Friday, January 28, 2011

Yoga Is For Everyone!

It was my birthday last weekend, and one of my birthday wishes was for some alone time. My husband lovingly obliged by scooting me out the door to a yoga class. I decided to roam to a new studio that I’d been meaning to try for some time.

As I walked into this new/unfamiliar room, I was pleasantly surprised by the d├ęcor, lighting, and music flowing from the speakers. I was also surprised to realize that I felt a bit uneasy. As the other people for the class trickled in, I started to feel self-conscious for not knowing anyone, and embarrassed because I hadn’t realized that this classroom would be heated slightly and I was unprepared for that. I felt fidgety and wanted to move my mat to the back of the room where I could “hide”. I almost started to regret coming when the teacher caught my eye.

I noticed she seemed nervous too, and in fact when I engaged her with a sheepish smile she said “This is my first time teaching in this room!” I immediately said “It’s my first time taking a class here!” and we both laughed. I felt instantly better, and think she did too.

This experience got me to thinking about how intimidating it must be for someone who has never tried yoga to take that first step and go to a class. I’ve encouraged many a friend and family member to try yoga, and have heard myriad excuses. Maybe you can’t touch your toes. Or maybe you want to lose a few pounds before you slip into a pair of tight fitting yoga pants. Maybe you’re just nervous, and I totally get that.

I worried when I started this blog and titled it with the word “yogi” and mentioned that I would try to focus on yoga that I might be alienating people who weren’t doing yoga. I want to impress upon anyone who ever reads this blog: Yoga is for everyone. You don’t have to be hardcore! Yoga is for YOU. It’s a chance to spend some time with YOUrself. Check in, breathe, reflect, and bring yourself back to the present. It’s a way to quiet your mind on a particularly emotional day; a way to feel balance when you are juggling too many things on your plate; a way to challenge yourself to try new things.


I encourage you not to get caught up in the gimmicky yoga. Keep it simple. I also encourage you to try the first few times on your own. It’s tempting to go with a friend or a group of friends, but it is distracting. It’s easier to focus on yourself when you’re not worried if your friend can touch his/her toes and you can’t. If you’re alone, you can slow down when you need to or push yourself when you feel ready. You can figure out how you feel about yoga.

Anyway… we all have feelings of doubt or moments of insecurity. I have them all the time! I guess the goal is to recognize those feelings before they gain momentum and take action to change them. Seeing that the yoga teacher was nervous in her own way made me realize that my feelings of doubt needed to beat it! I took a breath and settled in to enjoy a new class and new teacher, and something new to think and write about!

Happy Friday!!



Friday, January 21, 2011

Date Night - At Home!

The greatest thing happened this week, and it wasn’t even planned: My husband and I had a date, at home!

It was Wednesday, and the baby was down for the night. We had a well rounded dinner prepared, and music playing. We decided to actually sit at the table to eat. We faced each other, we talked, and we took our time. When we were done, I was going to prepare a recipe for dinner with friends the following night. Rather than go our separate ways, my husband poured another glass of wine for the two of us. He cleaned up the living room, sat with me in the kitchen and we continued to enjoy each other. He pitched in and measured my ingredients while I stirred, and we had so much fun together. After the meal was prepared and the kitchen cleaned, we sat to relax with one short tv show, and then went to bed at the same time.

I’m writing about this because this was out of the norm for us. We both work, we both go to a yoga class twice a week, and we’re both pretty tired at the end of the day. Our pattern often consists of getting the baby to sleep, making a quick dinner and then plopping on the couch to eat and to watch a few shows. I usually fall asleep on the couch long before my husband is ready for bed, and he wakes me to send me upstairs. It’s not that we aren’t spending time together, but it feels (especially in contrast to our date night at home) that we sort of buzz around each other, and then end up beside each other but aren’t really with each other. We’re physically together, but not necessarily connecting.


This is not a knock on my husband or me! But we both realized how much fun it was to just hang out, decompress, and connect in a new way. Even though we did a lot on that Wednesday night, we both felt more relaxed. I didn’t fall asleep on the couch, I actually felt more energetic than I had in a long time. This was a welcomed realization – more like a rememberization (hehe) – that we fulfill each other, rejuvenate each other, and have fun no matter what we are doing! When we take the time to actually slow down a little bit we feel happier and stronger as a couple.

Here’s to remembering to be together, breathe together, and date nights at home more often than not!


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

TRY

I’ve had an idea for a while now, and I’ve kept myself from doing anything about it because the idea seems so big that I don’t even know where to start. While staring at the blank blog page and wondering about where to begin, I realized that the acronym for my blog’s title is TRY. It was a moment where I said to myself, Helllooo!! Nothing will ever happen if you don’t even try! I’m going to take some advice that a yummy piece of Dove chocolate gave me years ago: Don’t think about it so much!

After a long (multi-day) conversation with my hubby (read: argument) that stemmed from me wanting to move away from the place we live, I did some serious thinking. I came upon a line in a post from a blog I follow (Wondrous Women) that jumped from the page and snapped me into focus. It read “Happiness is not a destination, but a state”. I realized that I have always been a roamer – someone who packed up and went wherever the winds of change took her. If a job wasn’t fun anymore, I found a new one. If a friend needed a roommate and I needed a change, I moved. If adventure beckoned, I acquiesced.

But now, I have roots. I have a loving husband, a beautiful daughter, caring family and friends, a steady job with important things like health insurance. More simply, I have responsibilities. I can’t pick up and go when I start to feel restless and I am struggling with that.

From here on out, my goal is to indulge that roamer within while also continuing to keep my state of mind at the center of my attention. I’m changing my perspective, and I’m going to focus on something that always makes me feel better: YOGA. I’m committing to being more present, more aware, and to being happy wherever I am.

I’ve realized that there are many ways to roam that will satisfy this urge to do something new and different. I can roam through my city, through the library. I can roam around my home, between moods, to new places. I can roam with my husband, with my daughter, with my sisters. I can roam to new yoga studios, around different philosophies, through fabulous museums. Just because I have responsibilities doesn’t mean I can’t keep learning, loving, pondering, sharing, breathing, and practicing.

So, here I am, TRY-ing something new. While this blog might not be All yoga, All the time, I’ll do my best to bring it back to yoga in some way. If it’s nourishing me in any way, it’s yoga to me! This blog is to help me keep my focus, to challenge myself to continue learning about myself and about yoga. For whoever wants to roam with me, I welcome you here!

Namaste, Michelle