Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Breathe First...And Try New Things: GroupEx Classes

Do you take GroupEx Classes?  

I know they're not for everyone, but I just love 'em.  I've been taking a whole bunch of them lately and experimenting with different ones.  I belong to the Bellevue Family YMCA AND the North Kirkland Community Center's Move It! Program.  Yup.  Two different "gyms".  To be fair, I also work at them.  But by working at them, I see what these "gyms" stand for...and different gyms stand for different things. 

Here's what I know about the Bellevue Family YMCA and the NKCC Move It! Program:

I know my bosses care about their GroupEx Staff and respect what they do.  

I know that these gyms center on community and acceptance.  There's no "Gym Dude" attitude or dirty looks if you happen to throw your workout clothes on in the dark and end up with mismatched socks (not that that's ever happened to me...).  😜

I know that the instructors LOVE their jobs.  They put their heart and soul into their classes and their biggest concern is making sure everyone is safe and feels welcome.  They throw all their energy right at you and it fills you right up!

I know the members of the gym are real people--they're not there to look at themselves in the mirror, they're there to get healthy, make connections, and leave class with a smile.

So if you haven't checked out your local community center or YMCA or other human-centered gym or yoga studio, I highly suggest you give it a try.  Zumba, Yoga, Bootcamp, PiYo, Tai Chi, Circuit Training, Sculpting...whatever floats your boat...  

Get your body moving.

Workout with a friend. 💖

Smile at someone.

Be Zen.

Don't take yourself too seriously. 

Have fun! 

Namaste, Friends!

Friday, March 9, 2018

Breathe First...And Try New Things: Bouldering

OK, I'm back at it.  I have an update on the last thing on my "Breathe First...And Try New Things" list...   
  • Experience new Healing Modalities, Relaxation Techniques and/or Exercise Classes (even if they seem a little weird)
I've tried a whole bunch of new classes in the past month or so, but today, I want to talk about Bouldering. It's technically not a "class", but for me, it's a new way to approach exercise so I figure it counts for this category.

A little history...

Hubby (who is a dear) has been trying to get me to go Bouldering/Rock Climbing with him for YEARS.  Yup, years.  But quite honestly, I'm totally afraid of heights and the thought of falling and hurting myself and not being able to do yoga scares the bejeebers out of me.  So I've been putting it off.  And putting it off.  And putting it off.  

Recently, a couple of friends asked us to Boulder with them.  Hubby was so excited, he immediately said yes, we'd go.  I totally panicked.  I had visions of myself climbing halfway up the wall and then freezing from fear, not able to get back down.  (Which of course, in the "Land of my Imagination" would require the people at the climbing gym to call the fire department, and the firemen would have to get a ladder and carry me down the ladder in complete and utter humiliation.)  Yes.  I have an active imagination.

Despite the fear, I gathered up all my courage and reminded myself of the many things my hubby does for me on a daily basis to help me out.  It was my turn to do this one little thing for him.  It would make his day for all of us to go rock climbing together.  So I decided to do it.

So one Saturday, we arrived at the climbing gym.  Of course I had to watch the 2 minute safety video and then sign my life away and promise that I wouldn't sue the gym if I fell off the wall and broke my head.  Always a little nerve wracking.

I rented climbing shoes, which I must say, are even worse than rented bowling shoes.  Totally stinky and way less comfortable.  I guess climbing shoes are meant to be worn tightly (kind of like ballet shoes) and my long and spread out yoga toes do not appreciate the confinement.  They were screaming to be set free!    

Next came the climbing.  I got a quick tutorial and some helpful hints from hubby and our two friends.  (Which was awesome, by the way!)  I was super lucky to have their guidance (and cheerleading) during my first bouldering experience. 

I watched them climb.  They made it look so easy (and fun)!

So then, my turn.  I chalked up....

and started climbing!

I'm not going to lie...  

I was terrified.  

But I did it.  

And I liked it.  

And I'm planning on going again.  

I'm learning.  See, the fear of the unknown (or the un-tried) can be really paralyzing.  It can make a person feel weak, unsure, self-doubting.  I am starting to learn that, at least if I face the thing I am fearing--whether I fail or succeed, like it or hate it--I regain my power.  I have control over my fear.  And when you face your fear, you're not living from weakness or self-doubt, you're living from a space of power.  Is it easy to take the leap?  No.  But it's worth it.   

So, I'll leave you with this quote of the day:

So go out there and face your fears!  Take baby steps.  Bring supportive friends with you (it's always more fun to face your fears with your friends!).  Try something new and exciting! Let me know how it goes!

Dorothy `

Friday, March 2, 2018

Breathe First...And Try New Things: Floating

We all know self-care is important for a person's well-being.  But how often do we make a plan and go do something relaxing and good for us?  If you're asking me (personally), the answer is:

Hardly Ever.

So as you may know, in January, I made a "Breathe First and Try New Things List".  On that list was the item, "Try Floating".  

We have friends who are "Floaters".  They swear by it.  They love the weightlessness, the quiet, the space for meditation, and the calm.  They say it's total "me time".  They made it sound so interesting, that hubby decided to get us a gift certificate for Christmas to try it out.

Now, for those of you who know me, you know I'm a total Nervous Nelly.  So as soon as we made the appointment to go float, the worries started pouring in.  What if I'm too cold?  What if I feel claustrophobic?  What if I feel...exposed?  Yikes. Totally NOT a relaxing way to start.

So our (very patient) friends tried to put us at ease.  They explained: 
  • The water temperature, the air temperature, and your body temperature are all the same.  So really, you don't feel cold unless you move around a lot.  The key is:  Stay still. 
  • Don't worry about feeling claustrophobic.  LifeFloat has floating pools rather than floating pods, so nothing encapsulates you, you're just floating in a mini pool.
  • Exposure.  Yes, you're supposed to float naked, but all the rooms lock and it's your own private room.  Think of it like taking a bath at your house.
So, with those little pearls of wisdom in our pockets, we headed out for our first float at LifeFloat in Seattle.  When we walked through the door,  a sweet smelling wave of warm moist air washed over us.  The foyer was quite lovely and very spa-like:

The friendly girl behind the counter offered us tea and asked us about our music preferences.  Then, after a little tutorial about floating and a short tour of the facilities, she brought us to our rooms. 

Upon entering, I immediately locked my door.  (Paranoid much? Yes. Yes I am.)  I looked around. Very clean.  Whew.  Toilet, sink, bench, towel, shower.  All the essentials.  I threw my bag down and raced to get undressed...I didn't want to be late for the start of my very first float!  I hopped in the shower and saw that everything was there--soap, shampoo, conditioner, and a bottle of vinegar for post-float ear cleaning. 

Now the shower is connected (sort of) to the floating pool, so you just turn around and step down into this mini pool (which was actually much bigger than I had expected).  To my delight, the water felt like it was the perfect temperature!  The lights were dim, but you could see clearly and find your way around. Good for a clutzy gal like me. 

Darn.  This is where I remembered that I forgot to put the earplugs in to keep the water out.  Well, I wasn't getting out, I didn't want to risk moving too much and getting cold.  Instead, I grabbed the little floating circle headrest by the side of the tub, thinking it would keep my ears out of the water.  Not so much.  Maybe I have a heavy head...like a bowling ball.  Oh well.  I would manage.

I looked over at the buttons on the wall next to the pool.  The girl had explained them all...one for shutting off and turning on the lights, one for the music, etc. but I couldn't remember which was which. I was thinking it would be cool to turn the lights off, but again, I didn't want to move and risk getting cold. I hate being cold.

To my surprise, after a few minutes, the lights went off on their own and the spa music started.  Ah ha!  I was just early!  Now the fun begins!

There you are floating--the water, your skin, and the air are all the same temperature, and it's pitch black.  It's such a strange sensation!  You kind of feel like you're floating in space.  (Not that I've ever floated in space, but that's what I imagine it to feel like.) You can really let go of all your muscle tension and the body and mind can truly relax. 

Of course, me being the questioner, I now had to explore my sensations to the fullest.  How far can my arms go out before they touch the side of the pool?  How close am I to the four edges? Can I gently float and travel from one side to the other?  I bet yoga would feel really good in here--what yoga poses could I try without moving too much?  Wow. I can hear my own heart beating.  Maybe I should have gone for the "no music" option.  I'll bet listening to your own heart beat would be very calming....

So once the questions subsided.  I decided to meditate.  THAT was delicious!  I highly recommend floating and meditating.  It was so relaxing that I'm pretty sure I fell asleep within a few minutes.  (Thank goodness for buoyancy!)  All of a sudden I realized I was dreaming and I woke myself up.  All the lights were back on!  Oops!  I wondered how long I had been in there after my float was over!  

Now a little bit panicked that I might be running overtime and hindering the next floater, I jumped out of the tub and quickly showered off the salt.  (Did I mention that there is about 1600 pounds of pharmaceutical Epsom salt in the tub?  Good for easing muscle tension.)  Despite my rush, I felt REALLY relaxed.  

I got dressed, grabbed my things and headed out to the "Ready Room" (which I had all to myself) to dry my hair.  Hubby had finished before me (I guess he didn't fall asleep and miss the "lights on" signal), so he was in the "Lounge" having a cup of tea and chilling out. 

Was it a fun experience?  Yes!  Is it a good self-care option?  Yes!  (Especially now that I've got all my worries and questions out of the way!)  Is it something I'd try again?  Yes!  Is this something that could be great for stress relief, better sleep, reducing muscle tension, and quieting the mind?  You bet!  

Self-care is important.  So if you want the opportunity to try something new in that department, this is a great option.  For more info, check out LifeFloat at  https://www.lifefloat.com/  

(By the way, I'm writing this for fun and to tell you about my own experiences, not to promote.  However, if you're like me and you think it sounds interesting, I thought you might appreciate the link!)

Take care, Friends!  



Tuesday, February 6, 2018


Hey Guys!  

Well, I am making progress on my Breathe First...And Try New Things List.  Here's how it's going.  Things I've started to tackle are in blue:

My "Breathe First...And Try New Things" List   
  • Become a Health Coach
    • Ok, so I signed up with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and I'm enrolled in their year-long health coach training program!  It's been exciting so far.  We get an overview of over 100 different dietary theories!  More importantly though, we're learning about fantastic coaching techniques that will help people create sustainable changes and habits that will allow them to finally reach their health and wellness goals!  Woot!
  • Take a Cooking Class
  • Try Floating (AKA Life Float or Urban Float)
    • Hubby and I went to Life Float in Seattle.  What an interesting experience!  I will tell you all about it soon!
  • Post a Video  (Yoga anyone?)
    • Hubby bought me a tripod for my iphone!  This is the first step.  Next, I need to figure out where to film.  I'm on my way!
  • Blog...consistently and openly
    • So I was nervous about posting my last blog.  It's tough admitting your weaknesses for the world to see!  However, I think it's important to be open and honest as it will encourage others to do the same. Soooo....that's what I'm going to try to do!  
  • Read self help and nutrition books--and then actually put the advice to work
    • Got a book out of the library, but have yet to open it!  Sigh. (I'm so bad about reading!)  It's called, "Mastering Your Mean Girl" by Melissa Ambrosini.  It's about silencing your inner critic, something I totally need to work on!  
  • Draw, paint or create something...and then display it or share it
  • Learn a song on the Ukulele and play it well
  • Make something with the sewing machine that I've had for 5 years and not touched
    • Well, I did it!  Not an amazing accomplishment, but I made two Herbal Rice Packs.  It turns out I CAN sew two rectangles together!  LOL!  Picked out some fabric, sewed it right up (even though I had no idea how to start or end a stitch!), "marinated" the rice in some healing essential oils, funneled the aromatic rice into the packs, sewed the last little bit and...VIOLA!  A nice little heating pack for sore bellies, backs, or necks!  Also, good aromatherapy!  
  • Experience new Healing Modalities, Relaxation Techniques and/or Exercise Classes (even if they seem a little weird)
    • This one has been my favorite.  I've tried two new classes (which I will blog about later).  One is called Groove and the other is called Salsation.  Both totally fun!  
    • I also went to a Reiki & Singing Bowl Sound Bath!  I'll bet not many of you have tried that!  I will blog more about that later too!

So that is the start of my journey to trying new things!  Hope you are trying new things too!  Feel free to share!


Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Breathe First...And Try New Things

I think I have a dual personality.  

I've always been a dreamer.  I marvel at that person who jets off alone to exotic locations to experience new cultures.  I admire those ladies in their "golden years" who sign up to take art classes, or photography courses or salsa dancing.  I am awed by the young girl at the coffee shop who has dyed her hair all the beautiful colors of the rainbow.  I am envious of that person with the less-than-perfect body who wears the most bold and outrageous outfit and rocks it with ultimate confidence.  I am moved by the older gentleman with Parkinsons who comes to my class and decides to try yoga for the first time even though it is physically challenging for him.  These are the people who inspire me.  

I love those people who aren't concerned with fitting in.  Those people who try new things and experience life to the fullest.  I want to be that person.  

But unfortunately, the other side of my personality often holds me back.  I've always been the logical one.  The practical one.  The planer.  I'm also a worrier...a "what if" person.  I lack that "who cares what people think" attitude.  But, I'm trying.

I am taking small steps.  Doing new things.  Trying new things.  Making mistakes along the way, but at least I'm doing SOMETHING. 

When January First hit, I made a decision.  I was going to make a list.  A list of things I would do or try in the upcoming year.  They're not necessarily huge, life-changing things (well, some might be), but they are things I've always wanted to do and never had the guts to do them because they're a little outside my comfort zone.  

So here I go....taking a deep breath....and trying new things.  

My "Breathe First...And Try New Things" List   
  1. Become a Health Coach
  2. Take a Cooking Class
  3. Try Floating (AKA Life Float or Urban Float)
  4. Post a Video  (Yoga anyone?)
  5. Blog...consistently and openly
  6. Read self help and nutrition books--and then actually put the advice to work
  7. Draw, paint or create something...and then display it or share it
  8. Learn a song on the Ukulele and play it well
  9. Make something with the sewing machine that I've had for 5 years and not touched
  10. Experience new Healing Modalities, Relaxation Techniques and/or Exercise Classes (even if they seem a little weird)
So, what about you?  Any new things you'd like to do or try in the upcoming year?  You've got 12 whole months (almost)!  Make a list of your top ten things.  Then BREATHE...and do them, slowly but surely!

Now, I showed you my list...wanna show me yours?  :)   

Namaste Friends,

The Year Of Breathing First and Trying New Things

Thursday, January 18, 2018

I'm On My Way...

It's so funny to go back and read my posts.  It seems my goals have been morphing continuously over the past year or so.  I'm happy to say, though, I think I'm on my way...

I'm pursuing my passions.  

After much deliberation, I chose a school to study Health Coaching.  In September I started my program at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.  I love it.  Over the course of a year, I will learn the basics of over 100 Dietary Theories and I will discover how to use coaching techniques to help people define their health goals and reach them in a holistic and sustainable manner.  I get to guide people to a better state of health, so they can be their best selves--happier, healthier, more energetic.  What could be more fulfilling than that?  

The best part is, I can incorporate my Yoga background.  You see, IIN believes that good health isn't just about nutrition.  Nutrition is your "Secondary Food".   It matters of course, but there are other things that affect your health as well...things like relationships, physical activity, spirituality, and your career.  These are your "Primary Foods".  If your Primary Foods are out of whack, good luck resisting that pint of ice cream!  Stress can do a number on your primary foods!  So, Yoga to the rescue!  Yoga combines physical activity AND spirituality to help you manage stress and get you into a healthy mindset.  Plus, in my classes, I really LOVE to promote a sense of community and foster relationships between my yogis.  So BOOM!  Three Primary Foods addressed by yoga!  Ha!  

I'm joking a little bit there...yoga won't solve ALL your problems, but man, it can sure make you feel healthier and happier!    :)

Anyway, that is what is going on here.  I'm on my way.  Pursuing my passions.  I'm also hoping to squeeze in my other passion, which is writing.  Hopefully, this is the start of my string of blogs.  We'll see....

Namaste, Yogis! 

Tall Mountain at Yosemite National Park

Yoga Snack:  When feeling "blah", stand in Tall Mountain--Reach up to the sky and take a deep breath in.  Relax your shoulders down. You will re-charge instantly!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

I'm Back...Again

Hi Lovely Yogis!

So I've been MIA for awhile.   I have been lucky to have the opportunity to spend some time with my Dad, which is not always possible because we live on opposite coasts.  My yoga instruction has been on hold for the last six months or so, but I am hoping to get back into teaching when I get back to WA.

Oh yeah!  You may not know!  Hubby and I recently moved to WA.  We are starting from scratch, just like newlyweds.  New home, new appliances, and since we got rid of EVERYTHING when we moved from CA, new everything else too.  It will be an adventure.

Each time we move, my career path morphs...just a little bit.  I'm hoping this time, to be a little more "virtual".  I LOVE LOVE LOVE the face to face interactions, but with Dad on the opposite coast, I'd like to have the flexibility to go help out if  he needs me without letting a huge set of clients down.  We'll see how this ends up happening.

Along with the yoga, I'm toying with two other ideas.  I'm thinking of seeing if I could do some writing--just articles to start.  I'm also thinking about becoming a health coach.  Finding the right training/certification program has been challenging for me and I've been going through major Analysis Paralysis.  What program fits my style?  What program has a good reputation?  What program has staying power?  What program will best prepare me to be a good coach?  So many things to consider!  The same thing happened when I was choosing a Yoga Teacher Training Program.  I feel like I made a good choice there, so I hope the same happens in this situation.

Overall, I'm hoping the three "fields"--Yoga, Health Coaching, and Writing--will mesh beautifully and that I will be able to deliver health and wellness info and support to even more people seeking a change in their status quo.  That's the dream anyway!

Namaste, Yogis!
More later!


Photo of Florida clouds taken on a car ride with my Dad.  We drove right into the center of the storm...it was a fun adventure!