All you can do blog

On the daily....all you can do is what you can do. - Betsy Poos

From Solstice to Equinox

On December 20th last year Alyson quite casually mentioned she planned to document her daily yoga practice on Realignment Studio's instagram for the 89 days between winter solstice and spring equinox.  I was like o that’s cool.  Good luck.  And then she asked if I’d do it with her. 

I said yes.  But it was a yes with my fingers crossed behind my back.  I wasn’t one hundred percent committed, but I thought I’d try.  And so we began just a few days before Christmas…you know that time of year when holidays throw everything off routine!

Those first few weeks I really had to search out my calendar for ways to get my practice in.  I sometimes felt stressed wondering when I’d practice, but other days it was a fun game finding the space.  Within a few weeks I was fully committed to completing the challenge and I found a peace in letting my yoga practice take whatever shape I needed or wanted that day.

Over the 89 days I made it into the studio for a led practice only a handful of times.  I generally teach 6 classes a week and fitting in another time away from family during class times is hard.  I will pop in early or stay a bit after I teach if there aren’t surrounding classes to have a private practice space.  I love when things work out that way. 

Usually I’m at home for practice and my average home practice is about 20 minutes in length.  My yoga practice is often crowded with one or two kids, our dog, and sometimes my husband passing through.  I can not tell you the number of ways in which this drove me absolutely bonkers for years.  I held so tight in fact to yoga being a sacred, inward practice that my personal practice became pretty non-existent.  Waiting for the perfect time to practice never comes.

After our second daughter was born a lot in me flipped and I started embracing yoga with my family around.  Well it was way bigger than that.  It took having two kiddos for me to really embrace and settle into motherhood.  But today being a yoga mom is how I most want to identify.  And practicing amongst family is the way I want to practice.  I usually choose to practice downstairs even when I could find solitude upstairs in our home. 

Just prior to beginning this daily yoga practice challenge I resigned my daytime position.  Our childcare dynamic had shifted and I needed to be home day in and day out with our daughters.  My main job now is primary caretaker.  The stay at home mom (sahm) variety with long hours and zero pay.

Everyone I talk to wants to qualify my shift.  They will tell me I’m not a sahm because I’m a small business owner (yes I remember) or they will tell me not to worry because I can go back to work soon when Luna is in school.

The thing is, I don’t want to qualify my decision.  I don’t have to explain or caveat this choice.  Our daily yoga practice challenge gave me the space to process and to enjoy being a stay at home mom.  I want to show up as mom first and last every single day.  I embrace that entwined with that I’m a partner in a yoga studio and yoga teacher.

I am not doing it all.  I don’t want to.  I am doing the right things right now.  And I plan to keep up my daily yoga practice to churn now from spring equinox to summer solstice.     




RS Open

Earlier this year I stepped away from blogging.  Instead, I picked up pen and paper and began filling my journal.  I wrote every single day for a bit.  And then I wrote less until I wasn’t writing at all.  It is easy to say life got in the way or that my priorities shifted, but it is deeper.  I felt tied.  My thoughts, my hands, my heart.  I stalled.

Blow back to end of 2015 I got “out.”  I sold my yoga studio and took on my second pregnancy and Luna’s newborn months without too many commitments outside of teaching a few yoga classes a week and being momma.  I really, really wanted to be content.  But it just wouldn’t stick.  As an introvert I feel comfort in solitude and falling to the background, but my equally matched pitta (fiery nature) tugs me to lean in. 

I was given the opportunity to jump back into our local business community and started as Executive Director to CHAMPS, Capitol Hill’s Chamber of Commerce when Luna was three months old.  Similar to a startup, I’m the single employee and am responsible for the wins and the losses.  I love that this job pulls and challenges me to contribute deeply to our neighborhood.  Being around local and small business owners on a daily basis is inspiring.  These are the people you want to know.  They have risked much to start a business and follow their purpose.  Local business owners are betting on all of us to spend our time and dollars in our neighborhood – to love where we live. 

In fact the inspiration I found from my CHAMPS members was so great that it sort of, kind of, very likely caused my stall.  My daily journals were filled with new business ideas along with the pros and cons for each.  It was all fun and fueled my day-job, but as I watched my former business shift the words stopped.  I didn’t want to process my feelings. 

I’d heard whispers that Capitol Hill Yoga would soon be sold or closed.  I had continued to teach a weekly class there.  The energy had changed and it literally hurt my soul to see it, to feel it.  I cried the day in mid April that I told my students I would no longer teach at Capitol Hill Yoga.  I really, really thought I was fully walking away and tried to be content in doing so.  With the words stopped, I meditated every danged day.  It wasn’t a goal or a mission.  Meditation was something I had to do.  My mantra was akin to; Calm the chatter.  Be content.

And then came word that the studio was closing followed very shortly by an offer to open a new yoga studio at the same location.  It almost didn’t feel like a choice.  I was back “in.” I am still looking for the right words to explain why I was willing to dive back into owning a local service business and be a part of a business partnership.  This article from The Atlantic is focused on my partnership with Realignment Studio Founder Alyson Shade and gets to some of it. 

You want in business to make practical choices and decisions based on solid plans and budgeting, and while we’ve done our homework on those pieces my jump was from the heart.  My heart wanted a home once again in our Capitol Hill neighborhood for practice and community.  And my heart ached to build a space for my girls.  A space that is as much theirs as it is mine.  A space that honors kindness, embraces community, and uplifts everyone.  Last week we held Realignment Studio’s grand opening and I felt all the feels.  I’m glad I followed my heart on this business decision.

Life is still perfectly mixed up.  I am no longer trying to be content.  That’s not my mojo.  But I am still working hard to find my balance.  This month Jason and I did our first serious cleanse.  Seven days with lots of kitchen prep, green smoothies and turmeric tonics.  No caffeine, alcohol, meat, or dairy.  Can’t say I’ll do it again.  I didn’t see the amazing benefits (and I just don’t love cooking), but I am happily going strong keeping a green smoothie in my daily diet. 

Last week I suffered a few days with my worst migraine ever.  Not good.  But coming through the backside of that migraine is what made me want to begin blogging again.   There is still some gunk below the lotus to work through.

Here’s to being back “in.”  The journey continues.




The Original Gap Khakis

Khaki PantsAs I was taking off my favorite pair of khaki pants Monday evening I realized just how thin the threads were along the seat. And then I almost teared up thinking I might have to retire them soon. I dare count back exactly, but I purchased my Gap khakis at least 12 years ago. I remember well that I found the pants on sale at the end of the season for under ten dollars. I first bought one pair and then walked into a few other stores before returning and buying the same pants in three more shades. I bought the pants during a trip home to Texas, and when I showed my mom the bargain finds she was outright worried my funky fashion sense was deteriorating in buttoned down Washington, D.C. Probably a little too true.

The day I walked into the store I was just so happy I could still sneak (very snuggly) into the size two pants. Applause to Gap for making a girl feel good at a time when my long work hours, fast food habit, and drinking nights out with girlfriends left me with some extra pounds.

But with my trusty khakis by my side I soon fell full into my happily ever. The next year the pants no longer crinkled around my bum and thighs and instead began to lightly brush the ground and fray the end seam with each step. Proof that I had shed some excess pounds…and excess stress.

I would give a little ceremonial kiss to them every year as fall turned to winter and all were retired to the top shelf for a few months before I rushed to grab them on the first spring like day of the next year.

When I slipped on my khakis for the first time in 2011 they were so loose I could almost pull them down my hips without unbuttoning. My daughter had been born a few months prior and I remember it being that first light bulb of acknowledging post partum depression in myself. Between caring for my daughter around the clock, breast feeding, running my business, and sweating away a few too many calories without great nutrition I was worn too thin is so many ways.

I vowed to myself that day to get my pants back to that happily ever when they would just brush the ground enough to sometimes catch between my flip flop and my foot.

That happily just smartly frayed place happened on Monday. And so today I celebrated with my favorite kind of self-care splurge, a bargain hunting shopping trip. My mom will be proud as I replaced my well worn, boring khakis with a pair of funky pants that will surely only be fashionable for a single season.

A work in progress

GaneshaEvery December I get a little giddy about the coming opportunity to replace my kitchen wall calendar.  In 2014 we were greeted each morning with Stella's Disney Princess calendar which added a certain whimsical quality to enjoy coffee and cereal with Ariel, Belle, Tiana or Aurora each morning.  But this year we've returned to the requisite Yoga Dogs calendar ~ because it is the perfect gift for a yogi, dog owner like myself.  In any case the act of changing out the calendar to 2015 had me a little aprehensive. I tend to make just about everything a competition, with others (they are mostly unaware of this) and especially with myself.  And to boil it down very quickly 2014 was a big year on top for me.  2014 brought game, set, match on my resolves to manage my daily schedule, to train for and run a marathon, and to study and become a certified yogahour teacher.  Each resolve was a win in its own right and put in perspective with the muddle of the three years prior I had really come up roses.  And too top it off our studio is thriving more than ever.  So stepping into 2015 felt scary.  I wasn't sure how I was going to top myself this time when my soul was quite possibly asking for a little less.

I spent New Year's Day 2015 just as I had the year before, in our studio packed with yogis gathered to create and embody his or her sankalpa (heartfelt desire) for the new year.  I'd walked into the studio that day with a sankalpa that read I am 3/4 full, but in voicing it to my workshop partner I knew that wasn't quite right.  My sankalpa couldn't just be to stop doing grandious things, or do a little less of them.  That's not who I am.  I am 3/4 full revealed my trepidation about stepping out of a really good year without embodying the rich opportunity to build upon the good.  And so out goes that sankalpa.

It's now January 29th and as I've fished around for the right sankalpa I am still feeling uneasy.  My going statement is I am tortilla soup.  For me this means I am full, I am spicy and all the right ingrediants are in order for a delicious day.  But I'm having a hard time fully owning this one.  Something is still not quite right for what I am looking for this year.  Could it be that nothing is abreast?  Could it be that I just need to back off myself for awhile?  Or is it such a splash that my subconscious is not letting me go there yet?

Within this vunerable state I have found one strong focus for January to reclaim a couple of old habits.  I have dedicated five minutes a day for meditation and twenty minutes a day for reading.  The five minutes of meditation is perhaps what is leaving me so hungry to claim my aim, my mantra, my guide for the year.  It's just enough dip each day to know I need more time.  So maybe for February I'll make it 10 minutes a day and see what churns up for me - always a work in progress.  Jai Ganesha.  Open my way for 2015.