30 January 2009

My Yoga Journey

Why do people come to yoga? Some go to become more focused and to learn about their inner selves. Some go to improve strength and flexibility. Some go to increase circulation in their bodies and release toxins. Some go to let go of stress, chaos, worry, and fear. Some go to live in the present. Some go for a spiritual practice. Some go simply to feel better. Regardless of the reasons why people come to yoga, they all have to do with change.

One part of yoga, of course, is physical poses. However, yoga is much more than exercise. By holding difficult poses on the mat, people learn how to be calm in uncomfortable situations in life where they might otherwise flee, yield, or fight. Instead of becoming slaves to external situations, people are able to take in the situation and decide how to react with discrimination. By learning to lengthen and calm the breath, people learn to calm the mind and get rid of all the chatter that goes on in the head. They may not make the connection that they transferred the knowledge they learned from yoga to situations in their lives. However, regardless of whether the knowledge is conscious or subconscious, a change occurs within those that regularly practice yoga that helps them to live more calmly and with more awareness of their actions and emotions.


My teacher training with At One Yoga was incredible. I learned so much, but as with any new endeavor, I definitely recognized my weaknesses as well. I went into it thinking I was pretty good at yoga, and found that I often needed to adjust my alignment and fix my posture. I was humbled and my ego went right out the door (which was a good thing). I have been teaching children for years, but when I practiced teaching yoga to a group of adults, I was a complete bundle of nerves. I stumbled over my words and lacked confidence.

I feel like I have grown so much in this last month in both my own practice and my teaching confidence. I have still only scratched the surface and have a long way to go, but I have the satisfaction of leaving a little smarter, a little stronger, a little more flexible, and a lot more enlightened on the ancient practice of yoga.


Besides gaining in depth knowledge about yoga anatomy, pose adjustments, Sanskrit (the language of yoga), yoga philosophy, and different forms of yoga, here are some of the most valuable things I took away from my education:
  • "I offer what I have to offer." When teaching, I have to be true to my own personality, my own talents, and my own limitations. Trying to imitate another teacher and be just like them will not only be fake, but will not attract students to my class. If I find my own niche, then people will be naturally drawn to my class because I am being real.
  • I have to accept that I will not be a master teacher at first. This is hard for me with my perfectionist nature, but I have to work on incorporating one thing at a time, and know that I will get better.
  • Teaching yoga is about the students, not about me. I should not be worrying if people will like me, if my words are completely fluid, if my poses are perfect, if my music is good, and if I am doing it right.
  • One of the most important things I learned is best put by the yogi, T.K.V Desikachar:
"We have to pursue our career, gain qualifications, and do everything else that is part of normal life. All these things should be done as well as possible. Yet, we can never be sure of the fruit of our actions. That is why it is better to become slightly detached from our expectations and to pay more attention to the actions themselves."

I find this to be completely in line with a recent admonition we were given by a leader of our church.

"This is our one and only chance at mortal life—here and now. The longer we live, the greater is our realization that it is brief. Opportunities come, and then they are gone. I believe that among the greatest lessons we are to learn in this short sojourn upon the earth are lessons that help us distinguish between what is important and what is not. I plead with you not to let those most important things pass you by as you plan for that illusive and non-existent future when you will have time to do all that you want to do. Instead, find joy in the journey—now." -President Thomas S. Monson

This is the great journey of my life - to enjoy each moment and to live in the present. To let go of things that are unimportant and surrender my will to God's will. Along with my own spiritual beliefs, I have found yoga to be one more tool to help me in that very endeavor. I have found that yoga is a spiritual practice with physical side effects. I hope to be able to share the wonderful knowledge I have gained to help lift the lives of others.



23 January 2009

I'm So Glad When Daddy Comes to Visit

Troy couldn't make it a whole month without seeing his baby and wifey. So, he used some frequent flyer miles to fly down and spend the long weekend with us. I still had class but he got to spend some quality time with Blake and with the sunshine.

We went out to dinner at Maggiano's, one of our favorite Italian restaurants. Blake was so hilarious playing peek-a-boo with the linen napkin. He always watches us play peek-a-boo, but has never done it himself.

Troy and I were able to spend a night alone at the Scottsdale Princess as well. My dad received a complimentary night that he didn't want to use and he was kind enough to let us indulge. The resort was so beautiful and relaxing.

Not only did we have a great room, view, and poolside relaxation, but we got to pamper ourselves in the spa as well. We each went through two rounds of the sauna, the cold pool plunge, the aromatherapy room, the jacuzzi, and the Swiss shower. Troy decided that he could go to the spa every day. I enjoyed it, but I was also eager to get back to my little boy.

As an added bonus to the weekend, Blake took his first steps!

It was such a proud moment. It was really amazing too, because Troy, my mom, and I were all in the family room when he took his first steps. He was holding onto Troy, and then all of a sudden he took off on his own. He was headed towards the buttons on the DVD player, of course. We all just gasped and looked at each other, thinking, "Did you just see what I just saw?" I felt like it was such a tender mercy that we were all there to witness the moment, because I could have easily been at school and Troy could have been back home. Blake isn't the earliest walker ever, but that doesn't make me any less proud or any less excited. It is so amazing to watch your child reach new milestones.


12 January 2009

Pavlovian Conditioning

Remember the psychology theory that Pavlov developed about the dogs who were conditioned to salivate when they heard a bell, because in the past they had received meat each time they heard the bell? Well, I happen to have a son that proves Pavlov's Conditioning Theory.


Let me back up a little bit. Most children attach themselves to a blanket or a stuffed animal that becomes their "lovey." In Blake's case, his lovey is his bumper pad. Of course he couldn't pick something normal. The backboard of his crib is flat and has no spokes, which means that we can't tie the bumper pad strings to that portion of the crib. Upon being lowered into his crib for naps and bedtime, Blake immediately grasps the bumper pad strings in his left hand and sticks his right thumb in his mouth.

So, since Blake associates his bumper pad with sleep, we have to cart the thing around everywhere with us. When we stayed overnight at Grandma and Grandpa's house over Christmas and New Years, instead of packing a blanket or stuffed animal, we had to pack the entire bumper pad, and re-tie it in the new location. When Blake and I were on our road trip to Arizona, I had to make sure to bring the bumper pad so that I could give it to him in the car to indicate that it was time to sleep.

Now, back to Pavlov's Theory. I thought that Blake's bumper pad was just his familiar comfort item that he liked to have at bedtime. However, in the process of packing and unpacking the bumper pad over the past few weeks, every time Blake saw it on the floor waiting to be loaded into the car, he immediately reached for the strings with one hand and stuck his other thumb in his mouth. The only time he ever sucks his thumb is to fall asleep. Therefore, he has been so conditioned to associate the bumper pad with sleep that he sticks his thumb in immediately when he sees it!





10 January 2009

The Rains Came Down and the Floods Came Up

The Joys of Homeownership:

Troy called me at 6am on the other morning to let me know that our basement flooded. A pipe broke and left us with over a foot of water in the lower section of our basement. The water was so high that a whole step was covered.

Luckily, the flooding was contained in an area that didn't contain much. Our flattened moving boxes and food storage were the only items in the lower basement portion. The food storage was in cans, so it was safe, but Troy did have to throw away our moving boxes. We were blessed to not lose anything of value.

Troy was able to work from home on the day of the flood so that he could pump the water out and take care of the mess. Of course it had to happen when Blake and I were away. First, we leave him, and then, the basement floods. Hopefully we can make it through the rest of the month with no more catastrophes.


07 January 2009

Spontaneity

I am currently engaged in one of the most spontaneous things I have ever done. I am completing an intense 200 hour yoga teacher training program in Scottsdale, Arizona.

I have only been consistently practicing yoga for about two years, but I have loved the transition that yoga has given me coming from a dance and gymnastics background. Yoga has allowed me to relax and calm my mind that is generally rigid and reliant on a tightly planned out schedule, as well as improve the flexibility that I once had and the strength that I have never had. I did yoga through my whole pregnancy and found great benefits there, and I find that I now crave the practice. I came home from every class and told Troy how much I loved the escape that it gave me, how wonderful it felt, and how much I wanted to become a yoga teacher someday.

Last Thursday, out of the blue, we began talking more seriously about me completing a yoga teacher certification. I told Troy that I might look into a summer training program, so that I could find a high-schooler to watch Blake during the day. Troy came up with the idea of looking into trainings in the Phoenix area, since my parents could watch Blake and there would probably be more studios there.

On Friday, I did an online search to find schools registered with the National Yoga Alliance. Phoenix did have a lot more studios than Salt Lake City, but most studios only offered 7 months of weekend teacher trainings, which of course would not work. I stumbled upon one studio that offered a rapid month long training (Mon thru Sat, from 8am to 4pm), but only in July, when my parents wouldn't be in Arizona. I called the studio to see if they knew of anyone else in the area that might offer a rapid program in February or March, and they informed me that they had a rapid program starting on Monday, and that it wasn't too late to register!

I forgot about the whole idea until Troy came home from work and asked me what I had found out. I knew there was no way I could pack up in one day, drive to Arizona the next day, and be ready for class on Monday. Troy said, "why not?" He has been incredibly supportive about this whole idea (which was actually his idea), and he pointed out that we had nothing going on in January. He made a whole list of convincing points. He reminded me that Blake is at a perfect age for me to not have to be with him all day since he is mostly weaned, we are in-between babies, it is a great time to get out of the snow, and it would just get harder and harder to complete in years to come.

He was so supportive of me fulfilling one of my dreams, even though it meant leaving him alone for an entire month.

I called my parents and presented them with my crazy idea. They were absolutely thrilled about watching Blake for a month. The only thing left to do was enroll for training. I freaked out a little because I hadn't even taken down Christmas decorations, unpacked gifts, or packed anything for Blake and me, but I let it all go and jumped right in (which is what yoga is all about, right?). It wasn't as bad as I had anticipated to get packed and de-Christmased on Saturday. Troy even surprised me with babysitters (aka his parents) who just showed up and let us go out for dinner before I left for a month. On Sunday morning, Blake and I loaded the car and completed the eleven hour road trip to Arizona. He was actually a very good traveling buddy, which I was very concerned about since I was doing it alone. He made it through most of the day completely happy and content.

So, here I am! I am training with some of the best teachers in the nation, who have learned the yoga practice through direct lines from India. I am getting an amazing education and although I miss Blake terribly during the day, I know that he is in great hands and I never have to worry about a thing. This is probably the most spontaneous, most spur-of-the-moment thing I have ever done. But, it is an incredible opportunity, and I have the best husband in the world to back me up one hundred percent.


06 January 2009

Busted

I was upstairs the other day putting Blake's laundry away when he took off and went down the stairs. He does that often now that he has figured out how to scoot down the stairs backwards, which leaves him with full reign of the whole house. Usually, I can tell what he is doing even if I am not in the same room as him. For example, if I hear banging, it means that he is opening and shutting the kitchen cupboards or pulling the bowls out. If I hear music, it means he has gone down another few stairs and is playing with his toys.

It had been quiet for a few minutes when I went down to see what he was doing. I found him at the bottom of the stairs, with every item from my purse scattered around him, and with something smeared all over his face. I walked down to discover that he had found a Lindor chocolate in my purse, opened up the wrapper, and demolished every last bite! He looked so guilty as he held the empty wrapper in his hand. I am sure he was thinking "mmmmm, this is delicious, my mommy finally left me something good in here!" How does a twelve month old figure out how to unwrap a piece of chocolate? He is one smart sweet tooth.



02 January 2009

Happy New Year

I make the mistake every year of setting high expectations for celebrations on New Years Eve. I'm not really sure why I do that, considering that we don't celebrate the holiday like most of the rest of the world does, and especially now that we are parents and it would be unlikely to find a babysitter on New Year's Eve. It must be the romantic in me that wants this night to be special.

So this year, I tried to lower my expectations for the festivities, but we actually had a wonderful time. First, we hosted a Tanner cousins get together at our house with yummy appetizers. Then, we went to Troy's parents' house, put Blake to bed, and made two types of cheese fondue and two types of chocolate fondue. It turned out to be a lot of work but it was very delicious.

Troy was a good sport about the fondue. He generally complains about meals that don't contain meat that he can "sink his teeth'"into.

We all had a hard time staying up until midnight. Troy was completely crashed on the couch when I woke him up for a rousing game of Catch Phrase at 11:40pm. We are definitely getting old. I put the camera on auto for a quick picture and as I was running back to get in the shot, I couldn't find my "bubbly." I eventually found it but unfortunately blocked Troy in the process.

Troy kept joking all night that he was just going to go to bed. I replied, "Then who am I going to kiss at midnight?" He answered, "We can kiss at 10am tomorrow morning." So, when midnight rolled around and he was still up, he thought it was funny to try to escape my kissing him. He jerked his head around and stated, "Not until 10am tomorrow!" After some wrestling, I finally won the battle.