Saturday, December 31, 2011

Maintaining Control? Yeah, Right!

The end of the year is a terrific time to evaluate all that has happened during the year. The times spent mourning what I don't have rather than being grateful for what I do have seems to be precious time wasted. Hindsight is 20/20, isn't it? I would love to say that I will be grateful for every experience that is thrown my way, good or bad, but I know that I will unfortunately slip into the mourning phase yet again. How do I know I've slipped into this phase? I start picking away at my budget, trying to eke out one last dollar to cover expenses, I try to fix my friends or students' problems--basically focusing on other things rather than myself. See? I'm trying to maintain control over my life. Ha!

My plan of action, I've decided, is to witness and be aware of when this happens. I will then take stock of all that I have to be grateful for: two beautiful boys, a wonderfully supportive husband, A JOB! (Not all can say that, for sure!) a fulfilling and sustaining yoga practice, an old, but functional home (built in 1895), 4 fluffy cats--one who's ornery, two Toyotas (one of them a Prius), and of course, food and clothing.

I'm sure there are many that would trade their woes for what we have, and I need to make sure that I do not fall into complacency. I need to allow life to happen and welcome the difficult, because truthfully, that is what really makes us grow. Happy New Year to all! Namaste.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Yoga and Fibromyalgia

I started doing yoga to relieve my pain due to fibromyalgia. It has helped greatly, but not completely. I recently visited a new rheumatologist last week who I found to be highly informed and compassionate.

I told him I did not like the diagnosis of fibromyalgia (FMS) because it seemed like it was a catch-all diagnosis or a diagnosis of exclusion. He stated that they have actually done brain scans on people with FMS and pain vs. people with pain due to other factors. The scans showed that people with FMS had differences in their brains than the other group. He also explained that people with FMS have more nerve activity than other people. When we (people with FMS) do normal activities, we ache all over. When other people without FMS do the same thing, they are fine.

My goal after retirement is to become a certified yoga instructor and work with people who have chronic pain. Who better to teach them than someone who has experienced chronic pain?!

I have included this link for further information on FMS: Symptoms of FMS. But remember, it is important to stay active and NOT let FMS rule your life. You will be in pain whether you stay home or not. But I guarantee that you will feel better after exercise; but please make sure you check with your doctor about the most appropriate exercise for you.  Happy holidays, everyone!!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Neti Pot Recipe for Killing Amoebas!

Hi All,
With the recent scare of the infected solutions using Neti pots, I thought I'd post a recipe that should kill those darned amoebas.

1 cup distilled water
1/4 tsp each of sugar, baking soda, salt
Stir and nuke for 2 minutes.

Let sit on counter for about one hour then use. It should still be a bit warm. Enjoy! Remember: The neti pot needs to be cleaned as well!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Homemade Ice Packs and Heat Wraps

You do not have to go out and buy expensive hot pads or work with a bag of ice to try and comfort your aching muscles. I have used these over the years and they work perfectly...even better than the store bought kinds!

Let's start with the hot packs. You need two hand towels, a gallon-size ziplock baggie, and some king of a belt or sash to hold the prepared hot pack in place. First wet one of the hand towels thoroughly. Squeeze out the excess water. Place the towel in the ziplock baggie and close until you have one inch left. LEAVE THAT OPEN or the bag will explode. Now, put the baggie in the microwave and nuke for 2 minutes. In the meantime, lay out your other hand towel on the counter. Make sure it is flat and all the way open. When your towel in the microwave is finished, REMOVE CAREFULLY! You may want to use oven mitts. Open the bag away from you so you do not get steam burned. Place the heated towel on the other towel. Now take the two ends and fold toward the middle (meet the edges in the middle). Now fold the opposite sides in, but this time overlap them so you do not have any hot towel poking through. Place on your skin where it hurts. You may need to put it over a shirt or on top of your pants if the heat is too intense. If you don't want to hold it there, grab a belt or sash and wrap around you to hold it into place. This take a bit of practice, but in the end, it is definitely worth it!

Now the cold pack. This is waaaaaay to easy. I have upper back and shoulder pain, and I always had trouble positioning the pack so it would stay there. Well, I had inspiration when I was going through some old clothes and found some leg warmers I had from the '80s! Well, I took the leg warmer and shoved a freezer pack into it. I placed the pack directly into the middle of the leg warmer. I then positioned the pack on the sore part of my shoulder or upper back, and used the two ends to tie it into place. Viola! Heaven on Earth, I tell you!

Please let me know if you need further explanation, and I'll be happy to oblige!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Yoga Everywhere

I've been thinking of all the different ways that I bring yoga into my life, and it amazes me that every movement can be yoga. Here are my top ten ways that happen almost daily:

10. At the kitchen sink in a modified downward dog
9. Stretching long and lovingly to reach the top shelf in my cabinet
8. Deep forward bend to pick up kitty plates after breakfast
7. Lunge to pick up kids' toys scattered about
6. Squat when playing with my kitties on the floor
5. Deep relaxation throughout every part of my body during my evening bath in my clawfoot tub
4. Yoga Nidra in bed at night right before I go to sleep
3. Grabbing onto my headrest while driving to give my shoulders a deep stretch
2. Supporting my lower back by engaging my abdominal, pelvic, and back muscles when I pick up my 57 lb. 6-year-old and my 62 lb. 10-year-old
1. My morning asana practice

I used to get hung up on how long I did my morning practice which usually comes in about 15-20 minutes, but now, I've seen yoga in all my movements and make each movement count. AAAAHHHHH!!!!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Working Through the Burn

Have you ever read about a new way of doing things, and although it was interesting you didn't give it much thought?  Then days, weeks, or months later you are replaying this bit of information through your mind and you find that this information is just perfect for you? Well, yesterday I was in the kitchen becoming more irritated about my upper back and shoulders burning, when I remembered what I read in Fierce Medicine by Ana T. Forrest. She talked about the difference between pain and burning in your muscles. Pain is that sudden OUCH! you get when you move into a pose. Your body is telling you STOP what your are doing. But when you get burning, your muscles are about to release so you need to hold the position longer until they do.

So excited now, I grabbed onto the kitchen sink and went into a modified downward dog. The burn increased, but I held the pose, sinking deeper into it. About one minute later I noticed the endorphins kicking in. AAAAAHHHHH! NO MORE BURN! I about ran outside and screamed, IT WORKED!

Thank you Ana, for planting that seed in my brain so it could germinate and be plucked just when I needed it most! Namaste.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Space Orville

OK, folks. My hubby has now published his book on Lulu. It can be downloaded now in many formats. Here's a message directly from him:

 Okay, so if you don't have a Kindle but you do have a device that supports and reads "epub" files (that seems to include iPads, iPhones, Nooks, etc. You can check a list here: and, if you are at all interested, my humble wares are now also available through at
    If you have trouble with that link, you can always try which not only will hook you up with Lulu but also offer up a really goofy picture of the author.
    Another great free download I've discovered for folks with any sort of reader is Calibre at A terrific resource for storing, reading, converting and uploading all sorts of file types. Handy and very user-friendly.
    'kay, my friends. That's all I've got for now. Thanks so much for all of your support!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Yoga and Science Fiction

Yoga and science fiction? I know these two topics seem to go together like fire and water, but actually, for me, there is a huge connection between the two.

You see, as of today, my husband is a published author! I couldn't be more thrilled for him (and, yeah, ok, for me, too!) The title of his book is Space Orville. It is an young adult, humorous science fiction novel that is just fantastic. It is available only on Kindle right now, but as I'm writing this, he is looking into other publishing formats.

So please, take a look! I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pain: What I Can Learn From It

It seems that I constantly struggle with this four-letter word: Pain. To call it an enemy would seem wrong, but to call it a friend doesn't seem right either.  So I have decided to call pain my teacher.

It has taken me many years to get to this place in my life. I have looked for the sources of pain by visiting many different types of doctors (most currently my orthopedist) to get relief from this ever-present being in my life.

In Krista Tippett's 2008 interview with Seane Corn, Seane made a comment that I've mentioned before in this blog. She said we as a society are addicted to tension. I have been around this in my head so many times, and I think it's finally starting to sink in. I do notice when I'm stressed my breath rate increases and my muscles begin to spasm. So this pain is telling me: Be careful, you're storing tension...relax...breathe. But for my long-held tension, I believe what Seane said is true. By putting blocks of energy around our emotions (held in the body), we deny its existance so that we don't have to deal with the bigger picture.

When I make up my mind to do something, I do it. And I think my body knows that. So when I feel threatened, unsafe, sad, angry, etc...that pain protects me and refocuses my thoughts away from the issue giving me problems.

So I ask myself again (and again, and again) what are you going to do about it? What I have learned is that I do not need to jump down someone's throat to get relief or distance myself from another person. I can re-evaluate my behavior in the interactions and change myself. Because let's face it people, that is really the only person we can change. My change might be to not bring up certain topics around sensative areas, smile instead of averting my eyes, or offering myself the time needed to process pain and to be gentle with myself.

If you enjoyed the interview with Seane Corn, you may also find listening to Matthew Sanford (also interviewed by Krista Tippett) inspiring. His interview on dealing with pain and coping with his disability is so very touching and healing. I really hope you check this one out, too. It's definitely worth it.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

My First REAL Yoga Teacher

I was blessed a few years ago to meet a beautiful woman who would forever change my life. I work as an itinerant teacher (I travel from school-to-school). And every time I would head to one of my schools, I saw this woman who I would always wave to. Never met her before, but our paths seemed to cross often.

One day as I was in the library of the school where I'd see this woman, she approached me and started talking to me like we'd been old friends. It felt so very comfortable--like our souls knew each other, even though we, as people, had never met. She said her name was Hansa, and asked if I would like to join her yoga class after school on Wednesdays. Heck yeah!   Though my journey through yoga began before that, she was the inspiration I needed to continue. (She didn't even know I practiced yoga! Albeit a hodge-podge style to be sure!) How she knew I'd be a perfect fit for her class, I'll never know. It was one of those chance meetings that wasn't so chance.

I felt my blog was lacking something, when yesterday I decided I needed to interview my first yoga teacher. Though she no longer teaches at the school, she remains my teacher in my heart. Here are a couple of my interview questions and her responses: (More will be shared in later posts.  Most importantly: How has yoga changed your life?)

Where (specifically) and when did you study?
I started the practice of yoga at 18 years of age.
It started off with an interest in yoga just to stay fit. However it soon transitioned into a much deeper interest and grew and blossomed into a search for more intense practices.
I visited several ashrams throughout India, and eventually settled to study to be a teacher at 2 schools, which were quite diverse in their beliefs and vision.
One was Vivekananda Kendra, Headquartered at Kanyakumari located on the southernmost tip of India, and Bihar school of yoga, Headquartered at Munger,Bihar, located in the state of Bihar. Both schools philosophies were different. BSY was a research based highly scientific system of the practice of yoga, almost entirely backed by data. VK was again a research based school, more emphasis being laid out on the spiritual aspect of the practice. I was lucky I had a fusion of the best of both philosophies. Fortunately both of these school had branches in Bangalore, which is the city of my birth. And it was easy for me to gain entry into their teacher's training program, where along with the study I was an in-house teacher.
What style of yoga did you study?
Over the years that I taught I adapted the best practices from each school,and came up with and individualized practice that I call adaptive yoga. The style is called Viniyasa yoga, which is more a practice based on slow movements, breath awareness and focusing on energy flow. It can also be called meditation or mindful awareness.

There is so much more I will cover in later posts when Hansa and I have more time to uncover her personal journey. Namaste.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

My Blond Moment

This was just too priceless not to share.Yesterday during my Study Skills class, I was getting my cell phone ready to time the kids for our reading exercise. I was explaining to the students what we would be doing, when I looked down and my cell phone was gone. I asked the kids if they had seen it, and they said no. My students can be pranksters so I wasn't sure I believed them.

So I called another staff member into the room and asked if she would call my cell so we could find it. Well, we heard it ring, and my students and I are looking for the phone, but none of us could find it. It was like the phone was locked in another dimension just to annoy us.

Well, this gal had to call my phone four times! just so we could find it. I finally found it in the teacher's manual that I had just closed prior to this exercise and put it on my shelf. Ugh!!!! We laughed so hard at my foible!

Then the kids convinced me to give them some of my chocolate since I was basically accusing them of taking it. So it all ended in a light-hearted, chocolate-filled morning. Sheesh!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Moon Shine

Yesterday morning I logged into this livemag site at "Yoga Journal",, and was blown away by the beauty of the practice called "Moon Shine". It's the sister to Sun Salutation, but it is meant to be done in the evening or when your energy is low, and you just can't muster up the strength and courage to do the heat-building Sun Salutation.

Shiva Rea demonstrates this sensual practice and it flows just like the name says--can't think of a name better than Moon Shine.

What I liked most about this practice is that it is accessible to EVERYONE, not just the athletic yogi types. I began this practice yesterday morning and felt my endorphins soar. Wow! This was so beautifully gentle. I can only imagine what it will feel like to do this everyday!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

My Healing Story

It's funny how immersed I can become in my emotions that I can't see the forest for the trees. I have been mourning (hard!) the fact that I have not achieved my National Boards, yet again, and told myself that it means nothing. I and guess in some ways that is true. I had to allow myself time to grieve (BTW, I'm a fast griever!) before I could move forward.

Well, last night I was at my youngest son's karate class and an email from one of my mentors came back to me. She said I'm as close to achieving as one assessment center test. So after I got home, I check the assessment calculator to see what I'd need to get on the one subtest, and it turns out that I only need .2 to achieve. So immediately, I got out my credit card and signed up! I had such a rush of joy. Weird, I know, but my ego really dominates me sometimes.

So, I'm going to study my ass off, take the test, and next November I'm going to find out that I achieved my National Boards! Oh, yes I will!!! I feel it in my bones!

I need to thank my friends and colleagues for allowing me to grieve and not pushing me into taking the test. I needed to find the courage on my own. (Thanks Jen and Lauren!)

All of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Eat lots and be merry!

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Day of Miracles

Yesterday started out with the disappointing results of my National Boards. But Spirit had a day of miracles planned. Of course, the first was my beautiful banner created by my two wonderful sons to ease my disappointment of my boards. The second just about blew me away!

My sons had a karate tournament yesterday in the afternoon. I could tell they were both excited and nervous, but my youngest son seemed upset. When I asked him what was bothering him, he said he didn't want to go to the tournament because he would not be in a kumate (sparring) match. I explained that his brother was doing kumate because he has more experience in that area. I let him know that soon he would be ready, and then we would sign him up. He then told me that his brother will get two trophies and he just one. Ahhhhh, the root of the problem: Proof that we are good enough (sounds eerily familiar...sigh...).

His brother came in the room and said, "Come here. I have something to show you." He showed him all the trophies he had received. The first one was a trophy from his grandma because he didn't place in his first tournament. The next two trophies he received were both third place trophies. The last one was a first place trophy.  He then said, "Now come let's look at your trophies." He showed him the two trophies he received. Both first place trophies. He then said to him, "That's because you are better than me." My youngest son held onto that all day, and I just embraced my oldest with all the love in my heart. Wow.

The third miracle happened after the kata competition. My youngest was sitting with me when his sensei came up and asked if he'd like to compete in kumate--one student did not show up, which left another without a kumate partner. He did tell him that he would not receive a trophy because this was just giving the other boy a partner. My son seemed great with that. Well, the senior sensei came over and said to the other sensei, "We have enough trophies that he can earn one, too." My son could have lit up New York City with the excitement.

Spirit was sure with us yesterday. I know that Spirit is always with me (and you), and to witness it first hand is a miracle. Namaste.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A New Direction

OK, this morning I got news that wasn't fulfilling. I did not pass my National Boards for Professional Teacher Standards. This was my retake. I was two points away. This has been a difficult two years for me, and I believe that I will not retake one last time. I know that I have improved greatly as a teacher as a result of this process, but to pay more money for just the NBCT after my name seems self consumed.

Right now, my emotions are raw and I need distance from this process. But here's what I know is true: I have the best family in the world, my kids and husband are so supportive emotionally and spiritually, I am a damn good teacher, and I have a wonderful yoga practice that will guide me through any life changes or decisions I have to make.

I finished reading Rod Stryker's book, The Four Desires, and found the meditations and self discovery activities to be beyond profound. I actually think I will reward myself for not passing by embarking on new and exciting events. For instance, Rod Stryker is supposed to be coming to the Chicago area in March. I may want to invest my money there and attend his weekend-long workshop. I also have an opportunity to take a few ESL courses for free. I do have to be selected for this, and I have my fingers crossed. I will focus my attention on a new endeavor.

So after all this, finding out this morning that I didn't pass, I surprised myself at my ease and grace when dealing with my kids this morning. I didn't want to ruin their day. When I woke up my husband to tell him the news this morning, his compassion opened a flood gate of tears that I couldn't seem to control. My oldest son then came up to see what was wrong and I told him I didn't pass my test. He left without a word, and I told my husband that I must have frightened him with my deep sadness.

Well, about 20 minutes later, my two sons came up with a banner that they made that said, "You passed in our minds!" Now this is what life is about. It's amazing how just a little gesture can mean the world. I will hold onto this and go on with my life in a new direction. I need that right now.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My Revised Sankulpa

I’m still in the process of reading The Four Desires: Creating a Life of Purpose, Happiness, Prosperity, and Freedom, by Rod Stryker. Last night when I was doing the revising of my Sankulpa (thought, intention, or will directed toward a specific outcome), I decided, quite effortlessly in fact, that every time my kids don’t respond to my first request to do something, I will not snap at them. Instead I will repeat my Sankulpa “I will witness, with gratitude, my current situation.” This will hopefully open space in my mind to allow me to relax rather than to snap at them; and to give them the time needed to process my request and move forward.

I cannot recommend enough reading his book AND going through the exercises. They do take time and commitment, but they are certainly worth it!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Glass Half Empty?

I saw an orthopedist yesterday and he treated me for sub-scapular bursitis. I was really surprised since I assumed it was all a muscle or joint issue. Who knew? He said to me something that really took me back and certainly hit me the wrong way. He told me I need to stop viewing my medical issues with a glass half empty. He said this was probably not the first time I heard this. Well, actually it was. I was shocked. I have always felt that I have a positive attitude toward many things in life. In fact my friends have often told me that they like my positive outlook on life.

But I have decided to look honestly at myself and take every criticism as an opportunity to grow. So I asked my husband if he felt I was a glass-half-empty kind of a person regarding my medical issues. His slow response told me that yes, he too felt that way. I felt betrayed. Hadn’t I always “sucked it up”, “put my best foot forward”, and all that jazz? Then he asked me if I thought anyone could help me with my chronic pain, and truthfully I answered, no. Had anyone been able to get rid of it?

So in essence, I guess I have been a glass-half-empty kind of gal—at least when it involves my pain. So what I plan to do, is to do my best to trust this orthopedist and KNOW he will help me. I guess I’m afraid of being disappointed, yet again…My only option at this moment, is to continue to see my orthopedist and trust that I will be pain free. What do I have to lose? My pain? I hope so.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Acceptance is Just a Shift in Perspective!

Acceptance can be a very difficult thing for me to practice. I’m a perfectionist by nature, and if I can not control my environment, it makes me uneasy. My body? Forgetaboutit! What I can control is what I put into my body, the yoga practice I do everyday, my thoughtful responses to stress, etc…What I have difficulty with is my body’s response to my chronic pain. Believe me, I have tried everything: prayer, meds, bargaining with God, meditation, and on and on.

But last night I had an epiphany! I may not be able to control my pain, but I can control my perspective of pain. I was reading Rod Stryker's book The Four Desires, when this realization came to me. Now I'm not sure what that new perspective is, but I have prayed that God will guide me to the new perspective.

On my way to work this morning, I felt so relaxed and happy. As I'm typing this, my back hurts, but it is not alarming me or causing me to take ibuprofen. I really don't care at this point what the new perspective is, but I trust I will be guided toward it in good time. I will be patient.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Finding Balance in Poses--in Life

So much of what yoga is, is developing awareness of our body, mind, and spirit. Figuring out how to do that can feel overwhelming and daunting--especially when you feel stuck.

I find myself questioning everything--at times ad nauseum. "Why am I feeling this way?" "Why won't my body cooperate when my mind can do these beautiful asanas with ease?" "When will I ever get rid of my chronic pain?"

These questions are like a hamster running on its exercise wheel. He moves fast, but gets nowhere. I pray for balance in my life with my kids, with work and play, with my husband, and finding time for myself. But what I think I need to pray for more is for acceptance of where I am at right now. I want everything fixed and I get frustrated when pain takes over. So lately I've devoted myself to these things:

1. Finish reading Rod Stryker's book The Four Desires: Creating a Life of Purpose, Happiness, Prosperity, and Freedom and completing all the activities in there
2. Continue going to Svaroopa yoga classes each month (2+ more each month)
3. Accept where my pain level is at each day: manage it through yoga, meditation, and Yes, medication
4. Be gentle with myself

I know that my perspective will change. And I need to enjoy the flow.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Trouble Posting to the Blog?

I've had a couple of people say that they've tried to post to the blog, but can't seem to figure it out. Here's a tutorial:
  • First, click on the link of the post you want to comment on (You'll see these listed on the right of your screen.)
  • Then go to the end of that posting and you will see a text box.  Type your comment in there.
  • If you have a "Google Acct", sign in. If not, you can type your name at the end of the message, or just leave it off. It can be anonymous.
  • So either choose anonymous or sign in...then type in the string of letters you see for verification purposes.
  • It will then send me a notification that someone wants have their comment posted to the blog.
  • I will then publish it. 
  • If you have any questions, contact me on Twitter:!/Youthful_Yogini

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Thanks to my pal, YogaChickie on Twitter, I was able to do a backbend. She mentioned that I needed to place blocks against a wall so that my hands would be elevated. It took a few tries, but I was eventually able to push myself into a backbend. Yea!!! Now this backbend was not pretty, it was actually quite abstract! I had to turn my hands so that the heel of my hands faced my ears. Having my fingers pointing toward my shoulders what a bit too intense, so I adapted the pose a bit.

Now that I know I can do it, I will play with the pose and see if I can stay up longer than 2 seconds! I hope to build my arm and back muscles so that this pose looks effortless. But now that I know I can do this, I know I will achieve the beautiful backbend my mind's eye sees me do all the time. Namaste!

The Most Healing Sound

I was reminded last Saturday of the Ujjayi Breath (or victory breath) at my Svaroopa yoga class. I had learned this type of breathing about three years ago, and have only occasionally practiced it. Because of what I've relearned, I am going to employ this method of breathing a few times a day. Our bodies and minds recognize this breath as a healing breath--actually the most healing sound there is. It's that important!

Ujjayi breathing is a way of breathing that calms the nervous system, helps to relax your mind, and also can help you sleep better. The easiest way I have found to make this work is to slightly point my chin down toward my chest:  this opens the airway as well as constricts the flow at the same time. Your breath should be the same length on the inhale as with the exhale. If you notice a subtle snoring sound, you're on the right track. This can be done at any time, but be careful not to use this method of breathing if you are in a difficult pose. You should be relaxed to allow the air to flow freely through the airways.

Another way to practice this breath is to clear your throat. When you do this, notice the muscles that you used to clear your throat. Continue clearing your throat (epiglottis is working) so that the sound eminated from you is a sound only you can hear. Keep the epiglottis engaged as you continue to breathe in and out slowly. Notice all the subtle changes in your body when you practice this.

I know for me, this has been wonderful. I tend to panic when I feel my pain has worsened. If I can remember to practice this ujjayi breath, I can lessen the pain and remain calm.

I posted a few links that give a much better explanation than I can. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Excellent Liver Cleanser

For about 2 years, I've drank this concoction every morning: 1 Tbls Organic extra virgin olive oil, 1 Tbls Organic lemon juice, and 6-8 ounces of Organic grape juice. Mix it all together and drink. It tastes delicious and it a great detoxer. Because of the medicines I take to control my chronic pain, I want to be sure that my liver is as healthy as it can be. (If you can't afford the organic, that's OK, it still works as a good detox drink. When I'm feeling a little bit rich, I splurge on the organic.)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pain Management

Learning to accept my pain rather than being frightened of it is a real challenge for me. Since adolescence, I have dealt with chronic pain. It has morphed over the years, at times becoming better, and more often than not, becoming worse.  I have been to more doctors and alternative therapies to try and deal with this problem than I care to admit. (See previous post on Putting Faith in Others).

In 2010, I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease. The test results indicated that I had a previous exposure (based on CDC criteria), but currently do not have Lyme disease (also based on CDC criteria). However, I had seen a doctor who specialized in diagnosis and treatment of Lyme Disease who told me that there is a population (an epidemic, actually) that suffer from chronic pain due to CHRONIC Lyme Disease. He put me on a month’s worth of strong antibiotics along with a supplement called Artemisia that dealt with babesia, a protozoan parasite that infects the blood—many patients with Lyme, he said, have co-infections and babesia is a common infection that goes along with Lyme. Both pills made me very sick, irritable, and even in more pain than I had had previously.

Finally, I went to an infectious disease physician who told me that I do NOT have chronic Lyme and should stop treatment immediately. I was so grateful to stop this treatment, but have often wondered: which doctor is correct? I still have chronic pain, but somehow I’m not treating the underlying source.

I’ve been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, muscle pain, about four years ago. But my biggest worry is WHAT’S CAUSING THIS?  This is where I need to accept where I’m at, use my meditation and my yoga as my medical treatment. I always feel better after my meditation and yoga, but unfortunately at this point it has not completely cured my pain.

I am working on trying my best to manage my pain through meds and my yoga practice. What I want to be able to do is to accept and embrace my pain as a teaching tool—what can I learn from this. Some days it seems I master this; however, today is not one of them. The weather hasn’t helped much either today. So today my intention is to just breathe and acknowledge my pain, then let it go. Just for today.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Re-Learning a Back Bend!

On Twitter, one of my pals is guiding me through backbends. At 45, I'm learning how to become Youthful again. I'm trying to see things through the lens of a child. Instead of being scared of backbend, which unfortunately I am, I am going to learn to accept where I'm at at this moment.

So, my friend, @YogaChickie on Twitter, had this to say about starting: Do sphynx, salabasana, bhekasana, dhanurasana and ustrasana, in that order..every single day for a week. (For examples of these poses, you can go to and click on poses.) She also stressed the importance of warming up with sun salutations and lunges to prepare every part of my back for this asana.

I will follow her "prescription" for the week and let everyone know of my progress. If you have any helpful hints, I'd love to hear them! Either post here or find me on twitter @Youthful_Yogini!  Namaste!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Dharma Code

I just began Rod Stryker's book, The Four Desires. I decided to blog about one aspect in the book that struck me: Dharma Code. From my understanding at this point, this is fulfilling your soul's desires by living each day in a way that makes positive choices to fulfill your life's work.

OK, so I haven't started the exercises defined in the book yet--I'm only in part 2 of the book--but here's what my gut and heart have told me (again, I've not started the exercises--just what I believe at this point): my heart has always been happiest when I acknowledge others' accomplishments and help them to be the best they can be.

I love seeing people succeed at whatever they set their minds to. I believe that if we give unselfishly to others without holding back, we benefit the most. For example, one of the sign language interpreters I work with signs with such feeling and clarity. She and I were working with a student one day and the student and she were talking about using Skype. Her clarity and visual accessibility to this technology (which I have never experienced) made me feel as if I actually had seen this. I commented on how beautifully she interpreted that, and the happiness and relaxation that came over her being was so profound, it made me want to laugh and cry at the same time. I believe I benefitted more than she from that experience because I got to see Spirit at work that day.

So at this point, I believe my Dharma Code is to see the beauty in everyone (especially those individuals I have the most difficulty with). If I am unable to express that to the other person because I feel my ego will be in jeopardy, I will do my best to gently push my ego aside and let that person know how I feel.

Happy Sunday!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Yoga Nidra

In the November 2011 issue of Yoga Journal is an article about Yoga Nidra. It is a profound-restorative practice of yoga that promotes deep relaxation while being wakeful at the same time.

Three years ago I was introduced to Yoga Nidra by my friend, Hansa. The practice at first seemed like guided relaxation, but after the initial practice of Yoga Nidra I felt more alive and at peace in my body than I ever had before. It almost felt as if I were walking on a cloud. There was so much space between my joints and muscles that I felt so very light.

As with anything, I had forgotten about the practice of Yoga Nidra until YJ arrived at my home. I remembered the blissful, grounded feeling I had experienced while doing this.

One of the interesting effects of Yoga Nidra while doing it, was  that I saw images behind my eyelids. One image was of a crocodile moving slowly with its mouth open. I later asked Hansa about that. She said in her experience crocodiles/alligators represent strength. Odd, I thought, since I felt so relaxed--but the strength, I believe, was coming from determination and groundedness.

My goal for this month is to practice Yoga Nidra at least twice. More if I can carve out some extra time in the evenings. Namaste.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What My Feelings Can Tell Me

Since I've been more willing to experience my feelings and not freak out about them, it seems that they surface and I feel a bit annoyed, but not upset.

Yesterday as I was doing gardening, my heart wasn't in it. I kept lecturing myself by saying, "you can choose to act miserable or to be happy--it's your choice!" Well I chose miserable. Couldn't help it; I tried to make myself feel abundant, happy, at peace with myself, but it wasn't happenin'.

I guess where I'm at now is just acceptance. For so long I have really blocked out my feelings and didn't allow them to surface as much, so this is just probably all the gunk that is getting unstuck. But, I AM up for the challenge. I know in order to become healthier, I have to go through the difficult emotions that show up in my life.

Yoga continues to allow me to be gentle with myself and accept myself and my emotions for what they are. I'm definitely experiencing a steep learning curve! Today I'm not living up to the "youthful" in Youthful Yogini...maybe tomorrow!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Mind, Body, and Spirit: A Glimpse

Ever have those moments when everything is going perfectly? You get every green light on the way to work, your favorite songs from your i-pod keep coming up, your car is running perfectly? Well that happened to me on my way to work this morning. So this was my opportunity to shine a light on this and remember what this "mind-body-spirit" feels like.

I guided my mind to all parts of my body. First I noticed my back: I was very comfortably seated in my car and felt no stress or strain. My hands were loosely placed on the steering wheel, my breathing was relaxed and rhythmic, and I put judgement on it: This is what it feels like to be lined up AND this makes me happy. So immediately I said, "Happy, thank you, more please! (See previous post about this.) My mind was happy and I had no worries. My spirit felt like it was dancing! I did nothing to "plan" this, it just happened.

I know that I will not always feel this way. I also know that I should not put a judgement on it; rather I should just observe, give thanks, and move on. But I felt like I wanted to bottle this feeling and save it for later. I'm still in a good place today, but I'm doing my best to not be disappointed when this leaves. I WILL, however, remember what this feels like and use my yoga practice to try to tap into this on a daily basis. Life is good!


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Energy Blocks

Every time I listen to Krista Tippet's interview with Seane Corn, I either hear something new or get a deeper understanding of Seane's message.

One thing that really surprised me the first time I heard the interview was that Seane believes (as do many others) that we are addicted to our tension. What?! I couldn't believe that the first time I heard it, because my tension has always been an annoyance and has cost me lots of money to learn to relax!

However, after my 1st Svaroopa yoga session, I experienced deep sadness the day after. I started to understand what Sean was trying to say. The tension I had had a purpose: it held in my emotions, or kept my emotions so hidden from my conscious mind that I didn't have to deal with them.

By relaxing my muscles and letting go of the tension, I was able to witness what that tension had held in. From my limited understanding at this point, tension is sometimes easier to deal with than the raw emotions that surface unexpectedly.

After I was able to recognize that, I was able to release the sadness and continue to be mindful of what my tension is trying to hide. I'll do my best not to be afraid to confront my emotions and be more gentle with myself.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Svaroopa Yoga: The Magic Four

I have been so blessed to have been introduced to my new teachers of Svaroopa Yoga as well as all the benefits I've received from the practice...and it's only been since Saturday!!!

I have been doing what's called the Magic Four of Svaroopa Yoga. The asanas appear to be very simple (and in some respects they are), but they are truly profound. Today, when doing the Magic Four in my bedroom, I was amazed at how easily my muscles sank into relaxation. It was like they were saying, "Well it's about time!"

All I can say right now is THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU Universe for putting Svaroopa Yoga into my path.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Svaroopa Yoga: The Day After

Today started out slowly: I got up, had my coffee, the boys played, I made them breakfast, then it seemed a slow sadness was doing its best to creep into my body, mind, and spirit. At first I was really afraid of this: We were celebrating my mother-in-law's birthday today, and the place was going to be packed with relatives. My parents were invited as well. (BTW, my parents and my in-laws get along wonderfully--what a gift that is.)
It was very difficult for me to be happy, and I started questioning everything: what was this sadness about, where's the origin of this, what do I need to do to feel get the idea.

But then I remembered something Sean Corne said in an interview with Krista Tippett. I'm paraphrasing here: Krista asked Sean about the sadness yogis and yoginis experience when they've done yoga for a while--a sadness you can't put your finger on. Sean's response was that yoga invites us to take the scab off the wound and experience our sadness. Yoga releases so much tension held in the body, mind, and spirit, that we need to honor the sadness when it appears.

When I realized this, I stopped fighting. Svaroopa opened me up quite a bit. I'm sore, but I'm witnessing the sadness that was released in the muscles. Now instead of getting angry and anxious, I'm being gentle with myself.

My mom said to me later this evening that I seemed kind of down in the dumps. I told her that yeah, I was, but I knew it would pass.

Right now, my husband is waiting for me to finish this blog so I can enjoy a few episodes of "In treatment" before bed. The irony is not lost on me!

I will embrace this and except it, and know that in order to change and get better, I have to go through this and not fight it. Namaste.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Svaroopa Yoga

I had one of the most relaxing yoga sessions this morning. It's Hatha yoga in the Svaroopa style. I was the only student in attendance with TWO teachers. I felt pampered, enlightened, and completely blissed out! What a fantastic 2 hours it was this morning.

The point of Svaroopa yoga is to release not only surface tension, but deeply-held tension into the muscle tissues, and organs. I can only imagine what years of this style of yoga could do for me!

I am committed to attending this yoga class at least twice a month. Coupled with my morning yoga practice, I'm sure I'll become more aware of tension held within my body and becoming more mindful. Namaste!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I first heard this idea of sankulpa when doing a meditation CD about two years ago. It made so much sense, and I continued it for a while. But then, as with so many things, I forgot about it and moved onto other ideas. Yesterday as I was reading my Yoga Journal (October issue) the word sankulpa came up again. Oh yeah I remember this!

Funny thing, is that seed had been planted two years ago, and I've been using it without realizing it. So what is sankulpa? My understanding is that it is a conscious intention about what you want for your life. Trick is, you are not asking for it, you are acting as if you already have it. So my sankulpa for this morning went something like this: I am receiving peace, acceptance, healing, and abundance everyday of my life.

Try it. See what happens. It really is amazing.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Putting My Faith in Others

For the past few years, I have given over my health and well-being to doctors, chiropractors, and any new age therapy that can heal my chronic back pain.

In June, I had an experience that really made me see things clearly, I believe, for the first time. I was at my chiropractors office getting cupping, acupuncture, and adjustments. For a few months, this chiropractor sold me on the idea that if I bought all of these homeopathic herbs from him, I'd be just about healed. I did start to feel better, and I told him I wanted to wean off of them (as he told me that I could do). He started telling me that I was looking at this all wrong! That if I just continued, I'd be just about healed. I told him, no, I was feeling better and I was going off of them. He stood up and stormed out of the office, leaving his assistant with me. He didn't return, and neither did I.

I feel better than I have felt in a long time. I am eating healthy (as I've done for most of my life), do my daily yoga practice, talk with friends, see my therapist, and I have to tell you this: I decided what was best for me. I have to buy into my own plan of healing that is right for me. Spending $75 weekly on appointment and herbs was killing my serenity and my pocket book.

My body knows what it needs, and if I just listen quietly, it will always tell me.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Reading Yoga Bitch

I am in the middle of reading Yoga Bitch. I really enjoy how open and uninhibited Suzanne Morrison is when describing her life at a yoga retreat/teacher training in Bali, Indonesia. I realize I have a lot to explore in myself that I may ignore.

It makes me laugh when she writes about feeling superior (not in those words) to a classmate. I am laughing because I can identify with that. How many times have I looked at someone and their situation and felt just a bit superior because I am ENLIGHTENED! Whoa, talk about getting a dose of reality.

For example, before I had kids, I would comment on the way parents would raise their kids and say, "I would NEVER allow my kids to do that." All I have to say is be careful what you judge, because it will come back and bite you in the ass ten times over.

So my goal, at least for today, is to see everyone as an equal no matter where they are in their own journey. No part of anyone's journey is pointless or useless. It may just not be part of my journey. Thank you Suzanne Morrison! Namaste

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Growing Pains

Why is it hindsight is 20/20? Why can't I see what's in front of me when I'm plugging along day-after-day? Twice today I've run across sayings that hit me right between the eyes. It's as if Spirit had to post it to my forehead just so's I'd get it! The one quote was at a school: You cannot expect to achieve new goals or move beyond your present circumstances unless you change.-- Les Brown
The second was from the Seane Corn interview I mentioned earlier in this blog. Krista Tippett asked her about change and how the mindbody has to deal with sadness, grief, anger, etc...when your body opens in yoga, ie: muscles, bones, mind, spirit

I've been struggling with pain again these past two weeks. I tend to fight it, deny it, rationalize it, then, when all else fails, medicate it. Also during this time period, my husband and I have been doing side jobs for a friend. It's a lot of physical labor and the pay is good. I have been changing in many positive ways and it's no wonder I'm having difficulty. Change, good or bad, has effects on the body.

I guess this was a mini wake-up call to be gentle with myself and embrace all the positive changes--especially when they manifest in my mindbody.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


In the October 2011, Issue 241, of Yoga Journal, Cyndi Lee talks about vinyasa. From what I understand after reading her article, vinyasa means "a style of yogic sequencing that involves dynamic movements corrdinated with rhythmic breathing." She discusses that although vinyasa yoga appears to be an extremely intense form of yoga, it doesn't have to be. By creating intention with your daily movements and coordinating breath, you can use vinyasa by doing everyday things: getting up from a seated position, walking, doing housework, etc...

I was so happy to read this article, because for years I have been using intention in my movements. What I have found is that I am less clumsy, I stop to think about what I am doing in the current moment, and also choose my words more carefully.

She also discussed that sometimes you will get up, go the kitchen, then forget why you went there. I can sure relate to that. When this happens, I realize that I have lost my focus and my autopilot has engaged. Thank God for autopilot, but being in this state of unawareness, can be frustrating.

It is not always easy to create intention. I find that it takes a lot of work to focus exactly on what I'm doing--especially if I'm tired or just going through the motions. But what I have noticed, is that every opportunity, every movement, every thought can be a vinyasa moment, and when I focus on that moment, I am living in the now. The past is gone, and the future is not here.

Having done yoga for only four years, I am continually stunned at how far I have come. I used to never be flexible, ate more than I needed to, had put-my-foot-in-my-mouth moments way too often, but now my body is more flexible, my attention is better, and I'm more aware of my interactions with the people around me.

Reading Cyndi Lee's article just reaffirms for me that intention and breath can make all the difference. The trick is to remember to do this when I'm not feeling well or tired. Instead of looking at the times I don't do this well, I will find gratitude in the moments when I remember to use intention and breathe--that way, I will channel a more positive attitude and be grateful for what I have now at this very moment.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Practicing Patience

This past week has been tough physically. It seems that about one week out of the month, I can count on muscle pain, crankiness, and quite frankly, the blahs...

I have a difficult time practicing patience during these times. I want to feel better NOW, and it seems I'm pulling out my hair just to get a sense of relief.

Today is the start of the upward cycle, so I know that I can depend on feeling good in all aspects of my life. It is so much easier to practice patience when I feel terrific than when I feel out of sorts.

I did not succeed perfectly through the doldrums, but next month...I'll do better--I will practice more patience, breathing, and acceptance.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Bits of Yoga

I dream often of going to India to experience life in an ashram--even if just for a week. With the publication of Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and the new book, Yoga Bitch by Suzanne Morrison (which I've yet to read, though will very soon), it's no wonder I want to experience the benefits that an intense yoga immersion can offer my body and soul.

But, I tell myself often: "When the kids move out and have families of their own." or "When we finally are financially stable." I know that it is not feasible to do that at the present time, but there are things that I can do to prepare myself for this eventual journey.

This morning, I meditated on these words: Health, peace, love, abundance. I spent about 7 minutes sitting quietly breathing in and out deeply saying these words in my mind with each inhale and exhale. These bits of yoga help to center me and relax my inner nervousness.

I may not have an hour each day to practice yoga, but I do bits of yoga each day. For example, every weekday morning, I do my yoga practice for 15 minutes. During the day, I may have a private moment in the bathroom to grab onto the sink and do a variation of downward dog. On the way home in the car, I grab my headrest and stretch my shoulders and breathe deeply.

I have found that these yoga bits can help me to regain my focus on good posture, health, peace, and abundance. I may not have extended periods of time to devote to my yoga practice, but I do have time each day to do just a bit of yoga to refresh myself.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Happy Thank you More Please!

This has been my mantra this weekend. It has been so wonderful. I first heard this mantra in a movie by the same name. It was delightful. The idea is that when something good happens, you acknowledge it and give gratitude. This way you are opening yourself up to the universe to allow more good to flow within you and around you...
Yes, I'm happy! Thank you! More Please!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Balance in Yoga, in Life

I have recently begun incorporating balance postures into my yoga practice . I have found that my muscles have responded beautifully. The muscles in my body have worked together to create muscle memory so that the postures become easier each time I practice yoga.

This has helped me become more aware that I need to incorporate balance into my life as well. For every action there is a reaction.

I had an uncomfortable experience last week involving work. The action that occurred made me feel vulnerable and vengeful. Knowing that if I acted on getting even, I would only hurt myself, and possibly hurt my good reputation that I have at work. However, I began to look at the feeling of being vulnerable. This to me was the universe speaking--asking me to experience this vulnerability and learn from it.

Thankfully, I responded gracefully and actually got an unprompted apology from my boss. Had I not responded in such a way, I could have tipped the balance against my favor. Just because I feel a certain way, doesn't mean I have to act on it.

I do not always get interactions with people right. I just pray for the guidance to be able to recognize my part in any interaction so that I can choose to respond in a healthy, balanced way.

Monday, August 22, 2011


This morning as I was doing my yoga practice, the word "Grace" kept popping into my head. This is something that I've been trying to practice intensely for a few days now.

Today is my first day back to school (kids don't come until Wednesday) and with so much to do, I don't know where to begin. This is where I can practice grace.

I may not do everything exactly as I feel it should be done, or as effortlessly as I'd like, but I can do it with grace. Each interaction and action I am involved with today, I can keep my ego at bay and practice grace.

For me, grace in action looks like treating every person I meet with respect and honoring his/her individuality without judgement. Grace also means to me, that when I slip up and my ego decides to get its due, I can back up and proceed with grace. This means that I am respecting myself and honoring my own individuality and gently putting my ego aside. This can be very difficult. I pray that I can be full of grace just for today...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Feeling my feelings

The past couple of days have been difficult emotionally. The sadness and mild anger that I'm feeling is uncomfortable at best. I decided to take a look at my feelings as if I were an objective observer.

While I was gardening, I felt the heaviness in my throat and my chest and just acknowledged that it was there. I then focused my breath on those areas to soften the heaviness a bit. This was so very hard to do.

I replayed what was said, how I could have said it differently, and how I should proceed. Part of me wanted (and wants) to get even, but I know in the long run, it will be detrimental to me, not toward the person I want the anger targeted.

Actually, something very good will likely come out of this if I stay in the moment, acknowledge what I'm feeling, and proceed with caution, gratitude, and patience.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Weaving Imperfection into Life

I just had an appointment with my therapist. As always, he says something that I need to hear, a little nugget as I refer to it, to take with me. Today I was talking about events not going as planned, and people not responding as soon as I feel they should respond. In situations like this I feel like I'm losing control and sacrificing my peacefulness as a result.

I always strive for perfection in my life which can be very difficult to live up to. I finished painting my bathroom and began to hang stuff up on the walls. I had to hang my mirror three different times to get it right, and as a result, have four holes in my new drywall. I told my therapist I wanted to spackle over it, paint it, then rehang my mirror. He suggested I leave it and try to think of Native Americans who weave imperfections into their tapestries so as not to offend God or the spirits. HERE was my nugget for the day.

So I will proudly hang the mirror over the imperfections in my wall and try to remember that I need to embrace my own imperfections as well: my need to be perfect, my need to feel uncluttered emotionally and spiritually, and my need to be in control of my chronic pain at all times. Alas, I know these are imperfections which are an annoying part of my self, but maybe for today I'll accept them for what they are: human attributes of an imperfect human.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

One Moment at a Time

For the past four days, I've been working on my upstairs bathroom: sanding, priming, and painting. The thought of taking on this project was overwhelming and exciting all in one.

I started sanding the woodwork, preparing it to be primed. I had figured that I could do all the sanding priming and painting the trim all in one day. By the end of the day I was frustrated--all I accomplished was the sanding and priming the trim and door, and painting the ceiling.

The following day was painting the trim. This was going slower that I had previously thought. But when the paint dried, I realized that I could not rush this project. The trim turned out beautiful! At that moment I decided that I would do just the one thing and do it very well. If I took short cuts, I'd be disappointed in the results--then the bathroom would not be my peaceful retreat that I'd hope it would be.

Finally, I worked on painting the walls and the outside of my clawfoot tub. I took each moment at a time. I did my best not to anticipate painting behind the tub or the radiator when I was painting the walls. This is where my yoga practice helps to keep me centered.

It's times like these that I am reminded to bring my yoga practice with me during all my interactions and activities. When I take one moment at a time, I find myself more centered and able to accomplish what needs to be done.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Prime the Pump

I can be going along blindly through my day, when suddenly I take notice and see a similar trend.

Take today for instance: I have been in school meetings all day since Monday. Yesterday I won a $300 gift certificate to order anything I want from a company that is providing our new reading series to the school district (9 people received gift certificates). So this morning, I looked at the 4 people who did not receive gift certificates (that's right only 13 in the class this morning), and asked the gal who was giving the presentation if her saleswoman could give the other 4 people the $300 gift certificate as well. I felt we all put in hard work and since the school districts aren't giving money away for supplies, I felt this company surely could help the other 4 teachers out as well. And guess what? She did! One gal said to me, "You are just so lucky!" Well, yes, I am! I will keep reminding myself of that to keep the positive energies coming!

It's just like priming the pump. Before fuel injection vehicles were made, you needed to press on the accelerator prior to turning on the car so it would start (I'm sure most of you who are reading this already know that!) Or putting that spoonful of food into a toddler's mouth just to get the child to continue eating. Well I think that is the same way with our attitudes!

I was feeling very lucky yesterday, and when the gal called my name that I had won, I felt like I had channeled that luck. If you've read the book The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, then you know about tapping into positive thoughts to bring more positive things in your life! I believe I carried that lucky attitude into today.

I know that when bad things keep happening, it's hard to focus on the positive. But boy, when good things happen, I try as hard as I can to continue to channel the good feelings and thoughts.

So for today I will repeat my mantra "I am abundant, I am abundant, I am abundant!" Abundance be with you all!


I decided this morning that I would blog about acceptance when I was doing my yoga practice. I found myself feeling more tired this morning than in the past few days which made my yoga practice even more challenging.

I wanted to just run through the motions because my heart wasn't in it today. During a plank pose I found that I was tiring much more than I usually do. The word that popped into my head was acceptance (see plank pose at

It was just a gentle reminder to me that no matter how I'm feeling, I can recognize it, acknowledge what I'm feeling, accept it, then move on. The rest of my practice this morning went easier for me. Although I was still tired, I convinced myself that I was still doing my yoga (albeit not even close to perfect) and accepting where my mind, body, and spirit were at that particular moment.

I will do my best to make acceptance a part of my day today and be easier with myself than I usually am.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Keeping the Faith

It seems twice a month when I sit down to pay my bills, my heart sinks, I become anxious, and pray for a tiny miracle. Somehow I manage to pay all the bills, even if it's just the minimum payment. I then breathe a sigh of relief and hope that the next time I sit down to pay the bills, I'll be a bit more's just a pipe dream.

I'm sitting here dreading next Monday when I have to pull an extra couple hundred out of the air to make sure all the credit card companies are happy.

Of course, these times are the perfect opportunity for me to put my faith in the knowledge, that by the grace of God, we make it every month--even if it's just squeaking by. I need to remember to breathe and center myself before I even attempt to sit down and pay the bills. But it's at times like these that I think of that AFTER I've sat down.

So here's my challenge from now until Monday: I am going to take some quiet time using yoga breathing or pranayama. Here is an article for Yoga Journal that I need to reread to refresh my memory:

I'll see if this helps me after the 15th!

Mindful Yoga

I have read so much about mindfulness in yoga. Mostly I've read it in Yoga Journal--my favorite magazine of all time. My understanding of this changes depending where I'm at in my yoga practice.

When I first started learning about mindfulness, to me it meant thinking about the asanas as I did them: correct posture, staying committed even when the asana became uncomfortable. Now what it means to me (I know this will change with time--but this is where I'm at presently) is to feel how I feel when I am in each pose. Sometimes I feel anxious and want to move onto the next asana or I might feel the endorphins kicking in (like with Warrior I pose); whatever feeling arise, I try to recognize it, acknowledge it, observe it, then move on. Honestly, I remember to do this about a third of the time. My goal at the moment is to get to about half of the time.

I know that if I set the bar too high for myself and fail, then I'm less apt to continue pursuing my goal. I am working on acceptance of myself (I'm a hopeless perfectionist) and being gentle with myself...easier said than done. But I'm working on it.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Off the Mat into the World

Yoga while I work

I am in the process of having my upstairs bathroom refinished. My husband pointed out to me two months ago that the only thing in our bathroom holding up the wall was the wallpaper.

Unfortunately, with times as tight as they are, we had to hire a neighbor to do the work. It's quality work, but having enough money, we could have gutted the bathroom for a whole new look.

This is where I really need my yoga practice. I tend to look at what I want rather than what I already have. So many blessings already exist: my health, my home (built in 1895--albeit a money pit), my husband, and my two boys. My job gives me a sense of satisfaction that I carry with me at work and at home.

Trying to stay in the present and enjoy each moment as it arises is a noble exercise, which I attain for only moments at a time.

Today, while sanding the existing wood work in my bathroom, I focused on just that--getting down to the beautiful wood grain and running my hands over the newly sanded trim. Note to self: wear a face mask--yoga breathing and sanding do not mix!

I also focused on correct postures while sanding. I have to make sure I protect my lower back by engaging my core and pelvic muscles when squatting to sand the baseboard trim.

It never ceases to amaze me that I can get such satisfication from keeping my hands busy. My mind has to be engaged in the work or I may slip and hurt myself. When my hands are busy working, my mind can let go of the worries--maybe I should paint the outside of my house!!! Alas, one thing at a time.

Outside My Comfort Zone

Twice in the last month I heard that in order to heal emotionally (from my sister) and physically (from my counselor) I need to move outside my comfort zone. Well I can tell you that blogging is certainly outside my comfort zone.

When I decided to blog, I thought that I would just have the title "Youthful Yogini" and leave it at that. But then I thought giving my first name would personalize it a bit. This was out of my comfort zone.

When I'm with my friends, I enjoy listening to them tell their stories of their lives, but when it's time for me to open up, I stay only within my comfort zone. One friend of mine explores her feelings with gusto, which I admire greatly. That's way too difficult for me--it may open me up to be vunerable--yikes! can't have that!!!

So I figured starting this blog would help me move a bit outside my comfort zone with relative anonymity. My hope is that you will help me move outside my comfort zone. Challenge me. I may not be up to the task, but at least this is a start.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Being Honest with Myself

My shoulders never lie to me, and I'm doing my best to listen to them. I know this sounds crazy, but when my mind starts worrying or getting nervous about situations, the past, the future, you name it, my shoulders start to ache. Of course, I try to blame it on the yoga pose I did, the cleaning, painting, etc...but if I'm really honest with myself, I can find that the pain is exacerbated by my mind.

I'm doing my best to listen to my body during stressful situations so that I can learn to accept the moment that I'm in. I often want to deny feeling a certain way so that I can avoid dealing with the underlying issues.

I would sure like comments on where you are at with your mind/body connection and how it relates to your every day life.

Off the Mat into the World

This is an excellent website. To get involved, go to

Warrior Pose

In the August 2011 publication of "Yoga Journal" Cyndi Lee talks about the basics of warrior I pose, virabhadrasana I, (p. 48). Like Cyndi, I had always avoided this pose since my frustration level would soar. She explained in very simple steps how to overcome the frustration and make the warrior pose work for you. I decided to try it. I'm glad I did.

For a month I've been using her techniques and I have found that my body feels stronger and my emotions a bit lighter. Now I can stand in warrior I pose without falling over and actually feel the endorphins kicking in. I now love doing warrior I pose--who could have guessed?!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Why Youthful Yogini?

This name came to me a few months ago when I was trying to incorporate freedom in my poses and acceptance with certain aspect of my life that I was having difficulty with. When I think of youth, I try to imagine living life again as a youth--ahhh, the wisdom of age--and trying to view new experiences through the lens of a child.
I often take things too seriously and need to remember to be youthful in my approach. I felt this needed to begin with my yoga practice...hence the name Youthful Yogini. Now, if I can just live up to that! Well maybe just for today.

Getting to know myself better...

I have done yoga for over four years and the journey I've been on has been fascinating. I came to yoga in a way that, when I look back at it, makes perfect sense.
I have struggled with back pain for as long as I can remember. I have seen multiple doctors, tried many therapies, but what I've found is that if I'm patient, I can get all I need through yoga.
A neighbor of mine lent me a book called Healing Back Pain Naturally by Art Brownstein, and from there I began my journey through yoga.
What I am hoping to accomplish with this blog is to get to know myself better through the practice of yoga and continue to work through my back pain (which is no surprise has improved). I would also like to be able to network with people who are discovering yoga, have used yoga for pain management, and teachers whose concentration involve yoga for spiritual and physical healing.
I am very new to this blogging experience, so please be patient with me. Blessings to all!