stayed offline, slept in (ahhh..), and shopped for groceries.  I cleaned the studio, put it back to rights, and this morning led a sleepy morning class and just one class this evening.

I’m still tired.  It’s going to take a few more days to get back to my creative rhythm.

More tomorrow…

Back to normal at MSY.

Day 22: An Interview with Jes Ricker

During last year’s Yoga Challenge I watched Jes Ricker, owner of Night and Day Coffee Cafe, transform herself.  She became dedicated to her practice, which then started her on a dramatic trajectory of transformation, which is continuing to this day.  I asked her to tell me how this all came about, in the hopes that it will resonate with, and encourage all the people who have been practicing so hard for the last 22 days.  By now everyone, even those who come sporadically, should be feeling the beginnings of a seismic shift, in their bodies and in their minds.

Here’s what I asked Jes, and here are her answers:

Me:  Jes, you’ve told me that last year’s Yoga Challenge started you on a path of transformation. Can you remember how you were feeling last April as the Challenge began?

Jes:  This is such a great question because honestly, when I think about it, I feel like I was a different person.  Yes, I had done yoga before, but it had been 2 years since I took a class.  I can remember feeling intimidated, like I would be extremely out of shape or unsure of my ability to keep up.  At the time I was just simply happy to be back in the studio, so I had no idea that starting back up would be the start to major changes in my life.

Me:  What were some of the difficulties, as well as the joys of practicing yoga regularly?

Jes:  Kath, you say it best when you tell your classes that, “Just getting to the mat is the hardest part.”  Making time to do yoga is a daily challenge for me, even after a year of regular practice.   With that said, however, I have also learned to just do what I can or want to do in a day, without feeling guilty for what does not get done.  And this is true for yoga, too.  Over time I am finding that the less I worry about being able to get to that mat, the easier I find time for it.

Every day I remind myself to carry into the real world the state of peace and clarity that I feel when doing yoga.  No matter what kind of day I was having when entering your studio, I always walked out with a smile on my face.  I challenge myself to make that smile last a little bit longer than it did the day before.
Me: What happened after the April Challenge ended? Were you able to keep up your practice(s)?

Jes:  At the end of last year’s challenge I made it my intent to attend one of your classes at least once a week.  In the summer that was easy to do because I had plenty of time!  Throughout the rest of the year, it’s not so easy.  So this is where my struggle began.  I know of the benefits and rewards that yoga brings me, yet I will sacrifice my practice for other commitments.  Unfortunately, that is still something I am trying to change today.

I find it very challenging to do yoga on my own because I appreciate so much the yoga I do in your studio.  In May I will be going on a solo retreat for 3 weeks and the thing I am looking forward to doing the most is working on my yoga practice, alone.  I am truly hoping this will be an opportunity to break through that challenge.

Me: How do you feel now, a year later?

Jes:  I tell people all the time that yoga changed my life.  Mostly because it opened up my world –and my hips! When I was doing yoga I was fascinated with how I didn’t think about anything.  Which for me seemed so unrealistic because I was so highly stressed all the time.  I was always so preoccupied with my next task before I even finished the one I was currently working on.  So yoga became an addiction because it became my sanctuary; it became the one thing I did every day that I did not think about. By the end of the Challenge last April, my body craved more.  More relief.  And as I found that relief, through yoga, there was no going back.

By doing yoga I learned how to pay attention to how I felt, on the inside.  Over time, I began to apply this concept to every aspect of my life.  When you pay attention to how you feel (not think), as you eat certain foods or do certain activities, it becomes very obvious what is good or better for you. So with yoga came the desire to eat better.  Also with yoga I had more energy, so I wanted to exert myself more, challenge myself more.  This is how I lost more than 30 pounds since the end of the yoga challenge last April.

In a world of chaos, yoga makes me feel sane. So by the end of the challenge last April i felt…….grateful.  Alive.  Back on track.   People go through their days so worried about so many things, that after a while we forget what is really important.  Yoga reminded me of what’s important.  One year later I feel like I am, every day, genuinely trying to be the person I have always wanted to be, which is no more than just simply accepting who I am.

Me:  Any advice for people currently in the Challenge wondering how they will keep going on this path after April?

Jes:  Oh geez, I don’t know if I am in a position to give advice (haha).  But I guess the one thing I would love to share with anyone is whether you are new to the practice, or have been doing it for a while, to simply remind yourself every day to let things be whatever they are, in the studio, as well as outside in the real world.  Quieting my mind while doing yoga made me realize I really didn’t need to take things as seriously as I did.  And that actually, when I stopped trying to control how things would feel, what they would look like, etc, everything became exactly what is was meant to be (and a lot faster).  So with that said, don’t try to control how your practice will go, or how it will make you feel.  If you are a beginner, give yourself time to grow with your practice.  Don’t worry so much about whether you are doing it right or what you look like.  And listen to your body.  Feel what you feel, whatever it is, and be ok with that.   : )