Tag Archives: Balance

Fall & Recover

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“There is a split in the human psyche between each person’s rational and intellectual side and our chaotic and emotional being. The true essence of modern dance is the movement that happens in between these extremes.”

“Dance occurs in the fearful moment between falling and recovering by the arc swept by a body moving between equilibrium and uncontrol.”

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fall and recoverI am not a dancer, but I love this concept. Mainly, I want to live this concept.

People always talk about balance as being so important to our well-being. I used to be one of those people. However, the more I think about it, the more I realize that it’s not simply about balance and stability. It is about a rhythmic balance. It’s not one or the other, it’s somewhere in between. Its not about smooth sailing. It’s about rising after falling.

Life doesn’t work in a way that’s completely balanced. There isn’t one good day for every bad day. Being a good person doesn’t stop bad things from happening to you. That’s just not how it is. In life there are ups and downs, and what’s important is to make some sort of rhythm out of the highs and lows. We must find the space between equilibrium and uncontrol that allows us to live our lives on the edge. We must trust the rhythm of falling and recovering.  We must not be afraid of falling, and we must know how it is that we recover.

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Yesterday, I mumbled and stuttered through my 75 minute yoga sequence – the sequence I am to teach to graduate from my teacher training. It was supposed to be a rough draft, and it was certainly rough. After I taught it I almost wanted to crawl back in bed and quit my training all together. Isn’t teaching supposed to be easier? I thought. No, it’s not. After talking with my husband I realized that I need to put more effort into my teaching if I really want to become a great teacher.

In order to fall, we must put ourselves out there, but we must be real with our efforts. Over the past few years, with my holistic lens and many interests I have always had one foot out the door throughout many of my experiences. For example, when I was working a nice gig in a “green” job, I found myself signing up for a couple weekend programs related to wellness. I even started volunteering as a doula at a hospital. I wasn’t totally invested in my day job, and because of my multiple efforts I could not engage fully in the world. Living that way certainly got me to fall but not the kind of way I am talking about in this post. Now I am aiming for the kind of fall that happens when you put yourself out there and you put all you have into it. Whatever the it may be.

Today I taught a 30 minute yoga sequence to some teens and it was amazing. Just one day after questioning my choice to be a yoga teacher, I had a reality check. While at first I was attached to my bad teaching experience and then became attached to my awesome experience, I realize now, that I cannot be attached to either outcome.

Now I see that both of these outcomes are part of life, part of the rhythmic balance – the dance. And I know that the more I put myself out into the world, the more I will fall. And as long as I fall with integrity and full engagement, I know it will become easier to recover and grow stronger with each new experience.

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Reflections from a New Mom

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As a prenatal yoga teacher and birth doula (in training), recently I have been surrounded by the wisdom and joy of mothers. In honor of Mother’s Day, Mandala Reflections is happy to share one mom’s perspective on what it’s like being a mother and readjusting to life around a baby. Like many people who frequent Mandala Reflections, Amy is a person who lives life fully and holistically. As a school counselor, photographer, yogini, foodie, and garden enthusiast, Amy has many topics she could write about, but this time she wanted to talk about moms and motherhood. For more of Amy’s writing, do check out her blog, A Little September Love.

Happy Mother’s Day! This day has always held a special and bittersweet place in my heart. It not only reminds me of the mom that I miss every day, but it also reminds me of how truly blessed I am to have had lots of “mamas” in my life. Being pregnant the past year has made me especially grateful for the presence of these fabulous examples of mothers. As I continue to embark upon my own adventure as Finn’s mom, I am reminded daily of all the wisdom and love these ladies have shared with me!

It’s funny for me to think back to last Mother’s day…oh I so remember it. I was just coming to grips with the biggest surprise of my life; I was going to be a mom. We had breakfast at the Good Day Café, and I was desperately trying to conceal my morning sickness as I choked down some oatmeal (their fabulous eggs Benedict just wasn’t going to work that morning). I hid my Sea-bands and brushed off the “when are you going to put a car seat in the back of that thing?” comment, referring to the fact that we just traded our Jeep in for a shiny new station wagon. Little did Mamasa know that she was about to become a grandma.

I’d be lying if I said that I was thrilled when I found out about Finn. Thrilled is not the exact word I would use, more like shocked. And after taking 5 (yep count them) pregnancy tests, I shed some tears and grieved that my fabulous, newlywed life was about to totally change. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always wanted to be a mom, however I thought that I would maybe be ready in like 5 years…oops. Apparently my husband, Barrett and I need a little refresher course in sex-ed. (But that’s another story.) So slowly, and I mean slowly–I warmed up to the idea of my soon-to-be motherhood, and by about mid-October, I was finally feeling excitement about my pending arrival. Finn was set to make his debut on Christmas day, and he sure did.

Life has been a whirlwind since then. I’m desperately trying to figure out balance and realigning my priorities. You see, having a baby changes everything…literally EVERYTHING! Finn’s presence has been a welcome kick in the ass, forcing me to really figure out what I want to do with my life. Figuring life out is an ongoing dialogue in my head, and as I continually explain to my sweet and thankfully, extremely understanding husband, the ideas just keep coming. I want to be a mama, a school counselor, a swim coach, a yoga teacher, a writer, a blogger, a photographer and in the meantime, I’d love to conquer the constant flow of laundry and actually finish a book that I start. Having a baby has continued to push my creative button and as much as I resist and try to suppress it in an effort to be practical, my urge to be creative is now stronger than ever! I believe this urge has something to do with realigning priorities and wanting to make sure that the time I spend away from Finn is spent on something that I’m extremely passionate about. So, where does that lead? Well, for now, I decided I am going to try to master the manual settings of my SLR camera this summer and take a few photography classes. I also hope to make a commitment to write a daily blog post–come and visit if you’d like. So at least for this moment, this is the path that life has me on. It is incredible to witness the changes that have happened within me and with my life over the past year, and yet it has been just as wonderful to see how I have stayed the same. But most of all, on this Mother’s Day, I am excited to say I am embracing my sweet surprise and welcoming the holiday celebration with joy and gratitude.

Amy, Finn, and Barrett

In closing I must say thank you, to Lisa for being the bravest step-mom I’ve ever known, to Nana for having a daughter named my mom, to all of my aunties, you have loved me like your own daughter, and to my mama friends, thank you for reminding me that even if we’re moms and life is a little different now we are still so much the same. Also, to Netty, you are the best doctor ever and an even better mom. And to the future mom’s in my life, what a wild and wonderful ride you’re in for some day, and most importantly I want to thank my angel of a mom, for teaching me everything in life that’s important. I hope that I’m making you proud doing what you did so well, loving my sweet baby while cramming 10 pounds of life into a 5 pound bag. My heart is so full this Mother’s Day!

Properly Building Core Strength: A Reminder About the Dangers of Sit-ups

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We are told that having a strong core will prevent back problems. So what do health-conscious people do? They engage their core, putting themselves through tireless workouts that pair countless sit-ups with the beat of music. The problem with this picture is that standard sit-ups actually do more damage than good to the back.  That’s right. Word on the street is the traditional sit-up is NOT good for you.

Dr. Richard Guyer from The Texas Black Institute explains that the “crunch” part of crunches will strain your back at its weakest point. The segment of your spine with the most nerves (and therefore most potential for nerve damage) is the actual section that bends and strains during a traditional sit-up.

Now, I know for most of us, we are not sad about this news. When we first heard it, we maybe incorporated this tidbit into our concept of reality a little too readily. After all, now we have scientific support to back our unpopular choice to lay on the mat during the sit-up part of the exercise routine, hoping the instructor didn’t notice our lack of participation. Wrong. Just because traditional sit-ups are hard on your back does not mean that you are off the hook for toning and sculpting that abdomen of yours. We all still need to support our back through a proper and safe core building exercise regimen.

This five minute video by Stuart McGill  demonstrates some functional and safe core workouts that can get you started.

My favorite core workout exercise highlighted in the video is the balancing one, where you alternate your arms and legs.

Another favorite abdominal muscle-building exercise I enjoy is the Plank Pose.

What is your favorite core building exercise?

What do you do to protect and support your back?