Tag Archives: yoga

Life outside of writing

Nothing encourages creativity like the chance to fall flat on one’s face.  ~James D. Finley

I bitch and moan about writing a lot, but when I finally get down to it; it is what I love to do. However, I do plan on making it my career, or at least one of them, depending on how things pan out. That means that I need to figure out ways to blow off steam and refill the well.

One of my greatest pleasures in life is reading, but that also tends to be from a critical or work space. Especially if a book is not working for me or I am trying to tackle one of those cannon novels I can’t believe I didn’t read in college when I was working towards an English degree.

I have things that I am interested in learning how to do that I don’t quite have the money to pursue at the moment, but I guess that is ok. Here is a brief list:

  • Learning Spanish – an addendum to this one b/c my wonderful public library has a subscription to Mango, which is an online language learning service. I just found out about it today. It is awesome. I still want to take a conversational class at my local community college. I really want to improve my speaking confidence.
  • Take a painting class
  • Learn how to knit/ crochet. I really want to knit myself a pair of arm warmers
  • Learn how to quilt
  • Resume jewelry making. Stuff is in storage now. If I had some money, maybe take a class.
  • Learn how to sew more than a basic hand stitch. (Even than needs work). Boyfriend’s mom just lent us her sewing machine, score. Now to make time.
  • Travel
  • Photography – I need to keep reminding myself my phone has a camera. I really, really want a DSLR

Aside from crafty stuff, I enjoy going to museums, concerts, plays, and other cultural events. Sadly, in my major metropolitan area, it is super expensive to get into the awesome museums. If/ when I have money, I want a membership to my local major art museum. I always leave that museum feeling refreshed and inspired.

On the bright side, I can take walks in local parks for free. The weather isn’t conducive to that right at the moment. But my area does have lovely places for me to go and wander around. And I also enjoy doing yoga. And the volunteer tutoring I started in January.

I suppose once I get my financial life back in order, I can pursue some of these things. I just need to have patience. I also need to focus a bit. For real, I am not a reckless dilettante despite what this list says about me. But it is nice to know that I do have a life outside of reading and writing – things that can be rather cerebral pursuits. Because really, I don’t have a hard time relaxing, not at all. No, not me.

©K. Klein 2013

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Mental & physical flexibility

Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape. ~Author Unknown

Last night was my first time doing yoga in a month because of being sick. And man did I feel the gap between my last yoga session and this one. I was super tight and stiff while warming up. Thankfully the instructor took us through a good warm up and I loosened up, but it reminded me why it is important to practice. Obviously, being sick is a good reason to take it easy, but hopefully I will be healthy the rest of this winter and then I shall need to stick with my practice.

Yoga, like my writing, is something that I love to do, but it doesn’t always come easily to me. It takes a long time to form a life changing habit – getting to form those grooves in the neural pathways of the brain. I still haven’t recovered my writing everyday or even near everyday habit that I broke at the end of grad school. Obviously school was important to me, but I am still upset that I haven’t gotten back on the horse, so to speak. I am writing, but not every day.

I would be astounded if I could get to doing yoga every day. Right now my goal is to practice 1-2 times weekly and once I establish that routine maybe put in another session. I don’t want to jump the gun now because I am trying to re-establish the every week yoga that I’d work on in the late summer and early autumn.

It is interesting to me to see how difficult it is to form new and good habits and so damn easy for me to fall back on already established habits. It is annoying because sometimes I know these established patterns of behavior are unproductive. (I’m looking at your anxiety freak outs). But as with all things, if I want to change myself, I have to try. And so here I am going at it one week at a time with yoga and one day at a time with writing.

©K. Klein 2012

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Bits n pieces of faith

faith (noun)

1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another’s ability.

2. belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.

3. belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.

4. belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.

5. a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.

Definition from dictionary.com

I desperately want to be an optimist at heart, but due to life events and general disposition I am not. Being prone to anxiety and catastrophizing doesn’t help. Seriously, I’m not dramatic or anything. Despite this general tendency to see the whole world collapsing around me I try to take a deep breath and let go. Because really, the world is not falling apart around me and nine times out of ten even if things don’t go the way I want them to it will turn out ok.

My mantra in life is: everything will be ok.

If I say it often enough I sometimes believe it too. For good measure, everything will be ok.

This takes a certain amount of faith, which is something I struggle with immensely. Faith takes an amount of confidence that I often lack. It also takes believing in something or someone. I find this incredibly hard.

I grew up in a Catholic household. And as a kid, I believed in God. As an adult, I am agnostic. I don’t definitely believe in God. However, I don’t believe there is definitive proof against God, either. It is an odd philosophical stance to straddle. Sometimes I wish I could grasp on to the faith that came so easily to me in childhood.

At times I can grasp shards of that faith I once held, but I find it like pieces of a shattered mirror. I can’t really hold the whole together anymore because the edges are too jagged. I find this frustrating because if I could hold the whole then I could see the picture with more clarity.

I might be able to see myself with more clarity. Part of the faith that I lost is the faith in me. I have never been a paragon of self-confidence. However, there fact is that the rough times in my life battered what faith in myself I do have.

Every day I wake up and have to face down those self-doubts. Will I finish my novel? Once finished, will people enjoy reading my novel? Those are the most common questions I find myself asking when I feel the self-doubt creeping up my spine.

These are the times when I try to have faith in myself. When faith is difficult to come by I try to cope through taking a deep breath, writing about the feelings, and doing yoga. How do you cope when you are questioning your faith? Do you pray or meditate? Do you write about it? Or do you have a completely different coping mechanism?

©K. Klein 2012

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Intention

What is an intention? An intention is not a goal. A goal is something that you measure and check off when you have completed it. An intention is a conscious gesture to align your mind, heart, imagination, and body with whatever act you’re about to begin. You attach yourself to your goal’s outcomes and assess your success accordingly. You let go of an intention’s outcome and let go of notions of success altogether. Goals guide business; intentions guide soul.

~By Jeff Davis from pg. 4-5 The Journey from the Center to the Page

What am I doing yoga for? I practice yoga to calm myself. I practice yoga to sweat and unwind the knots in both my mind and my muscles. When I step on the mat I try to set an internal intention. Why am I here today? The answer usually centers on my emotional state. Often I am combating my anxiety; trying to see the world from a new perspective.

Yoga does wonderful things for allowing my brain to relax and let go. Jeff Davis brings together yoga and writing in his book, which I quoted above. I often go into writing with goals. For example, I want to finish my rewrite by October 31; I need to hit at least 75,000 words. However, I don’t think I have ever set a writing intention. I am not sure what it would be.

Reading this book has sparked the question in my mind: what do I write for? Or perhaps even: why write? The latter is easier to answer than the former. Why write: because I cannot stop. (Not for lack of trying earlier in my life). Writing allows me to be a happier person; I write to revel in the flow and the joy of writing. However, the first question, I do not know the answer too. I shall have to think and reflect on it.

Davis goes on to say:

“An intention plants a seed, a suggestion that may manifest during that writing session or may not manifest until two weeks or a year later” (p5).

At this moment, I do not know what my writing intention is or what it will be. But I certainly have some food for thought. Do you set an intention before walking on the yoga mat? Do you set an intention before a writing session?

©K. Klein 2012

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A sustainable yoga practice

I recently moved back home from living a couple of hours downstate. I moved there to earn my masters degree; I majored in library science. A few weeks ago, my dear friend, G invited me to go to her gym and take a yoga class with her there. She had several free classes, which enabled me to go with her three weeks in a row.

I really enjoyed being able to take the yoga class with my friend. I also really liked the teacher who taught that class; she gave the classroom of beginners a lot of options for how far we each wanted to go without pushing us too far. Well, I suppose I should say without pushing me too far.

Sadly, because I am unemployed currently, I cannot afford the weekly fee to join my friend at her gym and continue taking the yoga classes. So now I am a bit of a crossroads. Where do I take my yoga practice from here?

I often have a difficult time practicing alone – I find it difficult to hold myself accountable in that respect. There is something about being in a classroom with other people, which I find motivational . I suppose at this point I am just bitching about my circumstances. I can either practice or not. I just tend to dilly dally when given the option; this week there will be a lot of that since I caught a bit of a nasty flu bug. So I wonder; where to start when I resume my weekly practice next week?

©K. Klein 2012

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Inner Peace?

“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.”

Dalai Lama

Inner peace or the idea of it has always been a conflict for me. How can I find tranquility in my life if  I am always at odds with myself? I have found that yoga helps me to find the quiet space in my mind. I am able to follow my breath and the movements of each pose to find some repose from the chaos of my daily existence. How do you find peace in your life?

©K. Klein 2012

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September 20, 2012 · 8:35 pm