October 29, 2013

Releasing The Funk

I've had this funky feeling for a few days - like I was off center and had lost my sense of Amyness. I asked my body and mind what it needed and the answer was yoga and pranayama. I thought about what asanas hay would help me find my strength and balance, and what came to mind were poses to help me connect with my foundation, strength and breath.

After a 60-minute practice I felt a renewed sense of calm, confidence and open-heartedness. Plus, my body felt strong and limber. Plus, my posture was improved and I could breath more easily. The funk was lifted and I was at peace. Once again I realized that a regular home practice is not a nice-to-have for me, it is actually about well-being.

October 27, 2013

Personal Practice Post 3 of 10

This week, how did you practice the following Emotional Intelligence competencies in relation to teaching, yoga, relationships, and consumption of resources?

This weekend in particular I had a difficult time with self-awareness. It began on Friday when I was out with a couple of friends and felt like I was not part of the conversation and was actually being ignored. This made me feel invisible. Although they had invited me to go out with them, I think that they needed the time to hang out together and not with me. I should have connected later with one of them and not with both.

In this situation I became sad and confused. Were my feelings valid? Was I misreading the situation?

Because of my feelings I became demotivated and wanted to check out. It was difficult to be happy sitting there with my friends because they seemed not to hear what I was saying and there was little eye contact.

The only empathy I had was for myself. I suppose that my recognition that they probably needed catch-up time without me demonstrates empathy. However, I did not act on it by leaving, which would have been passive aggressive in my summation.
Social Skill
Although I hung in there and kept socializing with them, the situation did not feel good. I am not sure how to handle it in the future. I talked to one of my friends about it and he said I should have asked to speak to him alone and said how I was feeling. This is difficult for me because I do not like confrontation. In fact, I couldn't even figure out my feelings as it was happening. I wish I was quicker at recognizing how I feel.

October 22, 2013

The passing of Passive Aggressiveness

This morning I had a realization that I no longer practice passive aggressiveness. This was something I use to do - get frustrated, angry and then take it out on the person by punishing them. Sometimes they didn't even know they were being punished. But really I was punishing myself because it hurt my heart and soul to be mean.

I think that bad practice ended for a few reasons. First and foremost it is because I love myself and don't feel angry or like a victim who has no control over my life. I take accountability for my choices, even if I am not always happy with the situation or the results. This comes with maturity.

The passing is also a result of yoga. This is a practice of releasing to find extension, flexibility and relief. With that there is no room for aggressiveness because it causes mental and physical stress in an asana. Plus, as a budding yoga instructor your heart has to be open to feel compassion. I would also say that this 10-week personal practice of developing Emotional Intelligence is helping me recognize the absence of a bad habit by becoming more self-aware.

I think that passive aggressiveness, for me, was the result of feeling as though I had no voice. It was the sense that others were not hearing me and of me not expressing my needs and not hearing myself. With self-love comes self-recognition. I have no need to send secret, angry messages to myself or others.

It is like a veil has been lifted. I can see and feel more clearly. Plus, I can see passive aggressive behavior in others. It is in their choice of hurtful or victim words, perspectives on situations, body language, and choice of behaviors. When I see this in people I don't get mad, I feel compassion and empathize with their situation because it is so familiar - I was there too. I want to help them find relief. Perhaps this is my path as a college professor and as a yoga instructor. Knowledge and self-awareness are that relief because through them you have choices.

When someone is passive aggressive with me, I try to talk with them about it. This is the next step in my practice because I don't love confrontation. However, their pain becomes an attack to try and hurt me or someone else. This results in a circle of violence which can be stopped. Gandhi's quote comes to mind, "be the change you want to see in the world." Let's hug it out, not thug it out.

October 21, 2013

Back on the Ferry

Actually got seveb very good hours of sleep and up at 5am for the mystery commute. My bike was the main challenge. I believe I found a decent place to park it in Oakland.

I'm very impressed with the giant Golden Gate Ferry that has stepped in and is taking us to San Francisco. It managed to get the lot of us on and set off to sea at only 3 minutes behind schedule. Plus, plenty of empty seats.

October 20, 2013

Personal Practice: Post 2 of 10

This week, how did you practice the following Emotional Intelligence competencies in relation to teaching, yoga, relationships, and consumption of resources?

This week I taught my first 90-minute yoga class when I subbed for the Director of our studio. She asked me to sub about a month ago and for the last four weeks I have been trying to not hold on to my fear and instead release it and focus on the sequence itself. In advance of the class I gave my self a pep talk and only a few times during the session did I find myself worrying that I wouldn't know what to say next.

To set the tone of the class I was in the room when most of the students arrived and I sat smiling as each entered the studio. The first student arrived 20 minutes early and I was not at all ready because I wanted to practice a bit of yoga before the students arrived. So, I went into one of the smaller studios and practiced some deep breathing. I was worried that perhaps she would leave, seeing that I was a sub and not her regular instructor. When I returned to the studio she was there and nine more students arrived to join us.

This is a good question. For the past two years of this teacher training program I have asked why I am training. The answer became clearer as I was teaching this class. The participants were engaged in what I was saying and I was sensitive to their needs. As I guided them through the asanas I recognized their attempts to find the connections I was suggesting. During the restorative poses I presented at the end of the session I could see that they were relaxed after the more challenging poses. I would say that in the end I was motivated by compassion...which leads me to empathy.

Currently I am an apprentice for Nancy Leigh-Smith's yoga class. Providing assistance and adjustments has been very challenging for me in that I feel hesitant and shy. I was starting to wonder if maybe I lacked empathy and was too focused on me and my hesitation to be a yoga instructor. But when I taught my class I was alert to the participants' needs and moved quickly to give each person support if they looked hesitant or uncomfortable. Although I teach every day, this physical assistance was so different than the intellectual guidance I offer my college students. Of course I have empathy for them but with physical assistance in yoga I felt like I was offering opening and relief.

Social Skill
How did social skill play into this teaching experience? I would say it was in that I focused on being the leader in the yoga studio. In this instructor role you cannot be hesitant or doubtful. Confidence and calm are essential and I believe I did a good job. Plus, I did not talk about myself. Rather I was 100% focused on the participants. That is what really motivated me and sparked a deep sense of empathy and compassion.

October 18, 2013

BART Strike = Ferry Ride

Brian drove me to school this morning at 4:52am and we arrived at 5:15 in time for his 6am class and my 8am one. I can't keep gettin up that early. Taking the ferry back home tonight to Oakland's Jack London Square. Beautiful views - this I can do. However, next week i'm not sure how to transport and store my bike each morning. Hopefully the strike will be resolved quickly.

October 15, 2013

Less Posessions = More Kindness

This morning I decided to ride my bike to BART. I prepared my bag with all the necessary stuff I would need during the day. It was laden with bike locks, a change of clothes for yoga, food, toiletries, cell phone, and keys. As I started my brief bike ride to the BART station I had this wonderful feeling of lightness which immediately turned into panic - I had left my bag at home. The only possessions I had with me were the bike, helmet, Clipper Card and my school ID.

Instead of panicking I came up with a plan. I continued on to BART and took my bike with me to the station closest to my school. Should I leave my bike in there with no lock? I asked a BART worker if she thought it would be stolen? "Oh yes, I can pretty much guarantee that it will be." So she generously locked the bike up for me. Then I went up to my school and talked to one of my friends who works security, telling him about my lack of food. He offered to buy me breakfast but I declined. As I passed him again a few minutes later he said, "you dropped this" and handed me some money. I was so thankful that this loan would allow me to get some breakfast. As for lunch, a colleague shared a meal with me and I was well nourished for the day. After school, when I arrived at Castro Valley Yoga where I am an apprentice, my yoga mentor Nancy Leigh-Smith offered to keep my bike in a safe place instead of outside unlocked.

My boyfriend has an extra set of my house keys and after yoga I BARTed and rode my bike over to his house. I felt so easy and light without my bag and all the stress of constantly checking my phone for messages. The day made me realize how lucky I am to have great friends, colleagues, a mentor and a community that offers me support. Less possessions resulted in more kindness. It also gave me more empathy for the BART workers.

October 13, 2013

Personal Practice Post 1 of 10

This week, how did you practice the following Emotional Intelligence competencies in relation to teaching, yoga, relationships, and consumption of resources?

This weekend I was told that I can be hyper and have too much energy. This is especially the case when I have caffeine, which I usually avoid. In the hyper moment it is difficult for me to calm down. To deal with the situation this weekend I practiced deep breathing as I was walked and talked with my friend. I tried to be present with what he was saying and be aware of where my energy was pouring out of my body. I felt like the energy was sprouting uncontrollably from every pore.  It was very difficult to calm down. Really what I need to do is avoid caffeine and also to practice more breathing exercises throughout the day.

When my friend told me that I can be hyper I felt sad that I wasn't the "ideal person". But who is perfect? I tried to let go of the comment and instead see the intention behind him giving me this information. Clearly my hyperness impacts other people and he was letting me know. Feedback is a point of information that is an opportunity for me to correct my path.

This week I wrote two papers on motivation for a course that I am taking. What I learned about myself is that I am motivated by affiliation and am willing to say "yes" to do something if it means that I can spend time with people and feel recognized and appreciated. However, I also have a tendency to say yes too much and then I feel over-extended and then frustrated. So, I made a list of questions I can ask myself prior to saying yes.

Because of the looming BART strike I have had many students and colleagues say that they felt anxiety this week. I would say the emotions are related to the stress of not knowing if we have to get up at 5am to deal with the mystery of a BART-less commute. As I listened to the concerns of friends, colleagues and students I empathized with them. I also talked about these feelings at the start of class - so that students could express their concerns. It was an opportunity for connection. 

Social Skill
Over the weekend I went to a party where there were was only one person that I knew. At first I felt like a puppy following around my friend. What I realized was that I like to find a place to sit and then have a deeper conversation with whomever is around. There were no chairs at this party so I sat on a table near where a few people were socializing. After about 2 minutes I was in a deep conversation with the artist whose work was being shown at the space. She revealed so much to me about her life and her art. What I learned is that I like to feel physically comfortable and then I can connect with others.

October 12, 2013

The Virgin Sturgeon

Visiting Sacramento with Brian and checking out his crazy floating restaurant and bar.

October 7, 2013

Creating a 10-Week Personal Practice with Kismet Kweskin

In my Executive Leadership class this quarter I have asked my students to create a blog (public or private) that explores a personal practice they will be implementing for ten weeks. I will be doing the same by answering this question every week:

This week, how did you practice the following Emotional Intelligence competencies in relation to teaching, yoga, relationships, and consumption of resources?





Social Skill

Ironically, in today's New York Times there is an opinion piece by Daniel Goleman from whom my personal practice questions are derived - and we are studying his lessons in class today. Kismet Kweskin.

October 4, 2013

All Dressed Up and No Place To Go

I love that the city bikes are the new benches for folks loitering at Civic Center. This is a good use of street furnishings.

October 3, 2013

Sharing a Drink

With my cat who likes to drink out of my water glass. I think we're actually housemates.

October 2, 2013

Welcome to San Francisco

My new bike'a first trip to San Francisco and it is parked at my former graduate school GGU. We even took BART together.