Lorelei

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About this blog

My name is Lori Hawkins, and I'm from Wisconsin.  After dabbling in yoga for over a decade, I've made the decision within the last year to make it a lifestyle.  As a former full time English teacher, I love to continue to learn new things about the pastimes I enjoy.  Yoga is no exception and provides the perfect avenue for personal growth as well as opportunities to give back to my communities.  I am grateful to Candace for providing this space and for nurturing a community of yogis who inspire me.  

I've had the unique opportunity to take a hiatus in my professional and working life.  A move for my husband's work and the need to help care for my mother with early-onset dementia were the tipping points for my stay-at-home status.  I am grateful that these life-altering events allowed me to shift my life focus and to stay home with my two children, Delaney and Aidan.  I've also been able to find what inspires me, and part of that inspiration comes from yoga.  I look forward to developing my practice and possibly making it into Act II of my career life.  The possibilities are endless if we open our minds to the possible and listen to our dreams.  Namaste.

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Entries in this blog

Lorelei

Costa Rica Retreat

I've been back from Costa Rica for almost 36 hours.  I'm here to report that I can still feel the sense of calm that I was able to achieve while I was there.  The jungle was beautiful, the ocean was wonderful.....the country was the perfect place for me to visit at this point.  

Candace's retreat offered great yoga (one morning, we even began before first light and ended with the dewy morning sun risen...loved that).  I was fortunate enough to have met a wonderful group of women (including the YBC forum's own wonderful Brenskip55 and Clever Yoga's awesomely kind Ellie).  The group of retreat participants was diverse, but we all got along and bonded.  There was adventure, downtime, great food, lots of wildlife.....I loved it, and I was ready to come home when it was over (Which is, I believe, the mark of a great vacation.).

The departure of some of us, Candace and me included, was delayed for a day because of the eruption of a large volcano near San Jose, CR the day before our scheduled departure.  Luckily, there was a room at a lovely hotel near the airport, a Hard Rock Cafe across the parking lot, and a tiny fitness center for some treadmill running.  I spent that "bonus" night working on my yoga teacher training final exam components.  All good.

And now I'm home!  My family was so glad to see me (and I them).  Life is back to normal, sort of.  I feel like the better version of myself that I'd hoped.  I put some things to rest while I was gone and nudged some other things to life.  Taking a break from real life is good.  I am grateful to have had the opportunity.  Thank you, Candace, for providing the back drop!

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The YBC Costa Rica 2016 girls, and our often-companion-during-yoga-practice dog.  (He once gently head butted me during a practice while I was in Downward Facing Dog)

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Playa Hermosa, taking in the sunset and just feeling the pura vida.

 

Lorelei

Here we are, already one-third of the way through 2016.  It's been an interesting year for me so far.  Parts of it have brought emotional and physical pain.  Other parts have brought healing and hope.  It's been a full ride so far.  As I sit at my kitchen table with tea, knitting, and watching the birds at the feeder outside, I'm reflecting on what I've learned this year.

1.  What's worked to heal in the past doesn't always work.  My darn knees have been giving me problems ever since I was a teenager.  It seems that I am pigeon-toed just enough to throw things off.  What worked in the past?  Cortisone shots.  Physical therapy.  Anti-inflammatory medicines.  Well, guess what?  I don't have time for physical therapy.  Or, let's just say that I'm not willing to spend all that time on PT anymore.  Last cortisone shot in February?  Didn't work a lick.  This was the first time ever that's happened.  And the medicine?  Kills my gut.  SO!  I decided to try something new.  I did get a shot, but it's not cortisone.  It's gel.  It builds up the cushion around my knee cap and lubricates.  I'm chugging the apple cider vinager and swallowing raw honey to help with joint health and limiting inflammation.  The tartness is always a little shock to my system each morning, but there are sooooo many health benefits to this little habit, that I'll keep it going.  Finally, acupuncture.  In addition to healing my knee, I feel like it's helped me in so many other ways.

2.  Let people help.  I always did things all by myself.  No asking for help.  Muscling through, putting my head down, toughing it out......these were my mottos.  When my mom ended up in the hospital on January 1 and died almost three weeks later, I decided to let people help.  People WANT to help.  I feel gratitude for having people in my life who want to help me and my family.  My husband and I get along better with me trusting him to help.....by me letting go of feeling like I have to do everything in order to have it done right.  My YBC Forum friends helped too.  Feeling nurtured is such a healing experience.  And it's not weak to let people help.

3.  Taking care of myself is not a luxury.  So, ok.  I could take this too far if I wanted and abuse the lines of "taking care of myself" to making it "doing whatever I want and using self-care as an excuse."  But I won't do that!  I will try to not do that!  Easing up on myself is something that has been difficult to do, and I'm still struggling with it, but I'm working on it and seeing the benefits.  I feel calmer lately, and I feel more present in each moment.  It's been an epiphany, really.  And this lesson has led me to take a portion of my small inheritance from my mom and spend it on me.  Enter, Costa Rica for Candace's retreat.

4.  Life is damn precious.  This one, I already knew.  It's just always worth reminding myself.  This is the reason why I'm plowing forward with my plans for a new career, come what may.  I've been tiptoeing nervously around the idea of making yoga a part of my life that extends to career.  That's why I'm doing the teacher training.  I'm going to give workshops at schools to teach teachers to use yoga in the classroom to help kids learn better and to feel better about themselves.  That's my main goal.  My website is up and running and waiting for my credentials and insurance to allow me to market myself more and approaching schools.  Good things are happening.  I have gotten some interest from two organizations to have me teach yoga classes and give workshops too.  I'm scared and excited and ready to jump in with both feel.  After all, yoga saved my life.........

5.  Yoga Rocks.  Numbers 1-4 above had so much to do with yoga that I felt it deserved the finale.  Yoga has healed my body and my soul.  It's taught me that I'm stronger than I thought I was (and that I don't have to train for a fourth Tough Mudder to prove it :) ).  It has helped me with relationships...strengthening some and letting go of others.  Yoga has steadied my mind so that I could think.  It helped me make decisions for my mom and to allow me to let others in to help.  I'm grateful for the presence of yoga in my life.  It has brought and continues to bring me joy in practice and in the wonderful people I meet through its communities.  

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Lorelei

Relief

As of today, I have completed 7 acupuncture sessions that I initially began almost three weeks ago in order to find relief from knee pain.  It is important to note, that I received a synvisc shot just over three weeks ago too.  Prior to acupuncture, I was unable to bend my knee without lots of pain.  At that time, keeping it immobile hurt just as much as moving it.  I can report today that I have had no pain in my knee for nine days.  None.  Zip.  Nada.  The swelling in my knee, calf, and ankle have been gone for over two weeks.  I know that the synvisc is helping, but the pain began to ease and fade well before the doctor told me that the shot would begin to work.  

I'm entering the "maintenance" phase of acupuncture now, so my appointments are going to be 10 days apart and then moving to two weeks apart.  I'm probably going to keep them going at a month apart from then on going forward.  Not only has acupuncture helped my knee, but it has relieved the sinus issues caused by allergies, and some other miscellaneous issues that can pop up as they do for all of us.  I must say that I am a believer!  I can sleep without waking up from pain, walking is so much less painful (and exhausting), and I intend to go for my first, tentative run in over two months this week.  Yaaaayyyy!!!!  

 Ahhhhhhhh.  Relief.IMG_2458.JPG

I feel so much more energy now.  I'm diving headfirst into a new project and have a new spring in my step for all the excitement.  

Hope you are all well.  Have a wonderful week!

Lorelei

I completed my fourth acupuncture session yesterday.  Going into it, my knee was feeling much better, but there was still pain.  Also, I tended to easily feel like I was hyper-extending it doing noting amazing....just walking.  On a sidewalk.  Slowly.

By today, however, I have no pain at all.  Stiffness?  A bit.  Also, I am still swollen behind the knee to the point that I cannot sit back on my heels.  I'm also feeling more grounded.  Is that acupuncture?  Mental rest from not having pain?  Better weather?  I'm not sure.  What I am sure of is that my doctor has assured me that this is too early for the synvisc shot to be working.  I'm doing more yoga too, because I have more range of motion and less pain.  Yoga leads to more range of motion and less pain.  See the cycle I'm finally able to jump into like a game of double-Dutch jump rope?? 

I'm moving along cautiously optimistic.

Lorelei

Do you remember that song from childhood?  I'm probably dating myself, but "Merrily We Roll Along" was one of those nursery rhyme, sing-songy little ditties that my mother and I sang during a long walk to pass the time or during a long car ride.  Sometimes, that song is stuck on a loop in my head.  I'm not sure why.  It happens at the oddest time:  When I'm limping along down a long hallway at school.  Seriously?!  My knee journey has been such a NOT merry sort of ride.  Understand that I realize I'm healthy.  I can walk.  My pain isn't from illness.  I'm grateful for all those things and more. However, I can't run (STRESS RELIEVER!).  The pain wakes me throughout the night (I"M TIRED!).  Limping around all day is exhausting, makes me feel clumsy, inspires crabbiness, and makes me feel a little hopeless that it'll get better.  This all started two weeks after my mother died in January too.  Insult to injury, anyone?  I just want to heal.  Everywhere.

This time (because this is a recurring little thing for me.....just about annually with a few months each year wasted to pain and anti-activity), so this time, I decided that enough was f$%&*!g enough.   Here's my usual:  Pain begins after a tweek while running or after wearing sky-high heels (all of which I've now thrown away, btw); I fight it out, stretch, and ice; I bite the bullet and call the doctor;  and two weeks of increasing pain later I see the doctor; I pay for imaging tests and get a cortisone shot sometimes; every few years I go to PT; pain subsides and rebuilding of muscle and running stamina begin.  Again.  9 months later, repeat.  Sometimes the limping causes psoas problems or low back pain.  It's a huge inter-connected network of one injury leading to another.  Aarrgghh!!!!

Well.  This time  after the cortisone shot didn't work for the first time ever, I said, "No more!"  I went to my awesome massage therapist.  She spent one entire hour on my right leg, making appalled and sympathetic sounds over how tight my quads and hamstrings and calve muscles were.  After that, I was pain-free for three wonderful days.  Then the pain and stiffness all came back.  I went back to the doctor and told him his cortisone shot was a massive fail for me this time.  He suggested I try synvisc shots.  What they do is help the area surrounding the knee to create more lubricant cells around the knee.  I read that the active ingredient comes from rooster combs!  Anyway, I went with it.  Sadly, the synvisc takes up to a month to work once the shot is done.  I am six days in and will keep you posted...... I'm sure you are all waiting with baited breath......:)

Another new things for me that I decided to try is acupuncture.  I went for my first appointment today.  First of all, I am just fascinated with this form of medicine.  The acupuncturist took her time to explain the ideas behind the practice.  She asked me a million questions about my health.  She was fascinated and excited to see that I have a rather large old scar above and just off center from my bad knee.  She explained that not only did the damage of the fascia quite possibly have something to do with my current, chronic knee issues, but that the area of the scar is also perfectly in line with a major meridian of energy that is now quite possibly blocked.  Isn't that interesting?

I was a little nervous about the needles, but it was fine.  After they were inserted around both knees and feet, she also placed one on my forehead, at the top of my head, and at sinus points (to help with my allergies and sinus problems while I was there).  She hooked up two knee needles to a little machine that used electrical stimulation to aid healing in that area.  Then she left the room.  I wouldn't say that I was skeptical, but I was just giving this a shot without devoting too much at the time.  However, while I lay there, I became so relaxed that I felt medicated.  In a good way.  After 30 minutes, she removed the needles, and I went about my day.  I feel a little more sore than usual today, as the acupuncturist said I would, but a relaxed feeling is still with me (even now as my son continues to slam an indoor basketball through the hoop on his bedroom door, creating a jarring noise each time......).  I go back in two days and then three times next week.  After about four visits, my knee should start to really feel better, and after twelve, I'm hoping to go into maintenance in order to be and remain pain-free.  I'm excited to track this and see how it goes.  Sadly, my insurance doesn't cover this, so it's an investment.  I'm willing to try it though.  Feeling cautiously optimistic about my chances to heal and hoping to be running and practicing yoga more comfortably soon!

 

Lorelei

Getting There

Life these days is.......odd.  I feel light and happy and sad and foundation-less and grounded.  I'm doing something that goes against the grain of my Type A life.  I'm rolling with it.  No, really.  I am.  

Last weekend, my family and I (including our third child, canine Riley) ran away for a few days to the Wisconsin Northwoods.  We've been there before to rent summer cabins, and my family used to own a tiny cabin on a tributary of the Wisconsin River....however, I haven't been there during the winter for many years.  This trip was just the thing to help the healing process.  Snowy and silent and beautiful.  Due to the "off season" stay, we got to treat ourselves to a house that we wouldn't rent during the summer season.  There was a loft with a view of the lake for yoga practice, deer hoof prints in the snow, family time without interruption, good old "supper club" steak dinner, and time to rest.  Heavenly.

My yoga practice is slowly returning to me.  Thank goodness for YTT.  It's encouraging me to stay with it.  I'm starting to find joy in returning to my mat.  However, further complicating 2016, a chronic knee injury has resurfaced.  No running, limping walk, feeling like and old lady, and just damn pain.  Well.  Today, after YTT, I was pain-free for the first time in over four weeks.  Guess what?  I'm canceling the ortho appointment for next week.  My plan is to ice twice daily, see Emily my wonderful massage therapist, make my first ever acupuncture appointment, and use what I've learned in YTT to see if I can fix this my own self.  My knee has had issues off and on for 15 years.  Going back and forth to the knee doc without a permanent fix has grown old.  I'm going to try to see if yoga is what I need for a fix long term.  I hope so.  And I've really excited about working on this.

The point is that I wouldn't have had the patience to just BE with my knee and to see how it goes before.  As I said, I'm rolling with it.  And I'm good with that.  Planning some good plans for me and for my/my family's future this spring, and I am just psyched to be doing something exciting and new and fun.  My life feels new.  I am so grateful that I can attend Candace's retreat in May.  And I'm grateful for the opportunity to take this YTT course and to travel a new career path with all its possibilities.  I have faith that I'm on the right track.  And that's saying something.

winterwalk.jpg.31efbf2a0e06a0c87f0a58d38                    couragefaith.jpg.757b03699e7bc8547c0d43a                  Life is good.  

                                                                                                         from Living Your Yoga, by Judith Hanson Lasater

 

 

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Lorelei

Getting There

Life these days is.......odd.  I feel light and happy and sad and foundation-less and grounded.  I'm doing something that goes against the grain of my Type A life.  I'm rolling with it.  No, really.  I am.  

Last weekend, my family and I (including our third child, canine Riley) ran away for a few days to the Wisconsin Northwoods.  We've been there before to rent summer cabins, and my family used to own a tiny cabin on a tributary of the Wisconsin River....however, I haven't been there during the winter for many years.  This trip was just the thing to help the healing process.  Snowy and silent and beautiful.  Due to the "off season" stay, we got to treat ourselves to a house that we wouldn't rent during the summer season.  There was a loft with a view of the lake for yoga practice, deer hoof prints in the snow, family time without interruption, good old "supper club" steak dinner, and time to rest.  Heavenly.

My yoga practice is slowly returning to me.  Thank goodness for YTT.  It's encouraging me to stay with it.  I'm starting to find joy in returning to my mat.  However, further complicating 2016, a chronic knee injury has resurfaced.  No running, limping walk, feeling like and old lady, and just damn pain.  Well.  Today, after YTT, I was pain-free for the first time in over four weeks.  Guess what?  I'm canceling the ortho appointment for next week.  My plan is to ice twice daily, see Emily my wonderful massage therapist, make my first ever acupuncture appointment, and use what I've learned in YTT to see if I can fix this my own self.  My knee has had issues off and on for 15 years.  Going back and forth to the knee doc without a permanent fix has grown old.  I'm going to try to see if yoga is what I need for a fix long term.  I hope so.  And I've really excited about working on this.

The point is that I wouldn't have had the patience to just BE with my knee and to see how it goes before.  As I said, I'm rolling with it.  And I'm good with that.  Planning some good plans for me and for my/my family's future this spring, and I am just psyched to be doing something exciting and new and fun.  My life feels new.  I am so grateful that I can attend Candace's retreat in May.  And I'm grateful for the opportunity to take this YTT course and to travel a new career path with all its possibilities.  I have faith that I'm on the right track.  And that's saying something.

winterwalk.jpg.31efbf2a0e06a0c87f0a58d38                    couragefaith.jpg.757b03699e7bc8547c0d43a                  Life is good.  

                                                                                                         from Living Your Yoga, by Judith Hanson Lasater

 

 

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Lorelei

Finding My Practice

I've been having a hard time getting to my mat since my mom died last month.  I know my practice will help me heal, yet it eludes me.  I've been running and lifting and generally working out at the gym.... but yoga.....yeah.  I haven't left it completely, not by a long shot.  Since I'm currently in a 6-month long YTT program, I'm working on the mat, for sure.  But, it's missing something.  I think the missing part is my heart.  I know it'll come back, and I'll keep trying.  Until then, I've gotta just feel what I'm feeling and be patient.  (And I'm trying to be grateful for the opportunity to work on my patience.......not my favorite thing!)

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Lorelei

A New Chapter

My mom flew away on Monday morning.  I had been with her overnight and the whole day before, stepped out for 15 minutes, and she was gone.  Our healing begins now.  Very grateful for my practice that helped me keep it together over the long days and longer nights.  Happy that I have YTT to distract me and to bring new knowledge into my life.  

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Rest in Peace, Mom.  You've more than earned it.

Lorelei

New Year, New Game

2016 is here.  With. A. Bang.  

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I am a little bit in awe of the craziness that has descended upon my family with the arrival of the new year.  So far, it's been an El Niño.  (Disclaimer:  All events within this blog post are absolutely real.  Also, I am not looking for sympathy.  Really.  Just a collective "WTF?!" will suffice.  Think "purging" when you read this, because that's what this blog post is doing for me.)

2015 closed with a call from my mother's memory care community.  It looked as if she was ill, and that I might have to take her to urgent care in the morning.  I went to bed, after letting my children welcome the new year officially for the very first time, with clothes and supplies at the ready for a long day ahead.  8:20 a.m. came on January 1st with the phone call I'd half-expected.  My mom most probably had an infection and needed urgent care.  Red alert for ya, urgent care is closed on holidays.  So, to the ER I went, with my poor, little 68-year old, advanced dementia-afflicted mother riding shot-gun.  I was blessed by the powers that be with wonderful holiday staff at the ER who got my mother out of my mini-van and into a bed.  Her blood pressure was a measly 67/45.  Things deteriorated further, because tests told us that she had a raging infection and was septic.  Long ago, my mother had told me to never plug her in, when we'd gone over the what-ifs of life.  Well, neither of us had anticipated a diagnosis of frontal temporal dementia at age 59.  It was a game changer.  And administering antibiotics at this late stage of that game smacked of "plugging" her in at this point.  I told them NO.  NO antibiotics.  NO IV fluids.  Just NO.  Enough was enough.  Painful for me to honor her wishes, but there you go.

That was over 8 days ago.  Her siblings and my sister came in to say good-bye.  We played with the dry erase board in her room.  (Staff just tolerated our slightly-hysterical humor.)

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They have since gone back to their lives for now.  My mom's two sisters are (wonderfully) ready to come back from their homes 4 and 6 hours away whenever I call for them.  Her college professor brother checks in via text.  My sister cannot deal....and I can't worry about that anymore.  

My Delaney Jane and I moved out her bed to make room for a hospital bed at the memory care residence.  She's a gamer, that girl.

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My mom is back at the memory care residence, with hospice.  Reaching the end of her adventure on this earth could take hours or weeks.  The point is that the end is near.  I am relieved that her peace will be soon.  However, I will miss her.  However, I've been mourning her for eleven years....since the dementia butted its ugly head into our lives.  This is confusing to the humanity in me that wants to mourn vs. the caregiver who is tired and rather raw/worn from emotion.  She'd have wanted this over ages ago.

I've been reading to her,

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and knitting, 

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driving to get supplies,

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and indulging in my own little comfort care

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while preparing for YTT class.  (Such a timely read for me.)

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But, this is a yoga blog.  Let's get to the yoga.  Today, January 8, was the first evening of YTT for me.  I have been looking forward to it for a long time.  I almost didn't go, because of so many reasons.  For instance, the memory care community staff accidentally cut off and threw away mom's DNR bracelet.  Guess who got to put on a new one after going over AGAIN the painful paperwork that states that no one should interfere with my mother's death process?  Anyone?

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But somehow when the time came, I left her to go to YTT.  Talk about conflicted emotions, shall we?  

What made me leave my mom's bedside for more than four awake hours so far this year?  Here's what.  My mom would have been furious, if she'd been able, had I taken myself out of an opportunity that I'd been awaiting for so long.  An opportunity to make the world a slightly better place, like she did once upon a time as a social worker, a mother, a daughter, a sister, and a friend.  I can only hope that I will be able to fill the shoes that my mother's imminent passing will leave empty.  Right now?  All is quiet.  No jangling of the phone bearing news.  We wait.  I am learning patience and also that I am not in control.  I am struggling to be ok with that.  The lessons of the new year will serve me well, I know. 

YTT was WONDERFUL.  My instructor is kind and witty and strict-ish.  Classmates seem interesting and devoted.  The yoga studio is beautiful.  I felt free and new and alive.  What seemed earlier today as a tragedy of timing, now feels like a gigantic blessing and a gift.  I feel optimal gratitude.  Tomorrow will be a big test.  I will briefly stop by to check on my mom and then head over for 9 hours of YTT.  This training feels like so much more than yoga for me.  Send me good thoughts, please.  This community is the only place who has been told my story of 2016.  I am glad you are far-flung.  It makes the telling feel safe.  Thank you.

Lorelei

To Every Season........

One week until Christmas.....and no snow.  I live in Wisconsin for a reason, people!  I love winter, and Christmastime is the best time every for snow!  So, there's that.  Also, I did a number on myself.  Here's what happened.  I love boot camp.  Love the challenge, the vibe, the social aspect, the fact that I didn't have to come up with the workout myself, la-la-love.  Love it so much, in fact, that I started Bodypump classes too.  These weren't as intense as boot camp, but I was really loving the help with upper body work.  The problem is that I pushed it too hard too fast and hurt myself. :(  A few weeks ago, I was feeling pretty intense pain on the left side of my chest.  A whole bunch of scary stuff was running on a loop in my head for days on end.  The pain persisted so much and robbed me of so much sleep, that I went for an exam.  I found that I'd strained and bruised my chest wall on the left side.  So painful.  Now, I have to rest.  This should make me jump for joy.  Doctor's orders to sit and knit in my pj's with a cup of tea?  Ahhhhh, no.  I start YTT in a few weeks, and I want to be ready.  But, here I sit.  I plan to keep running and do some other work that won't strain my chest muscles.  Bummed, because I was really feeling the new and improved upper body strength.  Then I remind myself that I'm healthy, I'll heal, and I'm not required to meet any fitness goal on any specific timeline.

 

For now, tea, knitting, and using the handy excuse to let the small people in my house do dishes.  I will try to savor the rest imposed upon me and go from there.

 

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Lorelei

Boot Camp

Today, I took my first ever boot camp class at my gym.  I've been a member for just over nine years, and my M.O. is this:  get in there, get 20-30 min of good cardio, 35-45 minutes of strength, stretching at the beginning and end, and try to not speak a single word to anyone in the process.  It's worked for me.  I never thought of the gym as a social experience but as a place of solitary meditation through motion.  And, full disclosure time, I really thought I was pushing myself when I was at the gym. 

This morning, I discovered that I'd been living in a dream world.  

A co-worker suggested boot camp to me last week while I was doing a total mat work out, and she'd plopped down next to me to do some core work.  If you must know, the reason I was on the mat for an hour is because it was the first snow storm of the season that day, and I'd forgotten my gym shoes.  (Side note:  Surprisingly, the total mat work out turned out to be pretty ok, once I shook the negative attitude about forgetting my shoes.)  Anyway.....she said that the Sunday morning boot camp class was great, so I said I'd give it a go.

It.  Was.  Brutal.

I had to ask the kid working the fitness center desk where to find boot camp class.  His reply?  "Do you know that's the hardest class here?  Even harder than TRX."  Great.  

I found the room.  It was conveniently situation right off the elevated track.  There was a circuit of nine stations that the sweet and welcoming (but slightly overly energetic for a Sunday morning) instructor had thoughtfully planned.  We worked through the circuit twice with 30 seconds at each station (she said, but it seemed closer to a minute) with other activities making a surprise appearance throughout.  There was running.  There was jumping rope (I hate hate hate jumping rope, because I stink at it.)  There were squats (three different kinds) and walking lunges with weights.  There were planks (of course).  There was a plethora of abdominal exercises.   We finished with stretches and a child's pose.  I really wanted to just stay in that child's pose and cry for a little bit before I got up, but I didn't.  Well, maybe I did.  

By the time the class hour was over, I was a limp noodle with sweat dripping off the end of my nose.  It was wonderful.  I can't wait until next Sunday.

Lorelei

Decisions

Savoring some quiet time.  It's almost 1am.  The house sleeps.  I'm reading yoga blogs, knitting, having a glass of wine, and thinking.  Getting ready to begin YTT in January, I've been reading a lot more on the practice and ideologies surrounding yoga.  I've had a slight revelation or two, unfollowed a couple flashy yoga types on social media, and ramped up my readings on Yoga as an ancient philosophy.  I've spent a lot of time thinking about how I want to approach teaching yoga as a practice and as a tool in schools for children who struggle.  I am searching for ways to introduce this gift of yoga to others and how I want to represent myself in the realm of yoga.  I will not attempt to authenticate myself in a way that is false.  However, yoga means more to me than a trend.  It's something beyond physical fitness.  My desire is to convey that yoga can heal a broken heart, give hope for a better tomorrow, uncover what was never thought possible, deepen a belief in oneself.  It is beautiful.    

As an emerging practitioner, I honestly believe in the mystical properties of yoga.  For me, it goes something like this:  my daughter Delaney believes in fairies.  She is twelve and a half, and the magic of the world is starting to slip away from her ever-hopefully believing fingertips.  But fairies?  They are real.  She is a firm believer.  They live in our garden, visit in the night, provide a beauty in a world that has suddenly become scarier and uglier as her growing self becomes more aware of the horrors that are possible on earth.  Sad?  Depressing?  Yes.  But.  Fairies are her escape.  They deepen her faith that the good will triumph over the evil.  The light over the darkness.  They give her a path of hope and light and beauty.... and youth.

That is yoga for me.  It is my fairies.  My challenge is to learn how to help convey its mystical and healing properties to others and to help them understand that they are free to choose what yoga will mean for them.

 

5651701a65419_DJcropped.jpg.0ad0e411d75e  Delaney Jane:  My fairy advocate.

Lorelei

Paris: Je t'aime!

We arrived home from our trip to Paris on Friday afternoon.  Yes, that Friday.  Upon arrival, our phones blew up with concerned texts from friends and family.  Our newly beloved Paris was under attack as we headed home from her.  As a matter of fact, we had spent the previous day wandering the neighborhood near Bataclan, the concert venue of the attacks.  We'd gone to see an exhibit at a tiny gallery in the area.  Having just been there makes the attacks more closely felt and more heartbreaking to my husband and to me.

Our trip was simply blissful.  The hotel room was tiny and romantic and the building itself elegant.  There was barely room in it to do a decent yoga practice (but I worked it out); the view was a lovely flower-boxed building across the street from us, and we listened to French voices wafting through our balcony window as we drifted to sleep each night.  My French was adequate, which was exciting.  

According to my Fitbit, we logged between 20,00 and 33,000 steps a day to all the must-see sites, along with many neighborhoods where we found ourselves lost without caring.  The steps (and a solo early morning run along the Seine) offset the macarons (Laduree.....yum!), red wine, croissants at each breakfast, hot milk in my coffee, and simply-fresh-delicious french food at every meal. There might have been a Nutella crepe that happened too.  Not a pound gained during a week of less organized exercise and more food intake.....that is reason to celebrate.  

All in all, this trip was what it was meant to be:  An adventure that was lovely, restful, and a great getaway for two marrieds with kids, etc.  

Thanks for the well wishes and great tips.  Good to be home!

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Lorelei

Living in the Leap

 My mom used to use that phrase:  Live in the Leap.  It's good advice.  It means to live in the moment and to take some risks.  I like that it's "leap" instead of "jump."  Leap sounds joyful and sort of carefree.  So, I strive to live by these words.  When my two kids were very young, living in the leap maybe wasn't a good idea for me.  I played it safe.  I was practical.  I stressed - a lot - about sleep schedules, breastfeeding vs. bottle, choosing a daycare and then a preschool.....and a multitude of other things.  Always a "worrier," this way of life stuck to me like glue.  I kind of liked it.  I had my ducks in a row, and I had my lists in order.  All seemed well.

Or did it?  The kids kept growing, as they do, but I was still stressing.  By now, my mom's early onset dementia demanded that I move her to an assisted living community near me so that I could help care for her.  That gave me another whole level of stressing and list making.  I worried about spreading myself too thin.  About not having enough time for my mom, who was floundering with horrible anxiety related to the dementia.  I worried that I was dividing myself too thinly and that my kids were suffering.  I was looking for reasons to argue with my husband, who was dealing with his own personal issues at the time too.  This scenario went on for over six years.  Constantly.  There was no winning, and I was a ball of knots.  My family, friends, co-workers said how strong I was.  How good I was at juggling it all and how well I was taking care of my mom while being such a good mom myself.  I was a total fraud and a pretender.

The other part of my story is that once upon a time, before we moved and my younger child was born and before my mom got sick, I was a teacher and then a curriculum coordinator.  Sadly, I did not love my career.  It was ok, but I wanted to feel more passion in my work life.  I stopped working full time when my husband's job moved us and all the other stuff listed above happened.  I was more than ok with it, but I felt a definite absence of SELF and of PURPOSE.  I was told that raising my kids was a full time job and that should be enough by more than one person (shocking in this day and age, right?).

Then what do you think happened?  I got so close to the edge that I really thought I was going to lose it.  And it scared the hell out of me.  I knew I needed to make a drastic change in my life, because I wanted to be the mother that my children deserved, the wife my husband needed, and a person who I actually liked myself.  I searched for what could fix me.  I breathed, and I tried to learn how to sit still and to be still.

I went back to the mat, where I'd always dabbled, but this was different.  This time, it was for my mind instead of for balancing my runner's knee and leg ailments.  I started reading about Yoga, it's origins, it's transformations, it's power.  I have grown in my practice, but more than that, I've healed as a person.  I could almost cry just typing those words.

Finally, I'm in a good place.  My family life is happy.  I am able to enjoy my children.  My children have a mom who is calmer and happy.  My mom is in a new home where she is safe and kept more contentedly busy, so that my visit is a bonus rather than a near daily must.  I'm substitute teaching and teaching knitting...and I love it...the flexibility and the work itself.  I've let go of people who are not good for me.  I can even sit in stillness once in awhile.

I feel this incredible freedom to figure out WHAT IS NEXT for me.  So, after lots of thought and journalling and discussion with my ever-supportive (and much healed) husband, I think I've finally figured it out.  I begin YTT in January.  My plan is to train teachers to use yoga in the classroom to aid student learning, relieve student anxiety and stress, and to help lessen behavior problems.  I will also offer Yoga for Teachers, as I know firsthand how stressful their job is and how much a calmer teacher can positively influence our children.  My hope is that I can build a business around yoga and teaching.  I'm excited and nervous to talk about it for fear of jinxing myself.  Isn't that silly?  To honor my wonderful, loving, and wise mother as she used to be, I must "Live in the Leap" and make this venture REAL by saying it out loud.  Thank you to YBC community members for listening.  Thank you for this wonderful community, Candace.  You have no idea how much you've had to do with my healing.  I hope you all follow me on my adventure.  I'd like to take a yoga class and then go for a coffee with all of you!

 

xxoo

 

 IMG_1883.thumb.JPG.ca45bcdfe51f6e49e6f7b

The person who taught me to Live in the Leap

 

 

 

Lorelei

Yes to #yogaeverydamnday, but some days are made for running.  Fall colors coinciding with 70+ degrees Fahrenheit.....well, that doesn't happen very often in Wisconsin.  Today's run was excellent, and then I melted into some sun salutations for a post-run stretch sesh.  Feeling good as I continue to work on some hamstring tightness and knee discomfort.   

 

Running today did remind me that I prefer to have my feet on the ground rather than on an airplane.  As my Paris trip gets closer, I'd love to hear what anyone with a little flight anxiety does.  I've flown dozens of times.  It's fine.  I get through it.  However, turbulence (even mild) unsettles me (see what I just did there?).  I want to ENJOY my flight as part of my vacation.  Tips and/or wisdom anyone?

Lorelei

What's Next?

I liked the Mindful Practice for 30 days.  It is the first "challenge" for yoga that I've rode to the end.  I'm thinking of going back and doing the 30 Day Yoga for Tight Hips challenge that Candace put out there earlier this year.  I started it and then got distracted by.....oh, who knows.  Tight hips are the bain of my existence.  They interfere with moving without pain sometimes, with my running, with sitting comfortably, and it just drives me nuts that I haven't been able to ease things.  I wonder sometimes if I really am holding stress in my hips.  When things get stressful in my life, it seems like everything, but especially my hips, are tighter.  

So, that's my next jam.

Lorelei

Day 30

Today marks the end of the 30 Day Mindful Yoga Practice for me.  Refection time:  There was tons of progress, but not always in my chosen pose (Mermaid).  Over the last 30 days, in addition to working on the pose, I also concentrated on my focus during practice.  I strived to "let go" and to "be in the moment."  Somewhere along the way, I found my headstand.  It's more solid some days than others, and it's still a work in progress.  I attribute it to the mindful focus for this project.  Also, and this is huge for me, I found arm stand for the very first time.  It was a fluke too.  I was doing a video practice, and Candace went into arm stand.  I thought, "What the hell," and gave it a whirl.  I was against the wall, so the balance was minimal, but there I was on my arms!  Now, I'm a little obsessed with being upside down.  I'm working on handstand too.  I feel like my practice has grown by leaps and bounds over the last 30 days all in all.   

 

In Mermaid, I gained flexibility and balance.  I'm happy with that.  I chose this pose as a gauge for my tight hips, to see how well I am loosening them.  I'll continue to do this as my practice grows.  This was fun.  

 

Day Onemermaid1.thumb.PNG.a4cc114cbdf212eeae087

 

Day 30IMG_1297.thumb.PNG.1c20bc6c6b0dabc0eb361

 

 

 

Lorelei

"Progress" is Relative

Well, well, well.....Mermaid Pose is progressing......very little.  I have been working on the pose, but I know now that I should have been doing so much more in the way of hip openers this whole month in order to have moved further along.  Live and learn.  Also, I am aware now that Mermaid Pose might be a bit down the road for me.  I was just so ready to jump in and DO IT!  But, I'll keep working on it, and when I nail it, I will post the most wicked Mermaid ever.  

 

Real life has also been inserting itself into my practice over the last two weeks, as it tends to do.  :)  I had to move my mom to a new memory care community.  Stressful?  Sad?  Self-Doubt Inducing?  Yes.  Yes.  Yes.  Then, that same day in the middle of it all, the phone call from school came to alert me that the event leading up to this happened:

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My point is that I did not concentrate on my practice as I had wanted over the last week and a half.  However, I did not give up and quit.  Bigger for me is this:  I did not stress about it.  I did what I could.  Some days, the real life stuff made me feel tired and off.  On those days, I did a gentle flow or an easy run.  Some days I knitted and read a book during my free minutes instead.  And you know what?  My balance has improved a little bit.  I still feel a charlie horse coming on when I bend up my leg, and I don't know what that's all about.  It's ok, because instead of getting very far on Mermaid Pose:

mermaid1.thumb.PNG.7da09d3e9404b2eb96d63Week 1                   quasimermaid9.23.thumb.PNG.fd265012f342bWeek 4

 

This happened:

headstand.thumb.PNG.afe291f97c834691b91d

 

Headstand practice has made me feel calmer, and so I did more of that over the last 10 days or so.  Then, last Sunday, in the middle of the school baseball field while my son kicked a soccer ball and my husband hit ground balls to my daughter, I did a headstand.  And then another.  Then I practiced handstands against the fence.  I'm pretty sure I looked like a nut, but I didn't care.  And that, my friends, is mindfully practicing yoga.  <3

 

 

 

 

 

Lorelei

A Week for Patience

The last week has been packed with two sick children and a mother whose assisted living placement needs changing due to a decline in her care.  I am grateful for the opportunity to be available to my children and to comfort them when they are ill.  I'm grateful that when they are ill, it is a virus that passes without trauma.  I am grateful that I am in a position to be near my mother, to provide comfort to her, and to manage her care.  

That is why I can realize that letting my yoga practice temporarily suffer is something that happens but that it was always be there for me.  I had to take two days break in a row this week, and I can feel that my flexibility has waned just a bit.  I am not ready to publish any of my Mermaid Pose attempts right now, but today I was able to raise both arms overhead while keeping my balance.  I've decided that I need to work on the balance piece before I can move into reaching back for a foot.  Just a readjustment of my plan.  I've been having some hamstring tightness that I have to work on in the coming week too.

This week's unexpected opportunity to work on my patience has been a gift.  I know that every experience offers an opportunity for growth.  The choice is mine as to whether or not I accept that opportunity as a positive experience in my life and in the lives of those around me. 

Lorelei

Progression on Mermaid Pose is meh.  It's only Day 4, though, so I'm staying positive.  I will say, though, that my hips seem tighter than ever.  I noticed that even sitting with crossed legs, my knees seem farther off the floor than last week.  Maybe I'm overworking my muscles and tightening up.  I'm thinking that running isn't helping, but I don't run much lately.  3.5 miles 3-4 times a week.  Almost nothing compared to other years at this time training for Tough Mudders or marathon.  Also, low back and psoas are sore.  Poor me!  (NOT!  Grateful for the movement and health that I have....don't get me wrong!)  

The best I can say is that I did not fall over today when I lifted my right hand off the floor to rest on my thigh as my left hand reached back to hold my left foot.  However, it was only for a milli-second, too short to even catch a screen capture of it.  No photo today!  Staying with it and looking forward to achieving the next step in the process.  That is all.  

Also!  Had the best savasana ever today.  I struggle to relax.....ever....., so feeling the total relaxation and soaking in of my practice today was kinda mind blowing.  :)

 

 

Lorelei

Week 1 (and Day 1)

I've decided to focus on Mermaid Pose.  I've had a lot of fun playing with beginner arm balances over the summer, but I'm determined to work on my flexibility, especially with the hip flexors.  This program gives me the perfect excuse to do that!  As a runner, I'm tight in the hips and the IT bands.  As a probable result, I've battle lower back pain and a psoas injury, which went undiagnosed for months about this time last year.  After traipsing to three different doctors and having some pretty scary causes for the pain tossed around, the psoas was suggested to be the problem by my massage therapist.  Some uncomfortable massaging of it, physical therapy, patience, and it was finally healed.  Anyway.... let's just say that my gratitude for a good massage therapist and the ability to run and stretch again knows no bounds.  

Without further ado, here's my first ever attempt at Mermaid.  I tried to lift the other arm and promptly fell right over, by the way.  It's good to find new ways in which we are total beginners, no?  Lots of room for growth.

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