cooking | sunchokes
playing | Our frustrations have been brewing while climbing. We expect partner chemistry to have its ups and downs in any activity that requires cooperative interplay between two people. It's led us to focus on playfulness and the joy of the sport. Also, striving to improve communication (on and off the rock) isn’t going to hurt either. On that note…
learning | people can’t read my mind…and I’m sure I’ll continue to re-learn this often. I’m becoming more aware of my reactions and the expectations I have of others. It’s intense work at times, like trying to make sense of a distorted reflection…
wanting | to start a knitting project. Until I take the GRE, finalize my physical therapy school application, tackle a couple more gross anatomy exams…I don’t feel justified adding a cowl to my “free time” activities just yet.
waiting | to take a workshop in December. There is an important piece missing from yoga at large: narcissistic selfies of “advanced” yoga poses on social. Just kidding. There is a lack of understanding about how soft tissues actually respond to various forces (like “stretch”) by most students and teachers in the yoga community. A good portion of my “fun time” is spent gaining a better understanding of the human body and movement and biomechanics. One current goal of mine is to draw on my (ever-developing) knowledge of soft tissues and tie this science into safer and more effective ways of approaching yoga. My ultimate goal is to eventually share this in a teaching setting. I’m ecstatic to take in every bit of information I can from Jules Mitchell, who is writing her master's thesis on the “science of stretch”.
marveling | over the spinal cord. We performed a laminectomy in cadaver lab. Basically we removed the back part of the vertebrae to get to the spinal canal and access the layers (meninges) of the spinal cord. We cut through these to actually see the spinal cord, spinal nerve roots, spinal arteries, ganglia... AMAZING.
loving | my morning hour – I sit on the floor, facing the window before the sun rises. It’s dark, cool, quiet. A soft humming gently stirs me awake as light spreads slowly into our home… Making this time for myself significantly effects my mood for the day.
smelling | frankincense + myrrh from *this granite spray. It fills the main floor with a woody, bright scent that fits right in with Fall.
pondering | disparities of (even my favorite) brands’ advertising messages vs the marketing messages they convey through social.
moving | walking. Aiming to get 5-6 miles worth of steps in each day to counter sitting in class and leaning over the cadaver.
wearing | my version of “boyfriend jeans” + drapey tees + leather sandals + scarves + bangle that belonged to Dave’s mom.
following | I'm on Twitter now...primarily with the idea of connecting with other movement nerds…or simply other fitness and health-minded folks. Come find me if you are so inclined.
reading | October Issue of Yoga Journal “The Body Issue” – Overall I’m excited about the “makeover” and shift to ”better reflect the modern yoga”, though I’m not entirely sure what that means. I was most struck by Chelsea Roff’s article on the dark side of yoga. The provocative piece tackles how yoga can fuel body dysmorphia and dangerous behaviors, like eating disorders. I couldn’t help but read it from a teacher’s perspective, even though I don’t consider myself a teacher yet. Language is powerful, and subtle differences in the words we choose can send drastically different messages. As an alignment-based yogi, I face the challenge of unintentionally emphasizing shape or form over awakening awareness and connection to the body. I was mulling this over as I turned to the back cover to see…two yoga goddesses balancing effortlessly on each other. I actually laughed out loud. The image seemed so out of place following the thought-provoking article.
Another inspiring piece was a two-page collection of excerpts from the upcoming book Yoga and Body Image. If the diversity expressed on page 40 is YJ’s idea of better reflecting the modern yogi, I’m thrilled. From fat shaming and racial slurs to gender transition, individuals share how yoga has helped them accept and appreciate their bodies. The following page had the most powerful (for me) statement, but I nearly missed it because the image on the opposite page slapped me in the face. On the left side, Kate McIntyre Clere challenges us to change the language and bring a critical eye to the media. On the right side - the image that caught my attention – was one of the infamous Toe Sox ads of Kathryn Budig. Honestly, I’ve always loved these images and believed they were meant to “inspire and show the beauty of a body that practices regular yoga” as Kathryn once said. I’ve always found inspiration in the sort of effortless strength portrayed in these black-and-whites; but…I’m thin, fit, and athletic. During an interview in the issue, Kathryn confesses to facing the challenge of watching her “25-year-old body turn into a 32-year-old body.” Now I’m finding the images hard to swallow. How hard has it been (all these years) for women who are far from that aesthetic even with “regular practice?”
I adore Kathryn Budig. I have “followed” her for about 5 years now. Her playfulness is one of the draws that brought me to my own yoga practice. (Interestingly enough, it wasn’t the Toe Sox ads). I emailed her years ago; she actually responded. She is a beautiful, inspiring person. I’ll be following and supporting her healthy body image movement. I guess I’m waiting…hoping…for a fuller conversation from the “rebranding” ambassador. So far, it’s primarily been about accepting her “curvy girl” status. Does anyone else see a trace of “curvy girl” in the Toe Sox ads? I don’t. If those were meant to show the beautifully-artistic-yet-realistic potential of a “regular practice,” where is the “curvy girl”? If you follow her on Instagram, you can see her doing these same awesome asanas – and promoting a more balanced yoga practice overall – with her current body. I find the rawness of these images more inspiring than the ads. Maybe her body then simply was the by-product of “regular practice” and healthy choices and not the result of intense, daily routines and rigorous habits. What bothers me is a disparity between both capitalizing on the idealized yoga body and advocating for positive body imagery. If we truly hope to have a meaningful and positive impact, it’s important to evaluate how all of our messages are being interpreted and not get stuck in the stance of how we meant for them to be interpreted.
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