Tag Archives: guilt

My vegetarian timeline

Day 1- This is awesome! I love vegetables! Who needs meat?
Week 2 – Yummmm I love cheese, cheese is my best friend. Mainly eating lots of snacks throughout the day in place of meals (apples with peanut butter, cheese and crackers, smoothies, etc).
Week 3 – Discover some really good vegetarian entrees, but still don’t have a lot of time for sit-down meals.
Week 4 – I REALLY NEED SOME CHICKEN, but I want to stick this out a while longer.
Week 5 – Start feeling kind of yucky. Stomach cramps and other digestive issues.
Week 6 – Eat meat for the first time: a chicken sandwich at Famous Dave’s, where the waiter’s t-shirt said “Vegetarians are free to change their ways.”
Next day – Wind up in the prompt care with abdominal discomfort (fearing a kidney stone or appendicitis), doctor asks me if I’ve made any large changes to my diet in the last month. Tells me to start eating regular meals at regular meal times and stop eating so much cheese.*

So, I tried vegetarianism and I’m very glad I did. I learned a lot of my favorite meals at restaurants (Flat Top, Chipotle, Noodles etc) don’t actually need meat and I prefer the vegetarian version anyway. I am still trying to cut meat out of my diet little by little and eat less of it, decreasing my demand. I’m also trying to make conscious choices. We bought some antibiotic-free, free-range chicken for dinner the other night and it was lovely. More than twice as much as the store-brand chicken full of all the junk ($6/lb instead of $2.50/lb), but we can afford it now and then.

I’m trying to assuage my conscious while also taking care of my belly. It’s about balance – just like everything else, right?

Namaste,
Jamie

*The visit to prompt care was serendipitous, because after going over my current medications, the doctor decided to share her infertility story with me. She couldn’t get pregnant (PCOS and some sort of awful embryo-killing antibody) but ended up conceiving through IVF at the age of 41 and again at the age of 44. What an incredible story!

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Ups and Downs of YogaFit training

I am a yoga teacher in training.

If you are a yoga teacher reading this, I’m sure you have far more training than I. You probably went somewhere far away for weeks at a time, or else spent every weekend for a few months devoting yourself to your YTT. You probably spent a few thousand dollars and experienced something truly life-changing. You know the intimate details about the doshas, the chakras, the yamas and niyamas, the Bhagavad Gita, all of the many, many poses (in English and Sanskrit), all of the different types of salutations and pranayama, etc, etc, etc and the list goes on.

I do not know all of the details about all of those things. I know the basics. I have chosen a different type of program: YogaFit.

The YogaFit RYT 200 track includes the following classes: Levels 1-5, Level 1 retrain, Level 2 or 3 retrain, Anatomy and Alignment, YogaFit Seniors, and either YogaFit pre/post-natal or YogaFit Kids. So far, I have attended Levels 1 and 2, and I will be attending Anatomy and Alignment in July.

Why did I choose this non-traditional, more mainstream version of Yoga Teacher Training? There are a few answers:

  1. Cost. Other YTT programs I have found cost upwards of $2,000-$3,000. Each YogaFit training costs around $400 plus travel and required materials (with the exception of Level 4, which costs twice as much). As half of a newly-married couple, $400 is hard enough to come up with at one time – something in the four digit spectrum falls into the category of “cost-prohibitive”. Spreading the cost out makes training accessible to me.
  2. Time. The YogaFit program allows you to complete your 200 RYT in one year, five years, or however long it takes you. All of the trainings are two-day weekend trainings, and I can usually find one within three hours of my home (again, Level 4 is the exception – it is only held at certain conferences, is four days long, and will require a lot more travel). This means less time off work and no deadline to get everything done.
  3. Approach. The YogaFit program fits in with my idea of accessibility. They do not require you to show documentation of all the impressive people you have practiced with. A lot of people take Level 1 just to further their own practice, with no intent of continuing. It doesn’t matter if you can’t do a handstand. There is no feeling of being not good enough to teach yoga.
  4. Commitment. The three things I have already described combine to make Level 1 a pretty un-intimidating event. It’s a few hundred dollars and one weekend. If you go and you hate it, or if you go and find out teaching isn’t for you, you aren’t out a month of your life and several thousand dollars. You also don’t have to wait until you feel like a yoga superstar to begin your training. You can grow in your training as you grow in your practice.

Once I went to Level 1 last October, I decided I was interested in continuing on with the program. I went to Level 2 in January, and I have a rough goal of attending a training every six months or so.

However, YogaFit is like anything else in life – it has its advantages and disadvantages. You go to the trainings, you take away the parts you like, and you leave behind the parts that don’t sit well with you.

The only problem I have with the choice of training I made is this: sometimes I feel like a fake. I don’t know as much about the intricacies of yoga, because I am still learning. I didn’t go to India and study in an ashram. I haven’t read the Gita. I haven’t been practicing that long, in the scheme of things. There are questions I don’t know how to answer. Sometimes I wonder if I should be waiting until I take all of my training to start teaching.

But then I remember that the teacher who helped me fall in love with yoga had no formal training. And I think it would be silly to hold myself back from doing something I’m passionate about for some silly reason that stems, deep down, from my own insecurity.

So I don’t have thousands of dollars right now to travel to far and distant lands to learn this stuff – that doesn’t make me less of a yogini.

So I can’t quite master bakasana – that doesn’t mean I can’t teach it.

So it takes me five years to earn my RYT – five years is the blink of an eye anymore.

So I don’t know the answer to a detailed anatomy question a student asks me – I can look up the answer when I get home. That’s what e-mail is for.

Because I am a lifelong student of yoga, and I am a yoga teacher in training.

I am still learning.

Namaste,
Jamie

To practice or not to practice…

We all have days that we just don’t feel up to an asana practice. We’re tired, overwhelmed, have a headache, too busy, etc. Sometimes we just need to honor our bodies, respect our busy schedules and spend that time doing something else. On these days, we find our yoga practice in deep breaths, mindfulness, and compassionate thoughts for ourselves and those around us.

I have a hard time determining these days from the regular old “blah” days. I came very close to skipping my yoga class Monday night. I felt bad and wanted to veg out on the couch instead. In fact, the only reason I ended up going is because I don’t have much of a home practice these days, and I didn’t want to wait an entire extra week to get some quality practice in.

On Mondays I only have about 45 minutes between getting home from work and leaving for yoga, and in that time I have to change clothes, make and eat some semblance of a meal, and take out my dogs.

So Monday night, once I resolved that I would not skip class, I carved out 20 minutes of my getting ready time to recline on the couch and close my eyes. It wasn’t extremely relaxing what with the dogs chasing each other around the house and the neighbor mowing his yard. But it was as close to meditation as I get. Amazingly, once the 20 minutes was up, I felt much better. Refreshed, and ready for class.

I was happy that I went to class on Monday, but the night could have just as easily gone the other way. In fact, if it weren’t for my stubborn pride, I might have skipped yoga in favor of the couch and a book. Would I have felt guilty? Perhaps, but maybe not.

I try to avoid practicing out of a sense of “duty”, and I don’t ever want to guilt myself onto the mat. I feel that’s a great way to start resenting yoga. But it’s hard to distinguish between being too tired for a practice and being so tired I need to practice.

Any tips?

Namaste,
Jamie

Stop and smell the roses (tulips)

our tulips opened this week!

I am having my wisdom teeth out tomorrow. This scenario has all the ingredients of Major Jamie Anxiety:

  • doctors (especially a male doctor)
  • needles (IV)
  • new medical experiences (anesthesia)
  • taking a day off work against my own choosing
  • unexpected outcomes (when will I be able to eat normal food again?)
  • the possibility of serious pain, infection, complication, etc etc etc.

What I’m getting at here is that I am usually a huge, nervous wimp when it comes to these things. But not this time. In fact, I’m almost looking forward to it, in a weird, twisted sort of way. I’m taking it at a three-day excuse to s.l.o.w. d.o.w.n.

I put a lot of pressure on myself during the weekends. I only have two days off a week, so I’m going to enjoy them, damnit, and I’m going to get the most out of them as I possibly can. I feel let down if my weekends don’t include the perfect balance of activity, relaxation, and productivity. I need a certain amount of time to lie around and read, but I also don’t want to be bored, and I have to find time for housework, projects and laundry. So if I don’t strike just the right chord, I feel like I wasted the weekend.

Well, this weekend will be different. I’ll be on the couch, drinking my meals, sleeping, doped up, reading, maybe even (gasp) watching a movie, and relaxing. When was the last time I gave myself an entire three-day weekend to sleep and get some rest? Never in my adult life, that’s for sure.

Does it stress me out a bit to think about the chores I won’t be doing? Yes. But guess what? I think the house will still be standing when Monday morning rolls around. : )

Namaste,
Jamie

Confessions of a yogini with multiple personalities

Lately, I have been feeling a bit like an imposter. I don’t feel like just Jamie all day long, I feel like a different person during different parts of my day.

In the morning, I grudgingly wake up to my alarm and put on my cardigans and my dress pants, and I go to work. I work in a cubicle and sit at a computer most of the day. Since a lot of people in Bloomington-Normal do the same thing, the haughty and derisive around here have taken to calling us “corporate drones”.

I do not have an overwhelmingly important job, nothing vital hinges on my decisions, I do not own a Blackberry. At least on the good days, I do not feel like a drone. I can’t decide if these two sentences are contradictions are not.

My husband teaches three out of the four work nights of the week, so I have large chunks of evenings to myself. Now that the weather’s nice, sometimes I rollerblade down to the park and get some exercise. I walk my dogs. I spend a little bit of time each night fulfilling obligations: dishes, laundry, other chores. Sometimes I meet a friend for dinner or drinks. I spend lots of time reading blogs and keeping up with various internet things. Other than that, the majority of my free time is spent reclining on the couch, reading a novel. It is my favorite way to relax.

Once a week I take a yoga class and twice a week I teach. During these times, I feel most like myself — I feel like the happiest, most positive and clear-headed version of myself I can be.

When I am at work, you have to look hard for signs that I practice and teach yoga. I leave a few hints, but not many. The most obvious is that I can’t sit normally in a desk chair. I sit sideways, with my legs under the arm rest, or have one knee bent with my chin resting on it. I sit cross-legged a lot. I often do odd-looking stretches when my shoulders and back start to feel tense. I do not know how other people go all day without doing them! I almost always take off my shoes and leave them on the floor where my feet should be. I also wear very little makeup and jewelry, which is not yoga, per se, but relates more to Yoga Jamie than Corporate Jamie.

The dissonance of this situation hit me when last week when I was at class, as a student. I shared with some other students where I work and what I do, and it just felt strange coming out of my mouth while being Yoga Jamie. It didn’t seem like me, although I know I do it for nearly 40 hours every week. In the same way, when I am at work, I don’t feel like a yogini. No one I work with practices yoga regularly, and most of my co-workers know just the bare minimum about yoga, my teaching style, what I’m working on, what it means to me. Some of them read this blog, but that is likely the closest they will get to know Yoga Jamie.

I sometimes feel guilty pursuing other leisure activities besides yoga. I love yoga and as I said, I love Yoga Jamie. But I rarely practice at home, because – at least at this particular moment in time – I would rather do other things while I’m there. I want my blocks of time to read a novel, play with my dogs, visit friends. I don’t practice every day. I frequently chose to be Reading Jamie over Yoga Jamie.

There are lots of moments in my life where I think “I don’t live like a yoga teacher”. I don’t drink caffeine, but I almost always have a cocktail on the weekends. I love to sleep in whenever possible, sometimes even till (*gasp*) 9:30, a fact I hide with shame around my friends with children. I love to eat junk food and French fries and chicken. I don’t fit a yoga sterotype, or any stereotype.

I am sharing this because I want to know if it’s typical. Do other yoginis feel this way? What about those whose full-time job is to teach yoga? Is there still a gap to bridge between yoga and personal life? Do people with different hobbies feel this way, too – does someone passionate about painting, or cars, or writing, feel like a different person throughout other moments of the week?

More importantly, is yoga a unique passion because it informs the other moments of our lives? Because I can say “no” to my mat, am I exercising the balance I learned while I was on it? Since I can focus on being present as Reading Jamie and maintaining my breath as Corporate Jamie, am I always Yoga Jamie, whether I realize it or not?

Namaste,
Jamie

photo credit: http://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/womens-health/fitness/yoga/article/-/6218203/em-yoga-em-for-workaholics/

Rebel Jamie

Today is Monday morning, and I am excited to say that I am not at work! That’s right, the hubs is on Spring Break this week and I took a week off with him.

We have all sorts of adventures planned, balanced with a nice amount of relaxing. It’s been a long, long time since I took an entire week off of work so I plan on relishing every moment, and celebrate by attending two extra yoga classes this week!

Even though I did this all the legit, grown-up way by using paid time off and letting my boss know months ago, it still makes me feel a little like a rebel, sitting in my PJs on the couch.

I hope you all have a glorious week!

Namaste,
Jamie

The night I didn’t practice

Last night I did not practice yoga. It was the first January day that I did not do at least 30 minutes of yoga, which means I am going to come up a little short of my 30 minutes for 31 days goal.

I’m not going to go into all of it here, but basically yesterday was a rough day. I didn’t get home until much later than usual, and I got some bad financial news as soon as I did get home. What it came down to is this: I had almost exactly 30 minutes to myself, and I chose to call my mom instead of practicing.

Now throughout the month of January I have had a couple of other days that I considered slightly-to-moderately stressful. I practiced yoga on those days, and it really helped relieve the stress. But those were run-of-the-mill stressors, and last night was something more. I could tell that what I really needed was a good cry and someone to listen. If I had gotten on my mat I would have had a hard time letting go of the things that were stressing me out, and what I needed to do was face them, discuss them, and come to peace with them. I knew I couldn’t shake those toxic feelings to focus on practice, and I didn’t want them on my mat with me.

Maybe to some people it sounds like I’m making excuses. But to me, last night was a real-world equivalent to taking child’s pose during a strenuous class. When that’s what my body needs, I acknowledge it. My practice (and my life) is about finding a balance between the healthy place of pushing myself to achieve goals and the not-so-healthy place of demanding too much of myself before I’m ready.

And sometimes, you just need a good cry with your mom. : )