Anorexia, Asana, Body Image, Bulimia, depression, Dharma, eccentric, Existentialism, Expansion, Fear, Health Issues, Mental Health, Mindfulness, privilage, PTSD, Self Growth, Self Love, Universiality, Wyoming, Yoga

there is good, there is evil

I’ve been going through some stuff lately.   I feel junior high spring dance insecure—hunched in the shoulders, standing in the corner of the gym in my socks with my pants too short and my pointy bra creating uncomfortable tic tacs in my silk shirt.  I look at others hoping they will notice me for me, and stick around for the anxiety of growing with me. But, as in junior high, I don’t know who I am.

I’ve had the same situation occur twice now—I have walked away or was asked to walk away from yoga studios for reasons that won’t matter in time and that I can’t understand because the discourse, the vulnerability, the connection is gone. There is no space for reconciling, and it’s not for me to convince anyone of my worth. If I’m not seen with compassion, I am not seen. But, I can’t separate that it’s somehow me being asked to step away from yoga.

Of course I have mommy and daddy issues. We all do. Families are hard. But there is space in the family to mess up, to do crummy things, to make a mistake in earnest because the love is there. The non-judgment is par for the course. The daddy issues run deep. I miss my deceased father more than words could ever express because he really accepted me. Anger, idiot moves, and all. I miss my mother too for who she was and for her letting me grow.

It comes down to the only thing I know—my experience. I know more and more I don’t know much but I came to yoga because I was accepted. I was allowed to sweat buckets, to cry, to suck at poses, to show up a few minutes late. I don’t think everything is love and light. There is dark space in the universe, there is dark space in my heart.

To teach what I know is all I can do. And the lessons I impart in yoga aren’t how to wrench your spine in a backbend, wrench your neck in a headstand, or tear your ligaments in eagle. It’s how to sit with yourself (the self you might hate, if you are anything like me) for a few minutes without running away from your body or your breath. I can teach how to sit with the shadows, how to let emotions circulate through the system.

I am driven by ego. I am driven by compassion. I am neither compassion nor ego, I just am.

 

 

“I do a lot of crummy things, and I do a lot of beautiful things, and I am neither good nor evil, I just am. There is good, there is evil, and here I am.”

Ram Dass

Anorexia, Asana, Body Image, Bulimia, character study, depression, Dharma, eccentric, Existentialism, Expansion, Fear, Health Issues, Higher Education, Mental Health, Mindfulness, mountains, privilage, PTSD, Self Growth, Self Love, Self Reflection, Universiality, Wyoming, Yoga

pathologically indiscreet

Never underestimate the value of a candid person. So much of our time is spent trying to figure out these unwritten rules like how firmly should I shake her hand or how many sentences of small talk before I delve into an emotional topic?

I was never very good at regular rules, much less unwritten rules, and brutal honesty can catch others off guard or it can open up a space of vulnerability. If I spent time trying to understand social conventions it might take a while. While I understand the power of acting couth, I appreciate the candidness of the raw, the unfiltered.

The types of people I appreciate most are ones who dance whether anyone is watching or not, who sing whether they know the words, who make love without worrying about fat or fur, who eat with appreciation. Secrets can last for years, secrets can change the paradigm.

Imagine if we started being ourselves, if we stopped holding back or letting out too much of what is inauthentic. Imagine if we let go of social conventions just for a day, how many would become comfortable, and how many would receive a gift? Take time today to receive those in your life exactly how they are and exactly who they need to be.

I’ve always been a pretty candid person. I’m not a very secretive person; I’m not a very discreet person. One of my best friends once described me as pathologically indiscreet.

Andrew Sullivan

Anorexia, Asana, Body Image, Bulimia, character study, depression, Dharma, eccentric, Existentialism, Expansion, Health Issues, Laramie, Mental Health, Mindfulness, privilage, PTSD, Self Growth, Self Love, Self Reflection, Universiality, Wyoming, Yoga

what i can and cannot do

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Truth is, I get intimated and down on myself every day. There is a good chance I will never do a respectable yogi push up or hold pigeon on my right side again. These are because of injuries trying to press bone onto bone for bending that my body was just not meant to do. Knee and elbow out of commission for a while. Even sitting cross legged is painful. That’s the thing about yoga—it’s not until years later that you realize asana is preparation for death—the ultimate life experience. No one dies in a handstand. But sometimes when we die we are lucky enough to know that our worth didn’t come from a handstand or peacock pose, and that holding the hand of the person next to us is the most challenging, rewarding, and soul satisfying pose of all. The king pose called #gratitude.

#yoga #selflove #love #loveyourself #mindfulness #beyourself #asana #Ustrasana #Gomukhasana #PinchaMayurasana #death #EkaPadaRajakapotasana #bodylove #practicenotperfect #iamenough #MeatlessMonday #pilates #contrology #infinitebalancelaramie

Asana, Body Image, character study, Christmas, depression, Dharma, eccentric, Existentialism, Expansion, Health Issues, Higher Education, Mental Health, Mindfulness, mountains, privilage, Self Growth, Self Love, Self Reflection, Trailrunning, Universiality, Wyoming, Yoga

big gulp breath

I’ve started to do things I like because I like myself more and more each day. I run–not lose a billion million calories but because I love feeling the sun on my skin midday. I don’t worry about walking either and stop to gulp breath like diet soda which I also drink because I like the way it feels and tastes.

I love my job. I don’t try too hard because I don’t have to. Part of the love is that I can just be myself. I do yoga with weights because I favor strength over flexibility and I like the way my arms are starting to take shape again.

I go out every now and again and hang out with the people I choose. Ones who I can be my complete and utter self around—no matter how that self may feel. I still get defensive and worry about others approval but I like that I’m working on that too.

I listen to all kinds of music because I can. I don’t care if there are cuss words in a class. I listen to what moves me. The word fuck sometimes moves. I don’t go to live shows as much as I used to. I’m okay with that, too.

I love teaching yoga because its more about being with people than alignment. Its more about being humble together than showing off a handstand. Its more about loving yourself than loving the illusion in the mirror. Its more about seeing your true self, rather than what the world has tried to create.

The moment you over think how someone sees you, is the moment you stopped being true to yourself.

Anorexia, Asana, Body Image, Bulimia, character study, depression, Existentialism, Expansion, Fear, Health Issues, Laramie, Mental Health, Mindfulness, mountains, PTSD, Self Growth, Self Love, Self Reflection, Trailrunning, Universiality, Wyoming, Yoga

why i gained 30 pounds

Why I gained 30 pounds and am starting to be happy for it…

1—no one should lose 30 pounds by telling herself that he wouldn’t have left if she weren’t so fat

2—ass moves mass and lifting weights is fun

3—soda (beer) and a burger after a hike are worth not being Muscle and Fitness cover-worthy

4—working out 6 hours a day is not okay

5—your hip bones shouldn’t have bruises from lying down

6—cleaning the vomit off your toilet after a binge really hits home

7—I AM ENOUGH no matter how you quantify me

8—fight, flight, or freeze modes are no way to live 24/7

9—doing yoga in a 100 degree room wearing booty shorts and hating yourself is ridiculous

10—everyone should eat a whole pizza in their lifetime

11—counting calories is BORRRRRRRING and sometimes obsessive

12—now I don’t have to post every workout

13—relationships are more important than the gym

14—cheese is just too damn good

15—measuring your worth through the concave shape of your tummy ain’t no way to live

16—I don’t ever want to see my backbone jutting out of my back again

17—I am not a greyhound, I am a big hipped Jen and seeing my ribs means I’m not eating

18—researching laxatives feels really dirty

19—feeling pain in my chest when I see the girl at the rec center with ankle weights on the bike for 2 hours

20—identifying with other random people with exercise and eating disorders because we have been at the gym for 3 hours…we see each other and know our shame

21—NOT EVERYONE WHO DOES YOGA IS SKINNY

22—I can’t run away, to, or around my problems, especially on a treadmill

23—I am not an Olympic athlete and don’t have the sponsorships or support to train like one

24—because I’m just so darn counter-culture

25—sugar cookies

26—I shouldn’t have to decline invitations to restaurants because I know I will throw up my dinner

27—guys don’t really notice who’s skinny and not—they notice when you love yourself

28—to spend a day being in every moment without worrying about poundage

29—to stop telling myself that I’m more happy when I’m not healthy

30—I AM DIVINE. So are you. Love yourself just how you are.

Asana, Body Image, Bulimia, character study, depression, Dharma, eccentric, Existentialism, Expansion, Fear, Health Issues, Laramie, Mental Health, Mindfulness, mountains, poverty, privilage, PTSD, Self Growth, Self Love, Self Reflection, Universiality, Wyoming, Yoga

i just am

I struggle. I’m the least flexible yoga teacher I know. I’ve gained 30 pounds in the past few months and I can see my swollen belly poking out further than my hips or pubic bone creating a puff in high waisted jeans. I no longer have a concave area in my chest and cannot see the length of my backbone. You cannot see my ribs. To me, these are struggles–yet when I look at life and all its offerings–these are not struggles.  But ego sets in… I feel a sinking feeling in my stomach and want to squeeze something so hard, squeeze the stress and pounds out of my body like dough falling out of a tube. That’s the funny thing about body dysmorphia and self-revulsion—it’s never enough, I am never enough. I really have to work every day to stop this resounding vibration that I send to myself.  I am not a victim.  You are not a victim.  We are all so big.

But, I find the constant re-emergence of this theme—my education is not enough, i am not enough at my job, my yoga classes are not enough–like a lighthouse spinning round and round yet not protecting me from any rocky beach. I don’t pack a full house in my yoga classes but choose to teach slow times because of the fear of failure in a popular night class. I hold on to comments forever that worry me–like hints of selfishness or detachment or that I think I’m more evolved than others and I realize I do spend so much time thinking about myself in space.  Ego sets in.

What I find in others to bother to fret about is what I have not integrated about myself—I can be hard to get along with, I can be hard to supervise. I can be any crappy thing that any other person can be. We can all be self-involved. Sometimes, we need to be. And through the freedom of yoga, I learn that I am divine and self-involvement is universal involvement—let go of separation and know that what you do for you will in turn be given to the universe.

Yoga attracts those who have had to overcome huge personal mountains and I don’t expect us all to live in love and light. That’s not how it works. But I am hopeful for understanding, for integration. That person over there, that studio here, that yucky feeling inside, that crappy weather outside—that is you, that is me. I’ve had all these experiences and my weight will ebb and flow and my life will ebb and flow. This is mantra for myself and for everyone else—I just am.

 

I do a lot of crummy things, and I do a lot of beautiful things, and I’m neither good nor evil, I just am. There is good, and there is evil, and here I am.
-Ram Dass

Asana, Body Image, character study, depression, Dharma, eccentric, Existentialism, Expansion, Fear, Health Issues, Laramie, Mental Health, Mindfulness, mountains, PTSD, Self Growth, Self Love, Self Reflection, Wyoming, Yoga

stand in your space

“Stand in your space and know who you are.”

I’ve been worried lately. About me. About the yoga studio where I work. It’s become a numbers game and I want to know where is my yoga in all of this? I must be true to myself. I must teach what I know. No matter if I’m the best yoga teacher ever, or just kinda ehh. 50% may like me, 50% may not. It’s all an ebb and flow, it’s all BALANCE.

I’m not a new teacher, and I’ve taught hundreds of classes. I started teaching at the University of Wyoming in summer of 2013 a week after my first yoga sculpt (yoga with weights) training. Turns out, I’m the only instructor in Laramie who has been certified in using weights in a yoga practice. I have done my research and I have developed a relationship both with the practice and information. I have done over 50 hours of mindfulness training and completed my masters of science in counseling. But, what makes my classes isn’t my knowledge or letters behind my name. What makes my classes is that I live my practice. The teachings of yoga come from me because I have lived them. Let me back track.

Summer of 2009 I spent the entire summer in jail. I remember every pop song that came out that summer and could dance with Beyoncé, I learned to make intricate letters and drawings with color lifted form newspaper with deodorant and toilet paper. I measured the amount of steps in the 18 by 18 foot box outside so I could run a mile (back and forth 138 times). I was in jail because I had broken the law. I had broken myself. I had revoked my probation that I was on for my second DUI by catching a charge for a third DUI. Automatic 180 days in jail. I did my time and go out through the Albany County Court Supervised Treatment Program. Saved my friggin life.

I am a human being who is working through my stuff. I went through a two year treatment program to gain sobriety and learn tools to deal with intense emotional trauma (dead dad, drug abuse, etc). I spent the next two years in intense psychotherapy using EMDR, dream analysis, and just plain hard work realizing how very much I hated myself. HATED myself. But only through yoga did I wake up. Only through yoga did I realize I am divine.

My daily yoga and meditation practice is a practice in being mindful, just being, really. Not a saint. Not perfect. I even walked away from my practice for a few months because I doubted my ability. I came back. Still flawed. But a flawed human who teaches yoga from the only place I know—my heart. I teach not because I want to be the yoga queen or self-important but because I don’t want to die anymore. I want to live. And I want to live amongst others who are divine, star-dust, magnificent. The ancient teachings come out of me backed by my history. I know darkness. I lived it.

Whether I have a class full or just one, the message is the same—you are so, so important. This comes from a life I lived where I didn’t understand this and my movement, my breath, my sweat, my voice, was lost in addiction. I’ve found it again through yoga. And I remember, just keep doing the poses, just keep teaching, and all is coming. All is already here.