Learn About the World, Then Learn About Yourself: Guest post from Pamela Palmieri

Our friend, self-proclaimed expert in learning and imperfection, Pam had an itch to write her personal manifesto one late night (or early morning if you are indeed a morning person like me).   These beautiful and inspiring words poured out of her effortlessly.  It’s with much love, admiration and deep honor that we share this fabulous piece written by an amazing boss-lady, mama, friend and bad-ass-bitch-you-want-in-your-corner!  Enjoy!  

pamandC

Pam and her amazing son Carter.

Hi, my name is Pam; and I freaking. love. learning.

My addiction to learning about people, places, things and ideas shockingly outweighs the daily guilty pleasure I take in chocolate, white cheddar popcorn and a glass of Prosecco. I can say with confidence thatdespite my rocky relationship with my alarm clockI absolutely and positively loved school and soaking up every bit of information be it the content of the class or the behaviors of my classmates. Continue reading

The Most Underrated, Amazing-Feeling Yoga Pose I Know

This is a bold claim, I know, but I’m making it: Upward Facing Dog, or urdhva mukha svanasana, is one of the most underrated poses in all of yoga. Okay, in my humble opinion, anyway :)  It’s the pose that feels the most amazing after sitting or standing for a long time, it gives a huge, full-front-body stretch and it allows for some serious heart opening when done the right way. So, seeing as (baby) belly backbends are essentially the only yoga I am cleared to do right now, I thought it might be fun to write a post paying homage to one of the most feel-good, full-body poses in all of yoga.

Urdhva mukha svanasana…there’s nothin’ else like it.

Here we go; a series of poses to get you prepped for the baddest dog I know. (We actually took these pictures over the summer, when both of my hips still kind of worked.  Photo credit: Kelsie Hunter.)

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Exhaustion in the Flesh

I never knew the meaning of exhaustion until I had children.

I know what it feels like to be tired.  We all know the feeling of exhaustion.  Pregnancy makes us tired, work makes us tired, chores make us tired; and life in general can run us to the bone.

Feeling tired can definitely take on a new meaning once we’ve had children.  They demand us to be ON at any hour of the day or night and we never really get a break; we feel taxed and burnt out more often than not.

But I’m not referring to my own experience of exhaustion, rather my observation of the embodiment of exhaustion; exhaustion in the flesh  I’ve peered into the black and hollow eyes of the most exhausted, incoherent and beast-like of children.   For parents or any care-takers of young children, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  Those moments of dueling with someone so utterly possessed by their lack-of-sleep-delirium that there is zero sense in trying to reason.

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Squash Soup for the Soul…

Or should I say:  “Squash Soup with a Kick for the Spastic Soul.”

I whipped up this soup the other day to bring to Kate’s house for lunch.  I have to admit, having Kate home post-operation works out quite well for me!  Back in the day when Kate lived out of her suitcase, she’d visit home during her breaks between tours.  Her days were totally open, so we would hang and have epic lunches including food, talking shop (eg. yoga),practicing handstands, baking cookies, and on the finest of days ruminating over fashion icons while sporting my collection of Marc Jacobs stilettos.   Life is crazy now(and wonderful of course too), but down time with friends is so scarce.   So,  it’s nice to have Kate in one place where I can drop by for some quality time together and catch up over a hot, delicious and not so kid-friendly bowl of soup.

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Lessons From A Newly-Made Couch Potato

This guy really knows what he's talking about ;)

So y’all remember the posts I wrote about the yogis on Instagram just doing their thing and it’s totally cool and we should embrace that as part of the shifting culture of yoga in social media? Well, those posts are a bunch of bullshit. I want to unfollow every Insta-yogi out there, and depending on the day, knock some of them over so they splat out of their perfectly captured inversions.

Hi, my name is Kate and I have yoga envy.  (And I don’t really actually want to ruin anyone’s inversion.)

It’s been a week since I had hip surgery to repair a torn labrum, an injury I’ve been working around for years.  In those seven days I have learned the following: a) I don’t really like Valium. Taking a Valium is like being drunk and stoned at the same time and it makes me laugh really hard at nothing and then fall asleep mid-conversation. #imdonewiththat 2) I cannot take out the trash. c) I have no self-control when it comes to Angie’s Holidrizzle Pumpkin Spice popcorn. I’ve eaten four bags in seven days. (Please, I love you all, but stop bringing me that crack.) 4) I can’t put my socks on by myself.  e) I am not even trying to put on pants anymore.  6) I have a pretty kick ass support group of amazing friends. g) I have no idea how to “be a yogi” without actually doing yoga. Continue reading

Why Not Slow Things Down

I’ve made it clear time and again that I am a self-diagnosed movement junkie.  I love to move.  Before I had my kids, I committed myself to one particular movement modality:  yoga.   As a mom I’m more tied down and consequently I have unbelievable amounts of steam to blow off.  Other forms of cardio (eg. spinning, cardio kick and running) performed once or twice a week help me burn through some of my “stuff” so that I can experience a bit more ease on my mat.

On days when I’m either running on fumes or my inspiration seems tapped, I practice a series of long holds in standing poses.  In general, for me anyways, movement works.  One-breath-one-movement flowsmy tried and true go to practice methodfacilitate a moving meditation that simultaneously invigorates my body and refreshes my perspective.  On days where I can’t come up with a sequence or I can’t stop my mind from frivolously leaping from thought to thought, I slow things down and use long holds in strong steady poses to align my thoughts and my body and actually accomplish a practice.

After completing this sequence of poses, I either shift into a 30-40 minute yin practice or a more active practice involving sun and moon salutations.  This sequence can also be performed on its own for a quick practice that will leave you feeling very grounded, centered and clear in your head space.

Get out your timer and do each pose for 60 seconds!  Try and breath so slowly that you only need to breath 5-6 rounds of breath. Make sure you do all the poses on the first side before moving onto the second side.  The fatigue on the supporting leg makes these holds way better!     Don’t expect your deepest poses, rather focus your efforts on creating abundant support through the legs, belly and breath.

Here is a little cheat sheet of the poses:  

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Writing about music…

I’ve always loved the Martin Mull quote: “Writing abut music is like dancing about architecture.”  My additional clause to this statement would be:   so why bother.

I often feel that way when I am teaching my personal on-the-mat experience.  How can I explain the poses, the raison d’être for my sequencing while conveying the subtleties that made the total experience so transcendental?

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A Taste of Thailand in My Living Room

I’ve had the travel bug lately.  It doesn’t help that every time I walk into a Vietnamese, Burmese or Thai restaurant (basically the only places I ever go to eat), all of the smells instantly transport me back to Southeast Asia and I find myself eating my meal in a cloud of intense homesickness for the flavors, sounds, and smells of the places where these incredible dishes come from. Continue reading

Magical Pesto-Inspired Sauce

This delicious concoction of flavors can be used as dip, marinade, dressing or sauce.  I threw ingredients into my vitamix sans expectations and—voila—discovered pungent sauce with quite the kick.  Although quite versatile (especially for vinegar-philes), this sauce is bold in flavor and note that a little goes a long way.

I made it for our retreat dinner and then recreated it the other day for measurements.  I’ve since used it to dress salads, gluten free noodles, and even a fried egg!

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Your Yoga Isn’t Working

compassionaa

“Your yoga isn’t working!” bellowed Tommy across the house while I melodramatically rampaged through the house preparing myself and the kids to leave.   I was hosting an epic pity party (the kind with VIP and bottle service).  Since I was the guest of honor I could blame everyone else for my misery.

I cannot recall exactly what triggered my distress; I cannot even identify the exact melt-down.  Dramatic episodes and me are kind of like peas and carrots. All the minute details have blurred together.  Yet, Tommy’s comment was a total bulls-eye.  In retrospect, I see clearly that my constant explosive reactivity, nasty snapping and self-loathing was a cry for help.  I wanted him to call me out on being a shitty yogi (and ultimately a shitty person).  I wanted someone to see me for what I am at my core:  total bullshit.  Continue reading