Walking the hills

I have been a runner for a while now, off and on since I was about 15 years old. In my mid 30’s I met my husband while I was starting to ramp up my distance, going from 10k runs to 10-milers and half marathons. One crazy year (2011) I opted to run a full marathon, and was relieved to check that off my bucket list. It certainly was a feeling of accomplishment. I started wondering what else I could do if I simply put together a training plan and followed it.

When we trained, sometimes friends would get together and run “hill repeats,” workouts in which we would run repeatedly up hills to build strength and stamina for those long races. We would “power up” those hills, maintaining the speed you would have kept up on the flat surface. They were intervals, not continuously run, and they also helped build confidence for those times in a race when a hill would loom ahead.

hill with flowers
Photo credit link

These days I am not so interested in improving my running times, but rather just staying fit and enjoying the experience. When I am training, I take walk breaks, particularly on the hills, rather than “powering up” and maintaining the pace. I find that slowing a bit gives me time to take in the view, and to ensure that I’m maintaining good form.

On my run yesterday I started thinking that this is a metaphor for life. We have a challenge (hill) ahead, and some of us want to keep running, to keep making relentless forward progress. But I have gotten increasingly comfortable with walking up that hill, taking in the beauty of the view, appreciating the journey in a new way.

There is no rush. Finishing faster does not necessarily mean better. At some point, on the other side of that hill, likely there will be a downhill angle, where the momentum will allow us to run back down with less effort. By not getting stuck in one speed, we allow our bodies the flexibility to adjust to circumstances. In life too, we so often want to keep going at a fast clip. And sometimes slowing down helps us know when we want to turn off to explore a different area, or perhaps even change direction.

We may not have realized there is a path that was there all along, only we never saw it before. Suddenly the old route is new again. We see it in a new light. We arrive at our destination with a renewed perspective.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

In syncopated time

In my dance class this Wednesday I started thinking about my life as a song or as a dance. It is an interesting metaphor, and I had to ask these questions:

What type of song would it be? 

–Syncopated, lyrical, dance-worthy, synthesized?

In what type of venue would it be played? 

–Concert call, dive bar, dance club, opera house?

What genre of music would it belong to? 

–Pop, rock, blues, jazz, classical, EDM, yoga, country, rap, Latin, samba, world music?

***

In syncopated time.JPG
You Tube link to Dangling Conversations (where the title of this post originates)

When I thought about my own life, I decided that while I would love for it to be smooth and lyrical, it tends to be more syncopated.

Sometimes there are some dance-able parts in there, and that makes it a lot of fun!

Other times I seem to be tripping over my own feet, struggling to keep time, and hoping to come out up right.

Generally, I enjoy the musical accompaniment of my life. The soundtrack includes Zumba, jazz (lots of improvisation), and some classical, when I’m lucky. But usually it is a syncopated rhythm, and I trip or dance along as fluidly as I can manage.

I am grateful for it all, and I recognize the value of each part of this interwoven melody, the story and the music of my life. Some of it is good, some of it is hard. And I am so fortunate to have each day to live it in freedom and with joy.

I’ll take it. Syncopated rhythms and all.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday haiku – 2 verses

Sacred Feminine

whispers: what do you want, Love?

Ease, flow and beauty

***

And so: she dances.

Showing: Ease, Flow and Beauty.

So much gratitude.

ease-flow-and-beauty.jpg
Dedicated gratefully to Beth Giles for her lovely Playshop of dance and art. Okay, this was made by my inner 5-year old, not the divine feminine. But I treasured the play and dance, and getting to connect with other fabulous beautiful souls. 

 

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