3.30.2010

Springy

Spring has come slowly this year, creeping up, shrouded in wind, wet washes, and even snow. Suddenly this week, it leapt from behind a corner and whirled up in our faces. Daffodils nodding and much more. Here's a poem to celebrate it!

Spring Quiet
Christina Rossetti (1847)


Gone were but the Winter,
Come were but the Spring,
I would go to a covert
Where the birds sing.

Where in the whitethom
Singeth a thrush,
And a robin sings
In the holly-bush.

Full of fresh scents
Are the budding boughs
Arching high over
A cool green house:

Full of sweet scents,
And whispering air
Which sayeth softly:
“We spread no snare;

“Here dwell in safety,
Here dwell alone,
With a clear stream
And a mossy stone.

“Here the sun shineth
Most shadily;
Here is heard an echo
Of the far sea,
Though far off it be.

Namaste,
Kat

3.28.2010

Weight a minute!

Spring is exploding around us. That means summer is around the corner, time for tank tops, sun dresses, shorts, bikinis, in general, nice sunny days and lighter clothing. With the warm season comes a chance to evaluate our weight. In the depths of winter, for me it is easier to have an extra helping of something warm and comforting as we snuggle in our fuzzy and total coverage pjs and the wind and snow whip around outside. Body awareness may actually decrease! Maybe not for all, but I think mine does. Some people seem like they easily manage their weight throughout life, while others feel like they are on a roller-coaster that they are not driving. What is the key? Honestly I believe it boils down to one simple (but challenging to follow) sentence: You will lose weight if you eat less than you burn.

A few years ago my sister shared a pretty cool web page with me. Kinda a geeky approach to weight loss. It's very well done though, and addresses the fact that losing weight is hard, you will feel hungry, cold, maybe even angry and upset as you give up calories and your stomach growls up at you. But it offers a lot of great scientifically driven points. One is that exercise is good for you, but it's not the key to weight loss. I agree. The calories you burn for the time it takes are not going to save you if you are eating that tasty donut or burger extra. However, exercise will boost your metabolism and mood, so I recommend it of course.

The Hacker's Diet. By John Walker
http://www.fourmilab.ch/hackdiet/e4/

I like the idea behind his key snacks if you are hungry and must eat (and are trying to LOSE weight). Pickles, bouillon in water, you get the idea. Sounds icky but it's TRUE. Very low calorie, but filling. You could drink water, eat celery, eat lettuce, find low calorie and space taking stuff. I have lost about 25-30 pounds since college and have kept it off. How? Eating less bad stuff and more good stuff and less in general, moving more, but also making sure to listen to when I am actually hungry, which I totally was not doing in college when I gained the weight. Was it hard to lose that weight? Yes. Sometimes I am still amazed that I carried the equivalent of a large sack of rice around on me constantly. Thank God it is gone!!

I was hungry at times, but I lost it over about 4 years so that's only a pound every couple months, not as hard if you stretch it out. I would actually recommend 1 pound every week or two over less time but whatever works for you is what is best. Some of my own personal thoughts were roadblocks like, if you are hungry your body will just store everything as fat. No! Not true! I was hungry sometimes and lost 25 pounds. So if you can find the edge of your hunger, embrace that. For me, food actually tastes much better when I'm a little hungry. Don't worry, you will not starve! Or another thought to stop me, it's more natural to gain weight in the winter. I'm still battling that one!

This blog post came about because I would like to lose 5 pounds. I know I'm close to my personal ideal weight, but just above it and gained a pound or two over the last six months. Doesn't sound like a lot but if I do that for 10 or 15 years, I'll be back at 150 and I'm not going there! Five pounds is not a lot, but maybe it's harder to lose weight as you get closer? Maybe that's just another mental roadblock. I already monitor my weight and have done so for years on a chart, so I recommend doing that to help manage your weight and simply bring awareness to it. If you do record it, be sure to look at trends, rather than highs and lows. The human body is mostly water and in losing the weight it was not a regular daily decline. Some days up, some down, overall the moving average became lower. Also, it's a good idea to get a scale with body fat percentage as well. That way if you do work out or retain fluid, the weight might not change as much as the % but you will have two sets of data to help you figure out if what you are doing is effective.

In conclusion, my goal is to be healthy and feel good. This is a different place and weight for different people, but in general if we are at an typical weight or a little below, we will live longer, have less health problems, and probably feel better. Carrying around extra mass is tiring! I wish you all the best of luck and energy with your own weight goals. Please feel free to share anything you would like to share here!

Namaste,
Kat

3.27.2010

grateful for...

Tea, yoga chats, the Wizards, my team, hyacinth, lilac, daffodil, tulip, johnny cash, family dinner, progress, Zeke, Inka, Mission.

3.25.2010

Black and White

What makes us happy? Feel refreshed? New, contented, renewed? It depends. Often it is the lack in life that creates fulfillment. Meeting a need or craving and it's oh so sweet. Don't we tend to want what we don't have in the here and now? Sitting around a lot, suddenly a long walk is heaven. On the run all day, a cozy spot on the couch is divine. Lots of tension? A massage is just the ticket. Quiet days? Noise delights. Crazy loud environment and silence becomes golden. The fact is, we may be creatures of habit but we NEED contrast. Why is yoga so much to so many? Because most days for most of us we simply don't get to explore the body's range of motion. In yoga, we enjoy the chance to stretch to our limits, literally! Not to mention slowing down the mind, shutting off the rapid fire thoughts of the day.

Lately the cool of winter has relented and hinted at heat to come. I love the seasons, this enduring contrast of nature. What is the contrast of the universe? Expansion of all will someday compress, will time reverse? Fascinating. Wish I could sit down and chat with Einstein 'bout it.

For a moment, let's all focus on that aspect of our life we have not explored, where we have yet to exist, or maybe rarely have. For it is here that happiness rests. And it will constantly change.

Namaste,
Kat

3.18.2010

Solidify?

As we grow older, we tend to lose some flexibility in our bodies, although our practice can greatly slow and in some cases reverse this progression. Imagine butter vs. olive oil, one holding its shape, the other as fluid as an ocean. I got to thinking today that we might also tend to become more inflexible in our spirits/souls/personalities. Things that appealed to us at a younger age now seem overwhelming and even undesirable. Perhaps a last minute road trip, staying up all night, approaching Westport on St.Patty's...you get the picture. We might even have a certain restaurant, perhaps our favorite table, drink, meal, the list goes on and on. Why is something best, simply because it is familiar? Or is it just easier?

How do we maintain both our mental and physical ability to accept change, bend in the wind, and enjoy surprises? Hard to say but I think this is a worthwhile question to ask and one I may ponder for some time. One thing that could definitely help is being around young people. They tend to see life through totally different and lovely lenses, and can revive our sense of fun by simple exposure to their spontaneous style. Coaching, tutoring, teaching are all great ways to give back to the community and liven yourself up a little too. Yoga of course helps us. I think travel, reading, social groups, and old and new friends can help us see the world in new lights and on different levels. Here's to any sort of continuing education. When we are learners we are excited for the present moment and revelations unfurling like leaves.

Namaste,
Kat

3.15.2010

grateful for...

Zen zone in Lees Summit, massage, group healing, the basement, KC yogi/yoginis, groceries, fresh clean water from a tap, mini-pizzas, spring break time to relax, lavender, tulip tips, daffodils, freshly painted walls, soccer practice, kitty cats, hot shower, glasses, contacts, eyes, health, friends, family, sunshine, fresh air, 50+ weather, birthdays, doctors, yoga, potential.

3.14.2010

Yogatini

There is a very heady yoga cocktail circulating around in my brain right now, I have been to 7 trainings and things are synthesizing. The Level 5 training had a lot of deep themes, some very much "in your head", thank you Delores O'Riordan. I agree with the idea behind some of it, other stuff was kinda annoying to me. I loved the group healing, maybe not quite as much as a full on massage, but the kindness overwhelmed me with gratitude. Gratitute is a wonderful sensation and I think it does help us heal much.

Today we watched a movie, The Secret. I almost felt like it was 5am and all the other channels were black and white fuzz, you know? People basically saying, "your thoughts determine your fate and financial future". Huh? I'm sorry but sh** happens sometimes and it is totally random and atrocious. People get in an accident, or get cancer, and its horrible and they are wonderful humans that didn't deserve a lick of it. This world/universe is not totally fair. Some wretched people drink, smoke and cuss their way into their 90s only to blissfully pass from this world stinkin' rich. So, anyway, I do kinda agree that if you constantly project a certain attitude, others can pick it up. If you are mopey, head down, crying all the time as you walk the neighborhood, yea, some mugger might pick you over the 280 pound glistening body builder that is grinning as he sprints to JTs "bringin' sexy back".

I do like the idea of a vision board. I think my journal is often a graphic vision board. I write goals thoughts and later when I reread, I discover my subconscious worked at it and lo and beyond it's happening, yea boy! Anyway where was I? I do think positive self speak is powerful. Kat, I respect you. Kat I forgive you. Kat, I love you. Say those to yourself aloud, see how it feels. It's nice.

What else is percolating/precipitating? Oh yes, yoga as a business. It's a huge and not highly monetarily beneficial investment to have a studio full time (probably lotsa other kewl feelings), but renting space or better yet free in a small town could be a nice part time gig. I'm thinking Cameron or Chillicothe! It would be cool to travel around to businesses and take yoga on the road, but it is also a lot of travel time, scattery, and draining, I've felt that myself as a sub and even my weekly class, luggin' stuff around. Home studios seem the best to me in a way, but it might be more difficult to actually live off yoga, seems like no one but maybe YogaFit has really ever turned a profit on it. Maybe Rainbeau Mars. That's fine, it's a passion and a need in my life, I shall keep flipping the yoga business thoughts around in my head, I feel like I can't do a ton until I have my RYT anyway. Although, many established studios/teachers don't have it so perhaps carpe diem is betta.

Another theme that piggybacks off the secret is interesting. The idea was well stated by Shakespeare, "Methinks thou dost protest too much". Basically, say what you want, not what you don't. It's true that's what teenagers hear, I'm not sure about the universal ears of beyond. For example hollering, "don't drop your milk" at a 5 year old is more likely to produce some tears as you sop up the calcium enriched floor. Rather you should say, "let's drink our milk up and head to the park". It's more friendly anyway. It really got me thinking about my family and our dynamics, what we say. I think Ums, I don't know, etc, are a form of rejecting things, I seem to do that, but also it's hard with so many people, lotsa variables. I think my parents worried a lot, so a lot of negatives that never happened were certainly brought up. I felt a mental shift on the way home from training. I was afraid my husband would dread a (my side) big family get together tonight (just before the early work week) but I just framed it positive and he was fine with it. Picking up our favorite Russian beer didn't hurt either ;)

All in all it was nice to attend level 5, but I don't feel closure quite yet, no RYT hand slappin' for me. 3 more training loom. I like them, it will be interesting to get into anatomy since I already have background in that. Also, I am fascinated by seniors/prenatal/kids so that will be nice as well, I hope I can finish this summer. Maybe I'll end up in India someday, probably not but you never know. (did i just make that come true?? ha ha ha)

Just remember, the theme of the day is that we do affect our body with our mind, and so maybe we also affect our path through life. It would hurt to throw a little hope into life. Hey, maybe I'll get that parking spot, dream job, a check in the mail, instead of thinking, gee I hate my job, I never get parking, all I do is pay bills. Try it for a day, see if it simply makes the day more bearable!

Ching Ching and cheers to you and your yoga and life journey,
Kat

3.11.2010

Ginger and Peace

Serenity Prayer (credited to theologian Reinhold Niebuhr)

God/Universe, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
The courage to change the things that I can;
And the wisdom to know the difference.


I was recently talking to a delightful nurse named Ginger. She is 67. She was a sweet little lady and as we chatted about school and work she mentioned a prayer she keeps in her house and looks at every day. She has some loved ones with alcoholism and it helps her. It made me think about the really hard part, how do we know what we can't change? Are we giving up or are we getting to ahimsa (non-harming of ourselves) when we let that one thing go that just about kills us? I know that sometimes I just can't quit worrying about my students and what some of them go through, or other things in my own life too. When to act, when to rest?

The poem says it takes Wisdom, which takes time, and experience. Maybe as we grow older, we gain this peace. Makes me look forward to 40, 50, and beyond. Yes we may lose some physical abilities we once had, but what we can gain in serenity could make all the difference. I simply have to think of Ginger,my dear grandma at 96, and my great aunt with a birthday coming up and wonder at the world. Such lively wise souls beam out.

Cheers to the ripening of our spirits, may they become more sweet and complex with each passing moment. I know we have come far already, but yet have farther to go.

Namaste,
Kat

3.07.2010

Yoga No Flow?

I recently felt compelled to pause the yoga class I teach. A deep spiritual part of my soul is asking why? Am I avoiding yoga? No I can say without hesitation. Honestly, I think super-duper overfilling my schedule would be detrimental to my health, definitely contrary to the goal of yoga to stay in the present moment. I do crave yoga but not the stress of the rush it would require weekly. In addition, teaching is a different experience from taking a class, of course! When teaching, I am there for others, not myself.

With soccer coaching looming I am feeling strain considering the long days ahead over the next couple of months. I do also feel joy but it is blanketed by worry for the incredible business that will accompany. I think if each of us squeezes a huge amount into each day, week, etc, we are constantly more likely to hop out of the present moment and into the next. We're shoving ourselves along, rather than consciously moving with purpose and grace.

I have a yoga training coming up and I'm really looking forward to taking some yoga after the small break recently. Stretch.It.Out. Ahhhhh. I also want to take this time to visit a few studios around the city here and there, some different instructors. I will know a few people at the training so that will be wonderful to kick off spring break. If I could I might "break" spring break up and just have 3 day weekends every week for 5 weeks it would make more sense in a way.

One issue my yoga soul needs to figure out is the morning routine, for that greatly impacts the entire day. I can't seem to flow in the morning, mentally or physically and I have tried for 4 years. I feel abruptly wakened at 5:30, rushed to shower, get ready, eat, make my way to work, harried through the hall of some glaring adolescents some are fine, exhausted by 7:30am when school starts some days. It's partially my own fault for dallying then rushing but other things are factors too. The early hour is definitely part of it. What else is it? My own personal circadian rhythms tend to favor night owl style. Or at least a 6:30 or 7am wakeup, slightly more natural with the sun. I could try to do yoga, but I feel frozen sometimes, until coffee, which I left a while back, only to pick back up. That's okay, I am fine with it for now but I definitely want to find a way back to natural rhythms. Now that daylight savings is imminent, that should help immensely. Sun I need ya!

Here's to the future raise to the past, bless this present clear full glass.
Namaste,
Kat

Grateful for...

Tulips, neighbors, cats, dogs, my immune system, family, kicks, kleenex, nutella, mangos, compassion, optimism, resourcefulness, organization, rest.

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