Yin Yang A Yin Yin Yang

August 16, 2012 § 6 Comments

When I agreed to drive home from our seven weeks away it seemed like a good idea. I knew I’d have collected various suitcase filling objects and I wasn’t sure we’d be able to fit our stuff in the belly of a plane or comfortably underneath our seats.

As predicted, we left Groton Long Point yesterday morning with a car stuffed full, so much so that the only way to get to the cooler full of drinks was through the rolled down back window of the Four Runner (the door was blocked by a finicky bike rack). The roof rack above was filled to the brim with dismantled Hello Kitty bikes, dirty towels and random soft bags with items that normally do not go together (shampoo and shoes and Barbies, for example). I placed my precious laptop against the safest spot I could find (next to my feet on the passenger side floor) and surrounding us in every other empty space was an explosion of brought along foods, coloring books, items from the pencil boxes, empty Dunkin Donut bags and pillows and toys.

We rolled into Raleigh after eleven and promptly released the girls.

Said Grace later; “Mom. It’s like we were in jail and we didn’t even do anything bad to get there!”

All along the way I kept thinking that the trip could be described as Yin and Yang.

Yin: Passing around the nectarine and pear I’d brought and watching each family member take a bite.

Yang: Breakfast at McDonald’s (the girls and I didn’t actually eat it, so maybe that’s yin). But dinner at Wendy’s? So yang.

Yin: Outsmarting the GPS that was determined to take us over the George Washington Bridge. We found our way to the Tapanzee and were certain it would be smooth sailing all the way home.

Yang: Three hours of stop and go traffic through D.C.

Yin: Both girls falling asleep and staying that way through most of D.C.

Yang: The cries from the back seat when they woke with sore backs and crampy legs.

Yin: Listening to Sophie sing the words to Call Me, Maybe? (beginning to end) in her high-pitched lovely little voice.

Yang: Listening to Sophie singing the words to Call Me, Maybe? (beginning to end) after twelve or so hours on the road.

Yin: Listening to Adele full blast during my turn at the wheel.

Yang: Being so engrossed in that beautiful voice and missing the last big freeway change.

Yin: The Map Quest directions that said the trip would be eleven hours door to door.

Yang: Fourteen hours later peeling myself from the seat of the car and walking around my house, happy to be here but exhausted and with a headache.

Yin: Pechie’s bowl of freshly made spaghetti and meatballs in the fridge.

Yin: A fridge full of groceries that she bought for us so I wouldn’t have to take the girls in the car again today.

Yin: My house; relatively clean.

Yang: Out of toilet paper and coffee.

Yin: Kids off playing.

Yin: Me typing at my space.

Yin: Back to blogging and writing and running and yoga class and preschool and my juicer and my friends (both real and bloggy).

Yin: There’s no place like home.

XOM.

Grace seven hours in…

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Props to the Props

May 29, 2012 § 3 Comments

I have been tired and there is a great list of possible culprits; the heat, the running, my kids early rising, allergies, my rough food week, hormones?

Whatever it is I’ve being plagued by exhaustion.

After an energetic run on Saturday morning, my laziness took hold. It was hard to sit at the computer, so I took it with me to work horizontally on the sofa. When the girls needed milk I dragged my body to the fridge only to plop back down after handing over their sippy’s.

It was gross.

I decided to roll out my mat.

Knowing that I wasn’t ready to start standing, I lay flat on my back in savasana. I yawned and stretched there for a minute and then reached for my blocks.

For my friends who don’t practice, blocks are also known as props. They are helpful additions to poses when the body needs assistance getting there. They aid in alignment, too.

Certain poses and I always require blocks.

If, for example, I am going from warrior into half moon, I recognize that a block must be waiting by my front foot to give my hand a lift and to keep my spine from crunching down.

In triangle, it is more important to keep the spine straight that to be able to reach the floor. I’m not a yoga instructor and I try not to judge, but when I see a student pulled forward into triangle and bent over to reach the floor causing a U shape to their form, it takes everything in me not to march over and readjust their positioning.

Caring for the spine is more important than deepening a pose for the sake of the ego.

As I stared at the dining room ceiling deciding where to start, I made the call to stack two blocks and tuck them under my sacrum for a gentle assisted bridge pose.

By lifting the pelvis up off the floor a stretch is created along the spine. With the tail bone hanging over the edge of the blocks, the shoulders roll back, the chest is forced to lift and open, and the arms roll out to the side causing the lungs to fill with fresh air (prana).

I hung out there for a while. It felt good.

When I was ready I played with leg and foot positioning.

With bent knees and one foot planted on the floor, I pointed the toes of the other foot and curled them back toward my rear end, palm of hand to sole of foot and pressed into the mat causing a delicious front quad stretch. For balance I repeated with the other foot.

With legs straight and high, toes splayed and pointed down (yoga feet) I imagined a string being pulled through my heels.

I made a wide legged V and then froggy legs with the balls of my feet pushing together for resistance.

Coming down I eased the blocks out from below me and slowly curled my back flat to the floor. I rocked my knees back and forth until they fell all the way to the right, arms folding over me to the left; an unscheduled supine twist. As always to keep balance, I rolled my knees to the left and arms to the right. Breathing and resting, it felt like a great big body yawn.

The pose I had just exited (supported bridge) led perfectly into a shoulder stand cycle. Without planning or thinking about it I allowed my body to go there.

From an unsupported bridge to a shoulder stand and then to one of my most difficult poses, the plow.

Plow is difficult for girls with DD’s and despite my best efforts I often find myself with a crunchy spine, so instead of pressing my feet entirely overhead, I eased back into shoulder stand before returning to the floor.

The entire cycle was slow and just what I needed; restful and energizing at the same time.

This is the beauty of a home practice. Go with your flow and you get what you need.

Rejuvenated, I turned over and cat-cowed until I was ready for a dog, legs pressed into the floor and walking. One at a time I raised each leg high to the ceiling and then bent over into a hip stretch.

Surprisingly, I had generated enough energy that a few slow and deliberate salutations to the sun came pouring forth (a few breaths per movement).

Before I knew it I was in that zone. I popped up, turned on music and grabbed the incense out of my desk drawer. I struck a match and lit the fire igniting my home practice companion.

The energy that I’d created spread through my house and before I knew it my quietly playing kids wanted in on the action. Just like that my solitary yoga play was done.

A full home practice is is not as easy with kids around and because of them it rarely ends in savasana.

Still, that time on my mat was enough to give me what I needed to be more productive and present in my own life.

With newfound energy I cleaned up the kitchen, gathered cut up paper from around the children’s art table, went outside to water the garden and folded every last piece of clothing from the laundry bed. That alone was a miracle!

If it weren’t for those blocks I would have become one with the sofa; a blob of a mom with a messy house and a sadly wasted day.

So props to the props (in this instance the blocks) and to the home practice that pulled my being out of Lazyland and back to Mommyland where I belonged.

Me in supported bridge with stacked blocks. I put the image through instagram, which accounts for the filtering.

Triangle with a block. Image from ecofriendlyfitness.com.

Half Moon. See how straight her spine is. I imagine if her little girl wasn’t hanging on her leg it would be raised higher making her alignment just perfect. Image from http://www.MindBodyGreen.com.

Supported Ardha Chandrasana or Half Moon. This could be me. I relate. Image from http://www.Yogaflavoredlife.com

My yoga teacher Jennifer Campbell-Overbeeke of Campbell Yoga demonstrating a three legged dog with a bent knee hip opener. There is nothing like this pose to open up the hip.

Hands as support in Shoulder Stand. Image from lovemyyoga.com

Plow. Can you see how boobies could cause a problem? http://www.lovemyyoga.com

There a are a lot of different blocks. I have the purple rubbery kind, but I’ve tried cork blocks, too. I don’t have a preference.

The Good Girls Drug

May 27, 2012 § 17 Comments

Years ago I saw a therapist named Julie.

Julie Armer; young, long red hair, Birkenstock wearing, wise and able to call me on my chit.

We started meeting when I was on the tail end of a semi nervous breakdown. At twenty-eight and with my life far from where I wanted it, I needed help to sort stuff out.

My coping mechanism was food.

At night I’d curl into bed with a bag of Teddy Grahams. I’d watch t.v. and devour the bag until all that was left were bear legs and bodies; tiny body parts crumbled against the bottom of the metallic bag.

Julie and I had long talks about the Teddy Grahams. Why did I do this? What compelled me to keep eating?How did I feel once they were finished and expanding in my belly?

The conclusion we came to was that I was filling up my stomach in an effort to control something in this uncontrolable world. What I really needed was to fill up my heart, not my gut. I know it sounds sort of ridiculous, but she was onto something. Eating to the point of fullness left little room (body and mind) to dwell on the emptiness elsewhere.

Her solution? When being pushed toward a tryst with Teddy Grahams I was to go and hug my nephew who happened to be living upstairs from me at the time. Filling with love would quell the urge toward food as a love replacement.

There’s a lot of talk online and amongst friends about losing weight, calorie control, and diet management.

I very seldom read about the emotional aspect of food as a drug, as a coping skill, as a way to manage feelings.

On Wednesday I ran into Whole Foods with my girls and a short list.

Sophie had requested the organic Blueberry lollipops we like, Grace wanted some animal crackers and I needed apples and greens.

We left with our bags filled, but instead of traditional animal crackers chose two bags of 100% natural, made by Barbara’s since 1971, Snackimals Animal Cookies in vanilla and chocolate chip.

On Thursday, after a few really stellar days for me in the healthy eating department, I went searching the cabinets for a snack. I picked up the cookies and portioned them out in a pink plastic bowl. With them I poured a cup of milk.

My intentions were pure. I was still on the straight and narrow.

When my bowl was empty I stared at it feeling blue. They tasted just like Teddy Grahams, if not a little more crisp. They crunched the same, melted on my tongue the same, tasted just the same.

Without thinking, I started to eat them out of the bag until they were gone. And then the next bag. Gone.

As if something had triggered my good sense, my managed eating habits earlier in the week had vanished from my being.

Like an alcoholic might fall off the wagon after succumbing to the pull of a little sip, I spent Thursday, Friday and Saturday in compulsive eating hell.

Unable to feel the food that I consumed, I ate more. My head knew what was happening, my alter ego (I need to name her) didn’t care. I was aware that I was spinning, but continued to find more to fill myself up.

When Brian came home with a huge lemon cake and chocolate covered Oreos it didn’t take long before I was going at the cake with a fork and eating the cookies without even checking the calorie content and fat grams on the back (130 for 2 and 13 per serving I now know).

My stomach hurt badly, so I’d give myself a break. And then start up again. A cycle of pleasure and pain and exhaustion and energy.

Why did it happen? What was I really searching for? Aren’t I happy? Don’t I have enough love, friends, health, family?

I have heard that food is the good girls’ drug. This is true. It’s not even about the food. It’s not about weight. It’s about control.

Teddy Grahams, those sweet little bears manufactured for children’s lunch boxes are as dangerous to me as crack or heroine or a bottle of pills to another person searching to fill whatever is missing inside them.

Last night after two pieces of pizza, a couple of bread sticks and three ranger cookies I fell into a “food coma” as I put the girls to sleep.

When I woke later in the evening, the mania was done, just like that. I drank a big bottle of water and settled back to sleep.

Today the food mania has stopped completely and I’ve woken up feeling better and able to see the light through the fog of the past few days.

I drank my coffee with skim milk and ate a lemon 0% Chiobani with some blackberries and half cup of Go Lean Crunch.

I sat down to write as I always do and this post came flowing out.

It’s embarrassing. I am not proud.

I would much have rather finished my piece about Maine or started to work on my guest post for Nadine about my long distance love affair with Crow. It would be easier to Pin pretty pictures; Chanel’s resort collection is breathtaking.

Since I try to speak the truth, though, I figured it might be helpful for anyone else going through a similar struggle. It also might be helpful to people who view over weight folks as food mongers and sloths. It isn’t about the food at all, so try not to judge.

In fact, a hug or a meaningful conversation about something other than food might snap them out of the cycle.

Most importantly, it is helpful to me to be able to recognize the triggers and the patterns and do what I can to avoid such occurrences in my future.

Total control will never be mine. It doesn’t exist. Not for me and not for you.

It’s a new day and I am off to yoga.

My solution. My church. I will Om with the group, get centered, and try not to judge myself or others.

But as they say in church, which will be my mantra for this Sunday, “Peace be with you. And also with you.”

Peace.

Peace for you and for me.

Good girl crack.

The Peanut Butter would have been the first to go had the girls chosen them instead of the others.

Teddy Grahams. Cute, but deadly.

Wannabe Yogi?

May 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

I hate leaving anyone out and believe that every perspective is valuable.

Here is the partner poll to my last post.

Please vote!

Namaste!

 

Yogis and the Polldaddy

May 21, 2012 § 7 Comments

Dearest Yogi Friends!

I have just signed on to Polldaddy in an effort to gather information for the article I am working on regarding the many pathways to yoga.

So many of us who practice know the true peace, enlightenment, centerdness, clarity and detoxifying bendiness that yoga brings to a life.

It is my hope to spread the word and your input will help!

Namaste, Om, and Happy Monday!

xoM

 

Bird is Back

May 20, 2012 § 2 Comments

Hatha Raja Yoga is the answer to all of life’s problems.

I’m so glad I went this morning as I now have the perfect opening for my article regarding the best way for a newbie to enter into a practice (especially if they’ve never tried)!

Everything happens for a reason; it is true.

By the way, I came home to a kid with a fever, a mess in the sink and a husband who needed a nap.

It’s all good.

I was sweetly reminded by Renee (and Deepak Chopra) that, “In the midst of movement and chaos, keep the stillness inside you.”

Calm within is possible, but how easily I allow myself to forget.

Hatha Raja Yoga is sometimes called the Royal Crown of Hatha. It is considered to be gentle and allows the mind to calm, even though the body has been moved through deep asanas. It’s the only branch that leaves me feeling worked from the inside out and not dripping in sweat. This allows for an afternoon of enlightened strolling through Whole Foods and other places that the calm mind may lead.

Free Bird Anxiety

May 20, 2012 § 14 Comments

Today I need to escape my kids, my husband, my house, my routine, and the repetition of the life I’ve created.

My head tells me that it’s a good thing.

Sunday morning yoga class is always good.

A trip to the toy store for a birthday present without my four-year olds in tow is great.

I’ll pick up the wrapped end of year teacher gifts without having to rush.

I want to sit at Starbucks where I’ll drink an iced Venti unsweetened green tea and get some undisturbed work done.

I don’t know on what. Maybe I could make sense of the Adsense craziness that is a new blog issue? Maybe I’d finish up my yoga article? Maybe complete the cover letters to publishers?

My heart tells me to stay; that it’s selfish to leave.

I shouldn’t be this eager to leave.

Maybe it’s my own fault for the way it’s been set up?

I’ve never gone out for girls night.

I’ve never left my kids overnight.

I co-sleep.

I am the one in charge of the children and I don’t have control over whether or not they are stimulated and played with and loved while I am gone.

And upon my return will the house still be standing or am I setting myself up for an afternoon of double duty; double kitchen cleaning, double toy putting away, double the mess removal?

The directional pulls to go or to stay fight me as I type.

Time has ticked too long and I know if I don’t move now I won’t go.

I’m off to shower to get ready for this day.

Still, I can’t help but wonder, do free birds really feel free when they are let out of their cage or do they fly around in circles waiting to get locked back inside where they know that they’re safe in the familiarity of home?

Wish me luck.

freedom

Caged Bird by Laura Hughes.

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