It’s OK to Ask for Help

This week has tested me. My husband and daughter were both ill so running around my other child to school and hobbies as well as taking care of sick people kind of wore me out. I’m happy to say that I didn’t have a melt down. No panic attack this week!

The even better news is that everyone got better and my husband helped me out. He wentpexels-photo shopping and helped put the kids to bed, the list goes on and on. He’s kinda been my super hero this week. Love that man. I despair when I look at the house and see how much there is to do but I’m getting better at letting go. I don’t have to be the one to do it all. I think we’re all guilty of it at some point in our lives. “No one else is going to do it, so I have to get it done” or “No one else can do it right, so I have to do it”. I know I’ve been guilty of it. Our loved ones can be wonderfully helpful if we just ask for help.

As a woman, I think we’re kind of built to anticipate the needs of others. I could be wrong but usually no one needs to ask me for help because I can hear the proverbial cry for help from a mile away. I’m not sure if this is a woman thing or not. I see the laundry needs doing so I run a load. I know the kids are hungry at a certain time, so I make food. With my husband, he needs to be asked directly most of the time. If I ask him nicely, he will often help me out. My timing isn’t always stellar but asking for help is something I really need to work on. Though come to think of it, my lovely husband has run the dishwasher without my asking and also cooked dinner. Perhaps my husband has been replaced with a clone? Whatever the reason, it’s all good and I’m happy about it.

Long story short, I think we can all stand to learn to ask for help. I don’t need to be the martyr. I’ll leave the heap of dirty laundry and have a long hot bath.

I did some different things on Yogaia.com this week though I really need to start flowing. I look at YouTube channels like BananaBlondie108 and I’m not sure whether to be inspired or depressed. I really like her videos. She has some very good yoga tutorials but I think I might give my right butt cheek to be that flexible and strong….not to mention have a room just for yoga…..a CLEAN room.

  • Nature Nidra with Craig Norris
  • Nature Nidra with Craig Norris
  • Nature Nidra with Craig Norris
  • Nature Nidra with Craig Norris
  • Yin with Charlie Merton
  • Nature Nidra with Craig Norris
  • Morning Meditation with Rishin Paonaskar

I know, I know. What’s with all the Nature Nidra!? I need to get some variety in my life right? I look at it this way….I’m proud of myself for doing something from yogaia every single day and I really think it’s helping. I listen to my body and do what it’s up and ready for. I guess a slow January can be forgiven. I did mix it up a bit with Yin. That was 45 minutes of fantastic. I just love Charlie’s classes. She’s always reading books and she shares some awesome tidbits of knowledge during class time.

I also tried something I’ve not tried before. I tried out Morning Meditation. I did it in the evening so I guess I kind of cheated but I have to say that I really enjoyed it! Rishin gave a tip during the class that had never entered my mind! He said that we should listen to all the things going on around us and instead of thinking of them as distractions, use them to focus your thoughts. That was brilliant. When ever I meditate, my kids almost always pop in half way to ask me for something like the cereal or to ask me where something is. This time was no exception. In fact they were a bit like buzzing satellites. They were both brushing their teeth with their electric tooth brushes and decided to keep me company while doing it. Then when they were done, they both sat on the couch on either side of me staring at me “I presume”. My daughter even tapped my iPad to see how much time I had left of the meditation. When it was done, she said “FINALLY!”. The meditation was only 15 minutes but with that new approach to getting centred, I was calm and managed to slow my mind. I have seriously gotta try that again!

Maybe that approach can be used during the work day. Just close the eyes and focus on all the noise around you and use it to focus and calm the mind. I’m staying calm…and staying focused.

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My Island of Calm

Somehow Sunday just slipped past me. It was one of those beautiful sunny days where the kids played with their friends and the house was quiet. I cooked new food (polish cabbage rolls are pretty good by the way) and got some of the house cleaned. Over all it was a pretty kick ass day.

Now it’s Monday evening. The kids are all snuggled away in their beds and even my husband decided to go to bed while I was reading the kids a good night story. How is this possible? I have the house to myself and I actually get to watch a movie that I chose on tv!? What alternative universe is this?

This island of calm is wonderful in the wake of the crazy week it’s been. So much

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How much do we let the negativity of others affect us?

negativity all over the world after the US presidential inauguration. I’m not going anywhere near politics right now. I’m in my happy place remember? This negativity got me thinking though. How much do we let the negativity of others affect us? For me, other people’s negativity really gets me down. It pushes all my stress buttons. Sometimes it feels like I have no control over how my body reacts to stressors. I always wonder if other people feel this way too.

I’ve read lots of articles where they say you can’t control other peoples actions but you can control your own reactions. I like the idea of this but when someone pushes my buttons, I can’t seem to control how my body reacts. I gotta call bullshit. Somehow, I don’t think the people that write those articles have people with anxiety in mind. I really hope that doing yoga or meditation each day will help me deal with that.

I was a good girl this week. I was on yogaia.com every day but I still haven’t done anything more active than yoga nidra or meditation. I’m SO boring, I know. I will try to do better. Seriously, I need to get active. To be fair to myself though, I did just have a nasty flu bug that knocked me on my butt for a full 2 weeks. I should give myself some credit. Can I earn gold stars for getting out of bed and adulting? The weeks practices were:

  • Sunday 15 Jan: Yoga Nidra – Craig Norris
  • Monday 16 Jan: Yoga Nidra – Craig Norris
  • Tuesday 17 Jan: Yoga Nidra – Craig Norris
  • Wednesday 18 Jan: Yoga Nidra – Craig Norris
  • Thursday 19 Jan: Yoga Nidra – Craig Norris
  • Friday 20 Jan: Pause. Breathe. Meditate – James Huxley
  • Saturday 21 Jan: Pause. Breathe. Meditate – James Huxley

Wow. I didn’t realise how much Yoga Nidra I’ve done until I looked at that list. I really need to diversify. I used to practice yoga nidra with a teacher named Greta Lai. She was great. I usually stayed awake during her sessions but I tend to fall asleep during Craig’s sessions. I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I try desperately to stay awake but his voice is so soothing that I fall asleep. Dang.

On a good note, I’ve not had any kind of anxiety attack since December. We all know how stressful December can be so I’m feeling like a winner. I think that each month I go without a stress freak out, I’ll consider myself a winner. Yes, I win. I win now =).

I Might be an Enabler…

If you’ve read last weeks post, you’ll know that I was struck down by a pretty evil flu virus. thermometer-temperature-fever-fluThat bug had me flat on my back for about a week. I just went back to work this past Thursday and that was a challenge. I was so tired and worn out and the quality of my sleep wasn’t good. I don’t know about you but I usually get nightmares when I’m sick. If you pair that up with a stuffy nose and a pretty bad cough, sleep wasn’t the best it could be.

It’s pretty rare that I’m sick and rarer still that the bug would wear me out to the point that I didn’t want to move at all. I’m pretty hard to keep still so this week of illness was pretty educational. Here are some things I learned:

  • The children didn’t starve to death even though I didn’t cook
  • There was food in the house, even though I didn’t go shopping
  • The house didn’t explode
  • My husband is pretty darn awesome
  • The work I wasn’t able to do while I was gone didn’t go to def con 5
  • Rum and hot cocoa is a kick ass combination

In essence, the world didn’t stop without me to move things along. This was an “ah ha” moment for me. How much of my own stress am I actually creating?? I mean really? Am I a stress enabler? Holy crap…I might be my own worst enemy.

As I started to get better and my brain started working again, the anxiety monster came to hang out with me again. After a week of being rid of the anxiety monster, it kind of made me think. My anxiety monster doesn’t say much but sits a whole lot of dread on my shoulders. Makes me worry about the stuff I might have forgotten or the things I have yet to do. He kind of comes and goes and isn’t always constant but I sure would like to find a way to get rid of him for good. I know for a fact that my life is pretty good and more stable than it’s been in a long time. I really don’t have anything to fear, so why the dread? I’ll let you know if I ever figure that one out.

It was another slow yoga week. I’m just physically not back to full strength yet. Here’s what I did over the past week:

  1. Sunday 8 Jan: Yoga Nidra, Craig Norris
  2. Monday 9 Jan: Yoga Nidra, Craig Norris
  3. Tuesday 10 Jan: Pause. Breathe. Meditate, James Huxley
  4. Wednesday 11 Jan: Yoga Nidra , Craig Norris and Pranayama – Mindful Breathing, Charlie Merton
  5. Thursday 12 Jan: Yoga Nidra, Craig Norris
  6. Friday 13 Jan: Year of You 11: Mindful Meditation, James Huxley
  7. Saturday 14 Jan: Year of Your 11: Mindful Meditation, James Huxley (kind of sunday as it went over the midnight mark but that counts right?)
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James Huxley

I’ve already talked about Craig Norris in previous posts. Great teacher…but I gotta sing the praises of James Huxley and Charlie Merton.  James is a very experienced teacher. I’ve usually done his Good Night Yoga, Meditations and Yoga Nidra but this man is no light weight. I tried one of his flow classes and it about killed me. Totally insane. I tried his flow class in my early days and did it live. I put on my bravest face but man I crawled to bed muttering something about dying after that class.  I’ll have to try his flow classes again when I’ve got a few more demanding courses under my belt and see if it feels any different. I laughed at myself after that class and faced the fact that I was definitely on level one. Everyone has to start somewhere right?

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Charlie Merton

I just love Charlie Merton. I’ve usually done her Yin Yoga. I swear thats some of the most relaxing stuff you’ll ever get into. Yin Yoga has gentle poses that are held for longer and they really help to open you up your muscles and relax. I have some sore hip flexors and the stretches that Charlie takes us through really help with that. One of the things I love about Charlie is that she talks through her classes. I know some people don’t dig that but I really do. She’s full of great pointers and bits of wisdom. She often shares things she’s read about that inspire her on a daily basis. I find that when she’s talking all the time, it takes my mind of the long stretch and the class just flies by. The Yin Yoga usually lasts about an hour but it’s worth every minute. Check her out if you get the chance. This last week I didn’t do any of her Yin Yoga classes but I did her mindful breathing class. It was 10 minutes but it helped to avert a mild panic attack this week. I’m not actually sure if it was a mild panic attack or not. I was having difficulties breathing. It might have just been the flu I’d had or stress or a bit of both. In any case, this 10 minute class helped to slow and deepen my breathing.

So to sum up, I don’t need to do it all. I don’t need to be everything to everyone. I can leave some stuff alone and the world will go right on spinning. I’ve also removed my work e-mail from my iPad so I don’t check it when I’m off work. I don’t need to be thinking about work when I’m hanging around with my family. I’m trying not to check Facebook before going to bed either but baby steps people…baby steps.

Monkey Mind

Ever have those evenings where you are SO so tired and you think you’re going to sleep well and the moment your head hits the pillow you brain decides to throw a party? I have had a serious case of monkey mind this week. It’s basically like my brain had a monkey running around with the attention span of a 2 year old.

Monkey mind: Hey you! Let’s think about everything! Let’s start from your childhood! You remember those bills you have to pay. Heeeeeeey what about the work you didn’t finish on Wednesday. Purple!

Me: No…I don’t want to think about all that stuff. I want to sleep.

Monkey mind: It’s party time! Don’t be so boring! What’s over here? Plaid! Wheeee!

….and then my eyes popped open because it distracted the monkey. I laid in bed listening to the sounds of sleep through the house and being mildly pissed that I wasn’t making those same sounds. I combatted the monkey mind with ‘Yoga Nidra’. The funny thing about that was that I’d just about fall asleep doing the yoga nidra (super relaxing by the way) and the moment it would end, the monkey mind would creep back into action. I did one ‘Good Night Yoga’ as well but then life threw me another curve ball and I got got da dreaded influenza. The fabulous thing about yoga nidra is that you don’t need to move so I was able to do some kind of yoga even though I was feverish.

screen-shot-2017-01-08-at-23-01-56Yoga Nidra is more of a internal visualisation and relaxation thing. Usually the instructor walks you through some lovely visuals and then walks you through each part of the body to help you relax it. Each teacher approaches it a bit differently but in essence it’s the same. This week I’ve been partial to Craig Norris’ classes. He’s the guy in the picture to the left. He has a very calm manner. Once I’m healthy again, I’ll have to try some of his other classes. He’s very quickly made my short list of favourite teachers. So here’s the breakdown of the classes I did this week:

  1. Jan 1: Yoga Nidra, Rishin Paonaskar
  2. Jan 2: Christmas 18: Yoga Nidra, Craig Norris
  3. Jan 3: Goodnight Yoga, Craig Norris
  4. Jan 4: Christmas 18: Yoga Nidra, Craig Norris
  5. Jan 5: Christmas 18: Yoga Nidra, Craig Norris
  6. Jan 6: Christmas 18: Yoga Nidra, Craig Norris
  7. Jan 7: Yoga Nidra, Craig Norris

I know its not a lot of variety but I needed something to calm my brain and then later on something I could do while running a 39 degree fever. It’s been a long time since I’ve been that this sick. I kind of wonder if my body figured it had permission to rest? You know how you finally go on holiday and you get sick? Maybe it’s a bit something like that. I hope that this coming week I’ll be well enough to do some other things like vinyasa flow. I can’t really say whether or not the yoga has affected my stress level well….because I’ve been doing nothing but laying in bed since Thursday and if thats not relaxing, I dunno what is.

Thoughts From the Sauna…

I was sitting in the sauna contemplating all manner of things this evening. It’s the first of January. It’s the beginning of this project I’ve set my mind to. Half of my brain is congratulating myself on doing something so awesome while the other half is screaming at me in a strong New York accent, “What’s wrong with you?! Have you lost your friggin’ mind?”

Then started the inner dialogue…

output_yolas7Voice of wisdom: “Well…now that you’ve started this you gotta take a picture of yourself…you know…a  full body shot. How else will you keep track of the progress you’ve made?

Inner devils advocate: “Are you kidding? A full body shot? Girl..no one needs to see that, especially the whole wide internet.”

I have to say…both inner voices have a valid point. I’m not sure which one will win out in the end. There’s something terrifying about making this all so terribly public but it’s also awesomely awesome. In any case, I’ll just take it one day at a time. While sitting in the sauna, I really began to think about what I’m getting myself into. How many times a week will I write? Good lord….what will I write about? Will I be able to do this every single day? So I’ve got this much worked out, I won’t be writing every day. I think that would be overkill, don’t you? I figure, every Sunday with an update with the things I’ve done. As for the rest of it, I’m going to wing it.

I did my first Yogaia session of the year tonight. I took part in the Yoga Nidra class. The class lasted 25 minutes and it was a lot of visualisation this time around. I love Yoga Nidra. It’s so relaxing but this evening I found that my yoga mat was less than comfortable so I spent a lot of time trying to move my hiney (that’s a word right?) around to get comfy. Note to self, get a thicker mat for Yoga Nidra.

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Rishin
Poanaskar

If you’ve not had a class with Rishin Poanaskar, I totally recommend it. He’s a fantastic teacher. The picture on the left was taken from the Yogaia site. I hope I won’t get in trouble for using it. Anyway, Rishin always offers good alternatives if certain positions feel too difficult or if you have existing injuries. I always feel like I get something out his classes. The Yoga Nidra was lovely but he also teachers a lovely Vinyasa Flow class (which I’m ashamed to say I haven’t participated in for about 6 months). I need consistency in my life people!

I have a few “go to” teachers and I’m sure I’ll be writing about them all at some point. One class down and 364 to go. I’m on my way!