Monday, February 27, 2012

Finding Balance with a Chair

Sometimes an hour can make a year feel worthwhile.
Today I taught yoga to a few guys who have suffered traumatic brain injury. Their movement was extremely limited, but we were not practicing yoga to perfect the crow pose, or bind in side angle. We did chair yoga, and it felt like the most pure yoga I've done in a while. They were there to make their bodies and minds feel better. I was touched by how humble these people were. They survived an accident but came out a different type of person. Yet they were still pushing through, still eating breakfast and watching sunsets. They were so grateful that I spent the hour teaching them yoga. They especially enjoyed the 3 part breath. The Positive Psychology class joined us for the session, and it was incredible to watch the discussion afterwards. Everyone was pretty much saying the same thing. They felt better. They did not realize how much stress they were carrying. I felt as if a piece of my purpose in life was fulfilled.

I received this email from the day program coordinator this afternoon:

Hello Kate,

Thank you for investing yourself into today's Positive Psychology class.  When a yoga teacher can motivate and stimulate a full class of people to follow, that's impressive.  When the topic is yoga, and there's males in the class, the task is even more difficult.  I respect what you've accomplished.

Feel proud, and continue to invest your giftedness in teaching yoga.  The need is great as evidence by America's health statistics.

 Your presence is welcome here, please let us know what time(s) might work for you in the coming months?

Monday, February 20, 2012


This past week has been incredibly stressful- several tests, quizzes, and papers due. It is easy to get caught up in what is expected of you and to feel the need to please others. This was my situation. Come Thursday, I was horribly unsettled about a test on Friday and could focus neither in the library nor in my office. I felt depleted, and could not concentrate. I tried several times to stay because I had philosophy class at 1 pm. I could not do it. I left school, and on the way home my friend invited me to a yoga class. My first thought is no, I need to study. My next thought was how much I need that class. The class was a slow, intelligently sequenced hatha class taught by Jeri, who I used to work for at South Asheville Yoga. The class was incredibly healing. The next 3 days I attended yoga and went hiking. I felt so much better. I did the best I could on my test, and that is all we can really ask of ourselves. Expectations seem to be constantly pressing down on our minds and bodies, and to be able to perform better we need to be our selves. The more relaxed you are, the better you perform. Jeri said during class, "We need to learn when to use our active self, and when to use our relaxed self. The yin and yang. There is a balance between the 2, and we are on our mat to find that."

After class on Friday one of my closest friends looked at me and said:

"Why do we ever question if we should go to yoga class or not? We feel better physically, mentally and emotionally. Who doesn't want that?"

Well put Diana.

Tip of the Week: Nurture and nourish how you see fit. Tap into who you are, and live that life.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Date Night

Definitely feel like we are back into the full swing of things. Winter break seems far away, and my busy schedule feels again familiar. When Friday comes around it is easy to want to break free, go crazy, let loose, have fun! We work so hard during the week that we love having a night when we do not have to set the alarm clock and we choose to spend the day any way we desire. However, sometimes we need a rejuvenation more than a party night.

This past Friday I had planned to go out in downtown Asheville with my friends for some beer, but around 6 pm I was exhausted and wanted a night to myself. Instead of going out drinking, I found myself in a Sivananda yoga class with Wes at the YMCA. I needed it more than I knew. I walked in, set up my mat, and immediately went to childs pose. I could breathe deepply again. The practice was relatively slow paced, but intelligently sequenced and guided by Wes' compassionate voice. A good teacher can sequence an interesting class, but a great teacher can guide and move the tone of the practice with the students. It was as though Wes tapped into our energy bank and guided our stressed energy from the week to release onto the mat until all that was left was our breath and body.

Happy and peaceful, I made my way to Rosetta's Kitchen for a Buddha bowl, Kombucha, and yes, a slice of their amazing chocolate peanut butter cake. I went home and watched a movie, ate my delicious food, and hung out with my husky pup. Sometimes we need this kind of a Friday evening (though if anyone had an outside snapshot of me it may have looked like I just broke up with my boyfriend or something). I was perfectly content, woke up Saturday morning rejuvenated happy and focused.

Tip of the Week: Spend a date night with yourself. Maybe Tuesday? Nurture.

My best friend who lives in Hawaii. When you can't spend a night with your bestie, be your own best friend

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Touch of Gray

Sometimes it feels like there is nothing to write because my routine sets in and I am doing the same thing every week. I work at these times, I teach at this location, I go to that class. It becomes a conundrum and the spark for inspiration can feel a bit dull. How do we keep our spirits up?  A few things that have worked for me this past week:

1) Sitting down with a cup of tea and a new book on a comfy couch.
2) Taking the dogs out for a run
3) Calling up an old friend
4) Listening to live music

Even those can feel out of reach to inspire creativity. Pushing through the day and doing what needs to get done, breathing through it all, getting your workout and healthy food in is sometimes all we can do to make it through. This weekend it was 60 degrees in Asheville, and I sat outside with my puppy and a book and it was a simple thing but completely fulfilling. At least for that hour. Mood swings can set in and we can fly from feeling content to discontent in a matter of moments. It is all part of living. We are here to experience the light, the dark, and the gray.

Tip of the Week: Set aside an hour to do something that makes you feel good and that the day has been successful in lifting your mood.