Some Days Everything Feels Like an Uphill Climb

Teaching yoga is a demanding job.  It requires a lot of energy out and if I’m not careful to replenish those stores, I’m left feeling depleted and run down.

hike

To be honest, that’s been my reality lately.  My responsibilities have increased and with that shift, so have the demands on my time.  Everything feels like an uphill climb.  From the time my alarm buzzes me awake until I tumble into bed at night, I am in a constant state of frenzied forward motion.  To make matters worse, my Hashimoto’s disease has been flaring badly (no doubt due to an increase in stress).  One of the many symptoms I suffer from is unrelenting insomnia.  For the past month, I haven’t been able to fall asleep until after 3 am no matter what I try.  This only leads to more exhaustion and stress, which fuels the cycle to continue unabated.

I wanted to scream.  Or cry.  Or both.

Something had to change.  I could not go on like this.  Of course, I made an appointment to see my doctor so that we can align my medication with the current state of my thyroid’s decline.

Then I got out paper and pen and made two lists:

THINGS I CAN’T CONTROL
and
THINGS I CAN CONTROL

With regard to the things I can’t control, I made it a point to come to a place of acceptance and then lovingly set that list aside.  Burden lifted.  It is what it is.

Next, I took a careful look at the second list.  This list was filled with the daily tasks and responsibilities that are within my control to change.  I scrutinized each item like an IRS agent performing an audit.  Where was there “fat” or wasted time?  Was there a way I could streamline my workflow and tighten up the way I process things?  Which items required timely action and which could be grouped together to be handled later?  Was there a way I could get more done during those little gaps in my day, like when I arrive early to class and wait to teach?

I pulled out another piece of paper and drew a grid with the days of the week at the top, broken down into chunks of time below.  I scheduled in all of the permanent pieces first (ie. those things that are not within my control to change at this time).  Then I fit in everything else.  The pieces within my control got added in a way that not only makes sense but also allows me time for the things that refill my well – like journaling, meditation, reading, exercise, etc.

What a difference!  I now feel like a tremendous weight has been lifted from my shoulders.  Even though I have yet to face the week and put it all to the test, I feel better just knowing there’s a plan in place.  A way to move forward that takes care of me to the best of my ability.  It all comes down to self-care.

Can you relate?  I know you can because I hear as much nearly every time I teach.  Our current culture leaves a great many of us feeling as if we are forever moving uphill.  It is my sincerest hope that in sharing this experience you might be spurred to examine your own life with an eye toward streamlining your responsibilities while increasing self-care.  In so doing, maybe we can finally crest the summit and skip merrily downhill together.

Subbing Friday, Feb. 19

I’ve promised to do better about posting when I’m subbing around town.  Because my own schedule is so full, it doesn’t happen as often as it used to, but it does happen.

This is one of those times, though!  If you’d like to come practice with me, I’ll be teaching:

Friday, February 19
YogaWorks Studio City
12:30 pm – 1:40 pm
Vinyasa Flow / Level 2/3

Come join me if you’re so inclined.  (If you’re not a member of YogaWorks, you can still practice as my guest.  Send me an email and I’ll put you on the list!)

Yoga on the Road

While I cherish the familiarity of my regular home practice, there is something truly special about practicing while you’re away. 

 
Here is where I’ve been unrolling my mat lately on the beautiful island of Maui.  In case you can’t tell from this photo, that’s the ocean off in the distance.  

If you practice yoga in any way, I strongly encourage you to bring your mat with you when you travel.  Remember this shot from my trip to Venice last year?…  



Nothing – and I mean nothing – compares to a practice on the road.  Not only does it offer a new perspective, but it also allows you to more fully immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of the culture you are visiting.  (And I won’t even mention the benefits that come with unwinding the body after being crammed into a tiny airplane seat for hours!)  

So the next time you find yourself away from home, give it a try.  Even if you are confined to a hotel room, crack the window, breathe deeply and begin with just a few sun salutations.  You won’t be sorry.

Gratitude Prayer

While last year quickly fades into memory,
there’s still one promise I have yet to fulfill…

gratitude

During the week of Thanksgiving, I centered my classes around the notion that it’s easy to offer thanks for the “good” things in our lives, but can we be grateful for the things that have been difficult?  Here is the prayer I wrote and shared with my students.  Many of them asked me for a copy of my words and it is with a full heart that I share them with you now.  I don’t think the message ever goes out of season.

Thanksgiving 2015

On this day…

I offer thanks for my mistakes because they have allowed me to find a better way.

I offer thanks for pain because it has taught me to be patient and to be present.

I offer thanks for those who have been mean-spirited because they have shown me that I can be different.

I offer thanks for challenge because it has made me stronger and more determined.

I offer thanks for sadness, depression, and grief because those emotions are a normal part of the human experience, proving that I am vibrantly alive.

I offer thanks for injury because I learned that I could heal.

I offer thanks for loss because through loss, I know that I loved.

I offer thanks for every sharp edge or bumpy road I’ve ever encountered because I’ve discovered that I can be soft and roll.

and…

I offer thanks for all of the darkness because it has allowed me to see the light.

 

Reason to Smile

As a teacher, it means a lot when people you work with
come back to work just to take your class.

danica

And that’s just what Miss Danica did last week, as so many of the employees at YogaWorks Pasadena have done.  It isn’t a small thing and I appreciate it.  Danica, your glowing smile and attitude to match are just two of the reasons I love coming into the studio.  (Special shout out and thank you to another beautiful spirit Dewi for the awesome Balinese pants, too!)