Spring Cleaning for Yogis

A couple of weekends ago my friend and yoga teaching mentor, Chrissy Carter, held a three hour workshop at my neighborhood YogaWorks to clean up our standing poses. I remember having my mind blown when I learned in teacher training back in January that our pelvis wasn’t supposed to be squared to the side in trikonasana (triangle). BOOM. I’d been taught early in my yoga career to “pretend you’re in between two panes of glass” so I’d always been squaring my hips to the side. Same for ardha chandrasana (half moon). So, at the last minute, I decided to get up and go down to the studio for a reminder about these seemingly “basic” poses and two my teacher trainee friends showed up, too.

Here’s some of what I was reminded of:

Trikonasana:

  • Let your greater trochanter turn in a little bit – otherwise your femur is going to be running into your pelvis and you won’t be able to tilt your pelvis.
  • If you hinge your pelvis too far, you’ll be sinking your great trochanter into your hip joint. Ow.
  • Key actions include: front thigh turning out, back hip point rolls forward, rotate your torso to the sky.

Virabhadrasana 2: 

  • Your pelvis should be level. You can achieve this by swiping your front great trochanter downwards.
  • The back frontal hip point rolls forward so you can align your knee over your ankle.
  • The back leg appears to be internally rotating, but it’s neutral.
  • Key actions include: Back thigh rolling out while hip point keep rolling forward,  keep lifting your back thigh upwards, the weight in your front leg should be in the heel, not the toes.

Virabhadrasana 1:

  • It’s a neutral standing pose (because the front leg is neutral, duh).
  • The pelvis is in external rotation; it will never be squared forward.
  • Your back leg is externally rotated just a bit.
  • Key actions: Press the back thigh back by lifting your back inner arch while keeping your front knee over your front ankle; roll the back ribs forward.

Parivrtta Trikonasana:

  • Your pelvis IS squared forward in this pose because the stance is shorter so the stretch on your quad is less intense.
  • You can let your back thigh drop just a tiny bit.
  • But like the last two poses, aim to keep your back thigh bone moving backwards the entire time.

That’s just some of what we spent 3 hours on a Saturday reviewing. The whole concept of your back frontal hip point rolling forward while your back leg is externally rotating is still a mind blow for me, but I’m working on it.

Just fucking write.

So, in the last couple of weeks I’ve sucked at blogging. Things have been busy and I started a new job that’s amazing and came to me in a totally roundabout way and it’s great. I’ve also started to not like Tumblr. None of my friends actually write on theirs anymore, so I don’t like scrolling through my feed. But I never actually sit down at my laptop to actually fucking write either.

And I’m a little bit annoyed about it. With myself for not just writing. So, I thought I’d post a list of the blogs that are not on Tumblr that I read on an almost daily basis:

Laurie Ruettiman – Love this chick. She’s an HR pro-turned-pro HR writer. She’s a really cool person IRL (or at least on Slack) and she’s a badass. And she has, like, 5 cats. So, she’s basically living my dream life. 

H(OM)E – The lifestyle/yoga/food/whatever blog that my yoga teacher Chrissy writes. She just re-designed her entire site and it’s awesome. And she’s awesome. If you like food or yoga or just good writing, it’s a good place to be. 

Inspiralized – I love my Inspiralizer and I love reading Ali’s daily blog posts about recipes, and eating healthy in general. I also like her lifestyle blog a lot, too. 

The Balanced Blonde – Written by Jordan Younger, who used to be The Blonde Vegan, is super cool. She recently finished up her 500 hours with YogaWorks in California and she’s an awesome, verbose writer. She’s teaching at PureYoga one day in April and I have my ticket ready to go. Super psyched. 

Diary of a Yoga Teacher Trainee – I actually happened upon this lady in the comments section of the above blog. She’s going through the same intensive training at YogaWorks that I went through, although with a different teacher. She’s from England and she’s a great writer. 

Ramshackle Glam – I’ve been reading Jordan Reid’s blog since she started in 2009. I love some of her stuff and some of it not so much (style posts?! Nahhhh).  

Melanie Murphy – I follow ONE YouTuber in the entire world and it’s this lady. Does that count as a blog? It’s a vlog, so YES. I have no idea how I found her channel but she’s hilarious and insightful and lives in Ireland. I’m a fan. 

That’s about it. That’s most of what takes up my time. I can’t be bothered with Facebook anymore as everyone is running around, screaming like deranged child on it about how the world is ending, and nobody got time for that. I’m also really contemplating hiring help to switch my blog over to WordPress to get off Tumblr because that’s what all the cool kids are doing these days. Thoughts? 

Is there an awesome blog that I’m not reading? Let me know!

Rant: Day Job vs. Passion

I’ve been going back and forth in my head for a couple of weeks now about this. I’ve been applying for a bunch of jobs and I’ve been tossing back and forth between applying for only what I’m passionate about or applying for jobs that I’d simply be good at. 

Whenever I mention passion to my much-older cousin, she says it’s dangerous to be fixated on mixing your career with passion. Passion implies forever, and our careers don’t necessarily need to be forever. Especially nowadays when people have several different careers during their lifetimes.

I want to find something I’m passionate about doing because whenever I meet people who are passionate about what they do, I feel a tinge of jealousy – I mean, obviously, right? It was always ingrained in me growing up that I should do what I love and what I’m passionate about, but is that not really the way it is? Just because a very small percentage of the population has managed to find a job they absolutely love, does that have to be what we all strive for? Because it’s almost as hard to find as finding your “soulmate.”

Why isn’t it good enough for all of us if we find a job that pays us so we can live our lives and pay the bills and take the occasional vacation? A job that we might happen to be good at, even though it might not be something we’re particularly passionate about doing? 

So, at first I was limiting my job applications to only companies for which I could muster up some degree of passion. Then I realized that those jobs are super few and far between and maybe my cousin was right: just find a job with people that you like (or can at least tolerate), that pays you well, and that you’re good at and, live your life outside the office. 

I went to school for theatre management and took an extra several-month course in commercial producing after graduation. I worked in theatre and the pay was lousy and the hours were even worse. I loved some of the shows I was working on, but even though I loved (and still love) theatre, I knew it wasn’t the end of the world if I didn’t work in the industry anymore. It was my passion and I could do it outside work. 

Isn’t that generally what passions are anyways? Things you do in your free time? Yes, I’d love to teach yoga full-time, but that path is hard as fuck, and you have to hustle, and I don’t know if I’m cut out for that. 

So, in the meantime, I’m going to try to teach (for $$ or volunteer) yoga on the side and then get a job that I’m good at. I’ll try my best not to work in an industry that I find revolting (again) and be content that maybe I’m not 100% passionate about what I do from 9 to 5 every day. My life outside of work is more important at the end of the day: friends, yoga, meditation, theatre, music. 

And if you make your passion your day job, is it really your passion anymore? Just asking. For a friend. 

Meditation for Prosperity

Five or so days before my yoga teacher training started, I was attending a ton of yoga classes, including kundalini yoga. I was still partially freaking out all the time about OMG WHAT AM I GOING TO DO AFTER TRAINING so when my kundalini teacher said, “We’re doing a kriya set for prosperity today!” I was all, “Yessss.”

She advised we do this for 40 days and then it would help bring us prosperity. I believe we’re all energy so anything to change my energy in the direction of prosperity sounded all good to me. I decided to try it. I was supposed to be done the day before Valentine’s Day, but I missed a few nights here and there so I continued doing it through last Friday. 

Now it’s over and I feel good about having done it for 40 or so days. Hopefully the ‘prosperity’ part will kick in soon. The actual meditation is past the jump!

Sit comfortably, placing your left hand over your left hand on your heart and close your eyes. For at least 3 minutes (11 minutes maximum), repeat to yourself: “I am bountiful, I am blissful, I am beautiful. Excel, excel, fearless!”

After that, flip both of your palms so the pinkie sides of your hands are touching and on your next exhale, flip the palms so the index sides of your fingers touch, and your left thumb is crossing over your right thumb under your palms. 

The word you chant, out loud this time, is “har,” which when pronounced correctly sounds like “hud.” So, for 3-11 minutes, chant “har” on your exhale while flipping your palms to face up and down. 

They say that doing this for more than 11 minutes is considered greedy, but 3 minutes is the absolute minimum.

Happy chanting! 

Real Clothes

I don’t know what real clothes look like anymore. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but I feel like I’ve forgotten how to put myself together. After spending four weeks in yoga pants, five days a week, and desperately avoiding having to put on clothes other than sweaters or leggings, I now can’t even remember what I used to wear to work on a daily basis. Damn you, yoga teacher training and general laziness.

I’ve had a few interviews in the past two weeks and it’s been a struggle to force jeans onto my legs. And I’ve lost 6 pounds in the past month (yay!), so it’s not that they no longer fit! To quote the poet Cher Horowitz, they’re just “so binding.”

I had an interview today for a temp job in the HR department of a fashion company and when I went out it was a fashion company, my first thought was, “oh shit.” I wasn’t sure how I was going to convince these people that I gave two fucks about fashion when I clearly don’t. I ultimately decided upon a 5+ year old black wrap dress from Old Navy with black boots and a hot pink leather jacket. 

(Let’s not talk about how the recruiter gave me the wrong address for their offices and the offices are actually located an hour+ away from me via subway. In the end, I chose not to go or to reschedule. Because the fashion industry sucks and Whitehall Street is really hella far away.)

How should I rectify the situation? I thought an inventory review of my closet was in order. IS in order. Meaning, I have yet to do it. But I will. Soon enough. After a season of leggings and sweaters, I have no idea what else is left in my closet. Does that happen to anyone else?

Nevertheless, here’s to trying to dress like an actual human being again. 

One Post

I haven’t written very much in the past month because I’ve been in my yoga teacher training intensive which means I was busy from 9am until 6pm, Monday through Friday, then another hour or so for my commute each way to and from SoHo, so between the actual class and the homework, I had zero time to write.

But it was a transformative experience. It really was. The week before the training started when I saw my kundalini teacher for the last time, she told me I’d have a transformative experience and she wasn’t lying. I truly did. We all did. Every single person in the training with me is going to be a friend for the rest of my life. There were so many tears during our closing ceremonies. 

Today felt like the first day of the rest of my new life. It sounds so cliche but I’m just free writing right now to break the silence on here. I’m not sure what exactly I want to do next, but I know that applying for every-and-any job is no longer a good option. I have savings and I don’t spend a lot, so I can take my time. I’ll teach where and when possible. I have insurance, albeit not very good insurance, but insurance nevertheless. (At least until the ACA is repealed!)

Fear can fuck off for once. I’m going to try this my way. 

Week 1: Done

I can’t believe week 1 of teacher training is over. I was so nervous the night before it started that I barely got any sleep on Sunday and apparently my teacher, Chrissy, didn’t either. I’m sure it was the same for a lot of people. We all sat in a circle and nervously surveyed who else was in the class. By day 4, when we sat in a circle in the studio at the end of the day, Chrissy said something like, “Can you believe how well we’ve all gotten to know each other in just four days?” And it’s true. We really had.

There were pose myths debunked. Super long asanas flowed through. And we learned the secret formula for YogaWorks sequencing. Personally, my mind was blown to find out that our hips are not squared in Trikonasa or Ardha Chandrasana. I was also blown away to find out that there’s a specific method to the madness of YogaWorks’ sequences. From here on out, I’m pretty much going to be keeping an eye on my teacher’s sequences to see if they break any of the rules. I’m annoying like that. We’ve had a ton of anatomy lessons, too. I’m going to really have to work hard to became even the tiniest bit memorized with some of the names.

We’re reading the yoga sutras by Patanjali and they’re so interesting and relevant even in modern times. 

The group of men and women (okay, there are only two men, but that’s okay!) are so incredibly diverse, from all parts of the world, and I’m so happy to be getting to know all of them. 

By Day 4, I was incredibly sore. And after the long asana yesterday, I was even more sore, in addition to exhausted. Today I woke up at the incredibly late hour of 9am and took a bath while doing some anatomy reading and then I stretched and flowed a little. 

And now it’s snowing, so I’m watching the snow out my window while J reads and Playbill sleeps. Happy Saturday!

Snow Day!

I honestly don’t know anyone in the city who loves a good snowfall like I do. I mean, obviously it’s ideal to be able to sit in your apartment and watch it fall, rather than commute to work in it, but I love it regardless. All you need is a good pair of boots and you’re set. It gives you an excuse to go buy (or make!) hot chocolate or extra coffee because there is no better time for hot chocolate and coffee than a snow day. 

I am currently sitting in my living room watching some light, but consistent, snowflakes fall from the sky while my cat sleeps on the windowsill and I’m trying to decide whether or not to go to a yoga class at 11am. I’ve been trying to let my strained knee heel for the last week and a half before teacher training starts (on Monday, OMG). Shockingly, constant yoga classes weren’t helping, so I took Friday off and my knee is feeling a bit better (it hasn’t been in excruciating pain, just extra sensitive). 

Annnnnnnd I think I’ve just talked myself out of going. Thanks, blog and free-writing mind. I’m going to do some light flow and stretching in my apartment before I go to help to administer a survey at In Transit’s matinee (90 minutes, no intermission!). It should be an interesting piece, or at the very least it’ll be different.

And I hadn’t planned on it, but Anjellicle Cats was at a loss for a volunteer tonight so my bleeding heart for cats said yes, so I’ll trudge back out in the snow later tonight to play with some cats that are waiting to find their furrrrever homes. (Have you adopted a cat lately? If not, I seriously think you should.)

In the meantime, get a good pair of boots and enjoy your snow day. 

Tiny Wins

Today was most people’s first day back to work after a most likely stupidly long break for the holidays and such. I still have a week until yoga teacher training starts though, so I slept stupidly late today (for me, which is 9:40am) because Playbill wouldn’t stop meowing around 7am. Anyways, I had a series of small wins today and I wanted to log them here and hope it inspires you guys to log your own tiny wins:

AM Pilates Session: Last week I used Perkville points to book a 30 minute private pilates session and today was the day. It was my first time using pilates equipment and it was pretty interesting. I still like yoga better but I think I need to incorporate pilates at least once a week into my regimen. 

Sushi Lunch: Is sushi healthy? I caught up with an old work friend that I hadn’t seen in a month or more. We’re not super close, but it was good to see her. We went to Sushi Yusaka on 72nd street and it was really good. You know it’s going to be good when they haven’t opened the doors yet and there are already 20 people outside waiting to get in. I didn’t get any tempura rolls, so that’s a win for healthy eating right there.

To Do Lists: I combined my two different to-do list apps into one. And added a bunch of additional things “to do.”

Dairy Free: Another day dairy free! Note: I was not meat-free. Just giving myself a week off from consuming dairy. Second note: I’ve been way less bloated since Sunday!

Meditated Twice: Morning meditations are easy. I get up, I pee, I meditate. It’s the afternoon ones that I’ve been struggling to remember to do (mostly because it was the holidays, but whatever), but today I managed to sit for a second time.

Cooked: I made some kind of risotto and I’m about to make a big bowl of tabouli. I’ll also spiralize a bunch of vegetables to have on hand.  

Cleaned Up: I went through a couple of boxes that’ve been hiding under my bed and filed or threw away a big pile of papers. #declutteringFTW

Emails: In a moment of What’s Next panic last night, I sent a bunch of emails to a few recruiters that I know and a few contacts in the entertainment industry about any possible jobs. I received responses from all of my entertainment industry peeps and that made me feel really good. I made a couple of appointments with two recruiters this week, just so I’m at a good place when training is over, should I decide to take on a FT role again (as opposed to working several different part-time gigs, etc.).

Reading: I finished Breaking Vegan after only 2 days. It’s super inspiring and I truly believe that Jordan Younger is an actually fantastic person (this is just an assumption as I’ve not met her in person!). I’m not vegan, and never plan on being vegan, but this was a great read regardless. Next up: Better Than Before, by Gretchen Rubin. I’ve read her other two books so I’m looking forward to reading this one, too.

New Year’s Things

I just did 5 yoga classes in 3 days. I am sore and took today, Friday, off. I’m going in for one more class before the final holiday of the year tomorrow morning, which should kill me. My knee is acting up but I think it’s strained from overdoing it in King Arthur pose on Wednesday night so I’ll have to go easier.

I was thinking about New Year’s resolutions and I didn’t know what they should be. J said that because I’m doing yoga teacher training, and that’s a big commitment, that I should basically be absolved from making other ones, but I still wanted to think of something. Here’s what I came up with:

  1. Volunteer more – this will likely be in the realm of volunteering with cats, something I’m already doing, but let’s do it some more, shall we?
  2. Go on Facebook less – like 15 minutes a day or less. If I have a question about something, I’ll just have to Google it or reach out to actual human people I know. Facebook is a super fucking waste of time and it makes people depressed, so let’s cut it out. 
  3. Read – I read 14 or 15 books this year. Let’s do it again in 2017. Or make it 20. Why not.
  4. Be healthier – Cook more, eat out less. Get back to drinking once or twice a week and no more. Basically try to feel good. 
  5. Make a vision board – I keep meaning to and then I’m like, “Ooh, NVM, let’s watch My Cat From Hell…”
  6. Figure out what I want to do – I don’t think a 9-5 desk job is for me (unfortunately) so I need to figure out WTF I want to do instead. 
  7. Rock teacher training – Duh. Maybe I’ll be able to master a headstand, too, finally. But hey, just because someone can do a handstand doesn’t mean they’re a good teacher.
  8. Watch less Netflix – This goes for HBO Go and Amazon Prime too. I want to watch less TV so I can read more. 
  9. Be more patient – with my partner, my friends, family, and especially strangers. I currently have no patience, so cultivating any patience would be a miracle. 
  10. Be less judgmental – I would like to look at someone that I’ve never met and not make 10 assumptions about them based on what they look like or what they’re doing. 
  11. Travel Somewhere New: One new city in America (we’re planning on Denver, at the very least) and three new cities in Europe (ideas that have been thrown around: Reykjavik, Dublin, Edinburgh, London, Budapest, Bucharest, or wherever they film the Bond movies in Croatia).

I think that’s good for now. What are your resolutions?