Monday, October 24, 2011

The Music of Yoga


"There are days when everything I see seems to me charged with meaning: messages it would be difficult for me to communicate to others, define, translate into words" - Italo Calvino 6/365
Originally uploaded by Amanda's Weekly Zen


This morning Norwood and I were talking about my long yoga weekend that just passed and he brought up a beautiful metaphor to think about when doing yoga. Norwood has played many string instruments in his life and as such he is quite knowledgeable about building songs from notes and cords. As I was describing the sequences we did yesterday in Power Yoga (tough stuff by the way) he told me that I was like a musician creating a song to tune my body. Intrigued I asked him to break down his idea for those of us (me) who are musically challenged (because the idea that I could be musical at all is very appealing). So here is his theory of the music of yoga…

Let’s start by thinking of a single posture, Uttanasana (Forward Fold), and break down what we do step by step:

1.We usually enter Uttanasana from Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Slowly we will bring our hands to our hips.
2.We then will begin our exhale as we bring our arms out and up.
3.Next we begin to bend forward from the hip joints, not from the waist.
4.As we are making our descent we draw the front torso out of the groin so we are lengthening the torso as we continue our fold pointing the crown of our head towards the floor.
5. During this pose we keep our knees as straight as possible and bring our palms or finger tips to or towards the floor.
6.If we want to deepen we will inhale and allow gravity to take us farther into the pose.
7.When we are ready to come up we bring our hand back out and up as press the tailbone down and into the pelvis allowing up to come up with a long front torso.

It is so automatic when we come into forward fold that we often do not think about each little movement and sometimes we do not think about the body parts of muscles that are moving. So let’s imagine that our body is like the hands of a guitarist. The five fingers that depress the strings are our body. And we can think of our two arms, two legs and spine as the five fingers on that hand. The hand that strums the strings is our breath or prana or in our musical terminology our Vibrato. Vibrato is a musical effect consisting of a regular, pulsating change of pitch. It is used to add expression to vocal and instrumental music. Vibrato is typically characterized in terms of two factors: the amount of pitch variation ("extent of vibrato") and the speed with which the pitch is varied ("rate of vibrato") (from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vibrato). The guitar, in this metaphor, would then be the universe. The use of our fingers (arms, legs and spine) will create notes. For example, if we use both arms let’s say that we just used the notes A and B.

Now that we have the foundation of our metaphor in line let us now return to how we actually make music when we do yoga. In the above description you will notice that our five fingers are used; our two arms move out and up, are two legs are firmly grounding and connecting us to the earth and our spine is straightening and staying strong and we bend over. We just used all five of our notes (arms, legs and spine) to create the cord Uttansana. And when we reverse and come back up we are using the same five notes in a different way to create another cord. So the pose Uttanasana is a song created from two cords. But let’s not forget our strumming hand. While we are descending in Uttanasana we are exhaling and each time we are letting gravity work its magic to descend lower we are inhaling and exhaling. All the time we have energy moving through us (our prana) and we are breathing so we are always varying the pitch of our music thus changing the expression of our song.

The song we create can be as simple as one pose or as complex as an entire sequence. We pick and create our songs to create a harmony between us and the universe or if you will we are tuning ourselves to the universe. So for example let’s say a yoga teacher will craft a class around the Muladhara chakra (the root chakra). We will choose to focus on poses such as Tadasana, Warrior I or Uttanasana. Our practice will keep bringing us back to postures that will encourage us to root ourselves into the ground and our song will be one of feeling grounded, centered, energetic and strong (well only if we play the song correctly).

Now that we are thoroughly immersed in the music of yoga theory let’s think about what it feels like to practice our songs in a group. If you have been to any yoga class in which you and at least one other person have practice the same poses at the same time you may have noticed a different feeling than when you practice alone. Personally, I have noticed that when I practice with others there is a heat that builds up naturally from the use of all the bodies in one space but there is also something more. When we as a group are engaged in the ujjayi breath during our practice there is a vibration that occurs in the room that will resonate with me even a few hours after the practice. There is also a certain feeling of joy and accomplishment that I can sometimes feel in the room (stronger than just my own joy and accomplished feelings).

This is such a beautiful way to think about how we move in yoga (not that yoga is not already beautiful) and I think it is also a way for those who do not want to embrace the idea of divinity in yoga that sometimes comes up. Music, whether you play it or listen to it, can be very spiritual and it is also a universal expression of emotions therefore if you listen to the music of your body you can embrace that as your spiritual practice without having to embrace a traditional religion. I hope you all have lovely songs produced from your practices today.

~Namaste

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Puppy Diaries by Jill Abramson


Ever since my husband and I adopted our now 10 year old border collie Maverick from the Humane Society I have had a special place in my heart for stories about dogs, memoirs about the ways that dogs have changed people’s lives… pretty anything having to do with dogs, any type of dog. This year alone I have read a few dog memoirs and thoroughly enjoyed the stories shared by my fellow dog parents out there. When I given the book The Puppy Diaries: Raising a Dog Named Scout for review I was thrilled. Before I even opened the book I already liked it because on the cover is the cutest little Golden Retriever I had ever seen. I started to read the book this past weekend and discovered that unfortunately it did not follow the direction I had hoped it would go. If you have read any of the other reviews out there for The Puppy Diaries (which was scheduled for publication this month) you may already know what I am about to say.

Jill Abramson author of a column about her dog Scout in the New York Times and the managing editor of the New York Times turned her popular column into book about the first year of raising her dog Scout. I am not familiar with the blog so I am not sure how much emotion and feeling went into the blog but the book somewhat lacked a personal quality. There were very sincere moments about the love she had for her three dogs but they were so brief. The majority of the book read like a marketing campaign for various books, dog training professionals, dog friendly place in New York City and even pet insurance. The information that was provided in this section is valuable to those people who live in New York City with dogs and or those who have never owned a dog before, unfortunately though this book is promoted and placed not in the “how to guides” but in the “pet memoir” category.

When something is promoted as a memoir I expect a certain amount of emotion and tone that indicates someone is truly analyzing the situations in their life and are “baring their soul” for the read to read. This book was not that way; therefore it was somewhat of a disappointment. That being said there are some really moving parts of the book that if they were expounded on would have made the blatant ad placements a little less invasive to the reader.

For example, early on in the book Abramson mentions the loss of her long-time companion Buddy. These moments were heartfelt, emotional and real. Another fantastic piece of writing occurs when Abramson talks about her accident that resulted in a steel rod replacing her femur bone in her left leg. The loss of Buddy just a few months before was confounded by the accident making it highly unlikely that Abramson would ever again “give her heart away” to another dog. These moments occurred early in the book and gave promise that we would truly be reading a beautiful memoir about the healing properties of pet ownership. Unfortunately it was not until the end of the book that we are given that beautiful prose again. Another accident in Abramson’s life opens her eyes to the love and dedication Scout has shown her and she in turns realizes how much Scout means to her.

In addition to the brief touching moments there are also a large number of photographs throughout the book. Without the photographs the book would be even less personal and the entire middle of the book would be boring.

In the end, I would recommend this book to those who are fans of Abramson’s blog. I am sure if you followed her blog for any length of time the book might have more personal meaning to you as a reader. I would also recommend this book to those who have never owned a dog before as its manual style may give you an idea of the involvement needed to be a dog parent. Words of caution to that type of reader however; take every bit of advice given (from what to buy to how to train) with an open mind. The ideas presented in The Puppy Diaries are only one side (at times she gives you both). Not everyone who is a pet parent will go to such extremes.


Note: I was given this book by the publisher for review, in no way did it effect what was written in this review.


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Friday, October 14, 2011

How to Meditate



I was recently asked by a friend on Facebook how I learned to meditate. At first I did not know how to answer. I actually had to question myself if first I could meditate and second if I know how I got there. So I sat and I went through my history of what I have done that would lead others and myself to believe that I can mediate. After a review of my actions I came to the conclusion that yes, I do not how to meditate. Does that mean that I do it all the time? Yes and No. I do not sit in meditation everyday but I do forms of meditation each day when I run, when I first wake up with my thoughts for example. Before we go any further let me first define meditation as I have come to understand it…
Since 1996 Zen Buddhism has been important in my life. I began my study simply by visiting the library at my college. I went to the religion section of the library sought out the books on Buddhism and began with the first book and over the years made my way through the majority of their collection. Zen Buddhism spoke to me and I embraced many of the philosophies, particularly Zazen. Zazen is simply a kind of meditation and in it you study yourself. In Zazen we focus on body, breath and mind as one thing in one reality. There are techniques that are given to the student and often people will seek out teachers to sit with. Zen Mountain Monastery has a very good brief description of how to sit on their website.

When I sit in Zazen I use the same visualization each time... my mind is a large circular room full of filling cabinets. The cabinets are arranged by year and on the floor all around me are papers, and on each paper is a thought that I have had or arises from thinking of another thought. Each time I sit I pick up just one paper and thoroughly analyze the thought, reading it if you will over and over again. At the end I say to myself, it is what is is and when I feel content that the thought has been looked at long enough I file it into a cabinet. My goal each time I sit is to have a clear space on the floor of my mind where I can sit and be with myself. It takes a long time to file all our thoughts (perhaps this lifetime and many more depending on what you believe) and sometimes they end up back on the floor but if you sit each time with the intention that you will face, embrace and move on from the thoughts you will make progress.

Not everyone can sit down and start with a visualization; I could not and sometimes still cannot. On those days we can meditate in different ways. There is the candle gazing technique. In its simplest form you sit in front of a candle and focus your eyes and attention on the flame until you can close your eyes and see only the flame. There is simply counting your breath. Breathe normally and assign one to an inhale and two to an exhale. There is also moving meditation where you need not sit at all. I find this often when I run or walk long distances. I also will occasionally use smells to meditate on. Peppermint has a soothing effect on me so I will use peppermint oil in my meditation space and concentrate on analyzing the smell describing it my mind with many adjectives and then breathing in the smell and exhaling it out, and in the end sitting with the smell of peppermint alone all thoughts about it filed away.  

The idea behind meditation (for me) is to simply face our thoughts (whether good or bad), embrace them as part of you and then move on from those thoughts and always work towards a clear, calm mind.  

My advice to the beginning meditation student is this:
·     
  • Breathe. Breathing is the easiest way to initiate any meditation. Focus on your breathe.
  • Always keep your goal of mediation in your mind sitting right next to you.
  • Find a place where you can be undisturbed, create an atmosphere conducive to sitting quietly (trust me this can be done anywhere and does not need much space)
  • Start off by doing it in the morning (I find I am more likely to sit well when I do it when I first wake up)
  • Practice, practice, practice
Ultimately a meditation practice that fits you is designed by you. There is no right or wrong way to meditate there is only your way. I understand that we all need some sort of starting point so here is a list of my favorite books that deal with meditation that helped me to develop my own practice:

Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation In Everyday Life : A great guide that walks you through the meaning behind mediation. Whether you are starting meditation or have been doing it for years this is a not only a great resource but also an enjoyable read.

Walking on Lotus Flowers: Buddhist Women Living, Loving and Meditating: Perhaps the best collection of Buddhist experiences I have ever read. Not only for women, any gender would appreciate the experiences in this book.

Walden by Henry David Thoreau: Thoreau's account of living in the small cabin on Walden Pond is an experience anyone interested in Buddhism will enjoy. The whole experience was a long meditation. 

The list is small but these books are very meaningful to me and I find myself reading them more than once. These are not the only books one can read for a jumpstart into mediation however. There are many books about yoga that can lead you to meditation practice (Essential Yoga or Light on Pranayama are two that come to mind). There are also those great little books Meditation for Beginners and Meditation for Dummies. And when all else fails start with the basics at Wikipedia. Use these books only as tools. Create the practice that fits you, it only works if it is YOUR practice. 

~Namaste


Help Support this site by visiting our sponsors:

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Shea Vaughn’s Breakthroughs by Shea Vaughn

51-0H-oWWeLShea Vaughn the founder of SheaNetics decided to further explore her 5 Living Principles in her latest book Shea Vaughn’s Breakthroughs: The 5 Living Principles to Defeat Stress, Look Great and Find Total Well Being. Before you read this book you should first familiarize yourself with SheaNetics. Although she briefly fills you in on the program it is much more helpful to do a little research or even enroll in a class before picking up this book. That being said here is the basic idea of what SheaNetics is about… it is a blend of Yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates, Martial Arts and more designed to not only work you out physically but allow your mind to create positive energies. The main foundation of SheaNetics is what Vaughn calls the “5 Living Principles” (Commitment, Perseverance, Integrity, Self Control and Love). How it differs from other exercise programs (the claim is…) is that it is geared to find total health and fulfillment not just short term goals.
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The above is just a basic outline of SheaNetics if you would like more information about it I suggest you visit the website http://www.sheanetics.com/index.htm.  The book that is the subject of this book review is designed to help the SheaNetics student further develop their 5 Living Principles. Across eight chapters Vaughn breaks down for the reader what a Breakthrough is and how to achieve one and then once you achieve a Breakthrough what to do with it. The book is very accessible to almost any reader. The tone is that of a friend giving advice. There are numerous personal stories throughout the book illustrating her points. Some of them are heartfelt and well thought out and do illustrate the moment or breakthrough she was trying to convey. Others are not as well written or illustrative, but on the whole the book provides the reader with many examples to plant the seed of meditation and Vaughn’s 5 Living Principles in the their brain.

There are places in the book that could have been more informative to be truly useful to the reader. For example, the early chapters are at times hard to follow and the point of the book cannot really be grasped until the later chapters. It would have been nice if the anatomy of the Breakthrough and how it differs from a “moment” were explored in a little more depth.

One of my favorite chapters of the book was Chapter Four Modern Meditation. I thought her approach to mediation was refreshing and accessible to any reader. Another thing that was pleasing about the book was the whole interactive feel. As I mentioned earlier the tone of the book is one of a friend giving advice. In addition to an accessible tone there were also places in the book for you to write your own comments and reflections (this is the type of book you will want a paper copy of). Perhaps the best thing about this book is Chapter 8 Shea’s 5 Day Breakthrough Boost. It is one thing to discuss theory throughout a book but it becomes much more real when the writer gives you concrete examples of how to make the changes they suggest. In Chapter 8 Vaughn breaks down the 5 Living Principles and tells you exercises you can do, foods you can eat and mind boosts you can perform to achieve each of the principles and ultimately  daily well-being.

As a practitioner of yoga and a student of meditation, many of the principles in the book were not as groundbreaking for me as they might be for a student who has never or rarely embarked on a physical/spiritual journey. That being said I can recommend this book to many readers and here is why; it is easy to read and understand and anyone regardless of their position in life can embrace at least some of the ideas explored in this book. In the end she promotes well-being through physical and mental work… and who is not in favor of some well-being?

Novel Moments:
“But what exactly is a Breakthrough? It is a change in the way you view something. It can be subtle or radical shift in perception.” (21)

“It’s not the essence of the moment; it’s the awareness and understanding of it that elicits Breakthroughs.” (44)

Note: I was given this book by the publisher for review, in no way did it effect what was written in this review.


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Yoga for Your Brain by Sandy Steen Bartholomew

Yoga for Your Brain: A Zentangle Workout by Sandy Steen Bartholomew is a collection of exercises that you can use if you are familiar with the Zentangle techniques. Now if you are anything like me you might be asking at this point… “What is a Zentangle?” Here is a brief description of Zentangles…

Zentangle is an art form that is based on repetitive patterns, think really artistic doodling. You an encouraged to use it as a form mediation and for journaling. They are fun, easy and when you are done you have these awesome little creations that make you look really talented. They are designed so anyone (even children) can do them, anywhere. If you want to find out more or get your own Zentangle Kit I suggest you check out their website.

The book Yoga for Your Brain which is the subject of this book review is a collection of exercises that, once you know the basic techniques you can work on. The book starts off with an overview of the basics then moves into the exercises. The first exercise is a conversation on how to shade. In great detail Bartholomew tells the reader how to hold the pencil or pen and when and where to add shadows. The exercises get more involved and detailed as you make your way through this small book. My favorite part of this book are the little sections where Bartholomew shows you pictures of things in the world and shows you how to create a Zentangle based on those patterns. There are all sorts of things from grapes to columns that you can recreate into a Zentangle. Not all the book is about doing things with you pens and pencils though. There is a little section on “transfers” in which you print photos out or other materials and place them onto your Zentangle journal. In short this book is all about being creative with patterns and when I played around with them I found myself completely involved in the drawings, it was very enjoyable.

This is a book you will want to have as a paper book or on your computer or iPad because you will want to be able to see the images in the book clearly. I recommend this book and the Zentangle technique to anyone. It is fun, and the end products are really neat.

Note: I was given this book by the publisher for review, in no way did it effect what was written in this review.


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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Your Personal Desalination Plant and WaterMaker

As many of you know Amanda and I have been sailing for about 5 months now. Over this time I have worked hard on converting our sailboat into a version of our off grid cabin in Boulder CO.  This has been a challenge but we now have about 800 watts of solar panels charging 6, 6 volt batteries and 2, 12 volt marine batteries.  This is enough power to allow the vessel to regenerate its necessary power each day to run the DC refrigerator, 4 laptops, internet, washing machine, fans and all the other necessary desires one might have while sailing.   

One of the last big projects I had to tackle was a desalination plant.  This took some time due to the knowledge that many of the large company water makers such as the KATADYN Power Survivor 160E Water maker are simply expensive  and require a great deal of maintenance and expense to keep running. This is a problem most sailors, cruisers and boaters simply don’t need while at sea. Well after many months of research I found a retired water quality expert to help me design the following units.  Please take a look. 
We have the 4 GPH DC units since we only need about 12 gallons of water per day.  This unit is a great industrial unit that can expect to run for 5 to 8 years before the main filter needs changed at a low cost of $125.00 dollars. And the pump and motors could possibly last a lifetime.   In addition none of the parts are proprietary therefore one can replace them with ease and lower cost at any time. 

Amanda and I have been so pleased with our system that we decided to work with our new friend George in distributing them.  The water makers below are all of top quality and can be used to desalinate salt water for you boat or island.  Please take a look below and if you have any questions or need a specific unit for your island or resort give me a call at (561) 290-2864 (Please leave a message this is a Google Voice #) and we will work to build a system that meets your requirements.   

All systems have a 1 year warranty and are built to order so please allow about 2 to 3 weeks for your order to arrive.




 

4,6,8 GPH BareBones DC Unit

4,6,8 GPH BareBones DC Unit


4,6,8 GPH Barebones DC Units. Includes a 12 volt DC driven Wanner pump with relief valve, 12 volt DC Booster Pump, 2.5" x 14" membrane and vessel, pressure and flow controls, 10' high pressure hose with field installable fittings, 25 and 5 micron filter housings, 3 ea of the 25 and 5 micron cartridges, permeate check valve, Backwash/Flush Manifold, TDS Tester, and Operation and Installation Manual, available 24/7 via phone operation and installation questions. 4 GPH Unit draws less than 30 amps. 6 GPH Unit Draws 35 amps. 8 GPH Unit Draws 45 amps.

Price:
$2995.00
Add $350.00 for Deluxe upgrade Prewired Control Panel:

Add $100.00 to upgrade to 6 GPH:

Add $200 to upgrade to 8 GPH:

Deduct $100.00 for Engine Driven Pump:





10 GPH BareBones Unit

10 GPH BareBones Unit


10 GPH BareBones Unit with  AC Motor Driven WaterMaker including a Wanner Pump with relief valve, 12 volt booster pump, backwash manifold an mounting brackets, 25 and 5 micron filter housings, 3 each of the 25 and 5 micron filter cartridges, Pressure and Flow Controls,15 ' of high pressure hose with field installable fittings, check valve, handheld TDS tester, installation and operation manual. Available 24/7 via phone for installation and operation questions

Price:
$2995.00
Add $100.00 for AC Booster Pump:



20 GPH Deluxe Unit

20 GPH Deluxe WaterMaker with 2.5 GPM Cat pump,  Booster Pump, Backwash Manifold, 25 and 5 micron Filter housing assembly, 3 ea of the 25 and 5 micron cartridges, 1000 psi pressure vessel, 2.5x40" membrane, 15' of high pressure hose with field installable  fittings, Pre-wired Control box with breaker/switches, pressure regulator controls, 15' ea of power supply, Booster Pump, and High Pressure Pump wiring, TDS tester, installation and operation instructions, Available 24/7 via phone to handle installation and operation questions.

Price:
$4295.00
40 GPH Upgrade add $ 1000.00:




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Get a free phone and 2000 minutes of talk time for $100 bucks click the link below and type PROMO CODE: RUMOR100FR at checkout. FREE TEXT-PHONE - NO CONTRACT!!! Platinum Tel is the lowest priced Pay-As-You-Go Cell phone providers out there. Their prices for Text, Phone and Internet beat Net 10, Trac Phone and Virgin Mobile. Plus they give you an awesome free phone. Check out the FREE LG Rumor phone that you get free with a $100 top off card. And best of all NO Contracts!

Friday, October 07, 2011

The Yoga Journal


Writing
Originally uploaded by jjpacres
No, no, we are not talking about the awesome magazine Yoga Journal in this post. We are talking about Your Yoga Journal, the one that you keep (or maybe would like to keep) that is all about your daily practice. Now I will be the first to admit it, that way you will not feel bad when you have to admit it to yourself, I am terrible at keeping a journal. Sometimes I do it and I keep it going for a week or so, then I do not do it for a month. And when I do keep a yoga journal I often do not put as insightful things as you will sometimes find here on my blog. Here is a general example of what I keep in my practice journal…

“Today during my home practice I did 8 Sun Salutations Series C then moved on into balance poses that were giving me trouble and tried to achieve Crow again. I was unsuccessful today in my Crow but I completed an awesome Wheel.”

Boring, right? Not to mention not all that useful for improving my yoga. So I started a Google search about what I could do to spice up my yoga journal (besides creating a fiction about my practice). I wanted my journal to be much more then just a list of facts about what I did during my practice. I read awhile back Bruce Black’s “Writing Yoga” and at the time I did not get much out of it and sort of ignored some of the advice he had given in his book. I did not want my yoga journal turning into a diary. I really want it to be all about yoga, my improvements in asanas and my mental and emotional changes as a result. It was not until I decided to do the Yoga Teacher Training Program in September 2011 that I decided to give the journal another go. I have started off pretty much the same way as my old journal… boring, boring, boring.

Last week I took a trip back to my old friend Google to see what others are saying about their yoga journals. As always my Google search was successful in returning something that actually gave me a great direction to go with my yoga journal. I found a “lens” on Squidoo called “How to Keep a Yoga Journal.” It is short and straight to the point. It had a few great tips for how to make your yoga journal more meaningful and a useful tool for the future. Tips like… “Aside from the generic points, write down more specific details about each major notes. These should include mental preparation prior to starting, breathing exercises, other essential points that will enhance your session, among other things that you find is useful to enhance your practice.” This is something that I not only DO NOT often write about it is also something I really do not take the time to think about. I can honestly say that I do not take the time after a practice to ponder why I decided to breathe deeply and start chanting to myself, “You can do this. You have done this,” before challenging poses such as Crane or Headstand. Now that I have it in my mind though it is all I can think about when I sit down with my journal after my practice.

So with the help of a little more research and another reading of “Writing Yoga” I have a renewed interest in my yoga journal. In order to make my journal more meaningful and a useful tool for the future I have set aside a block of time after every practice that I can write and think undisturbed. Since I just started this process I have nothing yet insightful to share (old habits are hard to break) but just like my asanas my yoga journaling will improve with lots and lots of practice.

-Namaste


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Wednesday, October 05, 2011

To Run or to Walk


WDW Marathon (8)
Originally uploaded by Amanda's Weekly Zen
In January 2011 I participated in my first marathon the Walt Disney World Marathon and it was well-documented on this blog that I was unable to finish due to a knee injury. I have been struggling with the injury since January spending much of January and February walking with pain and a knee brace. Gradually I starting bring running back into my schedule and in June 2011 I was able to start running again without a brace and with little or no pain. Determined to finish the WDW marathon in 2012 I signed up for it the first day that registration opened. I started training in July 2011 for the marathon. My progress had been good up until early September. What changed in September was the increase in my yoga practice because of the Yoga Teacher Training program. The long weekends of yoga practice mixed with running have caught up with my knee. I have slowed down considerably (even in my walk breaks) and have noticed a stiffness in my knee cap again after long runs.

Today I went out for 12 miles and even before I started my knee felt stiff so I decided to walk the entire 12 miles and maybe run 3 miles tonight. When I finished my 12 I noticed a feeling in my right knee like there might be fluid in it. That settled the run or walk debate in my mind…. I will be walking the Walt Disney World marathon in 2012. I was asked via email in February 2011 by a reader “Do people really run the ENTIRE marathon?” I really did not know how to answer this question at first but eventually I told her this…

“Well, yes there are many people who will run the entire marathon and run it pretty darn fast. But there are also lots of people who use a run/walk method. And then there are those people who will run when the cameras are around and walk the rest of the race at a leisurely stroll. I think you are asking me which method is right and the answer to that is… all of them. If you want to do a marathon but you feel you cannot run 26 miles but have a great chance of walking it I say walk it. If I feel that I need to walk the entire marathon, I will walk the entire marathon. Remember we are doing this for fun and our ultimate goal is to finish, healthy and happy. Do whatever method is right for you because in the end you will have the same medal everyone else has in their hands. Whether you walked the Walt Disney World Marathon or ran it you did 26.2 miles!”

So after a few months of pushing myself to increase my running miles I finally had to tell the above to myself. If walking the Walt Disney World marathon in 2012 helps me to keep my knee healthy so I can continue to run, walk and do yoga… well then I am walking it.

I bring this all up now because I know many are starting to train for the Disney Princess Half Marathon, Walt Disney World Marathon, Walt Disney World Half Marathon and the Goofy Challenge. In your training this Fall and Winter I ask you all to listen to your bodies and respect them. And to always keep it in your mind that no matter if you run, run/walk, or walk every person that crosses that finish line is a winner.

Happy Training!
Amanda

About the photograph:
The photo in this post was taken while running towards Magic Kingdom during the 2011 Walt Disney World Marathon. Notice dear readers that there are lots of people in the photo that are walking.


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Monday, October 03, 2011

I Can Read With My Eyes Shut! By Dr. Seuss


Day 1 of 365
Originally uploaded by Amanda's Weekly Zen
I can read in red. I can read in blue.
I can read in pickle color too.
I can read in bed, and in purple. and in brown.
I can read in a circle and upside down!
I can read with my left eye. I can read with my right.
I can read Mississippi with my eyes shut tight!

There are so many things you can learn about.
But…you'll miss the best things
If you keep your eyes shut.
The more that you read, the more things you will know
The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.

If you read with your eyes shut you're likely to find
That the place where you're going is far, far behind
SO…that's why I tell you to keep your eyes wide.
Keep them wide open…at least on one side.
-Dr. Seuss

About the Poem:
I choose the above ode to reading by Dr. Seuss this week because late last week and early this week, reading has become very prevalent in my life. It is not just the reading that I am doing for my Yoga Teacher Training or my personal “for fun” reading but I have had many publishers and authors sending me emails with requests to review their books. It is not a new thing in fact I have had the pleasure of reading and reviewing books for authors since about 2005. It just seem there is a large influx of request this last month so many so that I have had to turn some authors down. It was not that long ago that I felt like I was not reading enough and now here I am spending large chucks of time reading. I have so many interesting books on my To Be Read pile right now that I will definitely be keeping my eyes wide open to discover the places I will go.

About the Author:
I am sure the name Dr. Seuss is very familiar to most readers out there so there is really little need for me to be elaborate in this section but if you should want to find out more about the author of this great little poem about reading here is a good place to start…
http://www.seussville.com/

About the Photograph:
The photo was taken in 2009 when we were planning on getting rid of things so we could begin our 2 year long RVing adventure. The books in the photo were just a few of the books that I accumulated over the years because a year before the 2009 move we moved from Colorado to Florida and many of my books were left at local libraries when we made the trip across country. It is funny I had so many paper books and now with my Nook and Kindle I have only 3 or 4 actual paper books left in my collection.



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