Be a Fan.

Well this week has been one for the books in the wonderful world of sports here at the Jersey Shore.

I love watching my daughter cheer and my son play sports. 

I am a fan. A fan of all kids and young adults who play sports it does not matter what school or what town, county or "over the bridge" or "over the tracks". It is inspiring to watch them grow whether it is the same team or kids on the other team. I sit, watch, listen and observe. I am not a screamer. I am a fan. A fan of young athletes playing sports that THEY love. 

This is something that I have been wanting to write about for a very long time. How parents behave at grade school and high school sporting events.

I clearly remember the first time. Biddy basketball. My son was 7. He had the ball, hauling ass to the basket. A dad (who never cared for me for some reason) stood up, screamed at his son "GET HIM NOW" "GET THAT KID"!!! 

"That kid". Hmmmmmm..... I believe he knew his name VERY well. His eyes were bulging out of his head like he wanted to get on the court and take the ball himself. It's BIDDY basketball. Give me a f'in break you nut job. 

Soccer season. First year playing and it was a good one for my son. One comment on parent behavior:

Please do not speak poorly about 13 year old boys. They are children. It is immature, disrespectful and the parent ALWAYS finds out. 

A few weeks ago, I witnessed a few parents who were out of line and out of control at a 8th grade basketball game. The words, the actions and the behavior. Unreal. Another mom and I silently said "It's only 8th grade basketball, no one should behave like that". Two seconds later a head came in between the two of us and she stated "all parents act like this at games". Our reply; "not here".

This afternoon was another great game played by BOTH teams. Athletic, young, talented 8th grade boys coached by amazing, hardworking, giving, coaches. The boys played so hard on both teams. As I mentioned earlier, I enjoy watching how these boys have grown playing sports. They have been playing each other in hoops and baseball since they were little and it is wonderful to see how they have grown into young, talented teenagers. I always feel truly amazed and proud of the opposite team.

I usually sit alone. Today was one of those days. I sat on the bleachers with "fans" from the other team. This is what I heard:

"Jesus Christ Ref", "Oh my God he's holding". I will stop there.

hmmmmm.......We played a catholic school.  Enough said.

This week there was a local basketball game that my daughter was cheering at. Fortunately and unfortunately, I was not there. I wish I was there to watch my daughter, I am so glad I was not there to witness the inappropriate, immature behavior from parents in the stands from the away team. Another catholic school. (and people knock public schools) Don't get me wrong here. I went to catholic school pretty much my entire life.

My soon to be 16 year old daughter was completely in shock from what she witnessed. A grown man, getting thrown out of his sons basketball game??? Adults stomping their feet, yelling at the coaches, refs and KIDS!!! Adults yelling at kids that are not their own at a High School basketball game?? WTF is going on?

Is this how you want your children to behave when they are adults watching their kids play sports?

Remember, kids are a product of their parents. Monkey see. Monkey do.

We all want our children to succeed in school, sports, college and in life. If they are doing well in anything, it makes us feel proud and happy. Let us all behave like adults at sporting events and set a good example for our children; our future.

Of course I did some homework.

Here are The Top Ten Rules of Expected Parental Behavior by Rick Wolff's WFAN Radio Show, The Sports Edge

  1. Parents should be seen, but not heard. Blend in with the woodwork. Don't draw attention to yourself.
  2. If you have something to say, it should only be a positive phrase. It's simple.
  3. NEVER OPENLY CRITICIZE your kid and whatever you do, NEVER CRITICIZE somebody else's kid. 
  4. Please do not do a play by play of the game. Let the coaches coach.
  5. If you can't control your mouth, stand alone. 
  6. Refs are not there to be abused. 
  7. It's okay to applaud a nice play to the other team. We are trying to teach our kids to be good sports (I think) teach them to respect their opponents.
  8. Understand that YOU ARE A ROLE MODEL and they WILL follow your behavior.
  9. Give your kid a smile. Kids do look for parent approval. If you look like you are having a good time; so will they.
  10. If a coach or a ref tells you to calm down, take that seriously.

Let's all set good examples for our children by providing encouragement and support no matter what sport or activity they choose. We were their first teachers an we should remain the best teachers for the rest of their lives.

Be positve

Be calm

Be a FAN

Is SUKHA a "Real Yoga Studio"?

What makes a Yoga Studio Real?? Hmmmmmm....What exactly does that mean?

I am not really sure why anyone who truly practices yoga or even if they don't practice would ever say "It's not a real studio". 

What does that mean? 

SUKHA is located in St.Denis School in Manasquan and run through the Manasquan Recreation Program. The school was closed down last year due to low attendance. The Recreation Program leases the building to run the programs in the gymnasium and two very large classrooms. One of the classrooms has been converted into a "Yoga Studio". The business name is SUKHA. This is my business name; a legal business name, a real name. The size is perfect, it is relaxing, zen, quite, peaceful and no distractions. There are four walls, mats, blocks ,heat, Buddha, candles, music, TWO bathrooms,  and people. Amazing, real, fun, people.  Although to practice yoga,  none of this is required. That's the beauty of yoga. You can do it anywhere. Solo or not. And I encourage that!!

SUKHA and the Manasquan Recreation Program is making yoga affordable to the community. at a low drop-in rate of $12 per class. Does the affordable price mean it is not an authentic studio? Or is it because it is held in a classroom? I'm not sure. You tell me. So, of course I asked a few of my students, my friends, new friends that have been with me on this amazing journey since July. They practice with me 3-4 times a week. 

So what makes a studio "real"?

"The people make it real. There is comradery instead of competition. " says one yogi friend who has practiced at other studios and feels comfortable in the "non-intimidating setting at SUKHA". 

Comradery: "The spirit of friendship and community in a group who keep each other upbeat despite the difficulty of their circumstances".

"The space that yoga is practiced can be anywhere....outside in nature, a gym, a stage, a bedroom". The space doesn't matter because yoga is a physical and mental practice and a journey. "Real Yoga Studio" is just an aesthetic phrase that confines it to four walls and a sign outside"- says a yogi friend/teacher in training.

"A peace of mind...an ability to quiet my mind. A balance of mind and body. It allows me to learn how to focus.. Separate things in my mind. To figure out if they are even worth worrying about. I can do this at SUKHA. "Your classes and your personality have helped me find that". The other classes I have taken just feel like a "room to do yoga". Your classes have a warm, welcoming, and real feel". You make it personal. -Says another yogi/friend.

"I get so much from your dharma talks. Real, genuine. From your life's experiences and ours". You get your students involved, you print us quotes, you are funny, caring, genuine and you make mistakes. You are human. You fall, you laugh and you get back up. You inspire without even realizing it. You can't do crazy poses and you admit it. You sing, you dance, you cry (trying to hold it in). You let us be real. No judging. No competing. We are all growing together as we laugh our asses off, and that is the beauty of SUKHA and what makes it real". -Yogi/Friend since the beginning

So with all of the responses from my yogi students (that I can honestly call each one my friends) to my simple question "What makes a yoga studio real"? I will say that the comment made "why don't you practice in a "real studio" has baffled me. Who says that? In my opinion, not a true yogi or a very nice person. But I know that SUKHA is a place to practice yoga. A great space, through such a great program, in a great town, with amazing people. Come see for yourself. You won't know for sure what is real until you come check it out. 

You will be very surprised and maybe even put it on your list as a "real yoga studio".

Below are 7 Habits to Actually Practice Off the Mat. I encourage everyone to read these even if you do not practice yoga.

  1. Practice compassion and kindness.-Knock off judgmental ways, put an end to the rumor mill and hush up on gossip. Don't speak if it's going to hurt. Say hello to a stranger. Let go of destructive thoughts.
  2. Practice gratitude-Don't think about things that are missing in your life. Stop comparing yourself to friends or even strangers. You have family and love. You have time and health. You have yoga (in a real studio or not). Don't relish in what you are lacking. Announce what you are grateful for.
  3. Practice contentment-Find joy in any experience no matter how big or small. Appreciate how far you have come in life.
  4. Practice humility-You're no better than anyone who doesn't practice yoga. Be inspired by people who come into your life.
  5. Practice generosity-Treat others as you treat yourself on the yoga mat. Give with your heart and spirit. Be present. No anger. No jealousy. No hate. Jealousy, anger and hate are UGLY.
  6. Practice slowing down-No rush. Your outside world is a reflection of your inner world. Reduce your commitments. Prioritize your life.
  7. Practice smiling-So easy to do. Try it first thing in the morning when you look in the mirror. It helps you feel good and it looks AMAZING!! It can brighten someones day.

Take these habits with you. Practice them daily.

Be happy, Be healthy, Be strong

 

Parts of 7 Habits from Mind/Body/Green Article

 

 

Leap of Faith

This mornings dharma talk and play list hit me in so many ways. I laughed, the eyes teared up and I felt proud.

I am so grateful to all of my students/friends for practicing yoga with me and really understanding what it is all about.

Thank you Bob for writing this beautiful dharma and sharing it with all of us and putting a smile on our faces bright and early on a Sunday morning!

"Leap of Faith"

When I was “volunteered” to do a dharma my initial thought went to topics like BELIEF and  FAITH…maybe because yoga for me was a leap of faith. I thought of it like tofu or going vegan or becoming a democrat… surely good for you but a little too “out there” for me. Besides, it wasn’t a REAL workout like running or the spinning classes I do at the gym.

So I didn’t go looking for yoga. Instead it came after me! On days between runs or spin classes I would go to the club and use the equipment or workout in the fitness room when there was no class there.   Well one day MariBeth and her yogi’s took over my training room! I almost walked into the room because the lights were off but waited until the class was done so I could get a workout. She was still in the room and twisted my arm to try it, seriously twisted my arm!

So Chris and I gave it a try and the initial experience was clumsy and awkward…. but Maribeth made that seem okay (THANKS!).  Her guidance and encouragement kept me involved and it became a challenge to me as I saw small improvements and started to get it.  

So what I have come to believe is this:

I believe yoga is really good for me physically and spiritually

I believe yoga is a real workout

I believe yoga and I will be together for a long time

I believe MariBeth is a great instructor because she is true and authentic

I believe I will do a good headstand

I’m not ready to go vegan but maybe Hillary? Heck, maybe even Bernie!

So the music for this dharma kept bringing me to the FUN side of yoga. So I hope you enjoy CRASH,   HURT SO GOOD,  FREE FALLING and COLLIDE and that it reminds you that it is JUST YOGA!

The first song is my thank you to Maribeth for bringing this experience to my life.    

 

You’ve Got It-Bruce Springsteen

Adventure of a Lifetime-Coldplay

Crash into Me-Dave Matthews

Hurts So Good-John Mellencamp

Give a Little Bit-The Goo Goo Dolls

Free Fallin’-Tom Petty

Breakdown-Jack Johnson

Land of Hope and Dreams-Bruce Springsteen

Collide-Howie Day

7 Years-Lukas Graham

Gonna Fly Now-Bill Conti

The Scientist-Coldplay

Best Day of My Life-American Authors

 

Dharma Talk from a Dad to his little girl on her birthday.

Knowing for months my daughters 14th birthday would fall on a Thursday and that my dharma would be about daughters. Wednesday I decided to ask Woody (my x husband) to write the dharma for my class. Because if it wasn't for him; Kelsey would not be here. She is my love, my life, my soul, my energy and my best friend. So, here it is.......A dharma talk from a dad to his little girl on her birthday. 

Yesterday I spoke to my daughter Kelsey and she asked me if I was excited about tomorrow?  I asked her what she meant and she said we get to celebrate the best day of my life. She was making a joke of course but she was right.  When I first laid eyes on her I started to cry, she was my baby girl and she was perfect.  Kelsey was instantly a Daddy's girl and I was wrapped around her finger.  I could have not asked for a more incredible daughter, she is still perfect in my eyes.  She is 14 today and it is bittersweet.  I would love for her to still be my baby girl but I am so proud of the young woman she is becoming.   The joy I get from listening to her music in the car, going shopping or just getting ice cream is immeasurable.  We talk about pretty much everything, she is wise beyond her years and constantly makes me laugh.   

As a father to a daughter our instinct is that we have to protect them from the world (mostly boys).   Kelsey has taught me how strong a young girl can be when she is confident in herself and knows her self worth.  I know I can not protect her from the World and this still keeps me up some nights but I am confident Kelsey will handle everything that life throws at her.   

 

Kelsey,

I am not sure if you will read this but if you do remember I will always love you no matter what.  Also remember:

  • Use the gifts you have been given.

  • Treat your body with respect.

  • Spend your life with someone who loves you like I do.

99 lbs, 110 lbs, 120 lbs, 180, lbs, 160 lbs, 140 lbs..I have hit them all!!

Yep!!! I have been all of the above!!!  

 

My first real weight gain was my freshman year in college, coming home for Thanksgiving with the added 15 lbs from beer, pizza and all of the Ramen Noodles I could possibly eat.  One comment at a party motivated me to run the bleachers at St. John Vianney every day with my brother until it came off. Loosing the weight quickly and headed back to school I stayed motivated and started running. I began to realize that my weight was never going to be consistent and that I had to really work at it and watch what I put in my mouth and exercise daily. 

My second biggest, was pregnancy! Obviously. But I would have never thought that someone with my build could get so big!!! 180 lbs with both kids!!!  After my first, it took 6 months to come off. After my second, it took a long, long time. I was in a size 18 down to a 6 within one year. Still not the size I should be for my height and build.

I have been up and down with my weight since College.  Taking care of myself has always been a priority for me. My mother will still tell me that I started putting Oil of Olay on my skin since I was 2!!

The purpose of this post is to share that I have been all sizes in my adult life and it does not come easy. 

I am focused 

I am motivated

I am vain

I love food.

I do eat bad from time to time. (Did someone say PORK ROLL FRIES??)

I do drink alcohol occasionally.  (LOVE BEER)

I do yoga everyday 

I row for 10 minutes twice a week

I go on the stair climber twice a week for 10-20 depending how I feel. (I hate this machine) JK

I walk weather permitting

I ride my bike weather permitting

I do things I love to do. 

I am active. It is hard for me to sit still.

I don't sit or lay on the couch.

I don't watch TV

I am 105 lbs today and I could be 115 lbs next week. It all depends on what is going on with my body. I am not shy to say that I am going through menopause at the young age of 44. It started 2.5 years ago with the hot flashes and night sweats. It comes and goes. I refuse to let it change me mentally and physically. 

P.S-Obviously I am not a writer, and I am not trying to be something I am not.  Just sharing a few bits and pieces of ME! Big or Small