Monthly Archives: June 2010

Goals update: Part 2 of 4

2010 is officially halfway over. I know this because it is hot, my birthday is approaching, and my “quote-a-day” calendar at my desk is half as fat as it was when I received it as a Christmas present.

I started out this year with exeedingly high expectations. So far, it has been both a great year and a trying year, and overall not at all what I expected. That’s life, right?

Highlights of 2010 so far include developing a yoga teaching schedule, my week of vacation, the trip to Chicago with Andy, closing on our home, the Indigo Girls concert, my trip to California, and all three weddings this month.

Things to look forward to for the rest of 2010: continued success in my goals, my birthday, teaching at a yoga retreat, attending Anatomy and Alignment, my sister moving closer to me to attend ISU, our two-year anniversary,  Andy’s birthday, and of course the holidays.

Anyway, it’s about time for my quarterly goals update. Read part one here.

Goals accomplished first quarter of 2010:

  • Finish YogaFit Level 1 community service requirement and receive Level 1 certification.
  • Attend YogaFit Level 2.
  • Hold a headstand for ten breaths (with or without a wall).
  • Establish a solid yoga teaching schedule, with at least one regular class.
  • Quit the gym.
  • Find a good way to develop a home practice and join yogaglo.com
  • Get a blogroll going with other yogi/nis/interesting bloggers
  • Re-read A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
  • Take a week off from my full-time job (guilt-free) and spend it with my husband and dogs.
  • Spend a night in Chicago with my husband.
  • Get in a career position that affords Andy and I both full medical, dental, and vision coverage.
  • Sing Karaoke in public.
  • Send someone flowers.
  • Go to a zoo.
  • Treat myself to fresh flowers for the house twice.
  • Eat nothing fried for two weeks.
  • Get family pictures done (me, the hubby, and the two dogs).
  • Discover a new musician that I love.
  • Send Niko home happily.
  • Sell the clarinet(s).
  • Learn to make sugar cookies just like my grandma does.  (this was a lifetime goal)

Goals accomplished second quarter of 2010:

  • Hold a handstand for five breaths (with or without a wall). -done with the wall. Without the wall can be a 2011 goal : )
  • Re-read A Tale of Two Cities.
  • Re-read the Harry Potter series. – it’s just as good, or better, than the first time through
  • Own our home. -okay so we don’t own it, we own the debt attached to it.
  • Get a pedicure. -loved it!
  • Watch the sun rise once.
  • Win something. -I won a giveaway from Callah at My Yoga Life, and I also won a Visa gift card at work. Sweet!
  • Go see a concert.
  • Clean out my Gmail inbox – save fewer than 300 conversations (over 2,100 and counting). -this was tough but I felt better afterwards
  • Get in a hot tub!
  • Go rollerblading.
  • Purchase a houseplant and keep it alive.
  • Be a source of support and encouragement for my two oldest friends who are both getting married in June 2010.
  • See the Indigo Girls in concert again.  (this was a lifetime goal)

Goals in progress:

  • Write for On the Mat at least twice a week, every week.
  • Have at least one hit daily.
  • Always have my next book picked out while I’m reading my current book.
  • Use the credit cards only for emergencies (and remember that shopping at Target is not an emergency).
  • Kiss Andy good night every night.
  • Keep the dogs caught up on flea/heartworm medicine at all times.
  • Spend more quality time with my quality hubby.
  • No overdraft fees in 2010.
  • No speeding tickets in 2010.
  • Continue limiting caffeine (1 drink per week if at all).

How is 2010 going for you?

Namaste,
Jamie

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prAna contest!

I know you all love prAna right? Their sustainability, their awesome yoga gear, etc? Well they are offering the chance to win a trip  for two to the Wanderlust festival which looks completely amazing. Check it out and enter here!

Details:

Wanderlust is proud to team up with prAna to create a truly memorable experience. PrAna is sponsoring the beautiful wellness village with bodywork, massage, energy-work and more in stunning bamboo structures created by Balifornia near the meditation dome. Want to know how you can get there?!

Starting today, we are offering you the chance to win a trip for two to Wanderlust 2010! Spend a long weekend unwinding, reveling, relaxing and celebrating in the Sierras. The contest includes round trip airfare for two people, 2 nights of double occupancy lodging, and two Seeker passes. Be sure to enter and share it with all your friends and family … because Wanderlust is an amazing event and being there with your best friend will be epic! One runner up will receive a $250 gift certificate for beautiful prAna gear! Enter the contest by filling out the form below.

In case you didn’t know, PrAna is an active apparel brand that offers a harmonious blend of functional design and progressive styling. Our name, borrowed from the ancient Sanskrit word, helps lift our aspirations and guide our vision for mindful living while living on the edge.

Prizes: One (1) Grand Prize: Two (2) “Seeker” tickets to the Wanderlust Festival. Grand prize also includes a two (2) night stay in one (1) standard double occupancy room on 7/30/10-7/31/10 (checkout 8/1/10), and round-trip coach airfare to Reno, Sacramento or SF from the winner’s nearest major airport. Winner responsible for transportation from Reno (1 hr), Sacramento (2 hrs) or SF (3 hrs) to festival. One (1) runner up will win one (1) $250 gift certificate for prAna gear.

Wanderlust takes place July 29 to August 1, 2010 at Squaw Valley USA in North Lake Tahoe, CA. Good luck!

And if you win, I’ll be your +1 ; )

Namaste,
Jamie

Achy Breaky Everything

Andy and me this April

Sometimes I get irritated with my husband because he doesn’t seem very sympathetic when I voice a complaints about the way my body feels. When I ask why I only get a grunt in response to these comments, he says that there’s “always something going on with your body.”

I grudgingly admit he may have a point.

For the past couple of weeks I have been keeping track of all the times I mention a pain, discomfort, or dis-ease, and I have said/complained about the following:

  • Headache: several times.
  • Dull ache in left shoulder, working its way up the neck: I first thought it was from the rainy weather, and then worried it was the beginning of a repetitive motion injury – it’s actually a result of sleeping in the same position every night for about a year.
  • Miscellaneous gastrointestinal problems: due to medicine I’ve been taking.
  • Sore feet – extremely achy arches: fixed by consciously choosing shoes with arch support for the evening dog walk.
  • Sharp twinge in my right ribcage: lasted about a week and it hurt any time I twisted, bent over or stretched my right side. Eventually a bruise worked its way up to the surface of my skin. Who knows what happened there.
  • Joint aches (particularly elbows and wrists): these actually did pertain to the weather.
  • An extremely tight right hip flexor: it wouldn’t seem to open no matter what I did. Over time it gradually stopped being so cranky – no explanation for that.
  • Nausea/dizziness: hypoglycemia, also due to medicine.
  • Feeling tired: pretty much every day.

Looking at this list, I realize that it’s perhaps a bit tiring to hear all of this from your partner in a space of about two and a half weeks. Furthermore, this was during at time that I was generally healthy. So during a week when I perhaps have a head cold or am recovering from a wisdom tooth extraction, I might be downright unbearable.

click for source

In my defense, probably only 20% of this is whiny complaining (seriously, my sore feet could have been remedied by a foot rub by you-know-who). The rest of my verbalizations regarding the state of my body are kind of a “wondering aloud” of thing.

My body seems to have a mind of its own a lot of the time. I don’t ever really know what to expect from it; however, I am incredibly in tune with it. Healthy or not, I notice every tiny thing that goes on in there and I’m always mindful of how it’s feeling.

Perhaps it goes without saying that I wasn’t this way before I got into yoga.

…and if I’m being honest, I also have this tiny irrational thing that I got from watching too much of the Discovery Health channel (or something like that) in college. It’s just that there were all sorts of programs where one partner collapsed, fell deathly ill, lapsed into a coma, etc. The other partner was left saying “This came out of nowhere!”

And then the person who remained healthy mentioned (like something was just beginning to dawn on him) “Well, come to think of it, she did complain about a sharp twinge in her right ribcage for about a week…could that have been the first signs of amniocardioorthostaticsclerosis?”

And the attentive partner saves the day, providing just enough information to lead to a diagnosis/treatment/explanation.

So yeah, that’s a little weird. Probably not a good enough reason to plague my husband with every ache and pain. Maybe I should keep it to myself from now own?

Readers – how “in tune” do you consider yourself and your body? Do you think yoga helps us determine why we feel the way we do?

Namaste,
Jamie

Facebook, ahimsa, and love

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” -Plato

Lately, I’ve been thinking about ahimsa, (doing no harm) as it pertains to our words.

Those of you who follow me on twitter know I’ve developed a love-hate relationship with facebook lately. I have been an avid fan of facebook since it launched in 2004, and I love keeping up with my friends. But life has put me in a delicate place the past six months, and day after day I’ve been hurt by things I’ve seen on the ‘book.

None of the things causing me pain have been mean-spirited, and the writers almost certainly have no clue that they’re hurting me. They are simply sharing their lives, which is what social networking is all about, anyway.

The problem is not them, it’s me, and so I’ve withdrawn from facebook for a while until I can stop being so hypersensitive and emotional (does that ever happen?).

Image from Art Asana, one of my new favorite websites: http://elizalynntobin.blogspot.com/

But it made me wonder…whom do I harm, indirectly, with my words? Because I put a lot of words out there every day: spoken word, email, social networking, texting, and of course this blog.

When I say seemingly innocuous things, is there someone out there wishing, just for once, that I could see it from their point of view? When I write about how much I love my dogs, is someone mourning the loss of their favorite pet? When I complain about waking up for work in the morning, is someone wishing fervently for employment? Do my words pour salt into the wound, and cause pain?

No matter what the intent behind our words, the impact can be out of our control. Even when you put love into the world…love can cause heartache.

Of course, there’s no way around this without withdrawing completely from the world and refusing to communicate, which isn’t practical for a born communicator like me. So I have no answers. But, like everything else, awareness is the first step.

What have you been hurt by, that no one dreamed could be hurtful?

Namaste,
Jamie

PS- today after final relaxation, my teacher said this: Find something inside you that’s been struggling, and make it right. And if you can’t make it right, make it easy. And if you don’t know how to make it easy, take it one step at a time – one breath at a time. I had to wipe the tears from my eyes : )

Happy Father’s Day

To dads everywhere, to dads-to-be, to dads we have lost, and of course, to my dad:

Namaste,
Jamie

Product Review: prAna capris

image from prAna, reproduced at marthastewart.com

A while back I wrote a post about my need for new yoga clothes. The response was overwhelming. Readers who had never introduced themselves before weighed in on the issue, and my regular readers (love you guys!) had a lot to say, as well.

One brand I did not mention in the post was prAna, but Babs kindly brought it to my attention (thanks Babs!). Unbeknownst to me, a prAna representative was reading my blog, too. He was surprised and pleased to see the conversation I stirred up, and contacted me to offer a 50% discount on the pair of pants of my choice! Whoo hoo! He and I had a nice chat over the phone and I ended up choosing the Diane Capri.

I have been in love with these capris since I received them. I ordered a size medium, which fits perfectly. I have taught several classes in them, worn them to class when I was not teaching, and even worn them out to run errands. They are awesome. I know you’ve all seen this handstand photo before, but it’s the best one I have of me wearing them. I am not a very good pants model : )

I think my favorite thing about these capris is the compression. They do just enough to pull me in where I need it (hips, thighs), without feeling tight in any way. They were being washed when I went to class this past Monday, so I wore an old pair of Target pants, and I definitely noticed a difference after exclusively wearing the Dianes for the past couple of weeks. My old pants feel thicker and bulkier than my prAnas.

Another cutesy thing about this product is a tiny hidden pocket on the waistband. Just big enough for one key or a few dollars, it’s not disruptive to movement but will probably come in handy sometime. I have washed the capris once and they held up wonderfully on their first wash, which I hope will continue.

The price of the Dianes is $65. This is a little less than average when you look at similar lulu ($64-86) or lucy ($58-88) products.

I am very thankful for the discount, which allowed me to wet my toes with the prAna brand without spending full price. To be perfectly honest with you, I still think $65 is a lot to spend on one article of clothing. I am a frugal shopper and more often than not, my entire work outfit adds up to about that much, including bra and shoes.

However, if you’re ready to bite the bullet and spend a little more on some yoga clothes, this is an excellent brand to start with. You will not be disappointed in the product. Not to mention, the customer service I received ordering over the phone was friendly, helpful, and efficient, and I received my package in no time.

My first experience with prAna was so positive that I will surely be shopping there again!

Namaste,
Jamie

It’s easy being green, and it can be cheap, too

The problems our earth is facing can be overwhelming. To make matters worse, there are advertisers beating down our doors trying to convince us that we have to spend more money to help the environment.

Nowhere in the “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle” mantra does it say “buy something that costs twice as much as it should”.

There are ways to reduce consumption and help planet earth without spending more money and more time. This has become especially important to me in the past year, as I learn more and more how interconnected the world is and how seemingly small actions have unintended consequences.

I thought it would be helpful to post the things Andy and I have started doing recently. They’re easy, affordable tips that don’t even require very much effort. We have carbon footprints just like everyone else, but this is how we’ve been trying to treat the world with a little more kindness.

  1. Stop using disposable things. I used to use a paper towel to eat small snacks, then I realized that it only takes me about 10 seconds to wipe off one of my dinner plates, and costs me only a drop of dish soap and a tiny bit of water. Paper towels cost money and take up space in landfills. As soon as we cut down on our paper towel purchases, I immediately noticed a decrease in the number of bags of garbage we put out every week.

    The worst offender of the disposable lifestyle is bottled water. Drink tap water out of a reusable bottle. Or, if you live in a place where the tap water is sanitary but kind of yucky (like we do), purchase a filter for your kitchen faucet, or a pitcher with a filter that can be re-used.

Next up on the war against disposables: dryer sheets.

  1. Use less plastic. Our poor Mother Earth is aching from our plastic use. Throwing plastic into the recycle bin instead of the trash bin helps significantly, but still doesn’t solve the problem. Check out this old post of EcoYogini’s about Why Recycling Doesn’t Cut It. Every time we recycle a bit of plastic, it is downgraded and less and less of it can be re-used. Not to mention all the energy that goes into creating the stuff.This is a tough one because plastic is everywhere. It’s ubiquitous as far as packaging goes, and it can be very convenient. I don’t have a solution to this, but being aware of the problem is the first step. When I have a choice between purchasing juice in a plastic bottle and a glass bottle, I choose glass. The price difference is negligible, and every little bit counts.
  2. Clean your cleaning products. A big part of being environmentally kind is to put fewer chemicals out there for our neighbors to breathe in. A couple of years ago I was cleaning my apartment bathroom (read: no ventilation) with my old favorite cleaning product: scrubbing bubbles. Halfway through the process I realized my throat and lungs were burning from breathing in those cheery little bubbles. Why should I clean my bathroom with something that makes my eyes water and my throat burn?We have since switched to using warm water and vinegar for cleaning. I have heard you should add essential oil, as well, to disinfect and make it smell a bit better, so I’ll try that soon. We have beautiful 110-year-old hardwood floors in our home and this cleaning solution works just as well as anything else we have tried.I used to love those Clorox wipes, which were even more convenient than paper towels. But they’re disposable, not to mention they come in bulky plastic cylinders. Using old t-shirts and dishtowels for cleaning is less expensive and less wasteful. Using a regular mop instead of a Swiffer means you don’t have to throw out a Swiffer pad every time you clean. These are affordable switches that don’t cause much more hassle, if any.

Here are some great resources if you’re interested in greening your life but need to see it in practice:

Namaste,
Jamie