Thursday, February 20, 2014

You Are What You Eat (and Watch, Breathe, Hear, and Feel)

You are what you eat. We all know this to be true. If you eat healthy, you'll be healthy, and vice versa. Except for the occasional person who defies rational science and manages to break these rules.

I've found the same to be true in other things we consume. Not just food, but music, culture, images, advice. If you take in the negative, it will be nearly impossible for you not to BE negative yourself. Not that I'm in favor of turning a blind eye to the real but negative issues affecting our world, but there are a lot of needless negatives that we consume on a daily basis. In an effort not to turn into these things, here's my list of 8 damaging things I vow to eradicate from my life:

  • Useless, hurtful Facebook rants that in no way instigate positive change or understanding.
  • Depressing movies. I can appreciate the artistic aesthetic, but I need to consume these in moderation. Life's too short to be sad.
  • Scary movies. What I said before. Life's too short to be scared.
  • Music that brings me down. If it doesn't bring a smile to my face or at least a vague sense of peace, I'm skipping it.
  • Talking heads. I love the band. Hate the angry political instigators.
  • Gossip and Tabloids. I'm making a conscious effort to recognize these for the false and damaging things that they really are. 
  • Television comas. I never wake up thinking, "Gosh, I wish I'd watched more t.v. last night." I always feel better when I've gone to bed with a book instead. 
  • Couch time. A good day requires physical movement. This one's non-negotiable for me. 
Here's to more light in your life. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

New Kid on the Mat

I started yoga at a new gym. Granted, I'm no expert.

This right here...

Yeah, that's not me. I'm not even close.

But I have been doing yoga for many years. My mat shows sufficient deterioration, I can hold a pretty good dancer or camel, and my twig is nothing to sneeze at, either.

Recently I decided I wanted more yoga in my life, so I began attending classes at a new gym, to supplement the ones I already take. It's wonderful. I feel fantastic.

EXCEPT for the fact that I can't help feeling like the new kid on the mat. The new classes I attend are overcrowded and the regulars seem particularly wary of new attendees in an already cramped studio. Of course, the classes are crowded for good reason. The instructor is phenomenal. But as much as yoga involves strength and flexibility, it also involves peace and love and calm, and I'm not feeling much of those things when my classmates shoot daggers at me for adding one more body to the room.

They're not mad at me, of course. They're angry with the facility for providing its members with insufficient studio time, but they're taking it out on me. It's like being sold a ticket to a sold-out theater. It's not your neighbors fault, it's the theater's fault!! But wait... peace, love, and calm. That's better.

I spent much of the last class with someone else's shoes in my face. I was pressed up close to the wall where others had stashed their things, and by the end of the hour I'd built up a healthy resentment toward a particular pair of zebra print Danskos. (Peace love calm peace love calm)

I'm not giving up on the class. I'm going to suffer through being the new kid on the mat for as long as I have to. Most of my classmates will stay, but some will come and go, and eventually I won't be the new kid anymore. When someone else comes along to fill this role, I'm going to scoot my mat over and welcome them with a smile. And I'll sure as hell move my shoes out of the way.