Repeat Yoga Days

As a yoga teacher who gets the privilege of making all of my own flows and classes, I was terrified of doing a repeat class. What if the class remembered the flow, what if they were wanting something totally new. Some weeks it would be a struggle to put something together and most of the time it would be some variation of the other flows anyways. But just this last week in my class we did a pretty challenging flow, and while my class really loves these I don’t want to make them do something super challenging each class. So as sat there thinking what I would possibly make up for them, what I would possibly be able to do with them to give them some sort of break, I thought back to the basic power flow that was taught to us in teacher training. It had been a while since I had used that particular flow, and it was still energy building but without all of the work that the last flow had offered. So it would be a nice break.

But somewhere in the back of my mind I was terrified of using something that I had already used before, because somehow it felt like I was cheating or not doing the work that I should be. And honestly, this is a mindset that I would love to just kick to the curb.

For one thing, a lot of studios offer the same basic class. Which is why I was taught this flow in my teacher training because the studio used that as their beginner class. As they taught it to us they told us to learn in and go use it in our own classes. It’s not a bad thing to use something again and again, and some people really enjoy having a solid flow that’s the same thing every time. I mean, studios that use that method are clearly doing pretty well for themselves so something must be right with having a basic flow.

But I could not for the life of me think of a flow that would be a suitable change after something super challenging. I kept coming back to the basic flow. I mean it’s a good flow, it hits all the things you’d want in an energy flow yoga class and it really brings out the physical side of yoga without being too much work.

So why is it such a huge deal then when I want to do a repeat? And where did this mindset come from? Since clearly that is not what I was taught in training. As a yoga teacher, it can be a little nerve wracking getting up in front of people each week and presenting something that you made. Especially for me, the teacher training that I took did not spend a huge amount of time on the actual how to for making flows. I think we spent like 2 hours on that. A day at most. Which really, it should of been one of the main things we went over. So, you’ve got to make this flow and you already are like “what if they don’t like it?” and then you feel like you should of gotten more training in actually making your own flows as well.

Plus, not every flow is going to be a winner. It just isn’t, everyone is different and everyone likes different things. It’s natural that your flow just won’t resonate with someone that week. It happens to me sometimes as well, I just don’t like the flow and it’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the class or doing yoga but it’s not what I would have chosen for myself. And to cater to several people and all of their different likes, it certainly is a challenging career. I love yoga, and I love making flows. But it’s also really difficult at times as well.

I’m also not a huge social person. I’m just not. I’m not sure how I got to be a yoga instructor, and having to spend an entire hour talking to an entire class but I am. But it’s still hard for me, and I am human so I have all these doubts in my head about how I am teaching and how people like it. I’m sure as I teach even longer I will be okay, but for now it still feels new and fresh and I’m like “okay who trusted me to teach people this stuff.” so it can be slightly scary.

But once I let go of how people will perceive me, and I just go with what feels the best for class this time around, I get the best flows and ideas. And if a repeat is needed, then it’s needed. A huge part of it is just coming to terms with what I am feeling that week. What will feel the most right, what is going to be the best? And then I go with that.  I also base it off other weeks, while we are an energy flow class I do not want to make them work super hard each time. So if one class was more intense, the next one will be more mellow.

And in reality, repeating a flow that I used 3 months ago, isn’t going to be the end of my class. Yoga instructors have fears as well, however yoga really helps to focus on other things and not just the fear. And overcoming fears and doubts is a part of the teacher life. And chances are the class will really love the flow anyways, and most likely will not notices its the same exact flow. No one is THAT good at memorizing something they’ve done once. It took me ages to get that flow down and it did it everyday for months.

So, never be afraid to use a repeat flow. Never be afraid to take a repeat flow. Sometimes some repetition can be the best thing we need in life.

 

What no one tells you about trying to get pregnant

Whoa, heavy topic coming through. Be prepared, but honestly I feel like this one is long overdue, especially as me and my husband continue our family and planning and as we try to have a baby.

*This post will also get a little personal, if you are not comfortable talking about the process of trying for a baby just pass over this one.* 

We’ve been trying for a few months now, which is not super long but also long enough to learn some things I had never known before and also feel that bitter disappointment when you get a negative test. But honestly, there are so many things that come into family planning, and no one seems to talk about that side of things. It would of seriously made the beginning of our journey so much better if we had known these things beforehand. And it’s tough, especially just starting out because you just don’t know. So here are some things that no one told me, or talked about, when we started trying. The best and the worst of it all.

  1. People will shame you for being honest; as soon as I told my family we were trying for a baby I got those disapproving stares. The kind where it’s like, why are you even telling me this? You aren’t actually pregnant. When I was told we should have kids I said responded with “that’s the plan”  my mom was the first one to tell me how dumb that was which leads into my second point right away. But honestly, wether you want to let people know or not is totally up to you. Personally, I like having a certain amount of honesty, what’s the point of even hiding it? I am not ashamed I want a baby, I am not ashamed that we made this decision to try. And honestly it’s a big step, sometimes simply talking about things can really help.
  2. People are going to tell you the worst things; going off that last point, after my mom told me how stupid it was to tell people we are trying, she went into to tell me “well, what if you never have any children, you could have to adopt.” Like, gee thanks for that, because that is exactly what I needed to hear. But ignore anyone who says stuff like that to you. Especially in our case when we just started out, there is no reason someone needs to give you that fear and adding to your stress.
  3. Don’t use lube; um say what?! Yeah, I was super shocked about this one and could not believe it. While it seemed like common sense after the fact, it just did not occur to us maybe we shouldn’t be using anything extra. Traditional lubes can act as a block or barrier and not allow sperm to pass. Try to get a little creative instead so you don’t need the lube, or if you truly need it try an alternative method. They make special lube to help aid sperm or natural oils (like olive oil) can work just as well and will not act as a barrier. Seriously, this was one tip that had me hitting my head on my hand when I learned.
  4. It can be super fun; okay so we all know that most sites and blogs will warn you that trying can make you hate sex, especially having to do it so often or if you just overdo it in general. But they also don’t tell you that it can be even more fun, as well as having an added closeness to your partner. Yeah, honestly you could get tired of it, but you could also just enjoy the frequency and mix it up a bit as well. There isn’t really a reasoning for this, other than having a goal in mind can definitely change sex for you.
  5. Everyone else will conceive long before you do; sad, but honestly so true. Maybe it’s just me or maybe it’s just my particular social medias but pretty much everyone I know is pregnant. I am not even kidding in the slightest. It just happens, especially if you are friends with a ton of girls your age. If you’re at an age you feel ready than chances are so is everyone else. And while this can be a bit of a bummer, it’s just how it goes. And chances are, they had to do their fair share of waiting for it to happen as well.
  6. It’s a huge waiting game; movies always show it as “Oh? Maybe I should take a test!” or somehow the woman didn’t realize she was pregnant until she actually got symptoms. But truth be told, if you are trying you know your cycle like the back of your hand. So you are literally just wanting until it’s the right time to test, or until your period comes. Especially in the early months of trying. But if you’re trying chances are you aren’t going to forget when your period comes and you certainly won’t be waiting until you start barfing or your boobs hurt to actually test. (Yes, I am so throwing shade at the movie What To Expect When You’re Expecting because come on, how am I supposed to believe that a woman who had an app to say when she was exactly ovulating wouldn’t notice her period being late by a few weeks?)
  7. People will tell you super nice things; my sister would really help out when I was upset. She would tell me that these things take time and it will happen when it’s right. Which at the time did not help, but after I calmed down I realized that she is right. And I have been on birth control and that definitely messed up my cycle as well. But she was really helpful and got me back on track. While it might not seem like it at the time, it really can be and it will also ground back onto your focus.
  8. In the end, it’s all worth it; trying can be one of the most difficult times in life, but it’s also so worth it. Eventually, you will get there. Maybe it takes years, maybe it’ll happen soon. Maybe it will never happen and we do end up adopting. But either way we move forward in life and get one more step closer to our family planning. Either that or I talk my husband into yet another cat.

 

Hopefully something on this list prepares you, I would have loved a heads up before we started. And just remember if you are in the same boat that I am in, it does indeed take time. Though it doesn’t seem like it for others, it does and it’s just going to happen when it happens. Keep out the negatives, keep stress levels low (I know, this one is so hard for me ugh) and just keep trying. It can be so scary, truly it can, but instead of focusing on the fear look forward to what is to come. However scary it will be, life is progressing. It won’t always go how we like, that’s for sure, but it’s still better than sitting still.

If you like this post and want more of this journey and real stuff just comment below. I love to share my journeys with others in hopes that it can also help out other people.

The importance of breathing in yoga

Honestly, I get this question a lot, way more often then you’d think. And even from people who have been doing yoga for ages. “Why is the breath important?” Or some variation of this question. Like, “you give a lot of breath cues, it takes away from the flow.” Or “Do you need to say every inhale and exhale?” Which I mean, no I really don’t need to say to inhale to table top or exhale to sit. But the breath cues play a huge role in the practice and yes I really do need those inhales and exhales for twists and other postures that you don’t just dump yourself into.

So why is it that the breathing is such an important role in your yoga practice? And while I was taught in a very active from of yoga that requires breathing cues the entire time, it’s still a key element to every practice. Look up any well loved, and respectable, yoga instructor on youtube. They take a few minutes at least to chill out before practice and come to your breath and honestly its for good reason too. 172776510.jpg

Okay so let’s break this down then. First off the very definition of yoga is literally postures to breath. A form of active meditation, and honestly the postures are just a tiny bit of the yoga. A huge part of yoga is actually the breath work, meditation and all in all a good mind set and solid focus. It’s main goal is to bring in relaxation and meditation, maybe calming someone after a stressful day or bringing the focus that they need.

yo·ga
ˈyōɡə
noun
  1. a Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, a part of which, including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures, is widely practiced for health and relaxation.

I mean, the google definition of yoga is literally just that. Breath control, its a discipline for specific purposes. The thing is, breath is the LEAST talked about in a yoga practice. Like sure, we do little breath warm ups before we start, take some time coming to a good solid (deep) breath that will guide through the postures. But we don’t talk about it. And honestly that’s something that should be talked about, but when people come for a class that is 45, 55 or even 60 minutes long they don’t want time wasted talking about the breath. Because all in all, it’s not what matters to them and it’s not why they came. But it’s something that is huge, major, so important so we should at least mention why we do the breath and not just guide people through it hoping for the best or hoping that it somehow sticks.

Okay, so we know the definition, we know that technically it’s super important and huge, but why is it that way? Why is our breath the key?

First off, it does help your practice. Like a lot. Focusing on the breath can bring in a sense of peace and calm and really bring a person to that meditation mindset. Which sounds so cheesy, but honestly the best practices that I have had are the ones where I focus on my breathing and get into that mind set and just let everything else go. It’s empowering, and just really ties a practice together.

Second, it takes the focus off what you’re doing vs what you need. So instead of focusing on the posture that you need to hold for a frustratingly long time, you breathe. And while it’s still not a simple task to chill out in side plank you can at least breathe through it and in turn strengthen yourself in the long run. headstand-1439439.jpg

Third, strength. You could hold your breath during your side plank, but then your muscles are kind of just chilling out super tight. But if you add in the breath work, it’s just that. Work. Your muscles end up doing even more work, and while it doesn’t actually seem like it you can see results. I have had so many great side planks when I just remember to breathe it out.

Fourth, it actually makes postures easier. GASP! I know that this kind of ties in with the second point, but have you ever done crow pose and just couldn’t do it? Yeah, same. I struggled with it so much. Or a headstand? Yeah those too. But once I learned to breath my way through it (also ENGAGE those abdominal muscles) then I found my balance to be much better and more steady. I am a pro at crow now, and while it took a ton of work to get there my breath work certainly helped me a lot.

Fifth, it literally matches flowing or vinyasa yoga perfectly. Each breath you take you do a pose. Inhale rise, exhale fold etc. It makes the practice flow quite beautifully, and while the constant reminder to breath during your practice seems tedious and quite annoying there is a point to it. Trust me, yoga teachers aren’t just saying it for kicks. If you’re into vinyasa style yoga then you need to have the breath, otherwise your just moving around on a mat.

All in all, breath plays a huge role in yoga. If you’re simply just looking for a workout that is fine, yoga can provide that as well. Breathing can help make it more intense for you though. But if you’re looking to expand in your yoga practice then work on the breath. Explore the different options that are out there and find the best one for your practice. It will make all the difference.

To the brother who never visits

To the brother who never visits

To the one who never even texts back

The one who never comes to Sunday dinner

And the one who hardly comes for holidays

Your family doesn’t even know you

We growing up, growing old

And you aren’t even here to see that

Your nephew is growing up fast, and he doesn’t know his uncle

Our mom is hurt she never sees her son, though she wouldn’t dare admit that

You only hang out when you feel like it, and you aren’t even the same person anymore

And your wife, doesn’t even like us, yet you can’t seem to see that

Goodness knows if you did, you’d never even tell her off

You always go to her family for holidays

Forgetting about your own

Like we aren’t good enough, like we mean nothing to you

You don’t get that we miss you, that we want to see you

But one day, it won’t even matter anymore

Because we will have grown up and moved on

Soon your nephew won’t be little anymore, and you will have missed his life

Soon, you will have more than just the one nephew but you will have missed their life too

So all those texts that you ignore, the family you never visit

Soon we won’t be around anymore

And while it hurts us

It’s going to hurt you more

We know your marriage is important

But marriage also isn’t at the expense of your own family

Marriage doesn’t mean you blow your family off

And it doesn’t mean you ignore us

Because families talk

Siblings hang

And we act like we care about each other

So remember us then next time we text

The next time we ask to hang and you refuse

The next Thanksgiving that you promise to show up at, but never actually come to

Because we won’t be here forever, but we’ll wait as long as we can

 

Is zero waste always possible?

This is kind of a huge thing for people trying to cut down their waste, especially when there are items that we actually need in our lives. Medicines, feminine products, medical items etc. So are these items truly necessary or have we just been conditioned to think that they are.

In short, yes. But it is really more complicated than that. It seems that sometimes people are shamed for needing these items, and while it is good to reduce our waste we really need to realize that sometimes people actually do need these things in their lives, they may be trying very hard to be less wasteful and we don’t need to shame them.

Reasons someone might need waste in their life:

-Medical needs. Try as we might we really can’t fix all issues with oils checklist-3222079_960_720

-Medical products- change those gloves, change needles, STOP the spread of disease. Zero waste won’t do any good if we all contract weird viruses.

-Someone may not have time, or the ability, to prep every single meal. We don’t know their life so don’t tell someone they need to buy all zero waste food.

-Some people may not be able to use a menstrual cup, it might be easier for them to use disposable products, we don’t know. So again, no need to judge. Peoples needs are important.

-Maybe it’s just not in their area. I know that it’s really hard for us to get stuff zero waste, save money and not starve.

shy-863056_960_720This is a lifestyle that comes with many privileges. Take a look at this awesome buzzfeed video to see more on it. Zero waste for 30 days.

If you aren’t able to be 100% zero waste don’t feel bad. I used to beat myself up all the time over this. How as I going to buy laundry items that would get clothes clean when we live with 3 cats? In my area I can’t. How can we take care of 3 living creatures without waste? We can’t. I made myself miserable trying to be perfect, when I finally stopped and just did what I could I lived a much happier life.

So try to do what you can, still use what you need. While it is good to question our need of some items we also don’t want to just trash everything just cause of waste.

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DIY wall spot cleaning

So we are going to be moving in April; and with that comes all the packing, cleaning and patching. I figured I could get a head start and start packing the things we don’t really need in day to day life. So, as very clever me went to remove the bajillion pictures and wall hanging items we have I had a mini heart attack as I saw black smudges that stained the once white wall. IMG_5118

I tried scrubbing them off, I tried some soap, I tried our little dish eraser type thing. NOTHING! So I googled, my answer was-ammonia. No thanks, no way, not in my home. I figured there had to be a way, there just had to be. Then I remember that I had made all my homemade cleaners one time, and we still had a degreaser. The degreaser is essential baking soda and dish soap. Which offered the clean as well as the abrasive scrub.

So I gently covered the smudges with the paste, as extra measure I let it sit then sprayed some vinegar over it making it react with the baking soda. Then I scrubbed, and while it was not perfectly pristine white on the first try the spots are definitely gone and black smudges no longer plague my wall. So here is how you can erase those pesky stains from your walls as well, with no harmful ingredients as well as being zero waste as well.

Baking soda scrub: IMG_5119

Half and half baking soda/dish soap – mix well

Directions:

spread the mix on the wall, let sit for a few minutes. Optional to add vinegar to ensure extra stain removal, and then scrub away. Make sure to test this before use so you don’t damage paint, but this did fine with my walls and I rent an apartment. A rough sided sponge works best for this as well.

Make sure to go back over and wash all the residue off the walls with soapy water as well. And WALLAH your walls are cleaner and less spotty. This might take a few scrubs but for me this beats having to buy and use ammonia. You can still see that I have some residue left, but this worked wonders for me and did so much more than I thought. Huge improvement from the dark picture fram shaped stains for sure. Going over it again will definitely help I think, and I love that I found a non-toxic way to deal with tough stains.

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When people change

Something that I have come to learn in adult hood is that people change. Like a lot. There have been many people who I thought were my friends, and suddenly they have proved that is not the case. People who had seemed one way, suddenly they are different. I have been dealing with this every since I have turned 18, and it’s something that I don’t think will ever change.

Ohlson1My first roommate in college was my first taste of this. I mean sure there were those people in high school. But that was high school, I figured people were still figuring stuff out and in college people would pretty much just be how they presented themselves. Not really the case, poor 18 year old me. When I had met my roommate in college, she seemed nice and peppy. I pretty much had instant “friends”. For about 2 weeks I had people to eat with and things to do. Places to go. People to talk to. This is kind of a lot for someone who is naturally introverted and really sucks at making friends. I say for about 2 weeks cause that is really how long it lasted for me.

Suddenly my roommate was telling people about her life, laughing about it because she had painted this super perfect life to show her family but really she was a “bad” girl. Don’t get me wrong, I am not judging and I’m not about to make comments about someones lifestyle. But we went to a Christian college and she was making plans to be a youth minister, but bragging about how many guys she had snuck home while her mom was still there. It’s an entirely different thing to paint yourself as this perfect person, claiming to follow a certain life and then having it all be a lie. Just be honest, truly it just makes everything easier.

After she had started bragging about stuff like that, she began to show it off in her real life as well. She had brought a guy home to the dorm, and mind you while we had a sizable dorm this is still incredibly awkward. I won’t say much more, you can pretty much guess the idea of what happened here. After that things were just really rocky, she tried to apologize passing off the encounter as just kissing the guy. I was 18, this is new to me and I had no clue what to do but I wasn’t stupid as to what had really happened. People had asked me why I wasn’t getting along with my roommate and I just answered with the truth of what happened. I didn’t make a habit of spreading it all around, and I only told the one or two people who had asked me. Maybe that was too far, but I wasn’t sure how to really explain what had went down without the truth. The moment that really ended things was a few days later when she cornered me in front of my new “friends” essentially yelling at me because people now knew what she had done. She told me she had a reputation to uphold and I needed to stop spreading lies about her. I soon moved out of the dorm unofficially to a friends dorm who had no roommate at the time. I tried my best to contact our RA and resolve this, asking to officially move. The request was denied, I was told that we had to work it out and get along. There wasn’t anything to work out though, I just knew I needed to switch roommates because I was not prepared to handle all that drama. I contacted the person in charge of all the RA’s and when we finally had the meeting I told him what happened he immediately apologized and told me to move they would get me a key as soon as possible.

feet-914737_960_720Now this girl turned out to be pretty nice actually, after her crazy sort of party like phase in the first year or two. But she was nasty to me and had somehow got everyone to believe that I was the one lying. I had thought that she was the person she made herself out to be but she wasn’t. That’s fine, truly, but just don’t lie about who you are.

This isn’t the only person in my life to exhibit this behavior either. I’m not sure what it is, maybe I tend to pick the wrong friends or maybe I just suck and am generally hated. But recently I’ve had some friends who suddenly have no time for us. Whenever I’d ask them to hang out there was an excuse. Now, I am an adult I realize people have lives and that we are busy. But after about 6+ months of someone being busy you kind of get the picture. If you truly care you make time for friends. When I had told them how I felt hurt and that it seemed as though they didn’t want to hang anymore I offended them. I wasn’t able to be honest and express that I was deeply hurt and I missed them. Instead I just made them mad, and they said they were just busy. I don’t want to go into a lot of detail, but of the things they listed that they had going on, one thing in particular wasn’t something that needed to be keeping them busy. It was easily rescheduled and could easily be done at another time but we were told that we couldn’t hang out because of it. When something becomes more important than friends (not just anything though something that can be arranged, moved or honest to goodness just a hobby like reading a book or gaming or something) than you begin to realize that these people really don’t want you in their life. And it hurts, so much.

I don’t want this post to be entirely a dump post though. Yes people change and they can hurt you. I’ve had this happen several times, the worst of these being my friends who seem as though they just don’t like us anymore. To be honest, if that is the case I would much rather that just be said then to be continued to be fed excuses. But I have many friends in my life, wonderful friends who have stuck by my side no matter what.

I did meet some people in college who mean very much to me and I love them. And they make the effort to see me and to talk to me. I have  friend who flies out to visit us (he lives 6 hours away) and another friend who surprises me with awesome phones calls. I don’t have to talk to them everyday, and I certainly don’t see them everyday. My friend who visits does have the luxury of flights basically whenever he wants so that helps, but these friends make time for me. girlfriends-2213259_960_720They make time to talk, they listen, they visit and they are just generally there for me. I know that I can count on them, I can share my most profound life issues with them and they understand and/or listen.

And while I feel crushed, overwhelmed by the pressing feelings of hurt and loneliness I know that I do have a support system. Sometimes, you just can’t get people to realize how much they have hurt you. And you know what, it’s okay. When this happens, do your best to patch things up. Be the best that YOU can be and just move on. I won’t be asking those friends to hang out again, I’ll wait until they come to me. If they ever do. I slowly stopped contacting so much, because every time I did I felt as a failure or a less than person. We don’t need people like that in our lives, we really truly don’t. I’m not saying it to be mean about it either, but we can quietly let go and move on with our lives. Because people do change, and that’s okay. It can help us figure out who our real friends are, the ones who will stick with us no matter what. And if a friend can’t be there for you then don’t bend over backward trying to get them to be there for you.

Life is too short, we are getting too old, and it’s too painful to have to keep making ourselves feel like crap over someone else. For my yoga training we had to read the book “The Four Agreements” and in one of the chapters the agreement was “don’t take anything personally” going as far as to say if someone hurts us it’s not about us it’s about them. This resonates with me. It’s so true, and I try to remember this everyday. When  I feel as though I suck, or I am hated, I just tell myself it isn’t about me, it’s about them and I just need to continue to live my life and not worry about others. Toxic people don’t need to be in our lives. And we can all quietly let them go, chances are they won’t even notice anyways.

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