In The Middle

Life, Family, Yoga, Stuff


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Yoga Rocks

A few weeks ago I had some energy I needed to release.  I love yoga and it’s a good way to gain and let go of energy.  It can work either way for me depending on what I choose to practice.  So.  I wasn’t really feeling angry or anything, I just felt…..I don’t know.  Like rockin’ out.

So.  I threw down my yoga mat and put on some classic rock and roll.  I know what you’re thinking.  What kind of yoga practitioner/teacher is this?  The non-traditional kind I would guess.  But.  I wasn’t teaching a class was I?  I was simply throwing down my mat and throw down I did.  To AC/DC. 

I didn’t meditate obviously.  That would’ve been mighty hard to do with Back In Black blaring in the background as, yes indeed it was.  I decided on sun salutations, the perfect way to release pent up energy and sweat at the same time.  All the while – while staying incredibly calm.  It worked.  Totally.

As I cruised through the greatest hits and others from AC/DC , I couldn’t help but think this.  What if right now, this was a real yoga class with this kind of music?  Hilarious!  I like music in a yoga class.  In fact I use it in almost all of my classes.  I won’t ever forget the first time I had my class totally choreographed to a CD and then low and behold the CD player didn’t work.   Hence was the first time I had to teach without music.  From then on I told myself I’d never choreograph another class and I really haven’t.  Though I still like to teach with music and take a class with music, I’ve learned to take it or leave it.  I’ve learned to teach without it and at times the silence is very welcoming.

Back to my experience of yoga and AC/DC.  As I cruised through, I don’t know how many sun salutes and strong standing postures I started to think.  What if we actually opened a heavy metal yoga studio?  We could call it Metallic Yoga or something like that.  My imagination started running wild with crazy ideas.  What if all the students had to wear spandex or some form?  What if all the teachers had to have big, rock and roll hair?  Everyone would have to have a bandana tucked into their pants or on their heads.  In our boutique we could sell ripped up tank tops with big arm holes.  Only for the women of course, because the dudes could wear a vest or go topless.  We could offer yoga mats with lightning bolts, skulls or roses painted on them.  I’m sure we could find a student who would do the art work for free.  We could sell black and black light nail polish.  Big skull/crossbones and snake finger rings.  We could place a big chain around everyone’s neck upon entry.  Chains that we would charge a rental fee for of course, but a mandatory rental fee.  We could gauge the integrity of their Chatarunga (yoga push up) by the clanking of the chain on the floor.  Too loud means you went too low and too fast and so on.  We could offer an Alice Cooper and Kiss class.  This of course would include yoga in full facial make up, eye liner, white paste, the whole deal.  Maybe we could offer wigs and goatees and mustaches as well because, they’re in you know. 

Of course this would have to be a fairly intense class because of the nature of the music.  I’m thinking for our softer postures, and I’m talking the stuff we do on the floor like forward bends and twists and such, we could play a long, drawn out instrumental.  I was thinking Eruption by Eddie Van Halen, but then I changed my mind.  We could go with Jeff Beck’s Bolero instead, a little less intense.  Yeah, that would work.  And maybe for final relaxation we could break out Led Zeppelin’s Going To California and Tangerine or something. 

We could play the Allman Brothers instrumental Jessica on constant replay as our signature welcome to our studio song.   What would we have to pay out in royalties?  It wouldn’t matter.  We would be rockin’ our yoga in a space of at least 8,000 square feet with rent of $5,ooo per month and we would still have a ton of dough left over.  We could spend a fortune in dry ice and fog the place out in a theatrical haze.  Instead of cute little lamps we could use Lava Lamps in a variety of colors.  The studio would be painted black of course and be located preferably underground.  Like a basement for sure.

Then the CD quit.  I rested in my sweaty shavasana/relaxation for 15 minutes.  I left the cloud of rock and roll and re-entered the real world when my dog decided to lick my fingers and one of my cats decided to dig her claws into my foot.  Ouch.  Wake up call.  What in the hell just happened?   I suppose I just had a dream but I was awake.  And Wide Awake I was. 

Hey.  Isn’t that a song by Katy Perry?  Oh wow.  Now we’re opening studios depending on the genre of the music!  I may be onto something here.  Ahead of my time and exhausted just thinking about it.

What did I do next?  I put on Alanis Morrisette and cleaned my house.  Acoustic version if I may add.

For those about to rock……………we salute you!

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Sacred Space

I love the feeling of practicing yoga in a yoga studio, but over time, I’ve learned to adapt and can practice almost anyplace. 

I used to have a much larger home and after I started practicing yoga, I purchased this beautiful rug (on e-bay) that was hand woven by the Kurds in Afghanistan.  The dominant color is red and the pattern screams prayer rug, but I’ve never seen one quite like it.  It measures 6′ x 11′ and it fit perfectly at the foot of the bed at my old place, which had a gigantic bedroom.  This rug became my sacred space.  The place where I put my yoga mat down, the place where I meditated, the place where I did hundreds of sun salutations, the place where I cried and seached for the truth.  I even slept on that rug several nights after our bed moved out.   Right now, that rug graces our front room as our bedroom here is so small I can stretch my foot out from under the covers and touch the dresser with my toes with ease.

In this house I’ve put my mat down in the hallway, in the dining room as well as the front room.  I long to have a studio built here as the space above our garage is nothing but a flat roof, but who knows when that will happen.  Until then, I make do.  Now that winter is here, practicing outdoors is not an option.  I loved the summertime early in the mornings when I could unroll my mat on the deck, or take it way down back to the old kitchen flooring that our son has deemed a discus throwing spot.  Mosquitos or not, I was out there.

I’ve made a few little places here where I keep special things.  Things like this for instance.  A bowl with fish tank gravel for holding incense adorned with rocks from special far away places sits on a shelf in the hall outside the bathroom.

In our bedroom is a tall cabinet that Frank added extra shelves to so I could stack up my many pairs of yoga pants and other class attire.  On top of this cabinet rests all of this.

A chime bowl I purchased with a gift card.  A tea set I got at Silver Dollar City as a child.  A little Yoda that’s missing his staff, but still has his snake.  I’ve had him forever.  I know.  You’re totally wanting to break into my house now aren’t you?   A green rock gem stone and a small jar of clear crystals from India.  A dancing Shiva that also serves as a holder for earrings on occasion.  A little Chinese mudman.  I’d love to have more of these, but they’re hard to find.  A red Chinese tassle given to me by a student who travels often.  Two small red buddhas that were gifts from friends, an egg shaped kaliedescope and my name written in Chinese calligraphy are all packed onto this small cabinet top.  I open this cabinet every day.  I walk by it as I breeze in and out of our bedroom.  I love these tiny things and they all hold a story.

I’ve discovered that there is no perfect place for anything.  There will always be something in the way, or some sort of distraction.  For instance.  The studio downtown is in a basement.  There’s no windows and when the clothing store above us opens, we hear the sounds of clickity clackity shoes.  Instead of being annoyed, I’m thankful that I’m down below, practicing yoga with bare feet.  Another space I go to has a fitness center in the unit next door.  When they open, we hear the low thumping of music.  Another space I go to is on a busy street and sometimes, we can hear traffic noise.  At the YMCA, we hear basketballs, voices loud and soft, traffic and sirens on the street.

When I moved to this smaller space I asked myself two questions. 

 Where would I throw down my yoga mat? 

Where is my sacred space? 

It’s wherever I unroll my mat.


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Yoga Boutique Revamp

Labor Day weekend.  What did I do?  I labored.  Awhile back, I repainted our entry way and lounge area to the studio.  It was long overdue and it looks beautiful now.  The store was next.  The week I’d planned to do it, I came down with a stomach virus.  No need to say anymore. 

The boutique had been painted the same fleshy, neutral color as our lounge area about 10 years ago.  I also had some great wall grid left over from my video store that I thought would be cool to hang our new line of clothing on.  By the way, all of our Stonewear Yoga wear is 75% off now.  That’s like…..free clothes people and it’s going fast.

Of course, what was supposed to be a two or three hour project turned into a nightmare. 

After the yoga class on Sunday, my fellow teachers helped me clear out the store which involved the heavy rug I’d brought from home way back when.  The rest of the stuff wasn’t too bad to move.  The boutique is actually an old bank vault as our building was a bank at one time.  The floor is concrete like the rest of our lounge and entry space, except in this vault they had painted the floor about 24 inches (or more) all the way around with the wall color.  We’d noticed it had been getting sticky and wondered who had spilled something in there.  Once the rug was removed, I mopped it.  Revelation time.  The floor had been painted with flat, latex paint which cuts with water.  So with the high humidity in the basement, this paint had turned tacky. 

Uh oh.  This is the part where all the other people leave because they have something else to do.  And it’s OK.  This was my idea, my project and I was going to handle it.  Classic independent Kirsten.  Not needing any help from anybody.

Practicing what I preach, I decided to nip this in the bud with no anger.  I stayed calm and focused on what I had to do.  I ran home.  I got a swiffer-like paint scraper on a pole.  I did a small area before I thought I would die.  I tried to not think too much about the outcome.  I stayed present with the task on hand knowing that this paint would eventually dissolve.  

Then, I asked for help. 

I called my husband to see if he had any other ideas.  He showed up shortly with a shop broom and an extra bucket.  We scrubbed the entire floor with water and that shop broom.  Then we scraped the rest of the paint away.  We had a bucket full of paint when we finished.  Too bad we didn’t have a place to use it.  This took about three hours and mind you, this area is only about 9 x 15 feet or so.  I was extremely grateful for the help.

After that was  finished and I’d mopped it a couple more times, I could prepare to paint. 

Finally.  Sheesh. 

The painting only took a couple of hours.  I let the paint dry over night and returned on Monday to put the place back together. 

Boutique Before

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Boutique After

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Fountain Balance

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Three years ago, I asked the nice people that owned the building (and that hold the license to our studio) if we could paint our studio space.  It was white and dirty from hands and feet.  I offered to do all the work and purchase the paint, after all, it was my idea.  On Memorial Day they called and asked me to come down and check out the paint they tested on the walls.  They’d had someone paint the entire place.  The whole thing.  All of it, and it’s quite a large space.  I stayed all day that day, and helped as we moved stuff around.  Our massage therapist had moved out, so they let the studio take over her space as well.  We now had our own entryway, lounge space and boutique.

The lounge, entryway and our boutique areas, have been this color you see above for a long time.  Neutral flesh is what we’ve decided it call it.  It’s OK.  It went with our eclectic array of stuff and our funky rugs and whimsies.  Rugs are great.  Especially on a concrete floor in the winter time in a basement.  But on occasion we have a lot of rain, or ice or snow that will melt.  Wet rugs are not fun.  Then there’s the funk and the weight that goes with that.  I like to improve stuff.  It was time.  A couple of us picked out this great color of paint.  It was a metallic, silvery jade.  We wanted shimmer and we needed shine.  I went to purchase that cool paint to find it was a two part process.  Yep.  That’s right.  The first gallon is a base coat that costs $30.  The second gallon, the shimmer coat, costs $40.  What?  I about died.  What if we had to paint this area twice?  No can do. 

This time, I didn’t ask.  I just went for it.  Hope I’m not in trouble!

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So there I was.  At Lowe’s.  All alone with no swatches of anything for ideas except the thought that I’d already painted the cabinetry, our lamp and our bookcase black.  The studio is already green, so Wasabi was out.  I went for an antique gold.  It has hues of green and it’s warm and bright at the same time.   I picked up the flower panels at Tuesday Morning.  Uh oh.  We forgot to paint underneath the counter.  Amanda and I painted the entryway.  

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I found an affordable place online to purchase some interlocking foam squares for the floor.  They can get wet and they came in lots of colors.  Sold.  We got black and red.  I also recovered our barstools that used to be covered with this dated tapestry.  This area turned out amazing.  It looked so good that in fact, it made our lounge and fountain area (which is quite large) look bad.   So all alone yesterday and the night before, I tackled the job.  Flesh color be gone.  I also removed a door which we never close, it’s pictured in the before photo, it’s a big, white door.  I jacked my shoulder up moving that, so I’m hoping it’ll work itself out in class tomorrow.  Granted I can get out bed.

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 Fountain area before and after. 

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The balance practice that I taught all week really came in handy while wielding a paint brush and standing on the edge of this fountain.  I’m not a tall person.  It was quite the stretch for me.  I was so tired afterwards I failed to get a photo of the completed area.  That’s OK.  There’s always later as I need to get the artwork back on the walls.

The students that don’t read this blog, will be in for a BIG surprise next week.

Happy Fourth and 5th and 6th……………


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Shrug Your Shoulders

tti-shoulders-4I had a total blast leading this Shoulder Workshop last Saturday at Teach to Inspire.  There were 6 or so from the training program, then another 6 or so from other places like the studio or the YMCA.  Beth’s new place is warm and inviting and I love being there.  The floor is soft bamboo and the walls are bran muffin with wine colored accent walls at either end.  It’s just the right size and glows with warm energy!  I must make it there this Sunday, to take a class, just for me!

I was worried I wouldn’t have enough stuff to fill three hours.  Think again.  I could’ve went on and on.  I left one whole idea out (it was using therabands for strengthening the shoulders) and I do not regret that one bit.  I did think of several other things we could’ve put to good use afterwards of course.  So we put them to good use today in my noon class.  I had someone show up with a tight neck and shoulders, so the class turned out to be “pretty workshoppy” and it was fun!

The next class I’ll be doing over there is the Psoas Muscle Workshop.  I really like that muscle, it’s cool and has a lot going on.  I did this class once before and was extremely well attended, so I’m excited to put it together once again.  I can’t believe this is work, it’s so much fun!!!

tti-shoulders-3Thanks to everyone that showed up and made this class so much fun.  I really had a blast!


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Teach to Inspire

It was a relief to see the kids return to school.  I was scheduled to lead a class of three hours yesterday and I needed some time without kids to plan.  The class was at the new Yoga and Education Training Centerlingams in our town.  My good friend and teacher, has a very dedicated group working on their RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) certification.  I of course, was flattered that she asked me to be a part of the training.  I’m scheduled for one Saturday a month, for three months for three hour workshops.  Cool.

Her theme for this month was Leela, which basically translates to playfulness and fun!  The workshop I headed up yesterday at her place, was fun.  It was on teaching yoga to children, of all ages.  I don’t have any experience with teaching a yoga class to children with physical disabilities, but I have taught a few to kids with mental, or behavior oriented disorders.  What a challenge with a big reward.

When I have to teach a workshop, I like to plan, plan and plan some more.  I like to spend lots of time planning and organizing and preparing.  This week, it just didn’t work out that way.  Though the kids were in school there were other demands.  A yearbook planning meeting at WOLF School, kids coming over to play and a breakfast meeting at the YMCA yesterday morning.  I had in my head what I wanted to do, I just needed it on paper.  I got my handouts on the computer and printed them out.  Some day, I will put all the Sanskrit words in my spell check!  How annoying to have every other word you type show up as a typo. 

I always worry if I will run short, that I won’t have enough information for the duration.  Low and behold that never happens.  I can usually go on for hours, and for that, I am thankful, except I almost forgot to take a break yesterday!  I was able to teach this class without too much stressful planning.  I offered what I knew very well with confidence.  I feel thankful, to be at a place where it feels so natural to share what I know.

I chose not to bring kids to the training class.  #1 they would’ve been a distraction #2 that would’ve been a good idea, as they would have total true experience of a kids yoga class #3 focusing on teaching to kids while being distracted…..not such a good idea.  We played with asana for about an hour, bringing in animal sounds and creative names for poses.  We sang a few Native American Indian songs, we counted to 10 in Sanskrit and named some different body parts in Sanskrit as well.  We looked through the books that I brought in.  I passed around my Lingams (pictured above) as a touch and feel philosophical part of the training.

The new center is beautiful.  I haven’t even been able to squeeze a class in over there for myself yet!   Though yesterday went very well and was well received, I was exhausted.  I slept in this morning, taking care of myself in a restful way.  I know that the exhaustion I was experiencing was in a positive light and that it too soon, will pass.


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Disillusion and Yoga Class

Bad Combo

Bad Combo

I was excited.  There was a box on the step from the Fed Ex post.  It was heavy, it was my black iridescent tile!  I opened it immediately and about cried.  As you can see, it’s pretty tile.  But, it doesn’t really go with the little subway tiles I already picked out.  It also doesn’t look anything like the picture I posted on here the other day.  This reminds me of carnival glass.  No offense, I dig some antiques but this is not what I had in mind!  One more 15% restocking fee and shipping paid by me, it’s going back!  I’m playing it safe this time and ordering this!

Playing it Safe

Playing it Safe

 

Instead of costing $13 per sheet, like what you see above, this one is on SALE.  Get this, $5.31 for glass tile, I almost peed myself.  It has a nice shimmer and I will be able to pop some of those subways out and replace with them with two of these!  I also ordered enough to trim around the window above the sink!

The best part of my day by far was teaching my one yoga class yesterday.  It’s a great group and I love to be at the studio.  I’d been offering digestion poses all week in the twisting fashion, but shifted gears yesterday to elongating.  A few said that their side bodies felt more prominent.  I definitely felt taller just from the little stretching that I got to do.  It’s amazing how different I feel on a day when I do not practice or teach.  Yoga definitely keeps my attitude more positive.  I also feel I am more compassionate and more kind to others.  I think the biggest gift would be the gratitude I experience through my practice.  Who knows, without yoga, I may have blown my top over this tile dilemma!