Me and My Mat {An Incredible Year of Yoga}

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Without a doubt, it has been a year of yoga for me.  Throughout all 12 months, yoga has wove itself into my year.  Part of this was a conscious decision.  Yoga helps me stay grounded and calm, helps me manage my stress, keeps my legs stretched out and my posture strong.  When I do yoga, I feel like the best version of myself.  So of course, this is something that I would want to share with my patients and kids in the community.

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It all began in January with an inspiring yoga class followed by a really cool (and informative) Sun Salutation Workshop.  I must say that the information and technique I learned during this workshop have been applied to countless classes since.

In February, I was at my local studio for a Chakra, Mudra, and Bandha Workshop and in March, I took a Meridians workshop.  Both were full of new information, interesting connections, and lots of fun movements.

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April brought with it high flying challenges and one of the best savasanas I have ever experienced all with the assistance of the silks.  I began by taking a 2 hour aerial yoga workshop and brought my mom back to give the silks a try in May.

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My experiences with aerial yoga were all amazing and if I had the money and access, I would LOVE to incorporate it into my weekly practice!

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June was ALL about the yoga!  I took a continuing ed class for work geared towards incorporating yoga practices and yin poses into my treatment sessions.  Then,  I flew out to New York for an invigorating 3 day Rainbow Kids Yoga Teacher training.

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Truly, this changed my life!  I loved every moment in Brooklyn walking to and from the studio, drinking fresh juice, spending all day sharing mats with other yogi’s and learning new games, poses, ideas, and stories to bring kids yoga back to Chicago with me.  If you haven’t read it, you should check out my journey through RKY teacher training.

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Before the end of the month, I was back  in the silks with crystal bowls celebrating the summer solstice.  I was also teaching multiple age group kids yoga classes weekly at work.  Attempting to incorporate what I learned (which always looks so easy with adults) with kids ages 4 through high school.

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In July, I continued to explore new studios and classes, making sure to get to a class on 4th of July Friday and the Friday before my brother’s wedding.  In August, the BOY and I traveled to San Francisco where I made time for post run pool side yoga.

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And took my poses into nature!

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When I returned, I had full fall kids yoga classes.  I found myself growing with each class in my ability to lead the kids and come up with creative themes for our day.  I also found myself looking forward to the next week picking up meaningful quotes and fun new songs during the week to incorporate into my Saturday classes.  I also ended up with the most amazing group of kids who took everything in…enjoying the stretches, games and poses as much as when they finally let go for their final relaxation.

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In October, I taught my first community class along with an adult instructor.  It was a blast and gave me the confidence to volunteer to teach my own class at the studio the next month.  I was also reunited with the gong when my mom and I attended a Friday night gong meditation.  I spent November being grateful and appreciating what yoga (through teaching and practicing) was bringing to my life.  After thanksgiving, I taught a donation based Karma class at the studio.  I was extremely scared (adult’s are quite different than the kids I am used to) but excited to see how everyone enjoyed this unique community style class.

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The next weekend I was back at the studio for another gong journey.

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For Christmas, I gave myself the gift of a yoga practice, taking the time to reflect on what I’ve learned on my mat throughout this past year.  And recommitting to growing in my self and practice in the year to come.  Which made ending my year back on my mat (well a borrowed mat) really special and fun.  Even more exciting was feeling the growth, both mentally in my ability to be present and physically in my strength with challenging poses, that comes with a consistent practice.   In 2014, I attended numerous other classes, some unique and inspiring while others rhythmical and ordinary.  The theme throughout all the classes was that every time I stepped on my mat, I felt strong, inspired, present, and humbled.  What an incredible year of yoga!

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What’s coming in 2015? 

Well, I’d LOVE to take more training geared towards middle and high school aged kids.  I also really want to take an adult training.  After much thought, I decided not to participate in the teacher training this January at my studio. I am sad but know that it is not the right time for me to do it.  I will continue to teach kids yoga and hopefully more community classes. I will continue to push myself and grow on my mat and try to attend as many workshops as I can.  I am planning to do a wedding morning yoga class.  I know that I will continue to use what I learn on my mat in life no matter what 2015 throws my way!

Celebrating the Summer Solstice

It is the longest day of the year and we were back home indoors at 5:30pm because there was a raging storm (complete with flood warnings) outside our windows.  Boo!  We’ve had storms on and off all week, so it’s not really that surprising.  Thankfully, the day started off clear enough for me to go out for a 5 mile run!

 

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Confession: It’s been more than a week since my last run!  It felt great to be back on the trail.  When I got back, I laid down to roll out my tired muscles but ended up using my foam roll as a pillow instead : )

 

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After my run, the BOY and I had back to back dentist appointments (no dental selfie required).  It ended up running late, so I arrived 5 minutes late to the 1:30 Summer Solstice and Silks workshop I was attending at my yoga studio.  My mom got there ahead of me, so I was all set with a mat and silks.  We began the workshop talking about the summer season.  We wrote down on a piece of paper something that we want to leave behind us as we head into summer and then wrote down our specific intentions for the summer ahead. 

 

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We started the first hour with an invigorating aerial yoga class.  I was 100% engaged ad didn’t stop to take many pictures.  Then, we climbed into our silk hammocks for the most refreshing shivasana ever!  While we listened to the sounds of the crystal bowls, we sank deep into medication intended to open our chakras for the season ahead.  I don’t have the easiest time meditating, but found the hammock and music to be serene.  Although I often pushed out subconscious thoughts, I managed to stay somewhere between awake and asleep for the entire hour!

 

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We sealed our practice and regrounded with a delightful taste of chocolate.  It was a beautiful way to spend an afternoon, especially since I shared it with my mom!  Afterwards, we ran a few errands together, and I arrived home in the heart of a thunderstorm.  I got myself safely inside and changed into clean, dry, comfy clothes.  Our game plan for dinner was ribs with the BOY’s Christmas present BBQ sauce.

 

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By the time they were ready for the grill, the rain had slowed and when the BOY removed them 30 minutes later, the sun had almost returned.

 

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We ate our tasty dinner with an easy summer salad and roasted broccoli.  I am not usual a big fan on ribs, but these were fantastic!

 

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Also fantastic…after two weekends of traveling, spending a quiet Saturday night in with Cooper and the BOY working through our DVR.

 

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Did you do anything special to celebrate the Summer Solstice?

How was your Saturday?

 

 

Here are a few more photos of high flying fun from my first aerial yoga workshop!

Just Hanging Around…

 

I am working on getting my 10 miler race recap to you, but also this week, I am working (and have been crazy busy)!  I did manage to sneak in an Intro to Aerial Yoga Class with my mom in between long work days and early morning exercise classes.  I hope you are hanging in there this week too!

 

Tell me…how fun does this look?

Higher Ground

I’ve talked a lot about my hopes and intentions for the year ahead, and yoga has played a huge role in getting to where I want to be.  Something fun that I’ve started this year is trying to find one yoga workshop to participate in each month.  I’m not looking to do a workshop just to say that I did, but I’ve found some great opportunities and I’m usually able to convince my mom or a friend to join.  This is how the year has looked so far…

 

JanuaryDemystifying Sun Salutations

FebruaryChakra’s Mudras & Bandhas

March-Meridian’s Workshop

 

I accidently discovered my April workshop walking out of the studio after my training session on Monday.  I had previously seen the white board labeled Aerial Yoga-SOLD OUT but then forgot all about it.  This past Monday, the board showed that they added a second workshop with just a few spots left.  I immediately checked my schedule and signed myself up before I had time to think twice.  Aeriel yoga?!  Doesn’t that just sound like fun!

 

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I’ve never done anything like this, but had read an article or two about aerial yoga in a yoga magazine.  I thought it sounded like fun, but had no idea what to expect.  I have to say…the anticipation and surprise made the entire experience more exciting!  We started with some brief introductions and then got right into our ‘silk’.  In my mind, I saw us using the silk to support our hands or feet, but never imagined that we would climb in.  But climb right in we did.  And…I LOVED it!  We started inside our silk in a cross legged position hands at heart center.  There was a beautiful beginning meditation and then we did some stretching in this space.

 

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Afterwards, we moved through a vinyasa with the assistance of the silk.  It was there to support us, challenge us, assist in flexibility, and provide a totally different sensory experience.  It was a great core workout without feeling like a workout, but I was sweating!

 

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Then we moved on to inversions.  As an ex-gymnast, this had to be my favorite part.  Through the poses, we worked on loosening some of my tightest hip and back muscles.  It was when I was floating upside down, smiling at myself in the mirror, that I realized that I could probably reach my phone.  I don’t typically bring it into the studio with me, but wanted to capture this adventure on film if I could.

 

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Can you guess which one is me?

 

I grabbed my phone and snapped a picture in the mirror.  One of the instructors was also walking around and taking our pictures, so I’m hoping to get my hands on those too.  I should pause and tell you that the two instructors are multi skilled yogi’s who were kind, approachable, and made everything seem achievable and fun.  The toughest part of taking upside down photos was trying not to spin.  I did end up with a few photos of the ceiling in the process.

 

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And a few blurry ones…

 

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Lucky, these turned out SO much better…

 

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In the end, we cozied back into our silks for shavasana, which was absolutely incredible. I can tell you that it was tougher to calm and focus after all of my floating and flying, but the cocoon was so peaceful.  I found myself wondering how to create an aerial yoga set up in my house (or at least trying to figure out when I could attend another class).  I think it would be amazing to do this more consistently, strengthening your body and working through some more challenging poses.  It was an awesome way to spend my Saturday night!  Having only 11 people allowed each of us to get hands on experience, but I will tell you that we needed a lot less support than I would have thought.  I think this is a huge reflection on the talented instructors.  I’m sad that the photos were dark, but so fun that they turned out enough for me to share my experience.  I will have to post the professional ones if I can find them on Facebook.

*Note…thank you to Ananda Kamala for the amazing pics!

 

 

Each of these yoga experiences has deepened my yoga practice and allowed me to explore more of my emotional and physical space.  I don’t have anything on the calendar yet for May so if you know of a local workshop or have suggestions, let me know.  And just wait until you see what I am doing in June!

 

 

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Have you ever tried aerial yoga?  Do you want to?