surviving tattoos: a sissy’s guide

This was my 4th tattoo, and first foray into color. This may come as a surprise…it may not. Maybe you’ve seen the ink in my skin, poking out from under a pant leg, or peeking up over my shoulder.

I know some folks don’t like tattoos.

I’m not here to defend my choices.

I’m here to talk about how much that sucker hurt.

Cuz, duh. Having needles stabbed into your skin repeatedly and rapidly is probably at least mildly painful for most people.

And I’m a ninny. Yeah, it’s said that women are built for pain. That we have a great pain threshold because we birth babies. I’m not. (Built for pain nor having babies.)

So I wind up making my tattoos a big deal. An ordeal. With a magnificent, gorgeous and permanent outcome.

As I sat down in the chair, watching my artist clean and sanitize and set up the space, I felt that familiar sensation. Heart leaping into chest, and then dropping down into belly. Simultaneous excitement and fear.

Oh boy.

He looked at me with a grin, leaning toward my arm “Are ya ready?”

So ready. “Let’s do it!”

And it began. The inside of the forearm is a soft and tender place. Watching the ink settle in to my skin was fun…until it wasn’t. I started to tighten up.

And then fidget.

Sweat.

Oooh. Ouch.

It occurred to me: Holly, you’re a yogi. Focus on your breath. So I started to watch the movement of my breath. Watched it move out and in…

and it still hurt like a mother.

So I changed my approach. I slowed the movement of breath, and let the abdomen expand and relax with the movement of breath.

OUCH! Not working.

After moving through my yogic arsenal, I mentally tossed up my hands and decided to just pay attention to how much it hurt.

ow.

And you know what?

It got easier.

It really seemed to hurt less. Immediately. Was that the endorphins kicking in? Cuz they say that endorphins play a role in managing prolonged pain. I decided to pretend I was a scientist. I went back to my breath. The pain increased. I went back to the pain. It became tolerable again.

SCIENCE!!!

I went with it. I’m a big fan of doing what works. The artist and I did chat quite a bit, but I stayed right there with the sensation of those needles.

What’s the point?

Sometimes we are better served by listening to what hurts. To give it the attention. To sit with it, rather than trying to escape it. It isn’t just a physical pain. It can be grief, anger, loss, or any of the more serious unpleasantries in life. By being right there with it, we can have the experience without it being too bad in the end.

Yogis, take note.

Sometimes we focus on breath. Sometimes that is the best thing to do.

Sometimes we give our awareness to that which is asking for it. Be there, for a little while.

When you are ready, when it is over, when you can let it go, it will make that letting go sooooo much sweeter!

iam

 

 

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Changes. They’re afoot!

Spring is sprung, and with that often comes changes. Big gorgeous messy changes!

You may notice some things shifting around these parts, as I try some new things out on the website. Lemme know whatcha like! Heck, lemme know whatcha don’t like! Just be nice about it.

In the meantime, there is still an ongoing special for Teachers and Teaching Staff through May. Half Price Yoga classes with me OR Angie!

If you want to stay in the know, sign up for JoyNotes below.

(and that, dearheart, is an English degree in ACTION. teehee!)

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4.5 surprising benefits of yoga

 

I bet you’re wondering about that decimal point. 

 

hollaleecolortwist

 

 

Yoga gets a strange wrap. Sometimes all you hear about is flexibility and strength and fitness. Other times it’s all about the scandals. But you’re a grown up, and I bet you are clever enough to seperate what’s useful from what’s not. The stuff that comes up surprised the heck outta me:

 

1. Get more sleep. You’re gonna sleep so much better. And not in that collapsing-n-bed-cuz-you’re-just-so-TIRED kind of way. After a good yoga class (even one during the day) it’s easier to find your own natural sleep rhythm. When you take the time for yourself to naturally unwind with Yoga, you’re less likely to carry all that mental chatter and woundup tension into bed with you.

 

2. Get sick less. Stress is the underlying cause for so many chronic conditions that we forget its affect on the more immediate stuff.

When we are under high levels of stress, we are constantly geared up and ready to respond to danger (even if it’s just that the computer tried to eat that project you’ve worked so hard on.) We can only sustain that high-alert state for so long! Eventually, the poor body gets so worn down that any old germ or virus that wanders along has no trouble at all invading your body and making you miserable.

When you practice Yoga, you help counteract that stress response. After even a brief Yoga practice, stress hormones lower, blood pressure lowers, and you experience a deeply relaxed state. These benefits can extend out well beyond the hour you spend in class, and if continued, the benefits compound! How cool is that?!

 

3. Get smokin hot. Whoa. Simmer down now. What I mean by that isn’t that you’ll  lose weight when you do Yoga. You might. You might not. I gained when I started practicing. But I finally started to feel really good in my body. I began to feel stronger. I was more aware of my body. I even get a little proud sometimes of the things I can ask it to do, that I’m not sure it would have done before. I don’t think of myself as at my ‘ideal’ weight, but I like my body more than I ever have. I am in AWE of it sometimes. Even when it’s misbehaving.

 

4. Get. Shit. Done. By coming to a Yoga class as little as once a week, folks report increased focus and productivity, in their home lives and at work. Yoga is sooooo not just about moving the body. In fact, yoga is all about calming the mind. A calm mind is a clear mind. When you take the time to take care of yourself, you bring a new sense of clarity into your task time.

 

4.5 Get happy. Here’s that half a point, and I’m counting it as such because it’s kind of an extension of the previous point. You know, I snark at the typical Yoga pictures as much as the next guy. But there’s a reason that we all look so dingdang happy in these photos. Because we are. We’re getting clear about what we want, what we like, what we don’t like. Yoga extends out into the rest of our life.

And while no one is happy all the time, folks that stick with a Yoga practice are often 100054656% happier than your average everyday crankypants.

I totally made that stat up.

 

 

So! Get your butt to a Yoga class. If you wanna try mine, the Finding Serenity schedule is right over here.  (Hi there shyface. I do private lessons too.)

 

Have you experienced the benefits of Yoga? Have one to add? Share it in the comments below!

 

 

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why so serious?

 

All Batman quotes aside, we take ourselves faaaar too seriously sometimes.  Especially in Yoga. (But if the Joker had given yoga a go, things might have turned out different for him. Just sayin.)

If you look at images of adults practicing yoga, there’s a significant trend. All those serene and yet serious faces. In perfect looking poses, with clothes that fit just so and nary a wrinkle or catch in them. No skin folds. Often photoshopped into a pristine and sometimes hard to recognize version of themselves. Not a lot of room for playing. 

 

Then have a look at a kid’s class.

 

kids dfd

 It’s silly! Socks everywhere. Giggles and guffaws and games. Posing like trees that wobble and fall, and they’re okay with trying again! When kids make it into Relaxation pose at the end of their class, they still have the tiniest of smiles. They get to play, and then they rest.

You can play in yoga too. Say you lose your balance. Your foot comes down from that challenging balance in Tree Pose. Maybe you flailed a little bit. You can get upset about it, letting your brain berate you for not being better, or stronger, or more…balancey.

Or, how about instead, you have a giggle. Whoops! That was wobbly! Maybe even wave your arms around, like a tree in the wind. Take a breath, and put your foot back up on the leg (maybe with a toe on the floor this time) and get back into it. This time, with a smile.

Because we all fall from time to time. I’ll share my own falling-out-of-pose stories in the classes I teach. Remind me to tell you about the time I fell on my butt and bounced. In a full class. When I got around to laughing about it, it really wasn’t that bad.

If we were supposed to be serious in yoga all the time, there wouldn’t be a Lion’s Pose.

lion

Really! That’s yoga! It helps release oodles of tension, especially in the face and neck.

Yoga can be deeply playful. An experiment in joy. I’ve been known to take myself waaaaay too seriously, and then sometimes not seriously enough. My own personal Yoga is about finding balance between the two.

Yoga means union, after all.

I invite you to join me. Stop worrying about whether or not your balance stinks, you’ll look bad, or that you’ll do something wrong. Be willing to giggle a little (or a lot), and take yourself less seriously.

I look forward to laughing with you! 

 

ps.  This is the final post in a series on yoga misconceptions.  If you haven’t seen the others, head over to parts 1 2 3 and 4! And a ways back, I did a post about yoga for larger bodies.  You can revisit that here.

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