Saturday, June 29, 2013

Heroines know how to breathe.

If you are a reader of novels, a peruser of historical fiction, maybe a romance or 1000 in your history, you will know that the heroines of these great adventures have mastered the rituals of breathing through every situation.   They keep their poise, and in an ever so refined british accent, brilliantly work their way out of situations winning the day with command.  

Yoga breathing prepares you for such adventures.   By the way, it is perfectly fine to imagine this entire pose read in a british upper crust accent.  In fact it is preferable.  So I digress.  See it helps.  Anyway, no matter where you take a yoga class the instructors will all agree that you must work on the breathing or you are not doing yoga.   Recently I heard it referred to as doing calisthenics in a hot room. 

So I work on the breathing on and off the mat.  Some times I purposefully pull up the three count inhale and the four count exhale to make it through tough situations.  While other times I do it without thought, as it has become so normal for me breath through life.   I am managing my stress level through it and learning to use it to my advantage.     I feel like the powerful women in the novels managing to craftily work my way through the maze during the masquerade ball.   

Life does not make it easy to keep breathing intentionally, that is for sure.  However breathing intentionally can help you get through the tides of life with a little more poise when it counts.   In 1, 2, 3,  hold  out 4, 3, 2, 1, pause, repeat as needed. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Return to Moksha Thornhill and Misconceptions about radiant floor heat

I did a great Moksha Hot Yoga Power Flow 75 minute class, at the Thornhill location. It was wonderful. Heather was the instructor.   I had taken a class with her a few months back in another location.   She was so good at describing little adjustments to activate positions. 

There were a few little beauties that I want to remember for my ongoing practice.  When you are in a flow sequence and lift the leg up and back while in downward dog. Then you square your hips down and flex the foot.  Well then she said to lift the leg by activating the inner thigh muscles.  Lifting up and back with those muscles really activate that entire pose.  She also did an adjustment to happy baby by saying to tilt your tail bone down when you are in the pose.  This flattens the lower back and totally amplifies the pose.  

As I do with all instructors, I ask them about my two trouble positions.  One is a forward fold and the other is rabbit.  She helped me with a second forward fold that could be rotated with the one I have real trouble with in class.  You fold forward and then you grab the big toes and roll your weight forward.  For the alternative to rabbit she suggested a sitting position where you curve into a cat like pose while holding on to your knees.   So glad to have these suggestions in my tool box..  

The class was a power flow class.  When I asked Heather what that meant to her she said, it was about building internal power not external power.   She was so right.  The class was challenging and required you to hold on to poses longer.   There may have even been fewer poses then normal in this longer format class.  We held the poses and really felt the power growing inside.  I felt so wonderful after the class.  

Now I have to say I also found out I had some misconceptions about radiant floor heat.  It seems that the floors are not heated.  The heat comes from overhead heating panels, however the floor is bamboo which holds in the heat. This kind of makes sense because all the places I felt had radiant heat actually had the same type of floor.  The floor holds the heat and emanates it back out at you.   Oppps retraction retraction for all previous comments about radiant flooring.  Now it will just be natural fiber bamboo flooring that I know holds this heat. Still felt a little extra stress on my feet from that heat.  Certainly something I would get used without much trouble.    

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Intentional Yoga

So I am on the road trip with the wonderful little boys, 6 and 10.  We are stopping with people along the way, some of them friends and some of them family.  They all live in very different environments.  The last stop was Kalamazoo.

There I got to visit a studio called Intentional Yoga.  It is technically in Portage Michigan  It was a lovely studio.  A little smaller room then I am used to, however a very functional and nicely put together space. It had radiant floor heat.  The room could accommodate three rows if used efficiently.  The instructors were both wonderful.  The first day was Devon a young man that just had that vibe like you have known him a long time.  The second day was Jen and she was very good with adjustments.   

The sequence was very similar to what I am used to doing.  There were marked differences in some of the standing poses and flows.  It added a couple of variations and actually allowed for a little less breaks.  It felt so good to do something familiar.  I knew when I was away from my sequence I would miss it.  The second day I was able to adjust to the changes but still found a few of the transitions difficult.  Kind of falling down the rabbit hole with changes in places you don't expect.   This also has been mirrored in my off the mat experiences and preludes. 

Now for the deep part of this one, as most folks know, when you travel to visit your home town, there is always some sort of tension brewing and feelings are running high.  I have lived away from my family for the better part of 20 years.   Visiting has always been a priority and has taken up a lot of my time off.  My mother always said, "If you did not put the time into a relationship then it was just a relationship in your head. Oh yah and ... That and $2 will get you a cup of coffee."  

This opportunity to do Intentional Yoga allowed me to have some space from the experience of all these rabbit holes and dynamics that push buttons with a skill, honed like a spanish steel blade. So, today I thought about family and friends, relationships, expectations, shoes to fill, pegs to fit into, and feelings. As I breathed through the meditation, one position at a time, I tried to come to peace or at least acceptance.  I focused on accepting what is and what is not, feeling it, good and bad.  I came out feeling at ease with taking the next step in the journey.   A path that actually frees me up to be more true to who I am, accepting what is, if that makes any sense.  

We had a lovely day at the Kalamazoo Children's Museum and then drove to the next stop for an uncomplicated night in a hotel with a great pool, hot tub and lovely meal with family.  The kids positively wore themselves out. It was a day that ended so much better than it began.  Focusing on the issue, intentionally... and letting myself digest, feel, come to peace, and move on, allowed me to enjoy this wonderful time with my boys and family.  We had a blast in the pool, it was one of those times you lock up in the memory banks.  Here they are below. Good night boys.  Thank you Intentional Yoga :)


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Yin and Yang on the road trip.

Some times in life you do things because you know it is the right thing to do however you question your sanity while you do it.   This is how I feel on the eve or the trip to Canada with the two boys.   I am doing this trip solo as my husband must work.  So why the apprehensive.  I know my limits and if I can not drive more we will stop.  I have audiobooks downloaded.  The boys have multiple electronic devises to keep them busy.   Yet the first step seems huge like repelling down a cliff.

I have to admit that some of this is housed in my own patterns of what men and women do.  It is from my relationships as well as the ones I saw during the formative years.  When I was young my parents would drive us across country in a station wagon pulling a trailer.  The Grizwalds would have been proud.  My father did the lions share of the driving with my mother taking on, white knuckled shifts, drinking coffee and eating chocolate.

My husband likes to do the majority of the driving on trips, making a point of it as he feels more comfortable in the drivers seat.  He can drive huge lengths with energy drinks and podcasts on his Ipad.  I end up taking on all the needs of everyone in the car such as food, drink, entertainment, DVD changes, etc  etc.   Doing this trip by myself means I do both roles.

Yet in the summer of '90 my friend Naomi and I traveled out to the west costs, down to the south west and back, well sort of back, but that is a story for another post.   We drove in shifts as needed.  Another friend Anna and I drove to Florida and back one summer as well.

I drive in big cities like Toronto with 14 lanes on the 401 coming in and out of the city.  I fear no traffic or map, with a pretty good sense of directions.   Occasionally I make wrong turns but nothing that can't be corrected as needed.   There was one time I ended up going the wrong way on a one way in Downtown Chicago but that place is a zoo.

So why does a trip across country with the boys eat at my confidence.   Driving with distraction is definitly a bit of a full contact sport, boys needing and fighting.  Who invented bunny ears to bug little brothers anyway.

Maybe this is another male female thing in my life.  I can only get the kids to stop fighting to a certain extent.  My husband can dominate them, if needed, and shut down just about any craziness.  That is another role he plays that will be missing on this trip.  Some times you just need good cop and bad cop to get the job done.  Maybe that is the root of the apprehension.  

So in these ways I prefer to be passenger than driver.  I prefer to be nurturer than enforcer.  While these may be where my dominance lie, that does not mean I can not play the other roles and do them well.  I have to remember that and embrace the chances to push those envelopes and balance my yin and yang.

However, Todd, we will miss you and thanks for all you do to balance this family.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Shake it up.

Lately folks have been going to a Herbalife shake club called Suite Leaf after hot yoga.   I went a few weeks ago for the first time on the recommendation of a yoga mate Rob.  Got a yummy chocolate shake that came with a lovely tea and an aloe shot.  The shakes are meal replacement protein formula packed with healthy stuff.  

My students had been talking about this last semester and how it helped them loose weight etc.   One student was dared by her mom to loose 20 lbs before graduation for a new wardrobe before she started her new job.   By the way, well done Samantha W., I bet the outfits are lovely. 

So I started going there a couple times a week just trying it out.  I don't really like the idea of being dependent on a diet plan and know that I need to respect portion control to succeed in the long run.  Yet the shakes are yummy, fast, and fill me up for a few hours.   I like the idea of something that is easy and allows me to get on to the next tasks of the day. Did I mention they have coffee flavors.... 

The ladies at the club are very lovely, taking the time to check on your progress and encourage you along.   Their plan requires you to have two shakes a day. This would entail eating breakfast.  Yet, for a while now I have been hard core on the 9:00am class after I drop the kids at school.  I have been strong at that time and it works well with my schedule.  I don't eat anything before class, however it is early in the morning so I am not hungry.  When I have eaten within two hours of class it usually ends badly with heart burn and other unhappy outcomes. 

Yet I know you are supposed to eat something first thing in the morning to get your metabolism going and the thought of a small shake sounded possible.  Maybe if I ate it early enough, I could do it and not have it backfire in the class.   I bought a small portion of the stuff and took it home.  

The last two mornings I have had a shake with about 1/2 the protein and meal replacement stuff as in a normal shake.  I have had it at about 7:30 am.  I also have been taking vitamins which normally I would not have remember to do.  So I am increasing the nutrients and getting some protein rich stuff in me early.   

The last two morning's hot yoga classes have been different than previous with a marked difference in energy and staying power.  I did not take breaks either day.  Strange, as I had gotten used to needing breaks.  I felt less fatigued during the class, and less hungry after.  While this only make sense, of course, the challenge was keeping food down during the class.  So these shakes were quickly absorbed so that I easily used the energy in the class and did not have trouble with digestion.    

So far so good, we will see.  I am looking at this as another tool in my process of health, flexibility and balance.   My husband has been eating protein each morning within  30 minutes of waking and it his helping him balance his cravings, energy and eating.   I hope this will also change my patterns up a little and if it also gives me more power on the mat I am all for it.   

Shake it up baby now...

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Road Trip to Yoga Buffet

A friend of mine described yoga as buffet of options.  I know that Sumit's theory is to do the same work out every day and get better and better.  But some times you crave a little different position, or something new.  I know in the past when I have tried other types that I am ready to go back to my routine when done with my wild side.

I am going on a Hot Yoga road trip.  Well not quite a road trip just for Hot Yoga, I am taking the boys to see the family on both my husband and my sides.  It will be a round trip of about 2000 miles.  Just me and the kids.  To keep my cool I will take hot yoga classes in as many places as possible.  The reality is you can find classes in so many cities these days. With the help of my friend and family, watching the kids, I hope to get some time to keep my exercise routine going.  Thanks in advance.

The first stop will be Kalamazoo where I will try the intentional yoga studio.  This is the only one in Kalamazoo so it is pretty easy picking it out.  I imagine I will get to do one class there as I will only be in the zoo for two days.    The studio used be a Sumit when it first opened but has gone it's own way.  I will be really curious to see if the routine is different.

Second stop will be Toronto where I will have my choice of literally over 100 studios specializing in every type of yoga.  There are various chain yoga brands as well as many independent places.  I can choose from Bikram to exclusive studios that go for over $100 a class.    There seems to be some places that combine Chinese medicine, massage, acupuncture, and even natural food with the hot yoga offerings.  My goal is to try at lest two or three different types during the stop in Toronto.

A couple that look interesting include the Hot Yoga Wellness center which has aerial yoga where you do yoga hanging from silk cords.  This helps to decompress the spine apparently.  Sounds like a scene out of a pink video.  Another one is Iyashi Bedrock Spa where you do your yoga on 44 degree slabs of rock.  That one makes me think I should see Wilma and Betty come in with Mats over their backs.   I will keep you posted on what I can get to. Toronto is a big city, parking sucks and is expensive, and I have to balance my kids needs too.

Lastly, will be the suburbs of Indianapolis.  There seems to be a place called HTL Yoga that offers a variety of hot yoga classes.  They even offer something called Paddle board yoga.  I will hopefully have the chance to take one yoga class during that stop.

By the time I get back I will be craving the routine of Sumit's classes and the familiar faces of my instructors in my home town. I will keep you posted along the way with you adventures.  We will see if Hot Yoga can balance the joys and stresses of seeing family and friends and driving cross country with kids. Wish us luck.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Jump, Jump Up and Get Down

This was a great and crazy weekend.  Had my son Jordan's birthday party Saturday during the day and my birthday party Saturday night going to see one of my favorite bands 'Dirtfoot'.   Great fun funky gypsy swamp grass funk if you can imagine.  Check them out on pandora etc. as they are wonderful.

The band came on later in the evening and I had already had several drinks and a lovely dinner with friends.   I started dancing, as you can't not dance to dirtfoot.   I was dancing for a while when my shoes started to bug me a little.  Now my feet history has been kind of sorted.   Had plantar fascistic for several years, weak ankles, easily and frequent swelling of the feet etc...   Yet I remember when I was young and I used to dance bare foot for hours and feel no pain.   At 44 not so much...

So I took my shoes off and set them aside by the bar and started to dance.   I notice right off that boy did I ever have some hops.   I was jumping straight up into the air landing and doing it again and again.  OK I am sure that the lovely drinks friends were buying me may have helped a little, but I know there is no way on earth I could have done this 6 months ago.  I dance for the better part of three hours this way, jumping and moving to this fantastic music.

We headed home around 1:00 and got a short night sleep before farther's day fun the next morning.  I was feeling the drinks some, as I really don't do that often.    Yet I felt no pain in my feet, legs, back etc... In fact I felt pretty darn good having gotten my suppressed boogie out.  

In the Hot Yoga routine there are several movements that have accounted for this great foot health.  One is a sequence they were you go up on your toes and lower down like you have a wall behind you. You take about 10 second to slowly lower down about half way and then hold it there. You keep pressing up on your toes to strengthen the arch.   I do this one each time knowing it is essential to foot health. I don't wear heals at all,so this is always a rather difficult for me.  Yet I had not realized how wonderful it was until I went dancing without shoes.  I may have come away with Dirtfoot, but boy did I have some strong dirty feet and calves.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Women's health stuff. WARNING

Do not read this if you are a person who is embarrassed, put off, unaccustomed, or in any way uncomfortable with talk about things like Aunt Flow, the Monthly Monster, Elevated Thermal Experiences, Hot Flashes, Uterus, Ovaries, etc...  Turn back now and I will not be offended.

To those that have continued on in this reading here is some wonderful results of a medical situation. Like many women I have had issues with fibroid and cysts.  Fibrosis have been present at least since my first son.  A couple of years ago my period, which had been spot on every 28 days, went crazy.  It disappeared for months on end and then came every other week for a while. The intensity of many were quite concerning.  So I went to a specialist that recommended ultrasounds every 6 months to monitor the situation.  We found a bunch of cysts on the ovaries and the fibroid hanging steady in size.   I knew I was not ovulating on time.  I could tell everything was off. I just did not want to be one of those women in their forties that find out they are 7 months pregnant.

Then there was the elevated thermal experiences  the ETE's for short.  At night or when having alcohol, they came on with  intensity and required time or submersion in the pool to get the heat out of me.   So I figured the beginning of menopause was upon me.   I was ready to get rid of the Monthly Monster.  Enough of that for the love of God.  I am not having any more children.

So then I started Sumit Hot Yoga.  I have  not had a hot flash since the first month of starting hot yoga.  My period has returned to its 28 day regularity for three months running. I am again aware of my ovulation.  As of this ultrasounds, I have no cysts, just a couple of good looking follicles as should be happening.   My biggest fibroid, that has been there for over 10 years has actually shrunk.  Yes, you read it right.   Shrunk.    YAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

Now I am very excited to say that I feel that this is due to the detoxification of the hot yoga process.  While I will be very happy when Aunt Flow no longer comes around, it seems that 44 is not the point at which that will happen for me.   I certainly do not want any more babies, however I am actually quite excited to see my body working on cycle.  I feel linked with Mother Earth and on the path of healing.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Weight of Ego and Expectations

So this class we had that wonderful visiting instructor for Arizona again, Kim.  She really helps you work harder and harder with all the moves.  She also says some good stuff to keep your meditation on track.  I have to admit my focus was rough today, as I am dealing with some feelings about sick loved ones that I hate to see struggle.

Today she said "The heaviest thing you are going to carry in this class are ego and expectation."  She was talking about how your ego sits on your shoulder and heckles you saying, your not good enough and you suck etc...  The little monster of self doubt questioning your self worth.  She laid down another little gem that really worked as well.  She was referring to a new student in class named Dan.  She said that when Dan dies his grave stone may say "He raised wonderful children, was good to people, was non-violent, and ... he never did get that standing forehead to knee posture right however."   This  brings it home to the thought of leaving your ego and expectations out of it.

She also concluded the class with a great poem, I wish I had a copy of it.  The gist of it was:
 "If you are nice, people may be mean to you, but be nice anyway.  If you are vulnerable people may take advantage of you, be vulnerable anyway.  If you are gentle people may be rough with you, be gentle anyway.  If you are generous people may take from you, give anyway.  At the end you realize that it has never been between you and the other people it has always been between you and yourself and god."  

The moral of the story is "Do good for the sake of good, be nice for the sake of niceness, be gentle for the sake of gentility, give for the pleasure of giving."  

Leave ego out of it.  Let yourself be.  Love unconditionally.   Tall order, but all we can do is stand up, look in the mirror and love what we see in ourselves and others.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Using the practice to focus on an issue.

I have not written for a couple of days.  I was trying to figure out why I have been kind of agitated.  Just easy to anger with something low down bugging me that I could not identify.  Kind of like road rage just under the surface.  So this morning my instinct was to think to skip yoga and go to work getting some of my stress out by checking things off the list.  I fought that feeling and made myself go to Yoga anyway.   I knew it would help, if nothing else balancing me for a few hours.   

The guest instructor, Kim from yesterday's class, who was fantastic by the way, stated that the yoga class is your 80 moving meditation.   You should use the entire time as a moving meditative process separate from all others in the class, focusing on you.   Many instructors suggest you have a purpose in your head at the beginning of the class.  What you are trying to focus on or accomplish.  I decided to figure out why I was in a funk.   

I figured it out during a break where I skipped the first flow.  I had worked really hard on the standing series starting to grab lower on my leg to make a stronger bow.  I realized that my funk is related to my oldest son Jordan.  Jordan is turning 10 tomorrow along with me turning 44.  We share a birthday and a heart.  They say that once you are a parent your heart walks without you outside your body in these little children.  They are right.  So my funk is related to my Jordan's social concerns.  I know kids can be mean and weak willed and easily succumbing to pressures seen and unseen.  

Jordan is brilliant, funny, determined, small, cute and easily hurt by injustice.  He brings a certain % of this on himself by his reactions to things.  Yet he also is the victim of mean kids that enjoy getting him upset.  I experienced this as a child as well so I know where he is at.  Yet I also know with an adults mind and experiences that I am a better person today for everything I have experienced, giving me perspective, compassion, individuality, and courage.  

I am planning Jordan's party for this weekend.  I remember that feeling of wondering if people will come, who will show up,  if it will be fun.  Now as a parent I have those same concerns.  Will the kids he likes come.  He has some wonderful friends that always come through.  They are not necessarily from his school.   Will the school friends he admires come through?

Each school year we have to help the new administration and teachers know about the past relationships and goings on.   Summer school is the start of that and I forgot.  I did not take the time to meet with everyone and get the ground rules set up.  He has a new principles, third time in four years, and new teacher.  

My frustration was from feeling helpless to ease his way through this maze that is youth.  So in the yoga class I realized all this.  I accepted what was bugging me and I came to the realization that what I must do, is do as my parents did.  Let him know how amazing he is and that we unconditionally love him for who he is.  Help him with the glimpse that when you grow up and get through those tough growing up years, you get to create your own life and world without the people that bring you down and with those that you love.   

This stage is hard and temporary.  Jordan told me he asked his teacher if he could be moved to a new desk as the kids at his table are bugging him.  His teacher told him no, that it was too late into summer school to make changes.   Jordan said it might be good for him to learn how to ignore these kinds of people.   It sounded like his teacher suggested that.  Jordan went on to say that they don't do that many things at their desk and when they did have to work together to build a bridge it went well.   He said he told them what to do and they all did it.  I giggled at this knowing his love of physics.   

While I see his point, I will be visiting the school tomorrow to bring cupcakes for his classroom.  I will also stop by and give the new team a little background to help Jordan as I can. I guess I get to engage something uncomfortable and try to bring some balance to help that heart walking around in my almost 10 year old son's body.      Happy Birthday Jordan.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Stature and attitude show through.

So today's post has to do with an interesting combination of self perception and stature. Take a look at these two pictures.  Taken a year apart at the Wakarusa Music Festival. It was taken during an event called The Chompdown, which is a communal breakfast at which I work at the Bloody Mary booth, thus the lovely apron.  This kilt wearing gentleman comes for a Bloody Mary and donates great ingredients each year.

The point of this comparison is to show the difference is stature and attitude. In the first picture I am humbly tucking into the picture, almost amazed that he agreed to the picture. Rounded shoulders showing a person that is happy to be in the picture but also apologetic at the same time.  The second picture I am in the picture as an equal.  Standing strong and tall.  I did not plan any of this.  I just decided to do a comparison for weight alone.  

So the change is in one of both physical change and attitudinal change.  The weight drop is obvious as well but no where near as profound as the shift in the person herself.  Sweet!  Looks like I am beating back the fears of lack of confidence and bad self image with each stretch and breath.  Good Lassie. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Comfortable yet?

Today I got to take my Yoga class with Sumit himself as the teacher.  He is a strong Indian gentleman with great flowing hair and a fantastic posture.  He radiates strength, patience and control. I had taken one class with him early in my Hot Yoga practice.  It was hard but I was just struggling to get the routine back then.   Sumit is in town doing training for new Yoga Instructors. 35 new instructors are being trained for locations through the country.  

This class was hard but wonderful. He really pushed you a little longer in some positions and a little deeper in some holds.  He is the master of this practice, the man behind the machine of Sumit Hot Yoga.  He choose the positions and the sequencing.  

He said something during this class that was very interesting.  "Sometimes you need to feel uncomfortable in yoga ... and in life."  This was said during a particular gruesome forward bend.  Wow.  If that is not counter to our every day striving.  We are always trying to keep things comfortable, orderly, sequenced, checking them off the list to try to find calm and comfort.   We organize our environment trying to control all contingencies to keep it comfortable.  Do we actually ever really reach it? 

Think about it.  When was the last time you just allowed yourself to feel uncomfortable about things.  This really resinated with me after the mudarusa experience.  Nothing comfortable about walking in stinky mud.  I chafed against the situation and did not fine peace in the uncomfortableness of it all.  I would have enjoyed the music more if I could have given in to the lack of comfort. Maybe the mudwookies had it right, embracing the mud and just allowing themselves to frolic.    

This pictures is from Wakarusa's office page.  I did not dare bring my phone/camera with me into the mud most days. Captures the Mudwookies well.  

In relationships we strive for everything to be comfortable, secretly disliking the heavy uncomfortable discord that goes with working out troubles and fighting for friendships.  Maybe we even label those people around us that drag discord with them, like pig pen, as annoying or disturbing. Maybe like yoga we can gather strength by hanging out on the outer edge of our comfort zones gaining wisdom and reflection, testing our strength, patience and control.  Hmmmmm.  

Strength and Flexibility = Balance.  Maybe greater flexibility in real life can help in this equation too.  At the same time no point in driving one crazy all at once.  Lets just see how we react to the next uncomfortable situation.   Its your mission if you wish to accept it.  Report back if you dare.   

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Art of Community

Before leaving for Wakarusa I went to Michaels to get glow sticks.  All things are better with glow sticks.   On my way to the restrooms I noticed they had their canvas sales on.  7 Canvases for $14,99.  Each canvas was 12 inch square.  I also noticed the sharpies near by.   Well the idea stuck and I went for it.  I got a set of 12 sharpies with paint brush tips and a few more accent colors not in the kit.   I figured I would put them on the table in camp and let people go nuts.  Well it worked.  

We started the festival with two canvases and people did small drawings of things happening.  Slowly those got busy and more came out.  Sunday night pretty much every inch of space had been filled by over 100 people.  One of the panels became a signature page where people put messages or left their mark. Friends. Contributors, Artists, Musicians. Poets, They all stopped by and were intrigued by the project. 

Strangely with the mud we stuck closer to camp this year.  People stopped by visiting each others camp and sharing hospitality of snacks, drinks, tunes and stories.  The canvases made their way around the people with little details filling in.  The paint brush sharpies were wonderful.  They just kept going.  Seriously used them to extreme.  

I got kind if fixated on them to be honest.  Spending a bunch of time working on them. Enjoy. 

These pictures turned us all into artists, children, and critics.  I guess you can take my kids out of the scene but you can't take the mom out of me. Juice boxes anyone?  


What a time.   Wow. Wakarusa this year was a great but very different experience.  I did get to relax and recharge the batteries. I will probably share several posts about this wonderful time. I will share with sarcasm and joy. I did have a fantastic time with challenges adding to the fun.

Going through something like we did this time is a wonderful thing that takes you to your edge on many levels.  This was the year of the mud, rain, tornado storms, mud, rain, smell, sharpies art, oh did I mention mud and stank, real terrible smells.

I know my nose is on overdrive from yoga, but really wow.  Just wow.  20000 people, mud, and hay smashed into mud... wow.  The people were not the worst of it.  The waist, the rain and mud was out of this world.  

It started raining about an hour after I got there and rained and rained hard.  That was Wednesday night, Thursday and into Friday morning.  By Friday it was mud up to the ankles of various consistencies.  Many people had mud boots.  I did not.  I now have an item I will add to my camping list.  Mud boots.  I don't even own mud boots.  But I will soon.   Good treads,  I am on it.    The shows continued in the venues that had coverage.  The rain continued to make mud and the people continued to dance in the mud.  It was like a scene from exodus. Movement of the people.  Making bricks for Egypt's monuments to their kings and gods.   

Then Friday night the stages stopped around 12:30 and we prepared for the real Storm heading our way.  It had already touched down in Oklahoma City and up north several places closed to home like Wentsville, St Charles, and St. Louis.  We were lucky to be in the woods with tree coverage.  Trees slow down the wind, as long as they don't fall, that is.  The big open field in front of us that housed the majority of the campers, was like the community below deck on the titanic, tying things down and hoping for the best.  They then started chanting and having fun like at a baseball game taking turns cheering on their areas.    

The storm hit at about 2:30.   Those that had not ran for their cars or tents were hanging under an easy up.  It was lowered to the bottom and staked in well.   We hung out listening to the wind and watching the waves of rain until each of us hit our level of, well that is enough, and headed for shelter.  The worst of it lasted for about 45 minutes.  And then it rained till about 9:00 am.   There was minimal damage, mostly easy ups laying around like dead spiders their legs in the air, practically twitching at the sky.   Later people piled up those easy ups making art out of destruction .

This did however add about another 5 inch's of rain to our mud.  Yup.  More mud.  They brought in hay and let us further stomp that into the mud.   The smell only amplifying with the hay.  For once I was questioning this new found sense of smell.  It should have buttons like the side of my iPhone.  Full on smell at the top and hippie festival level right near the bottom.  

Mudarusa 2013. I found I am not all that into mud at this point. I am not talking about a mud mask or exfoliate scrub.  I mean walking through the stuff until your hip flexes scream, mud. I am officially over mud. I missed much opportunity to see music because I could not slosh through it again.