February Update

February Update

I’ve been pretty quiet this month, struggling to keep up with all my goals while dealing with a personal curve ball. I am currently going through a separation, I feel like I can finally say it out loud (so to speak) and I will not be discussing it any further… It is a big adjustment and it came at the start of my graduate studies, so I have been doing all I can to tread water.

Yoga and working out in general has been a consistent friend to me over the past couple weeks. Unfortunately I developed some sort of sciatica. I think it is a pinched nerve. I have been able to get enough pain relief to start mixing in kettle bell routines for core strengthening into my yoga and it has helped to strengthen my lower back and rear. Apparently if you are suffering from some pain in an area, strengthening the muscles helps- derp. 🙂

So, using a kettle bell there is this move called “around the world” that always makes me laugh when I’m doing it because my mind goes to a literal place, pretty often. For a giggle I decided to sketch out what I think during this move lol 😀 you can see it below.

Sciatica is weird but I have been to a massage therapist and I am doing this yoga routine I found on youtube to correct it. Hopefully it goes away soon!

Yoga with Adriene has a routine that was gentle enough when the pain was bad but also good for daily maintenance.

https://youtu.be/G5h0jkoBFbI

So now you know why I have been struggling to keep the workflow this month, hopefully next month will be much better.

I am grateful that I can find a personal sanctuary in yoga. Being alone with your body and fighting to stay in the moment is very therapeutic, it forces you to care for yourself in a way that nothing else does.

I read on a yogi site that the sun salutation sequence is supposed to open a connection with the universe, or strengthen it. It’s like a calling card or signal for universal energy (love)… I’m not sure I am in that deep in my practice yet! However, I am very grateful I can count on yoga to be there for me when people fall through, when life gets hard, and when I am tired of crying and need to DO something! 🙂

On a lighter note, I will probably just be posting once a month in my yoga blog.

Stay safe, remember you are loved!

xo

Amanda

Worry and Warrior 2

I had a remarkable experience today during my yoga practice.

I had just had an unpleasant conversation with a dear friend before my practice today, and it cluttered my head with worries. Mostly irrational worries, but still I couldn’t seem to quiet my mind.

I started doing a series of warrior poses and during a transition to warrior 2 today, as I exhaled suddenly my mind was clear and all that was left was smiles and sweat. I enjoyed the rest of my routine clear headed.

🙂

I don’t view my yoga practice as a religious ordeal… but it has started to have some spiritual/mental/emotional healing aspects which can both be associated with exercise in general and yoga specifically. I’ll have to reflect more later… for now I am filled with gratitude for the returns of my practice.

Keep working on your poses, intention is everything– the rest, mastery, peace, progress, will come with time!

xo

Amanda

Lucifer, kids, self-actualization

I watched an episode of Lucifer (a TV show) tonight where a woman, referred to as “the doctor,” is currently afraid of someone who she befriended. She is afraid because she found out this person, Maze, is actually a “demon” … which I think is a great metaphor for learning someone you care about has a dark side.

At the end of this episode Maze is excited to share her first paycheck with her friend but she has to win over the doctor’s trust. Maze decides to accept that the doctor is afraid of her but offers the advice “I am still me.” Eventually the doctor accepts the idea that her friend is allowed to be multi-dimensional. Friends are people too, people have many traits and various amounts of baggage.

Another interesting relationship in this series is between Lucifer and Decker. Lucifer, who is supposed to be “evil,” has befriended and is offering unconditional love to a woman who is career oriented and has a child. He does not try to bed her, and is interested in her as a human being because of who he is when he is around her.  Decker continually rejects the bad attributes Lucifer tries to assign to himself. They have a complicated but mutually beneficial friendship.

 

Lucifer and Decker

These TV relationships make me think about how people spend so much time being afraid and judgmental of each other, when we really don’t have to be. We can just appreciate the person we are when we interact with our friends. Good relationships are what make life more fulfilling. A person can be “not your type” or much different from yourself but still add tremendous value to your own life and society at large.

Lucifer is a rich, good-looking, womanizer but his best friend is completely the opposite kind of woman who he would usually surround himself with – a blue collar, single, working mother. He doesn’t care about the conventions of society, what people think and how to live up to those societal expectations. He is nurturing relationships that help him find personal meaning in life– they are helpful to him personally despite what convention would dictate.

Which brings me to thoughts of self-actualization. (what is self-actualization? Click here for an article and definition)

Children are probably the most important investment we can make in humanity’s survival and growth. The interactions between Lucifer and Decker’s kid are hilarious and beautifully illustrate how kids are naturally accepting and adaptable. Most kids are still learning what it is society or their immediate culture expects of them, so they naturally have a more forgiving outlook on life. The Bible even makes light of this in Mathew 18:2-4

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Supposedly it is “lowly” to be childlike- meek-curious-accepting-obedient- everything adults are told not to be, we have to be the leaders, the know-it-alls and boundary protectors. We have to maintain the status-quo, or do we?

Before I had my daughter, my only child, I started to become a very serious person. Life had handed me difficulty after difficulty and I always felt like I was clawing my way up out of poverty, uselessness, ignorance… so much so, that I began to take life too seriously, like it was a game to win–which is not a helpful or useful way to see the world. Motherhood helped change my perspective.

22yrold me with my daughter

I remember walking  into my first ultra-sound about 6 years ago. The doctor pursed his lips as he asked about my pregnancy. I spent an entire 2 minutes in monologue letting him know I am married, employed, have insurance, am a home-owner and happened to be 5 years older than he imagined I was.  He quickly apologized. I still remember that moment because it made me realize people have no idea who you are, you can only show evidence and declare things about yourself…and they can choose to believe you, or not. So why get all caught up in the assumptions of strangers?

I think that was the point in which I truly started down the path of self-actualization. That and the fact that by 21 (I am currently 27) I had dutifully achieved several “life milestones” most women my age will still not have reached. I was still not happy then. I had the things most people are told they ought to get- a nice house, a family of my own, a doting husband, a college degree, a career path/education… What now??  … and this question always leads me back to children.

My own child and thoughts of the hundreds of children I have taught over the last 5 years are always in the back of my mind. What kinds of things will they struggle with? What do they need from us, so-called adults? More important, how do we give it to them?

For the past several years I have been wallowing in this not-knowing what to do. Fulfilling your potential as a human being is hard when you have many options, but ultimately the things that keep weighing on my heart and mind are all future-oriented, concerning integration and globalization. I am worried about how people will come together as a global community, especially since we no longer have a choice (we are a global community already)… and I worry not for myself, but for my own child and the millions of children who have no idea, and more importantly, do not even understand why everyone is so mean to each other and judging.

Life is not a race or a game, it is a collaboration, an experience we all share and it always ends in death. Better to embrace goals which span multiple generations then to try and have the mostest and be the bestest at something right now.

Our children will inherit all of our unresolved hate, unsolved problems, and biases. I feel like as an artist, an educator, and as an adult in the 21st century it is my purpose to try to connect the dots a little for our children. I hope one day when my own child reads this blog, she doesn’t just get the thrill of “spying” on her mother but also some answers to her questions about life…or at least some solid ideas to stand on as she makes her way through life.

I get a bit long winded. If you made it this far, thank you for sticking with me 🙂

xo

Amanda

Adding meditation to my daily practice

Sooo… I found a guided meditation by Deepak Chopra called The Secret of Healing.

I have started listening to it before I sleep, which I found causes me to fall asleep for the  night, while mister Deepak is very seriously guiding me through his meditation. I suppose I should make a special effort to stay awake, as he tries to give cues to the listener to hang in there.

Anyways, despite me falling asleep while trying to meditate, I am in fact trying. So I thought I would mark it down in my yoga blog.

I enjoy the guided meditation and I think it’s a nice place to start for anybody who is serious about yoga. It’s available on Amazon the title is The Secret of Healing by Deepak Chopra.

Deepak says the secret to healing is enlightenment- meaning to become self-aware. The word healing is related to the word holy. When you are whole, you are holy and you are healed. I KNOW it sounds trippy but it all comes full circle and makes sense if you are open to it. 🙂

Yoga can be much more than just a workout- if you want it to be and if you’re ready for it to be.  Everyone has their own way of nurturing their spirituality, and if yoga isn’t the way for you, then please don’t feel weirded out by meditation or pressured to be “a serious yogi” …just do what feels good and natural to you! 🙂

XO

Amanda

Self-Care, Hair, and Yoga

These are pictures of me with longer hair, approx. 4 yrs and 1 yr ago… I noticed I go through cycles of long and short hair depending on how I am feeling. Every couple years, I cut it all off. Now you probably already noticed but I currently have short hair… surprise 🙂 lol

When I feel stuck in my life because I am an expressive person – I just have to manifest it somehow. My hair is the first thing that goes ! haha

I was thinking about the times in my life I was fulfilled, personally. They always involved a couple things, exercise (usually yoga), art, and goals. When I say goals, I mean major life goals like earning a degree, starting a business, winning an award at a competitive show etc.  I haven’t had any of those three things in my life for years now. I think it’s because I became a mother a couple years ago and have been wallowing in the domestic-ness of it all. The feeling that this is what I “have to” be and do now, it’s just suffocating. I don’t regret motherhood but I don’t want that to be the end all- be all of my existence– and it shouldn’t be. (gasp) Yeah, I know it sounds unpleasant but can a woman be honest? I lost my person in trying to fulfill various roles for so many other people…

Which brings me to today, right now, reflecting on why exactly I want to start this site, and maintain it. Why am I including a personal blog? Why not just show my art and make that enough?

Well the answer is my personality. I tend to get lost in other people, what they want, what I perceive them to need, their emotional state and just completely forget myself sometimes. So this is my antidote, a personal space that I can point to and say, “this is me, this is my work, this is what I think” because I let people talk over me, I get anxious in confrontations and don’t voice my thoughts coherently, etc. So this is my space 🙂

Taking care of yourself is an important task, something I haven’t completely learned how to do yet. I picked yoga as my sport of choice – or workout of choice – because it has an ancient history and is all about self-love and understanding. It is the perfect physical practice for my body and ties into my personal battle in this life- caring for everyone but myself.

Caring so much about everyone and everything is something that I cannot control… I think that’s why I am drawn to the arts, why I feel like making art is a calling. It’s a way to show people love, identify, share… contribute something happy to society. I am also a seeker, I have this thirst to just understand life, which is what led me to earning a philosophy degree…and why I decided to share that with you all too! (check the philosophy blog)  Art is a calling I have been trying to ignore for the past couple years, because it just feels too vulnerable to me, on a personal level…but I cannot keep ignoring it. I am extremely unhappy when I’m not creating. So I hope the world is gentle with me in 2017 as I ground myself in a daily yoga practice and start sharing my art with the world again. 🙂

Here is one of my favorite yoga memes!

xo

Amanda

Peaceful Warrior

I’ve been enjoying the pose called peaceful warrior, it’s a nice stretching break between the various warrior poses.

I can feel my body changing already since I’ve stuck the goal of at least one flow a day, 6 days a week.  I aim for about an hour at the minimum, with a goal of two hours a day. I’m already going deeper into poses and feeling more comfortable transitioning during the flows. I think I’ll try to add meditation into my daily routine this week. Maybe in the evenings before bed.

Here is a screen shot of last week’s history… the times are a little messed up. I think the app uses a time zone about 10 hours or so ahead of my local time. Oh well, I still love it!

Breaking a sweat and feeling amazing after the flow is my focus right now, so far so good 🙂

xo

Amanda

Starting a Yoga Practice

So I decided that I wanted to move every day but in order to keep myself interested in this goal, I needed to find a form of movement I considered worthwhile and fun.

Yoga happens to fulfill my needs. It is worthwhile because it is a total body workout, it demands mental focus (which means I can take my mind off bothersome things), and it also allows a person to care for their spirituality by honoring the connection of mind/body/spirit. Plus it’s fun to learn new poses, trying to match inhales with movements and seeing yourself progress to harder poses.

I found a great app to use so I can take my yoga practice anywhere. The app I use is Down Dog.  I’m considering a yoga retreat this summer! 🙂

I will mostly be self-reflecting and posting my flows a couple times a week in this blog.  So follow at your own risk 😀

-Amanda