Monthly Archives: December 2011

NEW YEAR, NEW YOU

            We are almost to the New Year.  Everywhere we go we hear things “New Year, New You” or “Make this year the best you” it is all about making and hopefully sticking with our New Year’s resolutions.  This year I’m going to work on spending less money for my exercise habits.  There are some things I won’t give up and honestly for all the things I do I have done will keeping with my fitness budget but we can all be better.  I have become notorious for checking all the websites such as groupon.com and livingsocial.com and any other ones that happen to supply services in my area.  I watch for the yoga studios I practice at and buy the packages.  I have also been scouring the internet for other yoga deals in my area and the studios I use. I have some really great deals along away. 

            This year I’m getting involved in the adult education program in my area and it turns out they offer yoga with one of my current studios starting in the New Year. Bonus to me since the adult education programs is inexpensive as to allow everyone to enjoy them if they want too.  I work out deals with the places I frequent and have my 2 gym memberships where I do my cardio, weight training, and step aerobics down to below 20.00/month. I spend a lot of time working out and quite enjoy every minute of it on most days.  Does this make me cheap?  I don’t think so, I believe everyone should be paid what they are worth and I never want to take money out of the pockets of those people that work very hard. Especially my yoga instructors because I get so much from them on many different levels. At the same time I need to keep it affordable to me and I don’t want anything for free I’m just looking for some helpful ways to save money.  You can’t put a price on staying healthy, strong, and happy but you have to make some decisions along the way.  The decisions I make is to stick with the places that I really benefit from and enjoy spending time at and just look for some help along the way. 

            For people that really need help we have donation yoga locations that are wonderful. The instructors are kind and really helpful.  There are community classes as well where people can go and try yoga classes usually for free. This is such a good way to experience yoga and the benefits.  The gyms are offering all kinds of deals right now with very low monthly rates and sign up fees.  You can tell the deals have started because there are so many more people in the gyms, on the machines, in the classes and in the locker-room.  Faces I haven’t seen before are popping up everywhere.  This is short lived for most of them but for any of them that stick with it this New Year could be the New You!!  Hope you all have a wonderful and cheap holiday!!

STRESS AS A TRIGGER

My headache finally left me in good cheer last night after several days of pain.  At first I was contributing it to my use of procardia for my Raynaud’s but it would not be in my system that long.  I have used procardia for many years without side effects and although they can pop up at any moment I don’t believe this was the cause of my pain.  I think that the stress of the holiday and gathers was causing fatigue and as way for my body to stay stop and relax it blasted me with this ache in my head.

            I finally feel like I can let it go and get back to normal and my headache goes away.  Again, could be confidence and I probably won’t know what caused it unless I get one again the next time I have to use procardia. However, I will have to be desperate to take it since I won’t be sure what will happen.  I really didn’t feel stress during this holiday season but now that it is over I really feel more relaxed.

            One of the things we talked about in Yoga Immersion was our thoughts and how to make sure we were having the thoughts we really wanted. I have already written about it so I won’t go into detail again.  What I noticed was that up until my headache came on I was able to really control my thoughts and make sure I was keeping them as positive as possible. My irritation level was set very low and I was thinking that I was sending all these great positive vibes into the universe and getting them back.  Once I got the headache I had less control over my thoughts.  I wasn’t saying anything negative to anyone but myself.  I would have these thoughts about my environment, about me, about other people that I wouldn’t have normally had and perhaps I was too worried about the pain I was dealing with to care enough to change those thoughts to more positive ones. 

            I felt so much better last night and even tackled such chores as going to the mall (I was there a few months ago for a yogathon and before that it has been years upon years since I walked the mall looking for a store) I was there to do return but it was ok. My thoughts were positive and in fact I really enjoyed people watching as I meandered and they hustled. I then decided to tackle the grocery store, as I walked in they said they were having system issues and that check out was taking longer than normal and payments were being denied.  I actually decided to just take my chances and I had the store mostly to myself because I think a lot of people turned around quickly and decided to shop a different day.  It turned out I got my shopping done in record time and checked out easily.  Putting positive vibes out there really does work but I have to feel good enough to muster the good thoughts up I guess.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDMA

            For those of you with me from last year you read about my grandmother and her fabulous genes. Another year has passed and she turns 97 today.  The woman is amazing and so healthy.  Of course in the past year she has slowed down some but she is so smart and so with it.  Her brain, mind, and eyes are working wonderfully.  She loves to read and although she probably has read many of these books over and over she doesn’t mind.  She says reading keeps her young.  I so believe it.  She made a joke yesterday when I was speaking to her that she was turning 27, ok so she couldn’t pass for 27 and won’t be carded in a grocery store anytime soon but the woman is moving and living as though she was 57.  I love the fact that she is enjoying life.  She has finally been convinced that she doesn’t or shouldn’t drive anymore but she can go where she needs to go with help.

            She unfortunately has out lived all her friends and her siblings and most of the acquaintances that she has had over many decades but she has found younger women to befriend and today they are taking her out of lunch.  As a 97 year old woman must do she had to have her hair and nails fixed before her luncheon and now she is ready.  I live in Maine, she lives in Nebraska and although I won’t be seeing her today I send her much love and light and hope she continues to have a strong life.  When her time comes she says she is ready but I have faith she will stick around with us a while longer.  I too believe she has a lived a long life and will let her go with grace and love and heavy heart but that day is not today. I cherish the time she is here with us and enjoy our talks even if over the phone and very long distance.  She has so much to give and I want to receive it all.  Here’s too many more wonderful years to you Grandma.

YOGA AS MEDICINE

Is yoga medicine? For some they would say it most definitely is medicine.  I often feel this way as well and using my regular medications with yoga I sometimes believe I have a good handle on things with my MCTD.  The last few days I have been dealing with a headache, nearly migraine that I thought was the result of taking my procardia but now 4 days later I’m starting to wonder.  I found myself in bed 2 days dealing with it since having my eyes opened was fairly painful but I also had to get things done in the midst of the pain.

Today I went to a hot yoga session and during our class our instructor kept referring to yoga as medicine.  Medicine for stress, medicine for fatigue, medicine for pain and stiffness. As she was referring to this “medicine” I was so hoping this medicine was just what I needed for my headache. I can no longer just sit around or be in bed because my head hurts but at the same time how to get the pain to stop is a whole other story.  I am looking for something to help but I would rather not take another medication or increase my prednisone or stay in bed until it goes away.  I am willing to give it another day and see if it subsides and if it doesn’t then 5 days later I’ll have to look into options with my doctor.  Medicine comes in all forms some are just better for us then others.

FEELING THE SIDE EFFECTS

Yesterday I woke up ready to face the day and enjoy some holiday spirit.  I was off to see friends and enjoy a nice fire side chat.  It actually felt like Christmas because there was snow coming down and sticking to the ground and roadways. With the snow falling so are the temperatures. It has to be cold to make snow and we have both.  This is causing a sever level of Raynaud’s in my hands and feet.  I combat the Raynaud’s by taking procardia in the winter time. It doesn’t cure it but it helps greatly.  The last time I took procardia I had a low level of Raynaud’s with a severe migraine.  Since that I time I have not taken it again until yesterday when my hands were so sore that the pain in my head would be a better outcome then my painful hands. What a decision to make, but sometimes we must decide. 

As the day went on my hands and feet were feeling really good and I thought I had escaped the migraine situation but after about 8 hours the headache came on fast and furious. It put me in bed and when I woke this morning it was still pounding quite heavily.  I needed to get up and see what I was capable of today since it is a relaxed day we are still seeing family if I can get myself up and around and feeling fairly good.  I started with an easy workout at the gym but what I really wanted was a vinyasa flow. My worry was being inverted and having blood rush to my head and how that was going to make me feel.

As it turned out I forgot about my headache during my practice and focused on the my breathing and my flow.  After the class I felt much better but my headache is still there.  I’m resting for a few hours and doing eye focus activities like  writing in my journal and reading as well as resting my eyes trying to get back to normal. I believe once the procardia is out of my system this will be the end but I will need a plan B for the rest of winter.  Technically winter started on Wed so we are 2 days into a very long season.  Niacin works short term but I need long term relief for a few months at least but I don’t think I’m willing to suffer the migraine in order to have working hands. 

I do wish everyone a safe, healthy and happy holiday season.  Some of you might be feeling like you can take on the world and do all festivities tonight and tomorrow and others may be feeling like you are tired, and not feeling all that great.  It is important to do what you can do but most importantly choose to do the things you really want to do.  There are lots of choices to make, make the right ones for you.

SPIRIT IN BIRKRAM

            In a time when it seems no one has time for much I am making time for my yoga.  The people around me are honestly interested and curious about the yoga classes I’m attending and what I’m doing. I was having a conversation with a fellow Bikram yogi this morning about our Bikram practice and she asked me I would ever consider teaching Bikram. At one time I was certain that I really wanted to go to the school of Bikram, learn the postures, be certified and start instructing.  However, after visiting so many studios and doing so many different types of yoga I don’t know that I can say that today.

            I love Bikram yoga and get the full effect of the physical aspect of Bikram yoga.  I love that I have to be disciplined every time I walk into that studio regardless of the day I’m having. If I’m tired or overly hot and even not hot enough my practice doesn’t feel good but I made the commitment to be in that room for 90 minutes and that in itself is discipline.  I like the fact that my heart rate rises and some days I’m not certain if I will make it through 2 sets of triangle but I reach deep down and find that “Bengal tiger strength” and continue my posture.  If I need a break I take one without judgment and I have learned that my body is strong.  Even if I don’t necessarily look it on the outside I feel it within myself and I know that my body is doing things today that it wouldn’t and probably shouldn’t have done 2 years ago. 

            The piece, the one very big piece that I am missing from my Bikram class is the spiritual part.  I didn’t even know to look for this part 2 years ago when I started but now that I’m frequenting other studios and I realize that I like the lights dimmed and the soft music playing in the background. I also enjoy not having to face myself in the mirror and just feel what I’m feeling.  Bikram would say those are all distractions and that bright lights and large mirrors ensure that you see yourself for what you are and you concentrate on being in the pose correctly.  The spiritual aspect comes from learning patients, determination and knowing your strengths.  He is right but I haven’t left a Bikram studio saying to myself that I really learned something about myself. I have been pleased with myself; I have offered myself kindness when I wasn’t feeling great. I have watched myself build strength and I have found a certain pride in myself.  Perhaps that is all part of the “spiritual aspect” I’m looking for and I need to step back and re-analyze what spirit means to me.

            I looked to yoga because I was missing something in my very core and I have been searching for that missing piece.  Yoga gives me a piece of that wholeness I’m looking for every time I walk out of one of my other studios. I haven’t been able to find a piece of the wholeness when I leave my Bikram studio but I’m not giving up on finding it.

YOGA IMMERSION

            I attended my first yoga immersion class this past Saturday and what an eye opening experience.  It was based on getting into the philosophy of yoga and the 8 limbs of yoga.  On this day we learned that yoga is a timeless pragmatic science that deals with the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual part of man.  I say man because it was once believed that only men could practice yoga.  Women had chores to do and house-holds to look after therefore there was no time for women to practice.  Now things have flipped and although yoga is for both men and women today some believe that yoga is a women’s sport.  I have even read in magazines such as Yoga Journal that it is geared towards women even though lots of men practice as well.

            It may have been at one time that yoga studios were filled with only women.  Now when you walk into any yoga studio you see both men and women of every age.  It is true that the percentage of women in the studios is more than men but there are more and more men joining our groups.  It probably also depends on where you practice. In Portland Maine perhaps there aren’t as many men as you would see in large cities. Either way I’m glad to see all types of people practicing.

            We also went over what yoga means for each of us and it is very different for each person as it should be.  Yoga is a very personal, inside yourself type of practice that each person finds something for themselves.  It is a practice because we there are aspects that need to be practiced daily on and off the mat.  The stuff that happens on the mat is very personal and the stuff off the mat is very personal with a touch of spreading to others.  The idea about yoga is just to take the parts that work for you and draw on those parts to better them, share them, express them, analyze them and question them. 

            Our first task is to work on 1 of the 8 limbs.  Realize the thoughts we have, think about them, question them and if they aren’t exactly positive or what we really want flip them.  The idea is the more we practice good, positive thoughts we will share those vibes with others and those thoughts will lead to kind words and deeds.  Just changing the thought pattern is practice enough for some people.  I’m working thoughts, words and deeds.  She wants us to write in our journals the thoughts we have and how we flipped them.  I have been carrying a journal with me at all times since Saturday.  You all know I have a journal with me most of the time anyways so I can write down the important things that I want to blog about and I always have a journal with me if my computer is not readily available to me.  Having a journal at all times means I don’t leave my office without it even to head to meetings. Especially to head to meetings because some negative stuff is surely to come up for me in meetings right?  I’ll be honest I have one situation written down in my journal that was a negative thought that I flipped.

            Prior to being involved in this class and now having my thought journal with me I had lots of thoughts that I really didn’t want but now as I’m about to have the thought I flip it so I am not even indulging in those types of thoughts.  An example would be that in commuting traffic I would have road rage sometimes not often but it happened. Now I have road sage.  I figure that I will never see any of these people again and they certainly won’t remember me or even know they upset me so why would I waste my time on being upset with them?  My husband was telling me a driving story on Sunday that happened to him on the Wednesday before.  He carried around those feelings for 5 days and I just looked at him and said I guarantee the guy that has upset you so is not telling his wife about you 5 days later and in fact he probably didn’t give you another thought.  You should just let it go and forget that a stranger you will never see again had a brief moment of being not so pleasant.  He understood what I was saying and agreed but it isn’t always easy to let stuff go. I’m finding it easier and easier as I do more and more.