11.23.2015

These are a few of my favorite things.

Another holiday season is upon us. I find myself thinking about how to simplify, but also how to make it special and memorable. I'm planning on getting a real Christmas tree this year, it will be the first time I am the adult making this happen. Cool. I did just read the other day, keep in mind a holiday is just one day out of the year, each day is special in it's own way, and I do agree with this world view. This time of year, I start to reflect a little, looking back at the ups and downs of the year that is closing down. I've been on a bit of a health journey this year after feeling extremely fatigued this past spring. In fact, I came down with a bad tummy bug that almost made me pass out cold on the bathroom floor. That scared me. After checking in with my doctor for a physical, I found out I have a decent case of iron deficiency anemia. I had no idea how common it is, and felt foolish for not taking more iron into my body for the last five years of high need time, although I do eat a pretty healthy and varied diet so I also felt surprise. I feel like this has been going on for a while under the surface, and it was great to get the knowledge that I can do something about it and hopefully gain back energy I have been missing.

Long story short, taking iron has not totally corrected things yet (but it has helped some), so I find myself realizing I can't just take the easy way by popping an iron pill, it's not working.  So I have been pouring over articles and we've ruled out a few things, it appears for some reason I'm not absorbing/retaining iron all that well, so I am upping my vitamin C and my natural iron sources from diet and will up my iron supplement a little bit as well. Did you know oysters, mussels, parsely, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate and black strap molasses are rich in iron? Also spinach, prunes, black beans, lentils and iron skillets. They're all in my plans although to some extent they have always been there. I might draw the line at liver. Ugh :) The topic of health makes me realize how lucky I am that I have a treatable and relatively mild condition and access to good health care. I think back over my life and the moments (or months) where a friend or coworker or family member dealt with something so much more difficult. And so I feel thankful. In that spirit, here are a few of my favorite things from 2015.
  • Watching Clay play by the ocean on his first ever visit to see it. He seemed to prefer sand over surf but got in the water a little bit, and it was a lovely chance to take the sun in during gloomy February. We also met our nephew Rowan for the first time so it was fun to watch the cousins play.
  • Picking out four baby chicks to care for and raise. It has been a fun journey and now we have our own eggs. Alice, Marigold, Moonflower & Willie and their hilarious antics have been a unique addition to country life.
  • MOPS- A cool time to meet, eat, and learn and reflect on key life issues with other moms. Pretty awesome!
  • Teaching yoga to tots at the KC ZOO. Lots of fun visits with the little man to see such a variety of animals. My mom was able to come several times so we definitely got our steps in!!
  • Running a 5km race while pushing the little guy up and down the numerous hills of Watkins Mill State Park. I was exhausted (*see anemia above ha*) but it was exhilarating to finish the race up a hill, and then rest!
  • Driving up to Pikes Peak, watching the big horn sheep frolic, enjoying Garden of the Gods, Estes Park, and RMNP with Ed and Clay.
  • Stand Up Paddleboarding for the first time ever with three of my lifelong girlfriends. Amazing. Splash, climb, repeat. Foot burn to the extreme, in such a good way.
  • Watching a bona fide bagpipe player share his talent on the front porch of Breath Deep. Experiencing and guiding yoga there has been such a great flow, and I love the healthful facet this lovely place has added to Kearney. 
  • Reading the Outlander series. Such a great and epic story. Still going but on the last book, not exactly sure when I began but I'm sure I'll get more sleep when it's over. Life changing.
I wish you happy "holi-days" but also happy every-days!
Namaste,
Kat

6.29.2015

FOMO problems, yo I'll solve it!

Do you ever have fear of missing out (FOMO)? Like life is really happening and you're not a part of it?? So maybe that's why you check twitter or watch the pathetic local news (it really is just reekingly poor content), or check into facebook way too often. I'm sure I have FOMO. I admit it. Not sure why but does it really matter? The HUGE and obvious irony here is that by perusing such things, we are actually MISSING out on real life. I stumbled upon a web page recently and suddenly something clicked, I am on facebook too much, doh! I feel like I should give it a shout out. He's a little extreme. But hey, so is life.
http://zenhabits.net/ Rawr!

What in my life would be better if I wasn't sopping up moments staring at stupid stuff? So... I'm taking a week off. You can do it too, here's how if you are addicted to facebook like me. Go to password change and make up a crazy hard password that you write down somewhere and will never remember otherwise. Now, put the password somewhere that's kinda hard to get to. IF FOMO kicks in, just relax and do yoga or breathe for 5 minutes instead of getting the password. We didn't have facebook 10 years ago, it will be okay. This is as much for me as you people lol. If someone desperately needs to find you or me, they will, hopefully they are not the gestapo. Maybe it's just social isolation that makes me like facebook, I'm not sure. Being a stay at home parent can be a touch lonely, but there are ways to shore it up!

A few things I would like to work on during this week (or perhaps more?) while I'm out of the face space: getting up a little earlier so I can get some yoga in before anyone else is awake (well, before my tot is awake anyway, my Roo man is up sooo early crowing). Cook more better and eat a bigger breakfast. Lately I am starving by lunchy time, I think it's because I've been adding a touch of running to my schedule. Literally I am hangry in your face cannot function starving and feeling faint by 11:30am. I recently found out I have a tiny touch of anemia and I also blame this for my new starvation feelings, I think my body is working really hard to up my blood and muscles back to normal now that I am channeling my inner iron goddess and focusing on taking a supplement and also working in all foods iron-rich: red meat, spinach, bitter herbs and vitamin C to increase absorption, you name it I've been reading about it. Any tips for me if you have been there? Did you know about 10% of women of child bearing age are anemic? Damn. Take some iron ladies, it's good for us!! Of course, don't overdose. That's bad for us. A nice multivitamin with iron will suffice if you're not sure but by all means ask your doc to check if you are feeling fatigued, that's what I did and lo and behold, my ferritin was pathetic. I am now thinking that it's been that way for a few years. Oops.

Once I get that normal, I'm shooting for a few running goals. Nothing otherworldly. Just a 5km run in September and October, I would be happy with 12 minute miles in September and 11 minute miles in October. I think I can really get into better shape once the tot is back to preschool in late August. But honestly I can exercise some in July/August as well, he does well in the jogging stroller and all the more reason to get out of the house while it's cool in the morning.

Another task...I want to work on general house clutter. Hosting the 4th of July is a good reason to clear out the major rooms, but I even want to tackle the storage basement...dum da dum dum dum. We'll see how she goes! I should really do some before and after shots and show you guys. I just need to donate some stuff and trash some stuff and maybe even BURN some stuff (sensitive documents) yes I am a secret agent, okay?? Shhh... My inner chemist is happy with that one! It's not outside the realm of possibility, my hubby has a burn barrel and we live in the country, two strikes in my favor. We have never done it but both aspire to it. Other goals for the week, be more present with my dear tot and do some fun projects, and also keep him away from screens. We don't have a lot of screen toys like smart phones or iPads but he loves this Canadian guy on youtube named Bill and I'm quite sure his dose of Bill per week is too high. I KNOW my dose is too high.

Anywhoo, will try to check back in this week and keep ya posted here on the blog. I might even take some live film of my chickens!! I know everyone would want to see that right? They are a hoot, I mean, a bock really. They are hilarious!! How does this tie into yoga? Well maybe I will have a little extra time to focus on some zingy yoga class stuff for Wednesdays at Breathe Deep, not to mention I want to work on music a little bit too. I can already feel the facebook section of my brain morphing out a bit. I did this last summer too, that was a week of vacation but this is sort of feeling very freeing as well. Let's release the fear and find something else. JOJI? (Joy of Jumping In?)

Namaste,
Kat

6.18.2015

Dear DAD

Just about 6 years ago, my dear dad passed away suddenly at the age of 68. We had no chance to say goodbye. So I tend to get a little sad this time of year. This was before I had a dear tot of my own. This year we are working (my mom really is doing it) on getting a bench put in at Anneberg park in Manhattan in his memory. We have been looking through some old emails and remembering his funny, thoughtful, scientific, at times silly, humble, grinning and joking ways. My family was fond of walking or running there at the park, and we spent a lot of time there with soccer and other events. 

As a parent now, I feel like I really understand my dad even more than I used to, and I see how selfless he was with his time and spirit in both his work and his family life, spending time with each of us 5 children in special ways. I am so grateful for his wonderful supportive presence in my life. So, here's something I thought I would share that is sad but true. I never got to give my dad his last father's day card. It was there on my fridge, written in and sealed up on the day he died, June 19th, 2009. So if you have a dad out there and he's a good dad, show him and tell how much you love him this father's day and share your gratitude for him, with him. The crazy part of life is, you don't really know in life when you will get a chance to do that, and so I'm going to make up a yoga quote. "Seize the present moment to share love and happiness with those people that have cared for you for so long, recognize the deep love in them, and bow to them." 


Namaste, 


Kat

4.13.2015

Talk what you want to walk.

In life, there is a lot that can get to us and affect us and stay with us. Work, home, relationships, and even random moments can all shift our days and weeks up, or down. How we frame events, interactions, and experiences can make a big difference in the flow of our days and how we feel overall. A big component of this basic sense of self is all about how we talk to ourselves in our own minds.

Where and how does this voice get formed? I think a lot of it comes from genetics, childhood and our parents, but also from our major life experiences. Now that I'm raising my own child, I want that voice that I am sharing to be a strong and steady one. Its a fine line to walk between teaching a natural awareness of the world, to being a afraid of fearful or negative about it.

So how do we most effectively shape our voice for ourselves and our children (or friends and family) for the positive? We must start with ourselves. We need to identify our "triggers" or those areas which can have a strong impact our our own souls. Framing these with a positive angle will lead to a relaxing and happier outlook. I strongly believe keeping a feeling of gratitude is a component of how we function well. To head out to work or to a task with the view, "I'm a lucky person today because..." is far more soothing than "Now I HAVE to...". It can be hard to practice this, but over time it can become more accessible and create an entirely new frame to each day and each task.

For example, tomorrow I have some trees to plant. Quite a few. I know myself, and my mind can sometimes tend toward worry. Will the seedlings be okay overnight? Are they too wet or too dry? Will I be able to get them all planted in the free time that I have? What will happen once they are planted? But if I can seek rephrasing and refocus, the work becomes a joy. Tomorrow will be a nice day to be outside in the fresh air. I get the chance to work with my hands and shovel and create a beautiful and lasting wall of trees that perhaps someone someday will look upon and thank the planter. These trees will give wildlife homes, the planet oxygen, and create lovely shade on hot days. Then I feel at peace. And thankful that I have the ability to do something like that. And excited for the journey of the trees. I know not every plant will make it, I've learned that lesson many times over in my days of gardening. But that is okay. I will adapt, create room for something else. And that will be a another nice moment.

Speak kindly to yourself. The energy around this talk will echo in many directions.

Namaste,
Kat

2.01.2015

No need to stumble to be humble.

What is humility? In its true form, it's amazing. When I chance across it in everyday life I feel a sparkle settle over my spirit which is energizing and delightful. Self-deprecating friend. Endearing one. Humble fellow human. The opposite of ego. I am so honored when I encounter humility. I am awed. I am inspired. How do each of us encourage humility without becoming a trampling block? Without falsely letting go of our very true and real strengths?

We can do so in a way that makes me think of my dear friend, the Dalai Lama. No we have not met but I guess I see us as "kindred spirits" of sorts, perhaps that is not humble. I will simply say I am his admirer. He has a term that he likes to use and he calls it "warm-heartedness". I think humility is often practiced when we put on our warm heartedness like a cozy vest. Think of it as a thinking cap, but one of social form rather than an internal mental aid. When we are humble, we are often thinking of others in a kind and respectful way, and not overly focusing on the self. We are allowing ourselves to have a sense of humor about our self and this comes across and truly is a generous and pleasant way to live. It's essentially... LETTING GO OF EXPECTATIONS! One cornerstone of a natural and fulfilling yoga practice. Not simple or easy to obtain, I think the old adage that pride goeth before a fall could also be stated in this way: "experience preceeds humility." When we let go of a false inflated sense of self, we reveal a happier, more grateful soul that is much more comfortable to live with and within. So, let go. Release pride, no need to fall. Simply throw on a humble mien like a comfy old blanket and settle in this place. I think you and I will find it to be such a delightful niche in which to perch and interact with the world around. I certainly aspire to this humble place. Perhaps a humble home is the best one of all.

Namaste,
Kat

1.18.2015

Release the Regrets!

The concept of guilt has been rolling around in my head recently. It seems to me that too much of our brief human experience is spent on things like guilt and regret. I find this very sad and energy crushing. Lately I've been seeking to lighten my earthly load of material possessions, and maybe at the same time streamline my inner mental landscape. We have all struggled with negative feelings at times, but where does it get us?

Of course our past shapes each of us into the person we are today and affects the choices we make as we move forward. But should we dwell on the concept that we are inherently bad, or wrong or somehow always going to be full of fault? I don't think so. I think this concept of attaining a higher and happier state was in my mind before I began to connect with yoga, but through my practice I have come to realize that the present is so much more of a healthy place to be. The past is exactly that, what has already happened. We learn and grow and live out our present due to the actions and experiences of the past, but are we forever locked to that era? I don't think so. I think we must build the strength of spirit to rise above whatever haunts us.

How? That's hard. It's not necessarily going to be something your neighbor or friend (or foe) always encourages, but maybe that says more about them than it does about you. We must also try to release the power of others to determine our worth. Life feels shorter to me every day, not simply because I am getting a wee bit older, but maybe because I look around to my family and friends and see how fast the dear little children are growing. My own childhood is preserved happily in my mind and seems endless in a way, but now I realize more and more how fleeting the short, and hopefully sweet, years of life really are for each of us. Maybe a factor has been seeing so many friends and family (both young and old) go through a battle with cancer. What if we can choose to live each day full of gratitude and happiness rather than remorse or nostalgia? Then this experience we call life takes on a depth and glow so much stronger than the shadows and darkness. We all experience both highs and lows in this life. How we handle and cope and overcome the lows leads to a life outlook that will either ensure a sunny walk, or guarantee a gloomy one.

This is not to say that at times we won't need a friend or wise counsel to guide us, but I wholly believe that each of us has an inner fire and strength than can only be tapped into through purposeful pursuit of our own mental and emotional power. With this passion, people like Martin Luther King Jr., Ghandi, Mother Teresa and many, many more have enacted so much good in this world. So, please, release the weight of pain you are carrying, however you can. This might include journaling, setting intentions, religion, yoga, meditation, or something else. Find your fire and burn a blazing trail of good through your life and this world, however you can. I salute you and would love to hear how you are doing it.

Namaste,
Kat

1.15.2015

Mind mimics matter mostly!

Have you ever noticed that it's easier to relax in a nice clean ordered space? Maybe that's why it's nice to do yoga or work out in a gym or studio where the surrounds are hopefully clean and pleasant. Relatively at least to the giant "corn harvest" operation that a certain talented tot has going on in my fireplace room. The point here is that when the space around me cluttered, it interferes with my internal compass, plans, plots, and desires. I lose sight of my goal or intentions because suddenly I start to move helter-skelter around the house, collecting flotsam and jetsam and attempting to return everything to it's place in my very own wide Sargasso sea.

I do this knowing full well that it will get moved around again oh so very soon as the cycles of stuff occur. There's the clothes cycle: wear, wash, store, repeat. The pet cycle: feed, water, clean up messes, groom, repeat. The toys cycle: sort into wonderfully labeled bins, get mixed around on the floor, return to bins, eventually return to large storage dump or bag and someday be sorted again, maybe. Lately I've worked on and found success in pre-planning some of the organization. I'm thinking ahead a bit to tomorrow so that once I get there, I'm pretty much ready. That allows today to fill in nicely as well.

I'm also spot-organizing. If I have a place in the house that has backed up, I'm tackling that in small chunks at a a time. Closets are a good place for me to start, because sometimes the house looks good, but the closets don't. One of the main issues of "matter" for me is knowing what can actually fit in a space. I want to be too efficient, always. I want to super fill the dishwasher, washer, closet, bead storage box etc. Something I really have to step back and realize is that if something is too full (a closet, drawer, shelf, etc), it's never really going to be a good functional space. I have to pare down before I can align. Hey, that sounds suspiciously like yoga. Or meditation. I'm definitely in love with yoga, and I'm in like with meditation. I don't honestly think you can have yoga without some meditation, although I do think meditation can stand alone if need be. But why?? :) Seriously.

An old and good friend of mine Emily has started a blog recently on habit formation.

http://www.habitformation.com/

I am really enjoying the analytical way that her lawyer mind works to get across the information. I'm not sure I get information across in quite the same way, although I do feel that I too am logical. :) Just in a quirky chemist teacher yoga Kat way. Anyhoo, she talks in one post about how thoughts work in her mind and I think she is sharing what many of us have. The "monkey mind". Many thoughts, much excitement, past and future, emotion and logic all swirling around in there. I'm going to get this book soon from the library:

http://www.amazon.com/Meditation-Beginners-Jack-Kornfield/dp/1591799422

I'm hoping Emily will join me in a little meditation challenge. 5 minutes a day for the next month! Will you do it Emily? :) A cross blog challenge. I will accept a challenge as well from you, should you chose to throw one out there. I am interested in the Paleo diet and I have already been inspired to incorporate a few paleo-esk changes to my diet, particularly more fruits/veggies and less grains at least and also keep healthy protein high. I am also curious if you feel that your surroundings might affect your inner habit formation as well? I do feel there is a strong connection for many of us.

Namaste all,
Kat

1.09.2015

20-15 in 2015.

Hello friends. Congratulations on another turn around the sun. We find ourselves in a brand spanking new year! Woo. 2015 has a nice ring to it. 2014 for better or worse, is g-o-n-e. My powerful grandmother was born in 1914 and is 100 now, what a life she has led and what a variety of changes each new year has brought to our world. But that is the pastward thinking a tad, as you know, we yogis have to always work on and in the present as best we can. The present for me is alive with scintillating possibilities as we turn the page to another chapter of life.

At the dawn of each year, many of us have high hopes of newness and fun and freshness in our lives. We might make a long or short list of intentions, or join a gym, take a class... something to kick start a new leaf turning. But, how does real and lasting change occur in our lives? It's not just one method, so we have to experiment a bit. I believe it starts with being intentional, and also with recognizing our true priorities. What we really value and prioritize, we will achieve. In addition, I believe that in order to gain something new, we MUST create the space for it. I mean this actually in a literal way. I believe that the energy of the space around us affects our ability to plan and prioritize our goals. So for me, this year is going to be about letting go(!) gasp, another yoga philosophy. I've already made a decent start with some uncluttering and organizing. I have a way to go, but I know I will get there. I think for all of us letting go successfully requires the process of actively detaching memories and emotions from the excess of physical objects in our space. In addition, it means being flexible in accepting that this process will take time and energy, but will ultimately be very worthwhile. A couple pithy tips from my recent reading on the subject: Don't touch the items of sentimental value too much (or wear gloves if you're like me and don't have a personal assistant!). For those really important items, take a photo so you will still have a digital keepsake, and back it up on google or a spare hard drive.

Another goal is often exercise. My recommendation here? Join a class and stick with it for at least a few months. As a group exercise instructor of a yoga class with a small but steady weekly following, you notice things. I always see the greatest growth in those with the discipline and follow through to make a commitment to the practice. Of course life can get in the way at times, but when you have a group that is social and supportive, amazing things can happen. It truly is a fun and nurturing space. In addition, these past few months I have found the energy (and time) to re-commit myself to exercise for myself not just as a teacher but also as an individual. When you teach, you are giving of yourself, you are flowing energy into others. When you take a class, you are investing simply in yourself. It's a wonderful experience for me to do both. I also at times enjoy the solitary focus of a personal exercise practice. For me this can be yoga and can also be walking/jogging/cycling/swimming. What matters is that I am in tune with my breath and my energy and I am patient with myself. This involves keeping the present very supportive and kind (and REAL) rather than dwelling on high school races in which I was oh so much faster (and younger!) than I am these days. 35 minus the 20 oh my to realize how young we were! I'm sure my grandma really feels that way too. A lovely space for me is the new yoga studio here. The energy is so good. I hope you too can find a variety of healthy places and spaces in your life this year.

In this new year, I am excited for another dance around the sun. We have some travel planned and that warms my heart oh so nicely. The world is always alive with possibilities. I believe this is a philosophy or life outlook that keeps me happy and moving with joy. I don't know exactly what is around the corner, but I am eager to find out. Cultivating life (on the mat or in the garden or my little tot) keeps me excited to see what leaves will naturally unfurl themselves, without too much effort, perhaps just a touch of water and sun. Effortless grace is around us, if only we have the mindset to absorb the beauty that is.

Namaste and Happy 2015!
Kat


Summer Sparkler!

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