Adrienne Teaches Weekly Classes with Salt Lake Yoga Co. at Vitalize!

Adrienne Teaches Weekly Classes with Salt Lake Yoga Co. at Vitalize!
Click Vitalize icon above to visit and check out Adrienne's regular classes on the Vitalize Calendar!

Black Sheep Yogi Adrienne's Daily Quote:

When asked what gift he wanted for his birthday, the yogi replied:  "I wish no gifts, only presence."  ~Author Unknown

Monday, April 19, 2010

Twenty-Six Tulips

Is it really nearing the end of April already? My life seems to fly by faster and faster with every year that passes. My husband kindly reminded me that I’ll be turning twenty-six next month, and in return I sweetly reminded him that he is already twenty-six and will forever be ahead of me in the race to get older. Ha!

So what? “Twenty-six is young!” I’m told by everyone older than me. Which it undoubtedly is, say, in comparison with ages sixty or eighty. But it’s no longer “young” to the teen set, who look forward to rebelling it up for a while. Of course, age is relative.

But twenty-six somehow feels so much older than twenty-five, especially to people awaiting their twenty-sixth birthdays this year (or at least to me). Why is this?

Twenty-five marks the last year of the “youth” years, those twenty-five years in which one is formed from a crying red infant all the way up through adolescence, and into adulthood. Hopefully we twenty-somethings manage to work out all of the glitches and adolescent impulses by the ripe age of twenty-five, and then by twenty-six...well, twenty-six is just one year closer to thirty.

And at thirty one is older, no matter how you want to sugarcoat it. How old is older? Too old, say, to reasonably still be living with one’s parents, for example. And we can all remember the thirty-something-year-old hanging out too much with our posses when we were college freshmen: (a) our professor, (b) creepy, or (c) both. But despite all of my dismal ranting about aging, I am actually truly looking forward to it, in a curious sort of way.

On my tentative self-drawn life map I always sketched it out like this: Early twenties – school and start career, mid twenties – marriage, early thirties – kids. But now that I’m actually walking that path, I realize there is plenty of room in there for the fun stuff - stuff like travel, cooking, learning new things and heading in possible future career directions, spending time with friends and family, acting plenty childish and continuing to develop into the person one will be.

I do think the year of turning twenty-six for me is a unique year, though, because all of that adolescent stuff is still pretty fresh in my mind, but I’ve also got my head chock-full of plans for the future. It’s also unique for me because unlike in my younger twenties when I was always thinking of “my” future, this year it really hit me that I almost always think now in terms of “our” future – the future of my family, including members who may not yet exist!

I look forward to so many things in a different way than I used to in my adolescence and early twenties. Instead of wondering what I’m doing with my life, I actually do the doing that is life – each and every day. That’s part of being an adult. I revel in the independence that it is my decision as to what I do and when. And though I can still look to my parents for guidance, I no longer have to look anywhere for permission.

We all put up some resistance to aging, whether it be dreading a birthday, lying about our age or wearing anti-wrinkle night cream before we ever develop any wrinkles. But maybe the best way to not only age gracefully but to age healthfully is to quit worrying about it and enjoy the moment we are in, each day. Realizing that each moment is different from the last, we can appreciate how far we’ve come, and dream about how far we still have to go.

So whatever age you are today, take a moment to enjoy yourself, just as you are right now. Stop and smell the tulips. Notice the blooming of the trees. Drop plans for the future and judgments of the past, and for a moment,
just be.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The First Day

Hi!  I'm Adrienne and this is my first post on my new blog.  Yeah! So, first thing's first, a little about me and yoga and the point of this blog.

I started my on again, off again, on again love affair with yoga when I was 19.  Back then it was just a way to increase flexibility to supplement my training as a D1 university athlete in track and cross-country running.  As it happened, that same year I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and I blew out the PCL ligament in my right knee.   The next year I incurred severe stress fractures in my left foot because I had been overcompensating with my left leg for my right knee injury.  My college running days were over.

After a tumultuous couple of years taking prescribed anti depressants, anti psychotics and being engaged in talk therapy, I decided to go off the medication because I thought I felt "okay" again.  Looking back I probably wasn't ready.  The real truth was that I felt dull on the medication and I wanted out, even though it was helping me to function “normally” in day to life.  This is a very common problem for mental illness sufferers.  

With the grandiosity of manic states or the depth of depression in bipolar cycles often comes a great capacity for creation and periods of insane productivity.  On the medication, I rarely felt emotional enough about anything to write a poem about it.  I missed that “spark.”

Of course, I was at much greater risk for another episode without the meds.  With some difficult blips along the way, I tried to commit myself to routine and healthful practices for mind and body.  I needed to stick with routine to stay healthy, and I needed to heal from the intense periods of self-loathing that depression had exacted on my mind and body. I needed to address the thought patterns that let me get to the point of going through a manic or depressive episode in the first place.

Yoga began to turn into a practice of healing.  I was not yet confident enough again to be able to wrap my mind or body around the physical nature of many of the asanas, so I did not even try.  In the meantime, I got through school, got a great job and then another even greater job, bought a condo and a car and got married to this great guy, Brooks Black.

With a loving husband and an engaging job, I had some real stability in my life.  I began to thrive.  I came back to yoga.  Not only did I begin to be able to deal with my illness in honest terms, but I also began to connect again to the physical nature of my yoga practice.  I noticed that as my body changed, growing stronger and more open, so did my spirit.  A burden was lifted and I no longer had to feel the weight of carrying baggage around. I continued finding new strength in my practice as I certified to teach yoga under Dana Baptiste in 2009.

I have been asked by many close to me why I would start teaching yoga.  I am no "expert" when it comes to the physical practice of the yoga asanas.  I only got into a full wheel for the first time unassisted within the last year.  

But that is exactly what I want people to understand.  Yoga is not a skinny, bendy person tied up in a pretzel!  

Yoga is a personal, beautiful, healing practice and it's not about whether or not one can execute the perfect picture of hanumanasana, now or ever.  It's about doing what one does with intention to find one's own best self on any given day, not anyone else's.  It's about letting go of judgement and guilt and choosing to live in the present.  I want to share this with others because I think it can help them heal and grow like it helped me.  No true teacher is ever just a teacher.  I am always a student.  As I grow my own practice, I am able to help students take their own practices further. And, in turn, each time I teach I learn something new from the students about teaching and practicing yoga.  

Now at age 25, as a teacher and practitioner of yoga with an emphasis on yoga for therapy (both of the physical and mental nature, as I believe the two go hand in hand), I hope to share the benefits of yoga and a yogic lifestyle with you. I have tried blogging before on an impersonal level and got stuck because I wasn't sharing my authenticity - I was too broad and unfocused.  I hope to change my approach this time around.   

I might digress into other topics pertinent to my life in this blog, but remember, according to the Bhagavad Gita, yoga is one’s life’s work.  It is the path one is on bringing one closer to the highest expression of one’s unique, amazing self.

So which path I was born to follow?  A true rebel at heart, I will carve my own path through the thicket of life and try to savor every step along the burly way.

The journey is the yoga.