Appreciate your body

Last night at yoga, the focus was to appreciate your body.  “Accept where your body is now” was repeated throughout the class by my teacher.

As I warmed up my body, I felt my feet grounded to my mat.  I felt appreciative of the sense of being grounded.  I then went into plank position and was appreciative of my strength that holds my body steady.  As we moved into side plank, I was discouraged when I would lose balance and was forced to catch myself with my arm.  I then remembered “Accept where your body is now.”  I would push myself back up, and do my best to finish the pose.  We then moved into side angle poses.  I took time to appreciate my strong legs that felt like tree trunks, grounded into the ground, supporting the weight of all the branches.  While appreciating my strength, I found balancing became easier.  I turned my head towards my fingers that were stretching to the ceiling and focused on my breathing.  From there, we folded our bodies down, inhaling and feeling our chests fill with air, followed by an exhale as we rolled back up.  I was grateful for my lungs, that can hold and control my deep breaths with ease.  We would then reward our bodies with a forward fold.  “Allow your breathing to dictate the pose.”  As I folded my body down, I would take a deep breath in, and on my exhalation relax my entire body, allowing gravity to do the work.  As I slowly sank deeper into my fold, I felt my body appreciate the pose.  We sat on our mats, bent our knee while extending our opposite leg.  The extended leg was flexed then lifted only one inch off the floor.  Sounds easy, right?  Well that’s what I thought but after only two breath cycles, I felt my leg tremble and shake.  As silly as I thought it was, I was appreciative that something that sounds so simple could make my strong, tree trunk legs, tremble and work so hard.

We then finished, sitting in prayer position on our mats.  “As you finish, think about taking this level of relaxation with you through the rest of the evening.”  That’s the cue to pick up your mat and scramble to your car, back to reality.  But I remained sitting on my mat in awe.  Awe of how incredible my body truly is and how appreciative I am to have a capable, strong body.  Awe that something so simple could work my body so hard.  Awe in how relaxed I felt.  Awe that as I took the time to appreciate my body, I felt my body appreciate my appreciation.

Though I am newer to yoga, I feel I will never stop learning.  Whether it’s learning to finally get that headstand or more importantly how to appreciate my your body, I will never fail to learn something through a yoga practice.  There is no such thing as a “Master Yogi.”  True Masters never stop learning.

 

Dancing Thoughts

My mind holds so many beautiful thoughts that dance through and carry on their way.  Clenching onto thoughts only pushes them to dance along faster.  Thoughts and memories become lost in the mess in my mind, but that is OK.  The mind is no place for structure, and neither is life.

I am free to dance and roam just as my thoughts are free to do the same.

Each day I am closer to a life of no structure. No boundaries. Unbound.
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PC: Kaylan Miller Helen Hunt Falls, CO

Change is coming

Here I am, getting ready to head back to school for the week after a weekend of hiking, cooking, and time spent with good people.  I know this week will be no different than any week at school where I go to class and work, go for a run, and eat shitty food.

But change is coming.  In two short weeks I will be on my way to California.  On my way to living a truly unbound life.  I will leave Colorado, where I have called home for almost 19 years.  I will leave behind the majestic, snow-capped mountains, open plains, and rivers winding deep through the mounatins, for towering redwoods, rolling hills of lush green trees, dark forests, rivers and creeks that reach the ocean, and the cold coasts of Norther California.  I will be on the farm, the most magical place I have ever been.  I will be dancing with the buzzing bees, singing to the baby plants, and freeing my soul to roam as free as the birds roam the sky.  I will have the opportunity to learn to kayak with incredbile people on beautiful rivers.  I will be in a place to thrive and grow.  I will be surrounded by honest, true people.  I will be learning more everyday than I ever have in a classroom.  I will truly begin my life unbound.

With all change, comes chaos.  Chaos from finals, packing all my belongings, saying good-bye for now, to friends and family.  I’m not sure what lies ahead for me, but I will continue to embrace the change; therefore, the chaos.

PC: Cody Connell     Duo-kayaking the Royal Gorge of the Arkansas River,  COP1050961

PC: Kaylan Miller     Cañon City, CO20150812_195154

PC: Kaylan Miller       Pauley Creek, CA20151222_145903.jpg

PC: Cody Connell          Trinidad Beach, CA20151216_152725.jpg

PC: Kaylan Miller       Redwood Forest, Redway, CA20151216_114236.jpg

Stop Should-ing on People

“I should do yoga.”

“I should go for a run.”

“You should do this.”

“You should do that.”

Since the word ‘should’ and it’s negative implications have been brought to my attention, I realize how easy this word slips out of my mouth. The word just seems to always find a way to be used, from shoulding myself, to shoulding others. I have actively been working to eliminate ‘should’ from my everyday vocabulary and it has been harder than I thought, but I have seen significant improvement of productivity and positivity in my life.

‘Should’ implies a person is not good enough how they are and needs to change. This effects how we see ourselves and carry ourselves. And when you ‘should’ on someone else, you are implying they are not good enough as they are.

When a person says ‘should’ it is typically followed by a ‘but….’ Whether the ‘but’ that follows is an excuse or a negative view of one’s self, the ‘but’ opens the door to not doing whatever you ‘should’ be doing. In our mind, it justifies not doing whatever the task may be.

When a person ‘should’ do something, the motivation to do that something is pretty low. It automatically adds a negative stigma to the task. Doing something because you ‘should’ is not nearly as motivating as doing something because you want to.

To be honest, no person ‘SHOULD’ do anything. There are things people want to do, but not things people should do. Nobody likes being told they ‘should’ do something, so why are we telling ourselves that?

By replacing should with ‘want’ or ‘will’ based on the situation, the sentence automatically feels more positive and productive. Better than ‘want’ or ‘will’ is telling yourself or another person why doing the task is beneficial. This adds even more positivity and is even more effective.

Instead of telling myself, “I should go for a run in the morning” I tell myself, “My body feels best when I run in the morning so I want to run in the morning.” This immediately changes how I view the task of running and when the time comes to go for my run, I have a more positive attitude. I am not doing it because I ‘should’ but because I want to and my body benefits from the run.

It’s been hard to eliminate the word from my vocabulary but I find the more I focus on it, the easier it becomes and I have more enthusiasm to do tasks such as running and yoga. I’m not telling anyone they should work to rid their vocabulary of the word, but ridding vocabulary of the word could potentially improve your life.

Happy Earth Day

While I spent the day exploring the mountains of Colorado Springs, Cody spent his day kayaking the flooding rivers of Northern California.

Alyssa and I spent the day hiking switchbacks in search for Helen Hunt Falls.  While we got our dose of vitamin D, we talked endlessly from subject to subject.  We searched for butterflies, watched the birds as they flew freely and talked about how close we are to being free to roam like the birds.

PC: Kaylan Miller         bird  .

Ricky and Alyssa are friends of Cody who have extended their friendship to me.  They too have a dream of living life unbound, looking for an escape from the toxic city.

While we questioned everything we knew, shared our dreams of freedom, re-energized our minds, challenged our bodies; we filled our bottles with the spring water and hiked to the falls.

PC: Kaylan Miller         Natural spring water, Colorado Springs, CO spring wter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PC: Kaylan Miller         Helen Hunt Falls, Colorado Springs, CO        earthday2

Wandering the mountains for the majority of the day, we sent Cody our good vibes as he kayaked the Mattole River in Humboldt County.  The river was at flood stage, thanks to El Niño.  The river is joined by the Eubanks Creek, which is in the backyard of the farm.  Not far from home, he kayaked about six miles of old redwoods, tall green trees, muddy waters, big boulders, and absolutely beautiful scenery until taking out at the swimming hole on the property.

PC: Cody Connell        The Mattole River, flood stage 4/22/16river

cody

Even 1,500 miles away, we both spent Earth Day celebrating our earth.  Everyday is a new day to celebrate our earth, to spend time in nature, and appreciate the world around us.

 

Thank you Earth for all you provide and the opportunity to spend time today truly appreciating you.  Happy Earth Day from the Mattole River, CA and Helen Hunt Falls, CO!!

The Importance of Alone Time

For some, the idea of spending time alone sounds terrible.  I for one, do not mind the time I spend alone, in fact, I look forward to it.

I spend plenty of time alone but tonight, as I was walking to yoga, I realized the importance of spending time alone.  And let me clarify, I do not mean sitting alone texting, Facebooking, Tweeting, or any type of social media where you are still connected to others.  I mean connecting with yourself, alone with your own thoughts.

Alone time allows a person uninterrupted time to listen to their heart and mind.  This is important because minds can become busy and things get lost but when a person takes the time to listen, important things can be heard.  It’s also important to give your heart a chance to be heard.  Listening to your heart allows it to tell you what truly makes you happy, far beyond the superficial happiness.

This time gives a person time to reflect and recharge.  Those thoughts that are always pushed to the back of your mind, for whatever the reason may be, are brought forward and reflected upon.  The time alone gives you time to recharge from addressing those suppressed thoughts.  Today on my walk to yoga, I thought about my relationships and which I feel do not have a positive, equal energy flow.  This is a subject I have consciously suppressed but after taking the time to reflect and understand what I have been feeling, I now feel more capable of doing what is truly best for me.

I also feel more confident after spending time alone with my thoughts.  Alone time teaches you to love yourself and prevents you from being dependent on seeking approval; instead you become self approved.  Your mind, heart, and thoughts make up who you are.  If spending time alone creates an uneasy feeling, maybe it is time for a change.  Learn who you are, what makes you happy.  If you are unhappy, you are the one who has the power to make the change.

So next time you find yourself without any plans, don’t look at spending time alone as a negative.  Embrace the time you get to yourself.  Your mind, heart, and happiness will thank you for it.

More Than a Game

Like all things, everything must come to an end.  All those long, hard practices (that I thought would actually never end) have come to an end.  All those hard-fought games, whether a win or loss, have come to an end.  And now here I am, at the end of my basketball career.  And surprisingly, I’m OK with it.

I am OK with it because I am happy with the player I have evolved into.  I am thankful for all the opportunities basketball has brought me.  I find lessons everyday that I have learned from basketball.  I am thankful for the friendships and bonds basketball has built.  I have finally realized everything basketball has meant to me for the past 15 years.

From the dreams of becoming a WNBA star to making the varsity team in high school to playing one day for a college.  I chased my dreams, I fought for my dreams almost everyday for years.  And I accomplished them. (Well, besides the WNBA part, but hey a girl can dream.)  I fought for my place on the varsity team as a sophomore.  I finished my high school career with a group of girls who fought everyday to a 26-1 record.  Then, I did what I had dreamed of since I could remember.  I had the opportunity to play college ball.  I had found a note that I wrote to myself in 4th grade.  4th grade Kaylan had told herself that she will work her ass off to reach her goal of playing college ball.  I carried this note to college.

The things basketball have taught me are timeless.  From the time I was little, it taught me to work hard.  This has carried into everything in my life, from jobs to school to anything I wish to pursue.  It has taught me the importance of team.  You are never alone when you have a team.  It has taught me that not everything will go exactly how you want it to.  Shots won’t always fall, and life won’t always go your way either.  Basketball has exposed me to plenty of coaches, some who have taught me how I want to be as a coach and few who have shown me exactly what not to do as a coach.  I have learned the importance of taking care of my body.  It has shown me how to be humble in wins, but also humility in losses.  I’ve learned to not quit.  Whether during a workout or a game, quitting is not acceptable.  Most importantly, basketball has shown me, I CAN.  Anything is possible.  Never be afraid to chase those dreams.

And here I am, choosing to end my basketball career after only one year of college basketball.  At first, I thought that I would be letting down 4th grade Kaylan, but I believe 4th grade Kaylan would be far from let down.

I look back on all the early mornings and late nights spent in a gym.  Mornings and nights spent by myself, with my dad, or with other incredible people who have helped me along this journey.  I want to thank all the little girls who have looked up to me.  I was once that little girl who looked up to players.  When I have wanted to quit, you helped me to get up and keep going.  I hope you all continue to follow your dreams, no matter what they may be.  I want to thank the coaches who put in the extra hours with me.  I couldn’t have done it without any of you.  I want to thank my teammates who battled on the court and in practice with me.  Who pushed me and helped me towards my dreams.  Who gave me friendships, laughs, and memories that I will forever cherish.  I want to thank my parents for all the time and money spent in order to help me pursue my dreams.  And finally, a very special thank you to my dad.  The dad who invested just as much into my dreams as I had.  Who spent countless hours in the gym with me.  Who pulled 48 hour days to coach me.  Who put together the team that allowed me to play competitively.  Who never let me quit on my dreams.  I will always cherish the bond with him that basketball has brought me.  Thank you Dad.  I love you so much.

Thank you to basketball, for all the lessons and memories.  I will carry them close to my heart as I continue my journey.  Basketball will always be a part of who I am.

 Forever grateful, FB_IMG_1425105273485                                            #11

“Somewhere behind the athlete you’ve become and the hours of practice and the coaches who have pushed you is a little girl who fell in love with the game and never looked back… play for her.”                -Mia Hamm