Day 340: I've Got (yoga) Issues

A little wipe board wisdom at the studio this morningSo I'm back doing hot yoga.  Which is actually where this whole challenge began last January (reacp: my first personal challenge entry) And it's weird.  Things are different.  I've changed.

I still love it and all, but now that I've done other forms (mostly hatha, yin, flow and Bikram.  Would have loved to have dabbled in others, but the classes were too far away or at inconvenient times) I miss some of the moves.

Day 333: Settle Into How You Are

Read the writing on the sidewalkI'm actually on day 338 today.  But this is what went down last week.

"Settle into how you are," said the teacher at the beginning of class.  

Which I did (wellll, tried to.  Because it's not really something one can start and finish just like that...snap.....but let me jump ahead a sec to when I got back from class and tweeted my daily mantra (find all my tweets right here).  

Seconds after pressing Send, a follower tweeted back saying "Funny. I thought you wrote 'Settle Into *Who* You Are!" Which is actually just as important, no?

Day 298: "Appreciate what you already have"

Listen to the yoga rocks.

I heard that little nugget in yoga class this morning, and it hit me like a ton of bricks…mostly because I’m no good at it.

I’m a glass half empty kind of person.

I play out worst case scenarios in my head so I’m prepared for any eventuality.

I like melancholy songs best.

And I definitely forget to count my blessings because I am so often busy striving for my next gold ring.

See Audrey Practice

Last weekend I went on an amazing retreat with Semperviva Yoga

We hiked.

We practiced (Hatha! Kundalini! Yin!).

We ate (the best mango salsa E.V.E.R. courtesy of the chef at Bodega Ridge Resort on Galiano Island.)

We meditated. 

I slept.

I read. (Every Last One by Anna Quindlen.  Heavy. Fantastic!)

I became a yoga geek.

This is my story.....

Day 265: What is the state of *you*?

The other day, one of my favorite teachers asked us to reflect on our physical state that morning.  I was pumped, actually --rarin' to go since her class tends to be a bit more challenging than some of the other morning classes (yawn, restorative yoga for old ladies.  But hey, a 7am class means less chaos and inconvenience for my family... so I do it some days whether or not I love the teacher/vibe.).  

So my physical state?  Good. Sharp. Eager.  Mental and spiritual state? Wellll, that's actually taken me a few days to figure out.   But here it is, a portrait of the state of me:

Day 250: Yearn for it

I'm embarrassed to say this is actually a fake rock on sale at the local drug store."Yearn for the back wall with your extended arm..."

"Yearn for the floor with a flat back..."

So said the instructor in Hatha class today, and the word "yearn" stuck with me.  It's so great--passion mixed with a little melancholy. Desire blended with uncertainty.  Will and the uncontrollable obstacles that always get in the way.

Day 229: Why do *you* practice yoga?

Summer wildflowers near my home. Just something nice to look at while you read."Remember why you practice," Kaili, one of my favorite Hatha teachers, said today as we stretched our IT bands. "Remember your motivation."

Good one, I thought as I tried to get my thigh bicep parallel to the floor. And then I tried to come up with an answer for myself.  Which made me realize that my motivation changes almost every day.

Day 182: Don't you just hate it when you feel judged by your yoga teacher?

I've been in a yoga rut lately.

Everyone in my house has been sick, we've actually been invited out to places (!), my mother visited from NYC...and it's been difficult to get to class everyday, so I've been practicing a lot at home.  Which generally isn't hard for me except when the kids are screaming, guests are arriving for dinner parties and there are other things demanding my attention.

But today, I set my alarm, hauled my ass out of bed waaay before anyone woke up and went my favorite hot yoga studio.  My "home" studio you might say.  The place where I really fell in love with yoga and how it can make me feel.  The place where I've gotten some great thinking done on the mat. The place that hipsters go and that has fancy studios with bamboo floors.  It felt like it was going to be a sort of homecoming

Day 168: "Meditate on Being Good Enough as You Are..."

This serene photo of Alice Lake in British Columbia is supposed to inspire thoughtful reflection. Okay now, go.

That’s what Ally the teacher said today in 7am Hatha class.  And it struck me because I never feel good enough.  Which is weird (and sad) because I am someone who (I think) has high self-esteem and a fair amount of perspective…and yet my body doesn’t feel good enough.  I don’t think I’ll ever adjust to the post-pregnancy changes that carrying to giant 8+lb bebehs wrought on me. And I’m not talking about how my body looks (okay, maybe my stomach, but only a little), but rather how my body functions.  It’s just not the same, and as much as I love my kids, I have trouble “celebrating” the fact that I spend a lot of time and money seeking the help of specialists, or spending my “free” time in the evening doing extra stretches and exercises and internet searches to try to help my situation. 

And while I’m confessing about stuff, my mothering often doesn’t feel good enough either.  Are the kids being exposed to all the things that will make them happy and successful?  Am I a neurotic fool to even worry about that?  Are they eating well enough?  Are they where they should be in their development?  Should I be giving/doing/organizing/creating more

Plus I wonder about being a good enough wife.  Like, am I attentive enough?  Do we have sex enough? Is my house clean enough? And (I can’t believe this thought actually exists in my head, but it does) are my menu options varied enough?  No, really.  I actually worry about that.  I went to school for nearly 20 years (from preschool to grad school), and I like to think about things like semiotics and feminism—and yet I worry almost daily about whether or not we’ve eaten chicken too often lately, and what new fun lunchtime options my toddler will eat without needing ketchup poured on it.

I also wonder about whether I’m being me enough.  About getting enough time to write, think, plan and progress toward my own personal goals.

So when Ally got us out of savasana, back up to easy pose on our foam blocks, and had us think about being good enough as we are, I really tried.  And I chanted along—feeling hokey as hell—saying, “I am.  I am. I am.”

And for the rest of the day, I’m going to try to remember that I am. 

Day 148: Give yourself permission

Green and pink together make me happy.Ollie has scarlet fever.  Felix keeps coughing until he vomits. I got up five times last night. The nanny broke her foot. Chris is in Seattle (at a deluxe boutique hotel) with the car. It's pouring rain outside...

...and I'm giving myself permission to only do deep breathing today for my yoga session. 


(I also ate a fair number of cookies.)

Day 140. I am the master of my own back pain

My Mizuno Wave Runners, 9.5 AA, complete with custom orthotic are just aching to get out there.My back has been bothering me a lot lately.  No, like really a lot.  In fact every time I go to yoga, it chiropractically adjusts itself about ten different times in all sorts of poses.  

Sometimes all I need to do is lie down flat on my back on the floor, which I can't really do since my hips are torqued due to all sorts of problems with scoliosis, tight muscles and the like.  Other times, I can get my back to release by doing forward folds, child's pose or half tortoise (at Bikram), and ahhhh does it feel good. Until it starts to hurt again almost immediately. 

So in the midst of all these back issues, I decided to run around the block today--twice.

Day 101: "Don't label, just experience..."

"Keep an open mind!" Chris yelled as I left the house for my first Vinyasa flow class.  "Because you know you're going to hate it tonight..."

But I didn't hate it.  At least not entirely.  It did kind of mess up my back even more though.  It's the whole chaturanga to upward dog to downward dog movement. (In other words, the whole thing).  My QL muscle on the left side of my lower back does not like. And I knew that going in, but Flow is popular... I have to see why

Day 97: Roar

I yelled all day long today.  I yelled at my kids to get them out of the house for playgroup.  And I yelled  to get them from playgroup out to the playground.  I also yelled to get them from the playground home for lunch...

I am deeply ashamed. And I honestly do feel like a terribly mother.

I blame it on lack of sleep.  I blame it on having two boys--both essentially toddlers--who need endless stimulation and exercise.  I blame it-- well, it doesn't really matter.

You Can't Make New Old Friends.

"A lot of stuff can come up in this pose, so don't be surprised if you start feeling sad (or nauseated or angry or bewildered or [add emotion here...]"

I've been to lots of yoga classes where the teacher says this at some point during the class. Normally, it's right when we're about to do Camel.  But since I've never experienced any sort of Come-to-Jesus moment like that in the middle of practicing, I usually make some snarky comment to myself and just keep going.

Then today, as I was lying in savasana (corpse pose) at the end of Hatha class, I started to cry. Not because some old family trauma surfaced or even because I've had a particularly bad day.  It was because my Best Mom Friend (BMF) is moving away next week, and I suddenly glimpsed how yucky life is going to be without her around. 

Namaste, people.

Namaste, people.I'm into yoga now.

I used to be into running.  Really into it.  I ran for years on several continents, in many cities, in all kinds of weather, usually early in the morning. My running shoes and I have been everywhere together from Stockholm to Rangoon; from Nantucket to Phuket; from Lake Como to the Napa Valley. 

I wasn't particularly fast (2003 NYC Marathon time: 4h30min) but I was dedicated.  In fact, once I got in the zone I had a hard time stopping.  When I used to live in Venice, California, I'd go out for a run along the beach and if things went well, I'd end up calling my husband collect from a sandy pay phone and asking him to grab me some dry clothes before heading down to Manhattan or Redondo Beach--a cool 10+ miles around the Marina and down the bike path from our house--to meet me an hour later