Monday, April 30, 2012

Embrace The Challenge

This is my calendar for the month of April.
Finding a good way to document what you are doing may help you accomplish your goals.

What does "Embrace the challenge" mean?  You know the saying, "When the going get tough, the tough get going"? Forget it!  Embracing the challenge means, when the going gets tough, you shake Tough's hand, bow, or give whatever greeting of respect you prefer before the bell rings.  You tell Tough to bring it on! 

I consciously made this decision when I started yoga.  At the very beginning of the April Challenge (DAY 30 I DID IT!!!) I have a post in my yoga journal about my discouraging first 6am Power Hour Class.  Yes, the class was beyond (and in some ways still is) my level, but I committed myself to the challenge and that requires going to other classes to get 4 classes a week, and working with my ever changing work schedule.  At the end of the class, I was thinking how unfocused I was on breath and how I was too focused on keeping up and then my failure to do so.  Here is an exact excerpt from that entry...

" Times like these make it easy to get discouraged.  And there was a moment I thought, 'I don't want to go to class in the morning again'.  I can't afford to think like that.  Each day I have to want to practice And Want The Challenge.  If everything is easy, there is no accomplishment or growth.

I want to practice, I want the challenge." 

See?  Where are you without a challenge?  Stagnant and unable to grow.  I will say this, at least for me, it applies to things I love or have an interest in.  For example, if my writing is challenging because I can't get a line right, or have to put a poem to the side to get to it later, I am okay with that because I love writing poetry.  Now, if the challenge came from, I don't know, having some business corporate job with meetings and big bosses and deadlines, I would not embrace that because I'd have no passion for it.  My point is to embrace a challenge that means something to you.  After a while you will begin to see it in a different light.  Each time something difficult comes along, it will add interest and spice instead of being a burden or something hard.

As I have stated above, this doesn't just apply to yoga, it applies to all aspects of life.  In some ways "challenge" can be substituted with "stress".  Life does have it's stressors and the same rationality and reaction applies.  If something is stressing you out, is it worth it?  If you work with disadvantaged kids and you are stressed out it is difficult to reach them, you will keep trying if that is your passion.  If you love plants and you are stressed out trying to figure out living conditions to make them grow, hey, you will keep going to make those plants grow because you love plants.  

If you are doing something that is just a job, to pay rent, an obligation, or what have you, something in that situation is harder to deal with, and not something you want to deal with because you have no drive for it.  You have to do it, or are passing time until something else comes along. In that case, the stress and challenge is not worth it, and will most likely wear you down or make you grumpy instead of pumping you up to succeed or at least feeling accomplished and rewarded when it is all over. You may even be ready to do it again.  I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.  I was discussing this with my husband.  What do you think?

I'm actually in a transitioning part of my life.  And I do have things that stress me out that I am not willing to deal with.  I made a GOAL (resolutions are pointless) in 2012 to better myself.  Also, to do what makes me happy and to get out into the world.  It's not going to be easy, and there are going to be challenges and stress, but if I bow to Tough and respectfully battle with it, what's going to happen?  Victory! *and the crowd goes wild* 

I admit, I am proud to say I've committed to embracing the challenge.  That does not mean I still don't need to work on it.  I certainly do.  The first step is accepting there will be tough times and going ahead full heartedly anyway! See what challenges are in your life.  Are they really worth it?  If so, please, change your mindset and see them as opportunities to grow and unleash the greatness that is deep inside of you.  2012 is my year to start to do this.  What about you? 

Namaste my friend,

~ Writer Yogi

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Mat

I am really excited that I got a new mat!! "The Mat" by Lululemon.  I went to a trunk show at PY (Practice Yoga) hosted by Lululemon Hyde Park Square.  I have heard sooo many good things about the mat and am really excited to experience it for myself!  Also, It's MY mat.  The first mat I bought is from Walmart for $10. This was not a good idea.  It was only a good idea to have a mat which I needed the day before I decided to take my first yoga class! Haha. "The Mat" is $68 without tax.  This may seem pricey but I encourage you to invest in a  higher quality mat 1. Because it will feel sooo much better and 2. It will last a lot longer. My walmart mat lasted all of two weeks, perhaps. No support and all slip. (exactly what a beginner needs right?) 

I'm considering writing posts on each of these quotes...sound interesting?

What kind of mat do you have or dream of having?  Is your mat your friend? 

Part of my excitement is having a high quality mat and the other part is having a mat that is mine all mine *rubs hands together* and I don't have to feel guilty about borrowing one from the studio.  I will have a permanent buddy on this wonderful yoga journey.  While getting used to yoga, I will be getting used to my mat. The mat will form to how I practice and wear in like a favorite pair of pants or something.  Basically, something physical that is a personal belonging cared about, worn in, and with you during something else that makes you really happy.  Does that make sense? 

Now, here is a poem about having a yoga mat.  YES! I wrote a poem about a mat.  Question: Why?  Answer: Why not? :-) The idea came to me and I loved it. It's a haiku. A poem that traditionally has ties to nature and has a format of 5 syllable, 7 syllable, 5 syllable.  My tie to nature in this haiku is the nature of the yogi.  Enjoy!

Yogi Nature
What I know is this,
Young children carry blankets,
Yogi's carry mats. 

Writer Yogi

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Practice Yoga on 5th

This is the studio I practice at and have begun my yoga journey.  I thought I would write a mini review and tell a little about the place.

Where is it?
504 East 5th Dayton, Ohio.  It's in the Oregon District in between Wayne Avenue and Jackson Street.

What kind of classes do they have?
Power Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Prenatal and More!

Who takes classes there?
It's a very diverse atmosphere!  There are people my age (24), over 50, and in between.  All races, beliefs, sizes and experience. Basically, if your a breathing human being, you will be welcome to join in. 

When do they have classes?
Class times vary throughout the week. There are classes as early as 6am and others as late as 7pm.  Don't worry, there are plenty in the middle of the day as well.  My schedule changes from week to week, and if I have managed to make it to four classes a week, I'm sure you can too! :-) 

Why do I go to Practice Yoga?
In short, I absolutely love it! In not so short, I love Practice Yoga on 5th because it's a great environment!  They encourage you to go at your own pace. (Remember that saying "Honor where you're at" I told you about?)  There is no pressure to "keep up" but they do want you to challenge yourself in a healthy way.  Competition does not exists but laughs sure do.  The teachers really have a keen eye for where you are at and where you've improved.  Also, just about each class something new is learned or brought to your attention to think about.  You can really grow mentally, physically and spiritually by keeping what they say in mind.  And they mean it!  It's not like they are spouting propaganda, a slogan, or anything pre arranged.  What is said is meant and for you to take positive insight from.  Plus, everyone is really nice! Saying hello, asking your name, or simply giving you a smile. xoxo 

How can you learn more?
Well here is the website for Practice Yoga on 5th. There is so much more to learn from their site...I just gave you a little sneak peek. Now open your present and see what's inside.  I think you'll like what you find.  It's a very user friendly site and there is even a video of a class and music by a local artist. Enjoy!


~Writer Yogi

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Meditation for Beginners

(I'm working on my own photos and not others. It's going to take some practice lol.)

Is your mind constantly busy?  Do you need to take some time to slow it down or just turn it off?  Chances are the answer to these questions is yes.  The 21st century (and the one before it) has brought us more noise, distractions and decreased our attention spans to that of a three year old.  Always jumping from one thought to the next.  Twitter to email to Facebook and so on. Hey, I do it too.  If your like me, your mind's constant activity can make you weary.  I also tend to have good ideas and struggle to follow through.  I receive snippets of different ideas and struggle to set my mind to fully carry one out!

I believe yoga and meditation, my version of meditation in my beginning stage, has helped my mind to focus in on and expand one idea at a time.  Along with clear my mind and build confidence.  Wait, don't say it! My spidey senses are tingling! lol.  Let's list some of your questions and concerns. If there are any questions/concerns I have not listed, ask! You never learn anything without asking questions.

"I don't have time to meditate."
"I don't know how to meditate."
"Isn't meditation being crossed legged and chanting 'Om'?" 
"Don't I have to know how to clear my mind?" 

Cliffnotes Version
Yes you do.
You don't have to.

Now for the extended version...
"I don't have time to meditate"
You, or better yet, your mind would like to think so...That's only doubt and fear singing Sweet Nothings.  Cover your ears! I have played their song many times, on repeat, and its finally time for a new one!  I've begun with only 5 - 10 minutes of meditation on days I don't go to the studio.  That's all!  I plan to gradually increase this over time.  For now, I'm happy I take the time at all!  If you can't spend literally 5 minutes for yourself out of the whole day, what does that say?  I'm not being judgemental. I just want to point out 5 minutes out of 24 hours is not a big chunk of anything.  (if you think of it that way, it looks like there really is time, doesn't it?)  Everyone needs time to themselves and should spend time on themselves.  How do you make time?  Where do you meditate?  To answer the first question, you just do.  You make a conscious decision to take time out and you do it. Easier said then done! I Know! Later I will get into how it feels to have your mind struggling against you. As for the second question, Meditate wherever and whenever you can.  It's Your time.  Maybe it's 5 minutes before bed to calm down.  Or 5 minutes after waking up.  Noonday.  Anytime at all! Besides, The point is not when you meditate, it's the fact you've meditated.  The fact you took time to stop whatever was going on and focused on enriching yourself. 

"I don't know how to meditate."
Join the club. :-) .  I'm no guru and that's okay.  Learning is from doing.  Trial and error my friend.  I can, however, tell you what you absolutely need to meditate.  Yourself and a want to do it.  If you don't have those two things, guess what, nothing is going to happen.  It helps to have a place with minor to no distractions as well.  Here is my meditative practice as of now.  Feel free to try it, and/or tweak it to your own liking.

1.) Sit on the floor comfortably.  Or to use a chair instead.  You're back needs to be  straight in the chair or sitting on the floor. Think of yourself as royalty.  Be straight and proud.  Not stiff.  You can cross your legs, have them in front of you, or sit on your heels.  I personally like my legs crossed. Preferably some position that leaves you open, relaxed and comfy.  As for hands, keep them loose, not balled up. You can simply rest them on your knees palms up.  Connect your pointer finger and thumb lightly if that pleases you.

2.) Choose your tunes.  Something relaxing.  I have a couple yoga meditation apps on my phone.  There is plenty of music to choose from anywhere so have at it!  Now, music is Not a must.  My goal is to eventually not be listening to music or to only use it from time to time.  That is MY goal.  If you forever meditate with music, that's alright too.  Make it YOUR practice.  My mind wanders like a lonely drifter...Place to place to place to place. I use music to help shut some of that out.  Also, it's better to end meditation at the end of a song instead of a beeping with some sort of alarm.

3.) BREATHE!  This one calls for italics and bold. (I'm very expressionate so I hope all my highlighting and capitalization is helping and not a distracting. :-) ) Breathing is the key to yoga!  During meditation you are not supposed to use controlled breathing.  You're to follow your natural breath.  This makes sense, the less controlling you are doing, the more you can let go and empty the mind.  At this point in time, I use controlled breathing to help me focus.  Breath in, breath out. In through the nose, out through the nose.  When I neglect this, my mind wanders more. I must admit, I feel sooo good after following my breath and intentially connecting with that extra air!  If you can clear your mind by following your natural breath, go for it!  There is no shame if not.  Again, it's where you are.  There is a phrase "Honor where you're at" used in yoga.  Do just that and you will be fine. 

"Isn't meditation being crossed legged and chanting 'Om'?"
In the last step to my meditative practice you will see there is no mention of chanting.  Chanting in meditation is definitely and option.  Om is the most commonly used word because it stands for the universe.  I will talk about Om later.  Basically, any chanting done is used to focus the mind on one thing then eventually to empty the mind.  I do not chant at the moment. I am interested in chanting though.  Sadly, I am embarrassed to be chanting "Om" or some other word or phrase while I meditate at home due to our cultures stereotyping it, and having my husband hear me.  I plan to get over that feeling.  Especially since a good "Om" can be amazing.  If your in yoga class and the group Om's together its...hard to put into words. But you really do feel connected to everyone in the room.   Through all of the voices,intent and vibrations. Its amazing! 

"Don't I have to know how to clear my mind?"
No you do not.  Yes, the point of meditation is to get the mind clear.  You do not have to already know how to do this to begin.  That's why it's yoga Practice.  It takes time, patience and practice to empty the mind.  Some advanced yogi's I've talked to still have to work on this.  If and when your thoughts go astray, try not the judge yourself for having thoughts or judge the thoughts.  Nobody is perfect.  Push the thoughts away and go back to your breath.  This is not going to be easy and that's okay! One thing I'm learning is to embrace the challenge. 

To sum this up...
I am not embarrassed to say sometimes my mind is like a Rubik's cube that's been all mixed up.  No matter how you twist it, the colors only jumble more instead of steadily and evenly joining all their own colors.  If my strange analogy went over your head, no fear...hahaha.  All I mean to say is sometimes, my mind feels foreign to me.  It's as though its speaking another language.  I don't always know why.  The good thing is, ever since I started practicing yoga and meditating, even for 5 minutes, I've felt some mental differences.  There are more moments I have an idea and expand on it.  This blog is one of those ideas!  Also, fear and doubt are ever so slowly draining away.  I'm taking a chance others will connect with me and share their journey, instead of not trying due to thinking this blog will float around in cyber space  only clicked on accidentally.

It's a good feeling to have control over one's mind and not the other way around.  I still have a looong way to go so I may as well enjoy the ride!  And I do!  You should too!

Namaste my friends, 

~ Writer Yogi

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Hey all, my name is Rachelle. You can call me Chelle. Or the name that a friend gave me at practice, Writer Yogi ( I love writing poetry and am a Yogi lol) This name is absolutely wonderful! And such a compliment from her.  It combines two things I want to be and am going to be. No, correction, I'm going to confirm that I am a writer and a yogi. :-)  

I'm at the beginning of my yoga journey.  I started practicing at the end of March and have been going four times a week this month for a Practice Challenge. I absolutely love it!  Yoga is really going to change my life and I hope if you are on the same journey I'm on, it will change yours too. The purpose of this blog is the share what I've learned from practice and to inspire others beginning yoga as well. To tell what yoga means for me and to hear what it means to you. If nothing else, I hope you gain some inspiration in life and enjoy whatever poetry that comes from it. 

This is a poem I wrote about starting yoga.  One thing you learn is that you need to focus on today.  Live fully in the moment and don't wait for tomorrow. Hopefully it will represent  other beginners as well. (I have it posted in my other blog, I didn't take it. Incase anyone asks about it being posted multiple times.)

Today Yogi, start as a small seed.

Nestle into your mat as a sleeping child. 

The next Today (for everyday is Today) start to slowly stretch down,

Like the yawning dog,

And up towards your possibilities.

(Forget trying to hold them all, there are too many.)

Then Today become a sapling.

Salute the sun young one. Warm your face and photosynthesize your spirit from it.

Then Today become a tree strong rooted in the earth. 

Dig in like barefooted heels when the wind blows you into Namaste.

Embrace the breeze like it is your own breathing.

(Lifting up breathe in, Settle in breathe out)

Blossom Today. And your flowers will release parts of you further into the universe.

Breathe Today.

Ahhh, Breathe Today.

Then Breathe again Today.

(Be Happy everyday is Today. 

With no tomorrow,

We won’t have to wait until then.)

I hope you enjoyed and will join me in my experience and share yours with me! 

Writer Yogi


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