EDTC300, Learning Project

Full-Bodied and Fragrant with a Long Finish

via GYPHY

You might think I’m referring to wine but no, these adjectives describe my experience learning to “yoga” these past few months. Other descriptors that apply well are “earthy”, “soft”, “spicy”. I think after I finish this wrap up post of my learning project, I’ll head over to our little liquor store and find a wine that fulfills those qualities!

Funny aside – Our liquor store here in Haines Junction is in the same building as our motor vehicles office. Yup, drinking and driving all mashed together in one place! you walk in the same doors and on one side of the room are all the appropriate “Drive Responsibly!” posters and with a slight turn of the head, you see the latest “Drink Responsibly!” Small towns can be such odd little places!

Until I find that perfect wine, I’d like to propose a toast to yoga and all that it’s taught me so far, to me for diving in and going for it, and to you, my readers, (of course, I couldn’t leave you out!) for being a part of the journey with me.

To Yoga

Thank you yoga, for being that act of physicality that didn’t whisper “you can’t do this, you’re too fat, out of shape, and undisciplined”. I’ve appreciated the acceptance. And even better, the increased self-acceptance you have facilitated in me.  A special mention, of course, to Curvy Yoga, who whispered all kinds of beautiful, affirming and soul repairing words to me.

Thank you yoga, for gently nudging me when I’m avoiding my physical body. Thank you for being the matchmaker, introducing me to my body in new ways. We’ve begun (my body and I) a fledgling relationship that I feel pretty sure will grow into a mature, sensitive and caring bond.

Thank you yoga, for reminding me as I’ve journeyed along, what learning feels like. And why scaffolding lessons is important and that sometimes learning uncovers our insecurities and that we need to have gobs of empathy for ourselves and others. And thank you for reteaching me the idea that we are body, soul and spirit and that learning, really great learning, has an impact in all those areas!

To Me

Thank you. Thank you for picking a learning project that took you out of your comfort zone; there were easier choices but you embraced something that pushed you. I’m really proud of how you didn’t just “get it over with” but also took the time to be reflective about the impact it was having on you and you made some great connections. Way to go!

To You

To you, who’ve been a part of my yoga adventure, thank you!!! So many delicious words came my way, whether here in the comments, or on my Facebook. Such yummy words of acceptance that cheered me on! Each of you modelled a quality so fundamentally necessary in the world of learning. Encouragement. We all need it, everyone of us. And you gave it so freely. Thank you!

So raise your glass with me, (we’ll pretend we have wine in it for now)…

TO YOGA, TO ME and TO YOU. Cheers!

(seriously tho’, doesn’t just seeing Betty White, anywhere, doing anything, just bring a smile to your face!?!?) via GYPHY

As always,

Keep learning,

Dianna

 

 

 

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EDTC300, Learning Project

Just Keep Yoga-ing, Just Keep Yoga-ing!

I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that my semester in EDTC300 is almost over! And that means I’m almost at the end of my Learning Project. The post after this, you can expect a wrap up of my learning in this project but until then I have one more post to share about my yoga-ing journey!

via GYPHY

This time it’s not about yoga and my body but rather about yoga and my mind and my spirit. Let’s start with…

My Mind

I have experienced depression and anxiety for most of my life. And yet my profile on Twitter reads,

I laugh loud and long and love cheering people on in their learning and their lives! My students think I’m outrageous and I like it that way!

So how is this also my reality? Counselling and medication. Counselling and medication. Repeat, as needed.

  1. Counselling has and continues to help me untie the knots that inevitably occur in my soul. Sure, I can untie a lot of knots myself now, but life continues to throw curve balls at us all, and at least for me, I sure appreciate getting a fresh perspective and wisdom from someone wiser than myself.
  2. Medication gives me the opportunity to live life from a level playing field. Life is challenging but with my particular brain chemistry, without my meds, I feel as though I’m living life from a ditch; everything is that much harder. I am sooo thankful that I live in a time where the shame of struggling with mental health is not what it used to be. I feel the same way about my need to take meds, as I felt about my grandma taking her insulin. Grateful. Period.

And now I can add yoga to my toolkit for being healthy mentally. Physical exercise is a tried and true tool for dealing with anxiety and depression that I have struggled to incorporate into my life for a number of reasons (in another post I’ll share about my total ankle replacement!). Yoga, and specifically Curvy Yoga, gives me the opportunity to get moving and activate all those great endorphins that contribute to great mental health.

My Spirit

I am a spiritual person. It’s a huge part of who I am. I identify as a Christian, which is somewhat problematic these days because I’m not in agreement with what a segment of Christians adhere to as critical to their faith. For me, being a Christian means Jesus is my rubric. If I want to live in such a way that “exceeds expectations” then He’s who I look to as THE exemplar. And ultimately he’s the one I’ve derived my k.i.s.s. mantra from. When he arrived on the scene he called out the religious leaders on how complicated they had made the spiritual life and said, “you’ve missed the point folks. It’s about LOVE. That’s the big idea” That’s it. LOVE. Now that doesn’t mean that he or I don’t acknowledge that faith, hope, justice, mercy aren’t important. But they are by products of the big idea, LOVE. They happen because people choose LOVE.

So what does this have to do with yoga? Well, there is a segment of people in Christianity who would be disapproving or at least concerned, that I, as a Christian, have embraced yoga, in spite of yoga’s spiritual roots in Hinduism.

Well, rather than threaten my faith as a Christian, yoga has been another area where I am experiencing LOVE. It has opened another door for me to experience LOVE flowing through me which ultimately means it’ll spill out of me. Loving others and loving ourselves happen in tandem and yoga has been a practical bridge for me to cross from my over-emphasis of loving others to a more balanced place of loving myself as well.

So there it is,

via GYPHY

For my body, mind and spirit.

Keep learning,

Dianna

EDTC300, Learning Project

Coming Home To My Body

Have you ever started something because you know there is value in it and then become pleasantly surprised when you actually start craving it?

That’s what drinking water has become for me. It’s my one healthy habit. At least it used to be my one and only. Now I think I may be developing another one!

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via GYPHY

Yup. It happened. I actually craved doing yoga. I know, I’m surprised too! Let me explain.

Yesterday I was at low ebb. I had no spark. My brain was mushy and tired and a little sad. And in the midst of it, a little, wee, niggle of a thought whispered into my soul, “you could do some yoga.” At the time, I was sitting in one of our classrooms after school, unsuccessfully trying to get some classwork done. But, in response to that thought, I stopped, opened up a session of Curvy Yoga, turned off the lights, and did 15 min. of yoga. OH YES! I DID!

via GYPHY (Kid President is everything!)

My observations? It helped. It shifted something in me. Nothing mind blowing or crazy big, but I felt less at odds with myself. A little more settled. It was another confirmation for me of the fact that, for much of my life, my body and I have not been on the same page. Rather than being intimately connected, we’re merely acquaintances who give each other barely the time of day. And so, it’s encouraging for me that in a small way I experienced that tug to do yoga and I responded to it. In essence, I acknowledged my body and welcomed it into the process of me dealing with my “low ebb”. It’s a beginning, at least, to becoming more connected and healthier.

Not only do I think this is super important for me personally, but also, you guessed it, for my students. Gaining understanding about my own sense of disconnectedness and how to “come home” to my body makes me aware that many of the kids I spend time with struggle with the same thing and will benefit from empathy and guidance. I love that as an educator I have the opportunity to teach beyond “reading, writing, and arithmetic” to mindfulness, self regulation, and growth mindset (to name a few) in order to support students in their growth.

This learning project has been a great opportunity for me. Seriously, it’s something I’d encourage anyone who feels stuck in a rut, to embark on. Pick something to learn, give yourself a timeline, and reflect on what you experience in the process. How do you choose to learn? How do you handle frustration? or setbacks? Do you have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset? Do you embrace the process or find yourself eager to just get it done? Your reflections will give you such insight about yourself and fodder for continued growth! Because, as usual, I want us all to,

Keep learning,

Dianna

 

 

EDTC300, Learning Project

Curvy Love

Dianna mounts soapbox…

Hush falls over the crowd…

In this crazy North American society where media incessantly bombards every girl about what it means to be considered “beautiful”, it’s no wonder that we struggle with loving our bodies! The sheer volume and pervasiveness of this messaging is staggering! And while there have been notable exceptions like the Dove campaign released in 2006 (seeking to address their findings in 2004 that worldwide only 2% of women would describe themselves as beautiful), the continued barrage of what it means to be “beautiful” seems to continue somewhat unfettered!

Enter – Me. Curvy Me. Weightful (rather than overweight) Me. Fluffy Me. The “Me” that is thankfully 50 years old and has a little more wisdom and a lot less desire to fit into that “beauty” mold. The “me” that seeks to, over and over and over and over, whisper, shout and chat with my students, of any gender, that WE ARE ALL BEAUTIFUL!

Let’s be honest though. I haven’t always felt this way. I’ve struggled against this tidal wave of what is considered “beautiful” a long time. And although I could spend time telling you about all the diets and crazy things I’ve done to shove myself into that idea, I want to tell you about some things (from more recent to less recent) that has helped me step off that crazy merry-go-round.

  1. Attend a Nigerian Wedding

Okay you full-figured beauties, if you are struggling at all with your extra fluff and loving yourself, CRASH A NIGERIAN WEDDING! I didn’t crash one but I had the privilege of attending one and WOWSA! I found my people! Big, gorgeous, rounded bodies full of love and fully loved. I may or may not have mocked all my skinny girlfriends as I danced my heart out among my people…

Of course I did!!!

via GYPHY

Our idea of what is gorgeous is so narrow. Look around the world, past our North American mindset, and you will see cultures who love their women full and squishy! Samoans, Kuwaiti, Bahamians, the list goes on. Those beautiful Nigerian men and women taught me a valuable lesson that day, I am beautiful. Period.

2. Go to the mall

Not one of those chic-chic (pronounced shhee-shhee) malls where everyone dresses up and does their make up to go there. No, go to your local mall where you’ll find a pretty accurate representation of the world you live in. Sit down and people-watch. When I did this in my twenties, what did I see? I saw me. I saw you. I saw big and small, short and tall, wide and thin, little miss one chin, little miss two chin. It’s a veritable Dr. Seuss book out there! It’s liberating. It continued a process in my soul that had me pushing back at the images of “pretty” I was buying into and creating my own reality, based on the world around me. The real world.

3. Believe your bestie

As a full-bodied teen in the Yukon, when my bestie, K.P. and I, said these words to each other, they went deep. “You know, if people could see us on the inside, they would see how amazing and beautiful we are!”. There was something so powerful about us verbalizing our truth. We knew we were beautiful. Maybe people couldn’t always see it because of their own misguided ideas. But we knew it at some level and that never left me. And to this day, she is one of the most beautiful people I know. She radiates it.

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My all time favourite pic of us!

And so here I am Fat, Fabulous and Fifty and happier than I was at my skinniest.

OKAY! OKAY! OKAY! I can hear those of you out there cringing at all this crazy self acceptance and saying, “BUT IT’S NOT HEALTHY BEING FAT!”

You’re right. It’s not. I agree. But I also know hating myself has never motivated me to exercise and eat better. Trying to look like an impossible standard of skinny didn’t either. But loving myself enough, celebrating myself enough, to pursue being healthy – now that is motivating.

Perfect segue into my learning post for this week! Below is a pic of a great tool called Videonot.es that I used while previewing one of my Curvy Yoga videos. Just copy your videos URL, load it into this extension and viola! Start taking notes alongside the video! Super cool way to learn.

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And this video was all about what I need to hear, what we all need to hear. Gentle reminders to connect with myself, be kind to myself, take care of myself. Check this session out, it’s so affirming!

That’s it. I’m stepping off my soapbox. Thanks for listening. And hey, go be nice to yourself k? Because you are beautiful.

Keep learning,

Dianna

EDTC300, Learning Project

“Chunky” Yoga it is!

So my dog Charlie is in on the act.

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The yoga act. I’m not sure if he’s cheering for me, emulating me, or trying to save me from what he thinks is my destruction! Here we are just as I’m finishing up another session of “Curvy Yoga” (note what my husband calls it)

via YouTube

So “Chunky Yoga” it is. I’m not offended; I’m just relieved they think it looks like yoga!

There’s not much to share about my progress thus far – it’s going well enough that I think I’ll increase the length of my sessions this next week. Baby steps work well for me.

But what I can reflect on is wrestling with YouTube and trying to get rid of the annoying ads that appear at the end. So far, no luck, and embedding my videos any other way will require me to upgrade my WordPress account to a paid account. And while I could do that, I like free, so I’ll continue to look for other ways to post ad free videos. I’m open to ideas if you have any!

For now, I’ve MADE A GYPHY! Too fun – enjoy!

via GIPHY

As always,

Keep learning,

Dianna

EDTC300, Learning Project

Proof Of Yoga-ing

It’s true, I’m still yoga-ing!

yo-ga-ing – (verb) – to do yoga in an amateur but delightful manner

Now the challenge is how I capture myself in the act and document it for ya’ll, because I’m not willing to take photos of myself in compromising positions, in my pajamas! So instead…

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…here’s what it looks like each morning before I head off to work. I play my Curvy Yoga (my 14 year old mistakenly called it “Chunky Yoga” 😂) on my iPad, with the lights dim and get all bendy and yoga-ie…

yoga-ie – (adv) – having the appearance of yoga-ing

…while my family still snoozes. Sweet quiet and alone time. Remember, I’m a newbie, so forgive the presence of coffee. This is my reality. If I’m going to drag my butt out of bed early to do yoga, I need my coffee, even if just for moral support. I promise I do drink water as well, but that comes after those first few, life-infused sips of the java. I would make a good Coffee Evangelist, I dare say.

giphy4

via GYPHY

My yoga routine is such a small act at this point. I’m deliberately keeping the sessions short and sweet to combat my tendency to take on more than I can realistically incorporate into my life. I’d rather experience consistent small successes that I can build on, than make big goals that I have to abandon and feel disappointed about. (Note to self – remember that when planning for students, I need to scaffold the learning in such a way that students consistently feel success and remain motivated moving forward.)

I have to say that I am enjoying my learning project more than I expected. Although I have chronically struggled with a sense of disconnection with my body, I’m getting brief, shadowy glimpses of what feeling connected is like and am starting to see how valuable this can be for me in many areas.

I’m curious. Have you ever felt disconnected from your physical body? How does or did that look in your life? If you’re someone who has worked through this, what helped you to begin to feel at home in your body?

Have a great day all and

Keep learning,

Dianna

EDTC300, Learning Project

Avoidance 101

Who knew that deciding to do yoga for my learning project for EDTC300 would be so… horribly enlightening? Well, let’s be honest, my counsellor probably knew, but I, naively, thought that this would be a wholesome endeavour with the help of my curvy teachers at “Curvy Yoga”, and I would blithely “namaste” my way through this project.

But no. Even in spite of having a “get ‘r done” mantra in place, my avoidance techniques have have once again proven to be “Olympic-like” in their tenacity and ability to convince me to, well, …. avoid.

giphy1

via GIPHY

(what avoidance looks like in my life!)

And while I have been extending kindness to myself and not beating myself up for once again falling prey to these avoidance strategies so deeply ingrained in me, I’m also not willing to let myself off the hook either.

What does that mean? I guess it means that this learning project has become bigger, in a sense, than “learning yoga”. Yes, I’ll continue to learn yoga but I also want to reflect on “avoidance” and how that manifests in my life. And I’m inviting you into that process.

On a very practical level, I am doing some yoga and the folks at Curvy Yoga are brilliant. Anna Guest-Jelley has a super manner and it’s evident she really gets what it means to be a full figured person trying to do yoga. I love this,

When I first started practicing yoga nearly 20 years ago, I was almost always the biggest person in the room. So when the teacher would say something like “put your belly on your thighs in this forward bend,” I would think “Ummm, I don’t really need to move to do that. Does anyone else? – Anna Guest- Jelly

This is my sister from another mister! She gets me! Deeper than that, Guest-Jelley talks about the adversarial and disconnected relationship she’s had with her body and how practicing yoga has helped her “come home” to her body. This speaks to me right where I’m at.

Why the avoidance in this area for me? Because although I’ve come a long way in really appreciating the woman I have become (I’m fabulous, truth be told), I recognize that I still have a long way to go to appreciate the physical part of who I am. It’s not that I hate my body, it’s more that I ignore it.  And now I’m realizing that yoga forces me to spend time with that part of me, my body, that I’m basically a stranger to and uncomfortable with. Hmmm, so much to ponder and grow in…

Wait, there’s more! In the midst of this learning project I also want to reflect on what this means for me as an educator.

It hasn’t escaped me that I am experiencing the same things that any one of my students may be feeling any given day! Desperately uncomfortable and motivated to avoid the challenges in front of them! My “EMPATH-O-METER” is getting a tune up as I struggle through my own learning.

giphy2

via GYPHY

So today? My job as a I support the students?

  • Remember how it feels to be “stuck”, “intimidated”, “unmotivated”, “uncomfortable”
  • Provide them the space to explore what the underlying causes are
  • Give them the tools to keep trying and then cheer them on in making valiant attempts in their learning!

So, off to work I go, I’ll chat with you soon!

Keep learning,

Dianna