Feeling like Me

I made a nice compromise this morning: I wanted to write in my blog; however, I really wanted to prolong the time I spent out of my office before work. So I opted to sit in my morning chair with the slider open to the sounds of a beautiful morning since I commandeered Nick’s laptop to write.

Consistency is important when you are trying to reach a goal. I know that very well. So I wanted to find a yoga instructor at Tulaa whose class I could attend weekly in order to have that consistency and grow. The Wednesday night class I found was love at first breath. Now, I have taken a few other classes and have liked all the instructors thus far, but something clicked with Anne right off the bat. When we met before class, she noticed that I was wearing my InMotion jacket and asked if I was a dancer. I told her most teachers figure that out during class, but that I was in fact a dancer, though long out of practice.

Right away the class felt right. The people were really pleasant and outgoing, the energy was one that was lively, yet peaceful, and so ready to work. The asanas themselves seemed tailored perfectly to me and what my body was craving. We moved into a Three-Legged Dog and she came up, tapped my shoulder and whispered, “That’s where I would have known.” I’ve only taken two classes with her and I can’t tell you how many times she’s exclaimed “dancer!!” or “there’s my dancer!!”

Her class is all the things I am looking for. I get the deep stretches, challenging asanas, the peaceful connection, and the full body workout. I leave a tired, sweaty mess with my muscles shaking, but I feel absolutely wonderful and she inspires me to push further. After our first class, she and I were talking and she seemed so excited to get to know me, my body, my practice, and begin to really push me where I needed to go (it’s also a comfort knowing she is a physical therapist). Second class, she did just that. If she saw or knew something would be too easy, she gave myself and a couple of other people modifications to deepen the stretch or make it more challenging. It was great to feel so cared for and not like just another body in the room.

I couldn’t pursue dance the way I had always wanted to. I had so many factors that influenced my decision to not do so and, in the end, I don’t think my body would have been able to handle it. There are no studios for adults around me—the closest is in Philadelphia and I have neither the time nor the money to make that trip regularly. But something I have come to learn is that when I am not dancing, a part of me is missing.

Going to that class? It was the first time I’ve felt like me in a long time. I feel like Kat the Dancer and Kat the Yogi have merged and it’s something that’s celebrated. I would like to find one more class to take regularly a week because I leave Wednesday night wanting more and I think that while I practice at home, another structured class with another instructor would do me good and bring some variation into my practice.

This has been an incredible journey so far and my Living My Yoga goal has already made a significant difference in my everyday life. I feel lighter and ready to take on each day as the blessing it is. I can’t wait to see how this develops and how I develop along with it. I truly encourage people to take some time and think about the things they want to do in their life. We can find so much fulfillment in committing to doing something we’ve wanted to start or continue. This goes back to my post from the other day, but really: find what you want to do with your time and make it happen. Take the leap and go all in. You may be surprised at how much impact it could have.

Namaste

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Make Some Time

In light of my recent endeavors to immerse myself more in yoga on and off the mat, I’ve spoken to a number of people who’ve been curious about it and getting their reactions, and have come to a common theme and thus throwing in my two cents on the subject of “making time” this morning.

This is something I’ve noticed in my own life that I’ve heard others say about their own: there is something or multiple things that they would like to do, say hobbies to pick up, daily actions to add to their routine, or something of the like, but haven’t made the time for. This was my curse for a long time. I wanted to start doing so many things for myself and what those things were/are is irrelevant to this post; what is relevant is getting up and doing them.

I am very fortunate to work from home. That means my 9-5 is just like anyone else’s, minus having lunch on my couch and a 10 step commute, but other than that, those 8 hours are just as long, just as busy, sometimes stressful; it’s work. However, when my day begins, I walk to my office just outside my kitchen and when the day is done, I can shut down and walk out of the room and be “home.” Which leaves me with some extra time in my day.

But I know what it’s like to be busy and to feel like there is no time for myself. However, there usually is and we just don’t pay close enough attention to see it. Taking time to do something for you, whether it’s that hobby, or giving a friend a call, or making a better breakfast for yourself in the morning, is important. It may require some adjustments in your schedule or swapping of activities, though. If you spend your evening watching TV, surfing endlessly on your computer or mobile device, or bingeing in Netflix, guess what, you have some time. Even taking 15 minutes before bed to do whatever is highest on your list of things you never get done but want to, try it out. Consciously make the decision to put everything else down and make it happen.

While this is probably a little deep for some of the things people may want to do, I will always go back to this quote from a dear friend of mine:

Dreams do come true, but you have to make them happen.

We man the controls in our lives. If you want to do or try something, find the will to do it. Doing something because you have to is a part of life, but doing things for yourself is a choice and it’s one we should pay more attention to. It could be simple, it could be huge, but it’s something just for you and taking that time for you will always be revolutionary.

And that, my dears.. is my tiny two cents.

Meeting With Resistance

Something I’ve made a commitment to for Tiny Two Cents is being honest with myself and readers. I am not perfect and sometimes things do not go according to plan (see the two goals I failed at already). I am, in a sense, embarking on a personal journey through yoga and while I have many eye opening and beautiful moments, there are plenty which are not beautiful, but may still be eye opening.

Part of my Living My Yoga goal is to practice more at home because I want it to become part of my daily routine. As inexpensive as my studio is, I still can’t afford 5-6 classes a week. However, I do not want that to stop me from deepening my practice each day. Most days, it’s a quick morning flow and meditation to get myself moving, muscles stretched, and set the stage for the remainder of my day. But sometimes I do miss the structure and length of a formal class. Lucky for me and for a lot of people feeling the same, we have the wonderful world of the internet, as well as apps for our mobile devices if we so desire, some free, others not. I don’t think anything really compares to an actual class because you lack the attention of your instructor and the overall energy of the space, but I still didn’t want that to stop me.

This morning, I went to a YouTube channel I’ve been subscribed to for a long time (but haven’t used much) and began her 30 Days of Yoga. I would like to say I’ve made a commitment to completing the 30 Days (and I probably should), but I have yet to do so. Either way, I completed Day 1 and it did not go as well as I would have hoped. I started the practice angry because my darling kitten decided to attack (playfully, but painfully) and she had already got me good earlier, so I was not having this during my peaceful time.

The rest of my practice was met with resistance and distraction. I was “upset” because it was much easier than I would have liked. However, she kept saying, take it easy. It’s only Day 1. So I continued and tried to focus on my practice, which I did, but kept coming in and out of it. One of my goals through this process is to become more present on and off the mat and it is very frustrating to find myself getting distracted and losing that presence. Of course once I realized it, I fell even further away.

However, I completed they day’s practice and learned something about myself and how I need to move forward: with patience. This is certainly a marathon and I need to remember that it will take some work, but that with patience, I can find a sense of calm and work towards being more present and grateful for each practice, regardless of how well (or not well) I think it may be going. With this realization, I feel good about continuing my day and taking this lesson along with me.

Namaste

P.S I’m hearing more and more through the grapevine that I have people keeping up with my posts! I would love to get some more subscribers and even more so, would love to hear from people in the comments! ❤

Living My Yoga

This is a very exciting day for me as I’m currently writing my second post for the day! Considering the goal I set for myself this morning was to work on trying to optimize my downtime, I figured now is as good a time to start as any!

Not long ago, I wrote a post about a comment that was made to me by someone I love dearly that caught me in my tracks and made me realize there is significant work to be done. So I took some time to figure out a path because I don’t think doing something on a whim would be for the best. Through my exploration of ways to work on this personal growth, I realized other things I need as well.

The beauty of this goal is that the end result may change as I move forward. The steps I am taking are also allowing me to fulfill my other goal of getting away from technology by providing me with alternative activities. Talk about a sweet deal. So what is the goal? I am genuinely seeking to Live my Yoga.

I am absolutely interested in the physical benefits of yoga and the sense of peace I leave with every time. However, I’ve done yoga before and that’s usually where it ended. But I wanted this time to be different. I wanted to extend my practice to my every day routine and have taken to quite a few different things in order to achieve this:

  • Writing:
    • I write in my journal to reflect on my day-to-day experiences and process my emotions
    • I’m keeping a yoga/meditation journal to log my progress, successes, and challenges
  • Reading:
    • I am no expert on yoga, so as part of my practice, I am starting to read books to help me deepen my understanding. Right now, I am reading Living Your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Every Day Life by Judith Hanson Lasater and it is exactly what it sounds like. But it’s more than just words on a page. It’s things you can actually do in order to take your practice into every day life. I haven’t gotten far, but I love it already.
  • Yoga:
    • I found a class I can attend weekly in addition to trying other classes/instructors at the studio (more to come on that)
    • (One I am struggling with) I would like to increase the amount of yoga I do at home, even if it’s just a 10 minute flow first thing in the morning
  • Meditation:
    • Also trying to increase the consistency with which I meditate. There is a quote I’ve seen quite a bit that is perfect for me:

You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you are too busy; then you should sit for an hour.” 

I am trying to take care of myself through this process so that I may become more calm, especially in times of stress, and learn how to better live in the moment. I am a highly organized person and it’s a quality I love, but I walk a fine line between organized and controlling sometimes. I want to be present in my life and relinquish the desire to control when it’s really not necessary. I think it will improve my quality of life and help me in my relationships with others.

There will absolutely be more to come on this topic, but for now I will leave it at that. I feel good about this endeavor and I’m really excited to see this start to take off. So until next time!

Namaste

Double Whammy

This morning’s entry started from what would have been a Facebook status. I sat there writing it out, only to realize I could turn it into a post. After reading a dear friend’s blog this morning, I am really starting to envy the people who are immersed in the blogging community and it leaves me wanting to put more into this, as well as connect with other people who share my enthusiasm for blogging. So when I realized there was more to my status, I seized the opportunity.

I woke up this morning an hour and a half before work, which is not that uncommon (I usually give myself 2 hours). But I found myself without the time I would really like to have in order to start my day. I’ve taken on some personal goals recently (that I should really share on here now that they are starting to take off) and the great thing is they leave me with many, many options for how to fill my time. However, isn’t it the truth that we could always use an extra few hours in the day? My answer is most certainly yes.

I sat in my chair with my morning cup of coffee and was writing in my yoga/meditation journal and realized that, from there, I was ready for a morning flow, meditation, writing in my personal journal, writing in my blog, tackling some other items on my to-do list, the list goes on. However, my morning was over. It was time to pack things up and start my work day. The thought crossed my mind that I could fill my entire day with all the things that I’ve started to do and really enjoy doing. Fact is: I can’t do that because of a little thing called my job, but maybe I need to refine my down time to better optimize it.

The things I like to do are not activities to check off my to-do list. They are designed to help me live in the moment and process my day’s thoughts and actions—to allow me to be more present in my own life. I am excited about the things I’ve started adding to my day, maybe there just needs to be a little more focus to make it all happen.

Because I have not updated my goals section in a while, I will do so now! I have two goals set for myself that I’ll talk about here.

Goal #1: Spend some time searching for new blogs to follow.
– I want to connect with people who are also out there blogging. I’ve seen many friends do this via their own blogs and I would love to find a nice little network.

Goal #2: Find some ways to optimize my down time.
– I think part of it is waking up a tad earlier since most of the things I do feel the best first thing in the morning. However, I know a few of them can be incorporated into my evenings as well, so I need to just figure out what those things are but without forgetting to do what feels right in the moment.

I feel like things are a tad jumbled right now, but with this realization, I really think a beautiful system may come of it naturally and perfectly tailored to me.

Have a great Thursday!
-Namaste-

 

The (not so) Big 2-4!

Yesterday was my 24th birthday (woo!). I spent the weekend making sure I took time to see friends, spend time with Nick, and I’m happy to say I also took time out for me. Friday night was great because I got to see a dear friend’s show at Tyler and in the process, got to see a lot of friends that I have not seen in a while. I left feeling as I usually do: missing spending time with my friends who are now all over the place.

Saturday, I got up nice and early to spend a snowy day with Nick at his job. I cut out at 11 to treat myself to a facial at the local spa and absolutely loved it. Also got my nails done—something I do often, but always a treat. Nick met me there after work and we went home to relax for the evening. Nick gave me my gifts early because he is terrible with surprises—a baking pan set and a KitchenAid Standing Mixer we’ve named Esmerelda. I’ve already made banana bread with her!!

Sunday was very exciting. I got to go to the Baltimore Aquarium with Nick. It was my first time going to an aquarium ever. We had a really nice day there, though the crowds were bugging me. We got to see a dolphin show that was really quite awesome. While I hate seeing any animal in captivity, it’s very cool to see how intelligent and sweet natured they are. It’s still a bucket list item of mine to go swimming with dolphins at some point.

After the aquarium, we made our way to lunch with two of our really great and wonderful friends who took time out of their busy schedules to spend a little time with us for my birthday. We went to Birroteca in Baltimore. I had a delicious personal pizza and Nick and I shared a Nutella Cheesecake for dessert. It’s always great seeing them and, coming from a person who was nonexistent during school, it meant a lot that they met up with us.

dinner_out

Delicious lunch/dinner with Brittney and Adam

Saturday night, Nicholas had a hockey game and I was wiped, so I stayed home. It was an early night for us since the day was quite long. I had Monday off, so I got up early, spent a little time relaxing, but didn’t want to waste the day away, so after a few phone calls for my B-day and baking, I set out to spend some Christmas gift cards. I got a blouse from Macy’s that I wore to dinner last night (forgot to take pictures, whoops) and a bunch of jewelry and two small purses from Charming Charlie. Managed to not spend my whole gift card there and I got some really great pieces to add to my large collection.

We went to dinner at this really cute hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant in Wilmington and were stuffed by the time our entrees came out. So luckily, I had delicious chicken parm for lunch. I had a wonderful weekend and couldn’t have asked for much more.

So now for those two cents… I don’t want this post to end on a depressing note, but it’s something I thought of multiple times this weekend and feel is important to mention. I didn’t go to Nick’s game because I was tired and didn’t feel like sitting in a cold rink. While he says it’s not a big deal, it was his team’s championship game that they went on to win. Fact is: I should have been there. There was another event this weekend that I should have been there for and I wasn’t because it was “inconvenient.”

I’ve been working harder at being there for people when they need me, regardless of how it may inconvenience me. But I dropped the ball this weekend and, while I don’t think anyone involved is hung up on it, it was a swift kick to remind me of how important the people in my life are. I was actually reminded of that when I realized how much it hurt not to hear from certain people yesterday. Sometimes life gets in the way and we can’t be there all the time for everyone. But it’s important to not forget the little things we can do and to try to make the big things work to the best of our ability. I ultimately want to be the kind of person I want in my own life.

I had a wonderful birthday this year and it’s because I have wonderful people surrounding me. I am incredibly grateful to have such a strong network of friends and family. So here is to working harder at being there for the people I love and to an amazing year as a 24 year old!

Not Through a Screen: Part II

So the time has come for me to begin writing Part II to Not Through a Screen. If you haven’t read Part I and would like to, here is the link. The gist of it is this: I truly believe that our lives are being dominated by technology and, while advancements are wonderful and truly impressive, there is a time and place for its use.

All too often we are surrounded by people on their phones. I have become much more perceptive of it and have, in some instances, become the phone police. I’ll tell you why; when you start to notice it more often, it becomes more and more disturbing. The worst is when even calling someone out isn’t enough. To be on your phone sometimes is fine. I’m definitely on mine. But when you can’t be torn away from your device, there’s a problem.

I’m no saint. I love blogging, surfing Pinterest, and Facebook. Again, for me it’s not about relinquishing, but moderating. When I am with friends and family, I don’t want my eyes on a screen. Time is precious with each and every person in your life. I feel like many are losing sight of that.

So where does Part II come in? Quitting cold turkey is not the goal. The goal, again, is moderation. So the question becomes, “How can I moderate and distance myself from the use of technology?” Some options are easier to figure out:

  • Little to no phone use when I am with family or friends
  • Keeping my phone on silent during the day (boss hates this one but has come around to it—I have an office phone)
  • Choosing to close down and perform another activity when I’m feeling hooked
  • My computer goes off at the end of the day, unless I have more work to do or plan on blogging later

But I wanted to try and come up with more than just “rules.” I wanted to come up with things I could work into my routine that would allow me to naturally phase it all out. I’m all about smaller steps recently and so I’ve started with my mornings. I am very fortunate to have time every morning to myself. Sometimes it’s less than others, but I typically have an hour and a half to two hours to get ready and focus on the things I would like.

The first and most expected rule is no technology until I am ready to either blog, email, or start work. I charge my phone in the morning, so it stays in the bedroom. But as I said, I needed to come up with something to add into my routine to not just act as a rule, but to teach me ways to better spend my time. So I’ve started to have my first cup of coffee in my chair, with no TV, no phone, no iPad, nothing. Just me and my cup of coffee to the hum of my fridge and heater (and the occasional cat noises).

The result has been astounding. Having my first cup of coffee works great because I am not a fast drinker. I take my time and it slows the process down. From there, I just let my mind wander. Sometimes I talk out loud (probably a little odd, but no one is listening, so who cares), but the goal is just to be. Similar to how I meditate, I don’t try to push thoughts away; I welcome the good thoughts and acknowledge the not so good ones. But when those come into the picture, I imagine gently bowing to them so as to move on.

Sometimes letting your mind wander is seen as a bad thing, especially if you are stressed or feeling down. But this is an opportunity for me to be introspective and see what it is my heart and mind want to go to. In the end, I usually end up feeling very grateful, excited to start my day, hopeful for the short and long term, or just content and happy. So I have a reason to be away from my devices and end up giving myself some “me” time before starting a day filled with work and responsibilities.

While there are other things I do to fill my time in the morning, such as writing in my journal, doing a quick flow or stretching, or reading if I am not too tired, having that cup of coffee with no distractions is one I wanted to try and have had much success with so far.

You can say that you want to achieve something all you want, but unless you figure out a way to practice what you preach, you may find yourself falling short on your goals.

I would love to hear if anyone else has things they like to do to “unplug” during their day and/or ideas to try! Have a great Wednesday! (I hate Wednesdays but I am tapping into my eternal optimist side) haha.

Need Some Grounding

I began this post early yesterday morning. However, I ran out of time to finish as I needed to start my day at work. So as not to abandon it, I will continue as I was. 🙂

After a wonderful weekend, I feel a tad scattered this morning. I did something I always try not to do: went back to sleep after I woke up without an alarm at a reasonable hour. So I ended up sleeping a bit later, woke up thinking it was 7:15 when it was actually closer to 7:50, and since then I’ve felt like I’m just walking in circles, unsure of where to go next. Safe to say that isn’t how a typical morning works for me.

I fully intend on writing Part II to my post, Not Through a Screen; however, I just felt that today could use a quick post about the weekend to get me settled in for the day. This weekend was quite wonderful. It began at 5:30 on Friday with a ‘Rock your Asana’ yoga class. The class was set to high energy, rock/metal music with the intent on creating a dynamic and motivating flow class. Let me tell you, it was great. I am all for the calming, zen music during yoga; but this was great because the music really drove me forward and I think that I can now try and do the same with any music played in class. The intention I set was to use the energy of the songs to energize my practice. I felt focused and motivated throughout and it’s safe to say, I am a fan.

After a much needed shower, I finished packing and taking care of the cats to set out to Kingston, PA for a girls’ weekend. I got to spend a couple of days with two of my best friends and we had a weekend that was different than expected, but wonderful all the same. We did a lot of eating and plenty of waiting until the next time we could eat but had a blast doing so. Sadly, our plans of a nice hike were kiboshed by wind, but we were still able to have a chilly lunch by the lake at one of the state parks near her.

The whole weekend was filled with realizations of how our lives have changed since we were together in college—how we are growing up. Sometimes it was a welcomed thought, like when we went to the grocery store for snacks and ended up picking mostly healthy items. Other times, it was a little strange, like when we were set on 2-3 margaritas at dinner and more when we got home, but each ended up having a mojito and water at dinner and 2 beers at home. Not to mention, some of the conversations were very strange to be having in general. But I’m glad to know that there are some people I will go through life and all its stages with, having more and more strange conversations I don’t feel ‘adult’ enough to be having.

Back to this morning. I managed not to go back to sleep after I woke up sans alarm today and that means: here I sit, able to finish my post with time to spare! Not quite sure I want to switch gears at this point, so I will bring it to a close. Spending time with the people I love makes a world of difference and has really made my life so much better. It was lovely spending the weekend with those two and I can’t wait to do it again!