The Zen Zone Blog
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Isn't it time you rocked your life OUT!
Gentler Resolution for 2013
“Change is not something that we should fear. Rather, it is something that we should welcome. For without change, nothing in this world would ever grow or blossom, and no one in this world would ever move forward to become the person they're meant to be."
Often the mention of making a New Year’s resolution brings a groan. Many of us have made resolutions that were soon forgotten. Some resolutions were too tough to live up to, others too vague to measure progress, and some not realistic to achieve in the first place.
Perhaps this coming year the resolution to be gentler to ourselves would better serve us. I’m taking some time to think things over and ask if I’m happier, stronger, and/or living with more joy now than I have in the past. From my yoga practice I have learned a few things and have made changes that work well for me.
I’m taking a gentler approach into 2013 with reminders to myself:
Slow down the pace, as life is not a race
Take time to observe and be in nature, as nature has healing powers
Use the breath to calm the body and mind on and off the mat
Allow time for the body to be still, listen, and feel the peace within
Honor the body, observing and backing off instead of pushing harder
Do make the list, but cross things off with a smile and a whisper of “well done”
Make special time for friends and family, as love lights up the heart
Make healthy choices, taste and savor each bite of food
Fire up the creative juices, it’s fun and good for the brain
Plan time for a daily walk, as it is a wonderful time to think/sort/enjoy
Express gratitude frequently, as it leads to contentment
I cannot say enough amazing things to describe my experiences at the Zen Zone. I took my very first class this past summer with my two older sisters. It was Debra's Pilates class, and my sisters failed to mention how sore it would make me the next day, or the next week in my case:) I will never forget all the other classes my sisters and I attended that summer and how pathetic we felt trying to do all the exercises while trying to contain our laughter. Now several months later, I have the privilege of working the front desk every Monday and Tuesday. Knowing that I will get to spend time surrounded by people that genuinely care about one another helps me get through those days and gives me something to look forward to. I love seeing everyone's smiling face and their passion for yoga. All my friends in high school always complain to me about their job and all the things they dislike about it; I can't think of a single negative thing to say. I really appreciate all the time I get to spend with the people at the Zen Zone; they truly are extraordinary. I can't wait for all the future time we get to spend together. Just wanted to take this time to say how much I love the Zen Zone and everyone in it!
It’s officially the holiday season! It truly is a joyous and blessed time of the year, full of fun and family... eventually. I’m just like every other person and parent out there, I put my family first. I don’t even think about it; it just happens. There is just more stuff to fit into my daily life during these last months of the year. There is extra laundry to get done so I can pack, traveling, shopping, special things to cook, and the list goes on for each of us. All of these things happen throughout my year, but during the holidays I get so busy, sometimes I forget ME. I forget that my time, my rest and my happiness is important too.
I try to remember ME each time I come to The Zen Zone for work or class. I remember I like talking with people and knowing their stories. I remember how good stretching, twisting and pushing my body and my mind make me feel. I remember how much fun coloring is. I remember “helping” makes kids feel so big. I remember sometimes it’s the little things and sometimes the little things are really big to others. As I take time to remember each of these things I remember ME and I remember that I am important too!
So whatever you do: yoga, listening to music, running, reading, worship, or whatever, take just a little time to remember You during the holidays. It will make the time and energy you give to others even more of a blessing.
Pictured above Bev, Katie & Debra 2010
As we go through life we enter and exit different stages; at each stage we have to find
our balance. When we are young, the stages are easy to define: toddler, middle school
students, and so on. As we age, the stages are harder to define, and more intertwined.
My roles were very clear to me for a long time; I was a high school science teacher and
gymnastics coach. I didn’t have time for much else. Then I got married. I became a
wife, teacher, and coach. As I adjusted to my new roles I needed to find balance. I was
nine months pregnant when my husband took a new job and we moved cross-country
to the east coast. Before I adjusted to living in Washington DC we had our first child.
Twenty months later, we had a second and twenty months after that a third child. I
was a stay-at-home mother, wife, and…what? I didn’t know. I was waiting tables for
extra cash and some adult contact time, but I knew I was not a career waitress nor
was I a career stay-at-home mom. My husband suggested I write a description of an
ideal job/life - so I did. To my utter amazement, I found a job in the classified two days
later that I could have written! I took the job as Youth Employment Program Manager,
which was the perfect blend of philanthropy and idealism for me! It was across the
street from the daycare and the hours were flexible. I found my balance, and then we
The five of us moved into my in-law’s basement in Lee’s Summit. I am eternally grateful
they took us in until we could sell the house; it was challenging raising children in that
situation. Our life was stressful to say the least. I had three children from ages 4 to 8,
my oldest started school, we moved into another house, and I was waiting tables again.
Everyone in the family seemed to be off kilter and needless to say, I felt way out of
Fortunately for my family and me I found the Zen Zone. Just walking in the front door
is like a breath of tranquility for me. The space is calming and…well, Zen. The clientele
and staff embody the peace and respect that is missing in society at large. When I
walk into the space, I begin to breathe easier and the burdens I carry lighten. As I
take a place on my mat in the studio, the monkey on my back is temporarily caged and
the voices in my mind still. My tree pose becomes stable, rooted, and grounded. I am
balanced. I take that feeling with me when I roll up my mat after shavasana. I am
a 40-something mother of three, with three jobs, two degrees, a house, a dog, and a
husband, volunteer at school and church. I’m not sure what is next in my life, but it’s all
good because I have found balance within.
Jennifer K Hamilton
This morning I finished the last of the peaches grown in my husband’s and my backyard. Every morning I add fruit to my cereal, Greek yogurt, and walnuts. This year’s crop of peaches was abundant though small, and oh so sweet! I am delighted I had peaches to eat all summer long. Since this is the last, I pause and take a few moments to express gratitude for nature’s gift!
Saturday is the official day for the fall season to begin. Red and Yellow Delicious apples and Bartlett pears fill my frig now. I’m enjoying the cooler days and chilly nights. Once again I am grateful for the gifts from nature!
When was the last time you took a few moments to sit quietly, breathe deeply and gratefully reflect? Go find a place where you are surrounded by nature. Notice nature’s gifts. Don’t forget to express gratitude for the little and oh so sweet things in your life.
By Becky Palmer
What is Yin? Because I teach a Yin-inspired yoga class every Monday morning at The Zen Zone, I tune in whenever I hear this question asked. It is posed in some yoga books and asked by curious yoga students and teachers. Yet, it’s one that a simple verbal response can’t seem to capture a satisfying answer.
Do you remember asking the question, “What is Yoga?” before mustering up the courage to step on a mat and discover the real gem of yoga was in the experience of the practice? Understanding Yin yoga is not so different. The truth is within the practice. But for all of you who enjoy learning the what, how and why, I’d like to share about my first experience practicing yin yoga.
Six years ago I took my first Yin class. The class had a creative name, one that didn’t reveal the description of the class, but I was in love with yoga (still am) so I went with a curious and open mind. The studio lights were dim, the music serene and the practice completely different from my usual vigorous Vinyasa practice. From the beginning of the class to the end, the energy felt calm, slow and grounding. I wouldn’t describe it as easy, but it was more like an easing into hip-opening yoga postures while settling into breath awareness and inviting a gradual release of tension around what I was feeling in my body. The deeper I connected with my breath, the more relaxed I felt. Within any practice of stillness: meditation, restorative, or a few minutes of savasana, the work shifts to easing the thought patterns of the mind. A yin practice offers expanded opportunity to quiet the mind while in the seat of asana (posture). The Yin experience didn’t feel better than Vinyasa, it felt different. I would later learn that we held earth-grounding postures intentionally longer which allowed time to nourish the joints and connective tissues in my body. (Vinyasa yoga serves the muscles while Yin yoga serves the joints.) It felt similar to a massage from the inside out. I walked in, absent of any understanding of yin yoga and pleasantly discovered another transformative way to practice yoga. I recall leaving the class sensing a deep state of relaxation and bliss so palpable that I wished there was a taxi service to drive me home.
My initial Yin experience ignited a spark to learn more about this nurturing practice. Weaving together a thoughtful combination of all my yoga studies, practice and trainings, I strive to create a class that invites balance to our busy lives; restoring calm to the mind and openness to the body. Please join me this Sunday, September 30, 2:45 p.m. at The Zen Zone, as I share more of what I’ve learned. Come prepared to practice an introduction to Yin yoga.
Om Shanti (Peace), Anita Bailey