Thursday, February 26, 2009

Energy to Burn

I'm thinking about energy. High energy, low energy, energy to burn. I have two little boys, and I made the mistake of not going outside yesterday afternoon. I just didn't feel like wandering around the cold, wet yard, keeping people out of mud puddles and, inevitably, getting splashed myself. Big Mistake. So the lads were bouncing off the wall by the evening; I had dispensed enough time outs to shelve every single Hot Wheel and was researching boarding school once bedtime rolled around.

Not quite. But it got me to thinking about energy and why kids--boys especially--have so much. There was an article in the NYT yesterday about a teacher in MN who had designed special desks so that kids can stand, instead of sit, if they get too antsy in chairs. I can think of two candidates for that type of classroom. They say boys have so much trouble in school and get diagnosed/medicated for ADHD because of their inability to control their energy and channel it into schoolwork as successfully as girls. What is it about the metabolism of their molecules that is always in overdrive? Brain wired for hunting and gathering? Higher testosterone levels? Sheer ornery-ness?

I guess if it was known, you could "bottle it and sell it." Even when considering my own levels, it seems awfully mysterious--more yoga and exercise, more energy; lots of lounging and lolling about, zero energy. I suppose there's a dissertation or two in all of this. All I know is, rain or no, I better get these stinkers out there this afternoon or there will be Trouble Right Here in River City.

(P.S. We got all geared up and headed out, when it started to pour. I figured that would "dampen" everyone's enthusiasm. Noo--I got to chase a baby around the back yard, slipping and sliding on wet leaves and sodden snow. I finally had to corral them all after 25 min.s of 37 degree soaking. These guys shoulda been born in Britain!)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Another Review of the Literature...

Here's a list of (mostly) yoga blogs for you to check out. Some are new, some are just new to me. Nevertheless, take a look and see who's out there with us in the yoga blogosphere (in no particular order):

Ecoyogini Our girl is looking to save the planet, as well as align her chakras. There's lots of good ideas for greener living; products to try, attitudes to adopt, habits to change. I'm strangely intrigued by the Divacup...
A little dash of this a little dash of that This blog is exactly as is of Hawaii, pics of last nite's ginger chicken, etc. If noodlegirl likes it, she posts it.
Beantown Girlie Katie writes about a variety of topics, mainly about being appreciative of life and the opportunities it provides.
Yoga Is Being Present Ruben Vasquez has a very thoughtful blog that discusses his philosophy and how to apply it to your own practice. You can read it in English or Spanish.
Write on Yoga This is actually the new version of Melissa Garvey's blog, Yogapulse, in case you had trouble finding it. Same interesting topics, new streamlined look.
Babsbabble Yoga from Montana! Bab's blog is sweet, lighthearted and a fun read. Topics range from studio anecdotes, valentines' memories to fun things to do in Helena.
Blissful Body Yoga Teal has lots of yoga links and info on this blog from NC.
Inlimine A deep and considered discussion of yoga and Buddhism.
Dirty footprints is a delightful blog by an artist/yogini/teacher. She is an enthusiastic Etsy participant and has great posts on her kids (students), her projects and other artists to take a look at.
Mightier than any sword Anne-Marie is a journalist from New Zealand. She doesn't write that much about yoga, but she has wonderful posts about what is going on in NZ and Australia (right now she is travelling--yesterday she watched a kangaroo and her joey from her hotel door).
Five points yoga Barrett is a teacher in Boston. I interviewed her for the Yoga at the Gym article and found her to be as funny and sincere on the phone as she is in her blog. She is teaching a lot of prenatal yoga these days, and has some good insights into pregnancy, as well as resources, in her posts.

P.S. A big thank you to Jen, who gave me a Lemonade Stand award on her blog, McSmithleyville. I appreciate the props, m'am! A hug for the littlest McSmithley (I'd send a kiss, but there's an awful lot of yogurt on that little puss).

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Simply Hatha

I had a class this weekend for Triathletes. I'm always glad to introduce people to yoga, so I designed a sequence that focused on core strength, lengthening thru the torso and using the breath to help maintain difficult positions. The students seemed responsive and I even had one sign up for my regular class. I had to keep reminding myself not to "leave the yoga out," even tho the crowd was there more for a workout than centering. By the end of the class everyone was more open, but they also seemed calmer and relaxed. Was it the simple work of the sequence or my teaching? I'm never sure...

My classes tend to focus mostly on the body; what is being worked or stretched, how the pose affects other actions, what should be aligned/relaxed/engaged. It's not a Yoga Workout, but it is asana-centered. We do a little bit of pranayama, but mostly as simple breathing exercises to help calm the mind. We don't chant or do intense breathwork or even vocalize Ohms. I like that stuff in other classes, with other teachers, but I would feel like a big phony teaching it. I don't do it much in my own practice and I haven't had any training aside from a few workshops.

Sometimes I feel kind of guilty about not wanting to include more of the "beyond-asana" elements in my classes. Iyengars tend to leave that study for advanced students and, since most of my crowd is pretty fresh, I don't include it either. Maybe it's my Midwestern tendency avoid other people's spirituality. I'd just assume they get there under their own steam...if the practice wants to move in that direction, they can pursue it with some one more qualified. Or maybe they are moving beyond the physical, just by coming to the class regularly and using some of my cues at home. With my regulars, I get the feeling they are beyond-asana, just by watching their faces in release poses or seeing how they cope with tougher positions (Gomukhasana tends to separate the wheat from the chaff).

When the dust of motherhood starts to settle (if it ever does) maybe I will add a more spiritual element to my practice and, eventually, my teaching. Until then, I guess it will have to be a subtle undertone for the most focused students. Even just sitting straighter becomes more than just sukhasana--there's something of the divine in that floating feeling you get when the upper body is exactly aligned over the lower...

Monday, February 02, 2009

Sucked into the Black Hole of Facebook

Like everyone one else over forty, I joined Facebook last month (as in three days ago, but, officially, last month). I resisted it for awhile, because I knew full well what would happen; I would get sucked in, obsessed, and shirk all my other extra-curricular activities to see who had responded, if anyone commented, and what they all look like these days.

I know this was invented for/by twenty year-olds, but it's an amazing gift to us "oldsters." What a great way to fill in your past (if you want your past filled, I guess). I feel about fb sort of the way I felt about email, when I finally figured it out back in 1994 in grad school--two floppy disks switched in and out of a single drive, long addresses entered, eternal waits for dial-up connection (beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, dong, dong, dong, kkkkkkkkkkkkk). Back then, I was in my twenties and couldn't believe how easily I could reestablish contact with "long lost" friends from 1991. And the emails were quick and breezy and you could feel connected to some one else's life without running up phone bills or writing long letters (remember, that was pre-cell phone)(and before cars were invented).

What goes around, comes around, altho this time it's people I haven't communicated with for 20 to 25 years. They have teenagers who look like they did, the last time I saw them. They have love and lost and had major successes and failures and put some mileage on the odometer. My friend Jeff calls it "one-stop shopping" because it's all the fun of a high school reunion, without the awkward cocktail hour.

Some of my friends shudder at the idea of "putting it all out there" or being available to whoever wants to look. I figure if you exist, you probably have an internet presense and if some body wants to find you, they will. I don't really understand posting anything you wouldn't want your mother to see (she could find it, too, if she wanted to), but chatting with your freshman roommate of 1985 is kind of a hoot.

I wonder what this will do for how we think of our past. I had regrets about people I have let slip through the cracks and figured I'd never hear from again (there's only so many pages of Google hits I feel like scrolling thru). I wondered how this kid and that work friend turned, there's a chance I may find out. I suppose there's something bittersweet about the finality of a discontinued friendship, but I think the hope of rekindling is nicer.

We'll see. The chick I walked with for high school graduation sez the glow dies down after a few weeks and you can get back to work. I guess I have until Valentine's Day...