Commit vs. drop-in

I have a confession to make:

I did not want to offer a 5-week yoga series. I had hoped to offer several one-time standalone workshops to get my certification hours done. Maybe 2 hours apiece, with lots of class interaction and an hour of yoga practice in the “juicy” middle.

It seems harder to get a group to commit to a class for 5 weeks in a row. Indeed, when it comes to yoga, it has been a long time since I committed to a series of classes. I paid for an 8-week series for several seasons at my workplace years ago. Nurturing yoga was the name of that series. It was lovely. Not the yoga-aerobics that so many fitness centers offer these days.

I still remember Marcy Lundquist very fondly. She is retired now. But her class was a taste of what I felt was “real” yoga. I’ve since found people like Ruth Silva, who is moving this month to the east coast. Grant Foster has been a teacher I have appreciated at Tula Yoga as well.

So I was thinking that I’m a commitment-phobe, and I had a little story I was telling myself about that. Then I started talking with my husband about commitments, and I realized that’s not true.

I committed to 6 months of yoga teacher training back in January, which involved a 3-day weekend (27-30 hours) per month for 7 training weekends. I’ve lived with my hubby for 5 years after dating for 4 before that, and we’ve been married nearly 2 years. I stayed at Medtronic for over 11 years. From 1999-2006 I stuck with completing a master’s degree program even though I was working full-time for most of that time. I have meditated every day for 930+ consecutive days!

How fascinating. I am actually quite good with commitments! So why is this old belief still a story I am telling myself?

Time to let it go. How awesome.

Happy Labor Day weekend, for those living in the U.S. And happy weekend to everyone else!

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

P.S. One of these days I will figure out a link/registration system for the class series I’m offering (flyer below). But this a “save the date” notice. 😉

Yoga for over-thinkers (3)

 

Change and our inner voices

Hello Friends,

I have been reading a wonderful little book for my Yoga Teacher Training and I wanted to reflect a bit on it. Making a Change for Good by Cheri Huber is getting me to rethink my coaching practice and also the self-coaching and mentoring we can do as we meditate and become more self-aware.

Some of the quotes which have impacted me the most since doing the reading, discussing with my colleagues and then re-reading:

“In meditation we find the center of conscious, compassionate awareness, and from that place mentor the young parts of ourselves who never had anyone help them understand their wants and needs.”

Making a Change for Good.jpgThe idea is that we all have sub-personalities that evolved when we were young to help us behave in certain ways to get the care and attention we needed from adults at the time. This leads to the illusion of a separate self from the rest of life, a principle Cheri Huber calls “Egocentric Karmic Conditioning.” She explains that self-hate is the process that EKC uses to remain in power.

It is really fascinating. I previously called this voice the “inner critic” but I definitely can sense it arising when I am about to do something courageous or bold. My voice often says “who do you think YOU are?” and it sometimes gets me to scurry back to safety before I risk anything too vulnerable. But we all have these voices. Acknowledging that they are a product of conditioning, and dis-identifying with them compassionately is how we decrease our suffering and create permanent changes in our lives.

“So much of what passes for education is nothing more than adults inflicting their unexamined beliefs and assumptions onto children and projecting their own unexamined reasons and motivations onto children’s reactions.”

This is profound stuff. Since I am fascinated by theories of behavior change, and how we can adopt more healthy and sustaining practices to live well, this is my jam! It dovetails nicely with what I am learning on coaching for transformation. I am so eager to put this work into practice!

What do the inner voices say to you each day? How often do you listen? 

cristy@minnesotana.com

 

Ice breaker speech – done!

How many of you on my readership list are current or former members of a Toastmasters club?

I am curious, because if you are, you will know what an “ice breaker speech” is intended to do. It is a way of introducing yourself to the club in a 5-7 minute speech, and helping them to get to know you better.

Whenever I have to speak on a topic for which I have expertise, I feel comfortable. It is harder to give a speech about myself, because it feels more vulnerable and personal. However, after practicing using the voice recorder on my phone in the morning before the speech, I delivered in a way that felt authentic.

My main purpose was to explain the reasons I joined Toastmasters and give them some insight about my motivations, values and goals. I used the term “white Mexican” to describe how I see the world. I was pleased that I got great feedback on the speech and the evaluator thought I used humor, eye contact and gestures very effectively in the speech.

All in all, I am happy to be done with that one. I was not able to write out the speech or even put together an outline. I like to speak a bit more extemporaneously but somehow I found the words I needed by staying present and focused. I am grateful that it is a very kind an encouraging group, so I am looking forward to growing alongside the as we practice our public speaking, evaluation and leadership skills.

Thanks to all of you who encouraged me as I struggled with procrastination. I felt a huge surge of energy after this project was completed. I know the next one will go much better! The ice is broken!

ice broken
Photo credit link

Happy Spring!

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

Practicing new skills – competence model

One of the discoveries most we make when we are learning new skills is that there is a BIG difference in learning new concepts versus practicing actual skills.

This became so clear to me when I began learning to meditate. There are an abundance of books resources and guided meditations out there. Really quite wonderful, actually. Check out Insight Timer if you want to start a meditation practice. I have used it for over 2 years and I love it.

But then there is the act and the art of practice. You do not learn new skills (like yoga or meditation) by reading about them. You must invest the time to practice, preferably daily, although 5 days a week would probably make a significant impact.

hierarchy of competence.JPG
Diagram from Wikipedia entry

I like the cycle of learning as expressed in the four stages of competence model. Someone who knows nothing starts with unconscious incompetence. You do not know and you do not know WHAT you do not know.

Then you progress up through conscious incompetence. This is where I am now with teaching yoga. I KNOW what I do not know, but I must acquire the skills to act on my knowledge.

Eventually a learner passes through conscious competence, where they can practice the skill with their full and complete attention. I imagine this is where I will be by the end of my 6-month certification program. There are plenty of practice opportunities built into the curriculum, and I am happy for that!

The final stage is unconscious competence, when the learner has practiced so many times they can now execute their skill or practice with much less effort. Meditation is becoming like that for me, finally. I can drop in within a few minutes and feel fairly comfortable with it (which does not mean my mind is quiet) because I have practiced and primed my brain.

Are there new skills you are trying to learn this year? I find that this model gives me comfort, because the journey through these steps are naturally a progression that takes time. As our brain grows the neuronal connections it needs to make a practice seem “effortless” or at least smooth and well-practiced, we must stay committed along the way.

Three cheers for neuro-plasticity and our brain’s natural ability to grow, change and thrive when we give it the required nourishment along the way!

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

On loving our learning

I just completed my first intensive 3-day weekend of yoga teacher training for the 200-hour certification program through Yoga North. It was an amazing experience, with excellent teachers and 19 students in our class. Women from all walks of life, from one junior in high school to a few of us in our 40’s, maybe even 1-2 women their 50’s.

Most of us have practiced yoga in classes for years, but we now decided to make this commitment to deepen our study and our practices. I am so grateful for all of them, and for the wonderful teachers that filled the weekend with opportunities for practice along with giving us very clear and direct instruction.

yoga book collage
I get to read all these great resources! This is a sampling of our homework for month 1 (of 6).

Soma Yoga Therapy is a bit different than “traditional” hatha or vinyasa yoga styles. It is based on Thomas Hanna’s Somatics, Therapeutic Yoga practices and Classic Asana (poses). The principles are 1) to learn to pay attention, 2) build better habits, 3) progress responsibly, progress well, and 4) stay current – self-actualize.

I love that we challenge some of the traditional ways that people are instructed in yoga, ways that can often result in injury when people practice incorrectly or with poor form. Paying attention to the alignment of the spine and the pelvis are fundamental to Soma Yoga, and the poses are cued to help the student with proper alignment each time.

The idea is that we can help people maintain functional movement for the entirety of their lives. This includes while we are reaching for things or bending to pick things up, or having to sit at a desk all day, or looking back while driving, etc. These are all movements we do not want to lose as we get older. But sometimes our joints, muscles and fascia lose flexibility as we age because of habitual patterns.

I am so fascinated by what we are learning. On the first day after the first intensive weekend, I have already done about a quarter of the homework for the month. I am so excited to learn more. I am sure to post more as I learn, discover and practice in new ways.

Cheers,

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

 

Taking time to reflect

I just finished teaching the final session of my “Nurturing Your Feminine Leadership” course. I had intended to write a post to capture my take-aways from the experience, and some lessons learned about how I might do things differently next time.

Then I realized as I was reflecting tonight that overall I am happy and satisfied with this first round. I also need a night or two of reflection to put together more coherent thoughts on that topic. Some of us require more processing time to filter and let things settle before we are reading to “share out” our observations.

Rest and digest.jpg

It occurs to me that this is why every team meeting I have either hosted or participated in, I always get a little wary of the final group share-out process. Typically after 2 or 3 days of meetings my introvert brain is running on empty. So even though I muster the courage to say what occurs to me when required at the meeting’s end, I know that once I get a few nights of sleep, the important stuff will emerge and the “noise” will dissipate.

So I am being generous and compassionate with myself and allowing that time. That’s the great thing about being the “boss” of yourself – you make the rules!

Cheers, all. Happy Tuesday.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com