A time of refreshing

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Last week it rained for five consecutive days. That may not sound excessive but, when you live in the desert, it’s not common. Although I’m from the Midwest where I braved subzero windchills, I prefer sun and heat. Preferably both, simultaneously. So I put forth extra effort to make my own sunshine: I changed my hairstyle daily, picked bright scarves and smiled more (and spent a lot of time in the hot room). As much as I know the Southwest needs rain, and as much as I want to like rain, I fight against it. Even the sound of it triggers angst in my psyche. Yet, if I alter my thinking toward rain as cleansing rather than debilitating (I don’t really like to go anywhere when it rains), I realize that even Mother Nature deserves a time of refreshing. Plus, it gives me an excuse to step back and catch up on my reading or napping or my newest pastime: puzzles.

What is your ideal time of refreshing?

Image courtesy of Idea go at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Stretching, bending our muscle memory

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Part of living my life ‘Today’ includes doing things that displace me from my comfort zone. For example, on a recent routine pizza/movie night, I opted, instead, for dinner at a new venue, followed by musical entertainment—which resulted in unexpected, albeit pleasant surprises. One morning I attended a ‘silent’ yoga class, allowing me to focus on my breath and my thoughts without distraction; another day I practiced in the second row where my image is blurrier and it’s harder to pinpoint those areas I might otherwise judge or become preoccupied with. Rather, I concentrated on the big picture—how my body felt and how that translated to my reflection in the mirror. And by saying ‘yes’ to a friend’s spontaneous invitation to the movies, I met five new incredible ladies. When we try fresh things that challenge our norm, we stretch and bend our muscle memory and develop into more flexible individuals, whether inside or outside of the hot room.

What new thing recently challenged your norm?


Image courtesy of ponsuwan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Cumulative [micro]adjustments are a good thing

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Cumulative micro change

[Image credit: Ambro}


So far I’ve learned a few things on my quest to change my life in 14 days: 1) my list of things that drain my energy is too long, 2) my expectations are too high and 3) I can only work on one area of my life at a time. So before I take one more step (forward or backward), I need to re-evaluate where I want to go, how I want to get there, make adjustments and get back on track. This all came to me during a couple of yoga practices this past week: It took me over four decades to get where I am, so it makes sense cumulative micro-adjustments are necessary for healing and change to take place whether it’s inside—or outside—of the hot room. Sometimes that does look like taking a step backward; however, going forward from this place of “starting over” seems to foster a greater sense of self-realization. And slow, lasting change.

How do you feel when starting over?

What I learned after skipping yoga for more than a week


Yoga Toe Stand

Over the past two years, I’ve only missed three or four consecutive days of Bikram yoga practice, until last week when I missed nine. Beforehand, I wondered what I’d do with the extra time, or if I’d go a little crazy(ier) without my regular dose of moving meditation. But not only did I survive, I discovered:

1) I had almost forgotten how to spend time alone, and how to make plans without working around my yoga classes. Life exists outside of the hot room.
2) The practice of “yoga” (the “physical, mental and spiritual disciplines that aim to transform body and mind” according to Wikipedia) looks differently to everyone. It can be a walk or bike ride, or may consist of stretching exercises, devotions or breathing through a difficult situation.
3) I need to make a habit of scaling back in life. This allows for other ways to nurture my physical, mental and spiritual health.

How easy is it for you to take a break from your favorite activity(ies)?

Taking a step back


Taking a step back

[Image credit: Arvind Balaraman]

My consecutive days of Bikram — and lifestyle changes — came to an end.  After 41 days and increasing aches in various joints, I realized too much of a good thing may be doing more harm, rather than healing.  Considering my lab results (see Fighting the odds …), the last thing I want to do is hinder my ability to practice hot yoga.  So I took a day off and also enjoyed my first glass of wine in more than a month.  The next day I returned to the hot room, backing out of the poses as necessary.  One of the most important things the 30+ day challenge did for me was re-program my all-or-nothing attitude.  I feel a bit freer … less bound by the obsessions that sometimes drown out my common sense.  I was afraid I’d wake up the following day upset that I didn’t keep going with my uninterrupted days of practice.  But I didn’t.  Maybe I’m growing up.

What’s something you may need to lay off?