Frozen Goldfish

Do you ever feel stuck? Like you are a tiny shimmering goldfish frozen in a large patch of ice? Maybe it is just slush that renders you slowly towards isolation. Immobilized to break free and pursue what you need to pursue. Slowed down, stagnant, and still. It's normal to be this little fish. We all get stuck at times. It could be a job, a relationship or simply a state of mind that is anxious or unhappy. How do you break free and shatter what binds you? Excellent question with no simple single answer.

Yoga might be able to help, simply by moving your body, you a creating motion, momentum and inertia. By focusing on your energy, you are better at understanding it, and we certainly cannot manage what we do not measure in some way. Having a time and place for stillness is also imperative. When we rush, we do ourselves no favors. We harm our health when we flit about, the body moves into flight or fight and this stresses every aspect of the system. When we focus on the positive, visualize the most optimal outcome of our situation, then we become able to find patience. Long ago as a child I remember reading the Count of Monte Cristo. This is the sad tale of a man wrenched from happiness and imprisoned when he had done no wrong. Unfortunately in this day and age we have a tendency to create our own cages. In the story of this simple man, he uses the time to better himself with the help of a friend. In the case I am bringing to light, each of us must also learn to be our own best friend. Yes of course friends and family can help you in a time of need, but ultimately you inhabit your body and mind and will be the best possible chance for successfully finding happiness.

So perhaps when we are stuck, it is not only a signal for escape, but it is a time to embrace the stillness, and absorb the lesson it offers. A random struggle will lead to further difficulty, while acceptance will lead to eventual growth. And don't forget that a Sun Salutation or two will always keep you warm.



Down Down Down Dog

It has come to my attention lately that people get down. A lot of people. Smart people, kind people, thoughtful people. No, I don't mean dancing you party animals. I mean sad, low, melancholy, morose, brooding, and depressed. For a lot of us, I think this can occur as we grow up and make our way out to the big wide world, and life isn't exactly what we expected. A relationship ends. A job falls though. Life is rough. We grow up during childhood, and hopefully it's more roses than thorns, those around us try hard for that I believe. I mean to say that as we mature, maybe we feel helpless to determine our path eventually, a bit stuck. Daily stresses can wear us down. This could be anything from in-your-face coworkers, less time to exercise, or dealing with children or aging parents and their difficulties, because their difficulties become ours, because we care about them. Maybe it is also in the social messages we receive. Be thinner, be younger looking ladies, get more muscles and make more money (those are for you guys I know you feel the pressure too). I noticed lately so many fashion magazines offer cures for every BODY. Too curvy? To stick-like? We have a swim suit to fix it! It's sort of like, try for the perfect, but you will NEVER be, because it doesn't really exist (or we would sell less swim suits!). You will just sort of feel miserable I think if you always seek this societal whim of an ideal human. Then there are the big bombshells of life: birth, death, and everything in between. Things that hit us in the stomach and heart so hard that we're not sure we can stand back up, even though we must. And those tender moments hugging our little ones near, for we know with certain dread, they won't be little ones all that long, and life will hit them too. But despite the drear of this post, I do feel lucky to be alive. I treasure this crazy, exhilarating experience of life. I have traveled, tangoed, studied, planted, loved, hated, and grown. And through careful cultivation, I tend to stay on the sunny side of life most of the time. I hold tight to my ups and downs from the past, for in the future, they're what I launch away from, to some new points of wonderful. For those that are down I offer a few humble suggestions.
  •  Do something every week to pursue a passion. Art, exercise, dream job? Try to work towards it in some small way. Don't berate yourself. Love yourself and find special moments.
  • Try to focus on your insides. Mind, Heart, Will. That's what matters, so listen to what is really being said. Are you exhausted? Take a nap. Are you bored? Plan a trip. Are you sad? Tell someone and get a hug! We are right there with you most likely, or have been there too. Personally, I quit watching creepy, violent movies, or even super sad ones. I go for funny or happy instead. Made me happier!
  • Peace, Love, Joy, & Gratitude. Lean towards this whenever you can. If life is pulling you away from these themes, try to focus on one area and build it back up. Volunteer, try a church that you might like (Unitarian if you are not religious), or write a letter to your politician.
And feel free to share what works for you, we are all ears!




Why is yoga the best exercise in the world? I am convinced it is one of the best. Why? Mainly because you listen to your body and get a full range of benefits. You want cardio, move faster and flow the whole time. You want strength, plank and push up more, find the deeper expression of lunges and twists. Do you need to just relax? Then go ahead and do that. Yoga gives you what you need, if only you are able to recognize that fact and make your practice what YOU want. In search of weight loss? Maybe the mental calm of yoga will help you make better choices after class (although I admit it might make you feel more hungry too!). Do you want to fight aging? Increased circulation will help skin and vital areas of the body receive better nutrient distribution. The peace you can absorb will combat fatigue and loss of energy. In essense, yoga allows you to use your own body weight as a strength builder, all the while leading to balance as you find your own limits and gently test them over and over. The limits will change over time, with a consistent practice of at least a class a week. Three short sessions a week would be better than just one long session. So throw that mat down somewhere obvious and hop on it when you have 5 minutes to spare. Your body, and mind will thank you with a glow like none other.

Namaste yogis!


Back to Basics

It has come to my attention lately that yoga is growing in KC and the midwest, and a lot of other places for that matter. Just the other night we had to turn people away from my class, there was no more room! I felt really bad about that. So we are adding more times. I believe that this is in part due to the many ways that yoga can serve as a supplemental treatment for many different health concerns. While some are just working to maintain wellness, others have a specific goal for starting a practice. Just in the last few weeks I have talked with several people wanting to try yoga on the advice of their physician that yoga may help with back pain, post-surgery, or in other ways. This becomes a tall order, because all pain is not created equal. Some back discomfort may exist with a desk job or any occupation with extended sitting. Other disorders such as a slipped disc or degenerative disc disorder may involve higher levels of pain. And if you have a loss of range of motion, what can you do to get it back? How can we tailor the practice to each specific case?

Very carefully. Our goal in yoga is to do no harm (we even call it ahimsa), well at least that is my goal as an instructor. I just met a yoga teacher the other day that told me, "I do so much yoga that I have to go to a chiropractor". I was sorry to hear that! While I find myself sore from yoga at times, I do think it overall has helped strengthen and lengthen my muscles, improve my ability to breath through duress, and helped me gain greater body awareness in terms of diet, posture, and alignment. Someone brand new to yoga should take it slow and err on the side of not pushing the practice, in order to see how the experience sits with the back, so to speak. I highly recommend one or two sessions per week for 8 weeks in order to determine if yoga will indeed offer some relief. You may see and feel results more quickly, but if you don't, please don't give up! If a regular class seems or feels to intense, it might be a good idea to try a restorative yoga class. This involves the use of props and very few poses, maybe just a handful that are very comfy and held for a lot longer period of time each. In addition as we address flexibility and strength, other measures such as weight loss, better nutrition, and awareness of posture might be pieces of the puzzles when it comes to your back or joints. Yoga is not a magic bullet. However, I do believe it can work wonders for those that are patient, open-minded, and willing to stick with it for a serious period of exposure in order to learn what is working and what is not. Of course as always, listen to your body, it's pretty good at letting you know what it needs. If that job sitting all day is causing pain, this may be a life changing time to pursue something more active. Be open to what you really need in life, and I strongly believe that life generally will be good to you. Notice, I did not say it will always be easy. There is growth in a struggle. I think most of us have experienced that.





To do yoga, you must give yourself a little trust. How else can you let go? Think of other times in life you had to left go. Here are a few that pop into my mind. That moment when I took off down the road with just two wheels on my bike. The day I sat in my dorm room at college, kinda all alone in a new way. You had to trust something. Yourself. This feeling is not always easy to cultivate, and it's possibly stronger in those that have had a lot of support from others, and sometimes maybe also strong in those who have had to be self-reliant as well. It comes from patience and kindness towards yourself, maybe one of the original forms of self-esteem. How have you truly treated yourself with esteem lately? If you haven't, consider how you might. And when you find this feeling, try to bring it to yoga. It's not about perfection, or the best form, or the most bend. It's about letting go.



New teaching information!

Interested in trying out yoga but not sure where to start? Starting TOMORROW - Tuesday, Jan.15th you can! Anytime Fitness (old church plaza - 105 S. Jefferson St.) in Kearney, 6:30-7:30pm, cost is 5 dollars per person. Wear loose comfortable clothes, bring water, and a mat if you have one.  Hope you see you there! This class will be every Tuesday and I also teach a morning class there the first Saturday of the month 10-11am. (Sat. classes - Feb.2, March 2, April 6, May 4). I also offer personal yoga training, please email for details. Thank you!

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