Posted by: Mary | June 22, 2011

Toss Me That Yoga Life Preserver

Making decisions is not my strong suit. I will sit and hem and haw about what I should do or shouldn’t do. Should I buy this, or maybe I shouldn’t. Should I go to the meeting? Should I wear the blue shirt. Oh. My. God! Decision making for me is a real issue. Part of this is tied to my desire to please others and to do what I think is right.

I had a situation come up last night when I decided to go to a yoga class rather than do something work-related. I chose the summer solstice yoga class over a meeting. Then, what happened? A storm blew up while I was in the class, a tornado was spotted and those attending the meeting I chose not to go to were moved to a basement for safety. I was missing a lot of news. As a reporter, my job is news.

But, my life is to live.

I started beating myself up about the decision I made. I started creating a story about “how I was going to get in trouble.” Then as my mind was going on it’s own little story trip, the “top boss” texted me about the tornado. I was like FML.

My lovely solstice class went straight into the shitter. My mood was shot and the f-bombs were flying.

But, if I had taken a breath and just been in the “now” (which is a constant need) I would have realized all was OK. I am human. I am allowed to live my life. I cannot be expected to work 24/7. And, anyway, who knew that storm was going to happen. Anything could happen at any moment.

If I had just relaxed I would have seen that it was ok. My boss was even reassuring me that things were fine. But, my story told me things were not fine.

What I realize more and more is that the yoga really begins off the mat.

Sure, it’s easy to be all yogic and touch-feely when I am at a yoga bootcamp with a bunch of other yogis who are feeling the Now. But, step out of the bootcamp or out of the yoga class and life starts to happen. That is when I need my yoga life preserver.

Nobody said the path was going to be straight, without hills to climb. I knew that. I’d been living a fractured existence for most of my life. No way was I going to go to a yoga teacher training and come back some kind bodhisattva.

So, I am accepting of the fact that I fuck up. I make mistakes. I still make stupid choices – my checkbook regularly shows me that. But, it is ok. I am much more aware of the shit that goes on in my head. Now, that I am aware I can try to stop the messages that send me into a story-filled nightmare.

The more I try to stop or change the stories, the more I see that what is happening now is ok. Things work out.

I will continue to make mistakes, to spin yarns in my head and to stop them and redirect the message.

The yoga will continue on the mat, but even more so off.


Posted by: Mary | June 19, 2011

Letting Go of the Stories

In February  I signed up to attend Level 1 Teacher Training with Baron Baptiste and I just completed that bootcamp a little more than a week ago.

The experience was absolutely incredible and to anyone considering doing Baron’s program, I would say to go for it. I loved it and learned a lot. The experience wasn’t easy, but real growth isn’t easy either.

I learned a lot about myself that I didn’t know and I thought I knew it all. I’d been through therapy. I’d read all kinds of touchy-feely books. But, I never really connected all the dots in my life. This experience forced me to connect those dots.

I’d been living life trying to be a different person to different people. Since I was a girl I always wanted everyone to like me and could never understand when they didn’t. For most of my life I’ve been seeking approval from people, whether family, friends, people I wanted to be my friends. I was living for everyone else but me.

My inability to make simple choices became apparent when I was at bootcamp. I was waiting to see what others would do. When really, what did it matter what they did? I realized I should do what I wanted to do, whether that was to lounge on the beach and read or go for a swim. It sounds ridiculous now, but that was my life for years. I did what I thought others would accept.

I always worried about what other people might think (even though I’d act like I didn’t care) I’d been making clothing choices, college major choices, job choices, etc., based on how I thought others would react. I wasn’t living my life for me and I was very unhappy. I was a big phony. A huge phony.

My desire to please and to be liked showed up in its worst form when I felt vulnerable around those I saw as more worthy than myself or those I saw as part of whatever group I wished I belonged to. At work I would become a control freak and I would show a tough side to many people trying to keep from showing my true vulnerability – I’m very emotional – so to mask my true self I worked very hard to act like a hard ass.

So much work. And, in all of that work I lost the person I am. Now, I am like a Phoenix rising from the ashes. I am figuring out who I am and what I like and realizing it really doesn’t matter what others think.

I am turning off the negative voice in my head and what a relief it has been. In just the past week I realized how much easier life is. Actually, the last two days I felt kind of tired and then I realized, I wasn’t tired, I was just relaxed. I’d managed to get things done, find time to chill and even write this blog. I even took a short nap.

What a magical time this is for me! I get a do-over! How wonderful it is to see life with new eyes!


Posted by: Mary | July 8, 2010

Don’t play small!

What an incredible day! Actually, it’s been an incredible week. The first month after I started my job was kind of stressful, but I’m relaxing into it and really loving everything. I’m still getting the yoga in and I’m almost finding more joy in it than I was before, who knew that was possible.

The key is balance, trying to find that perfect mix of work and life and fun and everything else. It takes lots of practice, and, maybe a certain amount of equanimity. There is an article in this month’s yoga journal that talks about equanimity, trying to meet life as you find it; without reaction one way or the other, just taking in what is. Read More…

Posted by: Mary | June 20, 2010

You are perfect just the way you are!

I haven’t written for a little while because I started a new job. I’m very excited about it and it’s never felt so good to get a paycheck. Before I started my job I worried about how it might impact my yoga. Yoga is a huge part of my life and I need to have it in my life to stay centered. So, I was pretty worried about backsliding, reverting to couch potato fat girl.

Since I’ve been working, things have gone well. I’m able to get yoga in four to five times a week and I’m really happy about that because like most jobs, it can be stressful. But, I’m still losing weight and I’m almost at my first weight goal. I’d like to try and lose another 20 pounds. Read More…

Posted by: Mary | April 25, 2010

Yoga fieldtrip a hot time

Today several of my yogi sistas from the studio and I took a trip to the city for a two hour master class with Gregor Singleton. He teaches with Baron Baptiste and he came to Chicago from Massachusetts to teach over the weekend. We attended the last class of three, and it was really incredible.

To me, what was so incredible about the whole experience was being with a great group of people who I love doing yoga with and pushing through the tough stuff. The group included the ladies from Power of Your Om (Jen, Mary, Catherine and Robin) and some  teachers who used to teach at our studio (David and Karen), both of whom I haven’t seen in a while. I’d have to say it also included the room full of people I didn’t even know. Because, in a class like that you are close to everyone that the energy around you can really affect you. Needless to say, everyone must have been full of positive vibes. Read More…

Posted by: Mary | April 23, 2010

Be true to yourself

About 10 years ago I had my nose pierced. I wore that stud in my nose for years. Then my mom got sick and died. I took it out for her funeral because I thought it was what she would want. Then I lost the thing. I never thought I could just go buy a nose screw (that’s what they call them) at any store. I found out you can.

Last Sunday, I was wondering if the hole in my nose was still open and stuck an earring in and tada the hole was not closed. My neighbor is tattooed and pierced and he told me where to get some new jewelry.

Long story short, I’ve got a fake diamond stud in my nose now. I realized that I might as well wear the thing, it’s not hurting anyone and I always liked it before I stopped wearing it. Read More…

Posted by: Mary | April 9, 2010

Demons be gone from my yoga mat

Last week I felt like the mean, negative bitch was back in town. From out of nowhere I had such a mood swing, I just wasn’t myself – my new self. Luckily, I don’t think anyone else really noticed it but me.

I hit a low point and went to a negative place that I haven’t been in a long, long time. I think too much sugar, PMS and  stress contributed to bringing out the demons of self-doubt, anger and negativity.  I felt so off kilter and angry. Even going to yoga was a challenge.

I did go to yoga though. Going with the flow – the Vinyasa flow that is – wasn’t easy. The demons in my head kept making themselves known with them their negative messages: Things are bad. You won’t get what you want. This always happens. Things will never get better. On and on the chatter went during class and afterward. Read More…

Posted by: Mary | March 31, 2010

Blame it on the ego

In the winter of 1998 I took my first and last snowboarding lesson. During the lesson I fell in such a way that I messed up both of my knees at the same time. I’d never skied before (not that that would have mattered) and was clueless about what I was doing. Even with a lesson, I was a complete failure on a snowboard.

Since I have a pretty high tolerance for pain, after my snowboarding accident I ignored my swollen knees for weeks until it was clear they weren’t feeling better. Once I saw a doctor he determined what I did (it’s so long now i don’t exactly remember, but part of it was sprained MCL’s) and I went through rehab twice. Read More…

Posted by: Mary | March 24, 2010

Snap, crackle, pop

Today at class I was talking to a few new students at the studio. One of the women explained how she was sore from her first class last week. I told her I’m usually always sore and I’ve been going regularly for more than a year. She looked at me a little funny.

When I say I’m sore, it’s not a bad sore, but a good one. If I’m gonna go to class and workout I’m going to show up and try to push myself as much as I can. Pushing myself might be different depending on the day. My yoga practice isn’t about hurting myself, but about pushing my body (and my mind) to its limit. That can be a fine line if you don’t know your body or trust yourself.

I enjoy the soreness, I figure that if I’m getting in a good class that I should have some soreness, it’s a sign that I’m alive! If nothing hurt, I’d have to think I hadn’t really pushed myself as much as I should. Read More…

Posted by: Mary | March 20, 2010

Wine and yoga don’t mix

The lesson of the week this week was that wine and yoga don’t mix and I need to treat my body nicer. All week I was drained. Some of that drain was not my doing, some of it was. For the bazillionth time, maybe I have learned a lesson.

I felt somewhat exhausted early in the week because my dog was waking me up in the middle of the night several nights in a row to go out. I knew something was wrong and it turned out she had a bladder infection. A trip to the vet and some medicine and she was on the mend and I could sleep again. Right? Wrong.

Tuesday night I did a stupid thing during dinner, I drank way too much wine. Read More…

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