Welcome, new Yogi

I watch you cautiously enter the studio – a place that at first glance can seem so intimidating, I know. You’re not sure what to expect or if you wore the right thing, or if you’ll even be able to make it through the hour you’ve set aside for you. I can see you are nervous, almost timid.

You’re greeted with warm smiles from the volunteers and instructors gathered hospitably around the front desk, waiting to help you sign up for a class, answer your questions, show you where the facilities and different tempered rooms are. These friendly faces put some of your fears to rest, at least for the moment. You can feel the shift of energy in the air as more students flow into the studio.

I  keep observing you from across the airy, open, sunny front room. I see your shoulders relax down your back slightly, ease entering your eyes and recognition of something almost home-like about this place  flashes in them. We catch each other’s gaze and share a small, but sincere smile.

You wander down the hall into the change room, where I am sure you’re talking yourself into class. Not sure what to expect, not sure if you’ll like it, not sure if it’s for you. Scared of the heat, the poses, the unknown.

I know this feeling all too well. I think every new yogi does.

What I want to tell you is that what you will find in the heated yoga studio upstairs is going to surprise you, maybe even scare you a little.

I want to tell you of the life-altering feeling you are about experience, the wash of emotion, the shift in perspective, the gains in confidence, compassion and strength you will feel.

health and happy

I want to burst at you with stories and antidotes of feeling yourself truly shut your brain off for the first time and the exhilarating calm that comes with that freedom.

I want to tell you, that if you just let it, this practice, those poses, this studio, will change your whole life and lift up your soul in ways you didn’t think were possible.

I want to tell you that it will only take a moment for you to fall so deeply in love with your practice and you’ll know exactly when it happens.

I want to tell you that it is okay to let go, especially here, and sometimes that very act might even come out as laughter or tears in class – and that’s okay.

asana

I want to share with you that the people that live, work and love here will become a second family to you, this studio a second home, if you let it, if you welcome it with open arms.

I want to calm your fears with tales of the incredible lives that have been changed by this bit of magic you’ve found, allowed into your life.

I want to warn you that you are about to challenge your ego, but it will be the best thing you ever do for your soul.

I want to tell you that you’re going to find out things about yourself that you didn’t know existed, had forgotten once were, and feel more you than you ever have in that 60, or 75 minutes of pure bliss.

self acceptance

I want to tell you about the calm in your soul that will come when you become more aware and more present, at first in class, and then soon every area of your life.

I want to tell you that you will feel more in control and out of your mind in the most calming way, at the same time, in that room.

I want to tell you that when you adopt the true practice of yoga in areas of your life outside of the studio will be when you will truly understand what you’ve found.

I want to tell you to breathe your way through class and that you’ll soon realize that it’s necessary to breathe through life in the same way.

breathing

 

I want to tell you so many things about what you’ve started by stepping onto your mat for the very first time.

But I don’t.

Instead I share one more silent smile with you as we both enter the room. I watch you find your place on your mat, sprawl out on the floor, fidgeting a bit as you start to relax. As I settle onto my mat myself, I say a little prayer for your practice and mine today, sending a little love, light and energy your way.

I can’t wait for the journey that lies ahead of you, the breakthroughs and breakdowns, the freedom from what is resting on your shoulders. I am so excited for you and your practice to unfold and the blessings it will so abundantly bring.

Welcome, new Yogi.

~ Toni

Advertisements

Thankful changes

This year has been insane.

It has been full of changes and new beginnings, scary and exciting.

It has also been a year of finding the things to be thankful in times of darkness, and in times of turmoil.

I am thankful for so much, and sad about so much that it leaves me boggled, but this post going to be about the former.

Love and friendships
1ff40a39a0861b70d952f0ff75408189
I have found so many new people to love.

We found a new family at the shop, I have grown closer to Joe’s aunts and Grandpa, and made new friends. I have solidified old friendships, and all existing relationships are stronger than ever. I am so thankful for every one, and trust me the list is long. I have had so much support and love from so many different people that it’s hard to actually express how thankful I truly am for them and what have done for us.

Sisters

And I get to have my sisters there at my back! So lucky!

And I get to have my sisters there at my back! So lucky!

We haven’t always been close, but because of the distance, and missing them, I have been able to grow up a lot, and to learn who they are and what it really means to have sisters. I have, in the past, kept them at arms length, and I am so thankful and so blessed that they never once gave up on me, and now our relationships are so strong and so wonderful. They are always at my back, always are so supportive, and are always there for me…whether I need them or not. I love you all.

Parents
I have so many parents. SO many I can’t list them all. They all guide me and are there for me, and love me and Joe. We have so many parents spanning from back home, to the one we created 2 and 1/2 hours away that wherever we go, they got our back.

Change
I usually am not the biggest fan of changes, in fact it kinda freaks me out when there is a landslide of new changes in the mix. Moving back home is hard, but it’s a chance for a new adventure, new paths, and new growth. Although I am worried that things may not turn out well, I know that we will be able to make it work, whatever comes our way.

Joe

Joe lets me be weird, and he is just as weird as me!

Joe lets me be weird, and he is just as weird as me!

He is my rock, my love, my best friend, and my light. He makes happy when I am sad, always is there for me, and always loves me, even when I am being ridiculous. He is my partner, and my confidante. He is my smile. I never thought I would find someone, and for them to be just what I need in any given moment and situation? I can say that I am truly blessed.

Elena

Elena's role!

Elena’s role!

She is my kindred spirit and my other-other half. She is best friends with Joe, is always there for me, my road trip buddy, and my awesome more-than-friend friend. I can’t actually explain how much Elena means to me…and Joe. She is always a support, a shoulder to lean on, and a hand to hold – a true soul mate of mine. I couldn’t have done everything that happened in this past year without her.

I am eternally thankful for everything on this list, and more.

~ Andreah

Thankful is as thankful does

I’m definitely a Christmas person – the lights, the sounds, the smells, the music, the family, the gifts, the love, the snow – LOVE it all – but Thanksgiving holds a special place in my heart.

There are very few moments in our regular day-to-day where we get to stop and really think about all that we have and then express explicit gratitude for it. Really, our days are (at least for me) tackled at a get-up-don’t-stop-keep-going-’til-you-drop pace, where there’s little time for rest, let alone reflection and then the expression of thankfulness.

But this season, this time when the trees turn and the air cools and the layers of clothing start piling up, is anointed with this beautiful gift of making time to be thankful. 

In our home, the home that Ben and I have been building together for over 8 years, thankfulness has sometimes been really hard to grasp. There was our first year of marriage, where Ben was unemployed and I had the worst job ever (went home in tears every night) and we lived in our crappy first apartment and had no money. Instead of wallowing, we forced ourselves to come up with one thing each to be thankful for every day the week leading up to Thanksgiving. Those fourteen things lit up our tiny one-bedroom like nobody’s business.

There was the year that we lost our baby, our Charlie. The year where nothing seemed to lift us. The year that sucked huge hairy balls of crap. The one where counting the blessings we had here, and not in heaven, was damn near impossible.

And then there have been years where blessings have overflowed, where the number of things to be thankful for was sky-high and singing in church choirs about praising God and going to the apple orchard and making pie and getting together as a family seemed like things we could do forever. Those are the times where Thanksgiving feels like it shouldn’t be just a season, but a year-round, daily activity.

This year, like every other, has its own marks of sorrow, its own trials, its own triumphs, its own heaps of blessings. It’s a year where we’re finally settling into our family of five. It’s a year where we are working hard on our marriage, harder than we’ve ever had to work before. It’s a year where we’re making big changes (another blog post for another time!) and hoping like hell (praying like maniacs!) that we’re making the right changes. It’s a year where my list of what to be thankful for feels more thoughtful than it ever has.

So, in my pause of reflection, here’s what I’m thankful for most this year:

1. Ben – Father of our children, lover of my heart, fighter for our family, breadwinner monetarily, strongman in all things, I’m thankful that he’s the one I’m walking this path with.

He's a handsome devil...and sometimes just a devil...

He’s a handsome devil…and sometimes just a devil…

2. The babies – No one makes me crazier, loves me more, lets me love them more, teaches me more, forces me to grow more, and makes me sit in awe more than the three nutters I call mine.

Crazy in love

Crazy in love

3. My sisters – No, this isn’t a plug for the blog, but seriously? My sisters? Without them, I don’t know what I’d do. And this year, I feel like I’m calling on all of the favours for all of the things. I’m asking for nannying help, I’m leaning for babysitting, I’m demanding workout buddies, I’m talking their ears off, I’m handing over babies for them to hold while I let my arms rest – all of the things.

Maybe we should take another one...where we're not wet...

Maybe we should take another one…where we’re not wet…

 

Who else would push your kids and their kid and all of your kids' baggage up the biggest hill and STILL love you?

Who else would push your kids and their kid and all of your kids’ baggage up the biggest hill and STILL love you?

4. My moms – Who else can say, “Not only do I talk to my mom every day, but I love my mother-in-law like a second mother”? Not many people that I know. Lucky doesn’t even begin to cover the love I get from my mothers.

My mom loving my babies...and ME

My mom loving my babies…and ME

She lets me wake her up at stupid o'clock and STILL loves me!

She lets me wake her up at stupid o’clock and STILL loves me!

5. Soul-friends – The moms at school pick-up/drop-off, the moms at bible study, the women who listen to me rant and rave and brag and are nothing but supportive, even though I probably come off as a complete nut.

Any time women come together with a collective intention, it's a powerful thing. Whether it's sitting down making a quilt, in a kitchen preparing a meal, in a club reading the same book, or around the table playing cards, or planning a birthday party, when women come together with a collective intention, magic happens. - Phylicia Rashad

“Any time women come together with a collective intention, it’s a powerful thing. Whether it’s sitting down making a quilt, in a kitchen preparing a meal, in a club reading the same book, or around the table playing cards, or planning a birthday party, when women come together with a collective intention, magic happens.” – Phylicia Rashad

6. Time – For finding myself, for running, for learning, for thinking, for everything – I feel like I’ve stolen more time for myself than I ever have and the proof is in the distance I can run (12.84 KM!), the fitness I have, the peace that I feel, and the depression I’m actively keeping at bay.

Me, the road, my breath, my thoughts, my meditation, my time

Me, the road, my breath, my thoughts, my meditation, my time

7. God’s love – I know that everything that I’ve listed here, everything that I’m thankful for every day, everything that I am, and where I am and where I’m going is all because of Him. THANK YOU.

DSCF2145

This year has not been our easiest, our most blessed, or our hardest, most awful. But this year, like all the rest, the thankfulness is found in what we have and where we are right now, not in what we don’t have or where we didn’t make it.

To you and yours, a happiest and most grateful of Thanksgiving seasons. I hope it’s filled with love, light, and turkey. (Mmmm, turkey).

~ Julia

Thank you for being you

A lot has happened in recent days, and about 90% of it hasn’t been good.

I don’t feel like talking about it, and other things I can’t talk much about, but I will say it has sucked.

I live two and a half hours away from my family, so when there is a family emergency it is a hard thing for me and my family that I am so far away. I can’t be there to help, I can’t be there to make sure everyone is okay, and I can’t be there so my family can make sure I am okay.

It is all around a crappy experience, and in the end quite stupid.

We just had one such occurrence. I am not going into details, but I wanted to make this post about a couple of people.

1. Jess
jess
I had made a blog post about me and Jess and our friendship. How awesome she is, and all around how wonderful of a friend she is to me. She just yet again proved it.

She is working right now, as I type this on a Tuesday night, until midnight. Then she is going to be driving all the way here to come pick me up and we are going to make our way back just so I can be with my family, just so I can be there. She is amazing.

2. Greg

Greg!

Greg!

Greg has a lot of stuff going on right now, but I still got a phone call from him, and after he told me his things, I told him mine. He is there for me even when life is generally sucking for him too, and for that I cannot thank him enough. You are a rock star, Greg.

3. Elena

Elena

Elena

Elena is more than a best friend to me. She is like a limb that is missing, and it feels weird not to have her around constantly. When bad things happen she is a shoulder for me to cry on and a rock in my life. She is unmoving and is constantly there for me. It is amazing and awesome. Even if it is just a phone call, she is always there. Elena, My Kindred Spirit.

Now, when times like right now are hard, I try really hard not to be a big ball of emotion and tears, so instead of dwelling on the bad I just wanted to say thank you for these awesome people. I know with my friends, and family at my back anything is possible. I’m just thankful that we all have each other.

~ Andreah

Dear Baby Stuehler

I met Ashley at work. At first we were co-workers, then friends. Now I like to think we are soul mates. At work we call her Smashley. She has become another sister to me. I bring her along on hikes, she is known by my nieces, sisters, and my  mom. She truly has become a soul mate of mine, and someone I look up to.  She has shown me how to be more confident in my own skin, she has been there with me through some pretty tough times and I am so honored that she is standing with me on my wedding day.

Ashley and her husband Marty are expecting their first bundle of joy – a baby girl. This week will be the last week of work for her before she goes on her maternity leave. This pregnancy has been anything but easy on Ashley – although she has been healthy, she has also been blessed with “morning” sickness, even though it lasts all day, heartburn, back and butt pain, hip pain…and caffeine withdrawal.

To send her off in true, loving, sisterhood fashion, I have decided to write a letter to the future love of her life – her baby girl. I hope one day she will read this, and know that even before she could love them – they loved her.

I love you Smash, and can’t wait to watch you become an amazing mother.

Every brunette need’s a blonde best friend ❤

 

Dear Baby Stuehler,

Welcome to the world!

I hope you realize that you are one of the luckiest babies as you are born into such a loving family. Your Grandparents, Uncles and Aunt all can’t wait to meet you. I can’t wait for you to know how loved you are. 

Your mom has nurtured you since the beginning, and has has been anxiously awaiting your arrival. She is counting down the days until you arrive, preparing in every way. I wish you could see her face when she talks about you, all the worries for that moment melt away as she rubs her belly. I cannot say it enough – you are so loved.

Remember that as the years go on and you start to grow – your best interests are what she has in mind when she tells you that the shorts you are about to wear will not be worn out of the house, or that the makeup you have on is beyond too much.

When that first boy breaks your heart, it will be her shoulder you will cry on, as she promises you that the heartbreak won’t last. She will tell you how she met your Daddy, and she will tell you that one day the right one will come along.

She will be your shopping partner, your mentor and the wisest teacher you will ever come across. She will be your cheerleader and your coach. Your mom will be there for you when you call her late at night about anything – even if it is just to hear her voice.

Your Mother will teach you confidence, that I am sure of. She will teach you how to be a strong and compassionate woman, and to stand ever steadfast in who you are. She will teach you self love and self worth. She will teach you how to stand alone, and work as a partner.

Your mother is an amazing woman. She will love you even when you slam the door in her face and challenge her. She will love you when you sneak out or when you try to lie to her (just a suggestion…don’t…she knows everything!).

Baby Stuehler, the world you are being born into is not always kind, it can be quite scary, but that’s why you were given your Daddy. He is working so hard to make sure that you are provided for, and will always keep you safe.

You are his princess, his baby girl. When your dad talks about you, there is a twinkle in his eye. Everything he does is with you in mind. Your daddy will be your knight in shining armor. 

Your daddy will ward off boys who will try to steal your heart, he will be your confidante at times when you feel alone. He will battle you when you are a teenager, and side with your mother more times than he will with you (just let it happen, trust me it’s for the best).

Your daddy will teach you so many things you won’t know are useful at first, be careful to try and remember them all. One day these memories will be all you have.

Your daddy will be your first love, and your favorite dance partner whether in the kitchen or at your wedding. You will be always be his little girl. Your teenage years will be hard on your relationship, and you may break his heart. Don’t worry – he will still love you, and will always remember holding his little girl and kissing her bruises to make them better.

Baby girl, I can not wait to meet you. I can not wait to watch you grow up into a young lady. I can’t wait to listen to your mom brag of your accomplishments and look back with her on this moment when you were still in her belly giving her the worst heartburn. 

Your parents are two of the most amazing, compassionate, people I have ever known. They will do anything for their friends, and I can not wait to do the same for them. 

Welcome to the world Baby Stuehler. We have been waiting for you. 

 

Congratulations you two – I can’t meet your little one.

The expectant parents – Love you guys!

~ Jacqui

Guest Post – Mrs. Almost-DiCaprio

Julia’s sister-in-law (and the sisterhood’s honorary sister) is guest blogging with us today. Thank you for writing with us, Kim! You can catch Kim baking up some beautiful (and delicious!) treats at her bakery, Y.U.M.

~ ~ ~

I am a loving mother and devoted wife, but last night I dream cheated.

dream cheat [dreem cheet]
verb

1. to experience sexual infidelity or emotional attachments during a subconscious state with someone other than your partner

In my dream I was being pursued by Leonardo DiCaprio.

This Leo:

Not this Leo:

In my dream, Leo was focused on me regardless of the other attractive women present, and was reassuring me of my beauty. I felt self-conscious around him; he is an Oscar-nominated actor who normally dates super models who feast on lettuce and lemon water and I am a mom with stretch marks and yesterday’s mascara smudged into the bags underneath my eyes.

Nothing crazy happened; it was all about the subtle details. He nudged my leg with his knee while we sat at a table with a group of people. He gave me a trinket and it made me feel special. I never actually dream cheat in a scandalous way, my subconscious won’t allow it. Soon Leo was trying to kiss me and corner me in dark rooms and proceed with his busy hands.

Seriously, who wouldn’t want a piece of this?

Kim looking like Cousin It

Sexy Kim

Or this?

Kim as a Spartan

Spartan Kim

It was at that point that I told Mr. DiCaprio that I was married. Enough was enough, he needed to know that although he loved my real-woman physique, I belonged to another and he could never have me. He was upset, but respected me and understood.

If this ever happens in real life, I’ve heard it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.

I love my husband, more than I did yesterday and more than I did the day before. He is my soul mate, my teammate, my best friend and the father of my child. When they say opposites attract, they aren’t kidding. Craig and I are almost polar opposites, but it’s what makes us us. We click together like puzzle pieces and bring out the best in each other. We have been together since 2006. That’s 8 years or 29% of my life and I choose him every day.

Craig and Kim

Craig and Kim

He’s so lucky.

~ Kim

If you’d like to write a guest post and join in the Weather Vane Sisterhood fun, email us at weathervanesisterhood at gmail dot com. We’d love to have you!