Exploration…

It’s been a little while since I decided I wanted to teach kids yoga…and since then I’ve had the 200 hour teacher training on my bucket list.  It seems surreal that the weekend it all begins is here!

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I have been thinking about this a lot as the date approaches and not just because I am obsessing over my Anatomy PowerPoints.  My main reason for wanting to take the class was to enhance my understanding and skill to make me a better kids yoga teacher.  But, I also realize that this is such  a unique gift that I can give myself as I explore my own yoga practice.  On top of that….teaching adult yoga may be a fun way to make a few extra dollars when we move to the city.  So those three reasons led me to Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) this morning at 8am!

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I was super excited (and also totally nervous)!  I knew that this journey would change my yoga practice and perhaps even change me!  I just had to figure out what to wear on my first day : ) We started with some get to know you stuff and it’s fun to see everyone’s background and what led them to this moment.

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Then we did our first yoga practice together.  Afterwards, we practiced talking through poses and then continued to get to know each other over lunch, which a few of us enjoyed outside.  After lunch, we dug deep with a timeline of our lives and the option to share some defining moments.  I was comfortable sharing, especially since one of my most recent defining moments was marrying my best friend last fall.  This moment shaped my new identity as a wife as I shed my independent self and became part of a new family.  After discussions about intention setting and affirmations, we ended a bit early, which meant I was home by 4pm.

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With the sun blazing, I decided to take a spin on my bike!  It was an absolutely gorgeous day!  And it wasn’t until I was half way through my 10 mile ride that I realized my drive to ride most likely came from the fact that this is my first Memorial Day Sunday in, I dunno, 6 years not doing Bike the Drive.  Not surprisingly, I was all signed up for the ride but passed my entry along to my brother when I decided to do yoga teacher training.

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When I got back home from my ride, the BOY was home after spending the day with his dad.  I showered and made myself a wine spritzer and we sat out back listening to music.

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The BOY made us a delicious seared tuna with broccoli while he chatted baseball with the neighborhood boys.

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We came inside early (based on the neighborhood standards) because I actually have a few patients tomorrow morning and then day 2 of YTT tomorrow night.  The day was a great Memorial Day kick off to summer but also an exciting start to this next chapter in my yoga journey!

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Namaste!

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Keep Calm and Wedding On

What is one to do two weeks before 15 months of planning finally comes together?

Or should I say…How do you spend your second to last weekend before your wedding?

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Truth be told, I am close to losing my mind!  I am way less organized than typical me and I spend a lot more time getting my nails done.  It’s quite odd : )  My weekend started Friday night meeting my mom for a manicure.  Still trying to finalize my color…

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Then we went home for a late dinner and an early-ish bed time.  Saturday morning started bright and early with a workout.  More kick boxing which should be on every bride’s list of things to do and of course a bunch of pre wedding push ups and sled pulls.

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Then I was off to teach my kids yoga class.  We had a special guest, my friend who just took the Rainbow Kids Yoga class in Chicago and her adorable daughter, who joined us for yoga showing the kids that every body and every age can yoga!

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From there, I was back home to meet my mom for lunch at our favorite local sandwich place, followed by some wedding related shopping.  We lured my sister in law out to the suburbs with the promise of wine and of course a morning espresso from our new machine. I should mention that the BOY, my brother, and a crew of guys were down in Louisville sampling the bourbon and BBQ for the BOY’s bachelor party this weekend.

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The night began with a cheese plate and pink bubbles (aka rose) and proceeded as expected.  We abandoned dinner and sat out back for hours eating cheese and snacks, sharing stories of the past, and making many plans for the future.  Eventually, I put everyone to work prepping flip flops for the dance floor bins.

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As always, we stayed up WAY too late and drank WAY too much wine.  So everyone was more than pleased to start their Sunday with a frothy espresso!

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After breakfast, we attacked Home Goods with enthusiasm filling our cart with fall décor and household goodies.  We had a few other shopping stops before settling onto a bench in the afternoon with well deserved full bowls of fro yo.  By afternoon, everyone parted ways and I got myself to work around the house while listening to the Bears game.  I took a huge zucchini from a coworker’s garden last week and promised to return with bread.  Sadly, he wasn’t looking so good.  Since I was still in the mood to bake, I switched over to pumpkin bread.  I mean, it is officially fall!

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This bread baked up perfectly, turning out moist and delicious!  It was a nice end to my busy weekend cleaning up the house with the windows open and the smells of fall flowing throughout.

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Monday was just as busy as the rest of the weekend. I packed in a workout, my last dress fitting, a meeting with the hotel, a phone conference with my florist, a trip to the grocery store, amongst everything else and was done just after the BOY returned from his weekend away.  With just 11 days to go, life has been a bit chaotic, so I’ve been keeping calm with tons of yoga…as noted by all my post yoga selfies…

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And surrounding myself with the support of my friends and family!

Just trying to Keep Calm and Wedding On : )

 

Pumpkin Bread

From Simply Recipes

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 1/2 cups (200g) flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup (200 g) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 cup (240 ml) pumpkin purée
  • 4 ounces (1 stick, 112 g) butter, melted (can sub 1/2 cup light olive oil)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons molasses
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Directions

1 Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C). In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.

2 In a separate bowl mix together the pumpkin purée, the melted butter, beaten eggs, 1/4 cup of water, and molasses. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined and there is no more dry flour in the batter. Do not overmix! If adding chopped pecans or walnuts, stir them in.

3 Butter the insides of an 8 x 4 x 3 -inch loaf pan. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and smooth the top. Put in the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until a tester poked in the center of the loaf comes out clean.  Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Then run a blunt dinner knife around the edges of the pumpkin bread to gently separate it from the pan. Invert it to loosen it from the pan and put the loaf on a rack to cool completely.

A Bit of Blah, Yoga, & Snow

It’s been a challenging week.  I started the week off with a bad night’s sleep and never got caught up.  This led to a few extra work day caffeine runs and that overall feeling of exhaustion.  Oh and did I mention, a finicky pilot light means I haven’t taken a hot shower in a few days…ugh!  After the high of Friday afternoon’s tasting, I crashed!  Physically and emotionally!

Friday Night…

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Saturday Night…

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And in between???

Studying? Actually no!  Saturday’s schedule just didn’t allow for it which is why I was somewhat hoping for a crazy weekend snowmagedan to catch up.   Saturday was my last day teaching winter yoga.  All three classes brought their energy and enthusiasm, and I wanted this last class to be special.  The youngsters started by blasting off to space, then my elementary school kiddos learned sandcript, mastered the trust sit, and rocked the steam roller. 

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My last group of middle school kids was small and they attacked wall yoga with strength and determination before settling into legs up the wall savasana. 

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I couldn’t ask for a better crew of ‘students’!  When the last class wrapped, I had about 15 minutes to snack and prep before the families arrived for our community class.  The laughter began from the start and everyone dove head first into the unique style class.

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After class, I was exhausted and starving. I decided that I really wanted a Which Wich? sandwich!  Although I had planned for some study time, there just weren’t enough hours before we were heading to friends for dinner.  After my late lunch, I followed the masses to Target to pick up a few things for dinner.  And since the threat of snow was sounding REAL (and my phone kept warning me about blizzards), I decided to stock up on snow day essentials.  Yep, I was that girl!  Cart filled with random crap in an attempt to throw together some home-all-day meals.   I arrived back home to find the BOY cheering Indiana on to a victory.  We were both exhausted…lack of sleep seems to be affecting everyone except Cooper.  We considered cancelling our dinner plans since we were both a bit blah, but I knew a night out having dinner with our friends was exactly what we needed.  And I was right!

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We returned home in much better moods than we began the day.  We made some warm beverages (tea and hot cocoa) and decided to go to bed early with hopes of getting a good night’s sleep.  I set my alarm with the intention of going to 8am yoga (wondering if we’d really get snow at all), but my car was covered, the snow blowing, and the streets barely plowed.   I considered taking the chance, especially once I heard that we were in for a longer blizzard than originally planned, but in the end sadly decided to skip…holding out hope that things would be cleared out for the mid morning class.  I took my hot lemon water to the table and set about finishing my current outline while the BOY snored upstairs and Cooper hunted snowflakes.  And then decided that I’d rather play on Pinterest and pick out things to bake today, but then really did start outlining.

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Around 9am, I peaked outside and decided that being a Chicagoan, I felt comfortable enough to head out on an adventure.  With the BOY trying to convince me to stay home and eat cinnamon rolls with him (a staple I picked up yesterday at Target), I cleaned off my car and gingerly made my way to the yoga studio, which I knew would open!

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#yogaeverydamnday

I enthusiastically thanked the receptionists for being there on this snowy day.  Then, made my way into the hot studio for 75 minutes of ME time.  I took a moment in child’s pose to set my intention…thinking about what really got me out of my house on a day like today and onto my mat.  I decided that my main goal was to fully beat the blahs by letting go of perfection and judgment.  Letting go of perfection is easy in a challenging class that has you sweating from head to toe while you attempt to keep your arms/legs/body in a posture and then gracefully move to the next without a minute to think otherwise.  It was at the end as we made our way through a balance sequence (1 legged standing twist, pigeon, warrior III…for my yogi’s out there) that I realized despite feeling discombobulated and blah this week, I truly am grounded in my feet with roots connecting me to the earth.  It brought me out of the tailspin of a chaotic week and into the opportunities waiting in the week ahead.

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I left the studio feeling enlightened and happy, which I explained to the BOY as I called to say I was coming back home before almost getting my car stuck in the parking lot. 

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On the way back, I swung into Target for a few forgotten necessities from yesterday and a sweet reward for braving the storm.

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I arrived home without even a memory of the blah that was as the BOY whipped up Crockpot Turkey Chili for tonight’s dinner.  ‘We have an exciting day of being snowed in ahead of us’, I told the BOY.  To which he replied, ‘we always have fun day when we’re together!’  He’s sooo right!

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Although most of the people I know cancelled their Superbowl plans, I was really hoping that the weather wouldn’t be so bad. We had a fun get together with a close friend from out of town planned with tons of kids and Walking Tacos.  Of course, safety won out (as it should) but we were all still disappointed.

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I decided to take an hour or two to get some reading done in order to completely enjoy the rest of my afternoon at home with the guys, but then discovered a Law&Order marathon on TNT…so much better than studying!  Next up…a HOT shower (I hope)!

 

How do you beat the blahs?

Are you snowed in?  Whatcha up to?

Since We Last Spoke…

I got to catch up with my old coworkers at a continuing ed course and even bumped into a student of mine from 4 years ago.  Man, I am getting to me an old timer in this profession : )

The BOY and Cooper spent the day (while I was in class) building a fort.

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I am feeling almost back to my pre-cold self.

I’ve sent about 100 emails in an attempt to get my life back in order.

Indiana won their basketball game against Maryland!

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I went to the dentist.  No cavities!

I taught three yoga classes.

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I planned next week’s yoga classes.

I went back to the the library…it’s so hard for me to be here and not reading and checking  out every book.

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I drank gingerbread tea.

It snowed (just  bit).

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I met my mom and a friend at hot yoga.

Then did post yoga lunch with my friend at Protein Bar.

Followed by an almond milk berry smoothie.

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I finally made it to Sunday!

Counting Down Until the Weekend {aka Sunday}

This is the week that never ends…it just goes on and on my friends…

I mean, I get that I am spoiled.  Few people work a 4 day work week (although I stuff in a good 10+ hours each day), but when you do only work 4 days a week and have for over 6 years, you get yourself into a nice smooth rhythm that involves 3 long days of recovery.  So a week like this week…is a struggle!  I worked Monday through Wednesday my typical days with two great workouts.  I came home from work last night and crashed onto the floor with Cooper and couldn’t find the energy to arise.  10 minutes later (with encouragement from the BOY), I was able to motivate myself off the floor and into the kitchen to make dinner.  I went to bed nice and early last night, and I slept in a bit this morning which was delightful, had a light work day, and was then off to the local elementary school for their After School Enrichment program, where I teach kids yoga.

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I have an energetic group of nine K-1st graders in the class.  Today, we went on an African safari.  They got really into it which makes the afternoon so much fun!  (Note: above is recycled picture from summer on similar Air Africa flight).  Since my work day ends after the class at 4pm, it gives me a nice opportunity to hit the books.  With the busy start to the work week combined with my not feeling 100% status, I haven’t been studying as much as I had hoped.   Thankfully, my cold/sinuses seem to be (slowly) getting better.  I debated finally going to the doctor today, but decided that I was better…just really run down.

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I planned to go straight from work to the library and actually chose the library in the town over, which is on my way home (as opposed to our library which is past our house).  I worked 3 straight hours and felt great about all that I accomplished.  And as I left at 7:20, felt super hungry.  I swung by the grocery store to grab us some dinner.

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Decisions…decisions?!

The BOY was craving ramen and requested that I bring home the best cheap ramen that I could find.  Which I did!  And then cracked open a bottle of red wine.  After the week I’ve had (and because I finally feel better), I needed a glass two glasses while we watched the Indiana game.

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Red wine + a new box for Cooper + an awesome IU basketball game…life doesn’t get any better in this house.!!!  Which leads me to this moment…savoring my last sips of wine, babbling on my blog, and planning for Saturdays 3 yoga classes.  Tomorrow, I have an early morning and a long day of learning at a continuing ed class.  Then Saturday, it’s back to work for my jam packed kids yoga classes.  Like I said…this is the week that doesn’t end!  But Sunday is right around the corner and then my real weekend begins!

How do you count down until the weekend?

Lately I’ve Been XXIX…

Doing yoga

Teaching kids yoga

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Reading magazines

Thinking about my 2015 Bucket List

Studying at Panera

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Complaining about the cold

Doing LOTS of laundry

Eating Thai food

Playing hide and seek with Cooper

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Drinking tea

Binge watching Downton Abbey (while drinking tea)

Eating lunch with my Mom at WF

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Creating cheese plates

Planning for my wedding

 

What have you been doing lately?

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!