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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Awww, Shucks

My yoga students left an envelope of cash in my chair at work today that says, "Thanks for being an awesome yoga teacher!"

Awwwwwwwww, my class at work has been and always will be free, and they wanted to pay me anyway. How sweet. I don't have to declare this on my taxes...right. :-P

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My WoW Story

I’ve written all about yoga, but not much about WoW. I actually spend more of my time playing WoW than doing yoga. I raid in 25-person raids every Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday, and 10-person raids every Thursday. The 10s come and go, but 25s are consistent. I can miss whenever I want to, but I don’t usually want to. :)

Brad bought WoW in December of 2004, right after we graduated from college. Then in January he started working full time while I was looking for a job. He’d play this stupid game from when he got home until it was bed time if I didn’t get mad. WoW and I did not get off to a good start.

We came up with some compromises to make us both happy. He played when I was asleep or watching Gilmore Girls. He used to get out of bed really early on weekends so he could get play time in before I woke up. hahaha What is this game? Crack?

This went on for a while as I dabbled in various hobbies, rolling my eyes at what he wasted his time on while I did productive things like making a messenger bag with my sewing machine. Then one day in February of 2006 I really, really wanted to play Donkey Kong Country on Super Nintendo from beginning to end. It was one of my favorite games as a kid, and I wanted to play it again REAL bad, and I wanted him to play with me. Eventually I proposed a compromise. I’ll match the time you spend playing DKC with me hour for hour playing WoW with him. He agreed.

Oh crap, why did I agree to this? I guess I have to do it now. He helped me set up my WoW character. It was really important to him that I enjoyed this game so he did his best to figure out which type of character I would like to play. He knew I’d want to be pretty, so he put me on the Alliance side instead of the ugly Horde side. I loved Cyclop’s ranged attack in X-Men, so he figured I’d like to be a hunter. He wouldn’t let me name my Night Elf Hunter “Flutterby” because it didn’t go with the WoW theme, and this was important to him (eye roll). Flutta was born.

I started to get into it and was up to level 5ish when he said, “At level 10 you get to tame a pet.” “OH BOY, I GET A PET!!!” That was the point of no return. We took the slow track to level 60 because I cared way more about pwning noobs in battlegrounds and playing with alts (other characters) than actually leveling. Around this time, we were planning our wedding. Several tasks were put off because I had some Warsong Gulch flag capturing to do.

In January of 2007, the first expansion The Burning Crusade came out, increasing the level cap to 70 and adding a new race, the Draenei. Since we’d been too busy battlegrounding to level to 60 (we were in the 50s by this time), we decided to make some Draenei. I wanted to give healing a try. It seemed like a neat role, and I’d read that priests were the best healers in the game. Also I was bitter that I’d let Brad talk me into naming myself “Flutta.”

Flutterby the priest was born. I had a lot of fun with her. I healed Brad along as we quested. He told me to stay shadow spec (the spec to do damage not heal) to level, but at low levels you can heal fine as shadow when needed. I really enjoyed healing. Around level 45ish I went against Brad’s advice and switched to holy spec (the only healing spec of the time). It was GREAT! Wow, healing is easier when you’re character is designed for it. Silly Brad.

Some of our real-life friends were really into raiding since level 60 and kept begging us to “finish a character” so we could raid with them. I finally leveled Flutta to 70 in June of 2007, and started raiding with her. It was fun, but boringly easy to raid as a hunter. The only way to do decent damage as a hunter at the time was to have a certain macro that you just mashed over and over again. It was nice to see myself doing the most damage in the raid, but it didn’t really feel like an accomplishment since I didn’t think at all. I just mashed 1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1 yawwwwwwwwwn.

So I quit raiding for a while and levelled Flutterby to 70. About that time, I decided that the raiding guild I was in before was a bit too serious about WoW. They’d yell in vent (voice chat) at people who messed up or weren’t good enough. They usually weren’t yelling at me, but I didn’t enjoy that negativity in my ear all the time.

I raided as Flutterby with a new guild without Brad because he didn’t want to raid after the negative experience with the first guild. After a few months I convinced him to join the guild with me, but they decided to transfer to another server, and we had real-life friends on this server, so I didn’t go. I joined the first guild again, but was eventually kicked out of the guild for not logging in for a few weeks (This kick was when the Guild Master was on vacation, a lot of people were kicked, it was crazy). There was a lot of drama among the officers over that…which eventually led to the guild disbanding.

Meanwhile I joined a mostly alt guild that got stronger as the former guild fell apart. I put it a lot of work planning progression for that guild and logged in one day to see that Brad and I were officers. Neat. That Guild Master got more uptight the more we progressed and wouldn’t delegate anything, So as that fell apart, instead of trying to fix it I decided to switch to a non-PvP server, meaning players couldn’t kill each other in the game unless it was in a battleground. Killing each other was nuisance and not much fun, especially since the server was out of balance in the other side’s favor.

Brad went on a mission to find a good guild on a PvE server, and he did, and that’s where we’ve been playing since November of 2008 when the latest expansion, Lich King came out. Flutterby's name had to change to Beckster because Flutterby was taken on that server :( We’ve been consistent raiders as long as they’ve been raiding level 80 content and have become officers. Lately Brad’s the raid leader as the regular raid leader has a newborn baby at home, and I’m the healing leader as the former healing leader is the wife of the regular raid leader. I don’t think she wants the healing leader position back, so I think I should get used to it.

For a while, I wasn’t that dedicated to healing lead duties because I was just filling in, but after several months of leading raid healers, I think I’m the official heal leader now. I’m getting used to being in charge and tactfully telling people, “You failed, do it right this time.” :) I’m also doing more research and carefully planning out healing strategies in advance as much as possible. I’m really enjoying raiding with this guild, and I still can’t believe it’s possible to be in a guild that is not mean when things go wrong. I love it!

Delicious Healthy Apple Snack

When I was a little kid, my favorite apple snack was made by drenching apple slices in butter, coating them in cinnamon and sugar, then microwaving them. It's delicious, but not a very healthy way to destroy an apple. The sugar and butter are bad enough, but microwaving also strips nutrients.

Grown-up healthy Becky still loves cinnamon on her apple slices, but now I put the slices in a zippy bag, splash in a little lemon juice, then sprinkle the cinnamon into the bag and shake it all around. The lemon juice keeps the slices from turning brown if when I slice them in the morning and eat them in a few hours as well as giving the cinnamon a non-butter liquid to spread around to the apple slices. It doesn't taste like lemon, but it has a little zing to go with the apple's sweetness.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Being nonjudgmental is an important value in yoga. It really resonates with me and is part of what drew me to yoga and kept me there.

It's human nature to judge others. We want to understand what is going on around us, including the people around us. We try to figure out how they think and what their motives are. Unfortunately, we naturally compare our perceptions of this to how we think it should be, and tend to form harsh judgments. Either we think we are better than they are, or we wish we were and try to find something wrong with them to convince ourselves that we're better.

So then it comes down to noncompetition. Another important value in yoga that really resonates with me. There is no need to be competitive. It doesn't matter who's better. Really, it doesn't matter. We waste so much energy trying to be better than others, when life is so much happier when you realize that you don't need to be better. We can all be happy together without concern over who's better.

My latest challenge is to let go of the need to be better and not to judge others' weaknesses. I can learn something from everyone. I want to focus on learning rather than wasting my time and energy judging.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Balance is an important theme in my life. Here are some balance struggles that I think about a lot:

  • going to class vs. practicing on my own

  • challenging myself in the basic poses and doing/learning advanced poses vs. being too easy on myself
  • focusing on teaching vs. focusing on my own practice
  • power yoga vs. restorative yoga
  • not falling over in balancing poses (this is especially fun when teaching them because you have to talk and look around)
  • doing my work quickly, but with perfect accuracy
  • being friendly, but not spend too much time socializing
  • taking it seriously, but not stressing out to the extreme
  • working overtime when needed, but trying to not need overtime to get the job done
  • being a good officer, but not dedicating my life to the game
  • keeping the game fun for myself and others so it doesn't become more like work than a game
  • caring about the success of the guild without taking the fun out of the game
  • doing things with Brad that we both enjoy vs. doing my own thing
  • planning everything out vs. being spontaneous
  • relaxing vs. being active
  • chores vs. fun time
  • hanging out with friends/leaving the house vs. staying home
  • having the yard not look like the house is abandoned vs. overdoing the yard so that it's too much work to maintain it
  • eating healthy vs. enjoying treats/not being too strict with food
  • cooking vs. eating out
  • meat vs. veggies
  • food as fuel vs. food for pleasure

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I just got my first order from Greenling today. A lot of my friends asked me to tell them how I like it before they try it.

It's great! They delivered organic, mostly local food to my door. How is that not awesome?

I went a little crazy ordering things and got Thunderheart Bison Jerky Sausage and Tabuleh from The Mediterranean Chef. I didn't know what to expect from either, but they're delicious.

About the Tabuleh: I had no idea what it was. I just knew it was some kind of Mediterranean stuff. It is gooooooood. Hummus has been replaced as my favorite snack. I also got their hummus. It's just alright for me.


Peanut Butter (Look! No Sugar!)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Reunited With My First Passion

Yoga reminds me a lot of diving. There are quite a few similarities, which explains why I love them both. I was only a diver for one year, but I have vivid happy memories of it, and I really miss it.

I need to teach a community yoga class for teacher training, so I looked up the place where I used to dive. Two of the three coaches on the website were my coaches 13 years ago. Wow, how cool is that? I sent out an email with my offer of free yoga for divers. One already responded and says that he remembers me and my sister. Neat.

I wonder if they teach adult diving classes or if they're just looking for young blood to win competitions. That's one reason yoga appeals to me so much. It's beautiful, but it's not a spectator sport or a competition, and I'll never be too old for it.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Eclectic Yoga

I like to dabble around with different yoga teachers and styles. I'm not into sticking to one thing and calling it the best. With just about everything, there are tons of different styles and techniques. People like to latch on to one and call that the best while putting down all the others. There is no perfect yoga style and there is no perfect yoga teacher. That's why I love to learn what I can from as many people as possible and then put together my favorite elements of each.

I don't like labeling one style or the other as the best because different styles are good for different people. Ashtanga yoga caught my attention because it's very high energy and vigorous, which is great to help pull me off of the couch or out of bed. Someone in my teacher training just gave a presentation on yoga for eating disorders. Ashtanga would be terrible for them because they already overexercise and need a calm, quiet, slow yoga practice.

As I was setting up my yoga class at work (before I started teaching it), someone asked me what style I'm teaching. I stumbled to figure out how to describe it. I had never thought of how to label it. I guess "hatha flow" can describe it in a very broad way to answer the question.

The yoga teacher training that I'm nearly finished with is taught by Iyengar teachers, but it's not an Iyengar training. They admit their bias, but embrace all styles. I really like that a lot. There's no need for style rivalry in yoga, but it happens all the time. Of course all of their teaching is based on Iyengar, since that's what they know, but it's great that they don't try to force their bias onto their students.

My practice has always been vinyasa flow. It's been Ashtanga and Ashtanga-based vinyasa for the last 8 months, and I love it. Ashtanga is what you do when you outgrow "regular vinyasa" and are ready for something deeper and harder.

This is why I wrote my thesis paper for yoga school about Ashtanga yoga. It was my way of bridging my personal practice with my teacher training. I was struggling to learn as much as I could about Ashtanga on my own while learning all about Iyengar yoga.

So now I'm starting to learn a bit of Anusara yoga. It started with a 4 part workshop on assisting in yoga poses. That's something that isn't covered by the teacher training, and I think it's an important skill for a yoga teacher to have. It was taught by an Anusara teacher, so naturally he taught it from an Anusara perspective. I really enjoyed the class and am comfortable adjusting students now. I still feel a little awkward adjusting men, especially at work, but I'll have to get over that.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Virabhadrasana Door Stop and Bookends

I just got this awesome little man to keep the pug gate open when we're home so they have access to their water dish. He's pretty awesome. Brad doesn't think he's as functional as the Petzyme jug was since you can't move him around with your foot or he'll fall over, although I'm getting better at that. I'm going to call him my little Virabhadra.

But wait, there's more! They also come in bookends! I'm going to get a set for home and work. I just have to pick my colors: black, green, red, or orange. I wish they came in blue or purple. I think I'll get red for work because it matches my dictionaries. I'll have to see what color most of my yoga books are. Black makes a classy little door stop, but I think I want colorful bookends. Life is full of tough choices. :-P

Slashing Things Off the To-Do List

I enjoy keeping myself busy. I've slowly accumulated a few too many things on my schedule. Some weeks I have the energy to do everything, but trying to do everything every week on top of my full-time job can lead to a tired, burned-out Becky.

I've had this happen a few times before. Deciding what to cut out is always the hardest part. Sometimes it's been WoW raids, sometimes it's been yoga classes, sometimes I've resisted cutting stuff out and burned out to the point where I don't do either for a week or so. If only I could cut out work days, haha I wish.

Cutting out yoga classes is hard. Am I justifying being lazy or is this a good idea for me? I filled out my form for teacher training where we need a minimum of 25 yoga classes during the course of the training (9 months) and 7 months in I had attended 60 or so classes. That's great and all, especially as I was learning what this Ashtanga stuff is all about, but I'm at a point where I should practice more on my own rather than depending on a teacher and a group.

I love practicing in a group. There's a wonderful energy, a teacher to guide me and correct me, and people who love yoga like me to become friends with, but it's a huge time commitment and an awful drive during rush hour. I'm not dumping classes altogether, just cutting down from 4 classes a week to 1 or 2 classes a week. I'm also not going to slack off on yoga. I'm going to practice at home on my own.

Somehow I've made myself feel obligated to be a regular student to a few teachers classes when there is nothing wrong with dropping in whenever I feel like it, so that's what I'm going to do.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Yay Spring!

Spring officially begins in 10 days, but the weather seems to be perfect already. This winter was more of an actual winter than San Antonio is used to and I'm happy to see it go.

I have new spring skirts that I got to start wearing yesterday — bright floral fluffy cotton skirts that I could easily wear along the beach in flip flops, but I wear them to work because I can. They're so comfortable that I don't change out of them when I get home from work, and they're cute too.

Yesterday on my way out of the office, I bumped into a chatty lady who was also taking the stairs instead of the elevator. After we got out of the building and passed over the smokers (we can see them a floor below us over the railing) she turned to me and said, "There are those people killing themselves with cigarettes." I was stunned that she said that to a stranger like that, but I agreed and figured since she started it, I could take it a step further, "Yeah, I feel the same way about junk food." She was surprised and said, "I never thought of it like that, but it is the same kind of thing isn't it? I'll have to stop eating that stuff." Wow. That was a great feeling for me. I don't expect this lady to throw away all of her Oreos and Cheetos, but I did get her to think about it in a new way.

Most people are very defensive of their terribly disgusting food to the point of giving me a hard time for what I eat. I don't lecture people or try to make them feel bad. I just eat what I eat, and that bothers them. They know it's bad for them, but if everyone else is doing the same thing it's somehow ok, so when someone else is doing it right, it annoys them.

I feel like junk food is the new cigarettes. People are realizing how bad junk food is and I hope that someday it will be as obviously stupid as smoking. I also wonder if there's something else in our daily lives that will be so obviously bad for us that it's stupid to do it that we don't know about yet. Caffeine maybe? I like caffeine...

Friday, March 5, 2010

Worst Workday Ever

Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. I've been working on a 360-page document full of MathType and jpegs trying to get it perfectly perfect, and when I had it ALMOST perfect BAM stuff went horribly wrong with the files...twice.

Thanks to some wonderful coworkers and my 13-hour day today. The deadline will be met with 100% quality.

Apparently I was obviously frazzled. I was literally holding back the tears. It was really frustrating. People kept offering me food and chocolate. I wasn't hungry, I didn't need candy. What I need is a hot bath with essential oils.

Brad's at home waiting to cater to my every whim. He always does this for me after a bad day. I think I'll just let him keep playing XBox so I can do some yoga and take that bath, but it is sweet of him to be so willing to spoil me.

I'm so glad tomorrow is yoga nidra day at teacher training, and that I don't have to miss teacher training to get my work done. I have perfect attendance, and I intend to keep it that way unless I get REALLY, REALLY sick. :-)

My file just finished printing! WHOOOO Going home!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Pull Ups are Hard

On the advice of Doug Swensen, that was reinforced by Carl, I decided to get a pull-up bar. It came in yesterday, and I excitedly forced Brad to stop playing XBox long enough to put it together for me.

I was curious about how good I'd be at pull ups. I wasn't good at them back when I did them in school, and I hadn't tried since then, so I didn't have high expections. However, I do have more strength than I've ever had before in my life, and I was curious how much of that would carry over. Not much.

The purpose of doing pull ups is to do the exact opposite of a vinyasa to keep the muscles balanced. Balanced muscles is a very good thing. I tried as hard as I could to do a pull up until I realized that I wasn't able to breath very well while trying. Not breathing is bad. I ended up dangling from the bar figuring that my muscles could use the practice in simply holding me up. Then I lifted my knees to my chest. Oooooh that works my abs nicely too.

Today I'm a little sore. Not miserable like I overdid it, just a little like I used my muscles in a new way. That's the whole point, and it means that my dangling is worthwhile as I gradually build up to more. I'm content with danging and lifting my knees as long as I do it consistently every day, and continually try to do more as long as I can still smile and breathe.

One thing that's neat and unexpected, but makes sense is that my hands are sore. The muscles that grip things. Either they're pretty weak because I don't grip things that much or I white-knuckled it a little too much. hmmmm

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Yoga at Work

I changed things up a little with yoga at work, but not so much that it was a shock to me or my students. I like the idea of introducing new concepts gradually so it doesn't feel like the same old thing over and over again. That's hard to do with an Ashtanga-based class, but since I'm not restricting myself to exact Ashtanga, it's very possible. It just requires me to think, prepare, and continually step up to a new level, so I'm never too used to the same thing, always learning something new to pass on to the class.

The aromatherapy and music were a big hit for not a whole lot of effort. I enjoy playing with aromatherapy oils and people were really impressed that I mixed it myself (quiet whisper: it's really very easy).

They also liked beginning with the Moon Salutation and then doing the Sun Salutations. I did Chandra Namaskara A twice, then Surya Namaskara A twice, then Surya Namaskara B twice. I think it was neat to have the variety. People seem to get this "oh no, not again" face when we do Sun Salutations over and over again. It also helped warm them up more gradually than just diving into Sun Salutations.

Next time I'll toss in Chandra Namaskara B too. I ordered Vinyasa Krama which includes more information about the Chandra Sequence. Right now I'm getting it off of a poster, which I find tedious and a little frustrating. I can't look at a poster while practicing very easily, and the book should have more information.

In the end, I had that "awwwww man, I don't have enough time to teach everything I want to teach" feeling instead of, "hmmmmmm how do I fill the next 20 minutes..." That was a great feeling to have, and made me feel like I'm really finding my groove.

I thought it was really neat that the class was half men. It really bothers me that yoga has been feminized to the point that some men aren't comfortable doing yoga. I even considered it as a thesis topic or at least as part of a thesis on common misconceptions about yoga. Yoga and Pilates were both invented by men, for men. Women weren't even allowed to do yoga at first.

Some people blame the Western culture for yoga becoming "feminine," but I try to be careful throwing the blame on the West so easily without further research. I think it's very interesting that Pilates and Yoga both have the same issue. Pilates was invented in the West (Germany) by a man to help soldiers (men) recover after WWI.

In light of all that, it really is great to see men practicing yoga. They also openly enjoyed the aromatherapy and asked for more after class.

I'm really getting into yoga music, trying to figure out what I like. I spent several hours of today listening to the previews of yoga music on iTunes and chatting with other yoga teachers about what kind of music they like. Currently playing: Yoga Groove and loving it.