Lemons are for throwing

Life is full of lessons. Lessons that sometimes repeat themselves, leaving you questioning the fruits of the lesson that you thought you learned before. Sitting there scratching your head wondering, “but, I thought I got it the last time….”

I can’t believe it can change in an instant. This life of ours. I have several friends who are going through some serious life changes, divorce, death, cheating, loss of jobs, and offers of new jobs across the country…Life as we know it can change in an INSTANT.

My life recently changed in an instant, for the better I’m sure, though it’s sometimes difficult to see it while you’re trying to adjust to this new life you’ve been forced to fit into. It’s like having to wear a shoe that’s just not quite the right size: uncomfortable, sometimes even painful, and really difficult to adjust.

So here I am once more.. in a totally different life. I couldn’t really put my finger on it before. I know it’s good, I know it’s going to take time to adjust, but why is it so darn hard to get out of the funk? Then it happened today. By the “it”, I mean that I realized that I am mourning the loss of an old life. I’ve shed that skin and feel naked. Today I saw my old life. It was weird, like looking in at my life from the outside, only I’m missing and no longer live that life. I have a new life…

It leaves me asking tough questions, “Who am I? Why am I here? Do I live my life with integrity? What am I going to do? Why do I do?” These are all good questions, but they’ve all led me to the most important question of all.. “How can I make the most of this life, this life as I know it right now, because it can change… in an instant.”

Special thanks to all of my friends and family who’ve been there to help me adjust to my new life. You know who you are. I am so very grateful for your presence in this present life.

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain..” -Vivian Greene.

My Friend Anusara

As many of you know, my shoulder injury has limited my ability to do a lot of what i truly love…. Lifting heavy things, putting heavy things overhead, and pulling my heavy body up to a bar, are just a few of the “things” I can’t do. It has been six months since I initially felt the onset of injury, while not as painful, I’m still having symptoms. I am determined to get back into my CrossFit routine, but really need to do something that’s not going to irritate and exacerbate the swelling and pain.

My chiropractor, Don Dudley, owner of Health Source Chiropractic in Rochester, kept suggesting, “yoga, yoga, yoga..”

“Ugh”, I finally responded, “I SUCK at yoga”.

Putting his hand on my shoulder, he gently said, “I know, which is the very reason why you need it!”

You see, my body, as strong as it may seem to those of you on the outside, is actually very weak. I use the BIG muscle groups in order to lift things up and put them down. So why would I do yoga??? Yoga is just stretching right? Well… when done correctly, yoga poses strengthen while lengthening muscles creating a more muscularly efficient balanced body.

Here’s the thing… while some of you get intimidated by my talk of barbells, cleans, and jerks, beating the clock… I shudder at the thought of having to go into a class full of people, who are mostly all more flexible than I.. Yes, yes, I realize this is all ego speak here… but dang it’s intimidating to look over at a woman, or better yet a guy in your class who is balancing on one leg while the other appears to effortlessly float above, looking like a perfect T, while I have my hands on my blocks, attempting to straighten my grounded leg, at the same time trying to balance and lift the dangling leg higher than my knees. Truly the ultimate ego crusher.

So, I begrudgingly contacted Heidi Kaufman, owner of Blue Lotus Yoga Studio and Peaceful Kids Yoga, for her advice. She urged me to come to a few classes at her studio after hearing of my stinky shoulder situation. She said, “you need alignment and opening”.

I take yoga up to three times/week now. Vishali Varga and Sherry Hecker are two teachers whose classes I attend diligently. Their classes are based on anusara yoga, a type of yoga that is founded on alignment and opening your heart center. In practice, this type of yoga teaches the student how to use all of the muscles in the body to lengthen by strengthening. It allows for the use of blocks, straps, wedges, and bolsters in order for the participant to be able to have the correct alignment before engaging in the pose, which is ultimately better for the body and more effective in strengthening and stretching than just moving from pose to pose with incorrect posture or form. Hmmm this is beginning to sound just like my philosophy of coaching CrossFit classes, only it seems I haven’t been abiding by my own philosophy when it comes to my own practice.

Ultimately, this is good for my ego and good for my body. I fall over, laugh, get laughed “with” (not at), and feel very humbled, while at the same time proud of myself for trying. I know that each time I practice, I’m bettering myself and my body. My yoga practice has even translated into my CrossFit work outs. I’m trying not to be so focused on “beating” times or rounds, but on holding myself to a high standard and being happy that I worked with intensity and diligence throughout the class. I’ve even found myself, secretly bowing my head in reverence to my body and soul for completing such a difficult task.

Anusara is not without a spiritual component, but attaches itself to no particular religion. Anusara focuses on utilizing the Universal spirit within all of us to develop and refine all parts of ourselves: body; mind, including our reasoning and intuitive capacities; and our emotions, including the deepest virtues of our heart. Anusara yoga will never push you past your limits, in fact pushing too hard is discouraged as it is believed that stretching to the point of shaking or pain creates push back and tightening by your muscles in turn creating the opposite effect intended.

Each class starts out with a short meditation and a theme. Usually it is how different aspects of life can be compared to our yoga practice. Sometimes it’s on the different principals of Anusara. Some teachers chant “ohm” three times, some don’t. I felt really uncomfortable and silly chanting in the beginning, but now it feels grounding and cleansing. I almost look forward to it. If chanting makes you feel uncomfortable, just sit silently, no one else is going to know-they all have their eyes closed.

Anusara yoga can be as intense as you want it to be. You get precise coaching as to how to lengthen your body parts just a little more by engaging those antagonist muscles (muscles that work the opposite action of another muscle group, i.e. bicep/tricep) to help stretch the intended muscle group. Prompting is usually, “squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, or firm, firm, or while lengthening outward, drag inward to engage the muscle”. I’ve come out of classes with a healthy glowing feeling, while others I leave feeling like my muscular strength was supremely challenged. I’ve noticed a change in my posture AND my flexibility is increasing. I can ACTUALLY touch my toes now! I can also set goals in yoga… like… my long term goal is to get a split, short term goal is to be able to touch both hands to the floor in “uttanasana” (standing forward bend).

My favorite part of class is Shavasana. Shavasana is “corpse pose”, and is performed, or NOT performed, at the conclusion of every class. In Shavasana, you lie on the floor, arms at a 4 degree angle, legs straight, eyes closed. You breathe in and out of your nose and scan your body for any tension. Focus on relaxing the tense areas, while trying to quiet the mind and just be. Lying on my mat, in that moment, I feel so connected to the universe and usually all of life’s troubles seem to drift away. I’ll take five minutes of nothingness to being in a constant state of analysis and cognitive processing.

To learn more about Anusara yoga click here. Below is a video about the first principal of Anusara Yoga, “Opening to Grace”. One of the best explanations I’ve seen.

© Copyright Health Coach - Theme by Pexeto