Posted in Uncategorized

Why People Hate Yoga

Today, I was doing some yoga in my living room and about halfway through a thought popped into my brain. I remembered how before my yoga teacher training I HATED yoga, at least I thought I did. Then when the Breather for Change program popped up in 2018 I felt a very strong calling to go through the yoga teacher training (YTT). I don’t know why, but I have always felt this weird pull to complete yoga teacher training despite the fact that usually 20-30 minutes through a yoga class I want to roll up my mat and walk out. Every. Single. Time.

Even throughout the yoga teacher training, I kept thinking, “Why the hell am I here? I have no business being here.” Don’t get me wrong, Breathe for Change was one of the best experiences of my life and it was the only moment that I felt in complete alignment with everything. My anxiety decreased and I really felt happy and connected. That is not to say there weren’t moments where I was in complete self-doubt, because there were…constantly.

After the training, I didn’t jump into teaching yoga. I attempted to create classes for teachers at my school and my efforts were blocked. I also wasn’t pushing for it very hard. I was and still am working on my Master’s degree, teaching 5th (and now 6th) grade fulltime and then I started planning a wedding. To say that yoga fell by the wayside was an understatement. It became a nonexistent part of my life.  I didn’t even practice on my own. The few times I did practice that resentment returned.

Recently, I’ve been being called back to yoga. A little voice keeps telling me I need to practice and I need to teach. I started practicing again, sometimes at the gym and sometimes at home. The last time I was at the gym a woman my from my YTT was subbing for the normal instructor. I took this as my sign.

This morning as I was practicing, halfway through that feeling of “just stop, it’s too hard, you hate this” came back. As I continued through my flow I realized why. I’m not used to just being in my body and not thinking about every little thing. That yoga is slow and makes you feel every little muscle you are using. It makes you focus on your breath and be in the moment. You have to focus on the moment. My mind and body are used to going a million miles per minute and in yoga, I have to hit pause. I have to focus on myself. This is why yoga makes people uncomfortable and people hate it. We aren’t used to hitting pause and living in that exact moment. We don’t want to feel into our bodies too much, we want to live in our heads. If we move fast enough and keep our minds and bodies busy enough we don’t have to really feel much.

This is exactly why humans need yoga. Especially in the fast-paced Western world, we need to learn to be in one moment, focused. We need to feel into our bodies and listen to what we need. This is hard. I realize now though, that for the last two years (probably longer) my mind and body have been in constant motion and that’s why yoga is calling me. I’m not sure what this means or how this will manifest in my future, (the free teacher/community yoga class is still rolling around in my brain though) I just know I need to be more consistent with it and more patient with myself. That’s all yoga asks of us, to allow for patience, to hit pause, and be present.

Posted in Self-Care

Where the hell have you been?

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As fas as my computer and writing for enjoyment is concerned I have been MIA. I have been missing for a very long time.

Between finishing my master’s degree, working, coaching, and getting married (!!!) I have been exhausted and frankly uninspired to write anything. 

However, here I am writing words on a page, that I am going to publish even if I don’t want to because that’s where I need to start.

Let me first say, I am incredibly grateful for all the life changes that have been coming at me. I’m almost finished with my degree which will hopefully bring on a new change in position. I love teaching and am having a hard time coming to terms with leaving the classroom, but I know it’s what I need to do to affect more change in education. I will complete my degree in March, which I know will free up some mental capacity. Thank goodness, because I’m working at a brain deficit right now…at least that’s how it feels.

I’m incredibly thankful for the students and families that I’m entering my 6th year working with. They drive me insane and bring me so much joy all at the same time. 

And I am thankful to be married to my best friend and love of my life, Carlos. I would have never taken on this master’s program without his encouragement and support. I would have never made it through all the days/nights of crying about my exhaustion and how I just can’t do all of this.  He has lovingly pushed me and encouraged me and I am so grateful that he is now my husband. A word, I never really thought would be in my personal vocabulary.

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I’m so grateful and yet still trying to find some pieces of myself that have gotten buried in all of the changes and busyness. I am trying to dig deep and find my love of writing and my love of creating.

This is my attempt at forcing myself into creating again until I rediscover my flow. Which I will, soon.

Posted in Social Justice

Why Silence Won’t Work

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Credit: Flikr: Mafal_dark

I am a teacher to beautiful, diverse children. All of which have a different story as to why they are here in the United States. Some are uplifting, some stories are heartbreaking. However, their stories do not matter to me, they are in front of me every day and I love them.

I wake up worried every day for my students, friends, and partner. The President’s recent remarks are firing up the White supremacists and bringing up racism in even some of the most well-intentioned people. This means more acts of hate will be committed and already have. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is already receiving death threats and I feel this is just the beginning.

Recently, I had to watch “The Color of Fear” which was a documentary made in 1994. This documentary showed a group of men of varying races sitting and talking about race. While made in 1994, the conversation was still the same as it is today. Spoiler alert: The white man who claimed at the beginning not to be racist, was the most racist. Cue images of every person who has ever said the words “I don’t see color” popping into my brain. The fact that we are still having the exact same conversation in the United States is infuriating to me. It is also heartbreaking that one of the Black men states, “I know I will not see a change in my lifetime.” Sadly, he’s probably correct. And guess what? We are all complicit in the ongoing racism on some level.

Every time we don’t engage in conversation with that blatantly racist colleague, family member, or friend we are complicit. Every time we see or hear a stranger say or do something that is clearly racially driven and we don’t do anything, we are complicit. Every time we do not acknowledge our own privilege, we are complicit. Every time we don’t self-reflect on our own biases and behaviors we are complicit.

This isn’t just about race either, it’s all of the marginalized communities. We all have a role in healing this country and advocating for the people who do not have a voice and advocating for those who are tired of trying to reeducate White people. It’s no one’s job but those in the privileged group in our country to use their voice and reeducate friends, family, and colleagues. I don’t mean arguing with every person on the internet, that is fruitless. I mean having real conversations with people and calling out racism and microaggressions when you see them. Also, taking the time to reflect on your own biases, misinformation, and microaggressions. We ALL have something to work on.

Silence is no longer an option. Standing on the sidelines and hoping it fixes itself is no longer an option. It never has been an option, but more than ever for the safety and sanity for our country it is important.

**Sidenote: I’ve started using “United States” to refer to our country. America (North and South) is the continent, which means everyone on this continent is American… not just the people who proudly scream about being an “American” and that everyone should go back to where they came from.

 

 

Posted in Humor

What Teachers Really Want for Teacher Appreciation Week

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Credit: flickr Julie ann Johnson

It’s almost Teacher Appreciation Week and while I love the cute little gifts and hoards of coffee mugs I will receive this week. Here’s what teachers would really want this week:

1.) Actual Appreciation. Not once per year, all year. Appreciation for not losing it every time a kid talks back. Appreciation for using our evenings and weekends to plan and grade. Appreciation for taking the time to write comments on homework that kids will never actually read. Appreciation for keeping 28 little people safe every day.

2.) An actual lunch break. 30 minutes, hell maybe 45 minutes if we are dreaming big right now. I want to be able to pee, heat up my lunch, and eat it, not just choose one.

3.) Bathroom breaks. I don’t want to be concerned that I drank coffee and a smoothie that morning and won’t have another bathroom break until 1pm. I want to drink as much water as I want without timing how long it will be until my next bathroom break.

4.) Decent Coffee. I love having coffee in the breakroom, especially on days where I’m exhausted, but like most offices, it’s the cheapest coffee you can buy in bulk. It tastes terrible. Will I drink it? Absolutely. Do I wish it was something that didn’t taste like burnt dirt? Absolutely.

5.) Respect. You know what teachers love more than anything? Having people tell them “It must be nice having summers off.” or better yet “You shouldn’t complain about your pay, you get summers off.” Sure, I get summers off but a lot of that time is spent thinking about the next year or hell recharging from the fact that I spent the rest of the year working thanklessly 60-70 hours per week. I work really hard, educating children. Teachers are so much more than teachers. We are teaching character, we are being impromptu therapists when they are sad, peace negotiators when they are having issues with their peers, nurses when they puke in our room. It’s an exhausting job and sometimes we just want the rest of the world to acknowledge this.

Hug a teacher this week, buy them a cup of coffee, and give them a bathroom break if you’re in the school. Teachers, take care of yourself this week and every week. Take a breather, put the stack of grading down, and give yourself some quiet time. May is a real doozy.

Posted in Self-Care

The Benefits of a Morning Routine

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Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/elfsternberg/

I have written anything in a really long time. My life has been in a constant state of chaos lately between, work, school, moving, maintaining relationships, taking care of pets and their plethora of health problems, and trying to maintain my own sanity. I was really feeling uninspired and stressed by everything.

This past weekend I completed my move into a new apartment, which I needed to do for many reasons. So with a new space came the desire to create a new routine. This week I’ve been waking up slightly earlier and doing a quick morning yoga practice and meditation to become more present, then I journal, and sometimes I pull out my goddess oracle cards just to give me some inspiration. It’s amazing what a mood shift this has created for me throughout my day. Even one day this week, I had barely slept and then had woken up way too early. I sat down on my mat and began my practice. By the time I was finished, I had forgotten how exhausted I truly was.

Everyone from Richard Branson to Mark Zuckerburg talk about the importance of a morning routine. Some of their’s are a little extreme for my liking, like eating the same thing for breakfast every day to prevent “mental fatigue.” That, I’m not into, but I can see the benefits on my mood for the entire day. I even see the benefits in my energy.

Recently, I read the book The Joy of Less by Francine Jay. She says to start with a 5- minute activity (meditation, reading, journaling) and then gradually add on until you have a morning routine that benefits you. I jumped right in and went to about 20 minutes, but so far it’s working for me.

Here is what it currently looks like:

Yoga practice 5-7 minutes

Meditation 5-10 minutes

Journaling/Goddess cards 3-5 minutes

I think in the future mine will grow, I would love more yoga in the morning, but that would also require waking up earlier than I do, which is already pretty early. But maybe the motivation will hit with more consistency. I will say that I find it incredible that in 20-minutes or less, I can change the whole trajectory of my day.

Posted in Self-Care

Yoga- My love-hate relationship

My whole life I have wanted to like yoga, but have kind of always hated it. I was never sure why that was. Naturally, I decided to sign up for Breathe for Change, which was training for educators around mindfulness, social-emotional learning, and yoga. This would certify me to become a yoga instructor, which is great for someone who hated yoga.

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Before the training, we were supposed to be going to yoga 3 times per week to prepare our bodies. I did not start right away, I didn’t start going until a month before the training. I was procrastinating. When I finally signed up for some yoga classes, I asked myself every day that I was on the mat, “What is it that you hate?”  My initial responses were: “It’s too slow.” “It’s too difficult.” And it was difficult, I could do kickboxing and high-intensity workouts no problem, but yoga was a challenge. I never felt good at it. I soon realized the other thing about yoga, you have to be fully present. If you’re distracted, you’re going to fall on your face. That was difficult for me, presence didn’t happen for me without a lot of effort.

That’s when I realized I needed yoga more than anything.

So then I started the Breathe for Change training. On day 2, I sincerely considered quitting, we were doing yoga and meditating far more than I ever dreamed I could. I didn’t feel like I could handle it. Luckily they had broken us into mentorship groups and those women kept me going for those 10-hour days, 16 days in a row.

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Now during this insane 16-day period, I also had to stay on top of my homework for my master’s degree. I thought for sure there would be several epic meltdowns. However, thanks to meditation and yoga, I was my most focused self. My boyfriend even commented on how I was a “changed woman” by day 8. I was not having any issues with anxiety and I wasn’t stressed, even in moments I really thought I should be. I truly had learned to better regulate my emotions. I was sleeping like a baby and I was happy, really happy.

Here I am, back in the real world away from all my loving, supportive yogi friends. However, I have clarity. I want to bring this same feeling to every educator who is feeling stretched to his/her limit. I want to make sure educators stay in teaching longer and don’t feel burnt out. I truly feel yoga and meditation can reignite the fire for educators.

Posted in About Me, Uncategorized

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

The past few months have been difficult for me. There have been a lot of highs and lows. I’m a full-time 5th-grade teacher which I love more than anything. I’m about to start my Master’s degree in Education Leadership and Policy Studies. However, recently, I learned that I haven’t really taken care of myself all that well. I went to the doctor and learned that I have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and then I also had a cancer scare. Luckily, the abnormal cells were just inflamed cells. However, this made me re-evaluate how I was taking care of myself. I realized I was overworked, eating the wrong foods, not getting enough sleep and definitely stressed out.

I was also officially diagnosed with an anxiety disorder which is exacerbated by PCOS and definitely exacerbated by the wrong foods and not having enough sleep.

This is what lead me to want to research how to take better care of myself and hopefully help other people take care of themselves. Whether you have some kind of illness or just want to feel better overall, hopefully, this blog will help you. I’m going to be posting my trials and tribulations and discussing what works and what doesn’t…for me. I’m not a nutritionist, I’m not a doctor, I’m not a fitness guru. I’m just the average human being, teaching smaller human beings and wanting to live a happier healthier life.

 

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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