Happy Birthday to Andy

Happy birthday to my sweet husband Andy: my best friend and partner in crime.

Andy's birthday 2007

Chicago, 2010

Summer 2009

Here are some interesting facts about Andy:

  1. Andy loves popcorn above all snacks.
  2. He would do anything for our two dogs.
  3. He does not snore. This is very important and a fact I greatly appreciate about him.
  4. Andy has a brain like a sponge. He remembers any and all trivia he hears. You want him on your team on a game show.
  5. He wears flip flops until there is snow on the ground…and maybe for a few days after that.
  6. He likes watching Glee with me. He probably won’t admit this to you though.
  7. He loves to watch movies…especially when there’s popcorn involved (see number 1).
  8. He hates having his picture taken.
  9. He has a very vivid imagination and I have already assigned him the task of bedtime story teller for our future children.
  10. He hasn’t liked any new music in at least the past five years. That’s the first sign that he’s turning into a grouchy old man.

I could go on and on but that’s enough for now. Happy birthday to Andy!

Namaste,
Jamie

YTT continues

First, I just want to say thank you all for your support and encouragement on my last post. It means a lot. : )

Back to yoga.

This weekend I re-trained YogaFit Level 1, as required by the 200 RYT program. I was the only re-training participant, so I was with 9 newbies the whole time.

I took Level 1 for the first time last October, so it’s been almost exactly a year. It was interesting to notice the differences in my body and my personality.

First, I have gained a lot of strength. I remember feeling physically wiped out last year from the classes and the pose breakdowns. I feel fine today. I am stronger and I have also learned to pace myself for long yoga weekends now that I’ve been to a few.

Second, I was pleased to find out how many anatomy terms and concepts I remembered and could apply from my Anatomy and Alignment training in July. And I thought that stuff was all going over my head!

Third, I realized how comfortable I have gotten with teaching in the past year. I remember being terrified with the idea of team teaching last year, and this year team teaching was a breeze — I hardly even had to prepare. It really does become natural.

So overall, an encouraging weekend. : ) It’s exciting to think about where I will be next year at this time!

This Thursday my 8-week session of “No Fear Yoga” starts. This is yoga aimed at the “ultimate beginner” with no experience at all. I’m planning lots of slow flow for the first class. Shall be fun!

Namaste,
Jamie

A field trip and some blanks

This week (on Wednesday) I organized a little “field trip” for one of my yoga classes.

This is the class that meets twice a week, with six women. One of them usually brings her 11-year-old daughter along. It’s a group of tightly-knit friends who have let me into their lives two hours a week, and I have very much enjoyed getting to know them.

I bought a newbie pass at the fancy yoga studio in town, which is good for three classes. I attended one of the Vinyasa Flow classes two weeks ago to scope it out, and decided it was appropriate for a field trip. Two of the ladies were able to go to class with me this week and more of them plan to attend in two weeks when I go again.

It was fun to be in the “student” role alongside my students, though hard to let go of my “teacher” half. At the fancy yoga studio she spoke almost exlusively in Sanskrit, and I was criticizing myself a bit for not teaching them more Sanskrit names. They would have had an easier time following along (but they ended up doing just fine anyway). The positioning of the room afforded me a view of both students and it was hard for me not to size them up and offer adjustments…it was great for me to practice turning that awareness inward.

Last night before class we had a good laugh about the trip. It’s common for this group to giggle during class, joke around, tease each other, and try things they wouldn’t in a studio — they’re not afraid to fail around their friends. The “church like” atmsophere of the studio class (look straight ahead, no whispering, this is serious stuff here) was majorly at odds with the way our classes generally go. Not to mention they got the “Rosetta Stone” experience of Sanskrit: full immersion!

If you ever get the opportunity to attend class with your students, I encourage you to go for it.  : )

On an unrelated note, Suburban Yogini has been doing blanks recently and I thought this would be a fun little thing right before the weekend.

1.  In the story of my life the actor who would play me would be Laura Linney. I think she’s so pretty in a wholesome, realistic way. She’s older than I am though so we’d have to get the timing just right.

2.  If I could change one thing about the world it would be more tolerance, less hate. More acceptance, less judgment.

3.  Yesterday I took a big step towards a future goal, and was reminded of just how much I love my hubby.

4.  My favourite comfort food is sweets. Things that are terrible for you but taste yummy.

5.  My new favourite blog find is A Little Pregnant. Julie has an amazing story.

6.  If I could meet any blog friend (who I haven’t met yet) in real life, I’d choose to meet Hmmm this is hard. Probably Y is for Yogini, because she’s just so sassy. But I think I’d have so much in common with all of you that it’s really tough to pick.

7. My favourite breakfast food is twofold: on workdays it has to be something sensible like granola or some healthy cereal, otherwise, it’s a long morning until lunch. But on the weekends I like to indulge with muffins or pancakes or big breakfast scrambles. So I guess I can’t really pick!

Namaste,
Jamie

Breaking the rules

source unknown

When I set my 2010 goals at the end of 2009, I told myself I would blog at least twice a week for the entire year of 2010. Some weeks this was easy and I wrote more than two posts, some weeks I was really desperate to come up with the second topic, but I somehow found a way.

Last week, I only posted once on this blog.

I posted a sequence on Tuesday and assured myself that I had four entire days to come up with a second post (I consider a week Sunday-Saturday, which is at odds with my dear husband’s Monday-Sunday way of looking at life). By Friday I was a little concerned about not having written anything here yet, and by Saturday morning there was a sort of alarm going off in the back of my head that said “BLOG! BLOG! BLOG!”

I had a busy Saturday – heading off to my parents’ house first thing and arriving back home at 7:30, at which point I zipped off to a friend’s house for plans at 8. As I was driving home at 11:30 (four episodes of Glee later) I thought to myself “I have fourty five minutes to get home, come up with something worthwhile to write about and get it posted in order to meet my goal”.

And then a nasty little voice in the back of my head whispered “don’t blog”. WHAT? Are you kidding me? “Just don’t do it. Enjoy the last hour of your Saturday night, instead of forcing yourself to write some mediocre post people will just skim anyway.” The sensical part of my brain shrieked back, BUT IT’S A RULE! I always post twice a week! ALWAYS!

Before I had gotten home (it’s a 20 minute ride) I had decided that nasty little voice really had a point. Why do I create so many rules for myself? Sometimes they’re good for me, help me stay in line. But sometimes the rules seem to exist just because they always have. And I don’t want to be someone who does stuff just because I’ve always done it that way. I did read “The Lottery” in high school after all.

For instance, last fall I decided to cut back on caffeine. It was hard but after a while I got myself off caffeine completely. But what started as a healthy attempt to cut back turned into a label I stuck on myself. “I don’t drink caffeine”. What’s the matter with a caffeinated drink every now any then? Why do I have to be so “all or nothing” about it?

It made me examine my reasons for this twice a week blog rule. The main reasons I like this rule are because 1) I really like to write and it’s a creative outlet for me to do so, 2) I like to connect with bloggers and writing is a great method for this, 3) I really like to get comments on my blog and keeping new material is the best way to ensure those rolling in.

Then I was able to dismiss each reason. 1) I love to write but I had written a lot last week anyway. I have some intense (unbloggable) things going on in real life right now, and I write in a personal journal about those. Plus I wrote some long emails to a friend last week – things that needed to be said but were hard to put into words. 2) I connected with people through the internet last week, they just weren’t in the yoga blogging circle, so that’s okay and 3) the comments thing is just silly!

So I have decided that sometimes it’s okay to break my own rules. And I am giving up the twice a week rule for the rest of the year. Maybe I’ll post twice a week, maybe I’ll post a hundred times a week, maybe a week will go by when I don’t post. While dealing with my unbloggable issues, I have decided there are enough rules in my life right now. : )

Namaste,
Jamie

Hip-opening, back bending sequence

I taught my third class with my private client, K, tonight. It went so well! I’m really enjoying getting to know her, and she didn’t even blink when I lead her into urdvha dhanurasana.

I particularly enjoyed this sequence because I felt it really opened my hips and loosened up my back. It has a nice balance of hip openers and backbends. I actually fit this all into an hour, it didn’t feel rushed, and we had 13 minutes for savasana. Lovely. Enjoy! (repeat everything on the opposite side)

Easy seated pose
Neck/shoulder rolls
Fire log pose (agnistambhasana)
Fold forward over fire log
Easy seated pose
Lateral flexion
Half lord of the fishes (ardha matsyendrasana)
Seated pigeon pose
Cat/cow flows (marjaryasana/bitilasana)
Spinal balance -> floating bow pose
Child’s (balasana)
Low lunge (anjaneyasana)
Straighten front leg to stretch hamstring, flow in and out of low lunge
Pigeon (eka pada rajakapotasana)
Down dog (adho mukha svanasana)
Plank
Flow between down dog and plank
Child’s
Dolphin
Plank
Flow between dolphin and plank
Childs
Locust (salambhasana)
Down dog -> Warrior I (virabhadrasana I)
Forward fold (uttanasana)
Tree (vrkasana)
Dancer (natarajasana)
Bridge (setu bandha sarvangasana)
Wheel (urdvha dhanurasana)
One legged wheel (eka pada urdvha dhanurasana)
Knees to chest
Spinal twist
Happy baby (ananda balasana)
Reclined butterfly (supta baddha konasana)
Savasana

Namaste,
Jamie

Veggie update – day 10

Well I just wrapped up my tenth day with no meat. So far, the experiment is going very well. To sum up what I’ve learned so far:

  • The only thing I miss about meat is the convenience of meat. It’s always readily available and ordering a meal with meat at a restaurant is very easy. Planning veggie meals takes more forethought and careful studying of the menu. I don’t miss the taste of meat at all, and I don’t feel like my diet is lacking anything.
  • There is always something vegetarian on the menu. Always. Sometimes it’s a plate of onion rings and hey, what a great excuse to eat onion rings for dinner! Other times it’s salad and hey, what a great excuse to be healthy instead of ordering a cheeseburger!
  • Things that I’m used to eating with chicken don’t need chicken. I made a perfectly delicious and filling stir fry at Flat Top Grill last weekend with just veggies and rice. I was surprised that the meal didn’t feel like it was “missing something”.
  • When eliminating a food group, it’s very important to pay attention to your diet. When you eat a meal of primarily carbs, you have to follow it up with some protein or else you’ll feel like crap later. Lesson learned.
  • Switching to a vegetarian diet instantly made me more health-conscious. There’s always that extra step in your brain when you see food: “Is there meat in that?” It only took a few hours for additional questions to follow: “What exactly is this made of?” I’ve been doing a lot better at cutting processed foods from my diet and eating more nuts and natural snacks. (Of course I just admitted that I ate onion rings for dinner so I’m not exactly the picture of health)

  • It would take me years to adjust to being vegan, and I don’t think I’d ever be happy. Although I love my vegan breakfast of almond milk over granola, I have very much enjoyed my cheese. How do you vegans do it?
  • I’ve tried some new yummy things I wouldn’t have tried otherwise. One highlight was the mango quesadillas I had tonight. YUM!

No decisions yet on if this is a permanent change or not. Maybe I’ll take it month by month for a while : )

Have a great weekend!

Namaste,
Jamie


Quick review: prAna Natural Yoga Mat

A few weeks ago I received my new prAna Natural Yoga Mat in the mail.

I love this mat. It is sticky enough and just slightly larger than normal mats, without being a complete behemoth. I have been using it exclusively and I’m a huge fan.

My new mat is made out of rubber, which is more sustainable and biodegrades more easily than mats made of PVC or TPE. It is a beautiful shade of purple (my favorite color!), so it’s easy on the eyes and on the earth.

Some of my blog friends had already prepared me that the mat would smell bad when I first got it, and boy were they right! It was overwhelmingly stinky. I let it air out, unrolled, for about three days before I used it, and that made a world of difference. I don’t notice a smell at all anymore.

If I were allowed one complaint about the new mat, it would be that it is very heavy. I know what you’re thinking – “How could a yoga mat be heavy?” It doesn’t look heavy and it’s just a yoga mat, for crying out loud. But when I tell people it’s heavy and then let them hold it they always look at me in shock, like they hadn’t believed me and had been thinking I was just a weakling. It’s heavy. Not a good mat to travel with, and it wears me out (just a little) carrying it up two flights of stars to the room where I teach on Sundays and Thursdays.

But the benefit of the mat being heavy is that once you unroll it, it’s staying put. You’re not likely to wrinkle it up during your practice, and I love that. All in all I give this mat an A+!

Namaste,
Jamie

PS- coming soon, a list of lessons I have learned during my first week of vegetarianism. : )