In The Middle

Life, Family, Yoga, Stuff


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Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!  I have a feeling, it could be a crazy one.  It’s Friday.  The weather is supposed to be nice and the ghouls will be out!  I plan on taking my son out to a party on the other side of town.  My daughter, will trick-or-treat with some friends and their older siblings, while us mom’s enjoy cocktails!  (OK, I might trick-or-treat a little bit)  My husband will be stuck at the Mall with all the people that are too afraid to actually wander around their neighborhoods, poor guy!  BOOooooooooo and be safe!


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Yoga Retreat with Thomas Fortel

Wow.  The retreat went so well.  It really did.  It’s amazing, that how, even if you don’t feel well, you can just trek onward, and it’s OK.  The best thing for this cold, was the pranayama practice, it really was.

View more retreat photos here.

We had a nice practice of a few hours Friday night at the Firehouse.  We basically settled in, and time flew by, as it often does in the yoga room.  There was a little bit of noise toward the end when we were resting.  The democratic Halloween party was starting up downstairs, but it was all good.  They backed off, we finished, a good time was had by all.

Saturday, we headed back to the Firehouse.  All of our stuff was already there, we were able to settle in quickly and enjoy a one hour practice of pranayama (breathing, in different forms).  It was totally awesome.  Something that I’m sure none of us take a full and complete hour for very often and we really should.  I like retreats like this, as a reminder of how important the breath really is.  It’s what it’s about, it’s our life force.  Thomas doesn’t do any yoga “tricks” or sorts.  He guides a steady, strong, practice with his gentle nature.  There aren’t that many surprises, it’s structured, it’s gentle and tough at the same time.  Like yoga should be, to me anyways.  After practice that evening, we enjoyed a potluck.  Not too many stuck around.  I feel some people were spent, some had traveled from afar and some didn’t want to be around people.  Completely understandable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On sunday, we met at the new boathouse on Lake Springfield.  It’s gorgeous, it’s quiet and the sun was amazing this morning.  Just the drive out there, was so peaceful, knowing what was to come.  We adjusted to our new space, took it in, enjoyed the view of nature and started our practice.  Thomas is a seasoned astrologer (though I’ve never had a reading) I find it all extremely interesting.  He has lots of thoughts and ideas and I’m always open to anything, as we all should be.  The weekend was all about slowing down.  Odd.  How fast time flies when we’re not moving quickly. 

Sunday morning pranayama was followed by an active practice at the boathouse.  Lots of strong, standing postures, making good use of the legs.  I love half moon pose (ardha chandrasana) and we did it everyday.  I also love shoulderstand (sarvanghasana) but my head was too stuffy to enjoy it.  I took a quick headstand and that was it for inversions and me.  I wish I would’ve taken more photos, but I hate to be a distraction.  It’s a beautiful building.  Actually, both venues were stunning and I feel lucky to have been able to enjoy both places in one weekend.

People showed up that I did not know.  I love it when that happens.  My only regret, is not having time to make small conversation with all the people that I didn’t know and some of the ones I knew well, but do not see that often.  When you’re running this thing, you’re busy.  It reminded me (sort of, but not really) of my days at the video store, when lots of customers were in line.  Only, I felt much happier about standing on the other side of the counter at a yoga event.  Thomas brought some beautiful hats from one of his yoga trips to Peru.  I think most everyone bought one.  I bought two.  He also brought some cool berets from Paris.  I wish I would’ve got a photo of all the cool wordly stuff he brought with him to peddle.

Afterwards, I had a quiet lunch with a friend, went home and picked up a few walnuts.  It felt right to spend the rest of the day outside, reflecting on the weekend, nature and the small things.  My life is so much simpler than it used to be.  My house is way smaller.  Everything we have is old, but it’s paid for.  I don’t really want for a lot of things and that feels really good as well.  Retreats are good stuff and I feel extremely grounded at the moment.  Normally, I would’ve wanted to get all the photos off of my camera, work on the web site and start a “thank you” newsletter.  Nope.  Not tonight.  All I needed, was to get a few photos off of my camera, do this little journal entry, and head to bed.  Peace out.


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Sarah Palin in the Burg

The WOLF School meeting was good.  Focus was on some winter gear, forming a parent organization (since there is no PTA over there) and of course, all the positive things that are happening with the kids.  I’ve already mentioned before, how close my daughter is to several of the kids already.  I think the stuff they do at that school, enhances bonding.  They also mentioned how the kids have increased independence and how their self esteem has risen.  I totally agree.

The meeting was at Bass Pro.  They have a Starbucks, lucky me. I was able to get my favorite tea on the way out.  This cold, will NOT ruine my weekend.  The place was also crawling with a bunch of people, doin’ the set up for Sarah Palin.  Guess she’s going to speak at Bass Pro, not MSU like originally planned.  When you think about it, I guess Bass Pro is more appropriate!  The kids are actually walking over to see her speak today.  I’ve never been to a politcal rally, I’m 41, my kid is 10.  I’m not envious though, I have little patience for politics, they actually exhaust me.  I met someone at the Starbucks kiosk that said they were going to send their kid to school tomorrow in an Obama shirt.  OK.  I’m undecided on who to vote for, but I am leaning towards Obama.  My entire family will disown me.  I will have to live in exile with my brother in Boulder, the land of the democrats!

Back to that Starbucks tea.  Quote #292 was on my cup.  I dug it, so I’m sharing it.

The way we get to live forever is through memories stored in the hearts and souls of those whose lives we touch.  That’s our soul print.  It’s our comfort, our emotional nourishment at the end of the day and the end of a life.  How wonderful that they are called up at will and savored randomly.  It seems to me we should spend our lives in a conscious state of creating these meaningful moments that live on.  Memories matter.   – Leeza Gibbons

Now, I don’t know much about Leeza Gibbons.  I don’t watch much TV.  There are some things, that you just don’t expect some people to say.  Hence the above.  But, I truly love moments of revelation, who knew?  Just another fine reason to not judge people by their outer shell.

Off to heavily medicate and teach a class.  I hope I can kick this enough to really enjoy the yoga at the workshop.  At this moment, I’m thinking all the meditation and breathing will be out for me.  My labored breathing right now, would take everyone flat out of their state of bliss for sure!  If not, just being there will have to do!

 


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The Velocity of a Walnut

* Good news.  Sold the walnuts, we had 455 pounds for a whopping $54.  Bad news.  After the storm, there are twice as many on the ground and I’m tied up the entire weekend with yoga!

*If a walnut falls from 200 feet and hits you in the head, at what rate is it traveling?  This happened to me the other day.  I’ve done walnuts for a few years now, never been hit.  First time for everything.  Smacked hard, top, left, front side of my head.  I had blurry vision for a short time, sat down, got some ice.  I consider myself lucky!

*Stayin’ busy with the hobbies.  Frank and Lauren are into making candles.  I burn large pillar candles on a tray and Lauren saves the wax.  They melted it down and filled several jars, some with layered scents and colors.  They also filled votive holders and we now have some really cool votive candles!

*My child wants to quit orchestra?  Why?  Because it’s hard, the teacher is mean, she doesn’t want to practice and the kids who aren’t in orchestra get to do art.  She refused to take the viola out of the car on Tuesday for class.  I think she’s rested her case.  I’ll let her quit.

*I let my child forget to bring her “about me” bag to school today.  It’s like show and tell about yourself.  Never mind that this was hanging on the fridge and written on two calendars in our house!  Sometimes, when I do stuff like this, I feel like the worst parent ever. 

*Do not watch shows like “John and Kate Plus 8” or “The Duggers” or you will feel like the worst parent ever.  How they do it, is beyond me!

*Busy preparing for this yoga workshop.   There’s been some added stress (studio drama), some family drama (not here in this house but in Florida) cross country practice not at a close vicinity, a talent show/chili supper and then tonight, a WOLF school meeting.  So as the final workshop details are coming together, I’m falling apart.

*My throat is terribly scratchy and I sniffled my way through my class today. 

Mantra for the day – Must not get sick, must not get sick, must get sick

 


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What’s Your Dosha?

Before I started my yoga class yesterday at MSU, a student was asking me some questions on Ayurvedics.  It’s not something I know a ton about, but I know some.  I find this holistic Science of Life very interesting and I have and do use some of the remedies from time to time.  You can really dive into this pretty deep.  A fun thing to explore is finding what your three mind/body principles are; that’s called finding your Dosha.  A neat quiz to take can be found here on the Chopra website.  This site is filled with a ton of cool stuff and a great place to start if you’re interested in mindy/body awareness.  I’m a Vatta/Pitta (pretty balanced most of the time) my husband is a Kapha all the way.  It’s interesting, check it out.  You can also search here on wordpress for some cool dosha info as well.

One of my favorites ayurvedic remedies, is the Neti Pot.  As a child I suffered with allergies, bronchitis and asthma.  I had allergy shots, a special diet, inhalers and other drugs.  Yuck.  As an adult, I outgrew the asthma, but was still bothered with allergies and sinusitis.  Through yoga, I learned to breathe in and out, through my nose instead of my mouth and I learned to breathe better.  I also discovered the neti pot and find it very beneficial.  Especially so during the winter months, air conditioning months and when I’ve been working outdoors.  It cleanses the nasal passages and leaves the membranes feeling clean, fresh and lubricated.  I no longer suffer from much upper respiratory problems and I am thankful, to my neti pot and to my yoga.  I can’t remember the last time I was prescribed antibiotics!

Tonight was a fun class I lead at the YMCA.  Great crowd, been around forever.  I introduced them to Thomas Fortel, by using his CD in class this evening.  They loved it!  For many of them, it’s the only opportunity they will have to hear his voice, as several cannot make the workshop this coming weekend.  After the class, we chanted.  We are tucked way back into the basement corner at the Y.  Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t do any chanting.  I’m afraid it might freak people out that are passing by in the hall.

Since my company has left, I also made it back to my favorite class this last Sunday!  What a great class that was.  Really focused on strong, standing poses and balance.  Felt good, even though my right foot has been bothering me.  I need to have it x-rayed, but I’m putting it off.  I don’t want to know.  I have a strong inner rotation at both hips and my right foot, turns in greatly.  I can turn my ankle with ease and look at the bottom of my foot!  I also deal with a fallen arch on that side as well.  Being barefoot most of the day, doesn’t help.  So when I’m not at yoga, I wear my Earth athletic shoes.  They tilt your heel back and feel great! 

Breathe, walk and sleep well.


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The Yoga Event Planner

I feel like I’m getting a cold, and I need to get rid of it.

In yoga land, Fall break at MSU will be over this week.  I will need to start my classes there once again.  Looking forward to that.  Great group and the class keeps growing, so I guess that’s a good thing.  This coming weekend is a yoga workshop I’m ramrodding here in town.  For the second time, I’m bringing in one of my favorite yoga teachers, Thomas Fortel.  I first took from him in St. Louis and loved his classes.  Not all yoga teachers seem approachable.  Some in fact, you can’t even get close to tell them “thanks” after the weekend.  I felt Thomas made space for everyone to greet him and if you didn’t greet him, he would greet you and tell you thanks for coming.  I liked that. 

I asked him to come here last year and he said yes.  We held our workshop at OTC, which is where we planned on holding it again this year.  Didn’t happen.  Even after we’d reserved the space.  They are under construction!  So, the stress of finding someplace to house up to (maybe) 50 people, for yoga began a few months ago.

The new boathouse at Springfield Lake was available for our Sunday practice only.  It’s a neat, cabin like structure with a wrap around deck.  You can rent canoes and kayaks out there as well.   One side is completely glass and overlooks the water.  I am so looking forward to having our event at this location.  One problem.  I still needed space for Friday and Saturday!

A fellow yogini offered us her Firehouse.  We’ve held the Malas there.  Though we probably don’t need this much space, we were running out of options.  And, it’s a beautiful building in a cool area, with a garden courtyard to enjoy wine and snacks after our event, weather permitting of course.  I took it.  It’s all good and we could afford both spaces, the event is on.  Registration has been decent, considering the economy. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thomas leads an awesome meditation and pranayama practice, which is how we start our class with him each day.  We will then enjoy a day of active and passive yoga, reflection and sharing.  It’s awesome.  And what’s more awesome, is I don’t have to drive to St. Louis, stay in a hotel and find my way around and a place to eat while I’m enjoying the workshop. 

Of course, when you’re the workshop organizer, there is work to do.  Lots of it.  There’s the advertising and promotion of the event.  The finding of the space to have the event.  Getting everyone directions to the venues.  Then there’s the keeping track of all the registrants and their checks.  Some are paid for the full weekend, some just one day only.  I will buy flowers, grab the incense, find a table cover and decorate the check in table.  I will have help.  He will be staying with a fellow yogini as my place is not worthy of company that’s not my immediate family!  I have someone to help me meet and greet and check people in, and watch the door for late comers.  It’s all worth it – to see how thankful everyone is after the event.  For most, it’s an opportunity they wouldn’t be able to experience due to the expense that occurs with travel and family obligations.

This is all so exciting and if you’re in town and able to come, it’s so worth it.  Honestly.  You can visit BOWS for more information.  Namaste.

 


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Walnuts Keep Falling On My Head

I love Fall.  I love the leaves.  I love the smell of the wood the guy burns next door.  I love the cool air and the walnuts falling from the trees.  Ever since I moved here, like 5 years ago, I’ve been picking them up.  I used to do it all on hands…and knees.  We have a few walnut trees in our yard.  Our home is 50 years old and the trees are much older.  Our largest walnut tree, shades our deck and is home to an awesome rope swing and a ton of squirrels.  We call it the beast.  Every other year, it over produces walnuts.  You can’t walk outside without twisting your ankle.  Plus, I have this thing for straightening things up.  So I guess that’s why I like collecting them.  My way of cleaning up nature.  

I have received as much as $300 for walnuts before.  I do our yard, the guy’s yard next door and my in-laws on the other side of us.  I also take our riding mower and the little trailer and head down to the walnut fairy forest around the corner from our house.  I picked up forty-two, 5 gallon buckets of walnuts.  I gathered most of them today!  What a great day to be outdoors. 

Whenever I’m out picking up the walnuts, I think of all the people, that are stuck inside, in a cubicle someplace, wearing nice clothes while I’m out in my sweats and old tennis shoes enjoying the day.  It’s hard work.  You have to have a lot of walnuts in order to get much cash.  It’s also a dirty job.  After you store them, they get all nasty, and this icky sludge accumulates in the buckets.  Milk crates work the best, so do burlap sacks, they let the air circulate.  Last year, my husband bought me one of those walnut picking tools.  It’s like a big basket, on a stick.  Reminds me of a pregnant paint roller.  No more bending over! 

 

Sometimes, I don’t like this tree.  It drops big limbs.  And walnut trees are really messy.  Leaves.  Stems.  Sticks and walnuts!  But, I hate to think of it not being there.  We’d miss the shade it provides for our western facing backyard.  I’d miss gathering her nuts.  I’d like to know how old our beast is.  This tree reminds me of the Ents in Lord of the Rings.  I purchased this cool tree face from my friend at the Urngarden.  Now our tree, really is Ent-like!  She creaks and groans and gives me extra cash this time of year!