Everything Flows Onward

finding my dharma. living my dharma.

Yoga Mat, Battleground December 5, 2009

If you’ve not been through an eating disorder before, it can be very hard to understand just what is going on inside the head of someone who is. Today on my yoga mat, Ed* and I engaged in battle. I wrote it down in my recovery journal, but I thought it might be helpful to post it here for others to see. Maybe it will help some people make sense of this disorder. Maybe others who suffer will know that they aren’t alone.

I got to yoga and I sat down on my mat. The first thing I noticed was that it felt good to be there, on my mat. And then I decided that I was going to let this practice be organic. I wasn’t going to push myself to get farther in postures, I just wanted to be right where I was this morning and that would be great. As class began, we all closed our eyes and began centering. In that very moment that things went dark, Ed stepped in swiftly. This was the perfect place for him to start.

Ed: Hey, it’s dark in here. I’d like to fill all this space in. Let me turn on the light.
Jenny: No, Ed. This is my practice. You can’t have my yoga practice today.
Ed: Hey remember that you got rejected by your friends last night. I’m here for you because no one else wants you. I’m always here to help you when that happens. Don’t say no to me.
Jenny: I have not been rejected, Ed. And I don’t want you here anymore. When have you ever followed through on one of your promises to me?
Ed: That is some accusation, Jenny. You’re not good enough and I’m here to make you better. To guide you to perfection. If you’d do what I say for a change you’d see how happy I can make you.
Jenny: These are lies, Ed. I’ve had enough. I want to feel again.
Ed: NO! Look- look at that woman. Let’s see if you can be more flexible than her. That’ll make you better and happy.
Jenny: You’re desperate and trying to distract me. Stop. You can NOT have my yoga today. You’ve taken enough from me. Right now I’m FEELING, Ed. I feel my body. You never let me feel my body. It’s not fair.
Ed: That’s because the EYES have it. It’s not about feeling. What has feeling ever gotten you? Whatever. Anyway… Hey do you want to eat after this?
Jenny: ENOUGH, Ed. Be silent now. There’s no room for you on my mat.

The more I moved and felt myself move, the stronger my true voice became. I told Ed again that I was sick of him. He has only lied to me from day one. He told me yoga betrayed me. But it never did. The whole time it was Ed distracting me from the purpose of my practice. He can’t win with things like yoga around. He is so threatened by the thought of me connecting to myself. He wants me to believe I need him. He’s so desperate he’ll do anything. HE is the scared, weak one. Not me.

I hear Ed so loud and clear these days. He keeps screaming but what he doesn’t realize is that the more he screams, the more I understand what he sounds like. He screams but I will use his screaming to separate myself. If he’s taught me anything lately, Ed, it’s that this is geurilla warfare. That’s fine. The gloves have come off. Today, I’m ready to fight dirty.

I know the war is not over. But today I won this battle. And every victory gives me fuel and energy to persevere. Every victory gives me the will to keep fighting.

*It’s always helped me separate from the eating disordered voice in my head by giving it an identity separate from myself. So I call my ED Ed and I treat my ED like a person who is not myself. Because that is the truth: I am not my ED.

 

YogaVive Apple Chips Review! September 29, 2009

Filed under: product review,vegan,yoga — Jenny @ 1:50 pm
Tags: , , ,

yogachips

Who needs 100-calorie snack packs when you can enjoy YogaVive’s Organic Apple Chips?

The truth of the matter is, I’ve never been a fan of snack packs. I usually find them unsatisfying to both my craving and my hunger. However, where YogaVive Apple Chips are concerned, this is so not the case. First of all…. I. LOVE. APPLES. And not just any apple. I. LOVE. FUJI. APPLES. I eat one almost every day. So you can only imagine how pleasantly surprised I was to notice right off the bat that these yummy snacks are made from USDA approved organic Fuji apples. They come in five flavors: Original, Caramel, Cinnamon Apple, Strawberry and Peach. It’s hard to pick just which is my favorite, but if you’re going to twist my arm and force me to, I’ll narrow it down to Original (can’t fight the natural flavor of Fuji Apples!) and Cinnamon Apple (there is nothing cinnamon can touch that does not turn to yum.)

There is a lot to love about these snacks. Besides the aforementioned Fuji-appleness of it all, I love the quick read that is the ingredients list. Take for example my two favorites:

  • Ingredients for the Original flavor Apple Chips: Organic Fuji Apple
  • Ingredients for the Cinnamon Apple flavor: Organic Fuji Apple, Organic cinnamon

That’s what I like to see, friends. A short list of words I can pronounce.  Just how all food should be. And of course, I’ve gotta love all their certifications: USDA Organic, EcoCert, Kosher, Halal, Gluten Free and Vegan. (Certifications list longer than ingredients list! YogaChips FTW!)

The other thing I like is how satisfying these little things are. I brought them to work with me or ate them as a quick afternoon snack before teaching yoga and they were consistently just what the doctor ordered. I mentioned before my disdain for snack packs. I was always still hungry and my craving was never satisfied. But YogaVive’s Apple Chips are in a category all their own. Before I tried the first pack, I had a hard time believing this little .35 oz, 35 calorie pack was going to feel like anything more than chewing air. But hey- I’m a yogini, okay? I work on detaching from my ego. And so I am totally okay with admitting it- I was wrong. They are deceptively satisfying! And what’s more, they have a really great texture. They’re just puffy, chewy and crunchy enough and they really are the perfect thing if you find yourself on the go and need to hold your hunger off til you can eat your next meal. (Something that, for me- a vegan in nearly-rural Western Kentucky/ Southern Indiana- is very important to have.) I really was happy to discover that they really did hold me over until I could get home for meal time.

Unfortunately these little gems aren’t so easy to run out and pick up in my area. (You can visit the YogaVive website to see if the chips are available near you.) However, they are also available online (for what I think is a really bargain price!) at the following vendors:

Amazon.com
Kosher.com
DrSoda.com
Pangea
FunkyFoodShop.com

I am officially a huge fan of YogaVive’s Apple Chips and plan on keeping my yoga bag consistently stocked with these babies. For a girl who lives life on the go (like so many of us do) Apple Chips are really a wonderfully healthy, yummy, satisfying and easily transportable snack to keep around for whenever hunger strikes!

 

Peace September 15, 2009

Filed under: playlists,Uncategorized,yoga — Jenny @ 2:56 pm
Tags: , ,

In honor of International Day of Peace, coming up on September 21st, I created this playlist for teaching yoga this week. I’ve called it simply, Peace.

1. Omiya – Mychael Danna

2. Mahadev – Ranga

3. Tiffany’s Party – Ranga

4. Knockin on Heaven’s Door – Avril Lavigne

5. Let it Be – The Beatles

6. My Sweet Lord – George Harrison

7. Redemption Song – Bob Marley

8. Give Peace a Chance – The Beatles

9. Examining, Examining – Mychael Danna

10. Within You, Without You –  The Beatles

11. The Times They Are A’changing – Bob Dylan

12. Peace Train –  Cat Stevens

13. Imagine – John Lennon

14. Twameva – Jai Uttal

15. Om Namo Narayanaya – Deva Premal

 

Note to Self September 2, 2009

Dear self-

If you’re looking for something external to change what’s going on in your head and/or life, I’d kindly like to suggest that you let go of that tactic. I’m pretty sure you know better than that.

Go inside, please.

Sincerely,

Your Higher Self

 

Intention June 9, 2009

Intentions:

“I was going to copy my blog from today about setting intentions, but I decided that I wouldn’t. Most of you know about setting intentions and you probably live by them, or at least use them frequently.

I find that setting intentions often is the best way for me to get anything accomplished. Some may argue that intentions and goals are the same thing, but not for me. Goals are hard to tie down, intentions are things that I work on.

What sorts of intentions do you use or live by? What intentions bring your spirit into a better place?”

Yogirev (from Yoga Journal Community)

I, in turn, went to respond to Yogirev’s blog but my comment turned into a blog of it’s own and because of that, I am posting it here as well! Enjoy!:

I agree with your differentiation of “intention” and “goal” completely. Goals to me are more black and white (“I want to do x by this time next year”), and are backed with ambition, while intentions are more encompassing (“My intention is to live with compassion”) and are backed by subtle energies.

I have two intentions that I gravitate towards, and I often end up using them as mantras. Much in the way we often recall intentions during yoga class to keep ourselves in the present moment, I will often repeat my intention to myself several times during the day.

The first one is from the poem by Rumi in which he says, “Let the beauty that we love be what we do.” I first began using this one on the mat, to encourage myself to stay dedicated to making my practice an artistic expression of divinity, and then I realized that it was equally, if not more important to do this off the mat as well. At the end of the day, the intention is to practice authenticity no matter the circumstances. It reminds me to stay true to myself in all situations and to act with strength, flexibility, grace, compassion. It amazes me that it can be such a subtle shift in my energy but it completely changes interactions with people around me. I work at a very, very busy Starbucks and sometimes when things are absolutely crazy, I can lose myself to frustration and forget that at the end of the day, my job is simply to make the cup of coffee that makes someone else’s day. When I remember this quote during these times, I can come back quickly from that edge of frustration and appreciate that it might just be a cup of coffee someone wants, but it is also that “coffee shop” interaction they are looking for. And I will quickly see that the beauty I love is that interaction, so I can let that be what sustains me. The moment I authentically connect with another person, my spirit feels completely realigned.

The second intention I set is also one that began and the mat and turns into a mantra through out my day, as well. That is, “Meet life where it is.” On the mat, it started off as, “Meet yourself where you are.” Obviously, it was a reminder that I change from day to day and that I have to use the present moment,  always, as the starting point. It doesn’t matter if yesterday my hips were more open than they are today. Today this is where I am and this is my starting point. I’m one of those yoga students who always choses the challenging variations and who is never one to back off, so this became very important for me to use on the mat so as to avoid injuring myself and so that I will not have to give up my practice to nurse any injuries. Again, this mantra is incredibly important off the mat, too. How many times in our lives do we get upset because of the way things are and because we can not change it? This intention has done wonders, for me at least, to remind me that it is not life I should wish to change, but instead I should change my reaction to life. Thich Nhat Hanh often says in his books that we have no reason to ever be upset with our circumstances, because 1) maybe we can change the circumstances and if so, we should do it and then we will not be unhappy and 2) maybe we can not change the circumstances and if this is the case, why waste time dwelling on that which can not be changed? We have to meet life where it is. Use the present moment as the starting point and work with what we are given. For me, this mantra/intention is a call to action. It’s saying, “Don’t sit there and dwell on the situation, stand up and deal with the situation.” For me, if I give myself the chance to slip into frustration, it is nearly impossible to come back from it. I use this mantra to catch myself from falling into my ego’s trap.

The power of intention is amazing. It boggles my mind sometimes how miraculously these two intentions work for me. They keep me from the depths of frustration, keep me in the present moment and keep me moving forward with grace.

 

Immersion and Transformation #3.3 June 4, 2009

May 31- Yin/Yang Practice and the end of the workshop

The Yin/Yang practice was about the miraculous balance of strength and surrender, masculine and feminine, unchanging and changing. This is the dance of life, an intricate movement requiring intention, focus and compassion, centered on prana (breath).

We have pushed ourselves this weekend. We have pushed ourselves mentally and physically. I can no longer see the world through the eyes of weeks past, or through days past. I am in a new posture. During backbends, Gabriel challenged us, “Bend back and see more than you did before. More this time, more, more, more.” I see more, more, more now. I am transformed and continue to transform. My mind has opened to experiences it was previously closed off to. Maybe it is only a mere crack, but it is a new place to start. I can meet it there, work in it, investigate it, peek through the opening and see glimpses of the beauty beyond. The mere desire to experience it confirms to me that I will.

My ideas and understanding of community have deepened. I have a greater feeling of our connectedness, of the work we do together, of the power we harness. So much of my yoga has been inside work, to heal myself. I have made great strides, to the extent that I feel an ever-expanding sense of completeness in my being, and that I am now coming from a place where my practice can shine outward, into the community. My yoga has served the purpose of healing me, and now I must take what I’ve learned and share it. It was a gift given to me that I am not meant to keep for myself. It was a gift meant for all.

This weekend was a similar gift. One meant for us all in attendance to have for ourselves only at first, but now we must take it out to our broader communities. I am inspored to action now, to continue transforming and sharing, to expand all aspects of my practice, to live off my mat with the same intensity and devotion I have on it.

Gabriel has been a blessing to me. He inspires awe. He has opened a windo and I have felt the breeze. I see more and I trust, led by his example, that as I continue to bend, more, more, more will come. He shows me what I am capable of becoming through my practice. My divinity is stirred awake further. This is leading me down my path, and that guiding light, I now know, is coming from within. It shines brightly, as it has been polished by myself and those around me. With my own personal strength, and the strength of my community, this light will never go out… it can only reach out and touch the oneness that connects us all.

 

Immersion and Transformation #3.2 June 3, 2009

May 31- Ashtanga with Gabriel

Another yoga session equates to 3 or more life lessons learned! This morning, Chris, Nate, Stacey and I were invited to experience Ashtanga with Gabriel. It was so good because last night Gabriel explained to us the principles of the practice in such a way that we came into the practice with the right frame of mind. Like Hot Yoga, it consists of series of postures. But because of Gabriel’s explanations last night, I understood that although it is repetitive in nature, one can never become bored or unchallenged when fully dedicated to the principles of Ashtanga.

1.) First lesson sinking in: my perception of Hot Yoga is now transforming. When I complain that it becomes boring or monotonous, perhaps it is because I am not dedicating myself to the principles of the practice. Perhaps I am not pushing my envelope. As I explore the realm of Hot Yoga going forward, it is necessary to be dedicated to the principles of Hot Yoga. Not the principles of Vinyasa, which I realize now is what I have been carrying with me to the hot room. I see now that the principles are, therefore dedication must be, different between the two.

2.) I said to Gabriel last night that I feel Evansville is so limited in what we can experience, and I find it unfortunate. In earlier conversation, he mentioned that there are limitations that I am putting on the students and the community that I needed to let go of. (He said many times over the weekend “Your body can do more than you think. You can handle more than you think. Push, go further.” I realized I was putting limitations on what I thought students were capable of…) This must change. I should let up the limitation and allow openness to foster and grow. Furthermore, we as teachers can bring new experiences here. We don’t need to be convinced that Evansville must always be three steps behind. Experience is always open to those who recognize and embrace it.

3.) The silent aspect of Ashtanga puts an emphasis on just being with the community and creating energy and beauty. Our studio certainly has created a spectacular community, and we should strive to always be harmonious in what we create together and remember that we are one. As one we should take our energy out to the world, our greater community, and give it the light it deserves.

Tomorrow: Final thoughts as the workshop comes to a close.