Sunday, July 31, 2011

Personal Practice Progress

Day 19--Yoga Sculpt--DVD--30 min

Day 20--Yogalosophy--Fully Loaded--DVD--50 min

Day 21--Yoga Burn--DVD--20 min

Day 22--Body Vive--70 min
I went to the gym for the yoga class and a substitute taught Body Vive instead. Body Vive incorporates yoga with light aerobics, Tai Chi and other toning and strengthening exercises. It was fun and the music was GREAT! Not what I expected, but I enjoyed the class, and the instructor had incredible energy and passion for her craft. I reflected that being flexible includes being flexible in your mind as well as muscles! Some folks bagged the class before it even started, but by being open minded, the class was an enjoyable, unique experience for me.

Day 23--Yoga Sculpt--DVD--30 min

Day 24 & 25--We went camping this weekend in Virginia. I rolled out the yoga mat in our tent (yes, it was a BIG tent) the first evening and did a 40 min practice. I couldn't believe how much I enjoyed this. I had yoga music playing on my phone and it was a little warm in the tent, which was "cool!" On Saturday, I did a 45 minute practice up on the hillside of our campground overlooking the Christmas tree farm and mountains. It was so beautiful and the sun was shining. It was a little buggy, but I loved being outside and enjoying the birds and clouds. I can tell I'm stronger physically but also mentally. I was able to focus and engage in a solid practice. I use the videotapes and DVDs so often as a crutch, so it was good to flex my muscles and practice successfully independently!

Day 26--Yogalosophy--DVD--35 min & "Parking Lot Yoga"--10 min--Scott ran into a shop for coffee and I did a few sun salutes, pyramids, side angle poses, and side planks while we were waiting. It was great to stretch after sitting in the car for a bit, getting ready for a lot of riding to come!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Rah, Rah, Radishes!

April Pulley Sayre has new book out this summer: Rah, Rah, Radishes!: A Vegetable Chant It's a lot of fun and we shared with our Pisgah Storytimes this week. Our theme was food fun and we (Lyd and I) threw in other food stories: Night of the Veggie Monster by George McClements, Little Pea by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Herman the Worm, the poem, "Oh, I'm Being Eaten by a Boa Constrictor" by Shel Silverstein, and songs "There are No Bananas in the Sky" and "If All of the Raindrops were Lemondrops and Gumdrops." We had kiddos in the groups that liked pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers AND VEGGIES!

I headed back to Weight Watchers this summer. I'm a lifetime member that falls off the wagon and it rolls back and forth over me a while . . . then I finally climb back in the wagon! It's been great to get back to journaling my food intake. This really makes me THINK about WHAT I eat and HOW MUCH I am eating and WHEN I am eating. Adding the GFY@Home idea of HOW I FEEL has been a new twist for me--focusing on WHY I'm eating. We do talk about that at WW, but I haven't concentrated on it as much in the past. I will eat when I'm HAPPY to celebrate, or TIRED and SAD and LONELY to comfort--I have used food or abused food in the past and not just eaten for fuel. WW works for me because I have a budget of how much food is appropriate for my body, and I can spend the points as I want, following WW's healthy food guidelines.

Our family is paying attention to foods that are organic and locally grown. I like the GFY@Home comment on the bottom of page 58, "With greater awareness, we can make more empowered choices." I think that's what it's all about--learning about the best, most healthy choices and then making those choices more times than not! Moderation is a good strategy--at the top of page 58, Dr. John Doulliard's Perfect Health for Kids is referenced: "The habits we follow the majority of the time are the ones which set the tone for our lives."

So my "food journey" is another powerful connection for me with bringing yoga and children together. When I put together my mission statement, I will have to include this piece. It's been an elephant in the room for me most of my life, and I'm looking forward to sharing how I've eaten it one bite at time and now am managing more balance and achieving peace and happiness with my relationship to food and moods.

Yoga with Friends

I think it's neat this week how I was able to do all my yoga practices WITH somebody (or sombodies)! :-)

Day 12--with my husband on our front lawn--a YogaFit Level One Practice--40 min, Scott was a good sport even with all the gnats.

Day 13--with my daughter Hannah in our living room--a YogaFit Level One Practice--40 min--Hannah will be taking Yoga as a physical education requirement next year in 9th grade! I'm looking forward to learning from her.

Day 14--with school buddies--P90X Yoga X--90 min, it's fun getting together over summer vacation with colleagues!

Day 15--@ Gold's Gym--learned "Breath of Fire"--60 min

Day 16--@ Gold's Gym--also learned about "Kundalini Kriyas" this week--60 min

Day 17--Wii Yoga with Hannah and Lyddie--20 min

Day 18--My daughter Lydia is really into yoga! She is going to kindergarten next year, and she is so excited to try just about anything! We did a 10 min "Unwind" seated sequence from Rita Trieger's Yoga Heals Your Back and then she led 10 min of turtle, warrior 1, triangle and zig zag breathing. She was a really good teacher, reminding me about alignment and breathing. It totally cracked me up what a little sponge she is!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Yoga Breath

This week I've been concentrating on breathing during my practices -- (1) avoiding "ragged" breathing--knowing this a sign to back off and (2) expanding the breath-- taking deeper breaths and trying to reach more of the potential of the lungs. I also experimented with using the breath to accomplish a more challenging move. For example, breathing from a forward fold into a reverse swan dive or triangle to warrior.

Day 5--Shiva Rhea--40 min (DVD)
Day 6--Fat-Blasting Yoga--30 min (VHS)
Day 7--Gold's Gym Yoga--60 min (live and in person!)
I enjoyed the idea of finding the "sweet spot" with various postures.
Day 8--Train with Kelley Yoga Stetch--40 min (live and in person!)
Day 9--Power Zone--Mind Body Soul--40 min (VHS)
Day 10--Yoga Buns--30 min (VHS)
Day 11--Power Yoga--20 min (DVD)

I volunteered at Pisgah Lutheran Church Child Development Ministry this week. I read to 4 classes (1) 2 year olds (2) 3 year olds (3) 4 year olds & (4) K-5th Graders. I think I will be able to continue this for the next 3-4 weeks, and I'm hoping to incorporate some movement and breath with these experiences. To get them moving, I did the cheer "I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream!"

I Scream -- right lateral flexion
You Scream -- left lateral flexion
We All Scream -- "wash the window" with both arms
for Ice Cream -- chair pose, palms resting on thighs

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Dig Deep

Every now and then, you’ll have experiences and thoughts that “come together” as inspiration, much like the confluence of rivers. Yesterday, Lyddie and I were able to participate once again in our school’s summer inservice to share district initiatives with the faculty and set the vision of next school year and years to come. The group discussed Common Core Standards, "gradual release of responsibility," enrichment clusters, and collaborative, professional learning communities . . . and I was struck by the theme to “dig deeper, cover less.” It’s not just an effort to accomplish a whole lot of stuff. We really want kiddos thinking and problem solving and leading and pulling together all disciplines--truly the shift is from content to process. Who knows WHAT students need to know in 15 years? They WILL need communication skills, abilities to problem solve and work together collaboratively, no matter the topic or situation.

I attended a workshop for teaching Seniors Yoga last Friday. I signed up for the class because much of the techniques are accomplished in a chair and I thought these modifications would translate into children sitting in desks . . . it was good stuff! The focus was on deep breathing. We tend to shallow breathe as we age. We lose the potential of breath that we had as babies over time. No longer do we fill our lungs, from the lower portion, middle, and uppermost (belly, ribs, chest area). We tend to shallow breath, our shoulders go up and down . . .

There are many healthy benefits to reworking our breath. Increased strength in abdominal muscles, greater range of motion in ribcage joints and spine, resting heart rate decreased, breathing becomes easier. Shallow breathing contributes to lethargy, weakness, less activity, less motivation (Senior YogaFIt Teacher Training Manual, 2008).

These ideas connect with big picture concepts like “less is MORE” and “QUALITY vs. quantity.” I see these themes at my Weight Watchers meetings . . . with friendships . . . even my church and family responsibilities . . .

So, for today, let’s zero in on what’s important! How can we be most effective with the time we have today? YogaFit states “effective breathing produces stability and reduces stress.” Be strong, knowing that doing less today will provide you with more ENERGY and HAPPINESS--and who couldn’t use just a little more of both?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

On the Ball

Today I did a 24 minute practice with the videotape--fat-blasting YOGA: 21 Days to a Yoga Body. Just by saying "videotape" you know it's "old" . . . I was surprised the copyright was only "2002." It describes the practice as "Hatha-based." I liked using the stability ball as a prop (I like props)! I'm a little sore from my all-day fun yesterday, so I tried to "tune-in" to what my body needs today and took it a little slow, in a "restorative" fashion! I was recently reflecting that "awareness" is a little challenging for me. I think that's because I've always been a "push through it" kinda person, so over time, I've conditioned myself to "tune out" what my body is saying instead of "tuning in." For example, yesterday at the training, I noticed a huge blister on the bottom of my foot--it was oldish and healing, but when did that happen?

I'm glad to have done my practice this morning! It's a great way to start the day. I have energy for the busy day ahead. YEA for YOGA!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Senior Moment

The Senior Yoga Training was GREAT! I enjoyed learning modifications to poses and how to use the chair, blocks, bolster, blankets and straps as props. I was better at cueing when we practiced teaching . . . still don't enjoy teaching folks "taller" than me . . . but it was a better experience with experience! My favorite idea is that the yoga we practiced was to keep folks able to function independently as life goes on. For example, twists simulate driving a car and looking over your shoulder to merge. We practiced step-by-step how to use the chair to get to the floor and then how to get back to standing again. If you have a fall (and live on your own), this is a must know so you can fall and "get up."

The instructor was energetic and very real. I thoroughly enjoyed her style. She shared pertinent research and debunked "yogi lore" when appropriate. It was worth the travel and the long day! I am thankful for this learning opportunity and look forward to incorporating some of these ideas in lessons and activities I plan in the future.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Yoga Stretch

Tonight I did a 30 minute class and the focus was on stretching. I was tired, tired, tired (I've tried to get too much accomplished in the last couple of days) and the class was calming. It was outdoors, warm, and I had energy at by the end of the class!

Here's what I can remember we did:
neck stretch
side stretch
chest expansion
flow-forward fold, reverse swan dive, chair
down dog
set--warrior 1, warrior 2, reverse warrior, side angle, extended side angle, triangle, warrior 2
straddle stretch (waterfall)
staff pose, forward fold, bend knee stretch over straight leg, repeat on opposite side, leg stretches with strap
knees to chest, roll (massage back)
spinal twist

Tomorrow I'm off to Greenville for a YogaFit training in Senior Yoga. I hoping I will learn some alternatives that will translate to yoga kids can do in their desks in a classroom setting!

Take Time to RELAX!

In the process of preparing for my role as counselor, I have been sifting through every layer, chunking and sharing, moving around and letting go files, books, props, costumes, posters . . . it's exhausting, but empowering! Today I ran across Nancy Carlson's book, Take Time to RELAX! The author dedicates the book to "busy people everywhere." Tina's family is busy, busy, busy until an unexpected snowstorm causes them to readjust their schedules and they find that slowing down and being together is just what they need. My yoga practice has been so helpful for me to slow down, breathe, process and make adjustments. In completing my home study with Global Family Yoga, I have to commit to 40 consecutive days of yoga! And while the spirit is willing, the body is weak . . . since beginning Sunday evening I haven't made another time for yoga until now . . . so Take Time to RELAX! is right on for me right now! While I'm accomplishing much in my clean up process, I could do a little better, probably focus a little more and make better use of my working time if I didn't skip my yoga . . .

Tonight's practice, from Yoga to the Rescue by Amy Luwis:
upward hand
extended triangle
extended side angle
downward dog
warrior 1
Bharadvaja's 1

This was a 20 minute practice that had a calming effect. I was able to unwind after a busy day!

Ephesians 3:19
"That you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God."

Only if you s-l-o-w down and b-r-e-a-t-h-e deep . . .