Category Archives: Yoga

30 Day Challenge Update: New Vocabulary and Traitorous Fingers

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Yesterday.

Yesterday, was a day of failure. I spilled lemonade, dyed dingy white towels a deep fuschia instead of a deep red, failed to finish a book review, took darling pictures of the boy without a CF card, and only made it through thirty minutes of yoga because I have the attention span of a gnat. Yesterday sucked.

Then, I visited the blog and read In-law’s funny post and Little’s plaintive post, and smiled. We’re doing this. So what if every ant in New Mexico now calls my kitchen home, my bathroom looks like a bordello, I find it impossible to pen 400 more words, and I never master crow pose? We’re blogging together.

And, while yesterday was a failure, and I totally logged into facebook this morning, the first week of the thirty day challenge was not a complete blow out.

The Yoga

Day 1: Kiss the Edge of Challenge. I fell out of crow pose. Twice.

Day 2″ Transforming Fear. In every pose, I thought about facebook. Every pose.

Day 3: Core Consciousness. Yoga has a strange vocabulary: surrender, assimilation, lock.

Day 4:  Secrets of Yoga. I have never fully considered my armpits until told to “loop your armpits back.”

Day 5: Setting an Intention. My intention — focus.

Day 6: Power and Concentration. I failed to concentrate and only made it through the first thirty minutes.

Day 7: Find Roots and Establish Balance. Favorite quote: “Notice how your mind is not helpful at all.” I have been noticing this for much of my life.

Day 8: Totally skipped.

Day 9: Thirty minutes of Power and Concentration. Obviously, I do not have power and concentration.

Day 10: Balancing for Core Stability and Will. The instructor says  “Find ease through your efforts.” This has become my new mantra.

The Facebook

On day one, I have to stop my fingers from typing in the address, and I replace one addiction for another by rediscovering blogs I haven’t read in years like Here be Hippogriffs and Woulda Shoulda. By day two, I feel righteous. Facebook? Who needs facebook? Day three, four, and five are much of the same, but on Sunday, I have a breakdown. Little tempts me with a picture of the world’s most gorgeous baby. I cave. Today, I get up, pour coffee and type in the cursed URL. There are beautiful pictures of my cousin, so I justify it. I needed to tell my cousin she was beautiful. That’s what cousins do.

This week, I’ll do better. I’ll think transformative thoughts during yoga instead of snide ones. I’ll train my fingers to work, instead of type in the evil URL. This week, I’ll become an industrious human being.

By Big

Of Frogs and Polliwogs

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Our favorite creek sprang polliwogs in early summer, every summer. We could, but did not, count on it. We trusted in reliable pools of polliwog and the whole she-bang, the place, our family, ourselves.

Fat, black bodies color the water. My brother and I pulse with glee as we try to scoop them up with pop cans we found along the creek banks. We want a frog hatchery in the bathroom, or if mom protests, maybe, we can take a shovel and build a pond in the backyard. My brother offers his tonka trucks for the project. Their black bodies are slimy but solid, like smoked oysters.

They’ll transform into croaking frogs. We’re children. We don’t want to be much more than we are right now. We want to be here at the creek catching polliwogs, being children.

We run those pop cans the mile home. Shawn’s legs can’t keep up with mine so I wait under the Valley Oak. Becky, don’t run. He yells. You’ll hurt their bellies. I tell him they don’t have bellies. They have torsos. We walk the rest of the way, sneak the cans in the house and dump the polliwogs in the bathroom sink. My mom never said a word.

At eight years old, I didn’t know, didn’t believe that I had any limits of energy, of imagination, of courage. That anyone or anything did. Now, at 32, I fear the edges of my efforts. That I will not cobble together something good, a thought worth pursuing for the dissertation, the next article, the next project. The moments of my life, washing dishes, reading theory, grading papers, pulling weeds in the garden, folding my son’s clothes feel frantic, like I must hurry, I must rush, for it’s not enough, my efforts will not suffice. I can’t scoop up the polliwogs fast enough and I do not trust they will return.

I’ve been trying to stand on my head all summer. I’ve spent hours kicking my feet into the air, trying to hold head stand, to take deep breathes with my body suspended, to rest upside down. Half a second. On a good day, I can hold it for half a second. My husband laughs at my yoga practice, not a laugh of derision, but of admiration and wonder. “You? Sit still?” he says. “Hold a pose?”

In garland pose, an obscene spread-leg squat where my chin touches my knees and my rump my ankles,  I resemble nothing more than a squatting frog. Sitting, resting in that effort, I don’t think about much more than my screaming thighs and how I really hope no one comes to the door. I can’t hurry garland pose, I can’t beat it with a frenzy of energy. Garland pose says sit. Garland pose says breathe.

By Big

Written during the BWP Summer Institute

Big’s 30 Day Challenge: No Facebook, Lots of Yoga

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It’s summer. I’m a mom, a Ph.D. student, a wife. I want to loafe, but I have work, much work, work which if I do not do now will haunt the school year, curse my family time, and in short, ruin my life. Thus, today begins a thirty day challenge, inspired by the lovely Maggie Mason of Mighty Girl, who was inspired by this TED talk (Go. Watch. It’s short.).

  • Challenge No. 1: No Facebook. During the two hours I have allotted for writing, I’m checking Facebook every five-ten minutes. Facebook checking is taking up thirty minutes of actual time, and much, much more of brain processing time. I do not have time to waste. If I use those two hours this summer, I will not need to become acquainted with 4 AM. I will not need to inject coffee into my veins. I will not need to haul a laptop to the boy’s soccer games and practices. No more Facebook — at least, not for the next thirty days. However, I am going to allow myself to post news articles to Facebook, as long as I don’t actually enter the site. Hey, I’m weak, and I do use it as a warehouse.
  • Challenge No. 2: One hour of yoga every day. Yoga has some things to teach me, things I need to learn, like how to sit still, how to rest upside down, how to pay attention. I want yoga to be part of  my day, like reading and cooking, so I’m authorizing a yoga binge before school starts, in hopes of creating a habit. I have a head start on this challenge, I’m four days in.

Sisters? Mom? Join me.

By Big