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Kansas City MO 64131

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Filtering by Tag: cold weather

CHUGGA CHUGGA

Cindy Maddera

Yesterday morning, I went out to start my car and the engine went "whir whir whir.....clickety clickety...ugh ugh ugh." I had a moment of panic before turning the key in the ignition again. Finally, on the third try, the engine puttered to life. My car is paid off in March (or April...something like that). My plan is to drive this car until the wheels fall off, but my plans and Murphy's Law don't always match up. So when there's a moment of starting hesitation, I get a little bit nauseous. Really, the only reason the engine struggled is because it is so awfully horribly cold outside. It really is the worst and I just go on and on about how one day I will retire to some place warm. I don't even care if it ends up being Florida. 

Once the car warmed up to a drivable temperature, I headed off to teach my first yoga class of the new year. I've been dreaming about teaching yoga. Really...not figuratively. I told you about the dream where I was teaching yoga in a room that had a potato bar (I still think Yogatado would be a great studio/restaurant idea). A few nights later I dreamed that I was teaching yoga in a space that was also hosting a birthday party. It was very loud and I had to shout. There were kids running around in between yoga mats. This dream turned out to be not too far off of reality. The space where I am teaching is an open space that also holds the free weights. A partial wall separates the room from the rest of the gym. You can hear everything from the work out area and people walk into the class area to get weights or just wander around. I totally had to yell to my students. 

When I first started teaching yoga to my coworkers at my old job, we had a hard time finding a class space. We ended up in stairwell. You opened the door and immediately to your left was a staircase but to the right of that staircase there was a closet/storage space. It mostly held a stack of folding chairs that fit under the stairs, leaving the rest of the floor area open for yoga mats. It was drafty or steamy depending on outside temperatures and occasionally someone would walk in to actually use the stairs or more likely hoping to use that space to make a personal phone call. I made a little sign to place on the doorknob outside whenever we were having class to warn people that yoga was happening in that room. Later on, I would end up teaching in real classrooms and yoga studios, but I never gave up the stairwell space for my coworker classes. 

I've been nervous and apprehensive about teaching yoga again after all this time of not teaching. The new teaching environment to most yoga teachers does not sound ideal, but to me, it's perfectly normal. In fact it was almost comforting to teach my first class of the new year after a five year hiatus in this noisy open space. It is familiar, which I know sounds crazy. One doesn't really link noisy open spaces with yoga. I see it as the perfect environment for teaching a student to be fully present on their mat and to guard their senses for relaxation. Because outside, in our every day lives, our environment is not ideal. I don't just mean the temperature, though saying the current temps are not ideal is being polite. Our world is busy with sights and sounds and things that make us uncomfortable. I don't necessarily want to teach people how to ignore all of this. Some times we need to be uncomfortable. I do want to teach people how to approach all of it with calmness though. This is a lesson that I needed to be reminded of, the practice of taking our yoga off the mat and into our daily life.

It is one thing to do yoga, but quite another to be yoga. 

THANKFUL FRIDAY

Cindy Maddera

Well...it's happened. It actually started weeks ago. The weather thing. It's cold. Some parts of Kansas City even saw snow on Halloween. Coming from a place where you might, just might, have to wear a jacket over your costume on Halloween, the idea of having to wear a coat and gloves and mittens is boggling. I kept thinking that it was just a fluke, that we'd get some kind of warm front and an Indian Summer would settle in, but it's just gotten colder. Sunday, I helped Michael winterize and cover the camper and then we spent the rest of the day pouting about putting the camper away for the winter. We all know how I feel about winter. 

Here's the upside to the cold weather:

  • The cat, who is not a particularly loving cuddling creature (October was squirrel murder month), will curl up or stretch out in my lap. The dog will either stretch out alongside the cat or sit on the cat. They'll stay this way for as long as I will let them. 
  • Josephine sleeps under the comforter curled up next to my side. In the mornings, she will go outside and do her thing and then run right back in and dive back under the comforter. If I leave the bedroom door open, the cat will follow her and then curl up in the bottom right corner of the bed. 
  • The other night, I was cradling a hot bowl of ramen in my hands and I said "this is all I want to eat all winter long." Many people might be thinking that I'm talking about the ramen noodle packages we all consumed copious amounts of in college and feel a little sad for me. This is not the ramen I am talking about. I still use the dried ramen noodles because Michael doesn't like the fresh ones, but I make my own miso broth. I sauté green onions with shitake mushroom and bok choy and maybe some shrimp or a white fish in a Hoisson/Tamari sauce. Then I cook the noodles in the miso broth and when they're done I pull them out and place them in a bowl. Sometimes I poach a couple of eggs in the miso broth. I top the noodles with my sautéed vegetables and fish and poached egg and then I pour the miso broth on top. It's not as cheap as a ramen noodle pack, but it's cheaper than eating out and it is delicious and easy. 
  • I can touch Michael's bare arm with one finger and make him yelp like he's been hit with a cattle prod because my hands are soooo cold. 
  • I think about (but only think about) starting some sort of knitting/crochet project. I don't even know how to crochet, but I feel like I need a new winter hat and I've been seeing some really cute crocheted stuffed animals. 
  • The sun has shifted so that now when it comes in the window at work in the mornings, it reflects off the glass of my cubicle and makes rainbows on the walls. 

Here's what I am learning about myself. I am a doer and a mover and a shaker. I am usually the first to deny all of that because I don't think I do, move or shake enough. This is why I am never still. The cold weather makes it easier for me to be still. Not mentally easier, but physically easier. It's hard to pry those animals off my lap.  They are also warm. It's like having my own personal furnace. Actually, most of the benefits of the cold weather all have to do with warm things. I am thankful for warm pets and warm bowls of ramen noodles. I probably shouldn't be thankful for the sadistic joy I get out of torturing Michael with my cold hands, but it's something that makes me laugh and therefore worthy of gratitude. I am thankful for inspiration and I am thankful for that shift in the sun. Because..RAINBOWS at WORK. That's pretty special. 

I am thankful for you.