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!