Tag Archive | yoga

my balanced life (me and lot’s wife)


I am Lot’s wife.

Frozen in place.  A pillar of salt.

Eye on the past, no thought for the future.

Carrie and Regina Mae

I haven’t written a word since my last post on my beautiful friend, Carrie.  Afraid to write, afraid to think or feel.

Afraid to lose my friend.

Not the kind of loss that can be overcome by a long talk and a foot soak over a favorite pastry from The Corner Perk.

My sweet friend who taught me how to listen to my body.  How to walk into a room full of stretchy-bendy yoginis and just do my best.  Not compare myself to their best.

My sweet friend who taught me how to recognize peace.  How to walk away from the toxicity in my life.

My friend who taught me as much about bravery as any sheepdog I know.

I keep looking back to when the studio was open.  My safe haven from the ugliness and pain in my life.

Always looking back.  Frozen in place, my own little pillar of salt.

After spending the evening with her, I realize the fear is mine.  The despair is ours.  She’s made her peace and is ready to move on.  It’s those of us who will be left behind who struggle and despair.

Holding my breath, holding my words, won’t change the outcome.

Maybe breathing again, sharing my pain, will provide the salve my soul needs to keep going forward.

Maybe sitting next to her, absorbing her peace, will crack away at my pillar of salt.  Allow me to break free and face forward again.

Carrie

I love you, my friend.

I’ll miss you.  Always.

Sweet dreams.

See you on the other side.

my balanced life (or 95 days of movement)


There are ninety-five days left in the year.  I’m making a vow to myself and my body to make them ninety-five days of movement.

silhouette of running woman

Four years ago, I started taking yoga classes.  Yoga saved me.  During the lowest time of my life, yoga was my safe haven.

In 2011, things changed and I couldn’t make it to as many yoga classes.  So I started walking.  And then I started running.  In September 2011, I walked and ran my first 5K.   I finished.  Last.  But last beats the quitters behind me who stopped.  Even the quitters beat all those who didn’t start at all.

I walked or ran two 5Ks last year.  I kept running until November, when I fell and threw my hips out of alignment.

This year, I’ve struggled to get back into my groove.  The yoga studio closed while Carrie uses all of her energy to beat cancer.  There is a yoga class I take on Saturday  mornings, when I’m home.  And healthy.  I haven’t been since…when?  August?  Maybe July?

The last time I ran was the night before Nature Boy got mad, ran down the stairs, jumped over the gate and got bitten by my Rocky dog.  It was one of those hot, late night runs that sustained me through 2011 and mostly eluded me in 2012.  A slow, hot mile in shorts and a sports bra.  Nobody out but me and the moon.

After that, I went to bed each night thinking, “I’m too tired.  I’ll run in the morning.”  And every morning, I’d wake up thinking, “I’m too tired.  I’ll run in the evening.”

There are ninety-five days left of this year, and I’m done with excuses.  I’m going to fill those ninety-five days with movement.  If I’m too tired to run, I’ll walk.  If I’m too tired to walk, I’ll ride my beach bike.  If it’s too rainy to go outside, I’ll go to my yoga room and pretend that Carrie is there to push me to hold that position just a little longer.  Breathe just a little harder.

Between my birthday and the end of the year is when most people put on weight each year.  Between Halloween candy, Thanksgiving feasts and Christmas goodies, it’s a challenge to get through the year without plumping up like that Thanksgiving turkey.

I used to say I dieted and exercised to get my old body back.  I’ve changed my goal.  I don’t want my 25-year-old body anymore.  I want a different body.  A better one.  One that is soft yet firm.  Toned and healthy.  Lungs that can fill me with oxygen.  Heart that beats strong and sure.  Legs that carry me to the finish line.  Arms that hold me in a handstand.  That’s the body I want to walk into 2013.

Move with me!  Let’s end 2012 in triumph and start 2013 in the best shape of our lives! 

adventures in dating (or my heart opener)


yoga fish pose on beach

yoga fish pose

It’s been over a year since I started dating Coach.  I’ve been thinking about those days a lot lately.  Remembering how afraid I was.  Afraid of being hurt.  Afraid of trusting the wrong man.  Afraid of loving again.

I read Holly Sidell’s article, He’s Not The One, around that time.  Told myself Coach isn’t the one.  He isn’t the one. He. Isn’t. The. One.

The mantra did nothing to stop me from falling for him.

I remember trying to relax enough to enjoy the little time I had with him.  He lived an hour away, and traveled three weekends out of four.  For speaking engagements.  Trips to Colorado to see his boys.

Actually, being with Coach was always easy.  The doubts only crept in when he was gone.  Which was most of the time.

I didn’t realize how hard I was fighting to keep my heart protected.

About a month after we started dating, I was in yoga class.  It was a chest opening class.

The first pose was supported fish pose.  Lying on our backs, a block under the back of our head and a second block under our upper back, chest extended up to the ceiling.  There is no way to lie in a fish pose without exposing your heart.  Literally and figuratively.

Not an easy pose for someone who’d spent the last month trying to hide her heart.

As I lay in supported fish pose that morning, I felt a physical and spiritual ache as my heart opened up.  Tears slid out of the corners of my eyes into my hairline.

I struggled through that entire class.  The supported fish pose was just the first in a string of chest opening poses.

In trying to protect my spiritual heart, my body automatically curved in, protecting my physical heart.

Chest openers provide the physical opening, exposing the spiritual heart to the light as well.

Self-knowledge comes slowly to me.  Slowly and usually painfully.

It took a few more classes before I put all the pieces together.  Lying in another supported fish pose, in another class, I thought my way through what my heart was trying to tell me.

I could relax and enjoy my time with Coach.  Risk my heart. Trust myself to survive if it didn’t work out.

Or I could continue to make myself miserable with worry, afraid of a heartache that may never come, and never allowing myself to enjoy time with a smart, funny man.

In the end, Coach was not my life mate, the one I’m destined to spend the rest of my life with.

But he was an important step in my development.  Dating him taught me many things.  Things like trusting my gut, that still small voice that speaks to each of us. Whether we choose to listen to it or not.

The most important lesson, that I can fall in love and survive.  I am strong.  I am resilient.

I can choose love.  Because I know if it doesn’t work out, I’ll still be okay.

What do you choose?

adventures in dating (or a love like that)


Sufi poet Hafiz

I adore love stories.  Sometimes I’m lucky enough to meet someone who shares their love story with me, like George and Faye.  Sometimes I get to watch a love story in action, no words or explanations needed.

My beautiful friend and yoga guru, Carrie, is braving Stage IV ovarian cancer.  Her path has been littered with obstacles since her diagnosis.  Blood clots.  Unsuccessful chemo treatments.  Bowel blockages.

Overriding everything is the strength and love of her husband, Herman.

Carrie was hospitalized two hours away from home for a month.  Herman was there every day until he had to return to work.  Then he commuted back and forth each day after work.

Their love story has had the same highs and lows that all long-term relationships have.  But where the rubber met the road, there’s Herman, standing tall, a gentle giant.

Now that Carrie’s back home, Herman works full time then performs home inspections in the evening and on weekends.  The full-time job provides health insurance and living money.  The home inspections pay for Carrie’s medication, which are averaging a thousand dollars a month.

Carrie is the original outdoor girl.  She was raised in rural Pennsylvania on 100 acres in the mountains.  She’s more at home in a kayak on the river than in a store.

She sells Arbonne, whose sign of success is a white Mercedes.

Since Carrie’s diagnosis, Herman bought a previously-owned, white Mercedes SUV, lovingly restored it and outfitted it with a rack for Carrie’s kayak and stand-up paddle board.

I’ve talked to Herman a few times.  Asked him how he’s doing. Whether it’s standing outside her hospital room, or meeting at the now-closed yoga studio, or talking on the phone to coordinate visits, the answer never changes.

It doesn’t matter how I am.  Nothing matters but Carrie.

Carrie and Herman having a loving moment in happier times

I want a love like that.  The selfless love of Sufi poet Hafiz’s poetry.  The selfless love I see in Herman when he talks about Carrie.

Sunday was a special day for Carrie.  A day of fasting, prayer, healing thoughts and positive energy.

In Matthew 18:19-20, Jesus tells us, “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

Carrie’s friends each did something Sunday for her healing. Some friends fasted.  Some prayed.  Some sent Reiki.  Others sent positive thoughts of healing – imagining Carrie whole and well, her smile lighting up the room. All sent love.  None more than Herman.

my year of balance (or Regina Mae floats away)


I take care of my body with intention.  I practice yoga.  I get acupuncture.  I do detoxifying foot soaks.  I get rainbow oil treatments.  I tap using EFT.

yin-yang symbol

I am a Reiki master.  I meditate.  I pray.

Four years ago, I was overweight, stressed and unhappy.  Perimenopause meant hot flashes and out of control emotions.

Four years ago, I started my journey into holistic medicine.

Four years ago, I started seeing my brilliant acupuncturist, Dr. Rahmie Valentine.  Week by week, her needles worked their magic on my meridians, or energy channels.  Lying on her table, I feel myself float away.  From the table.  From my troubles.  From my pain.

As my meridians opened up, I saw definite, palpable improvements to my body and my emotions.  My hot flashes went away.  My emotions came under control, allowing me to stop using Lexapro.  My digestion cleared up, resolving a lifetime struggle with IBS.

During one of my treatments, I mentioned to Rahmie that I had inexplicably started doing yoga at home.  She referred me to Carrie Peterson Wandall, who became my beloved yoga instructor.

girl in downward facing dog yoga pose

Yoga helped me get in touch with my body.  It helped me start to hear what my body was trying to tell me. I lost twenty pounds in yoga.  I learned what peace feels like in my yoga classes.

After surgery, I told Carrie that I felt like I just couldn’t shake the anesthesia.  I felt like I was walking through a cloud.  She referred me to Barbara Bock, R.N., Ph.D.

Barbara is a registered nurse who earned a Master’s Degree in Health Care Management and her Doctorate in Health Care Administration.  Barbara spent years in traditional medicine before her own health crisis led her to holistic healthcare.  She is a Reiki master and Licensed Massage Therapist who uses her life experiences and intuition to change people’s lives.

Barbara introduced me to the world of detoxifying foot soaks.  After the first soak, I felt like a new woman.  I slept better.  I had more energy.  I felt lighter as I walked out of the treatment room.

reiki hands and om symbol

Carrie also brought me to Reiki.  “Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing.”  Carrie introduced me to Bob Calabrese, who gave me my first degree attunement, and Vivian Quattlebaum, who gave me my second degree attunement.

Eric Burns gave Carrie and me our Master attunement together.  I met Eric at one of Carrie’s Holiday Restorative classes.  She lined up several Reiki practitioners to go around the room and give Reiki to the participants as we laid in various restorative poses.  When Eric gave me Reiki, my entire body tingled.  To this day, I’ve never met a more powerful Reiki practitioner!

Four years after starting my journey into holistic healing, my body is healthier than it’s ever been.  Yoga and meditation are easy ways for me to keep in touch with my body and mind on a daily basis.  Monthly acupuncture visits keep my meridians flowing.  Rainbow oil treatments are the newest feel-good addition to the repertoire.

I can’t wait to see where this journey leads me next.

Question: What do you do to take care of your body and soul?

my year of balance (or Regina Mae falls down a hill)


“To lose balance sometimes for love is part of living a balanced 
life.”

Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

Twenty twelve is my year of balance.  At least it was until this past week. Seven months after my last fall, I fell again this weekend.

I wish, like Elizabeth Gilbert, I could say that I lost balance for love.  I don’t love any of the men I’ve dated this year.  None of them since Coach, anyway.

I enjoy spending time with them.  Listening to Tri-Guy tell me about his latest triathlon, which in retrospect may be me.  (Three dates and crickets chirping sounds a little like a triathlon, doesn’t it?)

I enjoy the peaceful, easy feeling I get sitting on the back patio, listening to Lady Antebellum sing, watching the sun set over the back fence, while Nature Boy tells me about his day.  I’ve never spent time with anyone who makes me feel that relaxed.  I don’t know how our story ends.  But I know it isn’t finished yet.

The other guys range from eh to nice but none of them rise to the level of love.

So, if it isn’t love that’s making me lose my balance, what is?

The feast or famine business I’m in?  I’m happy to be in the feast phase still.  Happy and tired from working too many hours the last three months. Business is definitely a frontrunner of my balance-stealing suspects.

Stress and Anxiety are running amok like evil twins.  Silent ninjas stealing my equilibrium.   I stood in the woods at the National Whitewater Center Saturday.  Instead of enjoying the peaceful feeling I normally experience surrounded by nature, all I felt was tight-chested anxiety.  I worried so much about falling down the hill, I didn’t enjoy the walk to the river.  Worried so much, I fell right as I got to the bottom of the hill.

I’ve been worried about my balance all week.  Worried about being too tired, too stressed, too anxious.  When I ended up flat on my butt, I wasn’t even surprised.  I didn’t spend any time trying to figure out how I fell.  The how isn’t relevant.  Balance is everything.  I just worked on getting back on my feet and cleaning up the aftermath.

Too much work, too many men, too much to do.  No wonder I went ass over teakettle again.

Time to pull back.  Find more help for the office.  Spend some time running, practicing yoga, meditating.  Sleeping.  Maybe putting some of the men on the back-burner.  Maybe all of them.

Or maybe not.

Question:  What do you do when you lose your balance?  Where do you find it?

adventures in dating (a series of dogs)


This morning in yoga, we did a series of dogs.  Downward dogs, that is.

woman doing downward facing dog

My dating life has been overtaken by a series of dogs, too.

It’s no coincidence that Nature Boy’s ring tone is a barking dog.  Woof woof!  We get together on his timeframe.  When it is convenient for him.  Every time I’ve suggested getting together, he’s been busy. Or he’ll call in a little while.  A little while being defined as sometime in the next week.

It’s not just Nature Boy.  He is representative of all the boys.  I’ve noticed they call on their time frame, wanting to get together when it suits them.  Their needs.  Their purposes.  Fulfilling their loneliness.

In yoga class this morning, each downward dog was a little different than the last. Different hand position.  Different foot position.  Yet each variation led to the same result.

Each dog targeted different muscles and taught our bodies something new.  Each led to a little more release.  On each dog, our muscles let go of a little more tension.

The same way our bodies learned things this morning in our series of dogs, I’m hoping my heart and mind will learn something from the men in my life.

I’ve learned I’m attracted to men who are emotionally unavailable.

Like the man who used the term “divorced” very loosely.

And the man who is still in love with his ex-girlfriend.

I’ve learned that men love a challenge.  When I let them know I’m too busy to meet them, or let them know that I’m not overly interested in getting together, they pursue me that much harder.

I have no game, so I have to actually stay busy in order to be too busy to be at their disposal.

Then there are the men who are unavailable for weeks at a time and suddenly become insistent on getting together, right after I decide I’m ready to move on to someone new.

gardenias in the moonlight

 

I’ve learned that sometimes it’s enough to sit together on the front porch, smelling gardenias and night blooming jasmine, watching the stars twinkling in the sky.  Sipping water and talking about your day.  Feeling the tension seep out of your body the same way it seeps out of your muscles when you relax into a downward dog.

I want to be as confident about settling into that feeling as I am about settling into my next downward dog.

I’ll keep exploring new men the way I explored different downward dogs, until I find the one that fits best.  I’ll relax into the knowledge that each dog has something to teach me.  Each one different and no less valuable if I only hold it for a few minutes.

I learned something in class yesterday.  When you move into a yoga position, your muscles react with dualing reactions of relaxation and retraction.  It takes thirty seconds for the relaxation reaction to outweigh the retraction.  It takes two minutes to fully relax into the position.

I wonder how long my heart will react with dualing reactions of relaxing and retracting when I start seeing each new man.

I wonder how long it will take for my heart to fully relax into the security of love.

Will my heart know it’s found the right one at once?  Will dating so many wrong men make the right one stand out so much clearer?  Like a lighthouse on a foggy night?

I wish dating were as easy as yoga.  Maybe it will be.  One day.  Time will tell.