Yoga and Laughter

Settling in and finding a new yoga home

I have practiced yoga for over 15 years, so it has become a part of my life.  Dan and I joined an athletic club at the end of 2002/ beginning of 2003 and enjoyed working out there.  One of the first classes I tried was a yoga class, and I was hooked.  Yoga became my motivation to go to the gym.  I found that driving straight to the gym after work was the best way to be consistent and attend class regularly.  I got into the habit of going to the gym Monday through Thursday, with yoga 3 nights a week and 1 evening of cardio.

I had the opportunity to learn from some great teachers and truly grow in my practice.  I was always sad when one of my favorite instructors left the gym.  Some moved on to teach at gyms closer to their home, and some moved on to start their own yoga studios.  It was a challenge to adjust to a new instructor- everyone has their own style, and they don’t know the skill levels of the students yet to adjust their teaching style.  Of course stepping into the place of a beloved teacher has to feel challenging to the instructor as well!  Sometimes it took a few weeks to get into the groove of an instructors style, sometimes they were just “meh”, and attendance was merely routine because of the class time availability.  Other (most) instructors grew to become my favorite instructors when they settled into a familiar groove, and they challenged everyone to grow in their practice.  And of course part of yoga is being able to ignore the irritations in life and breathe through it!

When we made the move from Michigan to Florida it took a while before we found a gym that offered a lot of yoga classes.  I have to note here, that yoga in Florida doesn’t seem to be at the same level as it is in Michigan.  I was used to more challenging, “hard-core” classes, and really feeling the Zen by the end of class.  This was not the norm I found.  There were a few good instructors at the new gym, but one young lady kind of stood out.  Yesenia was newly certified, having taken her teacher training in India only months before.  But Yesenia had the Zen.  It oozed off her and filled the room, and her joy and enjoyment of yoga bubbled out of her.  When the gym cut out most of their yoga classes to focus in a different direction, I followed Yesenia and another instructor to a new yoga studio.

I loved the new yoga studio.  It was a sunny, happy place.  Being young, Yesenia occasionally showed up late to the 6:30 am sunrise yoga class.  But she had the good grace to apologize, and continued to grow her skill and teaching confidence level.  I am sure she will become a great yoga teacher, I could see it in her, and encouraged her as much as I could.  Our original move to Florida was a temporary place to stay while we looked for a “forever home”.  When we found said home and moved away from that city, leaving that yoga studio and Yesenia’s fun personality was the hardest part.

After settling into our new home, it was time to find a new yoga studio.  Dan noticed a yoga studio near the barbershop he found and stopped in to check it out.  He brought me a brochure with their class schedule and said it seemed like the kind of place I would like.  I went to check it out and decided it was a great choice.  The clientele at the studio is mostly women of my age, which could be because I attend classes in the morning, or because the average age of people in this area is our age! 🙂

There is a group of “regulars” and it’s nice to recognize familiar faces and feel welcomed by the friendly instructors.  Being women “of a certain age” there is a comradery as we chat and discuss common concerns after class sometimes.   This is such a welcome feeling when you are a bit shy, and somewhat new to a community.  I think that’s one of the things I like most about the yoga community.  It’s easy to feel welcome and comfortable in your own skin.  I have always tried to make new people feel welcome and encourage them to keep coming back to class.  Yoga has helped me find balance in life, in more ways than one.  And I want to share my love of yoga with others.

That photo above?  That’s me and one of my yoga instructors, Tina, playing around after class so that I could have a fun photo.  Anything that brings balance and laughter into your life is a good thing in my book!

PS- If you follow my page for sewing, I will note that the workout top and capris I’m wearing are me-made.  I also made matching capris for my daughter and granddaughter.

matching pegs

Namaste!

Flutter Sleeve Hack

I wrote a guest blog on the Phee Fabrics Phee Blog, so I thought I would share it here.  Have you ever tried taking a photo at the beach on a windy day?  Let me tell you, it leads to laughter and crazy photos as you can see above!  I hacked the Made for Mermaids Women’s Mya Top, Tunic and Dress Pattern to have flutter sleeves.

via Flutter Sleeve Hack

Not Really Famous

Email “Fame”

Imagine my surprise when I opened the 5 out of 4 Patterns newsletter email and saw myself at the top of the page!  Being the slightly dorky person that I am, I of course had to forward it to my daughter so that she could share my excitement.  And she didn’t laugh at me, but rather commented, “That is super cool!  Do you get to test the cardigan pattern?  My black and gray cardigans both have holes :-(“.  Hah!  So either it really is cool, or, my slightly dorky genes were passed onto my children.   Let’s go with it really is cool.  As a side note, my husband thought it was cool, so again it really is cool or our children are doomed to slight dorkiness due to both parents!

The reason the collage of me appeared on the 5oo4 newsletter is because I was one of the testers for the new Lola pattern that was just released.  If you haven’t tried independent pdf pattern companies, you are really missing out!  There are wonderfully talented pattern designers in the world and some of them have discovered that they can sell pdf patterns online.  They have Facebook groups and sewists around the world join and ask and answer questions about the patterns, post photos of their completed projects and hacks, and discuss all things sewing.

Facebook pattern and fabric sewing groups are the best!  I constantly see comments like, “I just joined this group and this post thread was the first thing I saw.  I think I have found my people!” or “I have to share this here because you guys will understand how excited I am about…”.  The groups are filled with supportive, funny, and generally down-to-earth people.  If you are scoffing at this and wondering how many people would actually join a Facebook sewing or fabric group, you might be surprised to learn that Patterns for Pirates has over 100,000 members!  Yes, over one hundred thousand.

So, back to the pattern testing.  Designers will sometimes post a tester call in their Facebook pattern group and you can apply to be a pattern tester.  You apply online, supplying your current measurements and answer the questionnaire about your sewing skills or style, etc.  The patterns have been drawn up and tested by the designer  themselves, but they want to test and see how the pattern works on multiple sizes, different body types, etc.  You are expected to make a muslin (a practice garment) to check for size and fit, and provide comments, photos and constructive criticism about the pattern and directions as written.  The designer reviews your photos and comments, makes any changes to the pattern and tutorial directions and then the testers make at least one “final” garment and submit styled photos to the designer.  When the pattern is released you share the approved photos and promote the new pattern.

It’s kind of fun to do, but because there is a time frame, you have to be willing to put in the time and effort as scheduled.  I am not a fast sewist and tend to be a perfectionist, so I put a lot of pressure on myself when I test.  You provide your own fabric, and do not get paid, so pattern testing isn’t for everyone.  But I like to stretch my skills and try new patterns so I think it’s fun and interesting to do.  And you do receive the pattern for free once you’ve met all the requirements.

To answer my daughters question above, no, I was not chosen to test the cardigan pattern. 😦  But I did pick up on your hint that you’d like me to make you new gray and black cardigans! 😉  If you haven’t tried independent pattern companies and Facebook sewing and fabric groups, check them out!  Maybe they’re your people too!

The Sounds of Life

What sounds make you happy?

What is your favorite sound?  Is it the sound of a revving engine, which means you’re heading off for a ride?  Is it your favorite song, blasting away on the radio with the sunroof open and the windows down, and you singing along?  Is it the perfect performance of a beautiful piece of music, or the sound of a lawn mower signaling that it’s a sunny Saturday summer morning?

I love the sound of the ocean, how it grows louder as a walk toward the water, how the waves sound as they flow gently or crash loudly on the shore.  But my absolute favorite sound is baby belly laughter.  The sound of a baby laughing always makes me smile!  Baby belly laughter in general is great, but it is particularly beautiful to me when it is my granddaughter laughing.

My daughter and son-in-law live in another state, so I don’t get to see them often enough.  But one of my favorite memories from their last visit was holding Lila in front of my mirrored closet door.  Lila loves mirrors.  She thinks that the baby in the mirror is funny and likes to see herself kick and move.  Dan and I held her in front of the mirror and I let her kick away as she baby belly laughed.  Ah, that sound!  I can still hear it in my memory and it is golden!

I think that is why we love our favorite sounds.  They remind us of the things we like, evoke the memories of a certain time or place, or make us feel closer to the people we love.  Fill your life with happy sounds, and enjoy the sounds that make you happy!

Take a Walk

I love walking the beach.  My favorite part of visiting the beach when it took over two hours to drive there was taking a nice long walk along the shore.  Now that I live much closer to the ocean, walking the beach is a more frequent occurrence.  I am happy to walk anytime of day, but my favorite time is at sunset.

I enjoy walking with my husband, it’s a quiet time where we can chat about what’s on our minds.  The distractions of work, chores, social media, etc. are gone, and it’s just us.  The conversations aren’t necessarily profound, but it gives us a chance to connect and talk or just walk in companionable silence.

When he is travelling on business, I use my sunset walk as a time to think and ponder.  Walking has always been a way for me to work off stress, to think and figure out solutions to any problems in life.  When we lived in Michigan where winters are snowy and cold, and it was dark by the time I drove home from work, I walked the track at the gym.  If I had a stressful day at work, I seemed to walk pretty fast around that track!  By the 8th or 10th loop I had worked it out and could slow down and just let the endorphins flow.

The beach is my happy place and I love seeing the ever-changing waves, feeling the soft sand under my feet, and breathing in the fresh, clean air.  You may not live near the ocean, but I encourage you to get outside, and soak up nature.  There is always something beautiful to see, from the green grass or the leaves on the trees, to the flowers in your neighbors garden.  Maybe your view includes icicles and snow, or fields of crops awaiting harvest.  Getting outside and appreciating God’s beautiful creation can change your view in more ways than one!

 

Sew it Began

One of my first sewing memories

I like to sew and create pretty things.  My grandmothers and Mom all sewed, so I grew up sewing.  I’ve sewn since I was tweenager.  I remember taking a sewing class for kids with my sister when I was maybe ten or twelve years old.  We picked out a pattern and fabric, went to class on a weekly basis for a month or so, and had a little “fashion show” on the final week where all the kids modeled their creations.

I made a linen background cotton sundress with a strawberry print on it.  My sister (being a tomboy) made overalls out of a denim “patchwork” knit.  Keep in mind that this was the 70’s so that you can get a visual of these gems in your head!  Well, since I basically already knew how to sew, I got to work and had no problem completing my project during sewing class.  Dianne however, had little interest in sewing, and was probably forced to attend the class with me so Mom could have a few hours of peace and quiet!  Needless to say, despite my attempts to help, along with the probably overwrought instructor, Dianne did not complete her project during class.

Hours before the fashion show, my grandmothers and Mom worked to complete the overalls for her to model.  Why the instructor let a beginning sewist pick a pattern with overall buckles and buttons in the first place, I’ll never know!  But I will tell you that I wore that strawberry sundress and Dianne wore those overalls until they were worn out!

When you are looking at patterns and think that something may be a little too hard to try, keep in mind that you’re more likely to wear a design that you love!  Even if you don’t have a sewing Grandma or Mom nearby to help, there is a large community of sewists on dozens of independent pattern sites on Facebook that will gladly talk you through the pattern.  Happy sewing!