I just applied to Grad school?

Standard

Say what?!?! Did I really just apply to graduate school? Well judging by this acceptance email and the 2, yep 2, filled out FAFSAs (for the 2013-2104 & 2014-2105 school years), I’d say, yep I just applied to graduate school. Master’s degree here I come.
This is big and scary and exciting and all sorts of other fun colorful adjectives that make you feel like you’re standing on the edge of a cliff with a stomach filled with butterflies. I had been talking about going back to school and becoming a Physicians Assistant, but since my Hippo is just shy of 4 class schedules weren’t going to work with the rest of my life (you know on account of leaving her home alone with the dogs might result in a house fire or something). So keeping my number one priority in mind (the happiness/wellness of my family) I’ve decided to work towards my Masters degree online then apply to a “brick and mortar” doctorate program upon completion. What am I majoring in? Being crazy, well technically my eventual diploma will say Psychology, but since I’m determined to finish with honor society cords, we’ll just go with Crazy.
So why the switch from lab science (my Associates degree) to health science (my Bachelors degree) to physician assisting to psychology? Well I enjoy lab science (specifically clinical microbiology) but haven’t been able to find much less hold a job in the field being married to the Army and all. And because of my Hippo’s age I can’t do a traditional brick and mortar program right now and while this educational track will take me longer it allows for life and enjoying my family. I decided on psychology because I’ve lost 2 people to PTSD and have many framily members actively serving and living with anxiety, PTSD, TBIs and the like. And who can’t use some tips dealing with family, and in-laws?
So now I’m standing on the edge of a new adventure and while I’m looking at all the opportunities endlessly stretching out before me I can’t help but feel tiny under the weight and at the sight of the choices and freedoms waiting for me to make and seize!
Big breath, in, hold, out, and JUMP!

How do you breathe?

Standard

Have you ever thought about your breathing? For most it is something that happens subconsciously and we never notice it unless something happens and we suddenly can’t breathe (like going under water, exercising too hard, or an allergic reaction to name a few). But what about while simply going about your life?
As a newly rediscovered yogi and runner, breathing and paying attention to my breathing has become a big part of my life. I find myself actively working to shape and control my breathing, and focusing on it as I never (not even previously during yoga practice) have before. And as I try to truly control, expand, and enhance my breath I am noticing some other great benefits (feeling more energetic, less stressed, and more patient). I personally practice a three part breath with a shuni or patience mudra or hand position.
There are many internet sites that can explain a three part breath so if my explanation confuses you feel free to simply plug “3 part breath” into the Google machine and explore away. But for me a three part breath starts by breathing in through my nose, long thin breaths that fill my belly like a balloon. Once my belly feels full I breathe into my chest opening the space between my ribs and feeling the space around my heart (or heart center) fill and expand with air. Then with a long thing exhale (also through my nose) I slowly breathe out the air in my heart center allowing my ribs to close one by one, then emptying my belly like a deflating balloon. While breathing my breath sounds like waves in my ears. This can be practiced any where at any time, just take a moment to stop, close your eyes and consciously reconnect with your breath. I try to reconnect with my breath at least once an hour as I feel it helps me to stay calm, patient, and remain a loving mommy and person.
I typically practice breathing in a half lotus or ardha padmasana (a cross legged, seated) position and hold my hands in a Shuni Mudra. A mudra is a body position that has an effect on your energy or mind. Typically the most practiced mudras are hand mudras used in meditating. I personally prefer the Shuni mudra as I definitely need to practice and improve my patience. The Shuni mudra is practiced by holding your hands palm up and touching the tip of your middle finger to the tip of your thumb. By holding this pose for at least 15 minutes a day you’re supposed to increase your patience.
Noticing your breath can help you to connect to your physical, mental, and emotional self. While noticing my breath I like to note if it gets stuck or caught anywhere, if it’s maybe not as smooth as it could be. This can tell me if maybe my posture isn’t what it should be, or if I’m mentally stuck, stressed, worried, or if emotionally I’m not dealing with something. I know this all sounds really hippy dippy but by paying attention to my breath I am paying attention to me, which means I can exercise greater control over my thoughts, emotions, actions, and reactions which allows me greater control over my environment and my life. So go forth and conquer the world but be sure to stop and pay attention to your breath once in a while.