Morning Practice

Yoga Term of the Day

Balasana (Child’s Pose): A pose where the person kneels on the ground and then gently sits back on his/her heels. The upper body (chest and stomach) rests on the thighs, and the forehead on the ground.

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Balasana, Child’s Pose

As I’m working toward the “make yoga a habit” goal, I’ve been asking for advice and trying my best to integrate yoga into my schedule. Last week Jamie from Balancing the Present and bschoolgirl both suggested that I try practicing in the morning.

I decided Thursday was the day. After snoozing twice, I rolled out of bed 30 minutes earlier than normal and stumbled to my yoga mat. Although I’ve been regularly attending the 8am class on Saturdays, this was even earlier, and it took much more motivation.

I groggily selected a 20-minute video that promised to wake me up, even though I wasn’t sure I’d want to budge from Child’s Pose.

Everything hurt the whole time. I lacked the energy I get from a class, and for whatever reason my arms felt really weak. I’m sure it’s psychological because there was no reason for me to struggle with such a short video.

Although the morning practice was rough, I’m going to try again next week. I am learning that just about everything is uncomfortable the first time you try it. Plus, I’m a Grumpy McGrumpstien in the morning anyway, so it’s time I get over that.

To end on a happy note, my class this morning was wonderful, rejuvenating, and I felt so much progress regarding my confidence and strength. I’m optimistic that my balance and flexibility will follow!

Yoga for Stiff People (The Class)

Sign me up. Besides the fact that I am indeed a stiff person, the woman who teaches this class is the same woman who teaches the Saturday morning class that kicks my butt, so I knew I was interested.

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Maybe if I keep stretchin’ it out at the stiff people class, one day I will be able to do this.

The crowd was definitely different. Instead of rows of ponytails in spandex, there was a variety of runners, weight lifters, younger people, older people, people with injuries, and it was almost 50% men!

Before we started, the teacher asked us to raise our hands if we were full of energy and raring to go. I think one lady raised her hand. The teacher chuckled and said that’s what she thought, and then announced that we wouldn’t do a single standing asana. This was SO different from the intense Saturday morning class.

We stretched, twisted, and used tons of props. My soreness from Saturday faded as I focused on my breathing and the poses.

Will I go back? Maybe. My 10-class punch card is halfway through, and I love the Saturday class so much that I might use my last punches for those.

Because I’m nearing the end of the punch card, I’ve begun looking for studio options that are closer to my apartment and that have some later night classes. If the stars align, I might be able to start going to more classes on weeknights.

What days and time of day do you guys prefer going to classes?

How does it impact your practice?

Sometimes You Have to Say “No”

It’s rare that I say “no” when someone asks me to do something.

“Can I borrow your textbook?” –Sure.

“Would you edit and submit the final paper?” –No problem.

“I have a weird itch between my shoulder blades, would you mind?” –I‘m already scratching.

“Pretend this light post is a pole and dance on it like it’s nobody’s business.” –Hands slap the pole and I un-seductively twirl around it with one knee awkwardly bent and an eyebrow raised.

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This light post better watch out.

But yesterday I had to say no to something – I dropped out of the Hult Prize competition. Yes, we were selected out of 5,000 groups to present. Yes, there is a million dollar prize. Yes, I would’ve done some awesome, free traveling for the presentation. BUT, I was miserable.

I overbooked my life, and I was regretting every hour I spent working with that group. Additionally, I wasn’t getting the support that I needed from my teammates to feel like my commitment was worth it. At every meeting I felt like I was the only person trying to better the project, and like the team was just relying on my knowledge of the topic. (Just a reminder, the topic of the case competition was Early Childhood Education in the slums, and I wrote my first master’s thesis on preschool curriculums in low-income communities, so I was the one with the most relevant information).

Typically I don’t say no to people because I’m afraid of what I might miss out on and I don’t want to let the team down. What if they win the million dollars? What will these group members think of me? But after stewing over the case competition for two weeks and feeling burdened with doubts, I felt completely at ease once I’d dropped it.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not recommending that you say “no” to your boss, quit your job, and then move to the Caribbean to sip on little drinks with umbrellas in them, but I am recommending that if something is making you miserable, and it is serving no purpose/adding no value to your life, it’s worth reevaluating.

Now you said you wanted me to do what with that light post?

The Yoga Habit

It’s probably not difficult for you to guess that I have not yet made yoga a habit. In the three and a half weeks that I’ve had yoga classes to attend, I’ve gone to four. Yikes.

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This is how sleepy I feel when I get home from school. Side note about me, I love bears but am terrified of them in the wild. It’s kind of an obsession.

I’ve been back in b-school for two weeks (besides the intercession class), and I’ve discovered that yoga on weeknights is basically impossible. I’m typically at school until after the last yoga class of the evening has started at my yoga studio.

This had led me to two realizations:

  1. I am at school until after 7, which is a late for an old geezer like me
  2. Once my 10-class punch card is complete, I’ll need to find a new studio that offers later classes (because leaving school earlier is unlikely)

But, alas, I haven’t given up. I headed to the 8am Saturday class yesterday morning, and I am feeeeeeeling it today. Let’s just say getting my arms over my head to wash my hair this morning was a struggle. Even though I’m hurting, it’s all good hurting. I can tell my muscles are working to get stronger and my body is up for the challenge.

Making yoga a habit is still something I haven’t figured out. I have done bits of home practice here and there, but usually when I get home after 7pm, I pop something into the microwave for dinner and get right to my homework. It’s hard to justify yoga when I am physically beat and I have hours of homework ahead of me.

I’m trucking onward, but would love any advice on how you have made yoga (or anything) a habit when you are tired/short on time. How do evaluate and stick to priorities?

Letting Go of Fear, Noticing the Beauty

A lone, wispy cloud brushed against the tips of the mountains. The sun reflected off the powdery snow and I stood bundled at the top of a chair lift. Instead of appreciating one of my favorite views in the whole world, I was clutching my ski poles with an unparalleled level of fear.

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My view from the top!

Starting something new is terrifying. Perhaps it’s my anxiety, or perhaps it’s just human nature, but I keep putting off new experiences because I’m scared.

I went skiing for the first time a few years ago and it was a disaster. My friends took me to a bunny slope where I successfully zipped down a few times, then they carted me to the top of a mountain where I froze (and not due to the icy temps). Everything that was so easy on the bunny slope was suddenly impossible. I “pizza wedged” down one run then rode a lift down the rest of the mountain.

I avoided skiing for a while after that, but then last year my boyfriend came along and wanted to take me skiing for my birthday. I told him I’d try for half a day only if I could take a real lesson. I spent a few hours on a bunny slope, then waited for him in the lodge while he skied the rest of the day.

Although skiing down a mountain is one of the more extreme scary situations I’ve put myself into lately, I realized that not trying something because I’m scared happens pretty often. I love to write, but for years I’ve shied away from putting my voice out there because I’ve been scared. I’d also always wanted to try yoga, but embarrassment regarding my strength and ability kept me away from a studio.

Maybe 2015 is my year – I’ve started writing again and I’ve started yoga, and I even went skiing.

This year my boyfriend encouraged me to hit the slopes once again, and I reluctantly agreed. But once on the mountain, I felt a little more empowered than I did last year. I spent a full day on the bunny slope, and then yesterday I let my boyfriend and friends lead me down the mountain on some greens. I was still scared, and there were moments when I felt like I was going to be stuck in the same spot on the side of a mountain forever, but I did it.

My boyfriend looked at me yesterday when we were back at our hotel, and he said, “You’re so happy, I love it when you’re this happy.” And I really am happy. No, I’m not ready to ski backwards on one leg down a black diamond, but I wobbled down an empty, easy green run, and I noticed how the beautiful blue sky blanketed the snowy peaks on the horizon.

A Day for Gratitude

On days where big things seem to go wrong, I need to remember to be grateful for everything that goes right!

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Today was a pretty disappointing day – my boyfriend and I have had a trip to Central America planned for a couple months (flight, hotel, everything booked), and in order to go I would’ve missed two days of school. Since classes are every other day, that means I would’ve missed one class for each subject.

People miss classes all of the time. I, however, never miss classes. I am very type A, so missing a class in each of my courses was a big deal. But on this occasion I was willing to commit – the opportunity was amazing. Due to his fancy company, his trip was completely paid for, so we only had to buy my plane ticket.

Well, it turns out one of my classes has a test on a day I was going to miss, and there is no simple way to reschedule it. I had a heartbreaking conversation with my boyfriend tonight over the phone (we are long distance), and I think I’m coming to terms with the fact that this trip isn’t happening.

Feeling so discouraged, it’s easy to forget how much good I DO have in my life. I have no shortage of adventures coming up in the near future with my boyfriend, and although I want to be angry at the rigidity of b-school and its structure, I am lucky to be here at all.

Things to be grateful for today:

  1. My best friend
  2. My boyfriend
  3. The free drink I got from Starbucks
  4. Study sessions with classmates
  5. The adventure that I have planned for the weekend (you will hear more about this very soon!)

Intercession Wrap-Up and Prep for the New Semester

MBA Term of the Day

Case Competition: An event where teams of students are given a real-world problem/opportunity and they compete to come up with a comprehensive solution. The solution usually includes the projected financials, operations, marketing plan, etc. The team must present its idea to a panel of judges (such as business executives, angel investors, and/or experts) who select the winning team.

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This team looks ready to win any case competition that comes its way!

Well, my intercession course was rough. Remember how I mentioned working with Professional MBAs for the big case presentation? Well, it turns out PMBAs do not take coursework nearly as seriously as the full-time MBAs (since they are part time and they don’t have rankings). Our presentation was awful and not up to my standards, and I felt pretty marginalized being the only female in the group. Although it was a bummer, it was another learning experience. Hopefully my grade will be fine and it will all be worth it.

Now that the intercession course is over, I can think about spring semester starting tomorrow! My b-school splits each semester into two mini-mesters, so tomorrow I begin my first round of classes. Because I’m focusing on marketing, my classes are research and data analytics heavy, and today I’ve been avoiding all of the pre-reading. I’m feeling worn down from my crazy week and I’m hoping to head into tomorrow with some energy.

On a different note, I’m currently involved in two case competitions. One is a competition within my university, and one is a global competition called the Hult Prize. The university competition will take place over the next few weeks on my campus, and my team is invited to present for the Hult Prize in March (trip to Boston!).

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 7.37.43 PMI’m excited about the prospect of these competitions (I need all of the presentation practice I can get), but I am also realistic about the fact that my teams don’t have any million-dollar ideas. It will really just serve as a way to practice presenting.

With my schedule filling up, it’s going to be tricky to fit in yoga studio time. I actually can’t make it to a single class this week due to my lecture schedule and meeting times for my cases, and this weekend I’m headed out of town. Hopefully my at-home practice starts to take more shape!