images.

Weekend 2 of Yoga Tree Teacher Training: Philosophy and the first of many weekends of Alignment. Friday evening began with the question: What is yoga?

There is no single definition of yoga. The Sanskrit word yoga means to yoke or join. It is a noun and verb. It is a unified state of mind, body and spirit with the absence of perceived separation of the three. Yoga is a process of creating awareness of ourselves by joining the physical, mental and spiritual by way of the breath. Us Westerners tend to think of yoga simply as the asanas or postures, but that is only one small aspect of yoga.

secrets_of_yoga

Yoga goes deeper than the physical, but here is a helpful list of the physical benefits: yogajournal.com/health/1634

Yoga promotes clarity and peace of mind. Yoga allows us to be more mindful; it is a process of self-discovery, which leads to self-mastery and self-realization. Everything we do can become yoga if it is done with mindfulness.

Last week, a teacher began class with: yoga teaches us to let go of images. We have an image of what our asanas looked like the day before and the day before yesterday and what we hope they look like tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. We are constantly attached to images whether in the past or future, but need to simply bring our focus to just today, to this room and to this current asana. Let go of those images you have of what they should look like. The perfect asana is the union of the mind and body in the present moment.

Easier said than done, but I think this is helpful for dealing with alopecia or any ailment. Letting go of images of the past and the images you hold for the future is a difficult task when trying to maintain positivity with this disease or any struggle in life. We’re conditioned to plan for the future and it seems our culture is programmed to believe that we’ll be happier when ________. (I often catch myself thinking, when my hair is long again, I’ll ________). So often we plan/hope for X, but then get Y. Yoga teaches acceptance of the unknown by bringing our awareness to the present moment… breathing and surrendering brings so much joy and peace.

Beautiful –

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35 on 34.

Completed day 35 of my 40 days of Bikram/Baptiste yoga on my 34th birthday!

I read that your skin regenerates itself every 35 days. I’m not sure if this also applies to your nails and hair, (but they are both just modified skin). It’s been about 6 weeks since I’ve eliminated dairy and gluten… turns out it’s not so bad. I’m seeing hair growth, so that’s very promising. However, pardon my language, but I do feel the need to say it once again: alopecia fucking sucks.

Yesterday I cried for the first time in awhile. For some reason I suddenly missed having long hair. I remembered my dad’s words: if someone asked if you’d trade all of your hair for two healthy babies, you’d do so without thinking twice. Without a doubt. So I gathered myself and snuggled with my healthy babies. I’m very fortunate. I have alopecia areata. I chose to shave my head. I have hair, it’s just not a full head of hair right now. Besides one insensitive comment from a total stranger, I have not been bullied because I have this condition – just the opposite, I’ve felt an abundance of support and love. I think about children/teenagers that struggle with this disease that have alopecia totalis or alopecia universalis. These conditions alone are so difficult and isolating, then throw the cruelty of their peers on top of that. My heart breaks when I think of their pain and suffering. A great non-profit if you are helping a child cope with alopecia: childrensalopeciaproject.org

I’m very new to the blogging world and didn’t know about ‘stats’ – it’s really cool to see the views by country. I don’t have any answers for the best way to treat this condition or how to cope with it, but I will continue to be honest and share my journey in living with alopecia. I wish you all well and hope you always remember that you are not alone. XO

global

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bones.

woman-no-break

First weekend of Yoga Tree Teacher Training: Friday night intro and Saturday/Sunday afternoons were spent learning about bones! Since I studied architecture and haven’t had any courses in anatomy, it was a bit of an eye opener for how little I actually know about the skeletal system.

I started this blog as a way to cope with alopecia and to document my journey of loss and growth. One small part of the physical body may have left temporarily, but as difficult as it can be at times, I know now that I haven’t lost anything. This whole experience is about growth; expanding the circle and building a new way of life. One weekend into yoga school and I’m so excited for the possibilities.

Beautiful and inspiring:

spineSkeletal_System

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september.

Alopecia Awareness Month: naaf.org

A post on an alopecia support website that I thought was inspiring:

‘Technically I am losing my hair, but I am really losing the luxury of conventional beauty. The strength I gain from regaining confidence and powering through hard times will allow my true and purest form of beauty to shine out from within me. Whoever fails to see past my outer shell probably also fails to see the essence of beauty itself.’  –‘PS3li0t’ – (thank you for sharing).

My son likes to dance, which makes his grandma (and would have made his great-grandma) very proud. We have little dance parties throughout the day. One way to take your mind off of alopecia… dance!

It was either War or Earth, Wind and Fire that was my first concert with my mom and uncle… this music will make you dance, (amazing video). Happy September!

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kali ma.

camel

Labor Day Weekend… completed days 22, 23 and 24 of my 40 day goal of Bikram/Baptiste yoga! On day 24, I stopped at the grocery store on my walk home feeling great, but unfortunately had a horrible experience. The woman ahead of me in line to check-out lingered awhile after she paid. She was an uncomfortable foot away from me and I could feel her blatant stare. Figuring she was just taking her sweet time to pack up her bags and go, I was stunned when a derogatory comment about my head scarf, (and another woman’s she’d seen that day), came out of her mouth. I was at a loss for words, I could feel my blood start to boil as my cheeks turned even more red from just leaving hot yoga…so I simply said that I was sick and the other woman probably was as well, then turned back to face the cashier. I assumed I’d hear some kind of apology or words of remorse for her hurtful comment, but she just kept going. My genes from my mom’s fiery side arose, but I dug deep, took a deep breath and found my dad’s calmer side in me as I turned and politely told her to please stop talking. This time she was stunned and walked away. The poor cashier was a kid and looked equally as shocked as I was. He kept apologizing, but I kept assuring him that it was not his fault at all. We both couldn’t believe what had just happened.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When life gives you limes, make margaritas. When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile.

It’s 2013. Unfortunately, cancer is a common disease and hair loss is a very common side effect of treatment. One in fifty people have alopecia and there are other sicknesses that cause hair loss. Not always, but full head scarves, especially the style that I was wearing, (I purchased it from a chemo scarf website), typically signifies a disease. It saddens me that this woman was that insensitive to feel the need to verbalize her negative comment. I walked home and then got teary once I told my fiance what happened. He got me to laugh about it. We took a family walk and I felt much better. Words can be hurtful, but how you react to them determines how they will effect you. I had shared my story on Facebook for the first time a few days before and received really supportive messages. After our walk, I sat down to read them again and either I accidentally deleted the post, or maybe my son did while playing with my phone, but they were gone. I was surprised how sad I was about it or maybe it was just the earlier experience at the grocery store, but I realized it’s another lesson on impermanence. Clinging to words whether positive or negative is attachment and I was reminded again of the importance of letting go.

On another note, I decided to go to yoga school. It’s back to school this week and I am very excited! So inspiring:

the-worlds-oldest-yoga-teacher-turns-95-today

yoga-teacher-guinness-record

confucius

My mom gave me this yoga mat with an image of Kali Ma – the goddess of time and change that takes away the darkness from any devotee who strives in the path of perfection. Perfect is relative. I’ve always been drawn to wabi sabi, the Japanese design aesthetic that is centered upon beauty in imperfection. Nothing lasts, nothing is finished and nothing is perfect. Wabi sabi.

Everything happens for a reason. I’m a firm believer in that you have to experience the negative in order to truly appreciate the positive; every experience shapes and will continue to reshape who you are. As difficult as alopecia is, I can honestly say that I am grateful for it. It’ll be awhile until it evens out, but my hair is slowly starting to grow back and I credit it to nutritional changes, daily meditation and yoga practice. Namaste Kali Ma.

photo

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O.

O

After class today, I stopped at the grocery store and saw this while in line to check-out. Oh, O.

Yes please, Oprah. I would love to talk about hair with you.

The day after my fiance shaved my head, Beyonce debuted her pixie cut. I wondered how that was going to change her shows, then thanks to my sister for the trashy magazine subscription, I learned that when the ‘Mrs. Carter Show world tour resumes in England on August 17, Bey will continue to rock her signature flowing hairpieces. That hair whipping around is a big part of the performance.’ I love that the magazine acknowledged that they are ‘signature flowing hairpieces.’ Also, her new ‘do didn’t last long as her pixie mysteriously grew into a bob over night.

One in fifty people will suffer from alopecia at some point in their lives. The Princess of Monaco is the only ‘celebrity’ that I’ve read about that experienced alopecia. With such a high statistic, I wish there were more high profile people that shared their stories…

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church.

baptiste

10 days down of my 40 days of Bikram/Baptiste Power Yoga! Red Dragon Yoga has turned into my ‘church’ and ‘medicine.’ I am very grateful for this outlet as it has been therapeutic for both mind and body. One of my yoga instructors recommended a few yoga poses to alleviate anxiety/stress that I want to share… too tired to paraphrase, so I’ll just cut and paste her message:

A pleasure to see you in class today and thank you for sharing with me! I hope you are feeling strong and it is so great that as a new Mom – you are able to get to yoga class! This is fantastic. When faced with difficult situations and stress, our bodies respond with a series of physical reactions. The Result – instant mind/body reactions like irritability and fatigue – and possibly even more serious health concerns. While we can’t control all that happens in life, we can work on our reactions. Because yoga helps reacquaint us with our emotional and physical needs, it provides an excellent means of stress prevention. Any regular yoga practice will ease anxiety, but here are some specific suggestions that may be helpful for you:

1)      Incorporate some stimulating postures such as Virabhadrasana (Warrior Pose) and Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose) to energize the body and build strength.

Virabhadrasana: yogajournal.com/poses/1708

Bhujangasana: yogajournal.com/poses/471

2)      Incorporate restorative poses for stress relief. Connecting with the rhythm of the breath while resting in Savasana (Corpse Pose) and Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose) will help both body and mind to deeply relax. Try to hold these for at least 10 minutes each.

Savasana: yogajournal.com/poses/482

Supta Baddha Konasana: yogajournal.com/poses/663

Other Recommended Restorative Poses:

Supta Badda Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) yogajournal.com/poses/663

Viparita Karani (Legs Up The Wall Pose) yogajournal.com/basics/1140

Jathara Parivartanasana (Revolved Abdomen Pose) yogajournal.com/practice/1521

Don’t hesitate to ask me for help at any time. It is always great to see you in class! I can see how hard you are working. Namaste, Daisy

I hope you find these poses helpful and it provides some time for your mind to let go of the anxiety and stress associated with alopecia. Take good care!

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