Things I learned from running in Central Park

You may be surprised to learn that I run now.  Thanks to my 45-year old metabolism (which needed my attention and a boost) and to some wonderfully supportive and encouraging advice - I am a RUNNER.  

You won't be surprised to learn that as a yoga teacher, by running, I found out a lot about myself and about the world.  So this year, instead of my "things I learned last year" post, I thought I'd try this! 

Things I learned from Running in Central Park 2015

  • Some days the best I can do is to keep breathing and keep moving.  And somehow, that gets me great distances.
  • I can change.
  • Set attainable – not unrealistic – goals.
  • If the hill seems overwhelming, don’t look too far ahead.  Look right in front of you and take one step at a time. That one next little step doesn’t look or feel like a big hill.
  • Getting hurt doesn’t mean stop.  It means rest, heal, and try again – with a different strategy this time.
  • Uphill battles are real.  And then they are over. And then there is another one. And then they are over. And then sometimes, you get so strong, that you don’t even notice the uphill anymore.
  • There is a sneaky little place in my subconscious that always has an early exit strategy.  I am learning to not listen to that sabotaging voice.
  • Make a plan to spend time with good company.  Make a plan to spend quality time alone.
  • Everyone has their own pace and their own route.  So although there is no such thing as going the wrong way, there is such thing as getting in the way – share the road.
  • There are very competitive people in the world who don’t care about anyone else. There are very supportive people in the world who are compassionate and inspiring.
  • Its amazing how many men in NYC look like Jason Robards.
  • Keep your head up and eyes open.  There are rare birds, beauty and friends passing by all the time.
  • Some people never stop working even when they run.  Some people leave work to sit under a tree and rest.
  • Its ok if you don’t always reach your intended goal.  Some days, a little something is enough.
  • If you see someone struggling, give them space - or - ask if they want support.  One of those will be wrong, and you won’t know which one, but do it anyway.
  • Greet people warmly – even if they don’t return the gesture.
  • It might feel like everyone in the world is passing you.  But if you’re still at it, you’re making progress.

Semper Ubi Sub Ubi - Always Wear Under-Wear

Semper Ubi Sub Ubi - Always Wear Under-Wear. I am considering it as the ongoing title of my blog.  A few people already suggested I should be open to other ideas.  So perhaps this is just a test of the Emergency Broadcast System.  If this were a real blog……..

In June I posted this on my Facebook Page

“Its been my practice to suggest healthy seasonal changes. On the first day of Summer I'd like to suggest a sensible practice. For those of you who take yoga classes - wear undergarments that both conceal and contain your genitalia. Always! Men, Women and any gender variation. Fabric moves and stretches to translucency. Please don't misinterpret my suggestion - I think the human form, in all its variations, is sublime. However - as my philosophy teacher says - you wouldn't light a cigarette with a Sabbath Candle. Its a sacred space for some of us. Please don't expose yourself in yoga class. Please and thank you!”

While there was a particular incident that prompted the post, there is also a collection of images that have been permanently scorched in my memory.  Mostly in a “Gah! Did I really need to see that?”, way. 

Exposing yourself inadvertently – or advertently – in Yoga is not really the point.  Its just an example leading to …..

Do you know the impression, impact and imprint you are making on the world around you?

Yes, I’m going to turn this into a Yoga/Mindfulness thing.  This is what I do! This is how I ROLL!

Most people know Yoga as a series of movements meant to stretch/strenghten your body.  Or as a sweaty grovin-to-music workout.  And while they both can be, Yoga literally means to connect (yoke, unite, yuj).  It is to understand and know more of yourself – to know; how you react, how you learn, how you move, who you are in the world, the contributions you make.  To know not only the way you place effort to reach your goals, but also the actions that occur inadvertently along the way.

The impact and imprint we make on the world matters.  This is not news.  Our environmental imprint, our economic contributions, even our visual impact leaves an impression.  Its OK if you don't care what people think about you.  In fact, its not a bad policy - sometimes.  But its physics - something is being impacted by your actions, always. 

If you want to capture attention, go for it! Stand out in the crowd, expose yourself….to stares and scrutiny. Just know who you are and the imprint you make on the world. 

Perhaps the work of Yoga and Mindfulness is to know and choose what you are revealing to the world. 

Oh and......Saturday, September 12 at 10am in Central Park  - join Lisa Langer and me as we UNITE for a fun and fabulous outdoor Yoga Class.  More information to come, so sign-up for my mailing list, ‘like’ my Facebook page, and check-in on my upcoming workshops/events

40º is Not Warm

Just because its 40º, and not 20º, doesn’t mean its warm.  But on the streets people were rejoicing.  Weather reporters proclaimed it was balmy, gorgeous, delightful.  NYC hasn’t seen 40º since January 5.  Our internal compass has been pointing toward cold for so long, the slightest relief from it has us thinking its Spring.  40º is not Spring, its actually average temps for February. We just forgot because its been 20s for so long.

People are so thrilled its not 20º, they are out running in shorts and tee-shirts.  40º is not warm.  I’m going to set my kitchen timer on this one - in 10 days, those runners will be sick.  

Have you ever been injured - physically or emotionally - and didn’t realize how much pain you were in until it fades a bit? Such relief.  But if you listen to your body/mind carefully, you may not be healed quite yet.  You might feel better, but not back to balance.  Your compass is not pointing toward health yet. 

Sometimes our internal compass,  knowing when your body/mind is in- or out-of-balance, can become uncalibrated.  Of course balance changes as we do, constantly.  When it comes to mind/body health, balance is not a place, its a process. 

The skill of pausing to listen to your body/mind - to calibrating your compass - is an essential tool for physical and emotional health.  We all have it.  Is this challenging or easy? A need or a want? Nutritious or deleterious? Does it feel good or bad? Am I hungry or satiated?

I recently had brunch plans with a great friend who cancelled last minute.  Her daughter was cranky.  “She must be getting sick and I should keep her out of the cold”.  A mother, listening to her daughters compass.   Her child was out of balance, getting sick. 

Sometimes we have to ignore our compass - a work deadline preventing sleep or an airport meal.  That is the right choice.  Dancers and Athletes do this all the time.  They ignore the pain for art and beauty.

Is it worth the risk to get off balance? Your compass is different than mine. I’ve never been an adrenaline junkie.  I generally tend to choose safety and ‘the right thing’.  I’m a slow skier and I’d rather take a languid hike, than a vertical one. I agonize over a restaurant menu - get what I want or what I’m supposed to eat. When I teach Yoga class and in my own practice, I tend to favor repetition over pushing. Perhaps I’m emotionally brave - willing to risk my heart and ego.  Public speaking or volunteering to read my essay in front of the whole class is never an issue.  My authentic emotions are usually obvious. Now ask me to ride a bike through NYC streets.  Nope, not happening!

Occasionally we need to push ourselves out of the comfort zone and let our compass point away from balance.  The conscious choice to do something uncomfortable.  The risk of pushing boundaries can lead to injury, illness and hurt.  But it can also lead to the reward of expansion, improvement, empowerment.  

Listen to your body.  Its always telling you something.  Listen, then choose.

What I learned in 2014 from many of you...and some animated characters

I feel the same kind of pressure to send out epic year-end thoughts, as I do to plan an epic New Years Eve night.  Could it be that I promised a game changing, life altering "most amazing post EVAH"?  OK, so if you saw that, I was really just trying to get your attention. (and apparently got a few people worried I might move to Europe...I'm flattered, really)
I will continue to teach my weekly classes and plan to organize great workshops in 2015; Asana, Meditation, Restorative, Ayurvedic Health/Wellness, and more.  So please follow me on Facebook  or stay tuned here.  
And a little something to offer you - a compilation of things I learned in 2014.  I'm quite certain I've forgotten more than I learned, but this some of what I will take with me to 2015. 

Breathe more - Rest more - Play more
- I'd rather end up wishing I hadn't, than wishing I had
- I still can't fold fitted sheets despite ample advice
- Being vulnerable is very powerful
- Let someone force you to see the world differently, even if it breaks your heart
- Everyone's a bit of a fixer upper. And some people are worth melting for
- Balance isn't a place.  Its a process

Breathe more - Rest more - Play more
- I'm getting good at choosing friends
- Go for a walk
- There is usually a better way to say it if I just pause for a moment
- Robin Williams was loved by so many and somehow it didn't help
- Squirrels don't care if their mate is gray or black
- The start of something big is often small and unremarkable
- Its harder to be authentic than nice
- Chemical cleaners are very bad for the environment and work very well
Every life matters.  Many will suffer until we get this right
- Theater, Art, Film, Music, Dance are here to transport us, momentarily, from our own lives
- Eat seasonal and local
- Clothing swaps are awesome
- Smell your food first.  If it smells good, eat it.  If it doesn't - choose wisely
- Read a lot
- Listen to your body.  Its always telling you something
- Indulging can feel sooooo good.....or bad
- No one deserves the skim milk version
- Our healthcare system still needs work
- Our healthcare system is better than most
- Texting might be a valid form of communicating but I still need to hear and see you

- Cold is cold.  Call it Polar Vortex or what you want
- Pope Francis is cooler than any Pope in our lifetime
Breathe more - Rest more - Play more
- If I don't celebrate my birthday, it happens anyway
My daily life requires courage

- Say the following liberally: I'm sorry.  I forgive you.  Will you forgive me.  I love you.

Summer is Here!

OK, technically its not here quite yet. But there is something about Memorial Day Weekend that marks more than just a day of honoring.  For me its when the pools, the parks, the Summer Fun starts. 

As the days get long and outdoor playtime calls, are you ready? 

Some Summer Tips to stay vibrant and cool: 

  • Awaken as early as possible.  Sunrise is early (close to 5 am) but don't be afraid, we're meant sleep less in the summer.  Try it, see what your body can handle. 
  • Get up and move around.  Use the extra awake time to walk, dance or um....you know...yoga or something.
  • Keep cool...but not icy.  Drink cool but not iced water.  For an extra special Summer Season treat, add cooling foods like cucumber, mint and lemon or lime. 
  • Try using organic Coconut Oil as a cooling skin lotion (yes, that stuff in a jar in the oil or "super-food" section of your health-food store.
  • See what shows up at your Local Farmers Market.  Bring a big bag with you, get a variety and enjoy the abundance of summer.

Spring? Ohhhh Spriiiing?

It feels odd to be writing about Spring when its 42-degrees. But May is a-knockin' and Spring will be a-rockin'.  

Spring Tips to feel Rockin' in Spring:
- Awaken with the sun (gulp - its getting early).  People who get up at dawn report having more energy and feeling vibrant throughout the day.
- Drink warm water with lemon in the morning.  Do you have Spring allergies? Add cayenne pepper or ginger in your lemon-water to rid some of that Spring congestion.  
- Change your greens.  Spring greens are hitting the farmer's market.  Change it up.  Add these seasonal, sharp greens to your salad or juicer - its not always about Kale.
Oil pull.  I know, I'm relentless but it works.
- Follow me on Facebook.  I post great articles and tips there all the time.

Spring Will Spring

Here in NYC, it doesn't quite feel like Spring.  We've all lost a bit of perspective now that Polar Vortex is a common phrase around here.  Since when does 40° feel like Spring?  Reality check! That's 8° above FREEZING! Still, Spring will arrive.  It always does.

We've already sprung our clocks forward and more changes are coming.  If you take a moment to get quiet inside, you'll notice little changes: buds on trees, new bird calls, teeny-tiny green sprouts of spring flowers.   When our environment changes, we need to steady ourselves to stay healthy, grounded, vibrant, SANE.

My plan, pick a few things to do consistently -  a quick and easy routine….No, I don't mean that morning (or 3pm) Savior dose of caffeine.   Just a few simple things we can make time for - to nourish ourselves.

  • Make yoga (or any physical, emotional, mental practice) a consistent thread in your life
  • Try to add one new daily health routine. Heard of Oil Pulling yet?  Its easy and the benefits are astounding.  Check out this article entitled WTF is Oil Pulling.
  • Freshen up your environment. Buy an indoor plant.  Oh, you have that already? Then try sprouting your own sprouts. Its easier than you think, urban people.  (www.sproutpeople.org)
  • If you're up for it, try a Spring Detox.  Not sure how? I have great resources, ask me.