Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cupcakes

Since I have nothing to report on the yoga front, I'll write about one of my other favorite subjects: FOOD! On Saturday, Tom and I went to a pre-Thanksgiving potluck. I spent all morning making two batches of cupcakes.

The first batch was a chocolate chip cookie dough recipe. I found a recipe for this at the cake mix doctor's website, but my new motto is "why buy it if I can make it." I didn't want to use a cake mix, so I used a Martha Stewart recipe for the cupcake batter. I also didn't want to use the store bought cookie dough the cake mix doctor recommended so I used a Cook's Illustrated recipe for thick and chewy chocolate chop cookies for the cookie dough. I made 1 inch balls with the dough and froze them overnight. After cooking the cupcakes with the frozen dough I wouldn't say that the cookie dough tasted raw, but half-baked and still nicely gooey.

For the frosting, I used Martha Stewart's recipe for Swiss Meringue Buttercream. I splurged on a real vanilla bean so the frosting had a great vanilla flavor and beautiful little black vanilla seeds throughout. (Click on the picture to see them)




For my second recipe, I wanted to tackle the bacon cupcake. I'd read a lot about the bacon cupcake meme on the cupcake blogs, and while I don't eat meat, my husband LOVES bacon. Some of the bacon cupcake recipes combined chocolate and bacon for a Mo's Bacon Bar inspired experience. Other's preferred breakfasty flavors like french toast or maple.  I thought that a maple bacon cupcake would be most accessible; like eating waffles with maple syrup and a side of bacon. For these I used Martha Stewart's maple cupcake with maple buttercream recipe. I fried thick cut maple bacon until it was extra crispy. I portioned the cupcake batter into the liners, crumbled a piece of bacon into each cupcake and swirled it into the batter.

I'd already read that most people either love bacon cupcakes or hate them. No one told me that they hated the cupcakes. In fact the only negative feedback I got was from a friend who said she didn't like maple syrup. But the people who loved them seemed to REALLY love them.

I wish I'd taken a picture of these on Saturday. This is one that sat out all night and the icing didn't stand up quite as well as the icing for the cupcake above. You can still see the bacon-y goodness inside.



If I make these again, I'll probably try a brown sugar cupcake instead of the maple. Between the cake and the buttercream, Martha Stewart's recipes called for 32 ounces of Maple Syrup so this wasn't an economical recipe. I left the bacon out of a couple so that I could try the cupcake and it was very, very tasty. It might just be a special occasion cupcake.

I volunteered to bring cupcakes to a my friend Lissa's baby shower. The shower was supposed to happen already, but her baby boy just didn't want to wait any longer and was born the day before Lissa's scheduled shower. I did the same thing to my mom, only I was born the day of my mother's shower. My aunt and mother's friends had the shower without her and even opened all of her gifts. We didn't do this, ahem, for Lissa.  When she and baby are feeling up to attending, we'll have her shower. This gives me some time to think about what I'm going to make and experiment with tinting icing. I'd really like to make chocolate cupcakes with blue icing because I love that color combination, but of course I'll make whatever she wants me to make!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Prana (hack hack) yama

OK, allergies are kicking my ass. Is it just me or is practicing when you're coughing and sneezing the worst? I managed to get both girls to nap at the same time today and made it all the way through primary, sounding like I was coughing up a lung. I coughed so hard I gagged.

No progress on the jumping back to report. Typical for me. I tend to have rapid improvement followed by weeks or months of no improvement at all. I'll write if anything changes.

Almost Thanksgiving week. Tom will be home from work. He'll be able to watch the girls. I'm anticipating a week of consistent practicing.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Heavy

I've been having a hard time getting onto the mat for a real practice lately. I lost my rhythm when I was sick and haven't found it again. I think I am having some PPD issues. I feel like my energy has been drained. Maybe it has been - through my boobs. My little vampire baby. I love her with all my heart, but I swear the kid lives entirely on my vital life force. My prana in liquid form. All my qi in my breasts. She doesn't sleep much and refuses most solid food, but she will nurse. I thought second babies were supposed to be easier.

I feel like I'm moving through wet sand. Every movement is met with resistance. Everything I do requires ten times more effort than usual.

I've been working on this blog entry for three days now. Every time I write a sentence or two I get interrupted.

Anyway...

I've been continuing to work on picking up and jumping back in a seated vinyasa. I'm already seeing some improvement. I can now lift high enough to swing my legs until my toes are directly under my body. This improvement was enough to motivate me through my practice yesterday. I made it all the way through primary for the first time in awhile. I wasn't able to lift up in all the vinyasas yet, but probably about a third of them.

I'm noticing that there is a lot going on in the body when I try to lift up and jump back. The first time I learned how to jump back,  I was relatively stronger (in relation to my current state of overall weakness). I didn't notice how much work was happening in my back, in my shoulders, in my arms. Even in my hips. There's a lot going on. Now that I'm having to work so much harder for it than I did in my twenties, I have a much greater appreciation for how difficult this is.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lessons from the Baby

Liz asked me yesterday if I was working on jumping back yet. I scoffed. Ha! I can't even engage my abdominal muscles. Please.

But, as I watched Eevory working so hard to walk, I was inspired. She doesn't set out an hour a day to work on walking. She works on it all the time. Even when she's sleeping. Hilarious, btw.

So, as I was playing with the kids today, I'd just periodically try to lift my but off the floor. One thing I noticed is that it isn't just my abs that are weak. My shoulders are weak as well. So, I can't blame pregnancy completely.

Upper body strength is important for any yogini taking care of little ones. You never know when you'll need to throw a fit-tastic toddler over your shoulder. So, that's some incentive to get my shoulders strong. That and my desire to look cool when I'm doing a vinyasa. I'm not above wanting to look cool.

Here's Aunt Kristina demonstrating the importance of a strong asana practice. She was carrying Mia out to the car when Sadie asked Aunt Kristina to pick her up as well. "Freeze! I need to get my iPhone out," I said.



Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Yoga-ed and Showered

On my facebook this morning I posted, "I just want to take a shower and practice some yoga. Please, children, take a nap for mommy today."


Thanks to Daddy, who came home for lunch for the second day in a row, I was able to practice. I only made it through the seated postures before Mia woke up so I let her hang out with me while I finished. She thinks that my headstands are hilarious. 


I'm starting to think about joining the YMCA. I gave up on the idea after Eevory had a meltdown the last time I went, but I have two more free visits so I think I'll try it again. I could drop the kids off at childcare then use the yoga room for my practice. Eevory has been waking up at 5 lately, so that's why I haven't been doing an early morning practice. 


Ah, crap. Eevory just woke up. Again. Why won't this baby sleep? 


Liz, thanks for hanging out yesterday. I was pysched about my practice today as a result. 

Monday, November 9, 2009

Intuitive Practice

I kept losing my count. I gave up and just held each posture until I felt right. It felt very intuitive. I won't do this often, but it was a nice change of pace. It was just so atypical for me. I count everything to the point of being borderline obsessive about it - steps, bites of food, blinks, breaths as I'm falling asleep...

My breath was good. It was smooth. Fluid. It was the lullaby keeping my baby asleep. Here was my view from chaturanga today.



I'm doing this for my girls. I want them to grow up around a daily yoga practice. I want their version of a normal family life to include a Sadhana. I don't want to tell them that a spiritual practice is important. I want them to see it.

My teacher, Mehtab, told us, and I'm paraphrasing, don't proselytize. Lead a good life and let people ask you what your secret is.

I don't want to tell my kids that in order to master something you must practice it every day. I want them to see the magic that happens with commitment and dedication. Maybe they won't be into yoga, but hopefully they will apply those lessons to something. Sports, music, art...I want them to have a passion for something. The only way I know to teach that is to let them see my love and commitment to my practice.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

No practice

No practice, but it has been an action packed day. Park this morning. Bluegrass brunch with friends. Shopping. Naps. Then a good friend called and asked if we could take her son for the afternoon. We adore her son, so it was a joy to take him. We invited Mia's friend Alice to join us and the three of them, with Eevory trailing behind, had a mini rave all afternoon. Hopefully they will all sleep well tonight. Hopefully Mia and Eevory will sleep well enough for me to practice in the morning.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Day 1 Again

Super short nap time practice. Mia woke up at 5, so my early practice didn't happen. I made it through about half of the fundamental asanas until Eevory woke up from her nap. I could tell right away that I'd lost some strength, but flexibility seems about the same. Hamstrings a little tight at first, but back to normal after a few sun salutations. Chaturanga seemed difficult throughout. We'll see how it feels on Sunday. I usually find the second practice after a break to be harder than the first.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Quick Update

OK, no yoga to report, but here's a health update.

A few days after my trip to the ER, I think it was Wednesday, I started to feel sick. My fever slowly climbed from 99 in the morning to 102 later that night. Eevory had a 99 degree fever that same evening and 45 minutes later it was 102. I called the hospital nurse line and was told that I could wait until the morning to take her to the pediatrician. When she tested positive for influenza it seemed redundant for me to make a separate trip to my doctor to get tested, so I just assumed I had it too. Several days of fever, coughing, snot, force fed TAMIFLU and tylenol later we were on the mend.

Then it was my Lady's Holiday again which seems to be much, much more horrific since having baby #2.

Tomorrow I plan on getting up early enough to practice. I'm over the flu and lady's holiday so I have no excuse.

Tonight for dinner I'm making a quickie a vegetarian sausage lasagna with gluten free rice noodles. I love comfort food. It's an easy recipe you can make in about 30 minutes. In an 8x8 glass baking dish, layer jarred tomato sauce, no-boil lasagna noodles, ricotta and parmesan cheese, browned veggie sausage (three layers). Top with another layer of noodles and more tomato sauce. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave until the noodles are tender when poked with a fork (10 to 15 minutes). Remove plastic wrap, top with shredded mozzarella and broil until browned. No one would know that you didn't bake it in the oven for an hour. If anyone wants to try this recipe, let me know and I'll provide exact amounts.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Busted



No practice today. I spent the morning in the emergency room. Apparently I had a ruptured ovarian cyst. I blame Pasasana.

Not really.

I'm supposed to follow up with an OB-GYN this week. My practice may have to wait for a few days. We'll see how I'm feeling.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Mom Pants

It's Saturday so time for more self-indulgent blogging.

I'm feeling very mom-like lately, and not in a good way. My mother gave me a pair of her pants and I took them thinking it wouldn't hurt to have an extra pair of pants. These are the pants, but in black. High waisted with a generous fit everywhere else, they aren't the type of pants I've worn before. I wore them to take Mia to her gym class on Thursday. It was nice to be able to sit down for circle time without worrying that I was practicing plumberasana. I didn't have to hold the back of my shirt down to make sure that top of my thong wasn't on display. They were so practical it felt good.

So, do I succumb to practical dressing? Lately, I'm not sure how I'm supposed to look. Like I've said before, I don't know how a thirty something mother of two should dress. I find myself wavering between wanting to dress like a 60-year-old housewife or like the teenagers I see walking to school past my house.

My mom thinks I should try on these jeans:







I have to admit, it would be such a relief to have pants that fit the body I already have, rather than the body I'm aspiring to.

Fear not, I have no intention of actually buying these pants. I'm holding out for my skinny jeans.

On a brighter note, I made some awesome ebelskiver pancakes this morning. I adapted the recipe from Williams-Sonoma. I didn't have the pancake mix so I substituted my own recipe for the batter. Mia and Dada loved them.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Day 57: Pasasana

I'd planned on waiting longer to start adding second series, but for a variety of reasons I decided to throw caution to the wind today. After completing primary, I added Pasasana. By myself my fingertips are touching but with help from Tom I was able to clasp.

I was incredibly impressed with Tom's adjustment. My only instruction was, "Kind of like how you do it when I'm in Marichyasana D, but my legs are going to be different." While I was twisting towards my left, he pulled my left shoulder back with one hand and braced my right hip with the other hand. It was perfect.

I'd planned on putting off second for much longer. The thought of returning to Nakrasana gives me prickly heat. But, I'd really like to start working on Kapotasana again. I think it will help with my drop backs. Besides, there's a lot of postures between Pasasana and Nakrasana, so I'll have a long ways to go before I have to worry about that.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Day 56: ack

Super short...interrupted by babies...will edit entry in the morning

edit: sorry, update never happened. I was hoping to get a chance to blog on my iPhone, but was super busy this morning.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Day 55: kicking butt and taking names

I was flying through my sun salutations. My breath was strong. My locks engaged. I started (silently) singing:

It's the eye of the tiger, it's the cream of the fight
Risin' up to the challenge of our rival
And the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night
And he's watchin' us all in the eye of the tiger

My warrior poses were so strong a tsunami couldn't have knocked me over. My yogic technique was unstoppable! Rawr!

/sigh

Right as I was getting down to the floor Eevory woke up SCREAMING. It was her oh-my-god-you-have-betrayed-me, I-am-so-abandoned-in-my-crib cry.

I tried to occupy her next to my mat with some toys, but the energy was gone. So, it was a pretty short practice.

But when it was good, it was damn good!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Day 54: Still Sore

Maybe this is a sign that I'm getting older, but I'm still sore from my practice on Sunday. My hamstrings were so tight that it took five sun salutations before I could touch the floor without wincing. This is the price I pay for my awesome Supta K. Man, my legs were so far behind my head, though, it was worth it.

I was so worn out today that I fell asleep at 7:30 then woke up at 10 p.m. fully awake. Who knows when I'll be able to go back to sleep now.

Also, I put way too much salt in the Seitan Fricassee I made for dinner tonight so feel like a beached whale right now.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Day 53: paying the piper

Pushing it yesterday meant lots of soreness today. But, I had brunch with yogini extraordinaire Liz this morning so I was psyched for my practice. But in spite of my soreness, I had a strong practice. A brief practice because the girls both took short naps, but up to Marichasana it was great.

Everything was a little stiffer today. In particular my shoulders and upper back were sore. Getting stronger, I told myself. Most remarkably, I didn't hate every minute of it. I even liked parts of it. Hurray!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Towels?

I'm thinking about getting a towel instead of a rug. I'm trying to decide between:

prAna Surya Yoga Towel

Skidless by Yogitoes

eQua by Manduka

Day 52: Led Primary

I made it to Sharon's led primary today. I was hoping it would return some of the fire to my practice. 

I couldn't decide what to wear. I still can't fit into any of my regular Ashtanga wear. Not that I'd want to wear anything like that until I lose more weight. It's the fat person's dilemma. You don't want to go to yoga until you lose weight, but you aren't going to lose weight until you go to yoga. I'd like to wear the loose pants and t-shirt that I'd wear to a postnatal or Kundalini class, but a big t-shirt would end up around my arm pits on the first downward dog, not to mention head stand. I finally settled on some long drawstring cotton pants and a fitted girly t-shirt. Definitely not the typical Ashtangi outfit but that was the tightest outfit my ego would allow.

So, here I am walking into class dressed like someone who has no idea what's going on, too chubby to be a serious practitioner and instead of a rug I'm carrying a Winnie the Pooh beach towel. We're in the room I call the cave - small, dark, no windows with several small space heaters. The class is filling up but no one is moving their mats any closer together, especially not for a rank amateur. Fortunately, I'm not shy about pushing for my space in the row. I spy a spot almost wide enough for my mat, pause for a moment then put my mat down. After my mat is on the floor the man next to me says, "Oh! We'll make room for you!"

"Thank you!" I reply cheerfully.

Sharon was my first Ashtanga teacher. Well, the first Ashtanga teacher who didn't kick me out of class. Coming to her class is like coming home. She taught me the practice and for that I owe her a lot. I never would have tried Ashtanga again without her encouragement.

I love going to a led primary when my focus is off. I just stop thinking and do what I'm told. I don't have to think. I don't make any decisions. I just relax and let it happen. I guess that's why I like Ashtanga in general, but in a led class I don't even have to count. After practicing alone for over a month, it felt decadent.

The tiny, windowless room was quickly becoming a sauna. I was dangerously flexible. I kept telling myself as I stretched too far that my glory today would lead to punishment tomorrow. My ego was telling me to go for it but I knew I needed to hold back. With all that heat my Supta K was awesome, though.

Liz, I'd like to publicly apologize for never understanding boob in the face. I've never had boobs before. Now that I'm breastfeeding, I do. When I was in karnapidasana I understood what what you've been telling me all these years. I haven't been flexible enough to get my knees all the way to my ears, but today with all that extra heat, I did. I get it now. Sorry about that.

I still didn't have that post-practice euphoria that I miss, but my practice wasn't bad. I even enjoyed parts of it. I wasn't watching the clock or counting the postures until I could finish. At the end of Savasana Sharon read a beautiful Rumi poem that made me tear up.

I'm going to try to keep going to class once a week. I think it will keep me focused until my energy has returned.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

I Love Bangs

Since it's Saturday, my day of rest, I'll write about something else of great importance in my life: my hair.

Every few years I start thinking that I want bangs again. This time I blame the trailers for 500 Days of Summer. Of course I know that I don't look anything like Zooey Deschanel, but that doesn't stop me from coveting her hair.



Unfortunately, Tom hates bangs.  Sure, it's my hair, but I do try to keep my man happy. He does the same for me. Isn't that the the kind of compromise that makes marriage work?

And he's right anyway. Bangs don't work well on my face - almost direct quote from my last stylist. That doesn't stop me from wanting them. There's a huge gap between how I imagine that I look and how I actually look. I caught a glimpse of my skin in full noon sunlight yesterday. Let's just say that the bathroom light is much more forgiving.

I waver between thinking that I look awful, borderline obese with bad skin, and thinking that I look, hrmmm, better than I actually look. I went to my dermatologist about some suspicious moles. In other words, I didn't say anything about my face.  Without any complaint from me, he told me that my skin looked "pretty bad" and asked me how much longer I was going to be breastfeeding.

"I don't know, probably more than a year."

"Well, there's nothing going on here that's going to scar, but I won't be able to do much for you until you stop breastfeeding."

If you think that sounds bad, the dermatologist I went to when I was pregnant with Mia told me that I probably wouldn't want to breastfeed so that I could use some medicine that actually worked. I'm vain enough to care how my skin looks, but not so vain that I would compromise my baby's well being. I changed dermatologists after that visit.

What I struggle with lately is knowing how a thirty-something mom is supposed to look. I know I don't want to look like this



My current style idol is Nancy Botwin. Her character has two kids and she always looks smoking hot. Of course, the actress has a team of stylists and is drop dead gorgeous to boot. So, maybe I need to find a more realistic aspiration. But look how cute she looks with pig tails. I love them on her, but when I wear them I'm afraid people are going to think that I'm trying to look younger than I actually am. No, I'm just trying to look like Nancy Botwin.



Not helping my need to set realistic goals, I periodically read Cookie Magazine. It's the Harper's Bazaar of parenting magazines. It has artsy photo layouts with beautiful models, but again, not full of realistic goals.



Inspiration can be helpful when it doesn't lead to discouragement. I'm just looking for the right inspiration.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Day 51: Almost the Weekend

It's almost the weekend so I'm hoping for the time to write a decent blog entry. I had a super quick practice today, just barely enough to qualify as a practice. Eevory was asleep and Mia was bribed into silence with her iPhone.

I've never loved my asana practice. I mostly have enjoyed the way I feel after practice. But lately, I don't even enjoy that feeling. Today was more of the same.

But later when I was spinning Mia over my head it occurred to me that I probably wouldn't have been able to do it if it weren't for my asana practice. That made me happy.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Day 50: staying the course

I'm still practicing. Not because I feel like having an asana practice but because I'm hoping that these feelings will pass. I'm hoping that if I go through this again in the future I'll have this journal to remind me that it's temporary. I'm hoping to make it to a led primary this weekend to reignite the fire.

I am so over my asana practice.

Oh, and to my list of symptoms add insatiable hunger. Tonight I ate enough fettucine with lentil bolognese to choke a horse but was still hungry. In case you're skeptical about my definition of big portion size, I ate twice what my 6'5" husband ate. Later I ate an ice cream sandwich and was still hungry. I've been snacking on rice crackers ever since.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Day Who Cares (49)

Another lackluster asana practice. I only made it to Navasana. I feel too tired, too old and too irritable. These feelings will pass, I tell myself. I just need to push through this rough patch. My body felt weak and stiff.

Tomorrow is a new day.

Day 48: Losing steam

I think I need to get to a led primary class to get some enthusiasm back. My practice today was uninspired. I managed to get both girls to sleep during nap time, practiced up to Supta K, didn't have any good reason for stopping other than I was tired and didn't feel like continuing. I'm in a yoga funk.

I've also been extremely irritable lately. I have a very short fuse. I don't know if it's the sleep deprivation, hormones, the ppd, the weather, or what but I feel terrible. I'm avoiding my most competitive friend because if she says something to set me off I'm likely to fume about it for days. (If you are reading this blog, you are not that friend)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Day 47: Socializing

Lunchtime practice but hanging out with Kristina at the moment so will write about it later. I plan to go straight to bed when she leaves. I'm blogging on my iPhone while Tom teaches her how to sync her iPhone.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Day 46: bad video

I decided that maybe I should take a look at my drop backs. Since I don't have a teacher to give me feedback, I wanted to see them for myself. I had Tom video them with my iPhone.

Oh wow. Without even getting into how I looked, the drop backs were bad. Really, really bad. I don't think I've seen anyone practice drop backs so badly. OK, that's not true. They were as bad as the worst I've seen.

Maybe I'll post the video in a year when it can be my before video.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

More Lady's Holiday

Maybe I was a little too enthusiastic in my practice yesterday. Or maybe it's something unrelated. Normally I'm done by day 4, but today I've been having serious cramping and heavy bleeding. My practice never affected my period before. Maybe it's because I had kids or maybe it's because I'm getting older. I don't know. So, my asana practice consisted of some forward folding and warrior poses.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Day 45: Tension

I'm a taut line. I have no more give. Or so I tell myself every day. Every day I give a little more. Even if I have nothing more to give. I give a little more.

My legs felt strong today. Arms, not so much. Shoulders were tired. Standing postures felt great but I suffered through the vinyasas. I couldn't do Supta K because I had a couple of moles removed from my neck yesterday. Maybe someday I'll have a practice free from injury.

But the injuries I struggle with lately aren't physical. I'm fighting psychological obstacles and mental fatigue. Sleep deprivation and the need to be constantly vigilent over the two precious lives that I am entirely responsible for is taking a toll. If I let my guard down for a second, my world could fall apart.

And that's the way my crazy mommy brain works.

I'm practicing ahimsa. Ahimsa towards my children. Ahimsa with my spouse. Ahimsa with myself. Trying to stop the internal violence. I still have lots of work but that's why they call it a practice. I'll be a better yogini tomorrow.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Day 44: Slow & Easy

Day 3 of my Lady's holiday and it was rough. Had an easy, recooperative asana practice up to Navasana and skipped the inversions. My back ache felt better after I practiced though it bothered me during practice.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Lady's Holiday

Terrible, miserable day. Stabbing pains. Headache. Back ache. Bloated like I spent the afternoon in the buffet line at China Palace.

No asana practice today.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Day 43: Shut Up

Never tell anyone that you have PMS. If you do, any negative emotion you have will be blamed on your PMS, even if you have a completely rational and legitimate reason for being pissed off.

Another nap time practice today. Eevory was sleeping and Mia was having quiet time. After many protests I let her join me for the forward folds. She sat next to me on the mat and imitated me for awhile until she got bored and wandered off. She'd wander back periodically and flop over me, giving me a little squish.

I finally started my period today so I might take tomorrow off as my Lady's Holiday. I usually find the second day to be the hardest. Here's an amusing thread I found on the Ladies Holiday for those of you who haven't heard of it. Some yoga practitioners believe that ladies shouldn't practice while menstruating.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Day 42: PMS, uh, maybe?




I've felt like I have PMS for days now, but nothing has happened. Today was no exception. I'm praying for my period to start. I'm fatigued. I'm breaking out. I'm bloated. Fingers crossed, maybe tomorrow will be my special day. Come on lady's holiday.

I slept until 6:30 today so I had to practice during nap time. However, I couldn't get Mia to sleep. I even put her in the car and drove around for almost an hour. No joy. So, after enduring several sun salutations with Mia literally trying to climb me like a jungle gym, I handed her my iPhone and let her watch YouTube. I'm not proud of it, but I did get a 35 minute practice in.

She has become so adept at navigating YouTube that I took it off of her phone so that she only had toddler apps to choose from. As I was practicing I heard her watch fuzzy fuzzy cute cute several times. Like I said, not my proudest moment.

Eevory's top two teeth are on the verge of emerging. The worst part of teething is right before the teeth erupt. Once they come through, she'll feel better. Once that happens, I might get more than two hours of sleep at a stretch. When that happens, I'll try to resume my early morning practice. If I have another night like last night, I won't be practicing in the morning. I keep telling myself that she won't wake up this often when she's four. I just need to hang in there a few more years before I can sleep again. When that happens a morning practice should seem like a piece of cake by comparison. Right?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Day 41: Moon Day!

Since today was a moon day I observed a day of rest. I only did sun salutations and my daily meditation. I felt pretty sleepy all day, so this is good. Regular practice tomorrow. 

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Day 40: Ritual de lo Habitual

Practitioners of Kundalini yoga believe that it takes 40 days to create a habit. That's why I wanted to practice Ashtanga for 40 days straight with no breaks. Today was my 40th day! It was a joyful practice, full of levity. My burn didn't bother me at all. I even did drop backs (assisted) for the first time since my burn.

Now that I've completed my 40 days, I'll start taking Saturdays and Moon days off. I'll still practice Kundalini on those days. Another popular Kundalini-ism - there's no vacation from Sadhana.

This morning we went grocery shopping at Central Market. Mia and Tom played on the playground with Mia's friend Alice and her parents while Eevory and I shopped. Eevory was hungry so I nursed her in the Ergo almost the entire time I was shopping.

After dropping off the groceries we went to Target so that Mia could pick out her first big girl blanket. She picked a pink Microfleece blanket.

After Target we came home and had some slow cooker Lentil Bolognese with Fettucine. It wasn't the best time to eat (I hadn't practiced yet) but I was starving. Tom rocked Mia to sleep and I rocked Eevory. After the girls were asleep I had my joyous 40 day practice. After practicing in the morning, an afternoon practice seems so decadent. Everything was already so much more warm and limber just from walking around and picking up the girls.

To reward me for my 40 day asana practice, Tom cooked dinner. It was, as usual, wonderful. I'm lucky to have married such an amazing cook.

The other exciting news is that I fit into my pre-baby-number-two jeans. I try them on every other week or so and today was the day I got them zipped up. Yeah, still have a bit of a muffin top, but nothing a pair of spanx couldn't fix. Lissa, you might know the pair I'm talking about. We bought them at Barton Creek Mall two years ago. I'm still a ways from fitting into my pre-baby-number-one 7 For All Mankind jeans that I briefly got back into before I got pregnant again. I'll try those in another month or so. Though, they are probably the wrong color now. If I lose the last two pounds to get back to my in between baby weight, I might celebrate by buying some new jeans. Maybe I'll go crazy and get some skinny jeans. Subject to my sister's approval, of course. Since my daughters aren't old enough to tell me what to wear, I have my Brooklyn hipster sister to guide me. I think these are cute. I'll see if Karen approves.


Friday, October 2, 2009

Day 39: Stiff and Tired

Early morning practice today was rough. I was exhausted but somehow organized my limbs into some semblance of the postures. Maybe my heart wasn't in it, but I put my body through the motions. Locks and breath, not so much. I could have fallen asleep when I was done, but it was time to get dinner in the slow cooker and feed the family breakfast.

The girls have had a busy social calendar the last couple of days. Yesterday we had a playdate with Mia's friend Max and his Mama Lissa. Later that afternoon Beth stopped by for a visit. Today Kristina came by for lunch.

Kristina said something to help me put my recent concerns into perspective. I wish I'd written it down, because it was so beautiful the way she said it. To paraphrase, she said that when people assume that you want the same things that they do, that's just their ego talking. She reminded me that I am already happy and that I already have everything that I need. I have two beautiful daughters. I have an amazing husband and a fantastic sex life. I live in a highly walkable central Austin neighborhood (I can walk to four different coffee houses, more restaurants than I can count, a great park, our community garden, our church and more). My life is good.

Sure, my collegues who graduated the same time that I did and have been working ever since might be in a better financial situation, but I wouldn't trade places with any of them. OK, Katie's downtown apartment is pretty fabulous. I could be one of those hip moms strolling around downtown with my kids in a fancy urban stroller. I do have a serious weakness for downtown living. That's why when I found out that Tom's geographical living requirements are even more limiting than mine, I knew we'd be great together. But my lack of a fancy downtown apartment isn't breaking my heart. My heart is too full to break.

So that is what I'm meditating on. Contentment. I'm already content. Sometimes I just need to remind myself that I am.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Day 38: Peely

Eevory had a rough night last night. No matter how many times she wakes up at night, she still is ready to get up at the same time. So, even though she woke up at 1, at 2, at 3, at 4 and at 5, at 6:30 she was up smiling and giggling ready to start her day. I, however, was a complete disaster so the practice did not happen this morning.

Tom came home for lunch and rocked Mia to sleep so that I could practice. Both girls slept long enough for my practice and for me to do the dishes!

I was so out-of-it this morning that I didn't even cook dinner. I missed the smell of tasty food simmering for hours when I got home with the girls after spending the day at Nana and Papa's house. I think tomorrow I'll make a big batch of lentil and kale soup.

The burned area is peeling like crazy and it actually hurting more today that yesterday. I think new, raw skin is being exposed. I think I'm very close to recovered.

A friend of mine made a couple of comments yesterday that really pissed me off. I spent a good part of my practice today fuming about them. I thought about posting a ranting blog post about it, but ultimately decided against it.

She made a comment intimating that I wasn't a real lawyer. I assume she meant that because I'm not currently practicing other than helping the occasional friend out with a divorce or custody issue. I decided that she just said that because she's self-concious about her career.

The second comment she made was that I'd never be able to afford a private school that she'd like to send her kids to. Even though I've told her several times that I wouldn't send my kids to that school, she keeps forgetting. In any case, I resented being told that I'd never be able to afford it. Why would she feel that she can make predictions on my future earning potential? Or my husband's? The tuition would have been less than 15% of my last salary, so we probably could afford it now if I was working. Again, I decided her comment was about her own anxieties about her family's future.

I think when my friend makes these comments it says much more about her than it does me. I don't think I'm even registering on her radar most of the time. She has a lot of her own problems to work through and doesn't have time to think about mine. I'm not hurt by this. If anything, I'm relieved. I'd rather not have a third party second guessing my life choices.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Day 37: So Close

I think my leg is almost healed. There were times during my practice today that I didn't even think about it. It the only posture I modified in was Mari D. I was fine in B, but D put too much stress on the injured skin when I twisted.

I'm officially addicted to my slow cooker. I've used it almost every day for going on three weeks now. Every new mother should have one. It has changed my life. Parents should get these at their baby showers. Today I made what has quickly become a Severn family favorite: Mushroom and Green Bean Stroganoff. Serious comfort food. My favorite kind of food. It's been a hobby of mine ever since becoming a vegetarian to create veggie versions of the food I grew up eating and the slow cooker version of this staple in my childhood home is the closest I've found to the real deal. I'm a happy yogini tonight.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Day 36: Squishy Yuck

I had to practice on carpet tonight. I hate practicing on carpet. I remember when my teacher moved her classes from the auditorium at a private school to a yoga chain we spent the first year or so practicing on carpet. She lost a lot of students when she moved, but gained a lot more eventually. At least my carpet doesn't smell like sweat and other people's feet.

I hate how squishy the carpet feels. I like the solid, hard wood floors in the living room, but Tom was in Mia's room trying to get her to sleep and Eevory woke up every time I tried to leave the room. I've read that babies sleep better when they hear the sound of their mother's breath. That's definitely true in my experience. We've been slowly transitioning Eevory out of our bed and into a crib next to our bed and last night she spent the whole night there. (She still woke up every two hours, but I moved her back to the crib each time) I think it helps that she can still hear my breath. The Ujjayi Pranayama did the trick. She slept through my entire practice.

Today was the first day that it didn't hurt to touch my burns. It still hurt when the skin stretched, but it meant that for the first time since I burned myself I could do Parivritta Parsvakonasana, Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana and Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana without modification, but I still modified in Marichyasana B and D.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Day 35: Itchy

I think my wounds must be improving. They're super itchy today. It still hurts to have any contact with the burned area so I modified up to Navasana today. It also hurts when the skin stretches.

I had a dream that my friend Liz was in Dwi Pada Sirsasana making funny faces, rolling her eyes and cracking me up. I love yoga dreams.

We had another rough night with the girls so I didn't get up early to practice. Eevory woke up at 2:30 a.m. and didn't fall back asleep until close to 4. I could have gotten up and practiced but that would have meant that I was starting my day at 2:30. No thank you.

Tom came home at lunch to rock Mia to sleep so that I could practice during lunch. Then he rocked Eevory to sleep while I started my practice. I wouldn't be able to practice with this much dedication without his support. Thank you, sweetie. Don't think for a second that I don't know how lucky I am.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Day 34: Getting Better

I finally figured out how to bandage my burns. That helped a lot. I made it all the way to navasana, skipping postures that put pressure on my injured thigh.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Day 33: more later

Practiced today, will write more later. So sleepy.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Day 32: Hard Day

Good thing I practiced this morning because my day has been awful.

I've been extremely accident prone for the last couple of weeks. I got my hand slammed in the car door. I cut my finger on the cheese grater (not just a scrape, it bled). The cat scratched me. I kicked the bed and almost tore off my toe nail. I poured boiling water on my hip and leg.

I think the reason why I have been so accident prone lately is because I am seriously sleep deprived. Eevory won't eat solid foods, she won't nurse for more than a few minutes at a time and nurses frequently. This means that at 8 months she still wakes up every two hours to nurse. When she slept for almost four hours straight I almost cried with relief.

Or maybe I'm cursed. Well, maybe we'll do another white sage cleansing this weekend just to be safe.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Day 31: More Painful

Blisters, scabs and hard tight skin. Not fun, but I did my bare bones practice anyway. Off to get sleep. More tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Day 30: still ouchie

I woke up with most of my blisters popped and oozing with open gaping raw flesh exposed. It was awesome...in a really disgusting horror movie way.

I limited my asana practice again today to only sun salutations and fundamental asanas, but hit it harder since my fear of busting open my blisters was no longer an issue. I only had to modify in Parivritta Parsvakonasana on the injured side.

I love making baby food. It makes me feel like a better mother than I actually am. Check out the fancy schmancy leek and pumpkin purée. (Sorry about the iPhone pictures)








Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Day 29: Barely

I almost didn't practice today, but the thought of having to start over again at day 1 drove me to the mat. That's the way it goes in Kundalini when you're working on a 40 day meditation. If you miss a day, you start over on day 1, even if you were on day 39. So, I had a highly modified practice today as I attempted to get through as much as possible without letting anything touch my thigh. I decided that 10 sun salutations and the fundamental asanas was enough to count as a bare bones asana practice so that's all I did today. I did a longer meditation practice to make up for it.

Last night I was draining the buckwheat soba noodles to go with the black eye peas and chard that had been slow cooking all day. I don't know exactly what happened. Maybe I was pouring too quickly. All I can remember is looking down and realizing that I'd poured/splashed hot water all over the front of my pants. Now I have blisters and bright red skin running from my right hip bone to the middle of my thigh. Very painful.

I'll keep trying to practice, but the next few days are going to be, like I said, highly modified.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Day 28: Injured

Quick lunch time practice. Poured boiling water on myself while cooking dinner. Full report tomorrow.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Day 27: Best Husband




I am writing this blog post on my brand new MacBook Pro 17 inch. It's not even my birthday. Tom surprised me with it just because he's the best husband ever. Besides the POS Dell computer that I bought for law school, I haven't had my own computer since 2000. I am so excited.

OK, back to yoga. Another good practice day. I went to Supta Padagunsthasana then Mia woke up so I went on to back bending. I like when Mia wakes up while I'm still practicing even if it means that I have to cut my practice short. I think it's good for her to see me practicing. Check out this adjustment.






Drop backs were kind of hilarious. Up and down, up and down, starting to move up when I realized that I didn't know where Mia was, whipped my head around and fell on my butt. She burst into peals of giggles.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Day 26: Unassisted Drop Backs!

For some reason I thought that Saturday was a moon day so I was going to take it easy, but as I was practicing I felt so strong I decided to throw caution to the wind and go for it. Turns out the moon day was Friday so I was good anyway.

Chaturanga felt good. My vinyasas were feeling more controlled. But the exciting news came with Supta Kurmasana. I only had the tiniest finger tip clasp, but I was able to keep my legs behind my head as I pushed myself up to sitting and then pushed up into tittibasana! I was so excited that I pulled Tom out of the bedroom and did it again to show him. I didn't have the strength to vinyasa out of tittibasana, but getting into tittibasana is still progress. First time I've done it post baby.

I really wanted Tom to help me with drop backs, but Eevory woke up as I was back bending so I decided to go for it without him. He stood in the room rocking Eevory and watched. To be honest, they were pretty terrible. My feet were too far apart and were splayed out, but I got up and down all by myself. ( I feel like Mia saying that) Maybe some teachers wouldn't let me do drop backs on my own if I need to splay my feet out to get up, but it's my home practice. I'll do what I want! Ha!

Seriously, I'll probably have S watch me do them and get her opinion. B told me that when she went to Mysore (a decade or so ago) that drop backs were the determining factor of whether you could begin learning second series so people would do anything to stand up. In her class she'd let me do just about whatever I wanted when practicing drop backs. A, however, didn't want me doing drop backs on my own until I learned to use the strength in my legs to keep my feet parallel. Anyone have opinions to share on this subject?

I did another week of meal planning. In an attempt to simplify my life,  I'm not going to plan a new menu each week. I'll try to encorporate one or two new meals into the weekly rotation, rather than trying to come up with a menu of new dishes every week. I'm also trying to plan meals around what's in the garden. I went shopping at Central Market this morning and bought an entire week's worth of food. I'm feeling very pleased with myself right now. I'm also giving up canned beans this week because of BPA concerns. This week I'm experimenting with using the slow cooker to cook dried beans.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Day 25: Tranquil until 5

Nothing much to report about my practice. Wasn't great, wasn't terrible. Mia wandered in while I was in savasana, climbed on top of me and pretended to go to sleep. I laughed when she started to fake snore like Dada does when he is pretending to sleep.

I didn't use the slow cooker today, but I put together a veggie lasagna that I cooked later on in the afternoon.

When I practice in the morning, I tend to feel more centered and more tranquil throughout the day. That feeling wore off right around 5 p.m. That's when I ran out of steam. I felt exhausted and immediately less able to cope with life's little challenges. So, rather than ranting on my blog about everything that seems terrible and irreparably broken, I'm going to go to bed. I'll be a better yogini tomorrow.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Day 24: Dream Practice

Maybe it's the sleep deprivation, but lately I've been doing things unconsciously. For example, several times lately I've lost my cup of tea then found it and discovered that I'd already consumed it without any memory of having done so. I'll insist that I didn't drink my tea and Tom will say, "I saw you drink it."

That was my practice this morning. Wow. I'm already at Mari? How did that happen? (Look at clock) Oh, well 50 minutes has passed, so I guess I did all the asanas before it. Oh, wow, I'm totally binding in Supta K. Forgot to freak out about it. Back bending now? Ok, I guess I'm about to finish.

Some other random things on my mind:

Does anyone else's sticky mat make the skin on their toes peel? That happens to me when I don't use a rug. I need to order a new rug. My last rug was lost/stolen by a roommate. Gross huh? Taking someone else's mysore rug?

I hate wearing a thong to practice, but what else can you wear to a public class if you don't want panty lines? I don't want to risk the transparency that occurs in even black pants in certain postures by going panty-less. Is there another option I'm non thinking of?

Check it out. It's not even 6:30 a.m. and I've already practiced, cooked dinner (well, dinner is in the slow cooker) and blogged! Yay for starting my practice at 4:30 a.m.!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Day 23: Ritual

I need routine. I feel more comfortable, safer when I have my routines. I think this is one of the reasons that I'm drawn to Ashtanga. It's the same sequence every time. I always know what to expect. No matter where I go, anywhere in the world, the practice will be the same. I like this.

I have a new routine in the morning. I wake up, asana practice (Ashtanga primary), meditation (Kundalini Sat Kriya), prepare dinner then throw it in the slow cooker. I love my new routine. Chopping vegetables feels like a continuation of my meditative practice. Tom says that the room feels serene after I practice. I imagine that I'm imbuing the food with that same calm essence.

(Of course, Como Agua Para Chocolate is one of my favorite movies...)

Years ago I went to a yoga retreat where the cooks would chant as they prepared the meals. Maybe I'll start doing that, too.

oṃ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ

I'm slow cooking with the enthusiasm of the newly converted. I love leaving the house for a few hours then returning to find the air filled with a delicious aroma. I fantasize about converting favorite recipes for the slow cooker. I love that instead of handing the kids off to Tom the minute he walks in the door so that I can dash into the kitchen and cook dinner, we can relax together as a family.

Nothing much to report about my practice today. I don't feel like I've made much progress in the last few days. I felt physically weaker but mentally stronger. I find that my mind is starting to accept that I'm going to practice no matter what justifications it comes up with for me to quit. As usual, I spent a good part of the practice with my mind fighting to go back to sleep, but maybe a little less adamantly.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Day 22: Let the Love Flow

Eevory had another rough night so Tom let me sleep until 7:30. I can't remember the last time I slept that late. It has been many months. He also came home for lunch to help me put Mia to bed so that I could practice while she napped.

Eevory took a late nap so she was awake for my practice. She spent most of the practice at the top of my mat, smiling and laughing at me. She would pull herself up to standing while I was in my seated postures so no jumping back today. She would occasionally wander off to find a new toy, but kept returning to the mat to play. I wasn't frustrated that I couldn't devote 100% of my attention to my practice. I was filled with joy and love for my baby girl. For navasana she sat on my lap. I stopped there today since Eevory wanted attention and I wanted to give it to her.

Earlier today, Eevory was almost hurt. I don't want to go into specifics because it scared me more than I've ever been scared in my entire life. I'm not ready to talk about it. She's fine, but I'm still shaken. So, during my practice today all I could think about was how grateful I am that she's OK. I rededicated myself to caring for her and for Mia above all else. After the accident, I didn't put her down for hours.

In a previous post I wrote that my friend Lissa had given me a slow cooker for my birthday. I've used two days in a row and I consider both recipes to be successful. I'd make them again. My favorite was the one I made yesterday - black eyed peas with Swiss chard over soba noodles. It wasn't a one pot dish, but it was still easy.

After my practice, I sautéed some shallots, garlic and carrot in a skillet. I added the mixture to the slow cooker with two cans (Eden organics, no BPA) of black eyed peas with a cup of veggie broth. After 8 hours on low, I added some swiss chard that had been boiled in salted water for 5 minutes. I served it over cooked soba noodles. A vegan dish that tasted meaty and satisfying.

My picky Midwestern husband isn't enthusiastic about trying new things so it took a bit of a sell on my part to get him interested in eating it. He typically won't eat beans so when he saw two cans going into the slow cooker, he was apprehensive. Surprisingly, he ate it with gusto. He kept saying, "This tastes much better than I thought it would."

Even Mia ate some, though mostly just the noodles.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Day 21: Yoke-less practice

My body felt heavy, especially compared to how I felt yesterday. Heavy, weak and exhausted. My teething baby slept little the night before my early morning practice and I wanted nothing more than to be sleeping. Eevory was also awake, but Tom was holding her so that I could practice.

Ong Namo Guro Dev Namo. I call upon you, my higher power, my Teacher, to guide me in my spiritual practice today. Sure, it's easy to work with the strong, flexible motivated student, but let's see how you handle this reluctant earth suit. Can you guide me in spite of this chattering mind?

I couldn't bind in Mari D, but I was indifferent. I approached each asana with equanimity. I emptied my mind and the infinite flowed through me. I became enlightened.

OK. Not really. But I tried. I really tried to yoke this tired old body to my higher purpose. There was too much bitching and moaning and not enough breath and bandhas. I hauled my tired butt through my asana practice anyway.

I'll be a better yogini tomorrow. After all...tomorrow is another day.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Day 20: Gaba Pindasana

That's right. Gaba Pindasana. I finally was able to bind in Supta Kurmasana. This is how it happened. Tom was in the bedroom keeping an eye on sleeping Eevory so I asked if he would come out and help me bind. I had just finished explaining how to assist me when Eevory woke up. He left to tend to her, but I was still determined to do it today. I sat up, put one leg over my shoulder and wedged my foot behind my neck, then the other. I wiggled my body through my legs as far as possible, then slowly, very slowly, lowered myself down. For the first time I was able to keep my legs back. I wrapped my arms around and touched fingertips, curled my fingers into a tiny grasp.

I figured that was good enough so I gave myself a new posture. Ha! Gaba Pindasana. Good thing I don't know any hard core traditional ashtangis or they'd probably be scandalized. Giving yourself postures. What sacrilege!

My friend Kristina came by to visit today. I haven't seen her in years so I was super excited. She's teaching at a few yoga studios in town. In addition to being an amazing person, she's one of the best yoga teachers I know. Austin is lucky to have her back. If you're looking for a good teacher, check out her classes.

After spending a couple of hours talking to Kristina, I was energized about my practice. Just being in the room with her inspires me to practice yoga and not just the asanas. She makes me want to live the full eight limbed experience.

Tom, husband and Dada extraordinaire, rocked both girls to sleep so that I could go to my class, but I was feeling so strong that I wanted to do a home practice. I've never wanted to do a home practice before. Also, I knew if I practiced at home I could get Tom to help me with my drop backs, which he did quite skillfully.

I need to buy a new practice rug. I want one of those thin ones from Mysore with the high thread count. As opposed to the last one that I had from barefoot yoga. If anyone can recommend a good source, please comment.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Day 19: Menu Planning

So...yesterday. I started my practice at 4:30 a.m. I was feeling pretty good. Moving through sun salutations, breath was strong. Then suddenly it hits me. Why am I doing this? I could be in bed. Sleeping. Curling up next to my husband. This sucks. I don't like this at all. What's the point? I'm still fat. I'm still weak. I have a baby. The baby is sleeping. I'm supposed to be sleeping when the baby sleeps. It's dark. The sun won't be up for hours. As soon as I finish this asana I'm going back to bed. OK, fine, I'll finish the fundamental asanas, then I'm going to bed. Well, I've made it this far, I might as well get to navasana, but then I'm done. Fine, I'll keep going, but after supta kurmasana I'm done. Seriously. I hate you, utpluthee. Stupid shavasana. Integrate this!

I think that pretty much covers it.

After that practice, I was not looking forward to getting started again today. I still had yesterday's bad attitude. But after a few sun salutations, I made a complete 180. I felt strong. I could hold myself up. I felt good. Why doesn't everyone do this? This is amazing! Look what I can do! I can put my feet behind my head! Woohoo!

I also went grocery shopping today. I love to cook, but I hate menu planning, list making and grocery shopping. But today, with help from Tom, I planned a menu for the week, made a list and bought everything I'll need to cook dinner from Sunday until Thursday night. Here's what the Severn family will be eating for dinner this week:

Sunday: Cheese Lasagna
Monday: Black Eyed Peas and Chard with Soba Noodles
Tuesday: Green Bean and Mushroom Stroganoff
Wednesday: Farmhouse Fricassee (made with seitan)
Thursday: Stir-Fried Tofu and Vegetables with Orange-Sesame Sauce

And Friday will be either taco, burger or pizza night to reward myself for making it through the week.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Day 18: so tired

4:30 practice. Up since 4. Long day. So tired. Will write about it tomorrow.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Day 17: Chaturanga not Terrible

I set the alarm for 4:45 a.m. Unfortunately, it woke Eevory up, too, and I wasn't able to get her back to sleep. Tomorrow I'll put my iPhone on vibrate and put it in my pillow as my alarm.

Tom came home for lunch to help me with Mia. After we ate he rocked her to sleep while I rocked Eevory to sleep and I was able to practice. I don't think I would have been able to practice if he hadn't come home.

My chaturanga is improving. I'm slowly building some strength in my upper body. Flexibility seems to have leveled of. I'm still only binding with fingertips in Mari D. Hamstrings have been bothering me a bit lately, too. Stamina seems to be slowly improving as well.

My tastes are starting to change again. I find this happens when I get more serious about my practice. I cooked Tom some bacon tonight and the smell drove me out of the house. Even handling meat grosses me out.

And speaking of food, it seems like whenever I practice, I'm ravenous an hour later. I need to start planning what I'm going to eat in advance so that I'm not tearing through the kitchen like a mad woman post-practice. My friend Lissa gave me a fancy slow cooker for my birthday. I have a fantasy of preparing some tasty breakfast the night before in the slow cooker so that it's hot and ready after my morning practice.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Day 16: 5 a.m. practice!

Eevory woke up needing a snack at 4:30 a.m. I nursed her back to sleep and saw that it was almost 5 o'clock. As good a time as any, I mused, and quietly slipped out of bed. I lit some incense, fiddled with the lights, turned off the AC, arranged my mat, and when I'd run out of reasons to stall, began my practice.

The last time I had a regular early morning practice was when I was in my Kundalini teacher training. Donya, Melanie and I were the core group, but occasionally other teacher training students would participate. We wanted to practice teaching so we led a free Sadhana every weekday at 6 a.m. open to the public. Not many people showed up and many days it was just the three of us, taking turns teaching each other. Towards the end, though, we had a few regular students showing up every day.

It was as I remembered it. Everything is a little stiffer in the morning. Aches and pains seem a little more bothersome. My left hamstring was bothering me, not to the point that I felt I needed to modify, just as a reminder that my sleepy body wasn't fully awake yet.

I didn't grab my wrist in Mari C, and couldn't bind at all in D on my left side. I got my legs behind my head in supta kurmasana but couldn't keep them there, so I stopped.

And after finishing I did one of my favorite Kundalini meditations. After savasana, I quietly slipped back into the bedroom and found Eevory sitting up and smiling in bed next to a snoring Dada. What a beautiful way to start the day.

The rest of the day seemed calmer. I felt happier and more patient with the kids. I wasn't nearly as frustrated with Mia when I couldn't get her to take a nap. Instead rushing off and leaving her alone for quiet time so that I could do my practice, I rocked her, sang her songs and read her books. She never fell asleep, but I was able to keep her lying down for awhile. She isn't sleeping in this picture, but she's quietly listening as I'm telling her a story.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Day 15: Anger

That damn tree in the neighbor's yard. Three times now huge sections of it have come crashing down after a heavy rain. The first time our entire drive way was blocked. The second time the entire street was blocked. The third time our neighbor's yard was hit.

Tree 3

Well, our neighbor finally decided it was time to take down the part of the tree still standing. This meant that our driveway was completely blocked by tree remains so I was trapped at home all day. I couldn't even push a stroller from our front door to the street. To make matters worse, from 8 in the morning until almost 5 at night we had to listen to the near constant sound of chain saws. I was angry about the constant noise, but more than anything I was angry that the neighbor didn't ask if she could use our entire front yard for her tree removal project. Yes, I was grateful that the tree hazard was getting hauled away, but my anger was beyond reason.

So, I fumed through most of my practice as I listened to the chain saws. Even Mia stood at the window and told them to "stop screaming."

I stopped early, because it was my lady's holiday and because I was loosing my breath to anger. I'd like to write more but Tom is taking the computer so that he can raid (WoW). More tomorrow.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Day 14: Mia's Sun Salutation

Kids watch everything. Mia said, "Doing yoga!" lifted her arms in the air then threw herself on the ground. I'm pretty sure that she was emulating Mama doing surya namaskara A. I grabbed the iphone and asked her to do some more yoga. This is what she did:



Can you see the downward dogs in there too? I think it's so cute that after watching Mama practice, Mia's interpretation of yoga involves jumping around then throwing herself down on her belly.

I was feeling pretty low energy today so I moved slowly through the practice. At least it felt slow. I told myself that I was going to skip half the vinyasas, but I kept forgetting to skip them so did almost all of them anyway. I feel like I should be stopping at supta kurmasana until I can bind but I don't really know. I don't feel like I'm far from binding, so I think I'll keep stopping there.

After practice I was insanely hungry. Insanely as in it drove me to eat two veggie burgers.

After dinner we white saged the house. Mia was so excited that she ran around the house squealing and asking to shake the incense, too.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Day 13: Heavy

Everything is more challenging without core strength. I feel like everything between my bra band and my pubic bone is jelly. No. What's heavier than jelly? Wet sand. My core is made of wet sand. In any case, all that dead weight is making previously straightforward postures like purvattanasana a struggle.

Tom was tending to the kids so I didn't get help with Mari C and D today, but I was still able to grab my wrist. I guess I just needed to be reminded on how to do it. I slammed my forehead into the floor in bhuja pindasana. Ouch. I got my legs behind my head for supta kurmasana, but once I was down, I had to plant my palms on the floor and use my elbows to keep them from sliding off so there was no binding. I considered my little arm shelf cheat to be a fail so I stopped at that posture.

I'm not in a hurry to add more postures. Those asanas aren't going anywhere. I'll get to them when I get to them. I don't intend to even think about second for a long, long time. So, the way I see it, I have plenty of time to make friends with primary again.

Tom helped me again with drop backs. He's a full foot taller and about 100 pounds heavier than I am so helping me is no big deal for him. The first time he tried to help me he accidentally lifted me off the floor. It's nice knowing that no matter how much help I need, he's not going to drop me. I'm a long way from doing them on my own.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Day 12: Supta Kurmasana and (assisted) Drop Backs!

Great practice today. Both girls slept and Tom was on call to rock Eevory when she woke up. The exciting news to report is that I've shown Tom a few adjustments and he's great at it. He helped me in Marichiasana D and I was able to grab my wrists on both sides. He helped me keep my feet behind my head in Supta Kurmasana. Lately they've been slipping off. Trying to push myself up to vinyasa out of the posture was pretty comical. Luckily Tom didn't know what I was trying to do so he didn't laugh at me.

But I'm most excited about getting help with drop backs! Mia had woken up by the time I got to back bending, so she was watching this part. She was especially entertained my Mama's attempts at utpluthee. She giggled the whole time. When I was finished she said, "Good job! Mama get's gummy candy!"

We give Mia Annie's fruit snacks (we call them gummy candy) to reward her for using the potty. Today is the first time she's suggested that I reward myself for something non-potty related. So, of course, I celebrated with gummy candy!

After practice my back felt great. I spent the rest of the day feeling open and expansive. This is why I practice Ashtanga! I was singing love songs to the practice all afternoon.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Day 11: drained

Nothing much to report today. Tom was still home from work so he made Mia take a nap. I rocked Eevory to sleep then jumped onto the mat. I didn't feel as strong as yesterday, but I know that's normal. Two steps forward, one step back is to be expected for awhile. I'm starting to feel a little run down. Not really sick, just exhausted and my throat feels a little scratchy. I've been continuing with the echinacea, vitamin C and I've started gargling with Hydrogen Peroxide.

Both girls have been wanting to nurse all day today. I feel literally and figuratively drained. Breastfeeding. It's a beautiful thing but it can take a lot out of you. So much so that I didn't feel like there was much to bring to the mat today.

I found myself thinking about a yoga course I took through UT informal classes my freshman year in college. On the first day the instructor singled me out and said, "See, this is the problem with flexible people. She looks like she's doing the posture because she has her hands in the right place, but her body is completely wrong. She thinks she's doing it, but she's really cheating." I was mortified. I was 18 years old, totally self conscious, not my first yoga class but still a beginner. I just wanted to be invisible. I dreaded coming to class each week since she liked to single me out to demonstrate how not to do postures.

I thought of that because now that I'm practicing at home, there's no pressure to look like I'm doing the full version of the posture. I can work on a posture without fear of being called out by a teacher or judged by other students. I still just want to be invisible when I'm in class. I just want to blend in.

I'll try to write more tomorrow, but for now, I'm off to bed.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Day 10: Janu Sirsasana C, #$%*!

Tom was home sick from work today so he took a nap with Mia. Every time she would sit up he would tell her to lie back down. Eventually, after much protest and tears, she fell asleep. I rocked Eevory to sleep while sipping a cup of green tea.

After setting her down and putting out my mat I was so excited to be practicing with both girls asleep that I flew through sun salutations and fundamental asanas. I felt stronger and more energetic. My breath was strong. I was going to make it to Supta Kurmasana. That was my goal. It was within reach.

Janu Sirsasana A, Eevory woke up. I rocked her back to sleep and jumped back in. After Janu Sirsasana C she woke up again and attempts to rock her to sleep for a third time failed. I gave up. Didn't even do finishing.

On the upside, I'm gaining some strength in my shoulders. I can support enough weight in my arms and shoulders so that I don't have to touch my knees and thighs to the floor as I transition through my vinyasas. My Uddiyana Bandha is so weak. Much weaker than my Mulabandha (I think doing all the kegels while I was pregnant helped). When I jump back into Chaturanga it's like I'm throwing a sack of potatoes around. No core strength to control the movement. I land with a resounding thud. I imagine my teacher chastising me and in my mind I say, "I know. I know. I'm trying."

Have I mentioned how much I love practicing yoga in my underwear? That's a big advantage of practicing at home. And since I'm not doing any arm balancing, it doesn't matter how sweaty my bare legs get! Being a beginner has it's advantages...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Day 9: Good Job, Mama!

My husband, Tom, has strep throat. Consequently, I spent most of the day wondering if I was on the verge of getting sick. All the more reason to practice while I can! I popped plenty of echinacea, if for no other reason than the placebo effect.

After rocking Eevory to sleep, and putting Mia in her room for quiet time, I set up the mat in the hallway to keep an eye on Eevory. Mia knew that I was in the hall, so she kept opening the door to see what I was doing. I balanced my iPhone against a door frame to take these videos.



It was nice having my own cheerleader, but she quickly became bored.



Eevory soon woke up, so she joined Mia behind the baby gate.


Eevory is playing with stuff in a box. I put toys in a box, she takes them out one by one and examines them. Babies love taking things out of boxes. Any toy is infinitely more interesting if it is in a box. Mia still like this activity. She will ask to, "look at stuff." My mother has a box of ornaments from my grandmother's type case that she will let Mia look at. She will put each object out one and a time and oooh and ahhh over it.

I thought I'd have to cut my practice short, but the girls entertained each other. I only had to jump the gate a few times to pry Mia's hair out of Eevory's fists or return a toy snatched from Eevory.

I kept warm enough to bind in Mari D, despite the interruptions, and joined the girls for finishing.  I stopped at Navasana just because I felt like I should. My Navasana is still super shaky and Lolasana just isn't happening.  No progress to report, but it was a fun practice today.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Day 8: A Practice in Three Parts

I spent almost an hour talking to my good friend Liz, yogini extraordinaire, so I was psyched about my practice. Eevory was sleeping, Mia was having quiet time in her room and I was full of energy (also thanks to some late morning green tea). I was on my fifth Surya Namaskara B when Eevory woke up. I rocked her back to sleep.

Back on the mat I did two more of Surya Namaskara B to warm up again then continued with the series. After Parivritta Parsvakonasana I heard a lot of shuffling around in Mia's room. I opened the door to find Mia naked from the waist down and a huge poop on her bedroom floor. As I began to clean up the mess, Eevory woke up screaming.

At that point I wanted to say, fuck this. Did the Yoga Korunta speak to maintaining a daily practice while caring for a toddler and an infant? Is it even possible?

Then my mother called and offered to take Mia to the store to buy her some new shoes. Ah! A miracle!

After Nana and Papa picked Mia up, I rocked Eevory back to sleep. I pulled out the mat for the third time. I'd already done 12 sun salutations so I just jumped back into where I left off. I couldn't bind in Mari D since I wasn't warm enough. Stopped after Navasana. Took a long, long shavasana. Ok, I fell asleep.

I am starting to get a little strength back while moving through my vinyasas. It is so slight that no one would be able to see a difference, but I can feel the subtle changes in my body starting to happen.

I celebrated with more Late July cookies.

Mia came home with two pairs of super cute shoes. Don't you think so?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Day 7: Ugh

I didn't want to practice today. After the luxury of a led class, I had a hard time getting started. Eevory was taking a nap, Mia was having quiet time and I knew it was time to get moving. I cursed my way through the sun salutations. Groaned through the fundamental asanas. Mia started banging on her bedroom door so I opened it and put up the baby gate so that she could watch but not climb on me. She exclaimed, "Mama yogin!"

Translation: Mama yoga-ing

"I'm trying, baby. I'm trying."



Sort of. My practice was a mess. I had no energy, no enthusiasm, no balance, no humor. I wasn't even trying for a decent Chaturanga Dandasana.

I stopped at Navasana.

Eevory woke up and joined me on the mat for finishing so I skipped headstand. She likes to pull up on me when I'm in headstand.



On the bright side, now I know that I can force myself to practice when I'd rather curl up in bed and pull the covers over my head. That has to be progress. I either rewarded or consoled myself with some yummy Late July Vanilla Bean with Green Tea between Rich Chocolate Cookies I bought last weekend because I had a coupon. They were delicious.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Day 6: The Prodigal Yogini

Contentment
Today was my return to a full primary class. I returned to my first Ashtanga teacher. It seemed appropriate since I'm starting over. There were only two people who I knew from my former Ashtanga life. In the last six years since I practiced with her I've been through a lot and clearly she has, too. Her teaching style was at the same time comfortingly familiar but softer. Gentler.

I settled in next to one of my yoga buddies and we exchanged stories about our kids. There were a couple other people who I knew, but don't know me. One I knew because I took her prenatal yoga classes when I was pregnant with Mia and because she practices with my friend Liz. Another is friends with my friend Ravyn so I've seen her around. I was happy being relatively anonymous.

Before class I scanned the room. I wasn't the roundest person in the room, but there weren't many who were rounder. I imagined my twenty-something self would have been mortified to be one of the chubbiest.

I did manage to bind in Marichyasana D, but it wasn't pretty. My Navasana was terrible. Lolasana just wasn't happening. It's not just that I've lost strength in my core. I've lost sensation. I can't feel the places that need to be engaged. Utpluthee? Not for more than one count at a time. Lift. Drop. Lift. Drop. Lift. Drop. I felt the same way after Mia's birth. I was starting to get sensation back but then I got pregnant again so I have no expectation of how long this is going to take.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Day 5: Marichasana C

I know, I know. If I was all the way to Marichasana C, why not try Marichasana D? I could barely bind in C on my left side, so I decided go to finishing. Baby steps.

Today Tom got Mia to sleep, for real this time, while I got Eevory to go to sleep. Then I had an entire practice without baby or toddler interference. Eevory woke up at some point and Tom held her.

Even though Tom has zero experience with Ashtanga, I found myself trying harder than I had the previous days since he was watching me. What can I say. I wanted to impress my husband.

I don't feel like I've made any gains in strength yet. If anything, I feel like I'm moving backwards. Soreness from the previous days keeps me from pushing too hard. I'm still far, far away from a decent Chaturanga Dandasana.

Flexibility is coming along. My hamstrings stopped screaming at me in Adho Mukha Svanasana. My calves, always tight, are starting to lengthen a bit.

I'm going to try to go to a led primary class tomorrow. If the girls are having a rough day, I won't abandon Tom with them. If I do go, I'm expecting a thorough ass kicking.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Day 4: Janu Sirsasana C

Sleeping Eevory

What a miracle! Both baby and toddler sleeping at the same time. I situated myself in the hallway so I could keep an eye on Eevory. (We cosleep with her)

mat

Somewhere in the middle of the fundamental asanas I hear, "Mama! Need to go poop!" Is this kid saving up for nap time? Jeez. Turned out she had already gone poop in her diaper. After cleaning Mia up, situating her in the living room with some toys I was pretty cold so I did a couple sun salutations to warm up again.

I wanted to make it to Navasana, but after Janu Sirsasana B I started to feel a little winded, so I stopped after Janu Sirsasana C. Maybe I'll make it to Navasana tomorrow.

I completed all of finishing and even had a few seconds of Shavasana before Mia needed to go potty again.

Sleeping Mia

Mia finally did go to sleep.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Day 3: Home Practice

When we got home from our playdate with Mia's friend Max, Eevy was asleep so I decided to start my practice early.

I encouraged Mia to occupy herself with some crayons and other toys.

I made it to Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana before Eevy woke up. I made it to Virabatrasana B before Mia started to hang off of my back leg, so I decided to move on to finishing.

After Salamba Sarvangasana, Mia stood on Isis the cat, so I called it a day.