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Love your feet yet another yoga-thought post

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I did not mean to make a series of posts about what I am gleaning from yoga but I did want to talk a little about one other thing I feel is important and that is Loving Your Body.

I bet Im not alone when I speak of those hurtful moments when Ive hated some part of my body looked at a stomach and despised it; turned my eyes away from a mirror that reflected back puffy cheeks; sighed at a profile view in the full length mirror and then lumbered away with slumped shoulders. I know I have heard other women bemoan or even insult their hips, their thighs, their bellies in terms that breaks my heart especially when theyre a loved friend of family member.

Happily I have gotten away from real self loathing time has a way of doing that, plus knowing I have value in other areas besides my ornamental properties. Self dissatisfaction? Yes. There has been some of that but only the healthy type that got me here as a sparker.

As Ive said if youre going to do yoga you really need to tune in to your body, including all its bits and pieces and its really difficult to dislike something youre paying attention to examining what its doing, noting how it is moving, holding you, surrounding you. The other day as I was stepping out of the shower I really fell in love with my feet. A glance down at my belly and I feel this warm affection for something that is me. This is not a narcissistic focus all tied up with competitive comparisons to others and my place in the beauty hierarchy (are her hips bigger than mine? Is my stomach rounder than hers?). This is a deep and wondering enchantment with the glorious bodies weve been given, from within which we act out our lives.

I cant remember when, if ever, I have felt the rush of love I feel for my pets while contemplating my toes! But concentrating on what those feet are doing in mountain pose has given me a new appreciation for what those toes do for me all day long how they get me here and there, over hurdles, through city streets and across my own farm fields. Yes. Yoga has taught me to love my feet. And the world can always use a little more love.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HARPERLADY 2/24/2010 6:56AM

    wonderful post, I think we all needed that reminder of what are body does for us , , well put emoticon

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SHEILA1505 2/24/2010 4:37AM

    I am so fortunate that my family paid serious attention to the care of feet, correctly fitting shoes & hygiene, etc, and although mine are wide (good for swimming etc) I think they are quite attractive. I give myself pedicures at home and look after them well. They have many more years of work ahead of them and I intend treating them with the respect that I shall give to the rest of my body.

Hopefully I can get back to Yoga next week.


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MSLZZY 2/23/2010 5:19PM

    So true and positive! Thank you for drawing attention that we need to love all of our body parts! Self-love is awesome!

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JLITT62 2/23/2010 5:02PM

    I must say I don't give my feet a whole lot of thought. My legs, yes -- not necessarily in a bad way (well, not most of the time), but just thankful that they carry me where I need to go, and can dance or run or ice skate or swim, all the things I love to do (while not necessarily being good at them).

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More yoga thoughts

Monday, February 22, 2010

Thanks y'all for your kind comments.

I did want to explain that, although I am new to yoga, I am not new to meditation and making my body still. You see - no matter what body goals or health goals or financial or friendship or anything else goal - most of my life has been on the quest for my spiritual goals - which can be summed up by saying I'm on the quest to return to God. You may use any other word that means the soul's center or the source or whatever you want to call it. I don't care what words people use - for me God is the word of comfort and memory and the whole purpose of my life really is to return to that source. And it is the most wonderful journey I can imagine taking. I'm grateful every day for having been given this opportunity called Life.

In my search for more and better ways to make my journey I've tried all sorts of things and one of them was meditation. I was such a jiggedy flighty sort of person I thought I'd never ever be able to still my mind but with the use of meditation tapes I've learned to really get still. I began with Dr. Edward Taub's 7 Steps to Healing book and tapes - search.barnesandnoble.com/Seven-Step
s-to-Self-Healing/Edward-Taub/e/978076
5571434

picking and choosing what I wanted to use from them - they were of enormous help in learning to still myself, though, at the time I neither learned yoga nor became a vegetarian.

Later I experimented with another very good meditation guru Glenn Harrold www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=g
len+harrold&tag=googhydr-20&index=aps&
hvadid=4307682925&ref=pd_sl_9nc0e44m4_b


and last winter I used Paul McKenna's I Can Make You Thin CD and books www.mckenna.com/default.aspx

All good tools and certainly all of them have helped me listen to my body. Moving into yoga now seems like the right thing to do. I'm working with home a tape by Patricia Walden Yoga for Beginners
www.amazon.com/Yoga-Journals-Beginne
rs-Patricia-Walden/dp/B000067D1C


This video (or CD) is soooo good because she explains everything you're supposed to be doing and what you're looking for and postures to avoid.

There is a good yoga class in town (where I work) but when I tried it I realized that they were too far ahead of me and were working at a pace I couldn't keep up with. I may drop by the class on Wednesday to see how I do with it and eventually I want to take more classes because I want to advance and there are positions that I think are too risky to try alone and unsupervised. I have way too much respect for qualified teachers and too little trust in my 57 year old body to risk back bends on my own - much less - the longed for pinnacle of doing Lord of the Dance pose.

But there - one day that will be a photograph of me!

ooof - already late for work. Happy Monday to you all!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUSTDUCKY1405 2/22/2010 11:47AM

    Very well said about your journey to bring you closer to God!

At Church at the beginning of Advent last year, the 4 weeks before Christmas, there were those wanting to join our congregation... and they were asked to come up and share what it is they are trying to do...

There were lots of responses, but the one that stuck out to me, and actually made me tear right up with emotion, was when the one woman spoke up and said, "I am on a journey to bring me closer to GOD!"

The way she said it, how it came out, and the true love and meaning that emancipated from it was so touching and striking, I literally couldn't hold my emotions! I suppose, because I too felt exactly as she did, and I could sense that she truly got it... even if I wasn't aware at the moment, that I truly got it!

So, you can see why your comment would strike a chord with me, because you truly get it, and how blessed a life you will and are leading, because of that!

I know I am not perfect... sometimes I down right suck... fluctuating moods, levels of joy, but ultimately, I am on a journey to find GOD! That's really all that matters!

Thanks for this reinforcement of my faith!

Comment edited on: 2/22/2010 11:48:29 AM

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JLITT62 2/22/2010 10:24AM

    I think you can do Lord of the Dance on your own -- backbends are another thing.

I'd like to try headstands, but am hesitant to try that on my own. Not so long ago I read an article about all the really bizarre things that can happen to you if you practice yoga the wrong way -- like strokes! -- and that did sort of scare me. Not enough to not continue with yoga, but enough to respect certain poses more.

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MSLZZY 2/22/2010 10:15AM

    Continue on your quest to find what works for you and compliments the wonderful journey you embarked on. I wish that we had yoga classes here.
I think I could get started on my own so now would be the time, right?

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21 Days of Yoga

Sunday, February 21, 2010

emoticonActually, I've been doing yoga a little longer than that but on Friday, which I believe actually was day 21, I had the most wonderful sensation of my feet being rooted to the earth and having the power to lift me up from one of the more challenging positions. It was a fleeting sensation and I haven't really been able to repeat it but I'm confident that will come with time.

but have I told you how much I love yoga? lovelovelove it?

(Of course I have - I never shut up about anything that ignites my passion)

But what else have I learned from my three week love affair?

1. How much of my day I spend hunched over things - shoulders forward, chest pushing down towards my hips - like that lab assistant, Igor! Wow.

2. How if I press the tailbone down it makes my stomach flatter! woo woo

3. How that lifts my lower ribcage and takes pressure off the lower spine - hey nice!

4. That it's not about thrusting shoulders back like a West Point plebe - it's about pulling the muscles away from the sternum both vertically and laterally and when you do that your shoulders just automatically line up and your arms swing freely.

5. How relaxing it is when you line your head up over your shoulders - ahhhhh

6. That if I do a body check in each pose - Feet firmly planted? Calves hugging my leg, thigh muscles lifting my knee cap, tailbone down, pelvis lined up, sternum well stretched, shoulder blades hugging the spine, ears lined up with the spine, face relaxed - not only will I move to the next pose more easily and hold it longer BUT

7. throughout the day my body, that I've once again gotten to know and listen to and feel, will often tell me what it needs nutritionally. It will say "Hey - I'm thirsty" or "Man I could do with some green things." or "I need to rebuild myself. give me some protein".

And that is the thing I want most in my life. A body I listen to and nurture. I don't mind - no - I am deeply grateful for all the information that the experts can give me about good health - but more than anything else I want my body to tell me what it needs. Or rather - I want to hear my body speak and respond to its needs with what it asks for.

I feel like that will put an end to the craving thing, the fear of food and foodie situations, and the state of mindless denial that, over time, packed those pounds on this body. I truly believe there is an Optimal Body for Bess up ahead and I want to step into it and live there for the rest of my life.

May you all get to go live in your Optimal Body!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CRAVE_FREE 2/22/2010 8:59AM

    Yoga sounds like an enlightening experience. It would be wonderful to be so intune with our bodies. Sounds like you've got a lot of us intrigued to try it out. Hope you find some more moments of feeling powerful!

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JUSTDUCKY1405 2/21/2010 6:22PM

    That's how I feel too! I have really been able to tune into my bodies and my bodies needs... yoga, meditation, awareness! Mind/Body/Soul!

Great blog! Love your enthusiasm for yoga! You are definitely going to make a great yoga teacher one day, as I aspire to be as well!

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HARPERLADY 2/21/2010 12:44PM

    wow! gets me motivated to start it up again, I start it in past but never follow thru, thanks for your post emoticon

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JLITT62 2/21/2010 10:28AM

    Wow! I've been doing yoga off & on a long time but I don't think I've learned nearly as much as you have in all that time!

What a GREAT blog -- thanks for sharing with us.

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PUDLECRAZY 2/21/2010 8:33AM

    Lovely progress! Yoga is wonderful!

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SHEILA1505 2/21/2010 8:09AM

    So THAT is why I feel as if I am floating after I finish a Yoga class - I am really looking forward to saying goodbye to my painter-man so I can go to classes again as I have really been missing them. I had only just started going again after a gap of a few years - and was getting to enjoy it more rather than be frustrated cos I couldn't do some of the moves.

Maybe March will be the start of regular Yoga for me again :)

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ROCKMAMA72 2/21/2010 7:58AM

    I feel the same about pilates! I'm hoping to invest in a yoga class with a seasoned instructor.

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HANSEEN 2/21/2010 7:56AM

    I have been thinking of starting yoga myself, at 24 hr fitness

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My Moment (s) of Truth - what they have taught me

Friday, February 19, 2010

I come from a soft fluffy fat family of short-waisted women who mostly look like soft pillows for grandchildren to cuddle up to. I don't believe there is a long boned body among all 40 of my cousins! That's why I have that silly photo of the fashion model Imam, with my cartoon head on her shoulders. Because my goodness - it would be fun to be that long and that lean.

It will never happen, but still, for 20 odd years, from my late teens to my early 40's I managed to maintain a healthy weight. It fluctuated, but always within a healthy BMI. I began to pile it on somewhere around in the mid-1990's. If you were to see a graph of me from then to today it would look like the Appalachian mountains. From about 150 lbs. I gradually rose to a peak of about 200 (by then I would have died rather than get on a scale) At that airy height I had my first Moment of Truth when a dear friend saw my photograph in the local paper.

"You looked like a proper dowager", this courtly oldfashioned gentleman said. When my mouth dropped in horror and my eyes teared up he tried to recover with "Oh I meant you looked like one of those women of influence ....." but the damage was done.

And the good. With great effort I scaled down that mountain to about 165 and a size 14. (wonder why I can't fit into a 14 now that I am back at 165?) Alas. I could not stay there. Bad habits and bad eating dragged me back up the mountain side till I was once again in the high 180's. One day I had on my skinny sweater (you know - the one where you can wear when you're at the bottom of your weight range) and so I let my husband take my photo. He brought it back from the one hour photo place and showed it to me. I gasped in horror - I looked like a purple beach ball!!! I said in a dreadful whisper "I don't really look like that, do I?" and ... with all the love in the world beaming from his blue eyes he said "Yes! that's exactly what you look like"

I began to cry and he stuttered "But... but HONEY! Look at your MOTHER!"

And that's when I knew ... he should die.

No. teasing there. That's when I knew I had gotten beyond acceptable. I confiscated the picture and showed it to my best friend a little later. "Do I really look like that?" I asked in still shocked tones - and she, being my best friend, said "No sugar, of course not" but I saw in her eyes that I really DID look like that photo.

I joined WW the next week and took of 37 lbs.

At 150, with a BMI of 25 at last, I was surprised at the many things I could do now - like ... wearing dangling earrings. At 187 my face was too round to look good with things swinging beside it. Even jewels! And my feet no longer hurt and I could wear heels again. And it wasn't too hard to keep the lbs. off for a while - but then a deep family tragedy followed swiftly by my parents' drastic needs and some health issues and BAMMO - the weight began to creep back up.

I've been dancing between 175 and 165 now for 3 years. I was beginning to think this was my body's natural weight - no I was playing with the idea of claiming that this was my body's natural weight. But you know? I just couldn't give up the image in my mind of a lithe streamlined healthy body. And I hate taking so many pills. I will, of course. I'd far rather take them than die without them! but what if?

What if I could really change?

What if I could believe "The only thing I inherited from my family was the skeleton. What I put on that skeleton is my choice."

Happily a friend put me on to Spark People and I am certainly enjoying myself on the journey - especially this blogging stuff. I am SUCH a talker anyway but writing about things has turned out to be a particular help in finding the underlying reasons for things - in this case - things to do with why I am the way I am. Often when I start my daily blog I have no idea where I'm going or why, but always by the end I've revealed what I was looking for.

With this long post I realize i was trying to find out why I derail my heroic efforts and I believe there are two reasons.

1. Crisis - I tend to cope with a crisis by dancing with Mr.IceCreamBox and his friends Baron Butter and Sir Sugar. Each time I gained substantial weight was preceded by a huge life crisis.

2. I rather prefer the journey to the destination. Once I lost weight it was hard for me to stay there because it wasn't fun, I wasn't doing it with friends. There were no mileposts or rewards or celebrations for ... for just staying where I was - even if where I was was such a great place.

Well. I know there will be other crises in the future and I hope to find a way to live at a healthy weight for the rest of my life. It behooves me to think about how I will deal with those two issues before hand.

Ahh but not today. Today it's enough that I've identified the issues.

Happy Friday!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HARPERLADY 2/21/2010 12:59PM

    great blog,and true for so many of us

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TRACIWRIGHT79 2/20/2010 11:46PM

    Thanks for sharing! You are really self enlightened! emoticon

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JKTENTATIVE 2/19/2010 6:56PM

    I have also bounced around with my weight. About 6 years ago I reached my goal weight for the first time in my life and looked amazing..went from a large size 16 to a size 8. I liked what I saw in the mirror, but I must say, I was perplexed by other people's reactions to the way I looked. Most especially, for the first time in over a decade I had men coming on to me...despite my very obvious wedding ring. I also couldn't figure out what my new "style" was. Sometimes I wonder if that confusion helped contribute to me eventually gaining almost all of the weight back (to a small size 16). Now I am a size 14, and my goal is be a size 10 (or size 8), and I have very high hopes that there is another whole section of the SP program that I have not yet discovered that will help me deal with maintenance once I am ready. I am assuming that the SP maintenance program will be multi-dimensional, in the same way that the weight loss program is...and that that will help me to really maintain my healthy lifestyle and weight when I reach my goal this time. So, when you do get around to thinking about maintenance again, you might want to explore that part of SP. Maybe we can help each other through that process too!
emoticon

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MSLZZY 2/19/2010 4:36PM

    You identified your issues-good for you! Now step beyond them.
emoticon

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CRYSTALLULLABY 2/19/2010 11:26AM

  I loved this comment " I rather prefer the journey to the destination. "

I find it so true that just staying where you are is not as fun as reaching for something else. Yes, it's great you are there but you are right, there is something missing.

Good luck to you on your journey! And enjoy it!


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JLITT62 2/19/2010 11:17AM

    A very insightful blog! I love blogging too -- obviously -- and I'm a talker, too -- but only to people I know well. To others, I'm very quiet. Because I'm still painfully shy. Well, maybe not painfully, but still shy.

And of course, I have struggled for most of my adult life.

I think SP is a big part of our success . . . there was never support like this the first time I did WW. WW is great, and I love it, but I need more! My husband likes to think I'm high maintenance. I don't really think so, but I'm not easy, either.

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IFDEEVARUNS2 2/19/2010 9:35AM

    No reason why you can't stay here and play when you're at a healthy weight! emoticon emoticon

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KNITTER53 2/19/2010 8:57AM

    I'm so happy for you that you've identified the problem! That is so huge! And you've lost weight before, so you know you can do it again - but this time keep it off because you know your problem! Good for you!

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Lent I love it

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Its true. I love lent. While the grand climax at the end of the Lenten season is a triumphant victory over death, these 40 days to prepare for something wonderful have always filled me with the knowledge that I, too, have a role to play if only in coming to understand what the meaning of sacrifice is.

In the past I have given up sodas (twice, because the first time I was such a nasty crabby thing that though I fulfilled the deed, I did not fulfill the spirit), chocolate, criticizing my husband, gossip a score of different things. From time to time I also/instead add something to my life. It just depends on where I feel I need the most work.

This year Lent caught me by surprise and I had to scramble to find something I can give up and/or add to my life. Im doing a lot of little things already as I work towards better health and I didnt want to be so ambitious I failed either in a Lenten sacrifice or in my healthy SP life. And then I hit on something that is both a subtraction and an addition and Im excited about it.

I have a besetting sin of grousing to myself about Bad Things. I dont do it all the time there might be whole days when I go through life seeing only the bright side of things. But I have my dark gloomy grouchy complaining moments and if I used them to make positive changes in my life they might be good for me. All too often, though, they just decay into rants and ugly mutterings that leave me feeling sorry for myself and blaming Other People.

And so, for the next 40 days I am going to wear a little rubber band on my left wrist. The moment I catch myself grumbling and muttering and grousing about something in my life that I hate I will snap that rubber band lightly - but snap it enough to notice and from that moment on I have 1 hour to find a piece of paper and pen and to spend 10 minutes listing all the ways that I can actively change whatever is bothering me for the better. The snap of the band is to get me to STOP grousing. The hour is because I may not be at a point where I can grab a pencil and paper but I am sure I can within an hour. The 10 minute limit is because I just want to flood my brain with possibilities, positives, solutions and choices. I dont have to actually DO any of these things but I have to discover them, think about them and admit that there ARE choices in every situation.

This year I have a subtraction and an addition - for I plan to subtract the minutes I spend muttering and grumbling and add lots of good choices. And this is why I really, really love Lent.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSLZZY 2/18/2010 7:55AM

    Excellent idea! I think I could do that too! Lent is such a wonderful time to reflect on sacrifices and realize how little I am sacrificing in comparison to the ultimate sacrifice-hmmmm! Pretty small.

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ELLENB10 2/17/2010 6:46PM

    What a wonderful Lenten discipline. I've heard of similar ones - trying to go 20 days without complaining - but I like the idea of actively writing down positive solutions to problems or situations. Best wishes for a challenging Lent!

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JLITT62 2/17/2010 3:38PM

    Good luck on your subtractions & additions! I'm sure you will be a happier person after 40 days.

Someone else's post about Lent got me to thinking about what I could give up (altho I'm not even Christian), and that led to my thoughts on the BLTs.

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OPAL50 2/17/2010 2:24PM

    Great thought. I may need to try this also. I, too love Lent. emoticon

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LIVEGOLFTRAVEL 2/17/2010 2:12PM

    Great idea! Good luck!

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HJFOGARTY 2/17/2010 12:58PM

    what a great idea to stay positive! thanks so much for sharing you are an inspiration!

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