Rox Does Yoga

Yoga, Wellness, and Life

2012: Year in Review / 2013: Year in Preview January 15, 2013

Filed under: checking in,reflections,yoga lifestyle — R. H. Ward @ 1:25 pm
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Last January, I set out a long and detailed list of goals. Looking back on that list, I kind of can’t believe that I even remotely considered all of those things to be possible when I started out 2012 four months pregnant. I wanted to keep up with all my interests and passions, keep moving my yoga career forward. I was so determined not to lose “myself” in having a baby. I had no idea, about so many things. I had no idea how much I would love being pregnant, or how active a state it is: that I could just sit there and be pregnant and I’d be totally busy. I had no idea how much rest I would need while I was pregnant, or how much energy and mobility I would lose. And I had no idea how drastically and irrevocably my life would change on July 8 when YogaBaby entered the world, how my priorities would instantly rearrange themselves around her. I realized last summer than I wasn’t in danger of losing “myself” in motherhood. Losing my free time and the ability to go out at night, sure. But “myself” is deeper and more confident and just MORE because of my love for her.

So, yeah, 2012 was a heck of a year. I gave birth. My child is still breathing, and despite all my fears and worries, I haven’t done anything to drastically harm her yet. In fact, she’s thriving, and smiling, and generally being awesome. And I learn new things about her, and about myself, every day.

But 2012 wasn’t just the year I became a parent. I published my first poetry chapbook! Which is a pretty big milestone – it just didn’t feel like it at the time, since my copies of the book arrived about a week after YB did. I also published three book reviews at good publications and had favorable responses to reviewing queries at others. I got solicited for poems for really the first time; the editor loved the work and one of the poems will be printed this year in a magazine that has probably a lot more readers than anywhere else I’ve ever published. And I managed to make some forward progress on the new poems – not as much as I would have liked, but under the circumstances I’ll take any forward progress as a success.

And 2012 was a good year for yoga. I taught prenatal yoga, which was unexpected and fantastic, and I taught at Awaken, which was a great opportunity at a great studio. I registered with Yoga Alliance, got my yoga Facebook page up and running, and kept this blog going, albeit at a much reduced pace. I didn’t meet my goal of reading one yoga-related book per month, or of following up on yoga book reviewing, but I did still read four books that related to my yoga goals, which isn’t too bad. My personal yoga practice disappeared for a while, which was sad but necessary, and I worked hard to find my yoga in other places and give myself the space to be imperfect.

So now it’s 2013. I’m at risk of setting another bunch of impossible goals for myself, but I do want to make a few resolutions. I want to get back some sort of a physical hatha yoga practice, and I’ve started steps to make that happen (they involve the alarm clock and YB sleeping well, so it’s kind of a shaky plan at best, but initial experiments are promising). I want to keep educating myself about yoga and spirituality, and I want to take some steps towards reestablishing myself as a yoga teacher, even just in my own mind. I want to keep recording my journey here and maybe try to be a bit more regular about it. Most important of all is that I want to be a good mother to YB. And taking care of myself, regaining some of my yoga and meditation practice -and continuing to give myself the space to be imperfect – is a crucial part of doing that.

 

Yoga Baby Debut July 17, 2012

Filed under: checking in — R. H. Ward @ 9:47 am
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My daughter's birthAs many of you know by now or may have guessed, I haven’t been around the blog lately because my daughter Freya was born last week. She’s pretty much awesome.

I may write more about the birth later, but here’s the fast version. I did get my natural childbirth, and compared to childbirths in the history of the world, and compared to childbirths experienced by many of my friends, this one was about as quick and easy as they come: 12 hours total from when I first suspected things might be happening to when my daughter was born. I was only at the Birth Center for about five hours before she was born, and only pushing for about two and a half hours, so it went really well. Compared to everything I’ve personally experienced in my life to date, however, this ranks as the worst night of my life, but around 4 am it was immediately followed by the most amazing morning of my life when I held my daughter for the first time. So I’m going to say it was well worth it.

This blog will be on hiatus for a little while. I don’t doubt that the tiniest yogini has plenty to teach me about yoga, but for now we’re really just spending time in the present moment and not worrying too much about typing it up.

 

2012 goal update February 22, 2012

Filed under: checking in,reflections,yoga lifestyle — R. H. Ward @ 1:03 pm
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Back in January, I did some thinking about my plans and expectations for the coming year. I thought it might be useful to check in and see how I’m doing with all the various goals I came up with.

  • Get registered with Yoga Alliance.(Check!)
  • After registering, look into yoga teacher insurance. (Still need to do this.)
  • Turn this blog into an official website with a schedule and more information about me.(I feel good on this one – if you look around and think I’m missing anything, let me know!)
  • Start a Facebook page for RoxDoesYoga separate from my personal FB to make it easier for yoga friends and potential students to find me. (Done!)
  • Keep up my ties with EEY, the yoga center where I completed my training, by attending hatha yoga class there at least once per month. (January and February: check.)
  • I also hope to attend any special events or workshops that come up at EEY, and teach as a sub there as opportunities arise. (See below…)
  • Reach out to new studios and make connections with other local yoga teachers by attending at least one new yoga class per month. I’d love to start building a new yoga community a little closer to home than EEY and look into teaching opportunities with other yoga centers. (This is such a hard one. I’ve gotten it done for January and February, hitting classes at Enso and Awaken respectively, but I’m not sure how much more reaching out I’ll be able to do. The teaching opportunities have been fast and furious, however.)
  • Keep teaching my weekly Front Porch Yoga class for private students at my home, at least for the next few months. This class will continue to be free, since these students are my friends and their interest in yoga and continued dedication to showing up at my house has provided me with invaluable teaching experience. For now, I really want to stay in practice as a teacher and not lose my confidence, and continuing the free Front Porch class will help me do that.(Front Porch Yoga is now canceled so I can focus on my yoga teaching in other venues.)
  • Begin exploring other yoga teaching opportunities. This is a little more vague, since I’m not sure what’s out there. Some ideas include teaching a discounted class for my neighbors at our town community center, or seeing if the dance studio in the next town over might be interested in starting a yoga program. (I think this resolution will need to be postponed to much later this year, if at all – there’s only so much teaching I can do with a day job!)
  • Continue to challenge myself with reading books on yoga and meditation, with a goal of one yoga-related book per month. (I didn’t succeed with this, although I managed to read the current issue of Yoga Journal and I’m almost done a meditation book. This isn’t turning out to be a good time in my life for reading.)
  • Contact Yoga Journal and other related magazines to look into writing book reviews for publication. (Still need to do this.)
  • Maintain my personal yoga practice. My goal is to fit in some sort of practice every day, whether it’s an hour-long class or three sun salutations. I want to work on practicing pranayama and meditation daily. (This is probably the hardest goal on this list. I am really, truly trying. Sometimes I’m too tired, and sometimes I just forget.)
  • Continue this blog by posting 2-3 times per week. I figure all the goals and plans I’ve listed here will give me plenty to write about! (I missed the end of January/beginning of February due to travel, but otherwise I’ve kept up with the 2-3 times per week goal.)
  • Look into and begin researching prenatal yoga.

That last one is taking off a bit, not entirely through my own initiative. It turns out that the person who has been teaching the prenatal yoga class at EEY has moved to Florida; N needed someone to fill in, and of course she thought of her pregnant former student! I’ll be picking up the 10:30 am Sunday morning prenatal class until at least the end of March and possibly for the foreseeable future.

Although I don’t have any formal training in prenatal yoga, I do have some solid experience considering that all the yoga I do right now is prenatal, and I have firsthand knowledge of how pregnant bodies feel and move. I feel pretty solid about teaching this class, mostly because my body has been very up-front and communicative about what I should and shouldn’t be doing in my yoga practice. (My digestive system needs more work on communication, but my muscles and ligaments are quite chatty.) I’m going to continue to research prenatal yoga as best I can, which right now involves watching videos online and will hopefully involve me picking up and reading a few books. I’m looking forward to learning more as I work with my students and continue on my yoga teaching journey.

 

Teaching at Awaken February 15, 2012

Filed under: yoga — R. H. Ward @ 1:37 pm
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I’m excited to tell you all that I’m going to be teaching yoga at a real yoga studio! And I’ll be paid, even! Tonight is my first class at Awaken Massage & Yoga in Media, PA. Teaching yoga on my front porch has been incredibly rewarding – I’m so glad that I could provide that class to my friends and so grateful that they kept showing up. Now I’m delighted to gain teaching experience in a professional yoga studio setting, and to get to know everybody at Awaken.

I created a Schedule page with Google Calendar so it’ll be easy to find out when I’m teaching right here on the blog. One more step towards turning this blog into a professional website!

 

Rox Does Yoga: now on Facebook! January 10, 2012

Filed under: Miscellaneous — R. H. Ward @ 1:13 pm
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Just a quick post to let you know that Rox Does Yoga is now on Facebook! Go and like it!

(This is also a test post to make sure that blog updates are now automatically feeding to the new Facebook page.)

(edit: It totally worked! All systems go!)

 

2012: Year in Preview January 8, 2012

Last week, I looked back at 2011 to assess my progress and see how far I’ve come. Now it’s time to think ahead for the new year.

I definitely want to continue to pursue my yoga, to build myself as a business, to maintain the skills and knowledge I’ve built in the past year and keep growing. Here’s what I have planned:

  • Get registered with Yoga Alliance. (I started on this, and all I need to do to finish is to scan a copy of my graduation certificate to PDF, which I can hopefully get done this week.) After registering, look into yoga teacher insurance.
  • Turn this blog into an official website with a schedule and more information about me. Start a Facebook page for RoxDoesYoga separate from my personal FB to make it easier for yoga friends and potential students to find me.
  • Keep up my ties with EEY, the yoga center where I completed my training, by attending hatha yoga class there at least once per month. I also hope to attend any special events or workshops that come up, and teach as a sub there as opportunities arise.
  • Reach out to new studios and make connections with other local yoga teachers by attending at least one new yoga class per month. I’d love to start building a new yoga community a little closer to home than EEY and look into teaching opportunities with other yoga centers.
  • Keep teaching my weekly Front Porch Yoga class for private students at my home, at least for the next few months. This class will continue to be free, since these students are my friends and their interest in yoga and continued dedication to showing up at my house has provided me with invaluable teaching experience. For now, I really want to stay in practice as a teacher and not lose my confidence, and continuing the free Front Porch class will help me do that.
  • Begin exploring other yoga teaching opportunities. This is a little more vague, since I’m not sure what’s out there. Some ideas include teaching a discounted class for my neighbors at our town community center, or seeing if the dance studio in the next town over might be interested in starting a yoga program.
  • Continue to challenge myself with reading books on yoga and meditation, with a goal of one yoga-related book per month. Contact Yoga Journal and other related magazines to look into writing book reviews for publication.
  • Maintain my personal yoga practice. My goal is to fit in some sort of practice every day, whether it’s an hour-long class or three sun salutations. I want to work on practicing pranayama and meditation daily.
  • Continue this blog by posting 2-3 times per week. I figure all the goals and plans I’ve listed here will give me plenty to write about!
  • Look into and begin researching prenatal yoga.

Yeah, prenatal yoga. Because here at the yoga blog we’re expecting a yoga baby! For me, this makes the goals above even more important. I need to keep up my personal practice to get ready for giving birth and to keep my body healthy and strong as my pregnancy progresses. I need to rededicate myself to pranayama and meditation, in preparation for the birth but also to help me become the kind of mother I want to be. And I don’t want to give up my yoga dreams in the midst of fulfilling our dream of having a child. The baby’s scheduled for a July debut, so of course these plans and goals will get sidelined for a while mid-year, but I want 2012 to be a year with room for all the dreams.

 

2011: Year in Review January 5, 2012

Filed under: checking in,reflections — R. H. Ward @ 6:47 pm
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With the new year, I always like to take a little time to consider the year that’s just passed. Most of you know that 2011 was a big year for me. I started the year with the hope that I’d look into yoga teacher training programs, maybe buy a house with my husband, and try to write more. I managed to complete all of these things.

I not only looked into teacher training programs, I found one I liked, signed up, worked hard, and graduated. This fulfilled a goal I’d had for over five years, and I feel really proud not just of graduating, but of how hard I worked in the program and how much I learned, how much I drove myself to learn and make the most of the opportunity. I managed this even while my husband and I were buying our first home, moving and settling in. This was a huge step for us as a family, and all of it – from house shopping to inspection and settlement to moving and doing yardwork and making repairs – has been exciting, sometimes difficult, and usually time consuming. Yoga teacher training and the house together made this a big, challenging, and rewarding year.

Another major part of this year has been this blog. I started the blog in March 2011 with the idea that it would give me an outlet for my writing during a period when I wouldn’t have much time for my poetry and creative work, and that it might help me keep up with my teacher training homework assignments. Since then this blog has grown, and I’ve been really happy with how it’s helped me to work through many of the issues and lessons of this past year. I never really expected that many people would read this blog, but lots of you have found me, and getting to know you has been, well, really neat. It’s meant so much to me when you tell you’re out there reading this, that my words touched you or helped you or inspired you or just made you laugh. You’ve kept me honest and dedicated when I might have slacked off. I started this blog for myself, but now it’s just as much for you. That’s pretty cool.

For the new year, WordPress sent me some interesting blog stats that I thought I’d share. I made 198 posts: almost 20 posts a month, so on average I achieved my goal of posting 3-5 times per week. This blog was viewed 11,000 times, which isn’t insane or anything but sure isn’t bad for the first year. I’m kind of fascinated that a lot of people found my blog by searching for “yoga gorilla pose”. The full report can be viewed here.

Next time, I’ll look ahead to 2012 to plan and imagine what’s next for this blog and for me, in life and in yoga.