December 31, 2013

Setting an Intention for 2014

In this final 10 week personal practice post I will conclude 2013 as The Year of Connection and contemplate 2014 as The Year of Confidence Calm and Clarity.

2013: I became aware that I was somewhat disconnected from myself in that I had many distractions and noise in my life. I eliminated many of those distractions and streamlined my focus in making a clearer connection to my yoga practice. This year I also made room for more alone time. Adopting Dhalia the cat was a big step towards connection in sharing my space with her but also recognizing that I needed my own room as well. 

2014: I feel that the next step in my personal development is to build self confidence. I have so much to offer but often defer to others or undermine myself by giggling in nervousness when I really want to be clear and calm.

2013: Yoga has been a source of self-regulation in being more connected to what is happening in the moment and having less anxiety by creating fictional stories in my head. Also seeing increments and pieces that make up the whole to recognize many types of evolution in myself and others.

2014: Steps towards confidence come with contemplation, slowing down, breathing, listening, hearing, and then moving and deepening. I really want to feel that I can stop my nervous laughter and instead demonstrate clarity of ideas and actions - not being swayed into giggles out of fear.

2013: I was disconnected from myself in that I was motivated to find something external with which to connect. I nurtured intrinsic motivation.

2014: I have so much intelligence, beauty, strength and ideas - and my motivation is to respect myself and my ability to motivate and lead. 

Creating these annual themes is a practice of personal empathy.

Social Skill
2013: I felt an easier connection with others this year because I was more loving of myself.
2014: Now to believe in sharing my abilities, to have confidence through clarity and calmness: that will improve my capabilities as a friend and teacher.

December 23, 2013

Templo Mayor

I am amazed how this pyramid is amongst the Mexico City Zocalo buildings.

Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral

Beautiful lighting during the Sunday service.

Personal Practice Week 9 of 10: Smile and the world smiles with you

This week I am in Mexico City for my fifth visit. I love This city and always find new ways to deepen my experience. Unfortunately, I do not speak Spanish but on this visit I am finding that I can understand more of what people are saying. I am recognizing that positive attitude is everything when you visit a different culture.

I am aware that I am a foreigner who is demanding a lot from locals because I do not speak Spanish and I expect people to speak to me in English.

I could become frustrated about my lack of Spanish. Instead, I make eye contact wi people and smile at them. Plus, I maintain a light hearted attitude.

My motivation is to one day learn Spanish and maybe even move to Mexico City for a while to teach. The more comfortable i am here, the more I feel like I can assimilate and not stand out.

People here try to communicate with me and understand my needs. They show me empathy. The most generous example is when I was attempting to get to my friend Tesy's yoga class which was in the outskirts. Three taxi drivers in my neighborhood refused to make the journey. The subway allowed me to make a portion of the journey but I missed the class and realized I had to be kind to myself and let go of rushing.

At the destination subway station a taxi driver said he would venture to find our address. He repeatedly viewed the tiny map Tesy drew for me and which I showed him on my iPhone. It was an hour's adventure where he kept stopping the taxi and asking for help. When we finally made it to the area we were surprised by a gated community entrance and the driver had to do his best to explain my needs. However he could only give a general explanation because he and I could not communictate in a common language. When we got passed the guards we drove in circles around this private community and finally I got out and said thank you.

Along the entire journey we laughed at our lack of common language. I think that this positive attitude helped our predicament. I paid him twice the fee for his time and empathy, plus the time it would take him to get back to where he could find a customer. A minute after the driver drove away a guard on a bicycle frantically drove up and said in English, "Americanos, here is the place you are looking for, my name is Fernando, I will get you there." It turns out the yoga studio was a few steps away. How kind of him to help us and thoughtful of our taxi driver to have told the guards of our predicament as he was leaving the compound.

Social Skill
This whole adventure is about developing social skills. The key is listening closely, using hand gestures, making eye contact and being relaxed about the interactions. Also, being comfortable asking for help. Working in as much Spanish as possible is also a plus.

December 10, 2013

Converse Cons are Targeting Convicts?

That is what I always think when I see this advertising campaign plastered over the walls and floor is the Oakland Collesium BART station. I do not understand the lifestyle Converse is promoting or the people they are targeting.

December 8, 2013

GROWS Coaching Tool

For years I have used the GROW coaching tool and this morning I woke up with an advancement by adding an "S" to the end making it GROWS. The S is for success - the indicators that your goal has been met and the impact of reaching your goal.

·      What is your intention for continuing or completing your 10 Week Practice?
·      What is your current reality in relation to your goal?
·      What are your strengths?
·      Where do you need support?      
·      To move from your current reality to your goal, how can you build on your strengths?
·      How you can get support?
·      (Coach: ask your client to think of 3-5 more ideas beyond the obvious.)     
·      What will be your steps to move towards your goal?
·      Do you have the “will” to take these steps?
·      When exactly will you take these steps?
·      (Coach: Write down specific dates/times that your client can put into their calendar)     
·      How will you know that you have reached your goal?
·      What will be the success indicators?
·      What will “reaching your goal” allow you to do? 

I will be using this tool with my students on Monday when we discuss the next steps in their 10-week personal practice.

December 5, 2013

My iPhone 3GS is Crazy

I at the ATT store upgrading my perfectly fine old iPhone to the 5S so that I can have FaceTime and a better camera. The sales girl keeps saying, "wow, it's crazy you still have this phone."

December 3, 2013

Point Reyes Elk

Thought I would post this photo from my hike since I've emailed it to several people and received positive feedback. The area is an elk preserve and we saw dozens of these animals. It was the first time I've seen elk in the wild. They were serene.

December 2, 2013

Personal Practice Week 8 of 10: Post-Thanksgiving Yoga Intensive

On "Black Friday" when so many Americans and many of my students were out shopping, I decided to take the day to practice yoga. I participated in a four-hour intensive at The Yoga Room in Berkeley under the guidance of Mary Lou Weprin.
I realized that a day of shopping or even being on the road would cause me stress. So, instead I committed to a day of yoga.

As soon as I walked into the yoga studio I felt centered, grounded and relaxed. However, I had some advance anxiety about participating in this intensive and the voice in my head said:  Who would be there? What if I can't do the poses? What if I get tired? What if my shoulder and hamstring injuries flare up?

I was motivated to find some flexibility and personal time amongst the go-go-go of the long weekend.

During the intensive I practiced a half handstand and Mary Lou reminded me that I have a shoulder injury and to take it easy. I sometimes push myself too hard and think that I can get past the injury. In fact, it made my shoulder sore. I needed to practice some more self-empathy.

Social Skill
I am a very private person and in the yoga studio, I like to keep to myself when in a big class. We worked in groups of two and threes at some points and it was a real effort for me to find a partner or trio. Part of this was because I had so much garlic at Thanksgiving that I was aware of my garlic breath. It may seem silly but throughout the entire four hours I kept eating Altoids.