The blog lives on!

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This .wordpress site will sit here quietly for internet eternity, but please know I continue to write weekly posts about yoga, family, and personal practice at my updated website and blog:  www.amandagreenyoga.com!!!  At AmandaGreenYOGA– new and improved, you’ll also be able to comfortably glide through several pages of beautiful photos and thoughtful information about the individual, therapeutic yoga that I teach and the healing that comes from it.  I’d love to see you there.

xo,

Amanda

 

This is what real success feels like…

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Here I am doing the very important work of being a warm pillow for a sick kid. The best job ever? Maybe so.

Our household was hit with the double whammy last week. Nora had a stomach flu on Thursday and then Hazel came down with Strep throat on Saturday. I think I did as much laundry, sanitizing, and hand washing in one week as I have all year.

Dave was traveling so with the help of my parents, I was able to make all of my teaching commitments. The rest of my time, I made soup, snuggled, and delivered cool wet washcloths to hot little heads. I did manage to lure the girls outside on their respective sick days by making a comfy pallet in the grass so they could get some sun. I took this opportunity to do a little gardening project in what might have been the nicest weather all year.

Even though I was sorry that the girls were sick, I noticed something about myself this week. I was so clear about what I needed to do. I didn’t have any problem postponing my social commitments and setting aside the things on my to do list. Those decisions seemed to make themselves. I showed up for my clients and took care of the girls.  I so appreciated the real privilege of being a special person in Hazel’s and Nora’s lives – someone that can offer a little comfort when they feel crummy. I had the peaceful and satisfying experience of following my dharma.

But then…

The girls started to feel better and Dave got back from his trip. My role and my work shifted. Dave took over the cleaning and cooking and as I re-entered the world of email and appointments and phone calls left unanswered, I kind of freaked out. Sitting at my desk, I had a moment of exasperation and overwhelm and I started talking to myself outloud (never a good sign) exclaiming, “Ugh! I didn’t get anything done this week.”

What?! How can I gush about how truly satisfied, blessed, and grateful I am for the chance to care for my children and work with yoga clients then, mere hours later, return to the work of maintaining my very satisfying yoga teaching career, and feel like my week at home was wasted? How is it that when in this other framework of emails and appointments what I actually did for my the people in my life and how I felt about it doesn’t even count?

Big question, but here’s my take-away…

I would like to be as satisfied with all the work I do as I am taking care of my girls. I would like my actions and my time spent to be coming from this place of dharma, because I can see that it’s a qualitatively different way of being. I need to rethink how I’m approaching the “work” aspect of my life. I’m going to have to listen and follow from a different place – some place other than, if I stay busy and spend lots of my time emailing then I’ll be doing the work that will generate business and help me to be successful. Real success is that feeling I had with my girls. Just the thought of spending most of my life in that place, the place of dharma, gives me chills. That’s the kind of success I want…the kind in which my role is clear, important, and satisfying. Decisions come easily because priorities are in place. And the measure of a good week has everything to do with the people I served and nothing to do with the number of emails I responded to.

Maybe you have thoughts about this or you’ve found ways that help you stay connected.  I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below.

 

amanda green yoga

Dear subscribers,

You will receive this post in your inbox two times. Now and a little later.  DON’T WORRY! I’m not spamming you.  The updated http://www.amandagreenyoga.com is nearly complete and i’ll be testing my email subscription service to make sure it’s ready for you. (I’m so excited!).

xo,

amanda

Mundane vs. Miraculous; The Battle Continues

Hazel as a little baby.  Talk about miracles...
Hazel as a little baby. Parenting a little baby is the ultimate experience of mundane-ity and miracle-ity all in one adorable little package…

I have a yoga practice that I do just about every morning. It involves some chanting, movement, breathing, meditation and prayer. It’s the same practice at the same time and in the same place every day. It’s worth doing. My personal practice is the vital and foundational way I connect to myself, to others, and to God.

I practice in the early morning when lights are out and the house is quiet. It’s a special time of day. When I’m connected and really present, each breath can feel like a little miracle — like a conversation with something divine. It brings such sweetness to the day and reminds me of how I want to be.

It’s not always like this, though.  This morning, for example, I caught myself going through the motions like some yoga-automaton. I was half way through my second āsana when I realized I’d been reviewing client appointments and thinking about emails that I hadn’t responded to. I’m not waking up at 5:15 am to think about emails. I brought my attention back to my practice then my mouth watered at the thought of the cup of tea I’d make for myself. I wondered what the weather was like outside and if I could go on a walk. I remembered that the library books are overdue. I kept going through the motions, but I wasn’t really there. My thoughts were somewhere disappointingly mundane. There was no little miracle feeling. There was no particular connection to myself and no awareness of God.

And it occurred to me that this may be my primary work right now– moving toward this special connected feeling and being there more and more of the time. If one end of the spectrum looks like going through the motions, (not just in my yoga practice but in teaching, parenting, being a friend) with my mind and my attention somewhere else, then the other end of the spectrum is this present, aware, connected place in which every moment is a blessing and miracle. This is where I want to be.

amanda green yogaExciting News from AGY!

Next week (for reals), www.amandagreenyoga.com will be home to my updated website AND blog. Please know, we’ll be testing the site to make sure subscribers continue to receive emailed weekly blog posts. You might get extra inspiration from me this week as we work toward the unveiling…

And, of course, if you do not receive your regular Thursday blog post in your inbox, don’t be shy… Re-subscribe! (or check your junk mail).

Rats have descended to remind me that I’m not in control of the universe

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Remember the Princess bride? She, too, encountered rodents on her journey…

We’ve had several rats in our house for the last couple of weeks. At first, I wasn’t all that bothered by them. Some scuffling in the night. Sounds coming from the attic. A nibbled banana in the morning. But through these early days, I operated under the assumption that we humans of the household were still in charge. That we’d be able to rid ourselves of the pests and be done with this nature-moving-indoors experiment at any point. Now, I’m not so sure.

The rats seem to have taken over. I did laundry yesterday and discovered that they ate these oval-shaped holes in several t-shirts (making cozy nests for baby rats?). There are chewed bits of wood shavings sprinkled all over the laundry room in the mornings (is it coming from the attic dropping through the vent?). I don’t know how, but each night the rats manage to eat all the bait we leave on the traps without setting ANY OF THEM off. Even more upsetting? One night this week I was sound asleep UNTIL I FELT A RAT CLIMB ONTO ME. It just climbed on up and perched its little self on my hip like it was king of the mountain. It was probably there to install a “RATS OWN THIS PLACE” flag on the highest peak. I’m so over it. Professionals have been called.

There’s a thing about this rat problem, though, that has really been useful for me. I t has helped me to see that most of the time, I operate under the assumption that if I’m vigilant and attentive, then I can anticipate any problem and either avoid it or deal with it.  As if, with my own efforts and will, I can keep bad things from happening to me, that I can remain in a good mood, or good health, or in peaceful relationships and it can stay that way because I’m working to make all that happen. But then the rats showed up to help me to see the flaws in my thinking. I’ve been reminded, I am part of the engine that moves my life, but I am not the entire engine.

There are so many things that are like the rats— that are way out of my control. And when I operate under the mistaken assumption that I am in charge, I fail to give due respect to these clever creatures and the other forces at work. Our initial attempts to extract the rats were rather laissez faire. And now? Now our nuisance has escalated to infestation. Quite frankly, I’m humbled. I’m also reminded– though I may be able to influence what happens in my house and in my life, I do not control what happens nor the outcome.

So what is the most appropriate relationship for me to cultivate with these greater forces at work in my life? I thought I was good with God and higher-power and listening for guidance, but this rat experience uncovered some places where Īśvarapranidhana and I still have some work to do. I promise, dear readers, that I will reflect on these ideas at the same time that I continue with operation rat extermination 2015.

amanda green yogaExciting News from AGY!

Next week, www.amandagreenyoga.com will be home to my updated website AND blog. Please know, we’ll be testing the site to make sure subscribers continue to receive emailed weekly blog posts. You might get extra inspiration from me this week as we work toward the unveiling…

And, of course, if you do not receive your regular Thursday blog post in your inbox, don’t be shy… Re-subscribe! (or check your junk mail).

I had my cell phone for breakfast, and it wasn’t delicious.

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Most mornings, I have oatmeal for breakfast. I’ve probably had oatmeal 29 out of the last 30 days and I’m not tired of it at all. But while I was packing lunches and making breakfast for the girls this morning, I eyed the apricot jam on the refrigerator shelf and remembered that I bought this delicious salted butter from the grocery store yesterday. My mouth started to water and I decided I’d have toast for breakfast.

Toast with jam and butter is kind of like eating cookies for breakfast. Both are sweet, delicious with tea, and a bit of an indulgence. Toast with jam is not for every day. Not like oatmeal.

I toasted two slices of bread while Nora sat at the table to eat her breakfast-peas. She reminded me that her friend invited her for a play date after school today and wanted to know if that was really happening. I spread the butter and jam onto the warm toast and went to the table to sit down. I brought my phone to the table so I could text the friend’s mom to confirm while I took a bite of toast. After texting, my email was right there so I opened up my email and took a look at the annoying office depot ad, the girlscouts newsletter and an evite reminder about an upcoming Halloween dance party. Then, as habit would have me do, I did a quick check of facebook and saw I had a friend invite from this very muscular tattooed man who I don’t know. Though I’m sure he’s very nice, I deleted that request. I probably would have continued in facebook-landia but Nora explained that her peas were like little water balloons in her mouth and she wanted to have a pea-water-balloon fight at the table. I discouraged this. It was at this moment I turned my attention back to my meal and in my hand was my VERY LAST BITE OF TOAST. As soon as I saw my bite of toast and put my attention there, my mouth was flooded with the delicious butter and sweet, fruity apricot already in my mouth.   I had been eating that whole time, but with my attention on my phone, I hadn’t tasted any of it. I didn’t even realize that I had been feeding myself. I was surprised and very disappointed to see that my special breakfast was nearly gone.

This is no joke.

Where we put our attention determines our experience.

I put all my attention on my phone and missed out on enjoying my toast. And if I had taken time to choose the best place to put my attention, it wouldn’t have even been the toast. It would have been Nora. Because there I was, sitting at the table with a kid who is so funny and so great and who will only be 7 for a few more months.  It was just the two of us and it was the rare morning when we weren’t rushing around.  I missed out on a chance to connect with Nora before she left for school. Nora is a good place to put my attention, every time.

Just being physically present isn’t enough. Robotically putting toast into my mouth at breakfast isn’t where the nourishment comes from. It’s the taste, the smell, and the feel of what comes in. When we choose what we want to connect to and put our mind on what we are doing, then that’s nourishing. That’s presence. That’s yoga.

Join me this Saturdayamanda green yoga

Cultivate contentment: Holiday Stress Preparation through Yoga
Upcoming Workshop near Austin, TX!

Saturday, October 31st, 2015
10:15-11:45AM

As 2015 comes to a close, move into the upcoming Holiday Season with mindfulness and grace. This workshop will provide steps to learn gentle breathing and calming techniques to help you manage and even avoid the stresses of the season. You’ll leave empowered with tools you can use for self-care, self-reflection and gratitude.

Onion Creek Country Club
Fee: $35 member/ $40 guest
To register, please contact: Amanda
or mreininger@onioncreekclub.com

It is possible to find contentment even when you’re surrounded by piles of dirty dishes

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Last night I was standing over the kitchen sink doing dishes. Only it wasn’t just the dishes in the sink. There was an oppressively loooong line of dishes snaking down the counter, too. As Dave tucked the girls in to bed, I turned on a little music, put on the green rubber gloves and got to work.

At first, I felt satisfied by my task and grateful that Dave made such a delicious dinner. I progressed quickly, loading the dishwasher-safe stuff into the machine. The tail of the snake was efficiently amputated by my tetris-like diswasher-loading acumen. When that was done, I went around the kitchen collecting the stray cooking bowls, knives and utensils from the nearby counters. This is when I felt the grumbling begin.

“This is way too many dishes to have at the end of the evening. Dave should clean up as he goes. This is such a drag. It’ll be an hour before I finish with this job and I’m tired.” This all happened in my head and I could feel myself turning toward the grouchy dark side. My whole body started to close off. This line of thinking is practiced and ingrained. It is such a strong saṁskāra that it’s tough to get out of once it starts. Resentment. Frustration. Anger. Duḥkha.

Miraculously, before I was completely taken over another voice spoke up, “Yeah, but Dave made a delicious dinner and there is something very satisfying about washing and cleaning. You have this sweet family and beautiful, functional dishes, and hot water that comes right out of this faucet and you could focus on that. Remember samtoṣa.  Find a way to be content even here.” I could actually feel the ease come back into my body with these thoughts. Gratitude. Love. Kindness. Sukha.

With each dish pile I tackled, the internal dialogue went back and forth. Duḥkha vs. sukha. The dark, heavy feeling in my chest, the anger, and the closing down vs. the light, open, willing and loving attitude.   In such a tangible way, I noticed the shifts in my system that went with each mental/emotional state. Recognizing this made it easy to know where I wanted to land. I wanted to be able to enjoy the last quiet hour with Dave before bed instead of stewing about this stupid dish-strategy argument for the 121st time in our married life.

And here’s the amazing part… I did!

I looked at the diminishing dish piles and made it through. I wiped down the counters and the stove. I polished up the sink. I rearranged the flowers in the vase and I did my best to stay connected to contentment. When I was finished, I joined Dave in the living room and from his place on the couch he said, “Thanks for doing all those dishes. I know there were a lot. I even cleaned up some as I went.” And I smiled and said, “I’m just so glad you made dinner for us. It was delicious. I love you.” And I meant every word.

amanda green yoga therapy

Cultivate contentment: Holiday Stress Preparation through Yoga

Upcoming Workshop near Austin, TX!

Saturday, October 31st, 2015

10:15-11:45AM
Onion Creek Country Club
Fee: $35 member/ $40 guest

As 2015 comes to a close, move into the upcoming Holiday Season with mindfulness and grace. This workshop will provide steps to learn gentle breathing and calming techniques to help you manage and even avoid the stresses of the season. You’ll leave empowered with tools you can use for self-care, self-reflection and gratitude.

To register, please contact: Amanda or mreininger@onioncreekclub.com

Is really liking something enough reason to continue doing it?

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A pipe burst some very important main water line and all the houses that are served by our utility company have been on a stage 4 water emergency for the last week and a half. Before any repairs, this water leak was gushing 400-gallons of water every minute. All households were required to limit the amount of water used indoors and absolutely no outside watering was allowed. The utilities people wanted to make sure we’d have drinking water while they worked on the repairs.

This part of Texas has been in drought conditions (or extreme flooding emergencies) since I moved back 5 years ago, so I’ve given a lot of thought to how we use water around my house. We have low flow everything, when yellow, we let mellow, and bathing is quick and not every day. Seems good. And yet, I do really enjoy gardening. To me, good gardening and a lovely yard look like an ocean of lush, green, flowering trees and plants. We’ve been slowly reducing the size of lawn, but what’s still there needs watering 3 times a week. I avoid the tropical plants, but the plants I do have can’t survive the 90+ degree heat that we are still getting well into the fall. Several mornings a week, I stand around my garden draining water that is pure enough to drink into the ground around the my beloved plants. Clean, clear water is piped to a faucet at my house and I pour it into the dirt. What a luxury.

I like it. I like watering. I like gardening. I like watching things grow, but I’m reminded with this recent water emergency, that this essential resource is something that deserves my respect, appreciation and mindfulness not just inside my house but in my yard and garden, too. Is liking something a lot enough reason to continue doing it? Or is there something else that can be a foundation for making a decision like this? Something beyond likes and dislikes?

Developing a contemplative practice in which we cultivate self-awareness and spend time in reflection about likes or dislikes is so useful, especially when we are looking to make a change in our habits and let go of something that we do in daily life. When personal preferences are determining our behavior, our actions may be coming from a place that is self-serving or serving some old need or pattern that developed long ago.   Instead, we can learn to listen and connect to the bigger, better version of our “Self”. This discernment and the ability to know where our behavior comes from is very useful. It’s this deeper self that provides a better foundation for making decisions and determining our behavior. Knowing the difference takes practice and the ability to direct our thoughts and attention.

There are plenty of drought tolerant plants and trees that grow and bloom in the climate we are in, but I’ll have to learn more, do the work, find a place that sells them or make friends with people who are willing to share their knowledge and maybe baby plants that come up in their yard. I can feel how reluctant I am to let go of the way I’ve been doing things around the yard, but I also have a deep knowing that there’s a better way.