Saturday, June 25, 2011

Yoga Teacher Intuition

I taught two yoga classes this morning to two very different groups of people in two very different settings.

I had a really hard time finding the vibe of the first class.  I couldn't get a good read if the flow was moving naturally and if the class and I were breathing on the same wave length. As a yoga teacher I know to check for physical cues in the class. Are their faces soft? Are they breathing? Do their poses look forced or are they moving into them intentionally and effortlessly?

All the physical signs were there of a good class, and they certainly seemed happy/calm/peaceful as they rolled up their mats after savasana. But I just couldn't shake the feeling that something was "off."

On the other hand, my teacher's intuition tells me the second class "clicked." I felt the yoga vibe in the room and I was feeding off the energy in the class as much as the class was feeding off my energy. We seemed to move together in unison, the class almost anticipating my thoughts.

As a yoga teacher, I never take savasana with my class. But I left the second class feeling as happy/calm/peaceful as they did.

What was the difference? Was there even a difference? Or is it just my perception that is different?

I know not every class can be a slam dunk. Some classes are awesome and inspiring. And some are just good. But even just good yoga is still good yoga, right?

As I write this I'm realizing that when I was driving to class #1, I was thinking ahead (aka worrying) if I would be able to get to class #2  in time. What if traffic on I-40 was backed up? I like to hang out a few minutes and talk to my classes but today I couldn't let myself stay too long or I'll be late for the next site.

So maybe that's it. I was so busy thinking ahead to the future I couldn't give my full attention to the present moment. Ahhh, the yoga teacher lost her awareness!

Perhaps if I'd kept myself focused on class #1 I would have felt the vibe. Today was the first Yoga in the Park of the summer - something everyone has been looking forward to all dreary winter and stormy spring.

At one point I was aware of the breeze from the trees. And I think there were birds chirping. The sun must have been warm on my skin because I have a bit of a tan tonight. I bet I would have really enjoyed all that if I'd have let myself be aware of it earlier today.

I'm pretty sure my yoga teacher intuition was working today. But my "stay present in the moment" yoga mantra was lost for a bit.

Damn, I hate when the yoga teacher has to learn her own lessons.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Kindle Review

Those who know me know I am an Apple girl - macbook, iphone, ipad. I admit I like my gadgets.

But even I have my limits. Well, I thought I had my limits. Apparently I don't. I am now the slightly embarrassed-to-admit-it owner of a Kindle.

Unlike most Kindle owners, I am not in love with my new toy. I just can't let myself go there. I have to stay true to my literary purity roots. I know I've said this before, but it's true so I'm going to say it again: It's just not a book.

It is, however, pretty damn cool.

The Kindle totally fulfills my need for instant gratification. I used to get anxious when my books-to-read stack on my nightstand got low. Now I can hear of a book, type it in, and have it in a matter of seconds. A never ending supply of books to read without having to get to the bookstore or wait on an Amazon delivery!

Of course I love how easy it fits into my purse so I now always have something to read no matter where I am. And it really was great taking just the Kindle on vacation but knowing it was loaded with quite a few books for me to enjoy.

The Kindle version of books is usually cheaper than the paperback version. So I'm reading a lot more current fiction (sometimes also referred to as literary crap) than I ever had before. I'm not paying $15 just because a title is the new "in" book or must have summer read. But hey, for just a few bucks sure I'll read it.

The downside is the Kindle is kind of like literary crack. The books are cheap, not always the best quality and easy to get. And I'm totally headed to a dangerous addiction.

I sheepishly admit, I'm not downloading Pulitzer Prize winning novels or yoga philosophy texts. No, this former communications/literature major is reading "summer reading" selections. That's code for no brain cells will be challenged in the reading of this pretty predictable story.

In fact, I will now publicly apologize to my dear friend Thais who blogs at Living in the (k)Now and is on Twitter @letitgo8. We are supposed to be working together on an Elephant Journal post of a yoga text that she swears will transform my life like it has hers.

I'm sorry Thais, personal transformation has fallen aside while I read this cheesy story of love and betrayal set in a Los Angeles yoga studio. The studio owner is just about to find out her musician husband is cheating on her with the nanny and... oh gawd, it's true. I've fallen down a deep rabbit hole.

But I did find some good non-yoga books down the hole. Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue was interesting. One Day by David Nicholls was an ok story and apparently about to be a movie. Sing You Home was typical Jodi Picoult but a good, easy read. And I was able to download Fairy Tales for Every Child Should Know by Hamilton Wright for free!

I still plan on buying real books, especially the transform your life type books. I don't like the highlight feature on the Kindle - I need the tactile sensation of taking the orange highlighter across the page - and I am a big into highlighting and note writing on the pages.

And, yes I'm saying it again, nothing is as good as a real book in your hand. In fact, it's time to pick up Thais book again and start reading. Well, once I see what happens with the yogi, musician and the nannny!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

And This Is Why I Need Yoga/Meditation to Keep Me Sane

Here is what should have happened today in Jennifer's perfectly planned world:

5:45am     rise and shine for morning meditation
6am          awake kid #2
6:30am     leave for airport
9am          my ever faithful friend and yoga sub teaches my first class of the day
9:15am     kid #2's plane leaves on time and I leave airport
10:15am   I arrive to work site #1 to teach my second class
Noon        teach class #3 of the day at work site #2 of the day
1pm          private client has amazing results
2 pm         conference call/webinar scheduled to last 45 minutes
3pm          cook healthy dinner for children to eat while I -
5:30          teach class #'s 4 & 5 of the day while at work site #3
8:30pm     arrive home to appropriately grateful and loving family.

Instead, what happened was:

5:45am     rise and shine for morning meditation  - hit snooze button - twice
6am          awake kid #2   in a panic wake kid #2
6:30am     leave for airport get phone call that flight is delayed 1 1/2 hours
9am          my ever faithful friend and yoga sub teaches my first class of the day profusely thank my sub for sticking around to teach extra classes for me
9:15am     kid #2's plane leaves on time and I leave airport argue with airport rep over paying $100 fee to have my 14 year old experienced traveler fly without an adult, an activity he's done before without the extra charge
10:15am   I arrive to work site #1 to teach my second class  still waiting at airport with $100 more added to my credit card
Noon       teach class #3 of the day at work site #2 of the day Yep still sitting and waiting on the delayed flight
1pm         private client has amazing results really hope client got my voicemail and didn't show up for our session
2 pm        conference call/webinar scheduled to last 45 minutes call lasts 90 minutes
3pm         cook healthy dinner for children to eat while I point out boxes of cereal to choose for dinner
5:30pm     teach class #'s 4 & 5 of the day while at work site #3
8:30pm     arrive home to appropriately grateful and loving family. arrive home to find neighbor's dog has escaped while neighbors are out of town so feel responsible to help find the dog.

And actually, today wasn't all that different from most other days.

In the past, however, I would have fought the change in my plans all the way. Why won't the world do what I need it to do?! Why are people/situations making my life difficult?! Why can't anything ever go my way?!

But now, finally after way too many angst filled days, I've learned to just go with the new plan. I have zero control over a flight delay so might as well catch up on some reading. I can't control other people asking questions that have already been answered on this conference call but I can multi-task and answer a few emails while I'm here. I can't control the airlines rules regarding unaccompanied minors -- well, ok, this one still irks me. I understand the rule but don't understand why it was enforced today and not last time one of my older kids flew home. But still, it's out of my control.

Out of my control. Today was a day of throwing up my hands, accepting that it's out of my control, and being OK with it all.

And it turns out that flowing with my lack of control is a much more peaceful life than fighting against it.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Break From Cyber World Does A Family Good

I'm back!

My one -week, self-imposed technology break has lasted almost three weeks. I've been very quiet on Facebook, Twitter and Blogger.

First we had our family summer vacation where even 3G access was spotty, then I came home to the stomach flu from hell and was down for almost a week. After that, I realized I was enjoying my techno break. Before, I had been spending a lot of time on social media sites and then complaining I didn't have time to read/write/walk/yoga/meditate/etc. 

Right before I left for vacation I broke down and bought a Kindle so I've been doing lots and lots of reading. Just pure, for fun reading. No heavy deep yoga philosophy books and certainly no Pulitzer Prize winning novels. Stay tuned for a Kindle review blog post to come.

And the technology free vacation? It was great! So many people asked me before we left what my kids were going to do for a week without their xbox, laptops, cell phones and iPads. 
This is what they did:


They played in the lake, went fishing, threw rocks, collected drift wood and got wet. 

They went horseback riding through Ozarks State Park. Kid #6's first trail ride!

Boating and tubing on the lake for an afternoon. Look! Even the 16 year old is smiling!

They had fun together!

In all it was a great trip and everyone survived - and actually thrived - being unplugged for a bit. I was able to spread out my mat on the deck of our lakeside cabin and breathe through my vinyasas as the sun rose and the day began.

My favorite moment was on our last morning. I was deep in my morning meditation and suddenly got interrupted by the screams of kid #5 yelling "Mom, I caught a fish!"