Tag Archives: yoga

Dance Party!

What does a dance party have to do with homework? You’ll see in less than a minute…

But first, do you struggle with starting your homework and then getting distracted?

Or by staring at your screen and worrying about homework while the minutes [and maybe hours] idle away?

Sooo…how do you actually get a break while still getting your homework done?
And if staring at a screen is not really rest , then…what is a break?

Rest is anything that gives the brain a break from the task at hand, but allows it to be rejuvenated so that one can easily go back to the task at hand.

Perhaps..energizer might be a better word.

Depending on what state I’m in (tired and drowsy, lethargic, don’t feel like doing anything) or anxious and hyper depends on the type of rest that I might take. It also depends on how much time I have. Here are some ways that I rest for rejuvenation. If I have 15-20 minutes:

  • Brisk run or walk (I run for 7.5 minutes one way and then back 7.5 minutes. You can also do this with a walk).
  • Sretching. I exercise a lot and often times my legs are tired. I also sit a lot and like everyone am guilty of typing…so any kind of stretch for my wrist (try kneeling on the ground and then putting your hands on the floor-your fingertips pointing towards your knees-and/or, stretching one finger at a time using the other hand.
  • Lying on the floor with my legs against the wall or on a couch. 
  • Watercolors. This works for me because I do not consider myself to be *good* at art which helps my brain relax and just go with the flow.

If I have 5 minutes:

  • Washing the dishes.
  • Stepping outside.
  • A smaller stretch. 
  • Dancing to music. [hence the dance party]
  • Drawing.

Summer is a  great time to brainstorm and practice new rest strategies for during the school year. Once you have your list, you can put it near your work-space. 


For the month of August challenge yourself to use one of your rest techniques at least once a day for increments of five minutes. This practice will create muscle memory and add rejuvenation to your day and…your homework.

I’d love to know! What are your favorite ways to rest?

Want accountability for your challenge? Email me! I’d love to know how it’s going.

Video

Do you know what self-advocacy is?

or…do you practice it?  In this video, you’ll learn how one student  self-advocates AND practices learning new information!

 

 

By the way..I’m curious to know about your experiences with self-advocacy in school (positive or negative). Please post in the comments below!

To learn more strategies about self-advocacy, stress-management, and executive functioning skills please feel free to contact me. I would love to hear from you!

Video

How do I know if I’m STUCK?

Do you find yourself ready to get started and then every five minutes checking your phone? Changing your music playlist? or my go-to…opening and closing the refrigerator door? Watch this video about being stuck…and getting unstuck!

Leave your comments below…

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The Lazy Perfectionist

I think an acupuncturist described me as such when I was in college after telling her about myself. I don’t know if I’d call myself a lazy perfectionist anymore. I think perhaps I’m lazy (can you relate?) but have developed habits that urgently push me out of bed in the morning and have learned set goals that keep me on track. And the simpler and shorter my goals and “to-do” list is the better…

Back in March some of you may know I signed up for a half-ironman.Seemed so exciting at the time…and doable!  It’s next Saturday. The training has not been as consistent or as hard-core as I would’ve liked, and I have also had some great moments.

For any of you other Lazy Perfectionists or  Type-A-Wanna Be-Neurotics you might be able to relate. Perhaps you you  don’t always wake up saying,”YESSSSS!!!!!TODAY I’M GOING TOTRAIN!  YESSSS!!!! or even, “TODAY I MUST TRAIN, AND I WON’T COMMIT TO ANYTHING LESS..” By the way, you can substitute work or any other goal (it doesn’t have to be training) and this entry still applies.

This mind of mine gets really excited about doing a large volume of training or a really fast pace.. But then And it gets really upset when I don’t complete that large volume or that really fast pace.

So lately I’ve started training my mind in a different way…instead of telling myself that we are going to train hard (anyone else have multiple personalities, ha!) I tell myself that we are going to train focused.

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Lake of the Isles, Minneapolis

I know that sounds strange. One of the delights of longer trainings is letting the thoughts drift. Getting lost! Exploring! And it is! But that’s not necessarily what I need for my day at that time.  And f I let my thoughts drift too much without feeling my body and my brain rooted in the training then I stop…and drift some more…

…..and knowing that sustained focus is something that I consistently  need to practice, why not do it during a time in which a repetitive movement is already built in to my week.

 

 

 

 

Video

The Big “Why?”

It’s here…or almost here…SCHOOL! What’s the answer to your Big WHY?

Post your comments below…

The Dark Side…

Many emotions last week as I embarked on training week #2. Old patterns of thinking kept coming up-the pushing, the needing, and feeling like, “I can’t.” I  am also having some pain in my left foot that I want to be mindful of. I’m not going to push through and hurt myself and yet at the same time there’s a need to have a little bit of fire under my butt to keep going. So while I am committed to training in-so-far as it feels like I am taking care of myself I’ll do it. If September comes and I don’t feel ready then I’ll let it go.

Lately, a sickening feeling of rage and frustration around how lost I’ve gotten, after a year of quiet, into the world of consumption have come up for me. And it feels that, a practice that I so carefully cultivated around just being, is dissipating.

The addiction of indulgence has once again returned. It’s obviously natural to want and it’s a beautiful practice to give oneself a treat every once in awhile. But that treat (for me)  turns so easily into a desperate need to have that thing, to complete that goal, to get everything finished….

…I used to feel very much that if I didn’t keep pushing I would lose something vital to who I was. But now I see it as an ingrained habit and the patterns of thinking that say, “See! I told you you weren’t good enough! You just need to keep at it (at what?) and then you will have what you need to be happy.” And as if that thought pattern wasn’t enough of a blow there’s a whole story and judgment that goes along with that too.

I’m angry this morning at another careless act of leaving bike shoes outside my house that are no longer there. It’s not the money. It’s the judgment around, now, making another purchase around my carelessness.

I teach and preach  forgiveness, patience, and self-compassion; fundamental to the “undoing” of ourselves.  I am grateful to have developed and be supported   in a practice of such mindfulness; it reminds me in all these times of feelings, whether frustration or elation, and the judgement and stories that go with them, to just be still with them and if I’m so lucky, to return to a state of just being.

 

 

 

 

 

To Be A Teacher

“Are you ready to fly solo?” the text read. “Kristen went into early labor so you’re on your own tomorrow!” On a Tuesday in late October I entered Humanities Left at 8am with some knowledge of myths needing to be completed.  I was taking over for the 6th grade teacher out on maternity leave. Thinking that time was on our side Kristen and I had met the previous Friday going over the classroom routines and then  planned for a week together where I would shadow Kristen and then gradually be released into the world of humanities.

Well, babies have their own timing and Kristen was in Labor and I was standing alone in front of a bunch of sixth graders. What, I wondered, would  a three month stint back in the classroom bring? Stomach flipping anxiety? Fun? Would I be able to let go of the classroom at the end of the day or keep my experiences tied into who I was as a person, my self-worth included?

What I found , during that three month stint, finally was a growing sensation that  I could finally be myself. Certainly there were rough stints.

One day was especially hard. After a week of teaching, tutoring, and babysitting I burst through the doors of my house practically in tears. “What’s wrong?” asked Swami Ramananda. . As I recalled the daily digest and also expressed frustration at myself for feeling a need for control, he said, “Hmm..can you notice your behavior without responding to it?”

What was it about the classroom then that I felt I had to control others’ behavior? I watched myself one day as I got into a futile argument with a student over paper. Hmm. Would the result of the argument help the objectives of the assignment? Or just prove to this ego that I am the teacher and therefore in “control.” If the argument didn’t go my way then what? Was I not in control?

Taking Ramananda’s advice, I began to watch my behavior. Were there times, when altough I might not agree with a student’s decision, I could let it go? And what happened if I did? As I stepped back, the classroom became it’s own entity in which I was a part but not in charge of.Students come to me for help, and I started to only interfere if I felt that a student needed to be guided back on track to reach the objectives of the class.

More and more I let the class become truly about the students and I as an ally to guide them along.  One student in particular if not given specific directions would spend the class gazing at the ceiling or tying his shoe. One day I asked him, “What is it that you need from me to help you feel successful?” The shift from having all the answers to a collaboration with the students  shifted the space dramatically.

I will also say that this was a class that allowed for an easy collaboration. The classroom so varies on the personalities that it brings. It’s not always the case that I, or any teacher can so easily step back and let the classroom be as it is.

Children reveal our greatest vulnerabilities. Child professionals and parents have an especially big sensitivity button that when pushed can spill tears, rage, blame, love, hugs, and praise sometimes all in one blubbery sentence! It is easy to put one’s exbrokennpectations of self-worth, and measures of success and failures on that of a child as they have an easy way of exposing adults for whom they really are. Inside we feel a great sense of pride when these children experience a certain measure of success and a bout of dissapointment when they don’t measure up to one’s expectations.

When a child appears resistant or shows a lack of understanding it is easy to jump into fix-it mode. With what could appear as stalled movements forward fix-it mode can turn into desperation which can spew blame, dissapointment,frustration, and sadness by the adults around him or her.Is it possible that while we are applying all of our knowledge to those that need it,we can also just be by their side and let them know that they are not broken, but loved just as  they are?

Connection and empathy are  often the most empowering gestures that we can give and receive. The ablity to sit with a student and be with him or her exactly where he or she is in struggle or success is a practice. As authors Michael I. Bennet and Sarah Bennet express in their book F*ck Feelings, “It’s the loving parents of self-hating kids who are genuinely the most amazing, specialest, snowflake parents of all.” In the acceptance of that self-hating child or whatever stage they are in, allowing him/her to  just being perfect in their imperfections we are also showing ourselves that same acceptance which, at the end of the day, may (or may not) help us take a step forward.

 

 

A View From the Cottage

These hillsphoto 2

light  breeze ,  sunshineunnamed

And some blank pages

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Nothing more needs doing

Surrender

Sometimes I wonder if my posts are heading more towards, what my aunt would say the “woo woo” side of things. Well if they are, so-be-it! Worrying about the “woo-woo” has prevented me from writing this post for too long. So take a deep breath and bring on your woo-woo!

I’ve been exploring this idea of surrender this year. If you don’t mind, praying for it, actually. And I’ve been playing with the line between “doing” and “waiting.’ I’ve spent times, dwelling at coffee shops (if you’ve been following my blog you know) and taking time to smell the flowers. I’ve also had super busy weeks filled with activity that leave me exhausted at the end of the day. Both ends of the spectrum  have given me great pleasure and stress depending on the moment.

So, this past week there were two instances that rang true for me about what surrender MIGHT mean. The first was during a morning meditation. After our silence, a cassette tape  (remember those?) of questions and answers with Satchidananda was played (the guru that founded Integral Yoga). The question from a man in the audience was, “I suffer from acute panic attacks. What can I do?”

Full disclosure, I usually tune out during the tape playing part of the meditation. However, having suffered from incredible anxiety myself and having been exposed recently to two close young adult friends of mine who were also experiencing anxiety attacks I listened in.

“Anxiety comes from expectations,” he said. “So ask yourself what am I anxious about? What am I expecting?” For many of us this is feels like way too a simplistic solution. But when I think about that myself I reflect on what my own anxiety has been around. So much of of it has been about fear of not being able to….or What if I lose….or simply, What if I am not enough..

he goes on to say, “So stop expecting things. Stop having desires.” And then he laughs knowingly. “Or keep desiring and keep wishing. But know if you don’t get what you are expecting or if what you want it’s because God didn’t want you to have it. Blame God for not getting your wants.”

The word God makes many people shudder. Perhaps another way to think about this  is that it’s just not meant to be.

It’s only woo woo if you take it as making the choice to stop moving towards your goal. Right now my own life has many different moving pieces that are filled with uncertainty. They often offer glimmers of opportunity that are just barely out of reach. Sometimes they grab hold and take off and sometimes they don’t. The other day, I told a friend, “My schedule this week changed in the span of five minutes.” She commented, “your whole life right now is like dating!” We both laughed.

And yet, as I commented to a housemate, “I’m hopeful and I’m wanting these opportunities to happen. But I’m not going to be miserable if they don’t.” And she said softly, “Surrendering.”

Ahhh. To my desiring, striving, ambitious, and often lazy self-that was a definition of surrendering that I could get my head around: keep on keepin on no matter the outcome. But don’t stop moving forward (even if it feels like there’s a standstill or moving backwards).

The Embarrassing Truth

If you’ve checked my facebook page recently you may have read that once upon a time in my life I auditioned for clown school.Sarah It’s true. And the real punchline is, I didn’t get in! In the larger context, this information was shared because of a weekend conference that I will attend in September (and no, it’s not a clown conference).

The embarrassing truth came out because as I was filling out the application, it asked for a quirky/fun fact about myself. So racking my brain, I asked a friend of mine to share hers. She mentioned “clowns” and, of course, having somehow forgotten about clown school, it suddenly came back! And so I rushed to put it on the form…maybe I should’ve asked first how the information was going to be used. :).

I have noticed that there are certain imperatives that I must have as I traverse the rolling seas, run up hills, and bike into the sunset. Please forgive the teenage drama, another embarrassing truth (I guess this is just the truth telling entry) is that I have gotten hooked on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It’s out. I feel better now. But now it’s gonna get worse because I’m going to compare this 90’s drama about vampires to real life.If you’re unfamiliar with the show here is a three sentence synopsis: Buffy’s “calling” is to be a vampire slayer. She complains and whines about how she cannot just be a normal 16 year old girl and is stuck with this duty forever. She meets another slayer[highly unprecedented according to Buffy’s watcher Giles] who tells Buffy as she’s leaving, “It’s weird that you treat this as a job. It is who you are.”

In yoga this duty or calling would be named dharma. We were born into this world for a purpose..  This calling is usually something that comes naturally to us, a love for something so strong, that if not fulfilled we may turn into ashes with the sunlight (vampire reference, sorry). So, the imperatives: movement and creativity.

I have been blessed with circumstances that have allowed me to explore these areas in anyway I wish. A body that (besides sometimes being stiff) has carried me across finish lines, a mind that although sometimes is off killing monsters or feeding unicorns somewhere, is also compulsive  in that if these imperatives are not met within a reasonable time will scream out and not rest until they are complete.  I have a rich community of family, friends, and teachers who encourage, embrace, and sometimes kick me back onto the path of what’s important to me when I start making excuses. I have it easy compared to many.

Many friends of mine  have overcome severe illness with the help of a healthy lifestyle that includes movement and creativity: I was moved to tears at the starting line of an endurance event in Tahoe at the sight of veterans pulling their friends along in wheelchairs through a ten mile rough mountainous path. A dear friend, determined to not let diabetes get the best of her, started with a 5k race and completed her first triathlon in her mid-fifties. With the help of a healthy diet and lifestyle she got herself off of the medication. Yoga has practically cured two dear friends diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, who both chose the “easy” arduous path of diligently caring for their bodies and their minds through yoga instead of life full of daily injections.

The conference  in September that I referred to at the beginning is called the Adaptable Yoga Conference.Indeed a gathering of clowns; a group of yogis with differently abled bodies coming together to learn about how to bring yoga to each other.  I am only able to attend because of a generous scholarship that was granted to me. The requirement: “tell us a quirky/fun fact about yourself.”

Yoga Hippie Clown Pants

So that  other yoga practitioners with limited financial resources may attend the conference, please consider making a donation. Click on this link to read more about the conference and contribute.

I promise you won’t have to reveal any embarrassing truths…although If you would like to, you can do so in the comments below. 🙂