An Attitude of Gratitude: my thanks to all of YOU!!!

I want to express my gratitude to everyone who has read my blog over the past few days. The words of love, compassion and unconditional support so many people have shared with me, have bolstered my desire to work even harder at creating the life I want and deserve.

I am so grateful that my story has touched others. That is why I’m so willing to “wear my heart on my sleeve.” Bikram yoga has changed my life in so many ways and has brought the most amazing and loving people into my life. It’s not just about the time I spend in the hot box, it’s about how I shape my life 24 hours a day.

I write blog entries when the inspiration strikes. I have a community facebook page and a personal facebook page where I detail my daily efforts at improving every aspect of my health (including fashion).

IF you’d like, please feel free to “like” my fb community page:

https://www.facebook.com/ConfessionsofaHawaiianPrincess

You’re also welcome to friend me on fb, IF you’d like:

https://www.facebook.com/IggieSue

Thank you for joining me on this journey! It’s truly an amazing one, and I can’t wait to experience the awesome gifts that await me! I am truly blessed!

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Coming from My Core: Intimate Revelations On Nine Months of Sweat, Blood (not really), and Tears

This Wednesday will mark the nine month anniversary of the day I started Bikram. Nine months usually signifies the birth of a some thing. In my case, in this case it’s the realization that I’m capable of making the choice, of taking action to create change and work toward the body I want to have.

I sat down last night to write in my journal thoughts I have about my body in this moment, in this now. I’m tired of feeling my stomach resting on my thighs when I sit down. Mind you it used to be worse when I was heavier, but still…..it’s a feeling I don’t like. I’ve written a bit lately on my facebook page about taking action to change that, but I woke up this morning with the idea that I’d detail my efforts.

By actively and consciously thinking about the movements and efforts I’m undergoing to activate my core and shrink my abdomen, I can track my progress, and that’s one of the best ways of feeling better about myself—seeing ALL KINDS of progress.

I’m focusing here on some of the poses of the standing series in the Bikram sequence. Some day when time allows I’ll do an entry on all the poses. I’ve included pics, but please bear in mind that I’ve used my camera with a 10 second timer so the poses aren’t my full expression. I have attempted in each pic to be consciously activating my core.

Everything comes from the breath.

Pose 1: Standing Deep Breathing

Here I’m making an effort to keep my core activated when I inhale AND exhale. This is something I’ve had to work toward. I didn’t always have the abdominal strength to keep my core activated while exhaling. I know when I first tried it I would hold my breath when I exhaled. Now I BREATHE while keeping my core tightened!

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Pose 2: Half-Moon

It’s one thing to bend sideward. It’s another to activate my core and bend from there. When I first started doing the yoga I’m not sure I fully grasped how to move from my core, but, as hard as it is, I feel stronger for moving from my core.

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Pose 3: Awkward

Oy. It’s my nemesis, this one, BUT when I pull in my core while I squat I can FEEL my abdomen lift off my thighs and that’s a pretty cool feeling!

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Pose 4: Eagle

When I pull in my core here I can bend my standing leg deeper, and I FEEL a greater sense of balance. The more balance I feel on the mat, the more I feel it OFF the mat!

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Pose 5: Standing Forehead to Knee

Another nemesis! Here I’ve discovered a trick: when I activate my core AND lift my abdomen with my hands I can lift my leg higher, which strengthens my leg and trains my abdomen that it’s NOT the boss of THIS BODY!!!

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Pose 6: Standing Bow Pulling Pose

No pic here! And this one I’m having lots of trouble with. I don’t feel like I’m coming from my core. I feel like I’m just doing all I can to stay upright.

Pose 7: Standing Separate Leg Stretch

When I don’t go down with my core here, I’ve noticed I feel it in my lower back and NOT in a good way! I’m finding I do feel like my torso is longer when I go down in this one.  It’s not about how far I go—it’s about moving my body in a healthy manner so it can reach further than where it’s been.

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Pose 8: Triangle

Here’s the thing with triangle. Here’s the thing with my real desire to focus on my core, my alignment. I don’t want to waddle! It’s true! When I was not in shape, when I was not active I WADDLED.  I didn’t like it. It’s one of the main reasons I LOVE yoga so much. The deeper my practice goes, the less I waddle, the more my body is in alignment. When I take pictures these days, for the most part my feet are aligned, instead of torqued!  When I hike, my feet point straight ahead. So when I do triangle, I look to feel that I have engaged my core and that my back is in alignment. I can go deeper into triangle when I’m not in alignment but that defeats the purpose.

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Pose 9: Standing Separate Leg Head-to-knee pose

Same as above basically. It’s easy to bend over. It’s work to move with the breath, but I’m worth IT!!!

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Pose 10: Toe-Stand

I can now work on an adapted version of this pose! This helps me see my progress!  And that’s pretty cool!

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I want a better life. I don’t mean for that to sound sad. It’s not. I feel so so very grateful for all the wonderful people, places, things that are in my life. I’m very lucky in that regard, and I know it. Working out is hard work. Yoga is hard work. I can sit here and whine and bemoan that I don’t like parts of my body, including my abdomen, or I can celebrate where I am and all the hard work I did to get here, because if I can get here, imagine where I’ll be in a few months!

It’s not that I spend every moment of every class consciously thinking about activating my core or thinking that I wish my abdomen was smaller. I don’t. But I do concentrate on getting into a pose to maximize the benefits and once I’m in the pose I allow my self, my body to be, to explore the depths it’s reaching.

But it’s not just my body, it’s my mind. My ability to express my self here is a direct reflection of my mental growth, a direct reflection that I feel less shame about my body than I used to. I accept my self, this body more. And when I look in the mirror, in class or out of class I have different level of appreciation. I’m not saying my thoughts are always positive, but I’m in such a better place than I was last week, last month, last year.

I may not know where I’m going these days, but I know when I get there I’ll stand tall, with my feet, my back, and my heart in alignment with the universe!

As I inserted these pics into this post, I could feel my body go into shock. I can’t explain it. It’s one thing to do yoga. It’s one thing to take pics, but to look at the pics is something else. It’s very difficult for me to be this vulnerable. It cuts to my core (no pun intended), but honesty is and has been a corner stone of this journey I’m on.

There’s nothing wrong with this body. But I can work on making it better in body, mind and soul. That’s what I want. That’s what I deserve. That’s what I’m working toward.

(And when time allows I’m going to take much better pics–with a smile and a tiara!)

Follow more of my journey on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/ConfessionsofaYogaPrincess

Real Women DO Yoga: Yoga is for EVERY BODY!!!

Not too long ago I noticed a trend on some of the yoga fb pages I “like”. Pictures of young handsome studly men would pop up with the tagline “Real Men Do Yoga”, with obvious implications.

These pictures reinforce the media enforced notion that any body type that doesn’t have that “hot” look isn’t perhaps worthy of an “ooh” or an “ahh” and thus wouldn’t lure people to yoga or any other activity.

But how many people actually walk around with airbrushed appearances. Not many. The greater truth, beyond physical appearance, is that Real Women and Real Men DO YOGA.  Yoga is for EVERY BODY.

I am a real woman and I DO yoga. What does a real woman look like? What do I look like?

*I have insecurities, doubts, fears

*I have intensely engaging eyes that reveal the strength and truth of my spirit

*I have a body that’s larger than some and smaller than others

*Sometimes I feel sad; sometimes I feel happy

*Most of my weight is in my abdomen; I don’t much like that, but I’m working on it

*I love what this body can do at this moment, at this size: yoga, cycling, hiking and soooo much more

This Real Woman does yoga, does life wherever she goes. On a recent trip to Texas I decided to compose a series of shots of me doing yoga poses on the go. This will be the start of a continuing pictorial series, which I will title “Yoga is for EVERY BODY”.

This means Yoga is for YOUR BODY. It doesn’t matter if your short, tall, wide narrow—none of that matters. IF you can breathe you can DO YOGA!  If I can do it, you can do it. If you think you can’t, then take a look a look my Texas yoga pictures and you’ll know you can.

Yoga, at its, core isn’t about your body type or size, it’s about healing you from the inside out. It’s about creating the life you want from a place of strength, from a place of knowing. It’s finding the strength and beauty within to formulate the life you DESERVE. Don’t accept less from yourself. You deserve the best.

Yoga is helping to heal me from the inside out. Before I started Bikram I NEVER would have imagined that I could or even would willingly allow this body to be seen doing yoga poses. I based my self-worth on my physical size. I’m learning not to do that. I’m learning to see the beauty in me as I am now, and that’s really all that matters because all any of us has is now.

Celebrate your NOW!  Do YOUR YOGA!!  And remember………

Yoga is for EVERY BODY

and

Real Women DO yoga

(here are a few pics to get the show on the road. more will be posted when time allows.)

Tree!

Tree!

Rabbit!!!

Rabbit!!!

Women Warriors!

Women Warriors!

TexasYoga3

Backbending in Waco!

Backbending in Waco!

Namaste Waco!

Namaste Waco!

When Size Matters

Size matters, or does it?

Last week while shopping for shoes, I insisted that I needed a wide shoe. The clerk told me they only had one style in wide, so, on a whim, I told her I’d try several 10 mediums, along with the one 10 wide.  Much to my surprise the 10 mediums not only fit, but they fit well.  The sides of my feet did not roll over the edge. Plus, my feet felt more comfortable in the mediums than the wide. To make sure of this I walked around the store in the shoes for about 15-20 minutes. After all, how could a medium fit well and be comfy?

When I think of my body changing through my fitness and eating efforts, I don’t conceive of my feet changing, but apparently they have!  I don’t expect to always fit into a medium (it’s not like shoes have standard sizes, after all!), but I have to let go of my preconceptions of what size WILL fit me.

Fast forward to last night at Macy’s. They were having an amazing sale—I know this because I go there more frequently than I’ll admit. I saw this gorgeous red coat. I tried it on in a size 22 and the arms fit but the rest just made me look fat. Trust me it did.  I went home sooooooo depressed……….

But this little voice said “go back to the store. Go back.” So I went back. This time I tried on a size 18.  It actually fit better!  It looked good on me!  The arms fit too. (My arms are on the big side so that is often a litmus test for me).  Now I will say the coat doesn’t quite close completely in front, but I actually prefer that look in most cases, and definitely in this case.

That night I also decided to try on a 0x sweater vest and it also fit.

During the course of my shopping adventures earlier in the week I tried on some cute sale clothes in sizes I THOUGHT would fit, but these clothes SWAM on me. 

I feel sometimes like my head is swirling in a vastly unknown vortex of possibilities. Nothing fits me the way it should. Nothing is the way it was. And I don’t know how it is now.

The last time I went to Disneyland I bought a sundress in an XL.  It’s an A-line with an elastic top. I wasn’t sure it would fit but if it didn’t now it would soon. I tried it on the other night and it FIT.  I can wear it now if I want.

So does size matter? Does the number on a label matter? I don’t think so. BUT, I do feel better knowing the work I’m doing on my body translates into smaller clothing sizes. It’s so strange to let go of the known and step into the unknown. Sometimes I feel like hiding under a rock because it seems like the changes in my life are coming so quickly, and at a lightning fast pace.

But I’ve stayed under that rock for too long.  Far too long. It’s time to celebrate me and the positive changes I’m experiencing. It’s time to embrace the idea that my body is becoming more of what it’s mean to be. That I’m becoming more of whom I’m meant to be.

That’s the lesson of the red coat. And how it’s teaching me that size really doesn’t matter. Mindset does. 

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