Will the Yoga Mat Be My Church?

For the longest time, I looked down on yoga as some “fru-fru” artsy -fartsy thing where you lay on a mat, chant and harness your chi. I was always seeking the latest fitness craze and serenity and I weren’t exactly friends. Then I started taking basic yoga classes at my gym, and  became friends with a girl who taught yoga.

Things began to slowly change when I ran the Rock and Roll marathon in 2008. As a supplement to the rigors of long distance running, I tried yoga and reformer Pilates, and began to see glimpses of why is was so popular. In seeking different studios, I struggled with the idea that yoga is both a physical AND spiritual practice. I wanted to grunt, sweat, feel my pulse race, muscles sore- I didn’t need bells ringing, chanting or incense burning.

Fast forward several years, and death, cancer, marriage, moving, college (and eventual graduation), and a job change put a serious dent in my attempts to dedicate any time to my physical well being, let alone nurturing my soul. There was this voice in the back of my head imploring me to seek balance, be physically and mentally in tune with the world. Being the ADHD-crazy brain that I was, quieting my scattered, noisy brain had always been difficult, but I kept looking for ways to tap into the mental aspects of exercise.

Cue the introduction of two people who have sparked a new found curiosity into the practice of yoga: a fellow student in my graduate program who is doing research on yoga and related injuries. She is a dedicated student, teacher, writer, lecturer and all around really nice woman. You can follow her by visiting her website -Jules Mitchell Yoga. I love how she is brings the science of biomechanics and injury prevention into the practice of yoga, as well as putting a more scientific, research oriented, academic spin on things.  The other person is a feminist scholar and researcher in my department. I wrote a lot about her in the Spring, as I really loved her Sports in US Culture class.  Kerrie is doing some great things with yoga research too, as well as some activism with a group called  Off the Mat. Check out her contributions to yoga and efforts to abolish sex trafficking in India by visiting her blog.

These two women have sparked a new flame of interest in the meshing of the mind and the body in the practice of yoga.  So this summer, I have begun what I call an adventure into learning about yoga from all aspects. I promised myself that I would be open-minded to the idea of chanting, finding my Third Eye, and working on improving the ability to do a headstand AND have a clear mind.

I consider myself like a newborn baby right now, absorbing philosophies, names for poses, the poses themselves and trying to connect into my mind. After a month, I am seeing the puzzle pieces and can see how things fit together- mind, body, spirit. I have dedicated this practice to myself, and given myself one full year to explore this whole yoga thing. So far I am loving it. Every time I am on the mat, I dedicate my practice to my girlfriend. I send her good thoughts and healing vibes in hopes that the cancer that has invaded her uterus will leave, and allow her the ability to bear children.

I hated church growing up, and still dislike church, organized religion, the Bible…. it just hasn’t sat well with me my whole life. What I have allowed myself in my new yoga practice is the belief that good thoughts and good energy can make a difference. So call them prayers if you will, but I liken my time on the mat as a time to worship.  Worship my body and its wondrous capabilities. Worship my brain for its powers, but more importantly, I make the time to dedicate my practice to someone or something that I want to send good thoughts and energy to. This is the imbalance that I think I was experiencing, so my hope is that not only will I be able to do the amazing things this woman does, but bridge that gap that I lack between the physical and the spiritual.  I look at this woman in envy because she embodies the attributes I seek: strong, flexible, sexy, peaceful, confidant. 

I love the idea that for this, I don’t need to go to church every Sunday, I just unroll my mat.

Namaste!

“Summer Lovin’-Havin’ a Blast”

So can you believe that it’s  AUGUST!  Summer has-in typical fashion-flown by. I won’t bore you with the details of the first 8 weeks. (Hint-it pays the bills), BUT, these last two weeks my hubby and I went to Cancun for 2 weeks, and we have looked forward to the trip since school let out. So this post is just a few pics of our trip in a nutshell: Snorkeling with migrating whale sharks, swimming in fresh water, ancient cenotes (say-note-tayes) (this one was over million years old and over 150 deep), learning about Mayan culture and seeing the Chichan Itza ruins (one of the 7 wonders of the world), chillin in the pool at one of the all inclusive’s we stayed at, snorkeling with loggerhead turtles( he was huge!)

It was hard to come back to reality. Lets hope all this work in school rewards with a career that may allow for many more   trips to see my turtle again!

“A” is for Revenge!

Class Description Units Grading Grade Grade Points
COMM 611
Sem Negotiation Conflict Rsln
3.00
Graded
A
12.000
KIN 577
Sport in U.S. Culture
3.00
Graded (CR/NC Available)
A
12.000
REC 527
Legal Aspects Leisure Services
3.00
Graded
A
12.000

So I found out through a “source” on the inside at SDSU the real reason why I didn’t get into SDSU’s Master’s program, even though I got my BA in Kinesiology there. It proved firsthand that it’s not WHAT you know,but WHO you know. How unfortunate that the Graduate Adviser for the program I was planning on applying for was the same professor teaching my last class as an undergraduate…. the class I needed to leave 10 minutes early every class to get to work on time. The semester in which I was working 50 + hours a week, and dealing with major family health issues. Needless to say, it was not my best semester. I still graduated a full semester early with a 3.0 GPA and worked 50+ hours a week. Regardless, my lackluster performance in his class sure did effect his decision of whether I was ‘grad school material” or not. He thought I wasn’t cut out for it, or so I found out… he denied my admission based on some pretty lame assumptions and personality differences.

Fast forward, when I was accepted to CSULB, I made it a personal goal to get straight A’s in all four semesters. Part of the motivation was to see if I could do it for myself, and part of it was just to prove that bastard wrong. This is my second semester of getting a 4.0.

Behold,  Dr. V.  at SDSU:  Mr – ” she’s-not -cut -out- for- grad- school”……SUCK IT!!!!!!  🙂

Go Beach!

Spring Semester Review

Holy balls, I just turned in my last final of Spring semester, and am officially DONE with my first year of grad school. I knew that time would fly when happily accepted my letter of acceptance, but here I am, a year later, and feeling both relieved and sad that this incredible journey is almost over.
In the Fall, I did recaps every four weeks. This time, its just a semester recap, so here goes.

The Good

  • My professors! My “legal issues in recreation” prof was a wonderfully down to earth, authentic and sincere lawyer-turned-teacher who’s love for purple made her twice weekly wardrobe choices quite amusing. Really, who knew so many shades of purple existed!  My “US Sport in Culture” professor was the most interesting, cool, challenging and intriguing teacher I’ve had so far at CSULB. Her class was awesome, and while she wasn’t the most “personally approachable”, she was still my favorite teacher so far. Also, I have to say this class was the first class that I felt was worth my money, which as anyone attending college knows, is not CHEAP!  Rounding out the pack was my “Conflict, Negotiation and Mediation” professor, who was really fun. Super approachable, easy to talk to, great lecturer and damn nice, I learned more from her about interpersonal conflict and how to communicate better during conflict than I did in the 8 weeks of marriage counseling my hubby and I suffered through. We got NOTHING out of that experience.
  • Getting a greater understanding of legal issues in Recreation. Thanks to my legal studies class, it sparked a greater understanding of legal issues in aquatics that I am grateful for.  Know that I think about it, Im grateful for all my class this semester, because I walked away with great education from all three classes that are really applicable to my life and career.
  • The Kinesiology Graduate Colloquium. It was neat to see other Kin graduate and hear about their research.
  • March Madness! I wrote an entry about it here.
  • celebrating my mothers birthday, my birthday and the opening of my company’s second location.
  • Sunsets at 730pm, not 430pm! Yeah for sunlight!
  • Going to Vegas for Spring Break. Woo hoo!!

The Bad

  • My gas bill. Ugh. I’d die for an electric car.
  • Celebrating my birthday. When do they go backwards? I hate getting older!
  • The cap on units for Fall 2013. It makes students hoping to graduate quickly that much harder.

The Ugly:

The guy “yanked” from the library! LOL

  • The passing of Junior Seau, Whitney Houston and MCA, among others. So sad.
  • Skanky girls over spring break. Be a class act, not a trashy whore
  • The disgusting anti-abortion protestors and their horrible posters of aborted babies in various stages of development. While I understand that they have the right to freedom of expression, I think it’s a little too gruesome. While one could give them a little credit for posting a warning signs, still, I don’t need to see it, and it still not going to change my perspective on things.

Well, that’s it… year one down. Keep checking in, as I may post about  my summer. Lots of plans!!!

CSULB Memes

So Ive discovered CSULB’s memes Facebook page, and boy is it funny.

According to Wikipedia : A meme is “an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.”A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate and respond to selective pressures”

Here are a selection of  CSULB related memes. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do! Go Beach!!