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Monday
Nov052012

can warrior one change the way your life unfolds?

It is that time of year again...where I spend a lot of my time in the kitchen.  As much as I love the new studio, the kitchen will always be my favorite place.  I love being in that warm, bright space on dark, gray days.  I love the heat and the smells and having tasks to do.  Don't let me mislead you.  I am not a great cook.  I can cook about five things really, really well.  The wonderful husband is the chef.  Seriously.  I have a sweet yoga studio and a husband who is an amazing cook.  Life is rough.

I digress.

Back to the kitchen.  In the fall and winter in the kitchen is when I get to watch Ted Talks.  This weekend while baking five batches of brownies, I was fascinated by this talk by Amy Cuddy:

If you don't want to watch the whole thing, here is a very brief summary.  Body language can change the way your life unfolds.  If you do a classically "powerful" pose for a couple of minutes before an interview or a presentation, you will manifest (maybe not the best word) that power.  Think of arms in a victory "V".  As we sit hunched over our phones, computers, and iPads, that small posture could be translating deeper in our lives.  Not just bad posture and an ouchy back.  But taking up less space and feeling less powerful.

In her experiments, Amy had two different groups of people.  One group did "small" poses for two minutes before an interview and one group did "powerful" poses before and interview.  They interviewed with people who gave zero, zilch, nada feedback and the interview was taped without sound.  They then showed the soundless videos and asked people who they would hire.  Overwhelmingly it was the "powerful" pose group.

Amy also talks a lot about "fake it til you make it".  Practice that powerful pose like it is totally true (even if it isn't) and eventually it will become true.  You will become powerful.  

Also important to note, she talked about self perception.  These experiements aren't how people percieve you, they are how you percieve yourself.

What does this have to do with Warrior I?

There are a lot of powerful poses in yoga.  But, in my mind Warrior I really fits that "arms in a v victory" pose.  

So, we know that yoga makes us feel good.  Are we cultivating something way, way deeper?  We are turning ourselves from the hunched, small creature to the standing tall yogi in a very real way in the body, but is it extending beyond that?  After you do Warrior I five times in a class or your own practice, do you hit that presentation out of the park?  Do you feel powerful?  Will it change the way your life unfolds?

Absofuckinglutely.

Thursday
Nov012012

misadventures of a garden state yogi

What a sweet little gem of a book!  I loved how accessible it was.  Down to earth.  And such a very real story.  With such a hectic fall, it was really nice to have a book that I could pick up anytime and read a bit and be satisfied.  

And, here is a little something from Brian on getting grounded through meditation:

Cultivating Abundance

We’ve all experienced it. In our most pathetic, clingy, desperate hour of need, the Universe delivers … absolutely nothing.

It seems a sick joke, but, in fact, whatever force or God runs the show seems not to respond to disempowered displays of self-pity. She seems, instead, to respond generously to empowered non-attachment (which reminds me quite a bit of dating in my twenties – I always seemed to do best when I was already feeling attractive and confident.)

So why? Why does God (and dating) reward confidence? Why is it that when I am freaking out, feeling that I will just die if I don’t hear from my agent, that I hear only crickets? But that when I get to my cushion to meditate, and when I let go, releasing to faith, that I return to my inbox with a fresh book deal awaiting me?

Here’s the answer. This place where we live is a gymnasium where our souls do soul push-ups, and since self-pity does nothing to build these spiritual muscles, it is discouraged. It is our path to find our true selves while here on Earth. To drop into our hearts and souls. To experience that we, ourselves, are each part of God. Claiming the opposite, that we are helpless and alone, is incorrect and ineffective.

When we are lost in clinging and self-pity, we’re like toddlers tantruming for chewing gum. And God, like a loving parent, won’t give in to something that isn’t healthy or safe for us.

Nice idea, right? But how do you get confident and become grounded in the seat of your true self? The answer: meditation, of course. Meditation is the practice, over time, of switching from indentifying with our thoughts and transient emotional states, to identifying instead with our deeper selves. And when we are connected to our deeper selves, if even for only moments, we can see more clearly and choose the path that works out our Karma and brings us toward freedom.

When we get grounded, resting in the true seat of our selves, in our authentic nature, seeing clearly and choosing that path of vitality and freedom, energy flows unbidden, the world falls at our feet, and God unlocks the arc.

Brian Leaf, M.A. is the author of Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi. He draws upon twenty-one years of intensive study, practice, and teaching of yoga, meditation, and holistic health. Visit him online at http://www.Misadventures-of-a-Yogi.com.

 Based on the new book Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi ©2012 by Brian Leaf.  Published with permission of New World Library http://www.newworldlibrary.com

Monday
Sep242012

the new studio

Is right next door to where I was!  Easy move. 

It is a BIG space that had been vacant for seven months.  And, for seven months I would walk by and look at it.  Get all excited about the possibility and then realize, nope, it isn't gonna work.  

Too big.  Too expensive. Too big of a dream.

Well, until it wasn't.

I'd love to paint, but I hate to paint...other than that, I think it is perfect.  Nice big studio space.  Two locker rooms.  Two bathrooms.  And a back room with big windows and a great view of Mount Helena

Thursday
Sep202012

well, hello

An unintended leave of absence.  Time just got away from me.  

A week off does a body good and all sorts of change came from it.

Including this, my beautiful, rock my socks off, NEW, bigger, for real, sweet studio:

More to come.

Tuesday
Jun262012

scheduling

I'm sure I've complained about the yoga teacher schedule before.  Early AM classes, noon classes, and evening classes.  Basically the times when everyone else is not working.  So, lunch with friends is difficult.  No movies during the week, no meeting at the brewery after work...

I know.  My life is soooo rough.

Plus, there is the art of actually scheduling classes and when the studio will be open.  I like to put out the next month's calendar in the middle of the previous month so that if the studio is closed any days there is ample heads up.  Spontaneous trips and days off are out.  But, I also have the flexibility to take the days off I need.

And, I've built the whole deal around the idea of consistency.  I get that things come up, but we have all been to that studio where classe are inexplicably cancelled all of the time.  For the record I've posted a "classes cancelled" sign on the studio door twice in two years.  Once for a family emergency and once I was so sick I couldn't get out of bed and had the wonderful husband post a sign for me.

I take consistency beyond that.  I rarely mess with the schedule.  If I try a new class, it is on the schedule for a long time.  I have found that any little change really wreaks havoc with people.  Once you realize that, you have room to maneuver the schedule.  My last major tweak was in September.  I added two classes.

All of this is just a very verbose way of saying that I'm been playing with the schedule.  

Last week I hit one of the major goals I set for the studio.  A goal that takes the studio from something I'm playing with, something I'm trying to make work to something that is working.  It was a really huge moment for me.  Up until then I had been willing to do whatever it takes to make it work, to make a living, to create a great studio.  That moment hit hard.  I still have to be willing to do whatever it takes, but now I have to shift that into a sustainable thing.  That is where the schedule fiddling comes in.

I teach six days a week and by the end of my Saturday morning class, I am exhausted.  Physically my body is wasted.  And, emotionally I have nothing left to give.  Which leaves me a zombie for my Sunday.  

Two things are happening with the schedule.

One, I am taking next week off!  I'm not going anywhere.  I'm not doing anything special. I'm just taking time off.  Pretty amazing to be able to do that.  And, quite honestly, it is much needed.  I had this planned before I hit my huge milestone so now it just feels like a well deserved reward.

Two, I'm mixing up the noon classes.  Instead of having a noon class four days a week, I'm taking it down to three.  Not a huge shift.  But, that gives me two days a week that I don't have to be to the studio until 4:00 PM or so.  It gives me more time for my writing and for my own practice (which I desperately need to sustain me).

Sunday
Jun242012

yoga teacher confessions 6.24.12

I teach a lot of classes.  And, I seldom get to go to a class. So for my Saturday AM class, I completely pretend that I am going to a class for me.  I splurge on my favorite coffee (Ethiopian brewed coffee from Firetower) then head to the studio where I do my morning sit while sipping coffee.  I teach the class like I'm taking the class and that is actually pretty cool, because what class do you take where you think, "I'd love if the teacher did this next" and it HAPPENS.  After class I don't clean anything up, take out the trash, do paper work, nothing.  I just leave with my students and wander the farmers' market.  It is quite lovely. 

Friday
Jun222012

leg recovery

Teaching 12 classes a week really takes a toll on my legs.  By Friday, my legs feel like tree trunks with cement blocks tying them down.  So, on Friday morning, this is my new pracitice.  This might be a nice recovery practice for any runners or cyclists too. Times can be modified.

  • supported upta vishta konasana  (wide legged forward fold), I really, really prop this one up.  Use blankets, bolsters, pillows, blocks.  Whatever you have. 10 minutes.
  • supported paschimottanasana (seated forward fold), really propped up. 10 minutes.
  • easy cross legged forward fold. 1 minute, then switch the cross for 1 minute.
  • easy seat, thread fingers through toes, work on feet.  Few minutes.
  • roll calves on pinky balls.  up and down each calf twice, stopping at any really tight spots.
  • roll feet on pinky balls, standing. a few minutes each foot.
  • roll hamstrings on pinky balls, stopping at any tight spots. Up and down hamstring twice.
  • toes up brick (brick to wall, toes up, balls of foot to or toward floor, one foot at a time, a minute or so)
  • big toe up, other toes down with brick (at edge of brick, big toe goes up the brick, other toes reach for the floor)
  • big toe down, other toes up with brick (foot goes across brick, big toe toward the floor other four toes pointing up)
  • down dog, walk out legs
  • sit virasana or quad stretch at the wall (minute each side)
  • roll feet on pinky balls (yes, again!)
  • upta vishta konasana (active stretch, 10-20 breaths)
  • seated forward fold (active stretch, 10-20 breaths) 
  • restorative heaven (15-20 minutes)

Tada! New legs!